GOOGLE ME THAT!

GOOGLE ME THAT!

Since I don’t have time for a real post today, here’s something that always amuses me: a list of recent search terms that have led people to this blog. (I know, this only encourages more people to search these things and end up here, but what can I say… it’s a vicious but amusing cycle.)

These are listed exactly as they were entered — including quotation marks and exclamation points [bracketed comments are mine]:

“brad garret” gay [twice, and sorry, guys, he’s married]

nontraditional families sitcom

movie brown bunny/chloe sevigny [about a zillion variations on this one — usually they want pictures of the infamous fellatio scene, which I don’t have and don’t want to see — ever]

1940’s clothes in South Carolina [my site comes up 129th if you search this on Yahoo, which indicates somebody is doing INTENSIVE research on this topic if they actually got to me]

gossip “Queer Eye” “secretly straight” […which would be the best rumor ever, and I only WISH I started it — but don’t get too excited, this google search returned only three listings, all of which were really about Boy Meets boy and only tangentially mentioned Queer Eye]

springsteen franken lie! [Apparently, Google searches faster if you include an exclamation point!]

everything about homosexuality on spongebob show [Sorry, I’ve got nothing. And as a side note to whoever’s graduate thesis topic this is… enjoy your time in school. You won’t have a job when it’s over.]

secondhand machinery dealers 2003 [If you’re looking for 2003 goods, what are the odds they’re already secondhand?]

“photos of disaster scenes”

allyce beasley bathing suit [Uh… yikes]

doubting riley [This came up a bunch of times… and this is just about the only search I think I was actually helpful on]

rockets hilarious uniform [my site comes up 7th of 922 results on this bizarre search]

discounted cotton candy makers

cost of notarizing at mailboxes etc

… and of course, there are the usual Angelyne and depantsing searches.

All of this just goes to prove that nobody’s using the internet for anything productive at all.

Or at least that this website isn’t.

SURVIVOR

SURVIVOR

It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me, but I loved last night’s Survivor premiere. The pirate theme, which could’ve been spectacularly cheesy, was pretty well executed, and I loved the bartering trip through the fishing village (though it did make you question just how “remote” this year’s location really was). Already, the cast looks like it’s full of freaks (I love them freaks!), and there are lots of budding conflicts which seem likely to bubble over in weeks ahead.

I love how there’s always one tribe that has its shit together and another that’s in complete disarray. How did Mark Burnett manage to find seven people dumb enough to leave the fishing village without spending all their money? (Poor Ryan S. He’s smarter than all of them put together.) And how do you not know that the location of the fresh water is printed on your map? It’s on the map EVERY FREAKING SEASON!

Now, I’d like to make a very bold prediction.

Ryan S. will win.

Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m going to look really stupid next week. But I get a sneaking suspicion that the way the show was edited was all part of a big ruse. Everyone knows that typically, whoever gets the most screen time in Episode One is bound to get the boot. And last night, Skinny Ryan was the most visible castaway by far. Nicole didn’t even register until after the immunity challenge, which made her seem like the obligatory red herring. But stunningly, it was Nicole who got sent packing. All through the episode, the editors worked really hard to make Ryan look like an underdog. His only friend is the one person on his tribe who’s a bigger oddball than he is. His ideas, no-brainers like making a plan for how to spend their money, not letting extra money go to waste, and stopping for a moment to establish some tribe morale, went unspoken or ignored. He was the only guy on the tribe who didn’t needlessly get naked. It sure didn’t seem like he fit in. And what was with that speech Probst gave about not counting yourself out of the game too soon? They’re setting us up! If Lillian goes next and Ryan hangs around until some kind of tribal switch happens, he could find himself with a lot more power than he has now. That would be a startling, unpredictable twist. Except that I’m predicting it right now.

According to the previews, someone begs to leave next week. I think it’s Big Lill. They probably want us to think it’s Ryan, but Lillian seems more discouraged than he does at being an outcast. Which begs the question: Has she really gotten through her entire life wearing a boy scout uniform and never being shunned before? I liked Lillian a lot more than I expected. She actually seemed like a really nice woman who was just learning a lesson about assimilation a little late in life.

I also liked Sandra. From what little I saw of Sandra before last night’s episode, I thought she looked bossy and irrational. But as it turned out, she was bossy and hilarious. I agreed with almost everything she said, especially about Jon being annoying. Sandra’s my favorite so far.

The ones I don’t like: moronic, unfunny Jon. Shrill, temperamental Tijuana. Andrew, who foolishly thought taking a leadership role would help him in the game. (The last “leader” to win was Rich, in Season 1.) And especially Osten, who fawned over his “Nubian princess” and let himself get led around by the penis rather than the thirst for a million dollars.

Ah, Thursday nights have meaning again. Welcome back, Survivor.

HOW TO PLACE A BUSINESS PHONE CALL

HOW TO PLACE A BUSINESS PHONE CALL

Part of my job consists of answering phones for my boss. This is not my ideal field of employment, so you’ll have to excuse the sad, bitter tone of what I’m about to write. See, my boss — let’s call him “Asshole Jerkwad” — gets a lot of phone calls. I’m resigned to the fact that 90% of my day consists of me saying, “Asshole Jerkwad’s office” over and over again. It’s okay, really it is. They pay me pretty well, and I know that someday, oh someday, I will have my revenge on cruel fate. So I’ve chosen to focus my rage not on my boss himself but on his many callers. Most of them, you see, are idiots.

These people do not know how to place a business phone call, and that makes my job harder. It makes their job (i.e., getting through to my boss) harder as well, but they don’t seem to care about that. They apparently have plenty of time to waste making boneheaded, improper or inefficient business calls. So let’s not pretend I’m doing this for their sake. I’m doing it for mine. Herewith, I propose some simple guidelines to follow when placing a business call.

1. Identify yourself.

I can’t stress this enough. You know how after you dialed my boss’ phone number and heard that ringy sound, the next thing you heard was me saying, “Asshole Jerkwad’s office”? See, what I was doing was identifying him. Now it’s your turn. You know who he is. It’s only fair. Let him know who you are.

2. Identify yourself, you stupid moron.

Okay, maybe you don’t realize this, but the reason my boss has me pick up his phone for him is to screen his calls. He’s a busy man, and he doesn’t always have time to talk to everyone who’d like to talk to him. He needs to know who you are before he picks up your call so that he can manage his time efficiently. A lot of people respond to hearing me say, “Asshole Jerkwad’s office” with “Yes, I’m calling for Asshole Jerkwad.” See, I already know that. In fact, I just told you that that’s who you’re calling for. Let’s not repeat ourselves. It’s time to move forward.

3. Identify yourself, you clueless, brain-dead nitwit.

A lot of people, after hearing me say “Asshole Jerkwad’s Office” will say, “Is Asshole there?” Well, maybe. Maybe not. But don’t pretend you don’t know why I answered the phone on his behalf. You’re not going to get by me without identifying yourself. Don’t even try. Asking me questions that do nothing to identify you, questions like “Is Asshole there?” or “Can I talk to Asshole?” or “Is this Asshole Jerkwad’s Office?” is only going to delay the process of completing your call. Please don’t waste my time and yours. Tell me who you are, and once I have that information, I’ll let you know if Asshole wants to talk to you. Can you guess why that is? Well, it’s because whether he wants to talk to you depends on who you are. Is this starting to make sense?

4. Identify yourself properly, you evasive twit.

Okay, so you’ve told me who you’re calling for, you’ve asked your stupid questions, you’ve done a lot of things to delay the inevitable, and so I finally presented you with a real stumper: “Whom may I tell him is calling?” Don’t panic. This is an easy question, and I guarantee you know the answer to it. Your job now is to supply me with information that will allow my boss to recognize you once I relay the information to him. You want him to say, “Oh, yes. I know who that is” and then be able to make a decision about whether he wants to take your call. Which leads me to…

5. “Properly” almost always means with a last name.

“This is John” is not a suitable way to identify yourself. If your name is John, you’ve probably noticed that you do not have a unique name. Sometimes you’ll be waiting for your table at a restaurant, the hostess will call out your name, and another party will simultaneously try to be seated. No, that other guy isn’t an obnoxious jerk trying to muscle ahead of you in line. He isn’t stealing your identity. No, it’s just that that man is also named John. It’s a common name. So if my boss asks me who’s calling and I say, “It’s John”, he still does not have the information he needs to decide if he wants to take the call. And I’m not just talking to you, John. I’m talking to Frank and Dwayne and Heidi and Lisa and almost everyone who calls. My boss knows lots of people. And your name is probably more common than you think. So don’t assume you’re unique. You’re not. Deal with it. Give your last name. If your name is Hiroshito, maybe you can get by without giving me your last name. My boss doesn’t know many Hiroshitos. If you were calling Sony, maybe you’d need to give more information than just Hiroshito. Likewise, if this were Tokyo, perhaps identifying yourself as “John” would suffice. But we’re not in Tokyo, this isn’t Sony and odds are you share your first name with plenty of other people who may be calling. So tell me your last name.

6. If you know my boss won’t recognize your name, give your company name as well.

There are many people my boss deals with on a day-to-day basis, and it’s safe to say he’ll recognize those people from hearing their full name. But there are other people who call less frequently. Some people call only in regard to a certain project and then never call again. When you place a call, you probably know which category you fall into. So if you’re not someone who calls every day, you might want to toss in some extra information. Let’s say someone told you you had a phone call from “Roseanne Q. Winterplatt”. Would you drop everything you were doing and take her call? Probably not, because you don’t know any Roseanne Q. Winterplatt. You’re too busy to talk to complete strangers, so before you talk to Ms. Winterplatt, it would help to know what she’s calling about. If she said she was “Roseanne Q. Winterplatt of Destination Travel”, then you’d know it was about that swingin’ Club Med jaunt you were planning, and you’d be most delighted to talk to her. So if you’re Roseanne, why not tell people where you work so they’ll be more likely to take your call? Remember, when you place a phone call, your objective is to talk to someone. If you don’t get the person you’re calling on the line, you have failed.

7. Don’t try to outsmart me.

Maybe you’re a telemarketer. Maybe you’re that lowlife scumbag who screwed up that deal that my boss was working so hard to push through. Maybe you figure that if my boss knows who you really are, he’ll never take your call. So you’re going to try being sneaky to get past me. My advice to you: give up now. I’m smarter than you. Oh, you don’t think I am, but I’ve been doing this a long time, and I can spot a phony. If you think you can fool me, you’re in way over your head. One trick undesirable callers use is to pretend that they’re too important to give their full name. “It’s John,” they’ll say, in a big huff. Then, when I ask for more information, they cut me off with something like, “He knows me.” Then comes the hard sigh, like they’re soooo annoyed this lowly assistant is hassling them and wasting their time. They want me to think they’re a real big shot and that my boss is going to be pissed off at me that I was so rude as to ask this obvious Fortune 500 CEO type person to identify themselves. Well, guess what. Big shots don’t have to be evasive. They know that when they drop their full name, they get treated better. When Ted Turner or Bill Gates tells someone they’re calling, their call gets through about a thousand times faster than if they play games with the assistant. And real big shots don’t have time to waste. So give it up, pal. You’re not a big shot. You’re just an evasive jerk. Big shots didn’t get to be big shots without knowing how to place business calls.

I don’t know why people play these games. Most of them, as I’ve suggested, are just not very intelligent. But they’re not the dumbest people I deal with. Yes, it’s true, there are people even more dimwitted than the ones who won’t identify themselves. As I’ve said, I answer the phone “Asshole Jerkwad’s Office”. There are slightly different varieties of this greeting in use in the business world, but it’s fairly standard. Usually, when you place a call to someone who has an assistant, you’ll get something very much like “Asshole Jerkwad’s Office”. Still, some people come back at me with, “Is this Asshole?” Or even worse, they’ll just start talking. “Hi, Asshole, I’m calling from XYZ Corp and I wanted to ask you about the merger with blah blah blah I’m a big dumb jerk.” Hey, buddy, I tuned you out a long time ago. If I were Asshole Jerkwad, wouldn’t I have a simpler way of answering the phone than by saying “Asshole Jerkwad’s Office”? Say, maybe, “Hello”? Look, you can’t handle this. Please stop using telephones. Write letters. Send smoke signals. Tackle a technology you can handle.

RECAP

Now that you’re armed with all the information my hostile, self-destructive sarcasm can drum into your tiny little brain, let’s review how a typical phone call should proceed.

ME: Asshole Jerkwad’s office.

YOU: Hello, this is Courteous Caller. Is Mr. Jerkwad available?

ME: Just a moment. [I place you on hold. To Asshole:] It’s Courteous Caller on Line 1.

ASSHOLE JERKWAD: That fucking son of a bitch? I hate that scumbag! Tell him to go to go suck Hitler’s cock in Hell!

[I pick up the phone.]

ME: I’m sorry. He’s unavailable right now. Can I have him call you back?

COURTEOUS CALLER: That would be wonderful. Goodbye.

ME: Goodbye. Have a pleasant day.

See how simple that was?

MISC. ETC. & ABBREV. INC.

MISC. ETC. & ABBREV. INC.

I’ve seen that jumbled-word thing I posted a few days ago in about a hundred different places now, and I’ve received a bunch of hits from people searching “Aoccdrnig to rscheearch” and “Elingsh uinervtisy”. One guy has even created his own word jumbler.

Sorry, but to me, Corea just doesn’t look right.

THEORY: Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and voiceover actor Billy West (Stimpy, Fry of Futurama) are the same person.

I’m really enjoying the Al Franken book, especially for how well-researched it is. Unlike a lot of other partisan commentators, Al knows more how to do more than just push buttons. He knows how to make convincing arguments.

Drew and I are both hooked on a $10 Boggle computer game we picked up in the markdown bin at Best Buy. He has 7 of the top 10 scores, damn him!

THEORY: Tupac is alive; Young MC is dead.

I got a very brief email from my ex-roommate who I saw at the wedding over the weekend. He said it was good to see me and that he felt like an outcast at the wedding. I haven’t written back yet. I’ve suffered his “friendship” a lot in the past, and even though I feel sorry for him, I’m not sure I want to welcome him back into my life.

Why isn’t anyone joining my Survivor pool? I know the premiere is still two days away, but don’t people want the early bird points? This is going to be the weakest turnout ever!

WEDDING

WEDDING

So after all that, I didn’t have to give my speech.

Too bad. It was a good speech. As usual, I was struck by inspiration just moments before I left. So I scrawled something down on a sheet of note paper and prepared to rock the mic. But even though there was no Official Best Man, it turned out I wasn’t even the Kinda Sorta Best Man. I wasn’t even the Next-Best Man. Eric was asked to position the four groomsmen in order of how close they got to stand to him during the ceremony, and I ranked third.

He didn’t deserve my damn speech anyway.

The wedding itself was really nice, but there was definitely a Ned Flanders quality to it. Eric warned me jokingly ahead of time that it would be a religious ceremony, “Like, you know, they’ll probably mention God in it and stuff.” (Eric teases me about religion occasionally, and I tease him about it relentlessly.) He should’ve warned me more specifically about the guitarist he hired to perform a Christian rock ballad during the ceremony. It was one of those songs that sounds like a typical cliched love song until it hits the bridge. Then out comes “‘Cause I died on the cross for your sins!” (I swear, every Christian rock song I’ve ever heard has the exact same bridge.)

Then there was the reception. The invite said that wine and sodas would be provided. I thought I was reading between the lines when I heard “cash bar” in that statement, and I assumed they were trying to save money. Fair enough. Turns out money wasn’t the issue. The bar in the reception hall didn’t even serve anything besides wine and sodas, and when a couple of my friends tried to smuggle in drinks from the restaurant’s bar, they were told the hosts had specifically requested no hard alcohol be allowed inside. The strange thing was that when the father of the bride gave his toast, he started off with, “If you’re not drunk by the end of this speech, you’re not drinking enough.” Since he’s the guy who paid for the wedding, I assume he was aware of the prohibition policy. So I guess he did want us to get drunk, just… slower? This is why I’ve long since given up on religion.

Although the wedding was performed in what I’d heard was a reasonably moderate Presbyterian church, I knew Eric was raised Southern Baptist, and I’d heard a lot of negative things about that particular denomination, especially in respect to their views on gay people. So I naturally spent a lot of time before the wedding worrying that Eric’s religious friends and family would be weirded out by Eric’s gay friend and Eric’s gay friend’s gay date (that’s me and Drew, respectively). But everyone was extremely nice to us, especially Eric’s extremely nice family, who spent the entire weekend making both of us feel extremely welcome and extremely well-respected in addition to extremely sober. (Two out of three ain’t bad.) And as someone with a finely-tuned insincerity detector, I can safely say that all the niceness was extremely genuine. I loved Eric’s family.

Weddings are always full of people you’ve lost touch with, and this one was no exception. Eric invited a lot of our former co-workers from a company both of us used to work for. He was obviously a more sociable employee, as I didn’t even remember most of these people’s names, and there were a couple of people I didn’t recognize at all. There were a few awkward moments of, “Jerry? Remember me?” “Um… of course! Hi!” Unfortunately, other people have finely-tuned insincerity detectors as well. I never feel as yucky as when my lack of social skills becomes obvious.

Also at the wedding was my former roommate, whom I haven’t seen in at least two years… by choice. Once a regular part of my circle of friends, it had been a few years since any of us had seen him… by choice. Even Eric hadn’t spoken to him in quite a while… by choice. Why did we all choose to remove this person from our lives? To put it gently, let’s just say he’s more full of shit than anyone I’ve ever known. Okay, so that wasn’t gentle. The gentle way would be to say he’s a pathological liar, but I got stuck talking to him for half an hour, so fuck being gentle. I was hoping he had changed since I’d seen him last, but he ended up being crazier than ever. He has a lie for every occasion, a tall tale for every topic. As my friend Nick once put it (again, not gently), he’s “the Forrest Gump of bullshit.” At least this guy served as a reminder that there was someone there with even worse social skills than mine.

Not surprisingly, at the opposite end of the social skills spectrum was Drew, who would probably have won the award for Most Popular. It’s so great to know that we can be apart from each other at a function like that, and he’ll do just fine on his own. He gets along terrificly with my friends — and now, with Eric’s family as well. The way they were chatting, I wouldn’t be surprised if Eric’s sister has put him on speed dial.

Foolishly, maybe, I attempted to organize a group wedding gift from my friends. I figured we’d let other people cover the registry. If we all chipped in, we could get something really great. There’s an inevitable problem with organizing large groups, in that everyone has a different idea of what constitutes “chipping in”, and everyone has a different idea of what constitutes “something really great”. (Yes, I shot down Janice’s suggestion that we spend several hundred dollars buying kitschy appliances like cotton candy makers and hot dog cookers at Target. When you’re spending $30, maybe those things are goofy fun. When you’re spending $500+, it’s kind of a waste.)

As for “chipping in”, I’ve heard the rule for wedding gifts is that you’re expected to cover the cost of your plate. So I figured $50 each, or $100 for couple, was probably in the right neighborhood. Maybe I overestimated what my friends were willing to pay, because quite a few people undershot my request. Okay, not quite fair when everyone’s getting equal billing on the card, but at least they told me in advance. On the wedding day, I thought I had raised $600, so I picked up a Big Ass Gift Certificate from Best Buy (after getting a small amount of input from a couple of the others, I decided that was the best option). But thanks to an apparent misunderstanding on what constitutes a “couple” (note to you-know-who-you-are: two people is a couple), I may personally need to make up a slight shortfall in the actual amount collected. Making matters worse, my antisocial ex-roommate somehow got his hands on the card and signed it, making him look like part of the gift. (It’s okay, Michael. Not a big deal.)

But nobody screwed up bigger than I did, because after all that effort organizing, after all that (semi-successful) whip-cracking to get people to bring their cash on Saturday, after the hour I spent on my computer designing the card and the trip to Best Buy to pick up the gift, I forgot to leave the damn envelope on the gift table. Sorry, everyone. I called Eric to apologize and promised to deliver the gift as soon as he gets back from his honeymoon. The bright side of this is that I can now exchange the gift card for a slightly smaller one so I don’t end up covering the difference, and I can cross the liar off the card. So it actually worked out better for me in the end. Sure, I had to put up with getting dissed on the Best Man front, trying to get drunk on 7 Up, talking to an insufferable loser and dealing the headaches of group gift purchase. But ultimately, none of my hassles was very big, and, more importantly, I think Eric and Julie had just the wedding they wanted.

Praise Jesus.

TIHS IS RLEALY NAET

TIHS IS RLEALY NAET

I jsut got tihs eamil:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

SPEECH

SPEECH

So I’m now mere hours away from my friend Eric’s wedding rehearsal, and I have no idea what I’m going to say if called upon to give some kind of speech.

I’m bad at speaking publicly, worse at speaking off-the-cuff and, I can only assume, extremely bad at being the gay guy at a wedding full of conservative Christians from Oklahoma. Maybe I’m wrong to assume that some of these people have never seen a real-live homosexual before, but I feel a strong burden, on behalf of the entire gay population of Earth, to get them to like me. I gotta represent.

The pressure doesn’t help.

The backstory is this: Eric asked me to be in his wedding party — an usher or groomsmen or whatever you’d call it. So, okay, just a groomsmen — I should be able to blend nicely into the background and let the Best Man do all the hard stuff, right? Well, it turns out Eric has no Best Man, and the other two groomsmen are his sister’s husband and his fiancee’s brother. I’m the only “friend” in the group, thus when the crowd is waiting for the Best Man speech, I feel like, rather than face the awkward silence, I should probably step in with a few words. I’ve checked with at least ten people on this. Everyone agrees it’s my job.

Eric, while a fairly liberal-minded guy — liberal enough to have a gay guy in his wedding party, at least — is pretty religious. He goes to church and, unlike a lot of other “religious” people I know, he actually, you know, believes the things they say there. He doesn’t drink alcohol, and he doesn’t believe in premarital sex, a fact I thought of having some fun with in my speech. “I’ve never given a speech like this before,” I’d say. “So I’m kind of on virgin terrotory here. But in this case, I guess that’s appropriate.” Subtle wink to Eric. I thought about saying that, but I don’t know how well it would play in a room full of people who may have had the same policy themselves, and I don’t want to be the Big City Gay Guy Who Sees Something Wrong With Abstinence. I gotta represent.

I guess I’m just worried because I don’t know my audience, and I don’t know how I’m going to score at this thing if I can’t use humor. Ah, humor, which has saved me from so many awkward moments over the years… please don’t abandon me now! Seriously, what’s the alternative to humor? I can’t go goopy and sentimental. It’s not really my style, and it’s not really Eric’s either. Oh, I’ll toss a little of that stuff in there. You know: “Eric’s a great guy.” “I know you two will be really happy together.” That kind of thing. But if anyone’s expecting tears, I don’t think I’m up to the task.

There’s only one thing I know for sure right now: posting to my blog is a good way of procrastinating. What I really need to do is come up with something to say in my damn speech.

THE SONGS REMAIN THE SAME

THE SONGS REMAIN THE SAME

Everyone’s been writing about the Dean-Lieberman spat over Israel and the disruptions of the Lyndon LaRouche supporters in last night’s debate. Both of those are fascinating subjects indeed, but this early in the race, with this many candidates to choose from, we may just as well make our decisions based on less substantive matters. So let’s be grateful that the candidates, in addition to being grilled on the Middle East and Bush’s tax cuts, were also asked to name their favorite song.

And on that basis alone, I’ve already discounted some of them.

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois…”You Gotta Be,” Des’ree.

This was a key question for Sen. Moseley Braun. Considering she has as much chance of winning the nomination as Des’ree does of scoring another top 10 hit, Carol may just as well use her minimal time in the national spotlight to raise the profile of her favorite minimally popular mid-90’s R&B divas as to discuss whatever positions she holds on the issues. In the next debate, expect Sen. Moseley Braun to set forth an economic plan built around lessons learned from Dionne Farris’ “I Know”.

The Rev. Al Sharpton…”Talking Loud and Saying Nothing,” James Brown. He called it “James Brown’s song about the Republican Party.”

Rev. Sharpton once again proves what makes him so vital to this campaign – his comic relief value. He not only chooses a song with some street cred, but uses the token “softball” question to take another jab against George W. Someday, I hope Al gives up politics to pursue stand-up full time. He’d have just about the same amount of impact on our nation’s government, but he’d be able to make us laugh more than once every four years.

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri…”Born in the U.S.A.,” Bruce Springsteen.

I don’t know what’s more disappointing: that Gephardt stole this straight off some compilation of “Songs Politicians Say Are Their Favorites When Running for Office” or the fact that, if any of the politicians who reflexively drape themselves in this song ever got past the anthemic chorus, they’d realize it’s one of the most depressing and dissatisfied portraits of American life ever committed to vinyl. Dick, have some of your junior staffers buy you some Coldplay or Mary J. Blige – hell, even Blink 182. There’s a whole world of music out there just waiting to be taken out of context.

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina…”Small Town,” John Mellencamp.

Obviously, Edwards is listening to the same compilation as Gephardt. True, this guy was born in a small town (Seneca, South Carolina; population 7,652), but you don’t see me claiming my favorite song is “Suburbia” by the Pet Shop Boys. Why do people from small towns like this song so much? I’m starting to wonder if maybe all of small town America has just one radio station that plays only this song over and over again. Of course, if that were true, small town people would grow to hate it. Just like the rest of us do.

Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts…”No Surrender,” Bruce Springsteen.

Bonus points to Sen. Kerry for picking a different song off the “Born in the USA” album. But “No Surrender”?! How did he come up with that? Did he throw a dart at the track listing? There are at least eight better songs on that album. There’s only one explanation I can think of: George W. Bush must’ve asked Congress to vote on it, and Kerry didn’t want to go against a popular president. Kerry should listen to the lyrics sometime. He might learn a few things about not surrendering.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean…”Jaspora,” Wyclef Jean.

Ja-what-a? Who does this guy think he is? You can’t pick songs no one knows. How can I make fun of you if I don’t recognize your song? No wonder this guy’s campaign is surging. He’s crafty, this one.

Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut…”Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” Fleetwood Mac; “My Way,” Frank Sinatra.

Sen. Lieberman proves he’s just as incapable of limiting himself to one song as he is of finding just one political party to buddy up to. Why not pick three songs and start seeking policy advice from Nader, too, Joe? And wasn’t “Don’t Stop” Al Gore’s song? Don’t, Joe. Stop.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio…”Imagine,” John Lennon.

John Lennon was right when he wrote this song. He’s not the only dreamer. Anyone who contributes to the campaign of a guy with this low of a media profile is definitely in that camp. Memo to John Lennon: No, you’re not the only one. But there are very, very few.

Sen. Bob Graham of Florida…”Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” Jimmy Buffett.

It’s not surprising that the guy from Florida is pandering to the buffet crowd. Oh, wait, it’s Buffett. Well, I guess you can take Graham’s fondness for Buffett to mean… hmm… buffet? Graham? I’m hungry…

CORRECTION

CORRECTION

When I got home, I listened to that woman’s voicemail again, and I could hear her a little more clearly.

First of all, it was apparently my daughter who kicked her dog.

And secondly, on a second listen, I now believe the woman’s accent to be Russian. That’s a little scary because I do live in a mostly Russian neighborhood.

But then again, I do not have a daughter.

And for whatever it’s worth, my Caller ID says the call came from something called “Young Hollywood Act–” [the display got cut off].

If this is a joke, whoever you are, you’re hilarious.