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April 2005

TMH News. You hear it (wicka wicka wicka *fresh*) first.
wicka wicka | Thursday, 04.21.05
My local paper is a piece of shit. And I'm not even saying that because I'm a pseudo-journalist who could churn out a better collection of articles in my sleep, but because it really is a piece of shit. "But John," cries the weepy Observer fan, "it's a free weekly, run by people without the ability to form coherent sentences, you have no right to complain!" Yeah. And so is thismayhurt, but at least I take pride in my work. It sounds stupid, but I wouldn't write something that I wouldn't want to read, and if I write an article that sucks dick, I usually warn you beforehand and apologize afterwards. I get through about 5 pages of the Observer before I ask myself why I'm wasting my time, and then I just start scanning for grammatical mistakes and upside down pictures. Then I go out, buy a bird, line its cage with the Observer, and then throw it against the wall like I'm Randy "Big Johnson" Johnson. No rhyme or reason, I just don't like birds.

But I never thought to check if any of these terrible, terrible articles were plagiarized. Whoops, looks like some of them were.

Publisher of weekly accused of plagiarism in column
The publisher of the Kearny Observer, a weekly newspaper for West Hudson and South Bergen with a reported circulation of 33,500, has come under fire for allegedly plagiarizing her column, "A Word With the Publisher."

A check with the popular Internet search engine Google shows that Lisa Tortoreti Pezzolla's columns contain information apparently cut and pasted from other sources, without attribution.

Pezzolla could not be reached for comment yesterday.
-- The Jersey Journal


Do you know what this means? It means that the publisher thought that this shit was worth stealing! Goddamn, I wish I was the one who made this shocking discovery. The paper has punished me for years with shitty writing, shitty reporting and shitty advertisements for shitty stores selling shitty trinkets to shitty residents... it would have been great to return the favor.

So, since the publisher is so hot on stealing other people's work, I'd like to extend an open copyright infringing invitation to steal the editorial below. It's written way better than the shit you're stealing and passing off as your own, and I think it really hits home. So cop this shit like it's a 64 bitrate mp3 of Snow's "Informer," mislabeled as "NEW - EMINEM - SINGLE(FULL VERSION) _-_ DOWNLOAD +++ NOW !!!!!!!!!!..mp3."

The Observer Is A Piece of Shit
by (your name here!)

Hi everyone! I hope you're enjoying this week's issue of the Observer! Our award winning paper gives you the hard hitting stories that hit hard, like last week's shocking expose on the expired milk being sold at Midland Dairy, or the story about the scary colored children roaming Kearny Avenue and intimidating the old folks, what with their loud music and carryings on. I hope you enjoyed this week's cover story about the senior citizen's "Hula Hoop for Cancer" pledge drive. That $17 is going to put to good use! Or maybe it won't, I actually have no idea because I didn't read the story before I printed it, and I'm much too busy searching google for interesting editorials and wacky ebaums pictures to do any research on my own. Did you ever see that picture of the monkey eating poo out of the other monkey's butt? And the caption said something like, "You scratch my back, I'll eat your poo!"? Hilarious!

You may have read an article in a real newspaper about some of my questionable writing tactics, such as a) stealing other people's work and b) not having an ounce of journalistic integrity. I was absolutely shocked to hear such accusations being made about me. You see, I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. Four-score and seven years ago, our father brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal! And also, it is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. You see? I'm a very good journalist with thought-provoking ideas! Sources and above the fold and if it bleeds it leads and such and such.

I attended a conference in Las Vegas a few weeks ago for journalists, and I was surprised at what a sorry, miserable lot they were. I mean, I'm the publisher of an award-winning paper! We took 37th place in the Best Free Newspaper in Hudson County category for three years in a row, and I have the ribbons to prove it! And I'm not a miserable alcoholic, swigging jager from a flask in between verifying sources and playing Russian Roulette with an automatic rifle. Here's my schedule: Every day I wake up around 11, get my nails done and pick up my dry cleaning. I get into the office around 1, have a light lunch and start searching google for my next editorial. I'm done by like 3:30, just in time for Oprah! I have a very important job, and I have my hands in a lot of pies. And speaking of pies, turn to page 12 for a review of the Arlington Diner's exquisite Key Lime pie, now with 50% less rat droppings and 110% more deliciousness.

So, even though someone on my staff ratted me out, I'm not bitter. After all, I live by the following statement that I made up on my own: Everybody's got a special kind of story, everybody finds a way to shine. It don't matter what you got, not a lot, so what? They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours and I'll have mine. And together we'll be fine because it takes Diff'rent Strokes to rule the world, yes it does. It takes Diff'rent Strokes to rule the world. Oooooh.

 
Get outta bed, there'll be no more nappin'!
Golly, it's cuckoo! | Tuesday, 04.19.05
Did you know that there are fabulous advances being made in alarm clock technology? Right now, a wildly successful team of labcoated scientsts is drawing extensive formulas on a whiteboard and plugging numbers into gigantic scientific calculators, just to devise the perfect method of getting your lazy ass out of bed without accidentally killing you. Because, as we all know, there's a fine line between creating a clock that grows mechanical arms during the night that gently nudge you awake and a clock that grows mechanical arms during the night that choke the living shit out of you and then remove your head from your spine. Look, I saw the commercials for I, Robot; I know what robotic arms are capable of... and only Will Smith with his "AW, HELL NAW" attitude can save us.

Get your fat ass out of bed and start solving puzzles.
I don't see what the big deal is. The whole waking up thing, I mean. The gentle voice of Howard Stern telling some dumb broad to get naked has woken me up consistently for the past 10 years, and aside from my objectification of women and lack of respect for the human race, I think the system has worked flawlessly. This, along with a violent urge to urinate has ensured that I've gotten to work on time every day, and quite honestly, makes me a better person than you. Look at you... all comfortable in your bed. Not a care in the world. Aw, you're still tired? Here's a pleasant thought that will help you wake up: 700 newborns are infected with AIDS every time you hit the snooze button. Sleep tight.

Rachel is what I'd call a "heavy sleeper." That means that I could drop something "heavy" onto her face (a safe filled with piano keys, a coffin filled with D batteries) and she'd wake up just enough to tell me that she's already awake, roll over and go back to sleep. Here's a normal conversation between my girlfriend and myself whenever she falls asleep and needs to not be... falled asleep.

John: Rach?
Rachel: Mm.
John: Rachel?
Rachel: Mm.
John: Rach, you've got to wake up. (gentle nudging)
Rachel: Ok.
John: Are you awake?
Rachel: Yes! Jesus christ, I'm awak--
John: Rach?
Rachel: ...

Now, what Rachel needs is this thing, a clock that launches puzzle pieces around the room and won't disarm until you solve the puzzle, put it back on the dock, ask it nicely and give it $10. I think this is a great idea, especially if the clock is smart enough to launch one piece out the window, so you're forced to run outside in your skivvies, solving puzzles and starting your day off right. "Morning Bob! Yeah, just solving my clock's jigsaw puzzle at 5:45 in the morning. Say, you didn't happen to see a purple corner piece fly into the street, did you?" I'd like to be able to add my own projectiles into the clock, like a 300 piece Lego truck minus instructions, or a swarm of angry bees. I'm not sure how you'd disarm the angry bee clock, but I think snoozing will be the last thing on your mind as you fumble through the yellow pages under E for "Emergency Bee Situation."

It's Clocky! Or, as it's more commonly called, "The fucking clock that's wedged itself behind the refrigerator again."
Not the puzzle type? Then Clocky is the psychotic alarm clock for you. It's a goddamn Muppet on wheels that hides itself in unpredictable locations so that you can't hit (or even find) the snooze button. Thanks technology! Yes, I believe the beeping carpet driving around my room and careening into my collection of fine china and Hummel figures should do the trick. Oh Clocky, I can't live if livin' is without you! I really think the Clocky folks should team up with the Roomba folks, and create the ultimate alarm clock/vacuum hybrid that runs on nightmares and pet hair. Throw a waffle iron on that bad boy and you'll have the ultimate robotic wake-assistance device... that cleans stuff, too.

I've come up with some great inventions in my time, but I'm too lazy to fill out the patent papers, so some other pencil neck gets all the credit. Bottled water? Roller blades? The book of Genesis? All me. It's time I throw my hat in the ring and hit you with some science... "wakey wakey eggs and bacey" science.

Master of Unlocking Clock
Jill Valentine is the master of unlocking. Or, at least, that's what the poorly translated dialogue of the PlayStation classic Resident Evil lead me to believe. Because when you're trapped in a mansion filled with bloodthirsty zombies and creepy camera angles, you need someone who has earned their master's degree in "unlocking." That's where my clock comes in. If you're Jill Valentine, this is not the clock for you. Why? Because in true Resident Evil fashion, you cannot disarm the clock until you find precious jewels hidden around your house, place them in the provided clock sockets, turn them counterclockwise 37 times, turn the crank twice, hold L2 + triangle + circle, release L2 and then "Use" the clock. It's like you're living inside the game! Good morning world, I'm solving Resident Evil-esque puzzles to make my clock stop buzzing, and I love it!

Tickey Tockey! The Explosive Clock for Sleepy Jerks
It's like... a clock, that um... explodes if you don't wake up. That's it. It has an MSRP of $79.99, and it comes in seven marvelous colors. Look, I didn't go to MIT, I don't have the expertise or know-how to make this shit work, I'm just the idea man, man.

I Am Very Disappointed in You: The Clock
"Oh my goodness Billy, what have you done? I can't believe... I am very disappointed in you, young man." I don't know about you, but nothing gets me out of bed quicker than vague feelings of guilt. With my "I Am Very Disappointed in You: The Clock," you'll start the day off right... by having a prerecorded voice of your mother telling you what a horrible human being you are. "I don't know what you've gotten yourself into Billy, but I won't tolerate this type on nonsense under my roof!" With subtle, ambiguous threats, you'll be awake in no time, gently sobbing and trying to figure out what the fuck you did between the time your head hit the pillow and now to make your mother so disappointed in you. Did you shit the bed? Did your rowdy friends honk their horns in front of your house at an ungodly hour? Did you wake up with your hand clasped firmly around your wang? Who knows? Who cares!? You're awake, refreshed, and ready to find new ways to disgrace your family before the day is through.

 
My Unforunate Last Name (rejected by McSweeney's)
not bitter because it sucks | Wednesday, 04.06.05
Prologue
I'm not exactly sure why I submitted this piece to mcsweeneys.net a few months ago. Wait, actually, yes I do. I submitted this piece to McSweeney's because the only other stories that I ever read on McSweeney's were written by the funniest goddamn human being on the planet, Michael Ian Black. "Oh wonderful, this site takes submissions," I thought to myself. I continued thinking, "I can write something as well as Michael Ian Black, and maybe one day he'll read it and invite me over for coffee and we'll perform old State sketches and then I'll slip Rohypnol into his drink and remove his skin and turn it into a jacket and open all his mail and then I'll be as cool as Michael Ian Black." A few seconds after I finished writing the piece below and clicked Send, I realized that no other entries on McSweeney's are anything like Michael Ian Black's, and he can get away with it because he's Michael Ian Black. I, on the other, cannot get away with it, and was rejected 35 seconds after sending it. And since I have no shame and no desire to write anything new this week, I'm posting it here. If it's bad enough to get rejected by McSweeney's, then it's good enough to be posted here. Enjoy my sloppy seconds, bitches. That was mean, I'm sorry.

My Unfortunate Last Name
by John Lacki

There are some last names that roll off the proverbial "tongue" like a proverbial "marble" rolling down a grassy hill with nothing but a one-way ticket to Happy Proverbial Marble Town. These privileged last names contain the perfect set of vowels, consonants and foreign Control-Shift-Alt symbols that, when combined, can feed the homeless and charge hearing-aid batteries. All of the individuals attached to these last names are hugely successful and well-groomed. They pay the full balance of their credit card bills every month, they separate their trash into the appropriately colored bins, and, if the scenario ever arose, they'd extinguish your child if he or she was playing in the yard and got too close to the barbecue grill, accidentally tipped it over and lit him or herself on fire.

You're telling me, scary napkin drawing that someone edited in Microsoft Paint and decided to post on the internet.
I don't pay the full balance on my credit card bill every month. I throw all of my garbage into Donkey Kong-esque barrels and roll them down an intricate concoction of steel beams and wooden ladders. I smile and wave at flaming children. Some say my antics are inexcusable. Others say they're unexcusable. I say they're both unright. My antics are directly related to the absence of sexiness and "tongue-rollability" found in my last name. For my name does not roll. It trips. End over end. Into a brick wall. And then explodes.

Lacki. Five letters, two syllables. Rhymes with "wacky." It's not the most horrible name in the world (that honor goes to the reigning champion of unfortunate last names, Mr. Robert Dickstankowitz), but it's awkward in a "my goodness, what an awkward sounding name you have" sort of way. Just try and make that L roll off your tongue. On second thought, don't even bother. I've spent the last 23 years trying to inject some spicy zing, pizzazz and a healthy dose of *WOW* into my abortion of a name, and it's left me a tired, cranky and stinky shell of my former self.

As a young lad scampering about the schoolyard, having a last name that rhymed with "wacky" was quite embarrassing, considering that I was about as unwacky as a child could be. A last name that rhymed with "Hands in his homework on time and runs like a sissy" would have suited me better, but good luck fitting that monstrosity onto a driver's license or clever vanity license plate.

"Hey John Lacki!" my childhood bully would tease, "Do something wacky!" I'd stand there, looking pitiful. "Ha ha ha! What an unfortunate last name you have!" Who was I to argue? "Hey everyone, it's Wacky Lacki! Let's throw things at him, then we'll see how 'wacky' he really is!" To this day, I wish I had appropriate comeback that would have put my bully in his place. One day I'll get you Zachary Flesticle... wherever you are.

Now that I'm older, the Lacki/Wacky teasing has subsided. I'm sure people still draw that parallel, but it's just weird hearing someone in their mid 20's say the word "wacky" unless they're describing a "Wacky Wednesday sale" or brainstorming hilarious clown names. Luckily, as the vocabularies of those around me grew, so did their insistency to inform me of the similarities between my birthgiven namesake and a lackey, which is either a manservant, a flunky, or a "person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage." It didn't take long for a new round of teasing to begin. "Hey John Lacki!" my friends, family and coworkers tease, "Come over here and shine my shoes, fail this test and please me in order to gain a personal advantage!" Since I don't have a doctorate in Multitasking Ridiculous Requests to Amuse Jerks, I politely ask to be excused and cry myself to sleep.

What have I learned from all this? My last name is unfortunate. It rhymes with goofy words, it places me in bondage and it would kill me in my sleep if given the chance. But will I ever take the necessary legal steps to get it changed? Of course not. Maybe one day I'll smash my wife's last name into my own and create something hyphenated and beautiful. Or maybe I'll continue asking my parents to give me a new last name for Christmas every year. But what do I know? I'm just trying to please you in order to gain a personal advantage.

 

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