Tag Archives: Winners


15 Mar

A fear of confined spaces is called claustrophobia.

A fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia.

A fear of ketchup is called—

– Wait, what?  Ketchup?   You mean the condiment, ketchup?  The red one?

Yeah, that’s right. I don’t like to admit it, but here goes:  I have a highly irrational fear of ketchup.  Even the green one too.

What the hell were they thinking?

Anyway, I fucking hate ketchup.  I can’t eat it.  I can’t stand it.  I can’t be around it.

Having a fear of ketchup is apparently so rare that there is no accepted term for it on the internet.  Answers.com tells me that the proper term is “mortuusequusphobia.”  What the fuck?  If you break it down, mortuusequusphobia sounds like a fear of an undead, naked Daniel Radcliffe making love to horses.  To me, that is 100% fucking rational.

“I will love you until the end of time. But then I will eat your brains. But remember, I will always love you.”

All Harry Potter apocalypse scenarios aside, ketchup sucks.  I’ve hated it ever since I can remember.  If ketchup comes on any restaurant meal I order, I send it back for a new one.  If there’s any trace of ketchup on my plate, I ask for a new one.  If there’s a bottle of catsup (haha catsup) on the table, I have to push it over to the other side, but I can’t touch it with my hands, only with my sleeves.  If somehow ketchup manages to find its way onto me, I have to wash my hands like Lady Macbeth until that damned spot comes out.  I’m so neurotic about ketchup, I make Woody Allen in… well… uh… anything look like Vin Diesel in… well… uh… anything.

Sound obsessive?  You bet.   Publicly embarrassing?  It has been, of course.  In high school, some “friends” (definitely no longer my friends) who knew of my fear decided to wave some Heinz Devil SemenTM in my face at an Applebee’s.  Can you guess which of the following happened?

a)      I jumped backwards out of the booth onto my ass on the floor

b)      I flailed and knocked the bottle out of my friend’s (definitely no longer my friend’s) hand, breaking it on the table

c)       A large crowd of people, including young children, old farts, and a group of nuns getting drunk at the bar, gathered around and laughed at me

d)      Painfully, all of the above

If you picked choice d, correct!  Which would also mean that I lost.  Some ketchup splattered on me and my clothes.  You know the drill.  It’s safe to say that I spent the next few hours uncomfortably wet and wishing I had gone to Friday’s.  Which has plastic ketchup bottles.  And better appetizers but worse entrees.  Really depends what kind of mood you’re in.

57 varieties, huh? I hate all of them. How about 57 varieties of FUCK YOU!?

It’s funny that I hate ketchup, because to be quite honest, I love tomatoes.  So if I tried it, you might expect me to like it, right?  Rewind to 2 years back.  I was coming home from a concert with a certain rumbler (whose name rhymes with “snakes”) when we stopped at a Burger King.  He was eating some ketchup on his fries, when out of nowhere, I wanted some.  As cocksure as Joakim Noah at a World’s Ugliest Man contest, I dug in and ate one fry, with one miniscule amount of ketchup.

And the verdict?

Well, the world didn’t end.  But I still didn’t like it.  It was gross.  I yelled at Snakes for making me try it, even though he totally didn’t.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that I won’t try it again any time soon.

So to conclude, you how everyone really likes the phrase “I love you like a fat kid loves cake?”  Well I’m starting a movement for “I fucking hate you like Steve fucking hates ketchup.”  I hope you guys can support me on this one.

– Steve


It Started Innocently Enough

9 Mar

It started innocently enough.

It was my 4th birthday. My Aunt Lucy gave me a Winnie the Pooh coloring book and an 18-pack of Mr. Sketch scented markers.

At the time, the latter was the greatest gift I had ever received. Sure, you could draw with Mr. Sketch markers—on the walls, on your face, even on construction paper—just like regular markers. But they were so much more than regular markers.

Because they smelled.

They smelled like apples and blueberries; like licorice and cinnamon; like mint and banana split; like oranges, peaches, watermelons, cherries, raspberries, lemons, mangos, grapes, and tropical punch; like cotton candy and bubble gum;  and, yes, there was even one that smelled like blueberry slushy (which is, of course, an entirely different scent from plain old blueberry).

I instantly fell in love with the magical aromas of Mr. Sketch. I quickly gave up my other hobbies of building with wooden blocks and cutting my sister’s hair, so as to make more time in my day for the markers—just them and me, alone in the corner, sniffing away.

Sometimes, if I was lucky, I would come across a pack of Skittles. And do you know what I would do? That’s right. I would eat a cherry-flavored Skittle, while simultaneously sniffing the cherry-scented marker—and, boy oh boy, it was just like eating an actual cherry!!

Reflecting upon this utopia, I can say without a doubt in my mind, that age 4 was the greatest year of my life.

That is… until, one afternoon, my mom wanted to see what kind of progress I’d made with the coloring book.

Now, naturally, after the first day or two, I hadn’t spent that much time actually filling in the black-and-white contours of Tigger or Piglet. I had no time for that coloring business, let alone Eeyore’s negative energy; it was such a wasteful use of the markers’ precious ink. No, I had no use for that. I just sniffed.

But when my mother discovered this, and when she looked at me and noticed my rainbow-colored nose, she grew worried. And then she did the unthinkable.

She took away my markers. All 18 of them.

I was devastated. I cried myself to sleep that night, and the night after that.

I went into withdrawal.

Not knowing what to do, I started searching for a replacement. Crayola was of no use, neither in the crayon department nor with colored pencils. Watercolors were a joke. Scratch-n-sniff stickers held me over for a bit, but they really couldn’t compare to Mr. Sketch.

It wasn’t long before I grew curious…

What did other markers smell like??

Within weeks, I had tried them all: dry erase and permanent; highlighting and metallic; water-based and solvent-based; wedge tip and ultra-fine; retractable and otherwise. If it secreted its own ink through porous fibers, my nose needed to get acquainted with it.

Of course, nothing came close to matching the fruit-fragrance splendor of Mr. Sketch. But, to my surprise, I discovered that some of them—yes, some of them—were even better.

It sounded blasphemous, I knew. I felt unfaithful to Mr. Sketch. And yet, there was something about these other markers that was strangely more thrilling than the smell of artificial food. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but also I couldn’t resist.

Before long, I started to develop a deep and passionate love affair with another brand:

Sharpie showed me the world in a whole new light. I felt invincible—like I could kick a kickball 20 million feet or go surfing on a stegosaurus or eat an entire box of Legos. I became the world’s greatest wizard, capable of summoning Bugs Bunny to appear in my sock drawer or making the toaster oven float and dance with the spatulas, bouncing amid neon swirls to the theme from Chiddy Chiddy Bang Bang.

I was in love like never before.

And so, for my 5th birthday, I asked for just one thing: a jumbo pack of extra-thick Sharpie markers.

“Oh sweetie,” my mother said. “Sharpies aren’t for little boys.”

And the next day, with her suspicions raised, my mother confiscated every last marker in the house.

I had been foiled again. I didn’t know what to do. This time, the withdrawal was worse than before. Frantically, I started sniffing everything I could get my hands on, desperate to find something—anything—that could take the place of Sharpie and Mr. Sketch. I sniffed couch cushions and VHS tapes, Hotwheels and used sponges, kitty litter and car tires. Nothing was good enough.

One day, my school teacher called home to tell my parents that I had been “rubbing my nostrils on the carpet” and “sniffing the contents of children’s backpacks” and that I had been “caught with a piece of chalk up my nose during recess.” My parents informed my teacher of what had been going on around the house, and, sure enough, Mrs. Sulick decided it best if she hid all of her markers, too.

It seemed as if all hope was lost.

But then, just before I turned 6, I found a temporary solution in household cleaners—namely Mr. Clean, 409, and Windex. I had a good run on those for three months… and then my father found me in the bathroom, passed out on the floor with a bottle of Spray ‘N Wash.

I was sinking to new lows. But I couldn’t stop. In kindergarten, a friend introduced me to Elmers. In 1st grade, I grew tired of Elmers and moved on white out. And from there, I made the logical jump up to super glue and rubber cement.

Super glue was a good go-to for a couple years, and I had learned how to be careful around my parents and teachers. But then, when I was at a Brett Mackey’s house, I accidentally got the bottle too close to my nose, and the tip got stuck inside my right nostril, and my parents had to come and take me to the hospital to have the bottle surgically removed.

They were not pleased.

And, honestly, neither was I.

When I got home from the ER that night, I told myself that was the end of it. The last straw.

I meant it. I wanted out. I was done.

“Never again,” I said. “Never again.”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I have been successful in keeping this promise to myself for 42 years. And it’s been a good 42 years at that.

But now—yes, at this very moment—I fear my resolve will once again be put to the test.

You see, as I’m sitting here at my desk, taking my lunch break as the recently hired inventory assistant for OfficeMax, I can’t help but notice the orange warning labels on this new shipment of keyboard gas dusters.

– FakeCakes

The Other Guys

1 Mar

The Animaniacs can tell you in three minutes everything you need to know about the Presidents. But (with immense respect to Wakko, Yakko, and Dot) they’ve skipped the story’s compelling half.

The winners’ tale is old hat. I’m here to spin the yarn of the losers.

You’ve heard of Aaron Burr (1800), who won a duel but lost an election. You know Bob Dole (1996) and John McCain (2008). You might’ve even seen a headline that made Thomas Dewey (1944, 1948) actually think he was a winner. He wasn’t.

Ever heard of a Copy Editor?

Two losers, Al Gore (2000) and Samuel Tilden (1876), even won the popular vote. But if Sweet Valley High taught me anything, you have to be popular where it counts to be a real winner.

I’d write the book on the losers if I could, but Stephanie Meyer beat me to it. So I’ll instead present my three favorite failures.

1940 – Wendell Willkie

Wendell L. Willkie is more than just a starter on history’s all-name team. He’s also the contender who came closest to upsetting the undefeated, undisputed four-time heavyweight champion of the free world – Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Sure Willkie lost the popular vote in 1940 by an even 10%. But we’re talking about FDR here. Even from a wheelchair, that guy makes Secretariat look like the dead horse from The Godfather.

This prophetic banner was my best ever eBay purchase.

For the twelve years Franklin Roosevelt held office, the Republicans assumed the role of the Washington Generals. They sat idly by as the Harlem GlobeDemocrats drew up “The New Deal” and “D-Day,” flashy trick plays with which they saved humanity.

Wendell Willkie’s campaign was something like the one time in the Roosevelt Era that the GOP even bothered to show up to the polls. And yeah, if you look at the returns, it was an undeniable catastrophe. But, like this missed dunk and that haircut, it was a glorious catastrophe.

Before he had a chance to lose again, Willkie died on October 8, 1944. As if to account for the misery he would miss, fate dealt him an estimated twenty heart attacks in that final weekend. Wow.

1896, 1900, 1908 – William Jennings Bryan

All apologies to the peacock and its family of poor-performing networks, but William Jennings Bryan is the biggest loser there was or will ever be.

Bryan lost elections like Bo Peep lost sheep. When it comes to failure, he’s number one with a ballot. He’s banned in California for fear he’d trigger landslides. He puts the suffer in suffrage. He’s bold. He’s bald. And he’s just plain bad. He is William Jennings Bryan.

Later in life, the thrice-failed Democratic candidate was biblical creationism’s “champion” in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. There is no stronger evidence in favor of evolution than that William Jennings Bryan opposed it.

This man is descended from an ape.

Literally five days after the Scopes Trial wrapped, Bryan punched a one-way ticket to meet his maker. Among the scores of cards and flowers at his gravesite was a handwritten note reading simply:

Try calling Buddhism an inferior religion now, bitch.
Deepest condolences,

1928 – Al Smith

FDR referred to Al Smith as “The Happy Warrior of the Political Battlefield.” How boss is that nickname? He lived up to it too.

Al Smith represents a remarkable beacon of positive change in American politics. He was pro-labor and a genuine reformer who believed in civil liberties and sought the repeal of Prohibition. He was one of the first to reach out and listen to women voters, and he sympathized with immigrants and the working class. In other words, Al Smith got it.

Sadly his Catholicism rendered him unelectable. That generation’s bigots feared he’d defer to the Pope over the Constitution. And so Americans exercised their great gift for paranoia and elected Herbert Hoover instead. CRASH!

Al Smith and Babe Ruth participate in the Johns-Manville Asbestos Pro-Am

Despite his defeat, Smith’s candidacy made Democrats of demographics that weren’t previously. Catholics, women, immigrants, minorities, city folk, and the working class went to the polls in droves behind Al Smith. And so began the modern Democratic Party.

A heart attack claimed the Happy Warrior in October 1944, just four days before Wendell Willkie passed. It was a rough week for the also-rans.

I sing the body electoral.

In the spirit of the Animaniacs, here’s a short audiovisual guide to the men who nearly, but never were elected President. Take a look. Would you have voted for any of these losers?


Life Lessons

22 Feb

After being in existence for just over 23 years, I, Cakes, have learned quite a bit about the world.

I have learned how to drive a car and how to ride a bike.

I have learned how to swim and how to brush my teeth.

I have learned how to read, write, and solve third-order differential equations.

But that is not all.

I have learned how to play (in order of skill level) soccer, basketball, baseball, kickball, football, volleyball, and pong.

I have learned how to snowboard and have decided, after many failed attempts, that I should stop trying to railslide on fallen tree branches.

I have learned that there is no “I” in “team” and no “mitten” in “badminton.”

I have learned very little about figure skating but am quite pleased to know that there is one aerial maneuver called a “triple sow-cow,” and at this very moment I am visualizing a figure-skating cow.

But that is not all.

I have learned how to make very good mojitos.

I have learned that there is, sadly, such a thing as “too much bacon.”

I have been taught the proper technique for eating artichoke leaves and have since boycotted the food.

I have learned, after consuming a rather watery steak, that there is an important difference between “boiling” and “broiling.”

I have learned, after spending an afternoon in the principal’s office, that there is an important difference between “condos” and “condoms.”

I have learned how to freestyle rap–which is to say that I’ve memorized 11 words that rhyme with “radiator,” 7 words that rhyme with “Doritos,” 23 phrases that loosely rhyme with “Triscuits,” 5 words that rhyme with “Vaseline,” and at least one word that rhymes with “antelope.”

But that is not all.

I have learned that Chubby Hubby is my favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

I have learned far more than I ever wanted to know about menstruation.

I have recently learned how to apply shaving cream with a brush made from badger hair and have concluded that this is vastly superior to applying shaving cream without a brush made from badger hair.

Moreover, I have learned that shaving against the grain can lead to ingrown hairs and razor burn, that shaving after (not before) a shower is best, and that shaving one’s torso is really not a good idea, especially if one plans on seeing his grandparents at the beach in the very near future. (Also, having a hairless abdominal region really only works if one has visible abdominals; otherwise it just looks like a massive boob with a bellybutton for a nipple).

In short, I have learned a great deal about shaving. But that is not all.

I have learned, after dressing up twice as a spherical cow and once as a gorilla in a magenta bikini, that the mascot business is surprisingly lucrative.

I have learned, from acquiring Joan Osborne’s debut album as a First Communion present, all the lyrics to “[What If God Was] One of Us.” I have since forgotten half these lyrics and, in their place, have memorized the background vocals in Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard In Da Paint.”

I have learned the word “vindicated” from Dashboard Confessional, the word “despondent” from Bright Eyes, and all the words pertaining to pre-1900s history from Colin Meloy.

I have learned the meaning of “irony”–both as it applies to literature and as it applies to the facial hair of twenty-somethings in Brooklyn.

I have learned three different words to describe the region between one’s balls and one’s asshole.

I have learned how to play Candyland.

(But that is not all.)

I have learned that there is an annual event called “Flavors of the Valley” hosted in Lebanon, NH, and that if you happen to attend this event on April 20th in a state of extreme hunger, you should be aware that it’s really more of a “taste-testing” affair than it is an all-you-can-eat buffet, and that if you happen to push elderly women and small children out of your way in an effort to stuff your face with locally made maple sausage, you may be asked, by a gentlemen in a rather stern voice, to please leave the auditorium.

I have learned how to pirate copyrighted materials.

I have learned how to describe the sonic qualities of the indie subgenres “chill-wave,” “shoegaze,” and “dream pop,” and have also discovered that there’s never really an appropriate time to bring this up in conversation.

I have learned how to tweet.

I have learned that it is of utmost importance to inquire about the price of a haircut before one actually receives said haircut.

I have learned the names of 50 states, 143 counties, 86 cities, and 92 world leaders–though I will admit I am still learning how to estimate large numerical values.

J’ai appris comment parler français…. un peu.

I have learned the difference between DNA and RNA (also GZA and RZA).

I have learned how to administer CPR and take a pulse.

I have learned three different ways to tie my ties, two different ways to tie my shoes, and at least one way to contort my genitals so that it looks like a hamburger between two buns (plain, not sesame seed).

I have learned that body lotions with aloe vera are not ideal when selecting a personal lubricant.

I have yet to learn what is meant by the phrase “too much information.”

But that is not all.

I have learned that–assuming you’ve satisfied the first two needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs–all you need is love  …but that defining and finding such a thing can be a dreadfully tricky business.

I have learned that laughter is not the best medicine if you have whooping cough. (But, in general, it is a good idea.)

I have learned that I am good at some things, better at others, and pathologically impaired when it comes to time management.

I have learned that I am flawed
…but that this is ok.

I have learned how to learn.

And, ultimately, I have learned that the entire sum of everything I have learned and could ever hope to learn is but a mere speck of lint when compared to the infinite fabric of knowledge available in the world.

So I have learned that, whilst in the process of living life, learning is an important thing to do.

But, fortunately, that is not all.


The (Real) Oscars

17 Feb

I have never watched/cared about the Oscars.  My personal favorite actors are Jon Lovitz, Danny Trejo, and Dwayne Schintzius in Eddie.  Until these guys get their due consideration, I’m out.

Whoopi + Dwayne = Snubbed

I am, however, a fan of Oscar. As in, the name Oscar.  What a cool name.  I’ve only met one Oscar before.  He was tall, dark, and handsome.  He sparred underwater for fitness and wrote poetry for leisure.  He was filthy rich and well-known in Rio de Janeiro.  Even when this man went to places where the women didn’t know who he was (he said he found this “refreshing”), he had one distinct advantage.  He got to say, “Hi, my name is Oscar, what’s yours?” and enjoy the consequent and inevitable pantydropping sparked by the sound of his own, awesome name.

Enjoy this list of the bossest Oscars of all-time.


“Honorable” Mention:  The Oscar Statue- Trophy

Gaudy.  Rudely tight-lipped.  Terrible at eye contact.  But he gets honorable mention because he’s seen the inside of Charlize Theron’s house.  Snaps.

Take care of Jon Lovitz, then we talk.

11.  THREE WAY TIE:  Oscar Scaggs, Oscar Akroyd, Oscar Jackman

The sons of a blue-eyed disco-soul singer, a Blues Brother, and a Wolverine, respectively.  Boys, nobody can get mad at you for being born with a silver name, just don’t choke on it.

10.  Oscar Wilde- Irish Writer

Fingal O’Flahertie Wills is a great name, too.  But he reached for the stars and pulled down the best pen name ever.  Then he said cool shit like this:

“I have nothing to declare except my genius.”

‘Nuff said.

9.  Oskar Schindler- Hero

A good man who saved a lot of Jews.  Also the only Oskar to inspire an Oscar-worthy movie.  Count it.

8.  Oscar Hammerstein I- Opera Impresario, Cigar Industry Innovator

OH-I ≥ KRS-1

Popularized both opera and cigars in America.  I’ve only slept through one opera show in my life, but the cigar I smoked afterwards was fantastic.  Thanks, OH-I.

7.  Oscar de la Hoya- Professional Boxer

Gold medals.  Fighter of the Year Awards.  Recognition as top-rated pound-for-pound fighter in the world.  A 39-6 record (30 K.O).

But the most impressive thing is that Oscar de la Hoya wrote an award-winning children’s book.

Imagine Mike Tyson writing a book for children. Actually, please don’t.

6.  Rey Mysterio, Jr.- WWF Wrestler

You may not know that Rey Mysterio once stared a 7’4” tall beast named The Big Khali in the face navel like he was chopped liver.  You may not know that Rey Mysterio proceeded to kick this man in the heart, so that he never loved again.

You may not know that Rey Mysterio’s birth name is:  Oscar.

5.  Oscar Robertson– NBA Player

DID YOU KNOW, the Big O actually averaged a quadruple double for an entire season?  On a nightly basis, at least 25.7 women would ask their husbands/dates this question:  “What’s the name of that really good guy on the blue team and can you go buy me some cracker jack?”  At least 25.7 panties would drop, right there in the arena, at the answer:  “Oscar.  And no.”

Oscar’s 61-62 Season Stats: 30.8 ppg, 11.4 apg, 12.5 rpg, 25.7 pdpg

4.  Oscar Peterson- Jazz Extraordinaire

A member of Jazz royalty, O.P. was dubbed the “Maharaja of Jazz” by Duke Ellington.  I googled “maharaja”.  It means “high king.”  In Sanskrit.

“Hello, I am Oscar, High King of Jazz. Who the fuck are you?"

3.  Oscar de La Renta
Fashion Mogul
2.  Oscar the Grouch– Misanthropic Muppet

See below:  One Oscar designed it.  The other Oscar got with it.  Just Oscars looking out for Oscars.

I love how the only man who can make Mr. Grouch smile is himself an Oscar.

Too much Oscar for one can!

Oscar Mayer- Meat Master/Wingman

Do you know how I got my first real kiss?  Age 14.  Jersey Shore night club called “The Fetch.”  Dive bombed a girl’s face with my tongue while Benny Bennassi’s “Satisfaction” blared.  NBD.

But do you know how I got my first kiss on the cheek?  Third grade.  Recess.  Playground.  Big kid swings.  I taught a girl this lil ditty:

My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R
My bologna has second name, it’s M-A-Y-E-R
I love to eat it every day
And if you ask me why I’ll say
‘Cause Oscar Mayer has a way
with B-O-L-O-G-N-A.

Kimberly, I still haven’t washed my right cheek.  Oscar Mayer, I still thank you every day.  EVERY DAY.

I just can’t figure why the jingle stopped working once I began college.


Congrats, Oscars!

<3, Pete the Peasant