Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tourist Wisdom

Every place has both smart and stupid people. Apparently, however, many of the dumb ones choose to visit the United Kingdom.

Half a million people make inquiries each year at the information centers of “Visit Britain,” the country’s national tourism agency. And according to this recent article on Yahoo! News, workers there often face absurdly ignorant questions.

Here are some of the actual queries … supplemented by my thoughts as to what the annoyed tourist officials must have been thinking.

“Where can I change my money for English euros?”

Try Baghdad—I hear it’s nice this time of year.

“What time does the midnight train leave?”

Come back at 12:15 sharp, sir.

“When is the changing of the guard at the White House?”

Every four or eight years. Well, except for that Watergate thing.

“Is Edinburgh in Glasgow?”

Is brain in you?

“What is the entry fee for Brighton?”

To get into that city, just pay me right here. Right now. That’ll be 100 pounds, sir.

“Do you have any information on Samantha Fox?”

No, I’m sorry—that’s at the “British Stalkers’ Assistance” office.

“Can you tell me who performs at the circus in Piccadilly?”

Stupid clowns. Like you.

“Can you tell me where the mountain is in Scotland?”

1. Go north.
2. Look up.
3. Hike.
4. Stay there.

“Are there any curves in the roads here, or are they all straight?”

Straight, mostly straight.

Except for Soho, of course.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Q & A with D.A.

As you can imagine, a man of David Amulet’s stature and worldliness is often asked for advice.

My sparkling wisdom, it seems, just naturally attracts the curious and needy, people who seek answers to their most confounding personal and professional dilemmas. Thankfully, I have all the answers.

And this week, I’ll share some of them with you—specifically, those from the world of etiquette:

If I hold a door for a lady, am I implying that she cannot open it for herself?


But you may be implying that if she gets the door herself, her ass is so big that she won’t be able to get it through before the door swings shut.

My coworker has bad breath. What’s a subtle way to let him know?

Next time you see him, apologize for having eaten lunch without then brushing your teeth or using a breath mint. He should get the hint, especially if you mention how bad you feel about having bad breath while working so close to someone.

If that doesn’t work, there’s always duct tape.

Sometimes public urinals flush automatically, eliminating the need to touch anything. If I can figure out a way to get my schlong out of my pants and back in without touching it directly, do I still need to wash my hands?

A three-part response:

(1) No, because you would only get your hands dirtier than before by touching the sink and towel dispenser;

(2) Yes, because your probably haven’t washed your hands recently anyway;

(3) Get out much?

Is it proper to kiss on the first date?

That depends on what you’re kissing.

On second thought, no it doesn’t—the answer is YES.

At a formal table setting, which utensils do I use when?

Fork off.

My girlfriend always asks me if her jeans make her look fat, or if she’s put on a few pounds, or if I think she’s getting chunky. She actually does seem a bit fatter … but I know better than to tell her directly. What should I do?

Keep your mouth shut.

And hold the door open for her more often.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nice Helmet: Redux!

While my brain is otherwise occupied this week, I offer you a slightly reworked post from long, long ago.

(Well, it's only about a year and a half old, but it's from those early days of this blog, before I had the honor of hosting comments from all of you—OK, maybe except for you, Phoenix and Curare.)

The original post contained some of my thoughts as the NFL began its 2005 season. Here it is with only minor updates. Enjoy.

I spent much of this weekend doing my duty as a decadent, lazy American. I sat on my ass for most of 10 hours watching football.

(For our foreign readers, that’s the game with the oblong, brown ball. Fútbol americano. Not that silly kicking game you all obsess over.)

But instead of commenting on the Colts' surprising run defense or the Cowboys' humiliating meltdown, I will cover a more heady issue.


It all started as when I was a kid, growing up in the 1970s with NFL sheets. And NFL drapes. Don't forget the NFL pajamas.

And all of them had team helmets.

Yes, that's right. My misspent youth was wasted neither on video games nor pre-criminal mischief (except for that one egging incident—sorry Tau Kappa Epsilon), but on contemplating NFL headgear.

Sure, there are some bad helmets in today’s game. But most teams have changed their logos over the years and settled on one that at least is not embarrassing. The Jaguar, the Panther, and the Raven are each a bit silly, but not humiliating to wear.

In general, today’s helmets are simply more aggressive versions of their old ones. The powers that be have made the pose of the Bronco more menacing, the Eagle’s wing better defined, and the profile of the Cardinal just downright mean.

Now everyone feels that they are at least in the same league.

Not the case back in the day. From the late 1970s into the early 1980s, three distinct categories emerged in my little boy brain: the classy helmet, the cool helmet, and the stupid helmet.

There was Elegant Simplicity. Examples: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers. Nothing fancy here—a letter said it all. Classy.

There was Simply Awesome. Example: San Diego Chargers. A single lightning bolt—a symbol said it all. Cool.

Then there was the Horribly Heinous. The inconceiveable. The downright stupid.

Take the Patriots.

Unlike today, they were an embarrassment. Their play bested only one thing: their headgear. To make things worse, they represented a whole REGION—not just a city or a state. It's New England, folks, so at least five states were “represented” by a comically bad helmet.

Maybe it was my childish point of view, but their logo in the 1970s—a hunched patriot—looked like nothing more than a waiter at Long John Silver taking a dump, smirking, and grabbing his turd.

Exhibit B: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Ahh, the team that could not buy a win well into the 1980s. If you ever wondered why they were not-so affectionately called the “Suck-aneers,” examine this helmet—an enormously gay pirate, biting a saber and coyly winking.

Maybe they were going for “Grrrrrrr,” but what they got was “Toodle-oo!! Has anyone seen the trolley??”

Not that there is anything wrong with that. Unless you actually want to win football games.

In which case, gentlemen, just say no to the homoerotic headgear.