Friday, September 19, 2014

Heroes for hire

It was announced this week that the Florida Department of Citrus has hired Marvel Comics (the home of Spider-Man, Iron man, Captain America, the X-Men and the Hulk, among others) to reboot their mascot Captain Citrus from an anthropomorphic orange to a traditional, costumed super-hero character. This is what happens next:
The new Captain Citrus will be fit and promote healthy choices, starring alongside the Avengers in a custom Marvel Comic. The comic will reveal Captain Citrus’ background (he is born and raised as John Polk, the son of citrus growers) and his challenge (to fight an evil enemy called the Leader alongside other superheroes, including Captain America).
Bill Rosemann, the creative director of Marvel Comics, said Captain Citrus is given a choice by the Leader: “Join me and we can take over the world,” said Rosemann. “Should he betray his family and the Avengers?” -- Tamara Lush, Associated Press for "Florida Today"

This is going to cost the Department of Citrus $1 million. My guess is that Captain Citrus has orange juice-based superpowers, like the ability to squirt it really hard and really accurately. Maybe he can make grapefruits really big. I don't know. My imagination is limited when it comes to the powers a citrus-based superhero might have at his disposal. The creative types at Marvel will figure that out. However, I believe I can visualize pretty accurately how a certain part of this whole process will work...

STAN LEE (Marvel publisher): Say, kid. How's that new villain coming along? What are you calling him?
YOUNG ARTIST WITH BIG DREAMS: Oh! Yes sir! "The Leader". It's coming along quite well, actually. I can see him really being a major part of the Marvel Universe. I'd go so far as to say I think he could be the next Dr, Doom! You know, I've actually been writing and drawing this character since I was in high school and I just want to say what an honor it is...
SL: Why, that's just swell, kid. Listen, take what you've got so far and hand it all over to Jimmy or Dave or whatever that guy over there's name is. He's working on this one-off orange juice thing.
YAWBD: W-what? I kind of thought he would be an ideal new nemesis for Wolverine...
SL: Nah. Change of plans. We need to serve up somebody that OJ Man or whatever we're calling him can defeat without a lot of back and forth, you know? We're getting paid a million dollars!
YAWBD: Couldn't Captain Citrus fight the Red Skull or Dr, Octopus?
SL: What are you, nuts? Do you really think I would let any of Marvel's established, canonical villains suffer defeat at the hands of a man whose greatest achievement is inspiring the flavor of baby aspirin?
YAWBD: Well, that is the special book featuring The Avengers though, right?
SL: Huh? Oh yeah. The Avengers are in it too. But it's mostly Super Orange Julius's show though. He's gotta defeat and humiliate your guy in order to teach the kids that orange juice builds strong teeth or whatever.
YAWBD: I suppose this kind of limits the chances of The Leader showing up in a movie, huh?
SL: I picture your guy meeting his end by drowning in an inch-deep puddle of Minute Maid.
YAWBD: Motherf...
SL: Excelsior!



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No butts about it

Gone, not forgotten.
By me anyway
Tuesday morning, I fired off this impromptu Twitter monologue...

  • I feel like history is not going to be kind when it gets a look at some of the t-shirts people are wearing these days.
  • "Wow, you guys sure did like wings and skulls and flames a lot, huh?"
  •  "Also, why did you guys think it was a good idea to print 'JUICY' on your butts?"
  •  In exactly what social situation is it a good idea to give people something to read via your butt? "Man, this bus ride is boring. Oh wait!"  
  • I know it's the name of the company that makes the pants but your butt is not a billboard or a Kindle.
  • If you wear the "JUICY" pants, I guess you're probably glad they didn't put it in Braille.
  • I think if I wanted something printed on the butt of my pants, it would be "THIS SIDE DOWN". In case there was an accident. 
  • I guess what I'm saying is some of your clothes are stupid. (Whistles cheery tune while putting on polo shirt with corporate logo on it)

That's right; what started out criticizing those stupid t-shirts with the dumb tattoo designs on them somehow transitioned over to sweatpants with "JUICY" printed on the butt, which apparently hasn't been a thing since 2001 but I still think is topical because that's how in touch I am with what women wear as clothing.
Which is probably at least part of the reason why I can't find a woman who looks like this
But I know that pants with words on the butt still exist because I know I've seen such things more recently than 2001. For instance, there are shorts with "CHEER" or "BULLDOGS" or "GO COLLEGE" or whatever on them that are worn by cheerleaders. I find that either confusing or ironic because cheerleaders have been forever fighting a battle to be taken seriously and not seen as mindless sex bimbos. Look, I'm sympathetic. I think "slut shaming" is reprehensible and I will defend a woman's right to wear whatever she wants without it being seen as an invitation to crude, unwanted sexual advances... right up until you're upset about somebody staring at your ass while your wearing a garment that demands that people stare at your ass.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Good seats still available!

Hey, please pardon this really blatant plugola, but I'm involved in a sales contest at work and this is my platform to broadcast to the universe. Sometimes, like now, I'm going to use it to further my own self interests. That's what this is.

THE PITCH: If I, as part of a team, can sell a certain amount of Tampa Bay Lightning season tickets before opening night (October 9), I get to go on a cruise! That doesn't mean you can't benefit, though.

THIS IS NOT A JOKE!

If you care about sending me on a cruise (unlikely, I realize) or if you just want to have season tickets for a team that, honestly, should be pretty damn good this year (a far more realistic possibility), I can totally hook you up. Check it out:

  • Tickets start as low as $792
  • Payments can be spread over four months
  • You get a jersey! (which would cost you well over $100 if you just wanted to buy one)
  • The jersey has a chip in it that saves you 25% on food at the concession stands and 35% on merchandise at the team stores
  • Top secret perks
That last one sounds kind of mysterious, doesn't it? It should, because I can make certain "fan experiences" available to you that some poor jamoke who calls up on the phone isn't going to get. What kind of "fan experiences" are we talking about? Let's just say you might be able to scratch "ride a Zamboni" off your bucket list. I shouldn't say more than that, like mentioning that you could fire off our famed Tesla coils at a game. And as far as being able to introduce you to Lightning players, well no, I definitely shouldn't let that out.

But to sum up,
You could be wearing this...

While getting discounts here...

Riding around the arena on this...

Making THIS happen...

And then watching these guys (that you will have met in person) wreak havoc across the NHL.

And maybe, just maybe, I end up here...

Again, THIS IS NOT A JOKE! 
If you're interested, or at least intrigued, let me know at cbrooks@amaliearena.com or (813) 301-6583.


Monday, September 15, 2014

You can go your own way

There's something of an epidemic around here lately with people driving in the wrong direction. For example, this is a car I was behind not too long ago in downtown Tampa:
Yes, the car's left turn signal is blinking. Yes, the sign next to the stop light is telling drivers not to turn left. No big deal, right? Apparently not, based on something that happened last Friday night.
Here's what it looked like (thanks to my superior MS Paint skills):
I was coming out of a parking garage, attempting to turn right on to northbound Florida Avenue. As I was sitting there, see a car come out of another garage exit, driven by one of the valets at the nearby Marriott Waterside Hotel (I could clearly see his uniform). He drives south on Florida in the northbound lanes, with a car coming at him, before sliding over to the southbound lanes, making his way to the Marriott (the orange square on my sweet map). He was a valet so that means he was driving someone else's car and he chose to drive in the wrong lanes instead of waiting to execute a safe left turn or turn right and drive around the block.
This struck me as bad judgment on behalf of this valet and I thought I would bring it to someone's attention.

SOME PERSON ANSWERING WHAT I THOUGHT WAS THE MARRIOTT WATERSIDE'S PHONE: "...Hello?"
ME: "I'm sorry, is this the Marriott Waterside?"
PERSON NOW IDENTIFIED AS DESK CLERK AT THE MARRIOTT: "Yes, how can I help you?"
ME: "Oh. Hi, I thought you should know that I just witnessed one of your valet parking guys driving a customer's car in the wrong direction on Florida Avenue."
DESK CLERK AT THE MARRIOTT: "Okay. So do you want to complain or...?"
ME: "Yeah, I guess so."
DESK CLERK AT THE MARRIOTT: "Okay, hang on."
(hold)
VALET PARKING GUY: "Valet parking. Can I help you?"
ME:  "Hi. I was just telling the desk clerk that I just witnessed one of your valet parking guys driving a customer's car in the wrong direction on Florida Avenue."
VALET PARKING GUY: "Do you want to talk to the manager."
ME: "Well, I think somebody should know about it so sure."
VALET PARKING GUY: "Hold on."
(hold)
VALET PARKING MANAGER: "Can I help you?"
ME: "Hi. I just witnessed one of your valet parking guys driving a customer's car in the wrong direction on Florida Avenue."
VALET PARKING MANAGER: "I'll take care of it. Thanks."
(click)

There you go. Something to think about if you drive in downtown Tampa. And something to really think about if you're going to let the valets at the Marriott Waterside park your car.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Are you in or are you out?

The other day, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work. I was part of a small crowd of people trying to go in and there was an older man with an armful of groceries trying to get out the same door. He was clearly frustrated, trying to fight the incoming traffic and I heard him mutter, "this door needs a damn traffic light".
I thought, "Yeah, or you could, you know, try to get out through the exit door, you asshole. Why are you getting mad? Everybody else is just minding their own business and all they want is to come inside and shop, but you're the one getting mad. Meanwhile, right over there is a door set up just for you, the shopper who who has completed his shopping and is ready to go home. Look at that. 50 years ago, or whenever they built this store, without knowing you would ever exist, they anticipated this exact scenario and actually built a whole separate door. They even labeled them with the words 'ENTRANCE' and 'EXIT'. That's right, somebody took a look at the blueprints and said
'Okay, we've got a floor, ceiling, four load-bearing walls, a loading dock and a door so people can come and go... you know what, go ahead and add another door.'
'Why?'
'Just trust me. I have a feeling about this.'
Seriously, how could a merchant possibly be more proactive in terms of resolving a customer service issue than that? Yet, somehow, against all odds, you've managed to find a way to be dissatisfied and now you're angry. You know what, screw you, you grumpy old bastard."
And as I'm kind of lost in the internal reverie, I glance over to where the 'EXIT' door is and I see people streaming in from the outside.
So never mind.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Funusual Shopping Experience!

Cassie McClellan is one of my colleagues (actually one of my bosses) at Raw Charge.com. Yesterday, she posted something on Facebook that reminded me that, oh yeah, I have an online store. And I will go so far as to say that some might find what's available for sale there to be kind of funny and unusual.

Funusual, if you will.

Go ahead, browse around. See something you want, feel free to purchase it! Relax and eat some delicious cookies as part of the experience (basically, this means if you have some delicious cookies, you can go ahead and eat 'em; I'm certainly not supplying any cookies, you freeloader)


A collection of the best articles from "A ridiculously inconsistent trickle of consciousness", the award-winning web site authored by Clark Brooks.

Humorous! Purple! Flammable! Everything you're looking for in a book that doesn't have anything to do with wizards, moody vampires or the exploration of erotiocism tinged with BDSM.



Actually, it fails to live up to the name in that it is actually quite reliable. It will always hold a beverage for you to drink unless you break it or otherwise render it unusable as a beverage container, dumbass. Hey, look how much purple is on it!

This handy, dandy item, adorned with the cover illustration by Jessie Stehlik from my book, "A Ridiculously Inconsistent Treasury", was originally produced in a very limited quantity as Thank You gifts for the team who helped produce the book. Now I'm going to have more made and sell them to you, if you want them. The illustration features a robot reading stories to lovable forest creatures. Impress your co-workers by having the weirdest coffee mug in your entire company. It will be a great conversation starter and a way to drive more traffic to this here blog and maybe even help sell some books.

Mug holds up to, I don't know, an average amount of coffee, pumpkin spice latte, soup, cottage cheese or whatever the hell you want to put in it. It's dishwasher and microwave safe as it is not made out of wax or tin.



Fresh hash brown potatoes; a breakfast standard. You want me to come over and make some for you? For $1000, I'll do it! I'll supply the potatoes, salt, pepper and special ingredients (hint: onions!). I can put cheese on them if you want (note: you supply the cheese). I can also make them into fun shapes before serving (note: "fun shapes" include choice of "pile" or "lump"). Don't miss out on this fantastic hash brown experience!



1 large (approximately 5 gallon) plastic bucket full of scalding hot water. I have no idea what you would use this for (NOTE: Seller does NOT condone scalding anybody!) but if you need it and you've been looking for it, here it is. The water IS clean, but not drinkable as it is scalding hot. You can see steam coming off of it and everything. I can't guarantee how long the water is going to be as scalding hot as it is right now (trust me: ouch!) but I suppose for an extra couple of bucks I could heat it up for you. If you'd just like a yellow plastic bucket full of lukewarm water, wait a while and if someone doesn't buy it, I'll sell it to you for $5, which is a bargain because the bucket alone is pretty nice. Cash, checks, money orders all ok. FREE DELIVERY! (NOTE: This item subject to availability)



THIS IS NOT A JOKE! As an officially ordained minister, I am qualified to legally marry the living daylights out of you and your spouse. Seriously, I will marry you so hard, you won't walk right for a week.

Wait a minute. We're getting off on a weird tangent here. Let's focus.

The point is if you're straight, gay, lesbian or any other combination I'm not immediately aware of, it doesn't matter. It's all good! I don't care! I can commit weddings of ALL kinds. You find somebody you love who loves you back? Beautiful! We're in business. I'll make sure the necessary paperwork is taken care of and I'll perform the service. I'll even write the vows or incorporate yours into the ceremony, if you're writing your own (which I think you should because that's a really sweet and thoughtful thing to do). And here's what may be the best part: I work cheap! Check it out: All I require is an invitation to your wedding reception, seated at a table with one of the more morally casual bridesmaids.

DISCLAIMER: I reserve the option to NOT do the Electric Slide or the Cupid Shuffle.