Category: Reviews

Is it a Crime to Entertain America?


I have received a lot of grief from both the press and public this week after my son, Raptor, stole a prototype mini jet pack I invented and flew it over 30 miles till it crash-landed in a corn field.  The media storm was immense and the entire country was glued to their televisions as firefighters and emergency workers followed the jet pack to its crashing site.  And when the wreckage uncovered that it wasn’t Raptor on that jet pack but instead was an animatronic model of Raptor, (another one of my inventions) I suddenly became Public Enemy #1.

But Raptor was safe and sound at home.  If I was truly the monster you’re making me out to be, I would have allowed three-year-old Raptor to fly the perfectly-sized mini jet pack to his death, (and believe me, he begged!)  Nay, I spent months making the jet pack remote controlled, and spent thousands of dollars making a life-like double of Raptor.  But Raptor’s safety isn’t in America’s interest, is it?

My passion has always been to reflect my version of my life to the masses, a passion that got me on MTV’s The Real World at the age of 21.  But when I was kicked off the show for faking a heart attack, my opportunity was cut short.  After the novel I wrote,  [Censored]’s a Faggot’s Pussy, failed to garner any media attention, (Salman Rushdie was exceptionally popular at the time) I decided it was in my best interest to give up my dreams and start a family.  Thus started what I like to call my Suburban Hell years.

After months of trying to figure out a career choice, I settled on Inventor.  I would spend my hours in the basement with my many contraptions while my wife Sue would work her three waitressing jobs, (she’s not pretty enough to be a stripper and too cheap to buy the surgery.)

After two years of intensive tinkering, I came up with my masterpiece:  the cellphone answering machine.  Imagine:  you’re in the bathroom, occupied, and you hear your cellphone ringing in the kitchen.  What if one of your children is in trouble or the president is calling?  You’ll never know… until now.  With my device, which can be plugged into the bottom of any Nokia 3315 produced in 2001, up to thirty seconds (minus the personalized greeting) can be recorded by the caller after 3 rings.  However, the major cellphone carriers refused to stock my product because of its size (only the size of two medium suitcases, thank you) and the fact that it only worked a third of the time (studies I conducted proved that 2/3 of phone calls are of little import.  It’s called time saving, ever heard of it?)  They also cited something called “Voicemail”, which sounds suspiciously similar to my invention and I have since hired a lawyer to look into it.

The production cost of the cellphone answering machine prototype put me into crushing debt.  So, as any resilient American does in tough times, I maxed out my credit cards in order to hatch a scheme to make me famous.  When I launched the remote control jet pack with a model of my youngest son strapped to it, I knew I was on to something good.  And after I finally got the girl on the line at 9-11 to believe my story, it wasn’t long before the television news cameras came bursting through my door.  I felt a surge of testosterone run through my body.  I was ON!

The lights came on and the cameras were rolling, and I acted as if I wasn’t floating on a cloud with a screaming erection.  No, I put on a quivering lip and held my wife in my arm for support.  We were a team, intent on retrieving our son (who was sitting patiently in the attic with a box of animal crackers and a new Lego set.)  My fame rocket was flying over Pennsylvania, and teams of emergency vehicles and media trucks drove in hot pursuit, speculating, worrying and making me a household name.

When the news finally broke that Raptor was safe and sound and the emergency workers were chasing a robot, I wasn’t immediately labeled a hero, or even a genius inventor.  I wasn’t given a quirky inventor version of John and Kate Plus 8, or even the opportunity to argue with my wife on national television.   No, the gruff, barely high-school educated arms of the law shoved me into a police car.  I’m not sure what the charges will be, but no doubt they will be unfair.  Dear reader, though you may have felt scorn and disgust when the national media put on their spin machine to label me a demon, I ask:  Is it a crime to entertain America? While that total dweeb John Gosselin gets to ride jet skis and jam trashy women, I get to rot in prison.  If that’s justice, call me unjustified.

Riding the 8


Seattle buses are my main means of transportation in my new city.  Whereas Buffalo City buses served as conveyance for its booming can and bottle deposit industry, the average Seattle-ite utilizes the city buses without fear of the smell of stale beer and desperation.

Nay, the buses here are clean and immaculate, so clean you could eat off the seats, which I have done many, many times.  Even the garbage trucks here are clean, mostly because Seattle recycles everything.  Every time I try to throw out a bag of used syringes and diapers, I get scolded by a neighbor or roommate, who inform me that the valuable minerals and diseases have uses beyond sitting in a city dump.  It’s a different lifestyle, I’ll tell ya.

When you enter a city bus for the first time, you must remove your wallet and show your college diploma.  The bus driver then silently takes it from you and photocopies it in triplicate, after which you must take your diploma and exit the bus.  The King County Metro System will then run a background check, during which you must wait three (3) weeks before entering a city bus again.  After they learn you earned above a 3.5 GPA to get your Bachelor’s, you receive a Congratulations Genius card, which gives you the privilege of entering city buses and making eye contact with baristas in the Seattle Metro area.

When I finally received my card in the mail, I was ecstatic, finally I could start interviewing for jobs.  I had a job interview at 10 AM Wednesday morning, and I had to figure out the bus system to get to the other side of the city.  Like I do whenever I’m convinced I have a brain tumor or need to find pictures of naked celebrities, I asked Google.  Google let me know that I had to take the #8 bus.  Google also let me know of a coffee place on the walk to the bus stop and that Mariah Carey’s boob popped out of her dress at the VMA’s.

Unfortunately, when I finally left the house to attend the job interview, it was pouring rain.  Oh, THAT Seattle.  I had moved to THAT Seattle.  Whoops.  I trudged through the rain toward the stop.  After a few blocks, I consulted the directions on my hand, but they had become smeared and unreadable in the rain.  Oh well, people in Seattle are friendly enough, I’ll consult a pedestrian I thought to myself. I spotted a young mother in a rain poncho pushing a stroller toward me.

“Hello, do you know how to get to the #8 bus stop from here?” I asked her with a smile.
“No, no I don’t,” she replied with a look that said please don’t take my baby. She rushed past me with panic.
That was odd, I thought to myself.  I looked down at myself and noticed that my shirt had soaked through, making my nipples very, very visible.

I continued to wander around aimlessly in the rain, afraid to ask anyone for help for fear of being charged with sexual assault.  Finally, I found the stop for the #8 bus, but oddly enough no one else was there.  I checked the bus schedule and found out that the 9:13 AM bus had left, leaving me to wait for the 9:33 bus.  It was 9:14, so I sat on the wet stool in the rain with my arms crossed, hatching a plan to assassinate the mayor or at least the head of Seattle transportation.

People slowly came to wait with me, all intently listening to iPods for fear of being spoken to.  When the 9:33 bus finally arrived at 9:35, I was entirely soaked.  The bus was double-long, like a poor man’s train without the tracks.  It pulled up to me, and when the door opened, the bus lowered itself a foot and a half to the ground.  I felt like king of the world as I stepped on, when I heard someone shout “HEY!” from behind me.

I turned around, and there was a very disgruntled man in a wheelchair, who barged past me onto the bus.  Behind him, several Seattle-ites gave me a look that let me know that I’m a heartless monster.  I shrugged an apology and stepped on board.  I swiped my brand new Congratulations Genius card, and the bus driver shook her head disapprovingly at me.

The bus was surprisingly empty, and I sat in the first seat I could.  I stretched out, finally comfortable underneath a heater.  I shut my eyes, basking in comfort.  I soon realized that I was perhaps more comfortable than I should be, and when I opened my eyes I saw a 60 year old mystical wearing clothes entirely made out of yarn and hemp massaging my feat.  He had a toothless grin on his bearded face, and I recoiled in horror.

Over the bus’s PA system, the bus driver said “STARLIGHT MOONBATH, go sit back down and quit pestering people!”  Starlight Moonbath rolled his eyes and went back to sit down a few rows from me, bells jangling with every step he took.  Once seated, he stared intently at me, and didn’t stop staring for the entirety of the trip.

Because of the many stops the bus took, I had ample time underneath the heater.  By the time I got to my stop, I was bone dry, and my nipples were silenced.  I pulled the cord to let the bus driver to stop and when I exited the bus I gave her a quick “Thank you,”.  The sun was was now shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  I gave the sun a thumbs-up and it returned by tanning me a little bit.

I looked back at the bus as it drove away.  Starlight Moonbath was kissing the window looking at me, and with his forehead pressed against the window, he mouthed out “I’ll find you.”

I walked to my interview with a new confidence in my stride, knowing that while hippy mysticals may be out for my feet, my feet and I were quickly becoming Seattle-ites.

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Copyright Tom Van Deusen 2014.