WELCOME TO STOLEN DUCK!

Posted in Greetings on June 1, 2012 by Arthur Gradstein

Welcome to Stolen Duck, dedicated to all things funny and also to finding out who stole my leftover peking duck from the office fridge three years ago.  If you have anything funny to share, or information related to my missing crispy duck, leave it here.  We will never forget…

The Beauty of the Human Body?!

Posted in Attitude, Funny Objects, Ironic on June 25, 2013 by Arthur Gradstein

There is so much debate these days about how we came to be.  Science vs. religion.  Evolution vs. intelligent design.  If you ask me, and you didn’t, scientists and fundamentalists should be fighting to put the blame on the other party as to who’s responsible… because the human body is fucking asinine!

It’s not beautiful and miraculous.  It’s chock full of design flaws and straight up stupidity.

Brilliantly stupid: the esophagus.

We all know this sideways guy…

Esophagus

Yes! Let’s combine our breathing functions, our eating functions, and our vomit response into a single tube!  Awesome — when we eat something too big, we die.  Really?  That shouldn’t have even made it past the prototype phase.  Was there no more room in the neck for a second tube?  If not, why can’t I find a button down shirt I can actually close around my girthy headroot?  Although, combining breathing and eating did result in the comedic gold that is the burp, I really think Yahweh or Darwin could have given this one some more thought.

Dumb dumb dumb: serotonin.

Serotonin

Serotonin is the molecule in our brains that regulates happiness.  The more serotonin we have, the happier we are.  However, it also plays a major role in the intestines for digestion.  And too much serotonin causes irritable bowel syndrome!  So, the chemical responsible for making us happy also gives us bubble guts.  Experience too much joy and you’ll get the rhea.

A cruel joke: our lust for unhealthy food

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Clearly, we are drawn to fattening and unhealthy foods, if honey boo boo is indicative of the American population.  Taco Bell is basically crack.  I know, I know, this is leftover design from when food was scarce, so we adapted to seek out high-caloric content foods.  But now that times have changed, either god or evolution needs to get up off their fat ass and change our tastebuds so that shit that IS good for us, like kale, broccoli, raw almonds, whatever, tastes as good as chicken McNuggets do. I can’t wait 1 million years to like the taste of brussel sprouts and to eat them without farting.

The greatest offender of all…  BALLS.

balls

C’mon.  Balls have got to be the stupidest design of the entire body.  Aside from looking completely ridiculous, they have to be at a different temperature than the rest of us to function properly, so they have to dangle outside us in a wrinkly bag.  And couldn’t we put that bag somewhere safer?  Instead of right in between our legs where we squish them every time we lay sideways?  And why are they so damn sensitive?  If a turtle can develop a shell, can’t we have a built-in bone cup or something?  Give me the ability to retract them.  When I feel like they are too hot, I’ll pick a safe corner and let them out for some air!

Basically, scientists should be blaming god, and god should be blaming science, because whoever is responsible for making our toes so painfully stub-able deserves to get kicked in HIS dangly bag.  Take THAT, Buddha!

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Signs of a Bad Economy

Posted in Ironic on October 26, 2012 by Arthur Gradstein

The economy is in bad shape.  You can see it driving around: all of those empty storefronts, going out of business signs…  it’s tough out there.  But I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I saw this while driving around today:

Holy shit!  People are taking out loans for a dollar?  I wonder what the rates are… and is that soda really worth the interest?  But it gets worse!  Money is so tough to come by now that even the once-worthless penny now has value!!!

Clearance.  Marked down from $99.98 to… $99.97!!!  How can any business make money in this climate when they are forced to take such mark downs!  I am really scared… we need to take action.  I suggest we attack Canada.

The Unbearable Smugness of Pedestrians

Posted in Attitude on October 21, 2012 by Arthur Gradstein

Living in Los Angeles, I have to drive everywhere.  When I’m in a rush, or stuck in traffic, only one thing is worse than getting caught at a red light.  That nightmare is the dreaded “smug pedestrian”.  Why do they get to have such power over me?  I’m in a 1200-pound car, albeit a Mazda, and yet I must bend to the will of a single person, stopping so they can take their sweet time to cross the street. Apparently being on foot gives you abilities like Neo from the Matrix …

I know, I know.  The rules of the road are for everyone’s safety.  Look, I don’t want to run anyone over.  And I wouldn’t have such a problem with it if those pedestrians didn’t assume that the right of way gave them the right to be a dick.  You know what I’m talking about… It’s that look they give you.  The one that says, “That’s right.  I’m a pedestrian.  You have to stop for me.”

They give you that look and then they stroll past you, taking their sweet time,  like they are the goddamn Mayor of the Intersection.

And god forbid you stop a little short, or the front end of your car extends into the crosswalk by an inch or two.  Then you get that look like, “How DARE you?  Who do you think you are?  You’re a MONSTER!”  Such righteousness!  Jesus!  You aren’t pushing a legless orphan in a wheel chair.  You’re carrying a bag from Ann Taylor.

Get over yourself.

This behavior needs to be stopped!  Unless of course I’m the pedestrian.  Then you better stop for me, you jerk.  Don’t you see these feet?  I’m better than you…

Self-Checkout Bully

Posted in Technology on August 1, 2012 by Arthur Gradstein

According to famous futurist Ray Kurzweil, it’s only a matter of time until the machines around us are conscious.  He calls it ‘The Age of Spiritual Machines’.  I think that machines have already reached this point and we just don’t know it yet.  That’s the only way I can explain why a self-checkout machine at my supermarket would treat me like such a piece of shit.

You’ve done your shopping.  Now you can’t wait to get home and eat that Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese you just bought.  It’s so good when it gets that brown skin!  And you slip a noodle onto each tine of your fork… I’m getting off topic.  Sorry.  Back to the supermarket.  So you head for checkout. Dang!  All the lines look really long and have old ladies with 60+ assorted cans that no doubt will pay by check.  But wait… self-checkout?  This looks empowering!  I’m the master of my own grocery destiny.

Let’s just forget entirely that my bagging skillz suck and that I’ll end up with crushed bread, cracked eggs, and a bag so heavy it’ll dig its razor-sharp handles into my palm.  My experience goes something like this:

BEGIN CHECKOUT

I press the button.

DO YOU HAVE A FRESH N EASY CARD?

Yes!  Thanks for asking!  I’ll enter in my phone number for ya.

FRIENDS CARD ACCEPTED.

Sweet.  Friendship and savings here we come.  I start scanning and bagging.

PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAG.

What?  I did.  I’ll pull it out and try again.

PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAG.

I’m telling you I did.  Obviously it must be too light for you to sense it.  Here, lemme help by pressing on the bagging area with my palm to simulate the weight of something added.

UNAUTHORIZED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA.  PLEASE WAIT FOR ATTENDANT.

Fuck!  I pissed it off!  Now the little help light is on, and I’m stuck waiting for a human slave.  After a minute, one comes over, nametag of Mark, enters in some code, and I seem to be back on track.  I scan my next items, but my first bag is full, so I need to move it to my cart and open another bag.

DO YOU NEED MORE TIME?

Uh, yes.  I’m not the Usain Bolt of bag transfer.  And these fucking plastic bags are stuck together and I can’t tell if I’m putting stuff in a bag or between bags, so just calm down.

DO YOU STILL WISH TO COMPLETE YOUR PURCHASE?

Yes!  Why would I bring all this shit to you and then just bail?  But now I’m scanning and  bagging again.

PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAG.

Grr.  Mark has to come over a few more times for some light items that the bagging area won’t recognize.  At least I’m making progress.  But now this avocado won’t scan!  Your sensor can’t pick-up the barcode because it’s rounded by the avocado’s natural shape.  Curse you mother nature.

DO YOU NEED MORE TIME?

YES.  RELAX.  I enter in the avocado code manually.  It’s 16 numbers long.  You are making me earn this avocado, machine.  Okay, you accepted the code.  Thanks for that.  Back to scanning.

ID VERIFICATION REQUIRED.  PLEASE WAIT FOR ATTENDANT.

Damnit!  I’m so sick of seeing Mark!  It’s really defeating the purpose of this self-checkout.  They should call it Guided Checkout featuring Mark.  And it wants my ID to purchase MARSALA.  Cooking wine!  If an underage teen was trying to buy Marsala to get loaded, LET THEM.  They’ll fucking learn their lesson, man up, and buy some Corona next time.  Punks.  Glad I was never a teen.  I’ve now spent at least 6 minutes waiting for Mark to rescue me.  But finally, everything is scanned and bagged.

DO YOU HAVE ANY COUPONS?

I do!  Thanks for reminding me.  Maybe you’re not so bad after all.  I’ll scan them for you and drop them in your slot.

PLEASE PLACE THE COUPON IN THE SLOT.

Umm, I just did.  Didn’t you feel it?  I guess not.  Now what?  Maybe I can fool you by wiggling a business card in your slot.  Nope, you are an intelligent bully machine.  Help me Mark!  Mark does and is gone.

MAXIMUM NUMBER OF COUPONS EXCEEDED.  PLEASE WAIT FOR ATTENDANT.

Ahhhhhhhh!  I used three coupons!  Wtf?  I can’t use three coupons?  Mark enters his code, and apparently I can.  I guess they didn’t trust the machines enough to make a judgement call on acceptable coupon use.  Extreme Couponers have ruined it for everyone, creating a retail climate of paranoia and gluttonous savings.  Mark and I have to pay the price…

SELECT PAYMENT METHOD.

Oh thank god.  I’m so close.  I swipe my Amex.  I sign the digital pad.  My signature looks like someone on a deserted island writing HELP with sticks on the beach.  Doesn’t matter.  I’ve got no pride left.  Just ground beef that is starting to sweat and grey.

SIGNATURE APPROVAL REQUIRED.  PLEASE WAIT FOR ATTENDANT.

Noooooo!  I want to go home.  That old lady with the can left 10 minutes ago.  Mark is sick of me.  I’m sick of Mark.  Self-checkout computer #3 must be laughing his digital ass off.  Mark comes over, codes in one last time and I’m free.  9 minutes of Mark waiting time.  But it’s over…

DAMNIT!  I forget to scan and bag my cream cheese.  Fuck it, it’s not worth it.  I’m out.

A Human/Animal Double-Standard

Posted in Funny Animals, Ironic on July 9, 2012 by Arthur Gradstein

A friend of mine got a new dog.  A really ugly dog called an Affenpinscher.  That of course makes it adorable.  Then I started thinking — why are we so much more critical of humans than of animals?  What’s up with the double standard when it comes to appearances?  Should we not view each other and be viewed with at least as much dignity as we see the beasts of the wild?  We think this is cute:

But this guy is ugly and creepy:

The elephant has wrinkles to increase the surface area of its skin to keep itself cool.  It’s majestic and noble.

This lady is just old.

The walrus — highly evolved for its environment.  Its blubber keeps it warm in icy waters and stores energy.

Fat fuck on beach.

Enough of this double-standard!  No longer will I be thought of as short, hairy, and going gray — the ultimate fate of a many a Jewish male.

Instead, I am compact, like the agile squirrel.  I am insulated, like the Polar Bear.  I will be a silvertop, like the powerful and protective silverback gorilla.  I am… Squearilla!

Yes, that is EXACTLY how I demand people think of me.

You gotzta spend money to SPEND money, yo!

Posted in Ironic on June 21, 2012 by Arthur Gradstein

You know the economy is upside-down and in trouble when you have to spend money to spend money.  It used to be “spend money to MAKE money”, but I guess someone ran the numbers and they didn’t add up.

For example, parking at the mall.  I’m there to spend money at Cinnabon and The Gap.  This is good for everyone.  I get to enjoy a frosted crack-bun and a cardigan, and my dollars help Viacom or General Electric make a bigger profit.  That means the stock goes up and stock holders are satisfied just to eat another orphan, instead of foreclosing on your mother’s house AND eating another orphan.  At least I think that’s how it works.  The orphan can’t be saved, I know that much from business school.

Another example: my wife ordered checks today from our bank.  We’ve handed the bank all of our cash to lend out for their profitable gain.  It used to be that they rewarded us for this with interest on our accounts or even small appliances.  I discovered toast thanks to Wells Fargo.  But now there is virtually no interest and certainly no blender.  You’ll have to pay to park to buy that.  And things that used to be free, like CHECKS, now cost $13.95 plus $6 shipping.  I’m paying to spend my money that Chase is making money off of.  Wtf?  Sidenote: checks suck and are antiquated.  If the only way to pay you is by check, PLEASE sell your business to Viacom or General Electric.  They’re coming for it anyway.

The one that bothers me the most: cover charges.  Bars and clubs charge me to enter the premises so that I can pay them double the cost of a mixed drink for myself and that girl over there.  And I guess her chubby friend too.  “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.”  I think Plato said that.  Anyway, there is no reason I should spend $20 bucks at the door to spend $13 bucks on a Banker’s Club and Tonic after waiting ten minutes behind a living cloud of Acqua Di Gio.

I think we are all being fooled to pony up additional dough because we’re told that “times are tough”.  So we justify it as a temporary condition.  But no more!  Join me in taking a stand and voting George McGovern in ’72!

Red Light Laughs

Posted in Pranks on June 12, 2012 by Arthur Gradstein

I am a firm believer that laughter is not only the best medicine, but also a powerful method of making peace.  Humor has an uncanny ability to disarm someone who is angry and make them realize their own absurdity.  For example, when my wife gets mad at me and her voice starts going the way of the tea kettle, I hoot and holler like a monkey, hop around, and slap the bed.  It always makes her break when I act like a wild chimp because, after all, when we get angry, that’s what we are.

Living in Los Angeles, road rage is commonplace.  People spend hours in their car alone, battling traffic, and the isolation makes it very easy to fall into a rage.

You get honked at, flipped off, cut off almost daily without necessarily even doing anything wrong.  That level of tension isn’t healthy.  Don’t bring that shit home to your family or your dog or hamster.  They don’t deserve it!   So I like to do my part for the good of society by helping road-ragers find some calm and enjoy the rest of their commute.  Here’s how:

Red lights provide a great opportunity to make a rager laugh.  If someone flips you off, honks, or mouths colorful words at you, catch up to them at the next red light.  They’ll probably expect you to yell back.  But instead, pick one of the following Stolen Duck approved methods:

1. THE PHANTOM

Pull up alongside them.  Stare at them for a few seconds with an incredibly stern face.  Don’t even blink.  Then, with your left hand, pull your seat recliner lever and quickly lean back.  From their point of view, you’ll disappear below your window line and it’ll look like no one is in the car.  Stay there for a moment, then sit back up.  I guarantee they’ll be laughing.

2. THE FACE-OFF

This requires that you keep a mask of your choice in your glove box.  Before you pull up alongside the offender, put on the mask.  Face away from them at first, like you are too afraid to look at them.  Then quickly turn your head to face them, revealing your mask.  The shock and absurdity will make them laugh.  I like to use this mask (of course):

Be creative with your choice.  Even the classic glasses, nose and mustache is highly effective.

3. THE EXPLORER

This requires a sunroof and a pair of binoculars, or even better, a spyglass.  When you pull up next to Mr. or Mrs. Angry, throw the car in park, slide open your sunroof and stand up out of it with your binoculars.  Look around like you are confused and lost.  Hold up your binoculars or spyglass and check the horizon.  Ask your red light neighbor if they know which way north is.

4. VIOLENCE IS WRONG!

This one works especially well for the ladies.  When you get to the light, roll down your window and pull your own hair out of it.  Actually pull your own head out of the window.  Scream at the top of your lungs, “Ow!  Stop it!  Let go!  Violence is wrong!”  You can use your other hand to try and pry your hand off your head.  Keep it up until the light turns green, calmly release yourself, and drive away like nothing is out of the ordinary.

5. THE CONFESSION

Just start yelling at yourself about how bad of a driver you are.  Loudly ask yourself, “Why would they let me drive?  What idiot decided to give me license?”  Ask your road rager if they agree.  “I mean, I should NOT be behind the wheel, right?”  If you have a car you don’t care about, grab a hammer or a tire iron and say, “You know what?  I deserve to be punished.”  Then lean out of your window and start smashing your own door panel.  Or even get out and smash your own hood.

And of course, you can always invent your own method, which Stolen Duck would love to hear about!