The Zoo

There is a lot to like about a zoo. You see animals that you could never see in the wild. You get outside to enjoy the sunshine for an afternoon. You might sample the cotton candy, make sure they are still making it up to par.

But there sure is a lot to dislike as well. For one, you are probably going to have feces thrown at you. That is a real turnoff in my book. In fact, I’d venture to say that I’d probably never return to a place that had that on the menu so it’s a wonder the zoo even survives in the first place. It’s a miracle I actually dig deeper and find another reason to stop going to zoos.

The real reason I don’t go to the zoo as much is slightly more highbrow. Doesn’t it seem like the actual point of the zoo is lost on the audience that its designed for. Bear with me. The point of the zoo, any zoo, is to educate people (mostly children) on the wide diversity and unique qualities of the animals of the world in hopes of creating awareness surrounding the conservation and preservation of said diversity. Hmmmm… there is probably a simpler way I could have written that. The point of the zoo is to ogle all the different freaky animals.

But everytime I’m there, it becomes clear that the altruism in the mission of the zoo is completely lost on the clientele. For instance, say the zoo staff has taken great lengths to rescue, feed, and raise an endangered Mountain Gorilla, of which there are less than 400 still left in the wild. A remarkable specimen to see, with its massive body and hairless face, enjoying a nap in the tree. So how come every single person that walks up to the glass to gaze at its wonder shouts out, as plain as day, “Look at the big monkey!” No one is employed to stand there and correct them. No signs are posted that say “Primate Yes, Monkey No.” The rare and wonderful Mountain Gorilla could very well have been a giant monkey sock puppet or stuffed animal. It would garner the same reaction 82% of the time.

I find its mostly parents who zoom past the information signs, instead imparting their very generic and limited knowledge of animals onto their children. It becomes the tiresome game of “What’s that?” Children must enthusiastically scream, holler, or yell the answer back (Giraffe!!!!) in order to “get it right” in this game. It’s kinda like the stipulation on Jeopardy where you can say the right answer but if its not in the form of the question, you don’t win. Except in this version if the child isn’t red-faced, tears welling up, tearing their baby-fresh vocal cords while call and response-ing, the parent REPEATS THE FRICKIN’ QUESTION! They don’t seem to like it when I, embracing my alter ego Johnny Sarcastic, play along. Suddenly it’s so childish when I try to show a little excitement by yelling “Baboon!!!!” at the top of my lungs.

Don’t even get me started on Aquariums. Although, part one would basically be a search and replace on the word ‘zoo’ in this piece with the word ‘aquarium.’ Of course, I would obligated to throw in the one paragraph at the end about how I wish zoos would adopt the “animal enrichment” program that the aquariums have where you can watch someone pretend to jet ski on the back of two dolphins. I would love to see zoo staffers strap onto the back of two baby panda bears and pretend to 4-wheel.

Before I’m 30.

I will tame a horse.

I will fall in love again.

I will go out of the country, make an ass of myself (aka remind myself what is to be an American! ((Shotgun blast goes off!)), and come back politically renewed. A bit jaded of late.

I will still listen to bad music. But now, I will posses a new zeal in proclaiming its goodness. Before I did a lot less proclaiming and more creating. Ha. Now that’s a thinkpiece for ya.

I will purchase a dwelling. (No, a tent doesn’t count. Already own one.)

No, I will build a dwelling. With my own two hands. Manpower. For a bird. Yes. Or other small creature. Including just not killing spiders when I see them. Under foot. Indeed.

I will tame another horse. This time with my hands tied behind my back. (Yes, that is supposed to be partly an italics joke. Let me know if it bombs.)

I will welcome our troops home from Iraq.

I hope I will continue to be using my talents to better the world. After all, there’s not much else to it. That’s kinda the only goal I can figure out we should all be going for.

Simultaneously, I will be able to oWn you at Halo 3. It’s my personal paradox. My PP.

What are some of yours?

Note. You have to be under 30 to answer. Or at least pretend to be. However, I won’t do a background check.

Johnny Paparazzi’s Celebrity Slumber Party

Have we met? I’m Johnny Paparazzi. Cousin of Earl Snapshot. Ugly step-uncle to Willimena Candidcam. And you’ve just been invited to be a fly on the wall at my all-night pajama-jammie jam! With a name like Johnny Paparazzi, you can expect some serious celebs in the house and this year I didn’t disappoint. Let’s start this party off right!

Kevin Bacon

Don’t worry, I’ll cook the bacon extra Keviny. Just how you like it.

Harry Connick

Wash it down with a Gin and Connick! Better yet, make that a Shaved Connick. The Harry ones always make me feel fishy.

Queer Eye Guys

Don’t look at me with that Queer Eye!

Other Guy from Queer Eye

Ok, it was fun straight chillin’ with the Queer Eye guys. Get it? Got it! Good!

Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers knows how to pose for Johnny. Here he is doing his famous blurry Sasquatch impression.

Horatio Sanz

His buddy Horatio “Hornblower” Sanz was sans cool and posed for me. Say cheese-y grin!

Tina Fey

Tina Fey and I had a heart to heart. I’ve now got the heart of a woman and she’s got the heart of a ladykiller.

Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen’s glasses aren’t a prop. He wears them all the time. That’s so non-lasiky.

Chris Parnell

Chris Parnell was all slumber and no party however. He didn’t say a funny thing all night. What’s new? (Oh, snap… just kidding Parnell.)

Andy Samberg

Andy Samberg partied so hard, he was gonna have a lazy Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

Kenan Thompson

Kenan Thompson came in costume as the late/great Notorious B.I.G. No one told him it wasn’t a costume party.

Robert Smigel and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog

Robert Smigel stuck his hand up Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s ass again. Good times ensued.

Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming was not dressed as Nightcrawler which basically pissed everyone off. Including himself.

Mos Def

Mos Def challenged me to a pillow fight but I would never hit a man with J. Lo glasses. Def was on iTunes duty for the night.

Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey was incognito as always. Here he is as an old Irish man.

The Girl from Goonies

Martha Plimpton, the girl from Goonies, crashed the party. But it was cool cuz she told me a secret about Sloth. He no longer worships Superman. He’s a George Clooney Batman dude now.

Spike Lee

Spike Lee definitely was in the house. But he spent most of the time in the bathroom. Spike, leave some TP for the rest of us!

Steve Jobs

The richest man in town, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, was there for tech support. Don’t you hate being the only computer nerd at a party, Steve!

Dave Chappelle

But the man of the hour was Dave Chappelle. He came. He saw. He broke out early. As always.

So can anyone guess where I’ve really been all-night?

The Truth About Dudes and Haircuts

Two quick notes before I start this post.

  1. The word “dude” has never left my vocabulary and, in fact, has recently gained traction in my common usage. I hate saying guys, men, or fella’s. So, for instance, if I were in court and was forced to recount the story of my arrest, I would most likely say that a couple of “dudes in uniform” busted me while I was trying to “rob a dude.” Are we all on the same page, dudes? Glorious!
  2. I don’t usually like to get all gender-specific (unlike my counterpart on this website) but as a dude I can only speak as a dude on this topic. Ladies, please back me up on this one. You know how us dudes are! So in other words, this one goes out to all the dudes and the ladies.

I begin with a simple picture of a dude with shaggy hair. He has let his dudely mane grow for far too long. Why? Fear. Fear of what, you ask? Is he afraid all his strength lies in his golden locks? Of course not. Dudes like Vin Diesel disprove that theory on the daily. Well, is he afraid of scissors then? No. He loves scissors and, in fact, once eloped to Las Vegas with a pair of shears only to find out that the laws there are so biased that they won’t even wed a dude with his tools. THEN WHAT THE HELL IS HE AFRAID OF? Hey, no need to yell! The dude is cowering under his moppy top because he is afraid of The Inevitable Bad Haircut.

Simply put, dudes don’t know how to get a haircut. We go about it all wrong.

For instance, I have a “breaking point” where I can’t stand the look of my head once the hair gets a certain length on the back of my neck. I cringe when I see a whisp of curl flipping out behind my ears. Apparently, my body has an inate aversion to the mullet. When this happens, I panic and immediately dial the barber and schedule an appointment because I know I won’t be able to get a wink of sleep on this second pillow of mullet hair that night. But once I get to the barber, all hell breaks loose.

Barbers are perhaps the worst professionals still allowed to practice. First off, they are always bald so you have no idea how to judge their talents. To me, that is like being a glove designer who was born without hands. Or a rock musician without a life-threatening drug problem. Which is to say I am highly skeptical of your abilities.

So the barber asks what I would like and I reply with something I know they can understand, “Just make it shorter, dude.” After all, it’s your job to know hair. Shouldn’t I trust your gnarled, old man-hands to top me off right. I am hair clay for you to go all Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore on (ok, bad Ghost analogy).

With his cue, the barber gets chopping. Snip here. Snip there. I can’t even bear to watch. I literally close my eyes. I like my haircuts like a Jenny Craig commercial, just a before and after picture. Granted, there are other reasons why I can’t look. Who enjoys staring at themselves for an hour in the mirror while in the presence of strangers? I can’t stand it. I will do anything but look straight ahead. I find myself really stretching my human ability to use peripheral vision.  I’m reading product labels from 60 feet away, counting combs in the formaldehyde, acutely examining the grout between flooring tiles. I love it when the barber has personal artifacts that distract my attention. It means I no longer have to imagine what he looks like in sunglasses and a speedo while standing near a beach.

Eventually, the barber stops, looks closely at me, maybe even touches a finger to each of my sideburns and then begins the question and answer period of our visit. He hands me a small mirror and instructs me to look at the giant mirror through the small mirror while spinning me in a 360 on the chair. Then asks, “What do you think?” I think, “You’ve got all these mirrors and you still came dressed to work like that?” But then I get angry because, once again, the professional is asking me to do his job, trying to get off easy by asking an amateur to judge his work.

And at this point what are my available options? If I don’t like it, what can I do? Ask him to glue some of the cut pieces back on? So I lie and say it’s great and get the heck out of the shop. But it doesn’t end there.

The true test of any haircut is getting approval from the girlfriend or wife. Let me just say that this never happens. They always critique. They are the true gurus of haircuts. They’ve all studied phrenology since birth and can describe the perfect haircut in excruciating detail. It is my wish that all barbershops employ one woman to act as a dude-to-dude translator at that critical first moment. It would save us all so much oxygen.

What David Blaine Knows

David Blaine

Even though magician David Blaine didn’t break the world record for holding one’s breath underwater the other night, he is still unreal in my book. The man did live underwater for seven straight days and nights in the middle of New York City before attempting the feat. So when I went and visited him on Sunday in his “humanaquarium,” I wanted to relay a special message that I felt would show some solidarity. I chose the medium of the new millenium, my t-shirt. From Kevin Costner’s lips to my cotton ringer tee!

Dry Land is a Myth