Being a Man in Milan


As most of my friends know, I’ve been touring with artists and bands throughout the world the last 12 years, and in doing so I’ve met many characters along the way. A musician approached me once and said, “dude, I totally did what you told me to do.”  I’m afraid at this juncture in the conversation, because who knows what I told him “to do.” He said I suggested he buy another keyboard, it’ll make him look cooler on stage. I ran into the leader of that band a few months later in Paris and asked about his keyboard player in which he replied, “I fired him.”

It was my first time to Milan and the artist, let’s call him Burt, asked me to join him and his friend for dinner. Burt knew him from high school. As we approach the sushi spot he turns to me and says, “my friend is kind of a clown.” We met him out front and walked into the restaurant. It’s a standard sushi place. A couple of asian guys with knives wearing white robes and ropes around their fore heads, behind raw fish enclosed in a refrigerated glass container. A hostess in the front greets us. Pat starts yelling at her in Italian gibberish that we need a table for three.

A little back story on Pat. He had just arrived from America, about a month earlier because he was accepted into a college for business. He was in Italy for 3 weeks and became an instant expert on their culture, language, and overall well-being. He wanted to bless us with his newfound wisdom. Back to the sushi joint.

The hostess is utterly confused off is jumbled Italian, so in English she says, “table for three?” We walk towards our table and she hands us our menus. Pat assures us not to worry, he can order for us. Little did he know, the back of the menu was written in English and had photos with a number next to the desired item. For example, if you wanted salmon nigiri, all you had to do was point, or say, the number next to it. We let Pat stumble through his derelict Italian before the server grabbed his menu out of his hand and turned it over, “just point to what you want.”

Throughout the meal we swapped stories of our tour and he told us about Italian culture and language of what he’s gathered in his hours of living in Milan. “To speak Italian, all you have to do is think of the english version of the word, and add the college ending to it, and that’s basically the word.” Burt and I looked at each other in confusion.

Burt, “What?”

Pat, “All you have to do is add io or ography, and you have an Italian word.” I’m not sure this is true, but it’s pure genius.

The check comes and for about a half hour Pat had some rice stuck to the side of his cheek. Burt and I ignored it but I finally said, “you got some shit on your face.” After an hour of dropping knowledge on Italian language and culture, I found it fitting to reveal his situation with a New York tongue.

We pay our bill and leave. Pat says he knows a great bar along the water about a mile away. It was a beautiful evening, lots of locals outside milling around, some trying to sell cheap goods, like mini megaphones. “Meek-crow-phone” the vendor says, through the device. The hot item at the time was a LED parachute that when launched into the sky using a sling shot, floated slowly back to earth blinking colorful lights.

We pass a stand on the street that has an umbrella disguised as a lemon. It was an iced lemon vodka drink that had a multi colored straw, and a mini lemon umbrella sticking out of it. Something you would buy in Las Vegas. Pat asked us if we’d like to get a drink. We both shook our heads.

Pat says, “The best thing about being a man in Milan, is you can buy a fruity drink, and not look gay.”

We finally arrive at the bar and Pat starts yelling at the bartender in harrowing Italian that we want three tequilas. Again, the barkeep is confused and Burt points to the bottle and lifts up three fingers. He pours them immediately. About a half hour passes and we are having a good time chatting and catching a mild buzz. Burt and I decided we’re ready to go back to the hotel, but can’t find Pat. He’s busy talking to a girl in the corner of the bar. Could Pat have game?!? Both of our jaws dropped because she looked interested in him. I walked over to say goodbye but he waved me away without even looking at me. Burt tried to say goodbye too, but he was ignoring us at this point.

So we left. He texted Pat to see if everything was ok. He never returned the text, nor did we see him ever again. After hours of enlightenment, zero response from Pat. Until a few years ago in Portland, Oregon on tour. It had been 6 years since the Milan incident. We both were excited to talk to him about that evening.

Me, “Whatever happened that night, you never returned Burt’s text, and last we saw you were talking to a girl.”

Pat, “Oh yeah? I don’t remember.”

Me, “That night was so much fun, so many great memories.”

Pat, “I just remember getting a drink at that lemon stand.”

This Blog is Only Mostly Dead

Mostly Dead is Slightly Alive

It is with great excitement and very little fanfare that I announce the return of Internet Zillionaire. I started this blog on a whim 12 years ago to the day. With the help of my hilarious friends and a stroke a luck, it actually turned into something special.

The design was highly praised in the web design community. The writing was also considered top notch. The blog was accepted into the prestigious (at the time) 9rules Network in November of 2005. Our content was featured on numerous sites including CollegeHumor and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

Then life happened.

Eventually, the writing slowed to a near halt. The design sat unchanged for years like a McDonald’s hamburger left out. I watched as the site visitor stats dwindled down and down until there was almost no one reading our content anymore. The blog was mostly dead.

But as Miracle Max taught us, being mostly dead is still slightly alive! This blog, this community of amateur comedians, this water cooler for both my closest friends and many complete strangers, just needed its own chocolate-covered miracle pill. So I’ve called in all the favors I have earned over the years. I’ve assembled the dream team back for another go. And as far as I can tell, the world is even more hungry for fresh, funny, and original content. That is our mission and we choose to accept it.

So join us again, or for the first time. In preparation for today’s relaunch, we’ve already added a bunch of new posts:

Who knows, if this goes well, we could all be Internet Gajillionaire’s someday!

The Otis Spunkmeyer Conspiracy


Anyone that has school-aged children knows that there is no greater risk to their immediate survival than the biohazard known as peanut dust. Judging by the degree of vigilance exercised by school officials, apparently 99 out of every 100 children these days have a “severe” peanut allergy, where even exposure to a molecule of peanut dust will cause death that is somehow both immediate and excruciating. (The other 1% possesses only a “heightened” peanut allergy.)

That’s right, peanuts don’t even need to be ingested to be highly lethal. Once the dust from a solitary shell is air-borne, it reaches a “weaponized” state and kills indiscriminately and in vast numbers.

Thankfully, at my kids’ school, they take every ridiculous precaution necessary to safeguard against peanuts entering the premises. For instance, kids are not allowed to bring in homemade treats on their birthdays, as it risks the cross contamination of a stray peanut molecule into a batch of cupcakes. At lunchtime, if a child brings a peanut butter sandwich to school, they are immediately quarantined at a specially designated table in the lunchroom. When finished with lunch, these children must sanitize their hands and rinse away any residue of the biological agent known as peanut dust before heading to the playground. All of this is 100% true.

At this point, some of you may be thinking that I am insensitive to those with “Peanut Lung” or other legume-specific genetic defects. (“Hasn’t the X-Men quintilogy taught us anything about acceptance!?!”)

On the contrary, my outrage stems from the peanut-related hypocrisy of school officials. Without a hint of irony, administrators will pause their expungement of George Washington Carver from the history books and burning the collective works of Charles M. Schulz only long enough to remind parents of the annual school fundraiser: Selling giant tubs of Otis Spunkmeyer peanut butter cookie dough throughout the community.

To help raise the funds for this elaborate peanut defense system and other school priorities, each child must sell five giant buckets of cookie dough. Since there is money at stake, the same children that cannot be exposed to a single peanut molecule at school are now schlepping buckets of this concentrated biological agent all over the neighborhood. Doing the rough math, if one dust molecule can incapacitate an elementary school, a whole bucket of dough could wipe out the entire human race several times over.

Every fall, I watch these kids dutifully show up to school with a pallet jack, load up their dough into their parent’s SUV, and hustle refined bioweapons all over town. And the administration is happy so long as the kids return to school the next day with fistfuls of cash, and not, say, a fresh homemade batch of Otis Spunkmeyer peanut butter cookies for their birthday celebration.

(As an aside, I have this fight twice a year with my wife: One of the kids’ birthday rolls around, and she brainwashedly buys licorice or Oreos or some other “safe” peanut-free treat for the class. I immediately start yelling that she should rip open one of the many, many Otis Spunkmeyer (“If that is his real name?!”) peanut butter cookie dough buckets clogging our freezer and make a huge batch for the class. I implore her to just walk in, and dare them to say these cookies are not permitted on school grounds. I would seriously love to take the day off work to confront the administration with this flawless exposition of their hypocrisy. Anyway, twice a year, I rant on this topic for 20 minutes or so, and concoct the perfect strategy to extract my comeuppance. My wife tunes me out completely, and shows up at the school the next day with Oreos. Standard.)

Of course, it could be worse. Peanuts aren’t the only thing prohibited at the school. And as evidenced above, if it meant a lucrative fundraising opportunity, school officials would happily send children door to door selling buckets of guns, pornography, alcohol, tobacco and other contraband.

Shopkeeper’s Remix to “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window”

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Shopkeeper: You want to know how much is the doggie in the window, huh? We’ll let me just look it up on my computer here…

Music begins…
How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail?
Well that dog is $150 dollars.
But you also need to pay to have it registered.

That will cost you another $45.
And then there is the fee to get it neutered.
You’ll have to pay a vet a bunch of money,
Or prove that it already is.

I almost forgot about the shots and vaccinations.
Dogs have to get a ton of them.
There is a rabies one, a lyme disease one,
And a bunch they just do to rob you blind.

And then there is the special microchip.
The one that is buried in its neck.
To update it will cost some moolah.
A $20 bill should cover it.

And have you thought about a collar?
And a leash, and a bed, and a crate.
I’ll sell you the whole setup for $200 dollars.
And throw in the food bowl and water bowl.

Down the road you’re gonna want to think more
About properly setting up your home
Is the backyard fenced or is open?
Cuz a fence is like $25 per linear foot.

And say there are some trees in that fence line.
Those will have to come down.
Cutting trees down used to be dirt cheap.
But now there are a lot of regulations and it’s expensive.

Don’t forget the cost of the land survey.
To make sure your neighbors won’t sue you
If you put the fence in the wrong place
And they call the city to rat on you.

So I haven’t added it all up.
But I’m sure by now you can see.
How much is that doggie in the window, you ask?
More trouble than its worth, easily!
Music ends

Laser the Prisoner 


My girlfriend’s cat is spiteful. Or so she says. Apparently he knows I set the TV remote on his back but because he can’t stand me he won’t move to get it off. I know that when I’m here he likes to sit between us in order to claim his spot on the couch, or to show me who’s the real man of the cell block. Sometimes we leave him alone for a few days because we’ll stay at my house and leave him a big bowl of food. When we come back he meows for a few minutes to get his bowl filled up again. After feeding him he’s back to sitting around ignoring is. He’s been in the house for 5 straight years, never left. I think of him as an inmate at Rykers doing stretch of time for B and E. He sometimes finds a shank and lashes out at us. As I write this he just bit her on the leg. All he’s missing is a number and a cell mate. I guess if I was trapped in a room for 5 years I’d be spiteful too.