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Here’s What’s Really Going On With FINNBAY

The instant you read Finnbay.com’s tagline, “HELPS YOU NAVIGATE IN THE DETAIL WHEN YOU ARE IN FINLAND”, you should immediately realize it’s just a hack blog run by a couple of bored non-native-English-speaking, Finnish-woman-chasing jackoffs.

Unless you’re NBC News.   Or the half of Finland who believes the site is funded by the Kremlin.

Seriously, funded by the Kremlin??   I’d hope the Russian government could pen a tagline that doesn’t sound like it was improvised by Borat.  And if they wanted to spread propaganda, they might take the proceeds from their €4.99/month subscription and put it towards an editor.  It’s like if the United States dropped propaganda pamphlets on Afghanistan, but locked them in gumball machines that require a quarter.

Here’s how their infamous coming-out letter kicks off:

    “FINNBAY has been the most successful media intelligence in our lives.”

Whoa!  Move over, Time magazine.  FINNBAY (All caps, All the time) is the new king of late night TV.  Let’s see how this letter ends:

    We will continue what we have been doing each day. Reporting the Facts. Because we have the balls.

FUCK YEAHH!!!!  That line has ‘MERICA written all over it.  I like how “Facts” is capitalized.  What’s more factual than a fact?  A capitalized Fact!  It’s twice as truthy.

My guess?  Finnbay.com is operated by two unemployed foreigners in Finland.  A young Turkish guy named Onur Yalcintas, the Borat of the operation who described Finnbay as “Finland’s most sexy English-language website”.  And a guy living in Rovaniemi, Bruce Stone, presumedly the American with “balls”.

Over a year ago they contacted a bunch of foreigners in Finland, myself included, in search of writers.  Seems like many took the bait and even write about their experiences with Finnbay, kinda creepily, here.  One blogger writes a lengthy description of her time as a Finnbay volunteer and concludes her experience was a “waste of time”.

They created a newspaper-style site and pretended to be an accredited news outlet.  They have a headquarters (to an address that doesn’t exist), branches (probably just where their volunteer authors live) and a switchboard (which apparently leads to a pay-as-you-go mobile phone).

But unlike the daily Facts on FINNBAY, this is all just my speculation.  But I understand their situation.  Back in 2002 as a fresh arrival to Finland I launched “The Finland Journal”, a group blog (before “blog” was a thing) full of volunteers.  Unlike Finnbay, we cited our opinions as “opinions” and would never charge a fee.

Being an unemployed foreigner in a strange land is tough and I applaud a team of writers for working together.  Finland’s homogeneous population can often produce a very one-sided media and outside commentary is very welcomed.

So what’s the real issue here?  That Finnbay.com may not live up to the highest journalistic integrity?  That the trusted NBC News, citing an unknown source, doesn’t either? Or that entire nation is up in arms over some bullshit website?

One thing is certain: Jon Hamm’s penis affirms there is no God.

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Man Debates Whether or Not to Go to Gym From Bed

SAN FRANCISCO – With his exercise shoes, socks, shorts, shirt and towel neatly laid out on his dresser, area man Phillip Schwarzmann is debating whether or not to go the gym from the comfort of his own bed.

Coming to full consciousness at 6:35am after hearing just three separate iPhone alarms, Phillip would have plenty of time for his morning workout pre-routine of fat-free Greek yoghurt, granola and several minutes of Facebooking before he departs for the gym.

“I’ve exercised five times this week. I have a great streak going and am in the zone! So maybe I deserve a day off,” says Phillip lying peacefully naked underneath his cozy covers.

At 100% battery life, Phillip’s smartphone and Bluetooth stereo headset are fully charged and ready for a vigorous workout including many songs from his self-curated “BANGERZ FOR THE GYM!!!!” playlist.

“I went overboard with the carbs last night, so I really should get in a solid 30 minutes of cardio and 30 of upper body. But I should really get a head start on work e-mails,” he says while strategically propping up three pillows in order to perfectly align his back and neck.

Beside him, Phillip’s wife of three years lies fast asleep, only punching through two of her iPhone alarms with an estimated 4-8 remaining depending if the family dog leaps onto the bed to engage in something called “snuggling”.

At press time Phillip’s Macbook Pro rests on his lap streaming the previous night’s episode of Portlandia. Still contemplating a quick 30 minute jog, Phillip remains in a relaxed state of immobility and self-loathing.

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How to Roll into Work 2 Hours Late and Not Get Caught

There’s a million legitimate reasons not to arrive at work on time.  Extra sleep, less traffic, alcoholism, extra-long masturbation session, or just general who-gives-a-shitness.

Show up at 9am?  All the good parking spots are taken.  Park in the back underneath the pine tree and watch sap slowly deteriorate the paint job on your 2003 Acura.  

Show up at 11am?  Some executive has already left for his noon tugjob leaving an available space near the front door.  LIKE A BOSS!

YOUR SUPERVISOR ISN’T WHO YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT

The boss has your best interests at heart.  If you look bad, they look bad, so they got your back.  The true enemy against laziness is that low-level manager who arrives daily at 7am…and takes every opportunity they can to brag about it.

“I need to leave early at 4pm today, but I HAVE been here since 7am!”
“I get in before most the execs!”
“I’m hungry at 11:30 because I eat breakfast at 5:30! LOL!!”

Cunts.  These are the most dangerous people in the company.  With an inflated sense of self-worth, these losers believe they’ll reach the C-Level by perching in their cubes 12 hours per day.  They’ll bust your tardiness any chance they can.

“Nice of you to join us!”
“…Well good afternoon to you!”
“…Did you get that e-mail?…”

Ever wondered why there’s no everything-bagels left on bagel Tuesdays?  THESE WASTES-OF-SPACE ATE THEM!!!

WHY THEY ARRIVE AT 7AM

These soulless creatures can only achieve satisfaction through office life.  Their spouses despise them, their kids barely know them and they have zero hobbies outside of work.  They haven’t touched themselves in weeks for fear of remembering a meaningful, fulfilling life they once had.  Would you rather dress your snottyass kid in the morning?  Or pretend you have an “important” 7am meeting?  The choice is obvious.

Their only interests outside the office are cars, collecting airline miles, fancy restaurants and jogging on a treadmill.  Each evening they wash down their Zoloft® with several glasses of “Cab” and are in bed by 9 o’clock.

These people will be Vice Presidents of the company one day.

10 WAYS TO FOOL’EM

While the fun police are busy projecting their own unhappiness onto you, here’s a few tips on how to fool ’em into thinking you’ve been working even harder than they!

1. Turn off your screensaver

Leave your monitor on 24/7.  Load up some PowerPoint presentation.  Keep an extra jacket on your chair.  Buy an identical man-bag and leave it on your cubicle floor.  Turn on all your lamps.  It’ll look like you’re at the office.  This is also helpful when you want to escape at 3pm.

2. Block off mornings in your calendar

Nosey colleagues will check Outlook to see if you’re in meetings.   Block off 6-11am each morning.  Your calendar should look a bad game of Tetris.

3. Send bullshit responses to e-mails

When you wake up at 8:30am, send out some quick e-mails.  Responses like, “I’m on it!…”  “…Is this meeting still on?…”  “…What’s the status on this?”  Don’t forget to “Reply All” for maximum effect.

4. Don’t every say “HI!” to anyone, ever

Saying “HI!” to co-workers in the hallway is for people who arrive at 9am.  By 9:30 everyone has gotten that pretentious crap out of the way.  They’ve passed everybody in the hallway at least three times and a “Morning!” has morphed into an awkward head nod.  Give an awkward head nod.

5. Pretend to be on the phone

When you arrive to your team’s cubicles, fake a conference call.  Look stressed, like you’ve been on calls since 5am.  Wave around a wad of papers.  Your co-workers are pretending to be stressed too, they’ll get it.  They’ve been working on some clever, personalized passive-aggressive comment to give you for three hours.  Don’t give them the opportunity.

6. Attack is the best defense

Like an inmate on his first day in prison, you gotta attack the first motherfucker you see.  Ask them on the status of that e-mail you sent them 30 seconds prior.  Accuse THEM of being late!  “Where have you been all morning?  I haven’t seen you!  I’ve been looking for you!  Want lunch?”

7. “I was on the phone with Asia all night!”

Name an entire fucking continent.  Say you’ve been knee deep in meetings with said continent.  This is somehow a logical excuse.

8. Admit you were late

Honesty is the best remedy.  But don’t be too honest.  When you roll up at 11, sheepishly offer up that you arrived at 9:30.  Blame traffic.

9. Have an excuse ready

In the rare chance you get busted, have an excuse ready.  Don’t use “sick kids” because everyone hates kids, especially men.  Dying grandparent is always a good one.  Everyone has a dying grandparent and you’d be asshole-of-the0century if you didn’t display fake sympathy for them.

10. Show proof

When all else fails, prove them wrong.  Take them to the window and point: “See that dirty Acura between those two Tesla’s by the main entrance?  See how early I arrived!! Want lunch?”

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Denver Fans Be Like…

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Area Dogs Share Mixed Feelings on Super Bowl

SEATTLE, WA – With the largest TV event of the year just a week away, dozens of area dogs share mixed feelings of the Super Bowl and related parties coming to their domiciles.

While the momental game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks is highly anticipated by millions of fans worldwide, local canines are weighing the pros and cons.

“Every year my owners have a big party! It’s very exciting!! Everyone is VERY happy to see me. I get a LOT of attention and there isn’t an itch on my body that doesn’t get scratched,” says Redmond resident Rusty, a wire-haired dachshund. “But the doorbell rings every five seconds with new guests. I can’t help but bark! And I’m not allowed to bark. I’m a bad boy. A very bad boy.”

A bad boy indeed. Several towns over, 12-year old Bella, a black lab and 2005 Seattle Kennel Club blue ribbon winner agrees.

“The sudden outbursts is what bothers me. All my owner’s friends are laughing and smiling, then screaming! Was it me? Did I do something wrong?” she says eyebrows down and tail between legs.

3-year old Oggie, a Shetland sheepdog and accomplished frisbee catcher from Boulder, looks forward to the free food. “My master’s guests are always slipping me snacks and even dropping food on the floor. As the game progresses, food is dropped at a higher rate,” he says with tail oscillating wildly. “But then I have to poop and my master says ‘Just wait two more minutes’ and it’s never just two minutes!”

“Towards the end of the game everyone let’s me lick their face, which is great,” says Olive, a 5-year old Pit-Lab mix and cheese connoisseur. “It’s also great that everyone leaves the toilet lid up. I’m never thirsty.”

No word on whom the dogs are rooting for. Ginger, an 8-year old Bulldog and avid sleeper, has a guess. “I assume I’m a Broncos fan if I am to believe this matching Broncos sweater, Broncos bandanna and Broncos dog tag currently on my body.”

The annual game will come and go soon enough for the dogs. Just 57 more sleeps.

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Student Fools No One with Apple Sticker

LOS ANGELES – University of California Los Angeles sophomore Ryan Kessling has yet to fool a single classmate into believing his laptop is an authentic Apple product. Citing a lack of funds and “everyone else is doing it”, the history major applied an Apple-branded sticker onto his two-year old Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop.

“My roommate has dozens of these stickers from all his Apple products,” said the 19-year old Kessling. “I stuck one on my laptop as a goof. Like, to be ironic and shit.”

Carefully placing the white sticker bearing the familiar logo directly overtop the equally familiar Dell logo during a Monday evening Archer marathon, Kessling cleverly disguised his PC for a trendier MacBook Pro.

This hasn’t fooled anyone.

“It’s obviously not a $2,000 MacBook,” said fellow Stanford sophomore Margot Summerville. “You can tell because Ryan’s laptop is like a dark gray, while a MacBook Pro is light gray.”

Kessling said the stickers won’t stop with a laptop. He has plans to create an faux Apple toaster, faux Apple glass bong and faux Apple stop sign.

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Justine Sacco: From one Public Relations Jokster to Another

We did it, ‘MURICA!! We ruined a woman’s life! And right before Christmas!! Let’s hope her South African vacation was ruined by thoughts of despair and suicide. There’s too many women in executive positions anyways. GO TEAM GO!

For those of you mobsters who helped destroy Justine Sacco, the words above is what we call “irony”. I don’t really mean them. In fact, I think the exact opposite. I used humor as a vessel to prove a point. And maybe Justine did the same.

We Americans still love to lynch people. It’s our knee-jerk reaction to everything. HANG’EM HIGH!! EYE FOR AN EYE!! THREE STRIKES AND YOURE OUT!! So embarrassing. No surprise we have 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s incarcerated population.

Sacha Baron Cohen was asked how Brits and Americans differ in their reactions to his Borat/Bruno characters. He said Brits will gradually become more agitated with his vexing, while Americans are calm and polite…then suddenly snap. Yup, that’s us!

What Justine tweeted was retarded. And I’m offending mentally retarded people by calling her that, because they’d never say something so stupid. Could she have been using irony and humor to prove a larger point about white people’s ignorance towards AIDS? Would she be in this situation if her tweet was reworded to, “Going to Africa. The racial differences amongst AIDS victims is alarming, and white people don’t care!” ?

Or maybe she’s just a racist asshole.

Canadian-Indian comedian Russell Peters, whose entire act is about race, once said, “Racial jokes and racist jokes are two different things.” And when a racial joke bombs, it just sounds racial.

I too work in public relations and dabble with stand-up comedy. I test out joke ideas on Twitter, and if they get some ReTweets, I turn them into jokes to test on stage. Most comedians do this. And all comedians tweet out some real stinkers. Especially myself. Unlike Justine, I keep my comedy and professional worlds separate. Writing “CorpComms at IAC” in her Twitter profile was almost as dumb as her tweet.

After my sister-in-law lovingly spent hours knitting me a Christmas present, I posted, “I feel guilty when someone knits something for me. Unless that someone is a 10-year old Taiwanese boy.” An idiot would think I’m mocking child slave-like labor. But I’m using observational humor to convey a serious issue. We’ve all felt guilty for receiving gifts. Yet we westerners feel zero guilt buying a child-made $20 sweater from H&M. I felt my humor and tight-editing would deliver this powerful message better than a 500-word rant.

“She’s a PR exec, she should have known better!”

You’re right, she should have known. …Known that “women aren’t funny“! Everyone knows that! Oh, and Justine is pretty. Pretty women DEFINITELY shouldn’t be joking around. It takes away from making babies and writing lame corporate communications materials.

If she was “Justin” instead of “Justine”, she’d still have a job.

Many assume humor is always used to mock someone or something. Humor is much more complex. I joked many times during the eulogy of my father’s funeral. Was I mocking the death of my father? Or was I using humor to cope with a difficult situation? Did I hope that my humor would help others cope with that difficult situation?

Some people cry to cope, some yell, some mope, some people abuse drugs and alcohol. I laugh. I joke. It’s how I’ve instinctively dealt with difficult situations since a child. Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah said about growing up poor, “We survived winters, snotty nosed with no coats. We kept it real, but the older brother still had jokes.”

The world was infatuated with Justine for several days, not because of her words, but because we all feared this could one day happen to us. We’ve all written or said something stupid. But like Jennifer Lawrence’s character in The Hunger Games, her number came up.

She was a nobody at a nobody company. According to her Twitter page she’s “Troublemaker on the side. Also known for my loud laugh”. So she’s a jokester amongst jokesters. She pushes boundaries. She’s no doubt beloved amongst her peers. Labeled by the media as an “executive” (probably for the first, and last time), but in reality she was a “Senior Director”. Middle management.

She worked for the least humorous website on the internet, Collegehumor.com, so she’s surrounded by wannabe-funny people all day where her lame tweet fits right in. No doubt a sense of humor is a job prerequisite. Her lame joke fits right in there with their website persona.

Little talk of US labor laws were discussed in the articles I read. Shouldn’t personal and professional lives be separate? Do we really want corporations to own us 24/7? Thanks for the US’s freedom of speech laws, no crime was committed here. Pornography is unacceptable in the workplace, but when it happens in your free time, is it your employer’s business?

Turns out Justine, like myself and most other comics, is a bleeding-heart liberal. I doubt she’s racist. Her situation has been compared to the firing of the Duck Dynasty dad for his rants against homosexuals. What’s worse, a joke about gays…or actually hating gays and wanting them banished to hell for all eternity? Big difference.

We’ll never know if Justine Sacco is a bigot or just had a 10-second brainfart. AIDS is a serious issue and I’m happy to see the internet discussing this once more. While I’m upset that someone could mock such a serious issue, I’m more upset at Americans in 2013. How we treat men and women differently. How some random person’s tweet is worthy of national headlines. How we misunderstand humor. How we skip compassion and rehabilitation to go right for the jugular.

Here’s hoping for a better 2014.

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Better!

Funner!

Better!

Funner!

Buy my fucking book! (please)


 

Phil’s debut humor book, “How to Marry a Finnish Girl” is out now on Gummerus Publishers.

About Better! Funner!


 

Better! Funner! is a blog written and curated by Phil Schwarzmann. You’ll find funny original pieces, some not-so-funny pieces, plus stuff that made Phil laugh from around them internets. Enjoy!