Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

How to Win Your Job Fair

It’s the end of the school year, the time when a young go-getter’s thoughts turn to one thing: How the hell am I going to pay my rent? As a veteran of many a job fair in my day, I’ve assembled a dozen helpful tips for job seekers over at The Billfold. Here’s an excerpt:

Universities, career counselors, and makers of corporate-branded pens all agree: Job fairs are one of the most effective channels for finding new employment. With these handy and reliable tips, you’ll learn how to stand out from the crowd—or at least, from those in that crowd who have not also read these tips.

  1. Identify which companies you’d like to work for. Then, only speak with the other companies, so that your targets will get jealous and want you more.
  1. Master your “elevator pitch,” which consists of standing stiffly and avoiding eye contact for thirty seconds of awkward silence.

Read the full piece at The Billfold.


Firing up the USA Show Generator 8000

Common Law, the latest model from USA’s light-hearted-mismatched-buddy-based-professional-procedural factory, rolls off the assembly line tonight at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. CST). You can read more about it, and the network’s model, in this CNN story that quotes noted USA Network scholar and friend of the blog Cory “Coriander” Barker.

We here at The Vast Wasteland are much more interested in the future than the past. That’s why our crack staff of intrepid reporters have dug up these synopses of upcoming USA Network hits. Get ready to enjoy them on a Saturday early afternoon when you’ve flipped through like a dozen channels already and why the hell not land on this.

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Categories: Humor, Pop Culture, TV

Après The Raven, le déluge

Feeding moviegoers’ insatiable desire to see 19th century American icons become gothic-horror action heroes (no, really, that’s apparently a thing now), next weekend sees the opening of The Raven. If you haven’t scratched your heads at/laughed yourself silly over the ads yetThe Raven stars John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe. In it, the author who’s often credited with helping to invent the detective story must match wits with a serial killer who bases his crimes on Poe’s canon.

If The Raven is a smash hit at the box office—just…okay, come on guys, stop laughing, I’m trying to make a point—if it’s a hit,you can be certain Hollywood will crank it through the Idea Replicate-O-Tron 8000 and “reimagine” other famous authors grappling with their creations. Before they do, a few humble suggestions/predictions.

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Top 21 rejected social media job titles

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Gurus and ninjas and rock stars, oh my.

I’m not sure what it is about social media that attracts so many colorful job titles. Maybe it’s viewed as something “young people” use, and the head honchos think all us Gen Yers still love to play pretend in the backyard. Or maybe social media’s a domain where all the head honchos are Gen Yers and really do still love to play pretend in the backyard.

Either way, it’s not as easy as you might think to come up with flashy new appellations. You’ve got to strike a careful balance—hip and imaginative, yet credible and professional. Also, you want to avoid any insinuation that your job description involves murdering your clients. (I’m looking at you, “social media assassins.”)

With that in mind, here are 21 business cards you shouldn’t print anytime soon:

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Am I A Cylon?

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m not a fan of the board game adaptation of Battlestar Galactica, but I am an ardent fan of one particular running joke that it’s spawned. In the game, the players are all working together as a unit, except for one or two who are secretly designated as the Cylons.* One of the central goals of the game is for the humans to identify and neutralize these hidden saboteurs in their midst.This leads to many spirited accusations—“So-and-so’s the Cylon!”—which are enough fun to bandy about that they become part of the group’s running banter even absent the game (the way such context-free running jokes ingrain themselves in the lingua franca of any circle of friends).

*If you’re still reading a blog post that began with the phrase “board game adaptation of Battlestar Galactica,” I am going to respect that your nerd quotient is high enough to obviate a explanation of “Cylons.”

This story is not about a game of BSG, however. It’s about a game of Risk Legacy, a new and unorthodox twist on the conquer-the-world-through-the-power-of-dice-rolling stalwart. I and four friends have been playing it each weekend for the past few weeks.

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Listicle: Harvard Business Review Headlines That Sound Vaguely Porny, If You Think About It For A Few Seconds

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

How to Recover Your Core Rhythm

Yes, You Need More Gadgets

Yelp is Leaving Chains Behind

Hot Conflict Can Be Healthy, Even in China

The Ambidextrous CEO

Create Shared Value with a Trampoline Approach

A Female-Dominated Workplace Won’t Fix Everything

Need to Find a Job? Stop Looking So Hard

Getting Japanese Women Back on Track

Moving from Transaction to Engagement

Maintaining Physical, Social and Mental Fitness for Peak Performance

Stop Thinking Outside the Box

*All headlines pulled from @HarvardBiz tweets

Categories: Business, Humor

Hot Stove TV

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Earlier today on Twitter, critic Ryan McGee kicked off the hashtag game #HotStoveTV – applying the deal-making madness that grips professional sports in their off-seasons (such as Major League Baseball’s ongoing winter meetings) to the wide world of television. And you know what? It’s amazing how efficiently you could swap a few key players around and really bolster a show’s line-up.

Below the jump, a few I came up with:

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Categories: Humor, Pop Culture, TV

Something something "write stuff" pun

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

As a writer, one of my strongest and most well-practiced skills is talking myself out of writing. This should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the lamentably sparse updates of either of my blogs lately (hey, I had one good week in July there!) Oh sure, every now and then some diaphanous wisp of an idea floats into my head and I manage to mold it into 900 words of reasonably entertaining prose. But for every one that somehow sees the light of day, three or four others vanish ignominiously into the ether, having inspired little more than a few illegible scribblings or incoherent out-loud sputterings.

It’s a discouraging state of affairs, and one I’m inspired to improve after attending a class/discussion group on blogging last night with genuinely accomplished blogger & writer Kate Harding, at Story Studio Chicago (a terrific resource for you fellow Windy City wordsmiths). In that light, I’ve decided that step one is identifying the most common—well, excuses is such an ugly word; let’s call them “perfectly sound and logical counterarguments”—which lead me to abandon a potential piece of writing:

  • Somebody must have already made this exact point. Probably better. And if not, they will.
  • The DVR’s at, like, 64%.
  • What sentient, literate being would ever even want to read this misshapen jumble of quarter-baked doofusery??
  • Hey, 18 new tweets!
  • Yup. This is it. This one would wake them all up to the reality that I am a hack and a charlatan. It must be buried and forgotten. The illusion of my competence must live another day!
  • Welp, this Dragon Age quest ain’t gonna play itself.

Other creative types, please feel free to chip in with your own favorite self-defeating tactic.

2011 TV Preview Part Four: The Network from Whence The Premise Came

Round four of America’s newest favorite way to kill ten minutes at work brings us to the network that started it all: NBC. It gave the world both The Cape and Community, without which this entire gimmick wouldn’t exist (for background, see the installments for FOXCBS, and ABC), and without which I might be forced to actually put some thought into what I write on this blog rather than falling back on half-assed jokes and YouTube embeds.

A dozen new programs are tasked with resuscitating the once-proud Peacock from its perennial place in the ratings cellar. Proving itself to be a fount of originality, NBC’s line-up includes a modern day spin on classic fairy tales (…wait…), a sitcom developed by popular stand-up comic Whitney Cummings (no, not this one, a different one), a coming of age tale set in the world of musical theater (but not, y’know, THAT one), and a moody 1960s period piece centered on a brooding, nattily-attired anti-hero. Yup.

Eh, to hell with originality. I just want to know if any of these new shows will give us 2011’s answer to this guy!

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Categories: Humor, Pop Culture, TV

2011 TV Preview Part Three: Separating ABC’s "Meh" Wheat from its "Meh"-ier Chaff

Continuing to raise the bar for shallow, gimmick-based criticism everywhere, my highly scientific assessment of next season’s network TV schedule rolls on. See here and here for the first two entries in this series, in which I watch the trailers for a few new shows and predict whether they are bound to more closely match the creative nadir of The Cape, or the hopes once held by Mr. Nadir for The Cape. Today I take a gander at some of the whopping 13 new programs to be unleashed by ABC in 2011-12, while categorically refusing to suffer even a second of Work It, lest I pop a few veins and activate Dark Willow mode.

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Categories: Humor, Pop Culture, TV