Zack’s Hate Mail From The Most Adorable Little Girl You’ve Ever Seen Who Is Also His Downstairs Neighbor

Abby Greenlend, Age 5

In our offices, everyday it seems like Zack gets a piece of Hate Mail from just about any and everybody you could imagine. Here are some of the keepers:

Taped to my door! How precious!
Wait...WAIT. WHAT.
Is that a TV being murderously thrown on me? Why yes. Yes, indeed. That's a TV being murderously thrown on me.

The bottom: "PS - This is Abby's mother, and I let her write this. I even helped."


How To And How To Not Compete And WIN Beauty Pageants

Two words: WEAK SAUCE. Like the Mom said, if beauty pageants weren’t about beauty they wouldn’t be called beauty pageants. Little girl needs to GROW THE EFF UP AND TAKE THAT SCALDING HOT WAX LIKE THE GROWN WOMAN SHE CLEARLY ISN’T. Those eyebrows that were removed? UNSIGHTLY. I guess. I don’t know I couldn’t really see them, but I’m not a trained professional judge. THOSE GUYS ARE THE KINGS OF DISCERNMENT AND THEY WILL CATAPULT YOU AND THAT BERT AND ERNIE UNIBROW OF YOURS LITTLE GIRL.

I’m confident this girl will be crowned champion one day. She’s got the drive and determination to be a proven winner, and, if she does happen to falter, has a mother who’s willing to belt her into the winner’s circle against her will. GREAT family hustle.


Watching this live was something of a game changing moment for the rest of my life. You’re watching someone from your home state, and thinking to yourself, “My God, there’s a chance for my state to be special, to rise up from the ashes of getting made fun of for banging our cousins, and really be able to stand proud as an Arkansan.”

Then she brought out two puppets.

Needless to say, I was concerned. “YOU GOTTA BE EFFING KIDDING ME, ALYSE!” I bellowed. “NOT ON THIS STAGE! THIS ISN’T AMATUER HOUR, THIS IS MISS AMERICA FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.” But that’s why Alyse competed in Miss America, and I was sitting at home. She BLEW AMERICA INTO TINYBITS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS AND PLEASURE. Ventriloquism: Really hard to pull off well. If your dialogue is good, and you don’t look like you’re just talking through your teeth, but the rest of your mouth is moving (LOOKING AT YOU, JEFF DUNHAM), it can be somewhat entertaining. Yodeling: Best part of “The Price Is Right” was the yodeling scale, in which the total number of dollars in which one was over or under for a given item was added up, and if there were too many, the mountain climber would descend to his death. Okay, Plinko was still probably No. 1, but you get it. Yodeling is very entertaining, but, many would say, beneath the decorum of the venerable and hallowed halls of Miss America.

Ventriloquism and Yodeling is nothing short of the Lord coming down, blasting my body with a rainbow bazooka, and having me give birth to a formidable team of baby koala medical doctors. In a word: MIRACULOUS.

So that, little miss my-eyebrows-hurt-but-not-enough-to-not-literally-lick-my-lips-at-the-mere-sight-of-candy, is how you WIN MISS AMERICA place second in Miss America.

But there’s always next year (or if new 17 Year old Miss Nebraska should find her way into a controversy) to win.


You’ve got some nerve interrupting a perfectly fine afternoon by asking me if I’m watching When Harry Met Sally. Some nerve! You know my girlfriend isn’t here right now, she’s at work, so why would I, working from home BY MYSELF, be watching what is regarded by anyone with a brain functioning between their ears the Greatest Film Chick Flick of All Time. It just doesn’t make any sense for me to do that. I watch ESPN, “Law and Order,” and Die Hard – all of them – exclusively throughout my day.

I don’t know which of those three I’m watching right now, but it’s certainly not When Harry Met Sally. No way it’s that.

I don’t know what it is you heard, but it wasn’t the ICONIC scene at Katz’s Delicatessen in which Meg Ryan’s character, Sally Albright, convinces Billy Crystal’s Harry Burns that women fake orgasms all the time by hilariously faking an orgasm right there in the middle of the deli! It was probably someone celebrating a touchdown pass they caught or threw or whatever. I WON’T have what she’s having. PS – Did you know the elderly woman who utters that famous scene-capping line was director Rob Reiner’s mother, Estelle Reiner?

I didn’t know that tidbit either, BECAUSE I’VE NEVER SEEN When Harry Met Sally‘S SPECIAL FEATURES.

Frankly, I don’t even watch that much television or film when I’m working. When I’m working, it’s time to work, NOT time to watch classic and historic pieces of cinema that stir the heart, soul, and mind into a compelling and thoughtful laughing fit. Or WHMS (WHMS is the agreed upon acronym and abbreviation for When Harry Met Sally, I…I guess). Nope, I keep my nose to the grindstone, and would never watch such a silly, girly movie like WHMS. I’d be, you know, like, so annoyed and have to turn it off. Then I’d have to get up and take it out of the DVD player, dust it off to make sure that it stays in nearly mint condition, put it back in the protective casing, then put the protective casing in its own protective casing and put it back on the shelf, then I’d be thinking about that movie (and how much it sucks!) for the rest of the afternoon, and it just wouldn’t be conducive to good work.

No I don’t OWN WHMS on DVD, it was on TV! Not that I was even watching it. It was something else completely. On the TV.

Again, I can’t remember what that was I was watching. I would have definitely remembered seeing WHMS, or having been made to watch that ABSOLUTELY against my will. I usually remember doing things against my will. And I ALWAYS remember watching WHMS. LOGICALLY, I must always be forced to watch WHMS. And like I said, I wasn’t being forced to watch WHMS. I was probably watching something totally masculine, because, as you might be able to tell, I’m totally male.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got another 50 minutes or so left in this movie you interrupted. No, I did NOT realize that it’s almost 50 minutes exactly after the orgasm scene to the end of WHMS. That is a coincidence.

Can’t Say My Entire Perception of Male Cat Owners Isn’t Shattered By The Godfather Owning A Cat

Cat Fancier

When I moved into the apartment I’m in now, I had the understanding that a single man had occupied it previously. It had been uninhabited for some time, so while dusting behind the stove, under the dishwasher, etc., I was very disturbed to find what can only be described as a grown-man’s-dumpsworth of uneaten cat food bits.

It reinforced a long understood axiom of mine that grown men should not own cats. Not by themselves anyway.

I get it. Cats are tidy. They keep to themselves. A good litter box and they’re reasonably low maintenance, perfect for a guy who’s always on the go, traveling for business, or just bedding a lot of strange women at their place. It makes a lot of sense. Dogs you’ve gotta take out, walk them, feed them, give them at least 60 seconds of attention: all things you don’t need to do with a cat.

But the main reason you get a pet is for companionship, and cats, while pragmatic, are soulless creatures that would rather kill you than look at you.

My family has a cat back in Arkansas. We got him around third grade or so, so he’s led a full, nice life. He’s like a dog, this cat, Smokey. You’ll be sitting on the porch, and he’ll come up and nuzzle and cuddle with you, just like your best Golden Retriever or Labrador. But I don’t think for a minute that if Smokey were vested with the power to grow to the size of a lion, or the brain power to operate heavy machinery, that he wouldn’t rip me and a friend or family member of mine that he’d ever come across into as tiny of bits he could manage just to see us BLEED. You can see it in his eyes. YOU CAN SEE IT IN THEIR EYES. I’ve seen what they do to squirrels.

This perception has been a cornerstone of my upbringing, and, as I watch The Godfather on this afternoon, I am shocked to realize something I hadn’t ever before: Vito Corleone, the best Godfather of them all, owned a cat.

It wasn’t his wife’s or his grandchildren’s cat. It was in his office with all of the other important people in his inner sanctum, answering the requests asked of him on the day of his daughter’s wedding, REQUESTS HE COULD NOT REFUSE. This was an integral part of the ENTIRE COSTA NOSTRA. It wasn’t just roaming the house like an idiot. Barzini could’ve just nabbed him and made the little sucker SQUEAL. He got Abe Vigoda, after all.

So maybe there’s something to cats after all. I mean, if the Godfather can have one, why can’t anyone else? Why shouldn’t I be able to get a little feline critter if I see fit?

Quite simply, I’m just not that guy. The Godfather can pull off a lot of things I can’t, liked slicked back hair, cats, and cotton balls inexplicably being jammed in my mouth. Plus, I think my awesome, 95 lbs. dog would destroy a cat in whatever hilarious fashion he saw fit.

Because dogs are awesome, you see.

Quick, I Need Injury Stories To Tell People Instead of Telling Them I Pulled A Muscle Sneezing Too Hard

This glowing redness is NOT sneeze related, RIGHT? RIGHT.


I pulled or tweaked or otherwise injured a muscle in my back, like right in the middle on the left side of my back. This has made even the most menial leanings-over to get off the couch or bending over to pick up a slice of cheese that fell on the ground when I was making a sandwich. It hasn’t really hindered any sort of breathing yet, but I’m sure if I ever needed to run for a certain amount of time, it’d give me grief. And that’s the thing about getting mugged: You never know when you’re needing to sprint away.


I don’t think I broke a rib. I sneeze pretty freaking hard. Like HARD. You know how people will release an audible “guhh” when they release everything out of their nose? I sound like those soldiers from 300 when Leonidas asks them what their profession is. All 299 of them. Right here in my barrel chest. If I broke a rib, that’d be some weak, weak sauce. I’m embarrassed enough that it might be a tweaked muscle. Nothing sounds more feminine than anything something being “tweaked” unless you did it climbing a mountain, getting tackled playing football, or some other awesome story that will captivate people you want to forget that you had tweaked something.


I need a great story to tell people when I’m hobbling around with this injury mild pain of mine. Something that’s going to make me seem way more masculine than a snot-related hindrance would seem at first glance, which is, of course, not at all. I need something that commands respect instead of the indifferent scorn such an incident will evoke when I, ya know, try to stretch my back while I’m at the bar or something. Here were some of my preliminary thoughts:

Saving Baby From Burning Wreckage: So there’s a lot of snow today. Everyone’s assuming there’s going to be a lot of auto accidents, some of them QUITE POSSIBLY INVOLVING FIRE. And everyone knows babies can’t be driving themselves around to their numerous appointments and meetings. The calamity would be catastrophic.

I’m betting I can convince people that I strained my back pulling a baby out of the fiery wreckage of a wintry collision. “Well, the doors were bent shut, and I couldn’t just sit around and wait for the Jaws of Life to get there, I HAD TO ACT FOR GOD’S SAKE.” People might not believe that I could rip the doors off of a car, but if the doors were already well damaged, or partially ripped off already, or oh! Better yet! It was a SmartCar! I was able to rip the roof right off of it.

No one would believe that I’d escape that heroism without, at the very least, a slight injury to some part of my body. This isn’t that movie, Unbreakable.  I WOULD HAVE CERTAINLY TWEAKED SOMETHING, WOULDN’T I?

Some Sort of Lat Pull Down Working Out: So maybe I, AT FIRST GLIMPSE ONLY, don’t seem like the type of guy who would rush into an auto accident, putting myself in danger to save someone else from their own danger, or the type of guy who would be outside when it was so snowy. I get cold!

But I’m not in that bad of shape. I look like I could find my way around a gym alright. I used to be something in high school. Why, I could bench press roughly 315lbs during my senior year! Yeah, I might’ve lost a step or two, but when you see me, you see a person who isn’t out of the daylight of their physical peak just yet. Yes! Perhaps I decided to do YET ANOTHER set of lateral pull downs, flexing my dorsimus, upper dorsimus, and middle dorsimus to the point of utter exhastion and CONTINUING TO DO WORK. Clearly, I have the look of a man who, when he sets out to do something to better himself or others, by God, he finishes the job. Maybe the ole back got a little worn out. Wouldn’t be the first time. Working myself out so regularly for so long and so hard, I WOULD HAVE CERTAINLY TWEAKED SOMETHING AT SOME POINT, WOULDN’T I?!

Surgery To Remove Long Embedded Shrapnel: Maybe the tale can come from long ago. Perhaps my car broke down next to a city development or construction site of some sort. Maybe I was walking around it, looking to see if there were anyone still working, or perhaps had left a radio or walky talky behind. Yeah, and while walking around, I inadvertently set off one of the grinding machines or whatever construction workers use to…construct. This created a TREMENDOUS EXPLOSION setting the development of my tiny hometown in Arkansas back a few more years and sending rock, metal, and wooden shrapnel out of the machine and bringing the entire site down on me. Of course, I heroically rose from the wreckage like a Caucasian Phoenix, but not without sustaining HIDDEN INJURIES.

And many years later, in 2011, I had that hidden injury removed and the result was a slightly sore back for a few days, but nothing serious. THAT WOULD CERTAINLY RESEMBLE A MINOR TWEAK, WOULD IT NOT?! IT TOTALLY WOULD.

I dunno. Those are my best guesses. I can’t believe I sneezed so hard I injured myself. Is that masculine at all? I mean, I’VE GOT THE SINUS POWER TO INJURE MEN! No? Alright. Feed me stories, friends. Trying to salvage some dignity here after all.

Weighing The Pros and Cons of Seeing ‘The Green Hornet’ Based On Thirty Second Ads

I wish I could say this is the first time I've been torn between my love of Coolio and gravy.

When you’re on a budget and eat as much expensive cereal as I do, you’ve gotta pick and choose which movies you’re going to pony up the dough to see in the theaters and which you’re going to wait until you can nab a DVD or can wait for three days to see from Netflix.

True Grit? Oh, you see that awesomeness in the theaters. Same with Avatar and Tron 2, because, honestly, what’s the point of seeing those movies on your boring 2-D television. Oh, the stories were good? The stories were NOT good. Black Swan? Great movie, saw it in the theaters, should’ve seen it at home. Same with The Social Network. Others just shouldn’t be seen at all, like No Strings Attached. You lost me at all of the menstrual cycle jokes, specifically the commercial that talks all about it. “That’s the doozy,” DERP DERP DERP.

So judging these ads can be the difference between a good night or a terrible night you’ll rue in both memory and bank account for possibly YEARS TO COME. Why on Earth did I spend eight dollars to see Spiderman 3? WHY. Which brings me this Green Hornet coming out soon. I like Seth Rogan, and I’m generally in the mood for superhero movies, the back alley stabbing that was Spiderman 3 notwithstanding. Let’s go to the ads:

Oh CRAP. “Gangster’s Paradise”? THAT SONG IS DOPE. I’ve already remonstrated how much I love Coolio and how much he loves me. I couldn’t believe I was seeing this at first. I thought my iPod had turned on in the kitchen somewhere. Then I saw Seth Rogen singing along with it, the volume adjusting with every splosion and gunfire and ninja kick. Then I remembered I don’t own an iPod. White people rapping usually isn’t my cup of tea, because, you know, it sucks. But this was pretty cool. And when the Chinaman whose name escapes me goes “Hoo!” I lost it.

Great ad? Go see it? NOT SO FAST.

(/rubs temples)

Well, this is just stupid. Plus it’s Hardee’s. You’re going to have to convince me that diarrhea is worth paying for, and getting Seth Rogan and his sidekick to do it is not the way to go. Hardee’s commercials should just show a picture of a beer mug, extra-wide drive thru lanes, and a picture of a couch to sleep on. That’s all they should be.

Also, the fact that Green Hornet had to go all the way down the fast-food joint chain to Hardee’s doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in their product. Sure, EVERYONE wants McDonald’s to plug their movie. They’re the Nikes of Things-That-Give-You-Diabetes. Next on the list is Burger King, then Taco Bell, Sonic, Wendy’s, KFC, Arby’s, Popeye’s, Enterprise Bowling in Benton, Arkansas, Back Yard Burger, Del Taco, THEN Hardee’s, and I’m sure I forgot some. That’s pretty low, Rogen and Co.

Not saying I wouldn’t eat Hardee’s. I’d eat me the crap out of some Hardee’s. I think they’re the only fast food joint that uses gravy as a condiment, God bless em.

So I guess it’s a push. I’m sure I’ll just watch the Green Hornet in like two years when it’s on TV and the party I’m at is really lame and there’s no good sports on TV. But let me know if you see and it’s better than waiting for two years to see it when it’s on TV and I’m at a party and it’s lame and there’s no good sports on TV.

PS – Cameron Diaz is old and busted. Replace her with Blake Lively from now on.

What To Do This Weekend: Gotta Gotta Get Up To Get Down

I don’t know what it is about me, but every Thursday evening to Friday afternoon, I get asked “What’s going on this weekend?”, even by people who live NOWHERE NEAR ME. Maybe it’s my sterling track record of competitive dance-offs. Maybe it’s my sharp dressing (Air Force Ones ONLY…and suspenders sometimes). Maybe it’s because when you look at me, you KNOW I know the nearest place to get food, because I’ve likely already been there twice this week.

I don’t look like this for nothing folks. I look like this FOR YOU.

Anywhozzle, there’s plenty going on. There’s also plenty not going on. There are things to do and there are things that most aren’t doing and shouldn’t want to do. Truthfully, I was trying to decide whether or not to make a list of things To Do or Not To Do, but I was like, screw this, I’m just doing both. So there.

TO DO – Go To A Department Store In Your Bathrobe: Department stores are weird. Usually when I think of stores, I think of places that I need to go, like Wal-Mart, or Schnuck’s, or The Internet. I’m there for a specific reason. But Department Stores have salespeople on the floor, who earn a commission for every set of designer shoes, vial of striking cologne, and/or ill-fitting (for me) shirts.

This means they will bend to your every minor whim. Such exploitation is a luxury one ought to indulge  – for FREE, mind you – at least once or twice in their lifetime, or in my case, per week.

Going to these department stores in your bathrobe shows them what they already know: You are the boss of them. It’s my experience the cheaper the better. Me? I rock this awesome plaid bathrobe pretty much everyday. Am I wearing it now? It doesn’t matter when you’re reading this, the answer is YES. Now, they may be hesitant to approach you, being that you’re in a bathrobe and not wearing pants (PS – Don’t wear pants). So you’re going to want to talk up all of your affairs. Say words like “monocle,” “affairs,” “France,” “vestibule,” “diluted,” and “absolutely.” Affairs is really good, because it means a whole lot of things, most of them involving leather and dark wood.

Just order these people around. Then, purchase nothing. You have no idea how long these people are going to retrace their steps through this potential sale, second-guessing just what went wrong. It makes for a great weekend story because those people? They’re so weird!

DON’T DO – Sing “Who You Finna Try”: Unless you like getting slapped in the face with cocaine.

PS – Unless that’s just a regular going-out shirt for this lady, she looks like a nurse. Another “Don’t Do” would be go to whatever hospital or doctor she works for without knowing the exact name of the physician you’d like to see. Because then she’d ask “Who would you like to try?”, with her enunication totally throwing you off guard. And in that split second you were thrown off guard she’d go “AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!” and her male friend would slap you in the face.

TO DO – Ride A Public Bus: This will be good for anyone who’s really, really bored. That type of bored where you’re all uppity and like “Oh my GOD I just want to get OUT of this HOUSE!” Yeah, that warm lodging you can afford really sucks doesn’t it? It’s a shame how warm it keeps you in January. And how dry are you in a rain storm? SO DRY. What a punch in the wiener.

So just go wait by the nearest bus stop the next Saturday night you’re climbing the walls looking for something to do. Get on and just watch.

City buses are moving plains of land that are both uncharted and unmarshalled. You know those signs that say “No drinking/No Smoking/No Masturbating” or whatever? Those are the equivalent of road signs some frat guy puts up in the chapter room that say “Roads Are Slippery When Wet.” There’s no road to be mindful of in the Phi Delt house, and there ARE NO RULES ON THE BUS. Spend an hour on that bus, pray you don’t get an airborne STD, then go home (GET OFF THAT BUS HOWEVER YOU CAN), take a shower, cry, take another shower, and then watch whatever is on TV or that you’ve got DVR’d.

You’ll love it. After that, it’ll be the best night of your life.

DON’T DO – Work Out: Because that stuff is lame.

I like working out as much as the next guy, but I hate going in there and seeing the guys who don’t do anything BUT work out, because they give you THAT look, the look that says “My experience overwhelms you, Zack; tremble at my might!” I’d tell him that he’s contributing nothing to society by being able to rip now-obsolete phone books in half, but then he’d stuff me in a mailbox or something. One of those big blue ones on the street.

Frankly, this guy had it coming because a.) he owned a cat and b.) way to properly put your guitar on a stand, dork. Looks like your weekly clumsy strumming of Incubus’ “Drive” will have to be put on hold for a while. Dozens of girls you’d go to jail for dating will be devastated.