Category Archives: Shopping

No Stone Unturned

It’s the day after Christmas, or as the civilized world calls it, Boxing Day, and I’m starting to feel marginally less shit than I’ve done for the last six days. It’s a mistake to take time off work and relax because I can always guarantee that the moment I stop working a miserable cold/flu virus will descend on me from a great height and fuck me up. And that is indeed what happened precisely one day after coming home. Of course, like all normal males, I had not done one iota of Christmas shopping prior to this, having planned on the five remaining days before Christmas being plenty within which to accomplish the pathetic series of near-desperate purchases that normally make up my gift list.

I didn’t plan to be down for the count for six days, but fortunately I made the effort (greatly assisted by assorted medications) to visit the stores on Monday, just to get the whole exercise out of the way and ensure that Mrs Bison had something to open on Christmas morning. (Mrs Bison is a patient and wonderful woman, but like all women has an elephantine memory for such transgressions, and although she cares little for fancy gifts, I could not risk being slyly reminded for the next, ooh, let’s say thirty years, about the year she had nothing at all to open.)

We long ago stopped trying to impress each other with gifts, which does take the pressure off, and instead we just buy fun junk. If there was anything we actually wanted we would already have bought it, and it’s amazing how much crap you don’t really need when you get right down to it. Not exactly the consumer behavior the retail industry is dreaming about this season, and judging by the swarms of crappy people clogging up the roads around the mall on Monday, not a very common attitude either. So I patiently avoided running over the moron family who wandered out into the road, the dumb woman on her phone who didn’t look where she was going and the bitch who didn’t seem to care that between her and her bus was an active road, and parked the car at the mall. By this time I’d bought the more “fun” gifts, but I had it in my mind to check out some jewelry, because Mrs Bison is an excellent spouse, and wouldn’t it be fun to surprise her?

So I cruised a few jewelers in the mall, looking for attractive necklaces that didn’t cost the same as a small car. You have to be careful doing this – the trick is to wander through and glance sidelong at the merchandise, but without making eye contact with the lacquered harridan behind the glass counter, who will immediately ask what she can show you, and then proceed to attempt to guilt you into buying some overpriced tat. I had a narrow escape with one Eastern European assistant who wanted to direct me to silver jewelry coated in gold (“so you mean gold plated crap?”) but after three stores I had seen nothing remotely interesting. Last shot – Macy’s. Credit where it’s due, they had more attractive looking stuff, and my attention was drawn to one necklace – a gold chain with some diamondy bits, including one larger stone. Of course they had elegantly folded the price tag underneath the item, making it impossible to determine whether this was in the price range I was looking for. Along came the assistant to ask if I needed anything. “Sure – can you just tell me how absurd the price tag is on that necklace?” (No, that’s really what I said.) Out comes the necklace, display it, touch it, describe it, and then out comes the calculator for the myriad discounts, the result of which was $750, unless I wanted to get a Macy’s card?

Let’s leave aside for a moment that the gold chain was so insubstantial as to be near invisible, and that there’s a fine line between “delicate” and “cheap”. Let’s also leave aside that I thought the item would have looked better as a gold thing with glittery bits, and absent the solitaire stone, and also let’s leave aside the fact that I wanted to spend about $500 less than that. I was suddenly reminded about why I hate shopping for jewelry. It’s impossible to know if you’re being ripped off. (Actually it’s almost certainly the case, but let’s just pretend for a moment.)

The most expensive part of that necklace should certainly have been the single diamond; the gold chain and setting could have been bought for next to nothing in China, and the diamond fragments are worthless even if pretty. So what was the big stone worth? Well that depends doesn’t it? Forget the fact that it’s actually worth nothing without the artificial inflation of diamond prices by a worldwide cartel, and just consider its worth within the rigged market: was that stone a clear E color stone with no inclusions, elegantly cut to maximize brilliance? Or was it a yellow piece of near-industrial grit, knocked up in a cheap shop and glued to a gold setting in a Chinese factory? I have no way of knowing. I can’t pull out an eyepiece and examine it, partly because I don’t own one, and partly because I wouldn’t know what to look for in a million years. If I had that $750 necklace appraised, what would its value be?

If you buy a used Ford Taurus its value is largely a function of age and mileage. Buying a piece of jewelry in a mall store is like buying a used car without knowing either of these facts. “Here’s a beautiful blue Taurus, black tires, brown seats, lovely clear glass. How about this?” “Fifteen thousand? Yeah it looks nice, I’ll take it.” You’re spending significant money on something about which you cannot possibly know enough to gauge value.

And that’s where the whole jewelry business has its hands round your balls. You’re expected to buy jewelry for women because they like it, and you can’t buy glass or zircons, even though no-one could tell the difference, because then you’re a “cheap bastard who doesn’t think I’m worth it.” But if you do buy something how do you know whether that diamond is any good? Is that blue stone a pretty natural sapphire, or is it an artificially colored piece of crap produced in a factory? You could ask, but what sort of answer do you think you’ll get from the commission-based slime bag at your average jewelry store? “Yes, this is priced at $1100. It’s actually worth much less because the stone is very flawed, and the setting is mass-produced, but we make a 500% mark-up on this so I strongly recommend it to you.”

So I retreated from the store as gracefully as a shivering, run-down man with flu and three days of stubble could, probably leaving the assistant believing I was some kind of meth addict, and returned home.

Yesterday Mrs Bison and I exchanged fun gifts, and Bison Daughter got real gifts, and I managed to cook the turkey, even though I felt like crap, because that’s the tradition here, and Bison Daughter said it was excellent, and that basting with phlegm obviously helped, and then we did what everyone should do on Christmas Day, which is nothing. And later in the evening I recounted my jewelry story to Mrs Bison, and she laughed and told me she would have been pissed off with me if I’d spent $750 on a necklace, which is why she’s such a great spouse, and why I felt like I needed to buy something to show her that, so you can see my problem. But it’s a good problem to have, and I wouldn’t swap it for all the crappy diamonds at the mall.

Black Plague

black friday at walmart

So yesterday was Thanksgiving, and we gathered around the dinner table and consumed inordinate amounts of meat, potatoes, sausages and stuffing, and just enough vegetables to ensure that our colons didn’t completely seize up. Because that would be bad – no-one wants to spend Black Friday crouched on the porcelain, doing a Marty Feldman, attempting to pass three pounds of impacted seasonal joy. In the process of said Thanksgiving dinner we paused to reflect on that for which we were grateful in 2014, and number one on the list was unquestionably that we would not be getting out of bed to join in the festival of crass excess and consumption that is the Black Friday shop.

I have tried to put myself in the place of those sad, overweight, invariably ugly people who you see on the news fighting their way into Walmart when the doors open; I have attempted to rationalize their actions on the basis that they don’t have much money, and they need to get the best deals they can. And I have come to the distinct conclusion that this explanation is complete and utter bollocks.

OK, so here’s point one: you know what the cheapest form of consumption is? Non-consumption. Compared to fighting your way through the store to load up a cart with two giant flat-screen TVs, NOT buying two flat-screen TVs is a dollar-saving winner every time. I started out life with no money, and now I don’t have no money anymore, but the more money I have, the less inclination I have to spend it on upgrading electronic crap which I can confidently predict will be out of date in six months and obsolete in just over a year. And it’s not like there’s anything on TV that would make any sane person declare “You know, I really wish I could see that picture, only much, much bigger, all over one wall of my house, and hear that voice in skull-penetrating Dolby surround sound. I’m off to punch some fat Hispanic woman in the head and grab a TV in Walmart.” Are you fucking kidding me? There is nothing worth staying in to watch on TV, and very little worth turning the box on for, even if you’re stuck in the house with no better options.

“What about football?” I hear you ask. Yep, I like football too. And the eleven minutes of actual action, sandwiched between nearly 50 minutes of clock running down while nothing happens, and a further 90  minutes of commercials for more crap to buy on Black Friday, doesn’t even come close to making me want to fight the chubby crowds. Apart from that you have sitcoms that aren’t funny, movies that are so full of commercials you want to break the TV, and reality shows that would insult the intellect of a cockroach. To want more of that you’d have to be – well – you’d have to be exactly the kind of certifiable moron who leaps out of the house to the Pavlovian ring of the Black Friday sale bell.

Fundamentally though, if you’re that hard-up that you need to immerse yourself in Black Friday hell to afford the things you buy, maybe you should try not buying them.

But here’s the next point. It isn’t even about the stuff people buy. I don’t believe for a moment that the people who shop those sales couldn’t afford the crap they buy otherwise. Either they’d buy a bit less or they’d pay a bit more, so it can’t be about needing to save money – it must be something else.

Here’s the pivotal question: “If a man buys a flat-screen for $99 in Walmart and there’s no-one there to see it, does he still get a bargain?” Do you think people would fight the crowds at the sales if they didn’t get to brag to their buddies on Monday “Yeah, I got two tablets for under a hundred bucks, and a 50 inch LCD TV for four hundred.” Is the real motivation the acquisition or is it the feeling that you got a deal, that you paid less than someone else for whatever shit you bought. You’re a winner because you got a bargain! Yeah!

It just beggars belief that there are that many people out there with that much desire to buy that quantity of crap, every fucking Thanksgiving, in addition to all the other crap they buy for the other 364 days of the year. But it’s all about the deal – buy it now, quickly, so you can get one over on all the other poor saps who bought it last week, and those who are going to buy it next week, because you’re the chosen one. The deal-maker. The caveman, dragging superfluous electronic shit back to your semi-detached cave so your functionally retarded offspring can amuse themselves putting their opposable thumbs to work on the X-box while your spouse paints gazelle on the wall.

I shouldn’t complain. Selling crap to people who don’t need it is what makes the world go round, or at least the US economy go round, and heaven forbid people should suddenly wake up and NOT want all that unnecessary consumer tat. We’d be in recession faster than you could say “fat people shop at Walmart”. The merry-go-round of “I need to buy shit, so I need to work, so I make shit that people can buy” is the bedrock of our whole economy. If I wasn’t at home flicking through the TV in a desperate search for something not shit to watch I probably wouldn’t even notice Black Friday. But the wall-to-wall commercials are a stark reminder that, not only are there millions of dumb shits out there, but they’re all entitled to vote. And if the Black Friday shopper is any indication as to the intellectual capacity of the American voter I’d have more luck trusting to that three pounds of impacted colon.

Watch Porn

The title isn’t what you think – it’s not an instruction or even a recommendation, but rather a reference to those color supplement advertisements from around 1978 with glossy pictures of the latest digital watches. I know I’m dating myself here but I remember the first time anyone came to school with a digital watch – it was one of those red LED watches that only showed the time when you pressed a button and I must have been about nine or ten years old. Soon after that the LCD watches came out, with the black letters on the grey background and I was hooked.

My parents used to get a Sunday newspaper which had a color supplement (I can still remember the smell of the ink) and there would be at least five color digital watch adverts in each week’s edition. Around the peak of my interest, when I would have been about eleven, they typically had either an alarm or a chronograph (stopwatch to you and me, squire) and they cost about twenty UK pounds (or 19.99 to be exact). There was also this exceptionally cool one which had both an alarm and a chronograph, and I cut the picture of this one out of the magazine and kept it in my room, in spite of the fact that I knew there was no way my parents would spend the 29.95 pounds it cost.

So my Sundays invariably involved a few minutes perusal of the latest in “watch porn”, since I had not at that age yet acquired access to real porn. I suppose had I had such access I may not have given the proverbial about whether my watch had an alarm or chronograph, or could even tell the time at all, but I guess we’ll never know. In the end I got a Casio F100 for Christmas – it was black plastic and had a chronograph, which I used to play with in French lessons.

The problem with technology in those days was that it advanced so quickly that within very little time simple alarm/chrono watches were history and the new big thing was the calculator watch, mainly because it had loads more buttons. Unfortunately I’d used up my watch allowance and I stuck with the F100 until the black plastic straps cracked and fell off. That was another problem with technology – it was shite. Now fashion has gone full circle – digital watches were initially cool, but then became lame as people reverted to more classy analogue displays, and now they’re cool again, so long as you get a chunky retro version.

At the same time as watch inflation was taking place, electronic calculator advances had transormed the humble green LED adding machine into a deg/rad/grad (what the fuck did they mean?) scientific beast, capable of more functions than the twelve year-old human brain could ever hope to harness (at least in our school). The most interesting calculator though was not the advanced scientific, or the chunky wedge-shaped Texas Instruments red LED monstrosity, but the Casio MG-880, the one with the game that you could play. This was the dog’s bollocks – if you could get through levels eight and nine (I think) while hitting the high-scoring n symbols then you had style. In fact I think I can attribute my inability to this day to give one solitary fuck what Jean-Claude and Marie-France were doing “dans le jardin” to the corrosive influence of digital watches and calculator games. Those were wonderful times – kids today don’t know what they missed.

Anyway, I’m going to see if I can find that 29.95 watch with the alarm and chrono that I always wanted. It’ll be a collector’s piece now, but at least it will have aged better than all the G-Plan furniture and Seventies music which were also in the color supplement. Of course, my very first edition of Rustler magazine would be a collector’s item as well (circa 1981?) and I can still vividly remember Kitty in the center pages. Bet she didn’t age as gracefully as the watch either – she’d be forty seven now. Or forty seven years, two months, eight days, five hours, three minutes and 27.02 seconds, according to my chronograph, but who’s counting?

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Red And Leathery

Yesterday the mail arrived and, as usual, it consisted of two pieces of “real” mail and about eight pounds of advertising, coupons and assorted unsolicited shit, at least some of which has to be carefully shredded in order to minimize the risk that some toothless meth user will steal my identity by rummaging in my trash. Mrs Bison set to flicking through a Macys brochure that seemed to be mostly dedicated to furniture, and she made the comment that we could probably do with a new bedroom set, one where all the pieces matched. Now for any normal bloke this phrase would be enough to drive a spike of fear through his heart. It raises the specter of entire weekends dragging round furniture stores looking at an endless succession of expensive, unappealing and, frankly, fucking shit furniture.

Fortunately Mrs Bison qualified her statement with the phrase “…but I can’t be bothered to shop for one”. Now that’s what a wife should say. Good call – let’s watch clips of Red Dwarf on YouTube instead. The spouse has a wonderfully high activation energy for shopping – she doesn’t enjoy it, won’t seek it out and doesn’t use the spending of money as a fruitless compensation for a sad and empty existence. Lucky me – I’m convinced that whole legions of women have a homing device that draws them to Bed, Bath and Buggery or Linens and Shit on a weekend, and woe betide any poor bastard husband/boyfriend who gets caught in the tractor beam.

Of course, in the unlikely event that we had contemplated buying furniture (about as common an occurrance as me watching American Idol on TV) we would certainly not have been going to Macys. This goes back to an experience I had a couple of years ago when we went out to buy a three-piece suite for a room that we had not properly furnished in about a decade. After traipsing around the many and varied furniture stores of St.Louis (does the word “bland” mean anything to you?) we ended up at the local Famous store (which Macys recently bought). They had a leather three-piece suite which was light in color, soft, matt finish and very casual, unlike the darker one we already owned, so we ordered it.

The day before we went on vacation the new furniture showed up and it was, in almost every respect, entirely unlike what we saw in the store. It was dark burgundy, shiny, solid as a rock, and you kind of slid off if you tried to sit on it. So we attempted to return it. It’s amazing how quickly the sales assistants go from being all “how can we help you, sir” to “why don’t you just fuck off and die?” Sure they’d take it back if I paid a 20% restocking fee; I tried pointing out that the goods they supplied weren’t what they had represented them to be, and all that, but I’d have had more luck talking to the fucking sofa. (I didn’t call them useless fucking cunts once, which I thought was good of me, particularly since they were.) In the end I went to the store manager and he sorted it out, down to the last cent, but although I’ll happily go back to the store, I would cut off my own foreskin before buying anything from their furniture department (assuming they even still have one).

We ended up buying some furniture for that room on impulse when Mrs Bison happened to stumle across something that looked good, and this, I believe, is the secret of successful furniture shopping: Don’t Force It. It’s rather like finding a spouse – you don’t go out looking for one or you’ll drive yourself up the fucking wall, as well as missing out on a lot of fun in the process. If you happen to meet one along the way then great. Of course if you want to find furniture you need to at least occasionally set foot in a furniture store; you won’t get lucky in the grocery store. Similarly it’s no good expecting to run across a wife if you spend all your free time in the titty bars. Unless, that is, you want to marry a stripper. In which case you need to be careful – you may find, like with furniture, that once you get it home it’s not quite what it appeared to be in the store. It too will probably be harder, more slippery and a different color than what you thought you were getting.

Which makes me wonder – how do people do the mail-order bride thing? Now that’s some seriously hard-to-return merchandise. At least the catalogue for that would be interesting to get in the mail…

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Evenings & Weekends

The most miserable scum crawling across the face of the earth today just have to be mobile phone companies. This might seem like the reaction of someone who just had a really bad experience with one but I can assure you that they haven’t done anything specific to me recently, so this isn’t a “How dare you fuck with me” rant; it’s the result of a calm reasoned analysis which concludes that the people responsible for developing mobile phone plans should be gathered together and executed.

The whole industry is built on the idea that you should estimate how many minutes you will talk each month and then buy that many minutes. If you don’t use them you waste all the money you spent on them but if you use more the phone company will (almost literally) fuck you up the arse with “overage” charges. The whole idea is patently ridiculous – no matter how many minutes you estimate you can be 100% certain that you will NOT talk for that many minutes. It will either be more or less, guaranteed. Heads they win, tails you lose.

Just imagine buying gasoline that way. You have to decide how many miles you will drive each month and pay a gas station to have that many gallons of gas available for you. It costs you $3/gallon (apologies to European readers, for whom $3/gallon would be a sodding miracle) so you write a check for the cost of that many gallons and send it in. If you don’t drive that many miles, tough shit – you can’t get your money back. But should you need to drive more miles for any reason you will pay $10/gallon for any extra gas you use that month. Oh, and you are locked into that many gallons for two years. Sounds fair and reasonable, doesn’t it? Like fuck.

I had to laugh when they started advertising “rollover” minutes, like this was an amazing innovation they’d come up with just to make your life better. The idea that you could keep the minutes you’d bought and use them over a longer period – how kind of them. But rollover minutes are the answer to a problem that they created. The only reason you had the problem in the first place is because of the arse-fuckingly unfair pricing regimes that the mobile phone companies invented and stuffed down everyone’s throats. Those commercials were a bit like someone kicking you in the balls and then telling you that they had some great news – they could sell you some ointment to make them hurt less.

So now Verizon is offering yet another “innovation”; unlimited minutes for a flat fee. Here’s what a Verizon lackey said about this new idea:

“The new flat rate voice plans truly free customers from the worry of counting minutes,”

So they’re all concerned about us and want to help us over our worries? Bollocks. Big, pink, hairy, dangly bollocks. Complete wall-to-wall, all-in-one, oven-roasted, crispy fried bollocks. They are the bastards who invented “having to worry about your minutes” becuase they are the people who invented the “stick it right up your arse” overage charges that hit you when you use too many. If they charged you the same price for every minute then you wouldn’t worry about using more, would you? Not surprisingly, peace of mind doesn’t come cheap – it will cost you $100 a month, so better get lubed up for another mobile phone arse-reaming.

Leaving aside the pricing issue, does anyone actually have the time and patience to wade through all the myriad phone plan combinations? And all the hardware options that go along with them? Do you really know the difference between a MOTORAZR2 and a MOTORAZR2 Luxury, or an LG KG800 Chocolate and a VX8550 Chocolate? By the time you’ve figured that out you don’t have any time left to call anyone.

So in special recognition of all the phone company marketing wankers and their contribution to society, here’s how they should be punished. They should be assigned a number of lashes between 200 and 1000 but they have to guess how many. (They’ll either guess high or low.) After receiving the full number of lashes they will also receive one kick in the private parts for every lash by which they underestimated their assigned number, or one fork up the arsehole for every lash by which they overestimated the number. Plus one hundred “Anytime” slaps in the face, and a thousand “Evenings and Weekends” nipple tweaks. Sounds fair to me…

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

What Gift?

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and someone somewhere is going to wake up to a Valentines teddy bear, humorously dressed and carrying a card emblazoned with a personalized message of love. And if they have any sense they will pull on their clothes, get the fuck out of the relationship and never look back…

Read more about valentines gifts in Mr Bison’s Journal ,,, it is a perfect gift any man or woman will love

Time To Shop

In a few weeks it will be Mrs.Bison’s birthday and I don’t have a fucking clue what to buy her. As usual. She of course knows this and occasionally makes encouraging sounds, like “I’m easy to buy for” and “Just get me anything” which is about as much help as a poke in the balls. To be fair she is an exceptionally low maintenance spouse, which is probably for the best as she married an exceptionally inattentive husband. I have found that the secret of a happy relationship is low expectations.

I have to start planning though, otherwise I’ll be doomed to wandering aimlessly through the mall in a state of steadily increasing panic, rifling through crap in the vain hope of some divine inspiration. This never works. Part of my problem is we both operate on the principle of “If we really wanted it we’d have bought it already”, the corrollary of which is “If she doesn’t already have one it must be a crap idea”. I have lots of crap ideas.

Jewellery (or jewelry, if you’re American) seems to be the usual standby for people in this situation – if you can’t get her something useful at least get her something expensive that says “See – it was worth putting up with me all these years. Now, how about blowing me?” Jewellery is a certified crap idea. Apart from the fact that you have to enter the lair of some condescending slimy salesperson, who will look down their nose and make it absolutely clear that only a homeless crack addict would even consider buying the smaller diamonds, I refuse to buy something that I know nothing about. I might as well walk into the store and proudly state “I know absolutely fuck-all about jewellery and I have money to burn, but I trust you not to fuck me in the rectum on this purchase”. Yeah right. Oh, and Mrs.Bison seems to lose earrings with alarming regularity so I might as well drop the gift in the garden and save her the trouble.

I could go for underwear, but if I ask what her size is I get a range. How am I supposed to deal with that? I once read about a store that has rubber tits in various sizes so men can gauge their partner’s size by feel but that’s not available in our mall. Clothes are the same way, plus I have zero idea how things will look on her. I’m doomed to buy something that makes her look like a frumpy old bitch or a cheap streetwalker. Plus I would have to spend time in women’s clothes stores flicking through items on racks and, frankly, I’d rather stick pins in my own scrotum.

Don’t give me all that shit about spa days – that whole industry is a gigantic rip-off. Plus I’m married to someone who doesn’t have an off switch, so lying down while some orange colored assistant massages cucumber extract into her eyelids doesn’t seem like something she’d get a kick out of. So it looks like I’ll be on the internet for a while getting ideas.

I, on the other hand, really am easy to please on my birthday. I like boobs. They’re a bit like socks: no matter how many you’ve been given in the past it’s always nice to be presented with a new pair. And you don’t have to worry about getting me the right size either.

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Marks & Spencer Pants

Having been in the US for many years now I’ve adapted to a lot of the American way of life. It has much to offer, but there are a few areas in which I still am not fully assimilated. For one thing, I will never say “fanny” and mean someone’s arse (or even ass, come to that). It is, and forever shall be, a word that means pussy (and not in the feline sense). Similarly I could never seriously consider “damn” or “hell” to be rude words. And in one critical area I have yet to make the transition from British to American. That area is pants.

For a start, pants in the UK means underpants. What Americans call pants, Brits call trousers. Plenty of room for confusion there: “What’s the dress code? Just show up in some black pants and a shirt…” For the rest of this post I will revert to Britspeak and when I refer to pants you can assume I mean underwear. Now when I moved here I already owned some pants, so it was some time before I was confronted with the joy of underwear shopping. Typically, unless a hole is big enough for one testicle to completely slip through, pants can continue to be worn. There is a school of thought that pants quality matters; mothers worry about what would happen if you were taken to hospital, while guys wonder about getting lucky and then disrobing to reveal the ancient grey underwear that they pulled out of the back of the drawer because everything else was waiting to be washed. Some geniuses use reverse psychology: “I’ll never get lucky if I wear my shiny David Hasselhof date pants so I’ll wear a crappy old pair and then I’m bound to score!”

[Rule number one, though, states “No Skidmarks” and white pants should therefore be treated with extreme caution.]

So, anyway, the most common question to answer before pant shopping is “boxers or briefs”. How about neither? No I don’t mean commando – it’s just that neither boxers nor briefs really cuts it for me. Boxers leave my junk free to roam and it typically all ends up stuffed down one leg, requiring frequent and obvious repositioning. Briefs are either Speedo-like pouches, which look ridiculous, or Y-front little-boy pants, which are worse.

I ended up finding the perfect pants at Marks & Spencer, a retailer in the UK. M&S are “middle of the road” but have a long-held reputation for good quality underwear. So I started planning ahead and bulk-purchasing these pants a few years ago. I think they call them “trunks” – they’re shorts but made of stretchy fabric and there’s no Y-shaped piss-hatch. And they’re all black. Life was good in the nut-support department for a long time but I just checked the M&S catalogue online and they’re gone! What’s worse, most of what’s left is white, and white underwear is strictly for little boys, pool attendants and low-grade porn stars.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to buy American pants but they either appear to be completely shit or stupidly expensive. (I don’t need designer pants, OK? I keep my prick and balls in them, for God’s sake!) There are boxers and briefs beyond your wildest dreams, and long-legged old-man pants that would make your date piss herself if she saw them. But no Marks & Spencer style black pants. Women have it easy; unless they unaccountably disappear up your arse, what can go wrong? Your pants may be ugly, but you’ll never have to worry about losing a bollock out the side of your boxers.

The one good thing I’ll say about M&S is that their pants have great longevity, so maybe I can keep going a while on these. I hope so – my happiness, and that of all the people around me, depends on it. Nothing takes the shine off your day like sitting for three hours in a meeting with torsion of the nutsack from improperly adjusted pants, you can count on that…

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison

Man Shopping: The best funny book of 2012

After the last post I’m reluctant to continue on a toilet-paper related theme, in case you start to believe I have a fixation, but this was another event in this otherwise quiet week and, anyway, toilet stuff is inherently funny. The Bison household was running short of bog roll this week so Mrs. Bison asked me to pick some up on the way home from the gym. Her instructions were simple: it must be two-ply, and buy the extra long rolls, but not the mega-rolls because you need an extender to get them on the holder. The rest was up to me…

Read more about my man shopping adventures in Mr Bison’s Journal, the best funny book of 2012

Radio Days

Like a lot of people, I listen to the radio in my car. I have the six best stations I can find preselected – mostly rock music, but one talk station that takes a break from politics for this funny show just about the time I drive home. However, I hate commercials and I have the attention span of a fruit fly, so I will switch between stations every time a crap song comes on, or they go to a commercial break. I sometimes listen to Bob and Tom in the morning but they’ve started doing something that pisses me off to the point that I’ll switch off completely – you wait for all the shit commercials (refinance your loan, get a great deal on a new car, come to McDonalds for a breakfast McTurd) and finally they take you back to the studio. At that point one of the cast starts into this unbelievably dull monologue about why you should buy a Pajamagram, or go to the fucking Vermont Teddy Bear company. Yes, it’s another commercial.

The whole point of commercials is to pay for the airtime, right? The station airs programs that attract listeners and sells commercial time to companies who want to sell stuff to listeners. So what does the fucking commercial in the program itself pay for? It’s free money for the program maker, isn’t it? It’s getting to the point where I would almost consider investing in satellite radio, just to avoid the commercials.

I tried satellite radio a few times in Detroit when it came in a rental car. Maybe it’s me, but I spent all my time going up and down the stations trying to find something worth listening to. (This is not easy on I-94. They have potholes that you could hide a body in.) It reminded me of moving to the States and getting cable. Sixty channels! Game on! After two weeks I realised that I had fifty five channels of pure crap and five local channels that I could get for free. I could get more channels, of course, so long as I was prepared to sell a kidney to pay my cable bill.

So I’m not sold on satellite radio yet. Howard Stern is over there now, but I don’t know that I see the attraction. You see, much of his show seems to involve getting strippers into the studio and having them show their boobs. And here’s the really salient point: it’s radio. You can’t enjoy boobs on the radio. Having someone talk about getting them out doesn’t really do it for me.

As a last resort there’s always NPR, but even they spend half their time telling you all the foundations that make their programs possible (and people like you, of course). They might as well just have the commercials and drop the pretence. Besides, if I start listening to NPR, it’s only a matter of time before I’m buying a Buick and complaining about the rock music.

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison