You die! You die! The Lost ColuMn™ Articles

Five years ago (well, actually 2/29/08, but close enough) I decided to start a blog.  I’ve talked about the origins of ColuMn™ here and here.  I won’t go into it again.

Given that I haven’t posted anything since last Halloween, I decided that this anniversary wasn’t really one to celebrate.  But I wanted to acknowledge it and maybe use it as a relauching point of sorts for the site.  So what I’ve decided to do is dig deep into the archives and showcase some of the posts that didn’t make it for one reason or another.

If you have a device with Android 4.0 or above, you probably have something called “Currents”, where you can subscribe to various sites, kind of like an RSS reader.  Well, I have one of those for ColuMn™ and discovered, much to my dismay/amusement, that several “articles” that were never meant to see the light of day were featured on Currents in their incomplete form.  Most of the following come from there, but I’ve also thrown in a couple that have just sat in the queue, waiting to either be deleted or finished.  The wait is over, my children.

ADRIANNA’S G1 (7/28/11)

For some unknown reason, I used to watch the new 90210 on the CW (okay, it’s not unknown — I’m a sucker for anything that appeals to tween girls).  When the show debuted, it was around 2008 and Google had just released their first Android phone, the G1. I had one.  So I was surprised to see one of the show’s main characters, the bitchy/hot pop star, Adrianna, using a G1.


This was cool at first, I guess.  A hip, young, attractive TV starlet using the same phone I had.  Okay.  It wasn’t cool.  But it was something.  But as the show continued on season after season, that something turned into unbelievable.  At the time this post was written (7/28/11) she was STILL using the G1! Nobody that rich and hip is going to use a three-year-old phone.  With technology, three years is an eternity.  I got a new phone way before Adrianna did, and I didn’t even have a job.

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  First, aside from the fact that she used the same phone for a little too long, there’s nothing really noteworthy about a character from a show nobody watches using  a G1.  I could never get an angle on the funny side of this, so it just sat there, forgotten, until a picture popped up on Google Currents.


This was back when Sparks was still on the writing staff, doing his “Sparks’ Sandbox” bit.  He started a post for our Halloween spectacular that year that just wasn’t very good, so it wasn’t published.  Here it is, in it’s entirety:

I call to you from another dimension.  The dimension of the dead . . . uh, robot dogs . . . with a warning.  October is here which means that Halloween is right around the corner, stalking you, waiting for you to make one wrong move.  Much like I did when I chased that robot mouse into traffic.  BlackJack Voorhees says that he can reanimate my dead robot body, but that I might not be the same when I come back.  I might be . . . sinister.

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  You read that crap, right?  And no, I don’t know why it’s titled “Nightmare Shack”.


The concept behind this one was to predict fictional characters as winners in the then-current election.  I got one written before I realized it was a stupid idea.

ColuMn has no political bias, but we do have an interest in who wins.  Will it be the old white guy or the black guy?  The old bore or the sorta hot moron?  Is anything, including alien domination, worse than Bush?  ColuMn sent ace reporter Sparks to the future.  January 20, 2009 to be precise.  His assignment:  report back who won what.

Sparks here, reporting live from the exact center of the country, or somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  Seriously.  There’s nothing here.  I’m not even sure I can get the internet here.  Hopefully you’re reading this.

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, the winners of Election 2008.


President David Palmer and First Lady Kasidy Yates.  I have no idea what Palmer’s positions on any of the issues are.  Probably not gun control, anti-torture, or pro-terrorist.  I’m just guessing.  But, as you’ll recall from the 2008 Presidential Campaign, Yates, stranded in Earth from the mid-24th century, is quick with a phaser, disintegrating opponent Thomas Whitmore in an apparent blackmail attempt gone wrong. Still, they’re both better than Bush.


Why this post was never, uh, posted:  Pretty obvious.  It was fucking stupid.

TOP 7 BOOKS I READ IN 2012 (12/31/12)

cmsof’s articles tend to be a bit more cerebral than BlackJack’s.  BlackJack is all about the comedy.  cmsof is all about the journalism (or something like that).  I started drafting this back in October last year and I think it would have been a good throwback to the early ColuMn™ posts where I did hilarious stuff like book reviews.

Ranked in the order I read them:

1.  Supergods by Grant Morrison

I’ve enjoyed Morrison’s comics work immensely. The Invisibles is one of the best series committed to paper.

2.  The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

3.  Reamde by Neal Stephenson

4.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

5.  It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) by Duff McKagan

6.  Memory by Donald Westlake

7.  John Dies At The End by David Wong

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  Just didn’t get around to it.  Which, in reality, is probably why most of these things never made it onto the site.  I’m lazy.


Let’s get this out of the way right off: I love The Cannonball Run.  But I also recognize that it’s profoundly stupid.  So I thought it would make a great “Watch With ColuMn™” post.  So I started writing it.  Then I ran some of the jokes by a friend and he hated them.  So I scrapped the post.  Judge for yourself:

Hey, gang!  It’s time for another installment of Watch With ColuMn™.  In previous episodes, we’ve watched The Mysterious Monsters and Free To Be You And Me.  This time out, it’s something a little less obscure:  1981’s immortal crowd-pleaser, The Cannonball Run.

The Cannonball Run, as you may or may not know, occupies space in a healthy, much-loved genre: the coast-to-coast race movie with a huge all-star cast. Picture It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, if you replaced all the actors with jabbering idiots.

Burt Reynolds movies usually follow a very specific formula:  a) they co-star Dom DeLuise, and b) they suck.  The best compliment you can pay The Cannonball Run is that it’s not The Cannonball Run 2.  The best compliment you can pay The Cannonball Run 2 is cursing whatever God you believe in.

Beepers were invented solely because Burt Reynolds performance in this movie didn’t meet the standards of “phoning it in”.  The only analogy for something as stupid as The Cannonball Run is The Cannonball Run.  The Cannonball Run is to 1981 movies starring Burt Reynolds as The Cannonball Run is to human misery.  That said, it’s still one of the best things Terry Bradshaw has ever been associated with.

Without further ado, let’s begin our race by meeting the colorful cast of imbeciles who we’ll be forced to share the next 95 impossibly long minutes with.

J.J. McClure (Burt Reynolds)
Dom DeLuise (Victor Prinzim/Captain Chaos)

Roger Moore (Seymour Goldfarb, Jr.)

Farrah Fawcett (Pamela Glover)

On the bright side, starring in The Cannonball Run made cancer the second worst thing that happened to her.

Dean Martin (Jamie Blake)
Sammy Davis, Jr. (Morris Fenderbaum)

Jack Elam (Dr. Nikolas Van Helsing)

Adrienne Barbeau (Marcie Thatcher aka Lamourghini Babe #1 –
seriously, that’s how it’s listed on IMDB)

Terry Bradshaw (Terry)
Mel Tillis (Mel)

Both apparently students of the Tony Danza School of Acting.

Jackie Chan (Jackie Chan – Subaru Driver)

Jamie Farr (The Shiek)

00:26:  The first of way too many times we’ll hear Burt Reynolds’ signature fake laugh.

They keep threatening to remake The Cannonball Run, and I just wonder why?  Does the world really need another celebrity-driven ensemble piece where the various actors smirk their way through a ludicrous feature-length movie that seems more like an excuse to get paid to hang out with other smirking douchebags?  I mean, other than the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, of course.

The fact that there’s a novelization of The Cannonball Run proves that literacy isn’t necessarily a sign of intelligence.  On one hand, dogs can’t read.  On the other hand, dogs can’t read The Cannonball Run novelization. Edge: dogs.

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  I don’t know.  I think it’s funny and it’s inclusion here is one of the primary reasons I wanted to do this “Lost Articles” post.

DAMN YOU, CANADA (4/29/10)

Sometimes it takes me a couple of stabs to get a post right.  That’s what happened here.  A friend sent me the photo from a playground and I thought it was hilarious and wanted to create a post around it.  This was my first try:

Okay, Canada.  We let you beat us at hockey because, well, it’s all you’ve got.  We may be cowboy dicks down here, but we don’t like to see grown men cry.  We may have only won the Silver in hockey, but we got the Gold in being awesome.  So no sooner do I get back from your country, than I see this alarming sign at the local children’s playground.  (note: there are reasons for a middle-aged man to be alone in a children’s park that aren’t technically “illegal”).

What does that mean?  There are really only two possibilities, and they’re equally disturbing.  The first is that children born and/or living in the United States are developmentally retarded by 6 months at the age of 18 months.  I’m not sure if I believe that, but having not been around a child since I was seven years old, I have no idea if that’s an accurate representation or not.  No big deal, I guess.  By the time we hit five, we’re caught up.  I can only assume that accelerated growth continues in all areas for the remainder of the average American’s life.  So by the time we’re 50, the poor Canadians are only 45.  Damn.  Canada wins again.

The other possibility is that the United States government has a vendetta against Canadian children between the ages of 18 months and two years of age.  Who knows how many accidents pre-two year old Canadians have had to endure as the government sits in silence, probably from across the street in an unmarked van, gathering intelligence.  We know your weakness, Canada.  Do you dare us to exploit it?  DO YOU?

So, in closing, I think either Canadian children between the ages of 18 months and two years or American children in the same age bracket should launch a class action lawsuit against the US government to right this agregious case of isolationist ageism.

Not bad, I thought, but I can do better.  And I did.

Why this post wasn’t, uh, posted: Fairly obvious.


THE BOX OF TACOS (12/2/10)

The plan was to eat a box of Taco Bell tacos (12 in a box) and write about my experience, with (hopefully) hilarious results.  This image is as far as I got:


I can’t say I regret not completing this one.

Why this post wasn’t, uh, posted: I wanted to live and I wanted that life to be without shit-filled pants.

Happy 5th Anniversary, ColuMn™!  Looking forward the the next post in, say, 2018.


The Strip Club

As ColuMn winds down Year Two and slowly transforms into a site with even less frequent updates, we’re getting a little nostalgic and appreciating all of the good times we’ve had.  In that spirit, cmsof agreed to spring for a night on the town last Friday.  It is only now that we will speak of it and never again.

As the rooster crowed, signaling the end of another exhausting workday, Sparks and I wandered non-chalantly into cmsof’s office.  We were surprised to find O’Connor sitting across from the Chief, with some elaborate storyboards laid out.  Before I could ask if The O’Connor Chronicles was coming back from cancellation, cmsof announced that he was treating the staff to all-you-can-drink PBRs (Pabst Blue Ribbons) at the corner dive.  All-too-weary of the Saturday morning PBMs (Pabst Bowel Movements), I decided to stick with Vodka Red Bull.

As the evening flew by, I remarked to myself in my head that this was the first ColuMn drinking event that had not been ended prematurely by S.W.A.T., the vice squad, or one of us erupting into uncontrollable sobbing.  Maybe we really were becoming men.  I raised my head from the half-empty glass of anti-freeze-flavored vodka and allowed myself just a hint of a smile.

Like every other weekend in the history of weekends, it was clear that this little excursion would not result in any of us getting laid.  Used to it, but now fueled by the seemingly bottomless pockets of our faithful leader, Sparks was the first to bring up the idea of hitting the strip club.  “I could get behind that idea, if you know what I mean,” I said, attempting a sexual innuendo that sounded more gay than anything.  “You guys have earned it, I guess,” cmsof said, still frighteningly sober.  “What’s a club?” O’Connor asked.

Ignoring O’Connor’s non-stop questions about pretty much everything, we left the bar and headed up the street, to where the neon proudly announced “Live Nude Girl”.  Either the “s” was burnt out or they only employed one exotic dancer.  Either way, none of us raised any objections.

The exterior of the club was nothing special.  A windowless eyesore that was a pox on the residential neighborhood that surrounded it.  You could tell it was near the elementary school just by the reader board which proudly stated, “Let us swing on your monkey bar”.  That sounded neither erotic nor safe.  We nervously made our way inside, allowing our eyes to adjust to the dark.  We were not prepared for the sight that greeted us.

I’ve been to a few strip clubs in my decades on this planet.  Usually there is a party atmosphere, with loud pounding dance music, a good-sized crowd, and a cornucopia of dancers in various stages of undress.  This was not that type of strip club.

We were greeted first by a smell best left undescribed (rancid tar is about as close as I can come).  Once we got our gag reflexes under control (O’Connor never really did, but he tried and that’s what counts) we became aware that the place was dead silent.  No music, no murmuring crowd.  Nothing except for the sound of O’Connor expelling gas.  Determined to make the most of a pretty weird situation, we filed in and took seats around the stage.

As we waited for a dancer to take to the stage, a waitress came by to take our drink order.  I tried to order a Vodka Red Bull, but was informed that we couldn’t drink liquor.  cmsof left immediately.  By this point, seven Vodka Red Bulls in, I was sort of relieved and hopeful that my heart would stop racing well before medical attention was required.  I ordered a water.

At that point, the DJ, who appeared to not speak any English, put on perhaps the most inappropriate song to strip to ever recorded (Extreme’s “More Than Words”) and a stripper who hadn’t seen her 20s (or her feet) in at least two, maybe three, decades shambled onto the stage.

The performance that we beheld is not something I wish to recall, even for you, ColuMn reader.  With O’Connor in one ear babbling about not seeing a naked woman since his step-son tucked it for the stage adaptation of Silence of the Lambs in high school and Sparks violently dry humping the chair leg, it was all I could do to pay the $15 for my 8 oz. dirty glass of room temperature water.

As the “dancer” came off the stage, she made eye contact with O’Connor, who immediately jumped at her offer of a visit to the VIP room.  Figuring that I’d better keep O’Connor in sight, I grabbed the first stripper I could and followed O’Connor back to the VIP room.

As I got comfortable, slowing sipping from my $15 glass of water, the stripper ran through the overpriced menu options.  Three songs for $100?  I was pretty sure that “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” wouldn’t be one of those songs.  In fact, the two songs I’d heard since entering the club had spanned no more than three minutes.  One thing about strip clubs.  They’re not really concerned with artistic integrity.

The next option was the $300 “private room”.  When I asked if that was code for “boning”, I did not receive the shy nod that I was expecting, but rather a boistrous laugh that will follow me to the grave.  No, the $300 was basically an hour spent listening to strip club music and unspecified activities that would probably turn out to include awkward attempts at conversation and exotic dancing that more closely resembled the death throes of a paralyzed paraplegic slowly dying of a gut shot.  Not that I’d take the offer of boning anyway, though it would probably be more enjoyable than just diving into a big vat of gonorrhea, if way more pricey.

As luck would have it, before I could commit and part with my semi-hard-earned money, O’Connor shat himself, resulting in our entire group being removed from the premises as the first notes of the immortal “Send Me An Angel” wafted from the depressing morgue-like solitude of the strip club.

As we walked slowly back to the Sparksmobile, we all emphatically agreed.  This had been the best ColuMn office social gathering ever.

The Taco Bell Deuce Dropper Blow-Out: The Black Jack Taco and the Volcano Crunchwrap

No, I did not get the Black Jack Taco Box.  Come on. It's just their regular food items with a Black Jack Taco thrown in.

Everytime I go out in public, somebody always asks me, “So when is BlackJack going to review the Black Jack taco at Taco Bell?”  First, I tell them that Sparks is your Bell man.  Then they tell me, “Well, they don’t have a Sparks taco.”  To which I reply, “Well, they should,” followed by, “I’m never reviewing the Black Jack taco because it’s just too damn obvious.  ColuMn likes to mix things up.”  Even though I know the time will come when my on-going desperation for ideas will inevitably lead to said review.

So Sparks and I decided to pull a switcheroo.  I’ll be reviewing two Taco Bell items today and Sparks is going to handle a mindless go-nowhere article in a few days.  And then we’ll both share a good cry.

Before I get to the Black Jack taco I wanted to share my thoughts on a Taco Bell menu item that is right now only available in the Great White North.  Last weekend, while visiting Association™ Headquarters: Canada, I got pretty drunk.  After they’d pumped my stomach and marveled at the miracle of my still being alive, I hopped in the Ass Van (Association™ Van) and hit the local Taco Bell.  I was shocked to see a new Volcano Menu item:  the Volcano Crunchwrap.  I later discovered that this was a Canada-exclusive item, so I considered myself extremely lucky to have stumbled upon it.  And to still be alive after my .9 blood alcohol adventure.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to snap any pictures, but I did take copious notes.  The Volcano Crunchwrap may be the hottest item yet introduced to the Volcano line.  If you’ve never had a Crunchwrap before (and this was my first one), it’s a big tortilla stuffed with taco stuff and then folded so that it resembles a diarrhea-powered flying saucer.  Mine wasn’t particularly crunchy, but it was wrapped.

Fuck, this thing is hot.

I bit into the shell and my mouth immediately burst into flames (my ass would follow suit exactly 20 minutes later).  This thing was stuffed with taco meat, the volcano sauce, cheese, rice, and the trademark red shell bits.  But the thing that really set the temperature rising was the inclusion of no less than 30 jalepeño peppers.  Seriously, you could not take a bite without crunching down on three peppers.  I had to remove roughly 2/3 of them just to be able to eat them and not feel like an alien was about to burst through my stomach.

ColuMn hopes that this doesn’t remain Canada-exclusive for long.  The Volcano Crunchwrap is an important part of a nutritious breakfast.


When I first heard that Taco Bell was introducing an item called the Black Jack taco, I was pretty sure it was aimed squarely at me.  They follow cmsof’s twitter feed.  They know BlackJack and Sparks.  Oh, they know.  Their marketing wizards must have said, “This guy and his stupid robot dog will buy these like pigs buy bacon (which I’m assuming pigs do a lot)”.  THEY WERE WRONG.  But I couldn’t hold off the inevitable forever.  Today I traveled to my local Taco Bell and ordered two Black Jack tacos.

It's just waiting to explode.

I got home and unwrapped one.  Yep.  It looked like a taco with a black shell.  I bit into it and have to admit, it was really tasty.  Loaded with beef, pepper jack sauce, lettuce, and three cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, and mozzarella), this really is a good taco.  Not sure why they don’t include tomatoes on this.  I guess they assumed I don’t like tomatoes.  But I do.  So get to work fixing that, Taco Bell.

It's just a taco with a black shell, people.

I know there are the skeptical among you that say, “Taco Bell just dyes their shells a different color and calls it something like Volcano (red) or Black Jack (black).”  But no, this is a unique flavor that you’ll probably enjoy.  It’s not as radically different from a normal taco as the Volcano Taco was, but it’s still a nice little change from the ordinary.

In conclusion, if you’re in the mood for Taco Bell, they’re really stepping up the game by offering new items that combine unique flavors with fun concepts.  Hopefully this will be my last Taco Bell review, though.  My pants are tight.


210 calories
150 calories from fat
17 grams of fat
4.5 grams of saturated fat
430 mg of sodium
(or, yes, this will kill you)

ColuMn Fun Fact™
The Black Jack taco probably was not actually named for ColuMn’s BlackJack.  But maybe.

ColuMn Rating: ★★★