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I Hope God’s Wearing Earmuffs

5/1/08

It wouldn’t be Thursday if Scott Spinelli wasn’t somehow contributing to my blog without knowing it, so in honor of his graciousness in allowing me to re-publish his articles for the Daily Orange, I’m posting video from his stand-up special from this past weekend, “I Hope God’s Wearing Earmuffs”.

Having attended the show in support of both Scott and this charity he was donating all of the proceeds to (Cystic Fibrosis), I can tell you that as always, he delivered.

Following two opening acts who were entertaining as well, Scott took the stage for 30 minutes, and went off on everything from the “C” word, to Hibatchi restaurants.

The volume isn’t great on the video, so turn it up, because you won’t want to miss anything this guy has to say.

A big thank you to Scott for being a part of my site, and an early congratulations to him as he gets ready to graduate and enter the real world.

Here it is, in its entirety including the opening acts (which you can find AFTER Scott’s performance)

Enjoy.

and if you’re interested in watching the opening acts from the show…

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May 1, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

Humor Columnist Thankful for Space to try and Make People Laugh

4/24/08

by Scott Spinelli

Absolutely nothing can compare to these last two semesters. Under some crazy set of rules that govern the universe, I was allowed to fill the space this column provides.

Want to read a funny story? Though I don’t think anyone ever responds in the negative to a question like that.

“Ehh…funny would be OK, I guess. Do you have a mildly depressing story? I’m in the mood.”

On top of that, those stories aren’t usually very funny if they need to be prefaced like that. Instead, are you up for a mildly entertaining, more revealing
than really funny story?

This column wasn’t supposed to be given to me. In fact, a friend of mine had spoken to me about her desire to do the column. We spoke over the summer about it, and, like the snake I am, I inquired about it with the folks over at The Daily Orange. Long story short, I got the column, she didn’t. Surprisingly, she still speaks to me.

Writing this column every week has been nothing short of a true joy. Then again, that may be just a bit of an overstatement.

Was I annoyed when I’d read the paper and find jokes of mine taken out? Yes. How about when I’d read the paper and an old column was reprinted instead of a new one? Definitely. Or, what about when new jokes were added in? Three for three.

In all seriousness, I’ve had a great time writing this. The one thing it’s done for me is it gave me a taste of what it might feel like to be “cool.” I’d imagine it’s how fraternity guys feel every second of the day. As you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking, “Who does this kid think he is? What a loser.”

Well, doubters, I’ll say this: I’ve run into people all over the place who had a ton of (likely phony) good things to say about my column. However, for whatever reason, people felt like as long as they were talking to me about the column and had read just one, they had the greatest new and funny idea for my next one.

“You should write a column about the two blonde girls you met at Chuck’s!

“You know what would be a good column, this (insert exceedingly normal, everyday social situation here)! This would be a good column, am I right, or am I right?”

Maybe it’s what some folks like to call “beer courage.” Maybe this campus is just teeming with great sitcom writers. Who knows?

Let me also take this space to say that being recognized in public, ever, by anyone, is one of the most amazing things that’s ever happened to me. I’ve been at family gatherings where not everyone recognizes me. I don’t want to make it like I get showered with praise, girls throwing panties at me, when I head through the Quad. No, not that at all. First of all, the girls are throwing bras. Second of all, it’s usually at a bar, not in the middle of the Quad. That would just be ridiculous.

Easily the craziest part of any day this or last semester would be when friends of mine would tell me their own friends (whom I didn’t know) loved the column. I’m specifically thinking about a few ladies from the women’s lacrosse team. I wasn’t even sure the athletes at this school could read, so just knowing they understood the column, regardless of how they felt about it, made me feel good.

In writing this column, I’ve thought for a while about how I wanted to end it. I didn’t want to try for one of those Seinfeld-type endings that tries to incorporate some running theme, to be “the best ever” ending of all time. Those episodes always stink and disappoint.

Instead, I decided to just say thank you. Thank you to Erinn, Matt and Andy at The D.O. for listening to me rant, for not really giving me a hard time during the first few weeks. Thank you to the girl who verbally assaulted me at Chuck’s and now stares me down every time she sees me because of this column. Thank you to anyone who’s ever read it. Thank you to anyone who’s had the courage to tell me they liked it, and even more thanks to anyone who had the real sac to say they didn’t like it.

This column isn’t something I really deserved, but it’s something I’ve really enjoyed.

Scott Spinelli’s humor column no longer will appear on any day in The Daily Orange, as long as his replacement doesn’t stink too bad. He wants, one last time, to ask people to come to his charity comedy show this Saturday. Any questions, comments, e-mail him at saspinel@syr.edu. It’s been real.

April 24, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | 1 Comment

Spare a Buck: If you Don’t Give to Another Charity, Give to Mine

4/17/08

by Scott Spinelli

Guilt is a part of my life. There’s really no way around it.

Italian guilt, from my dad’s side, tends to be angrier. Jewish guilt, from my mom’s side, tends to be more subtle, with the intent of solely making you feel bad about yourself.

“Listen, if you don’t want to call your aunt for her birthday, I guess it’s not really a huge deal, but it’s ultimately up to you.”

One of the worst forms of guilt comes from when people ask you for donations. I could be a billionaire, it still wouldn’t matter, I feel like I’m always inventing excuses to not give to these people.

Is that horrible? Does that make me a terrible person? Likely, but, in fairness, if you’re reading this and you’re human, there’s a more than strong chance you’ve been in the situation I’m describing.

“Sir, excuse me, sir, could you spare a dollar for Ronald McDonald House?”

I even could have just come from the strip club, pockets filled with singles.

“Mmmmm…wow…You really did catch me at a bad time, I’m sorry.”

How about the people who ask for change – the “do you have any spare change?” people. First of all, let’s give them credit. They’re not stupid, they know that every single person they’re asking has some form of change because they just came from some place where change is given.

So when you say: “I’m sorry man, I don’t have any change.” Is this person to actually believe I just bought something with exact change? My grocery bill, for the first time ever in the history of groceries or money came out to a whole number. Sorry, too bad.

The awful part about this is the people asking for the money and spare change generally do need it, and the people being asked for it generally do have it. Meeting the two in the middle – not so easy.

The worst kind of person is the person openly trying to fool you. The kind of person who asks for money outside of Chuck’s and is way too upfront about why they need the money.

“Can you spare a few bucks…Just whatever you could…I could use it…I have three kids on the way, two hospital bills to pay, two car payments…”

Something about that last one usually tips me off, and the old brain buzzer goes off.

This all being said, I’m about to pull the move I’ve been railing against the last 400-plus words.

“Excuse me, public of Syracuse, could you spare three dollars?”

Not bad, huh? My pitch is pretty similar to those other guys, but the difference is I’m offering something tangible in return for your money. Normally, all you get for your change donation is a good feeling that fades as soon as you remember you haven’t called your mom in a week.

Here’s what I’m offering in exchange for three dollar bills: A comedy show, with me, Alex Adelson, and Max Meisel. Yes, that Max Meisel.

The tickets are available at the Schine Box Office. You can also show up and any donations taken at the door (tickets aren’t mandatory), and all proceeds will go to Cystic Fibrosis, a condition that’s affected a cousin of mine.

Actually, correction, the donations will go to fighting Cystic Fibrosis, not just to Cystic Fibrosis.

Not to make a sob story of it – she’s doing all right, we’ve talked about putting her face all over the campus on fliers. Surprisingly she didn’t go for it.

Honestly, we didn’t talk about that, but I’ve had reservations about letting people know why I’m doing the show, as I’ve feared that it might make it seem like a charity case.

All of this said, I’d be lying if I said arrogance had nothing to do with it. I’m puffing my ego to an absolutely unmanageable size. Truth be told, I’m having trouble sleeping at night, my bed won’t support the new weight.

There are fliers all over campus with my ugly mug on it. In Schine, I actually convinced people to not only photograph me, but also to print out a larger-than-life poster with me on it. You want to talk about a freak out moment, I had one when I went to pick it up.

“Uhhh, I’m here to pick up the poster with…my own giant face on it.”

Arrogance mixed with a bit of desire to do something good for someone else. Now that’s not the worst combination in the world.

Scott Spinelli’s humor column appears every Thursday in the Daily Orange. He’s only got one more left, and he used his second to last one as a part promo. What an arrogant schmuck. He can be reached at saspinel@syr.edu.

April 17, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

Just That Easy: 3 a.m. Infomercials a Trap

4/10/08

by Scott Spinelli

This just in: I am a sucker.

Late at night, I can be convinced to buy almost anything. Knives that cut through cement. Cement that cuts through knives. Whatever.

To date, I haven’t actually purchased anything. But I have come alarmingly close. In fact, I’d be less concerned if I had bought these items. The idea that I’ve convinced myself these are useful contraptions is what worries me most.

The crème-de-la-crème of infomercials has to be that Ron Popeil fella, commonly known as the “Set It and Forget It!” guy with the rotisserie grill. Though, even if you haven’t heard of Ronco, all of these late night pirates employ the same tactics.

Each one starts off with the biggest loser of all, the helper, Mr. or Mrs. “Please, Tell Me More.” It’s always some “random” guy, almost as if they found someone who happened to know about rotisseries and asked if he wouldn’t mind shooting a commercial.

Once Ron has gone through each and every example of what this grill can do, he finally gets to the price. But, at this point, it really doesn’t matter what the price is, does it?

He looks you right in the eye, as if you’re going to purchase his soul, and then astronomically high numbers start appearing in the upper right hand corner.

“You won’t pay one million dollars. You won’t pay 500 thousand dollars. You won’t even pay 100 thousand dollars…Not even…”

After this seemingly endless charade, the final price still isn’t on the screen.

“What you will pay (you’re thinking, ‘YES I WILL PAY THIS’) is four, eaaasy payments of just $39.95.”

The simple inclusion of that one descriptor does it for me. If this guy is saying it’s easy, how hard could it be? He could say four easy payments of $399.95, and I’d still find a way to make it seem easy.

“You know, if I just stop eating for a few months, I could probably squeeze this rotisserie grill into my budget…”

Once you’ve basically agreed to sign over the deed to your house, give away your first born and give a blood sample just to have a chance to buy the product, they always keep roping you in. Then comes the “free” stuff, the stuff that they’re just going to throw in, as if you’re the only one getting that deal.

“If you call right now, this exact millisecond…”

The best throw-in, in the history of all throw-ins, is the flavor injector – basically a flu shot for a rhinoceros. That demonstration Ron always does with it never makes any sense. Also, I’ve never thought of using some of the combinations he uses, but somehow they always come out good.

“First, you take the lamb shank. Then, you load up your flavor injector. Buckle up, folks, next stop, Flavorville, USA! All right, let’s try using…orange peels, rosemary, dog crap and some thyme.”

I’m sitting in my room, lights dimmed, wearing nothing but my boxers, potato chips all over my stomach, thinking, “Wait just a gosh darned second! Rosemary and orange peels?!”

Somehow, it seems more often than not, people are trying to sell knives really late at night, which doesn’t seem wise. People half conscious at 3 a.m. shouldn’t be purchasing 20 different ways to cut steak.

Could you imagine if someone went a little out of the box?

“For just six easy payments of $99.95, this entire cocaine cartel can be yours. But wait! Call now, and we’ll throw in two free flavor injectors, a set of steak knives and a brand new T-shirt folder!”

I can’t talk about infomercials without bringing up my old pal, Chef Tony. He’s that clown who dresses up in a ridiculous chef’s outfit, as if anyone thinks that A) he’s a real chef and B) his pencil-stache makes him more Italian.

Truth is, it could be the Ronco grill, the George Foreman grill, the Magic Bullet or something Chef Tony has whipped up, one thing that remains constant is these jokers are damn good. You’ve got to hand it to them. They’ve mastered the art of convincing people they need things they clearly don’t. If you’ve ever been a single guy down at the bar, you know for certain that’s a lot easier said than done.

Scott Spinelli is the humor columnist for The Daily Orange where his columns appear every Thursday. He knows you haven’t bought tickets to his charity comedy show. You know, that one on April 26. Don’t act like you didn’t know. He can be reached at saspinel@syr.edu.

April 10, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

God Bless America: Home to the Hot Dog Eating Contest and Fast Food Overload

4/3/08

by Scott Spinelli

Here’s a typical scene: I’m eating dinner with family, we’re at one of those hibachi steak houses.

Our server, the first Japanese “Maurice,” has begun his dazzling display. After nearly setting himself on fire with the onion inferno stack, he’s attempted, between five and 10 times, to flip a shrimp tail into his shirt pocket. Then, it gets crazy.

One by one, he went around the table, trying to flip pieces of food from the table into the open and inviting mouths of my family and me. It took me four tries, and I still couldn’t get the technique down. To make matters worse, it turns out he was flipping uncooked zucchini, something I don’t think anyone even wanted.

Though I gladly participated, I had one of those mental “look at yourself, you slob” moments. I was embarrassed at myself. I looked to my left at a cousin, mouth wide open.

“Aaaaaaaggggghhhh!!!! Just throw it in here! I’ll take anything!”

I hate to sound condescending, that’s not at all what this is. There are plenty of examples of Americans being overzealous and wasteful when it comes to food and eating, and I, by no means, am excused of it.

A few examples: When I eat chips and salsa, I pit the two warring parties against each other. Whichever finishes first, the bag or the salsa jar, wins out. Another example: Once, at a Wendy’s, I ordered two of those spicy chicken sandwiches because after finishing the first, I realized the person I was eating with still hadn’t finished theirs. Jackpot!

My eyes were truly opened to these stereotypes when I spent a semester in London. I asked one of my friends from the city, a rail-thin guy like me, to tell me what he expected me to look like, being an American.

“I expected you to be a lot bigger, you know? Sitting in a car, not moving, McDonald’s burger in your hand.”

Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but, if you look around, the writing is on the proverbial walls.

How about the hotdog eating contest? Think about the idea that we are having eating contests. America has so much food we’re eating it for fun. Could you imagine trying to explain the idea of a hotdog eating contest or any eating contest for that matter, to someone living…anywhere else?

“Wait a minute, you’re saying, you have so much food, you’re just stuffing it down you’re throats like a game?”

“Well, first of all, it isn’t a game, it’s serious, and it’s on ESPN.”

If the hotdog eating contest every Fourth of July (as if it couldn’t be any more emblematic of America) doesn’t turn your stomach, how about some of the names of your favorite restaurants?

In Asia, they have Nike and Reebok Factories. Here, we have Cheesecake and Spaghetti Factories – America, land of the free, and the home of the Bavarian crème donut.

People always say, “Oh, he’s just got a slight eating problem”.

“No, he’s got a cheeseburger and two Doritos bags at a time, problem.”

Again, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not in peak physical condition, and neither is everyone in my family. People in my family are overweight, and I have no problem with being overweight. However, the term “overweight” carries with it the connotation that at one point, you could actually stand on a scale without snapping it in two.

Scott Spinelli is a humor columnist for The Daily Orange where his columns appear every Thursday. He can be reached at saspinel@syr.edu. Three dollar tickets for his charity comedy show are on sale at the box office. No joke.

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

Playing Confusing Childhood Games is Much Better than Growing up, Joining the Real World

3/28/08

by Scott Spinelli

Thankfully, it’s come to a merciful conclusion.

My athletic career at this dignified institution has come to a close. Tuesday night’s men’s basketball loss marked an undistinguished, unremarkable conclusion to a four-year span of expensive fandom.

Yet, I write to you to lay all of the gossip to rest. It is official, here and now, I will be forgoing graduate school and entering the professional draft come May. Move over Paul Harris, Jonny Flynn, Donte Greene – your time will soon come.

While I haven’t hired an agent just yet, I can’t imagine my services won’t be needed in some capacity at the next level. Of course, there are areas in which my game could serve to improve, but I’m sure that once I go pro, that’ll all work itself out.

I’ve already purchased some real estate to accommodate my more than likely lavish lifestyle – a one-room studio apartment in a small home in New Jersey, landlords – a certain Mr. and Mrs. Spinelli.

In all seriousness (something I know you come to expect from these words), the men’s loss was a saddening one for me, beyond the way in which it happened. It begins to make clear everything is fleeting and concluding quite soon.

Maybe I should’ve seen this coming. There’s been enough of those wonderfully informative Facebook albums, “This is it!!!!” or “Senior Year!”

Strange as it may seem, I’m starting to feel old, or at least older. It’s gotten me to think back, to hark, if you will allow me to hark, back to some of my younger days.

Take, for instance, how early we had to wake up during high school. Every single day for four years, 6:00, 6:30 a.m. Nowadays, if you have an 11 a.m. class, it’s an injustice to you, your family and your heritage that the school could even dream to have you get up before noon.

Alas, my reminiscence took me to some of my favorite games – computer, board or otherwise – that we played.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough of Perfection, otherwise known as Brain Aneurism for Young Children. There was always that ridiculous, 15-pronged piece waiting for you at the end that never fit in anywhere.

Tick, tick, tick. The sort of board game ticking that eats your soul.

And before you knew it, the whole board exploded, ruining at least two and a half good minutes of work. All the pieces were all over the place, my heart was in my trachea and yet, I kept coming back.

On the computer, I was a crack fiend for “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” I don’t know about you, but when I played that game as a child, and even as I’ve played it recently, all it does is make me feel more and more like an absolute ninny.

The clues they’d give you where ever the criminal had just been were completely worthless.

“She said her favorite import of the country were guava beans.”

What 7-year-old is supposed to know the chief imports and exports of South American countries?

And, while we’re on the subject, what the hell is a gumshoe? Everyone started out as a gumshoe, but I’d imagine only a small fragment of the population (likely an ostracized fragment) knows what it means.

The thing I could never forgive the game for was that it let Carmen steal things that were just ridiculous.

Carmen has made off with the city of Seoul. Gumshoe, it’s your mission to track down this magenta jacket-wearing pilfer.

Maybe I’m just a cynic, but shouldn’t some blame be put on the people at the airport?

Excuse me, excuse me. Ma’am! You’re going to have to check that. No, a monument will not fit in the overhead compartment.

Of course, the best part of “Carmen Sandiego” was the TV show. There are two things I remember about the show. The first is that awesome ending scene, with the way out of proportion map that curiously was missing state denominations. The other, without question, has to be that amazing theme song by Rockapella.

They’d always appear out of nowhere, either under a street lamp at a commercial break or sitting down at the end of the show, as if each time the TV camera caught them by surprise.
Well, now that you’re here, we might as well start singing without music.

I do have some good news for you, though. While graduating seniors won’t be able to be here for any more basketball or (football, is it?) games, Rockapella still makes music. Some things are better left in the past.

Scott Spinelli’s humor column appears in the Daily Orange every Thursday. He can be reached at saspinel@syr.edu. He wants you to know that the best part of waking up, at least for him, is Folgers in his cup.

March 27, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

Everyone Stop With the Crazy E-mail Signatures

3/20/08

by Scott Spinelli

Honestly, my fingers are too fat to text.

Call me Scottward Sausagehands, if you like.

Nowadays, there isn’t much space for freaks like me. Most of my friends are wizards with texting. I’m sure you’re familiar with the telephone, that old thing that people used to speak to each other on. Why call, when you can text? I know people that text while the phone is in their pocket, while simultaneously keeping their eyes closed so as to attract style points from the Russian judge. Me, I’m barely up to a rate of four texts an hour.Though, as was the case with other new forms of technology upon their popularization, there are newly found etiquettes that come attached to each. Texting, e-mails, instant messaging. Even the ol’ Facebook has its rules.

For instance, nobody leaves a signature after they’re done writing a text. Could you imagine that?

What time is the game?

-Jason’s cell

Why then, do people feel the need to sign off on Facebook messages? As if the bolded name on top of the message wasn’t enough, the large picture should do the trick. You could get a driver’s license with that many forms of ID.

More than that, what bothers me is e-mail signatures and the silliness that ensues when someone is done writing. Apparently, some people just aren’t satisfied with the creative latitude afforded by either Facebook or texting.

My absolute favorite are those people either too lazy or too important (or both) to put anything more than three lower case letters as their signature.

From: Me

To: You

Be there, or be square.

sas

At what point did these people (by people, I am almost exclusively referring to professors), become too big time to sign either their whole name, or at least give us the dignity of a capital rendition of their initials. Probably around the same time they purchased their Blackberry.

The worst are those lengthy signatures that include everything you could ever want, or dream to know about the person. Name, date of birth, place of birth, social security number, siblings in college, favorite quote, GPA and complete address.

From now on, I’m going to use my own signature, one I’ve devised in light of their frequent appearance of e-mail signatures.

Scott Spinelli

Italian-American, Eastern European

Favorite Pre-Internet President: James K. Polk

Favorite Tori Spelling Show: 90210

“Ain’t nothin’ but a gangsta party” – Tupac Amaru Shakur

Maybe I’m too much of a Negative Norman, but why do people think that anyone cares?

The first time I saw one of those, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Initially, I thought it was a checklist, as if was supposed to see if I knew those things about the person, and then report back to them.

I saw one that said “Americans for Informed Democracy” under the name. No italics, no underlines, no quotes. Just the phrase, as if that person is the only one that stands for democracy. Signatures should be what they are everywhere else – a cursive version of your name, not a biography.

Of course, when the Pony Express speed of e-mail won’t suffice, there’s only one alternative: instant messaging. I struggle with IMing because my deadliest tool, sarcasm, is shot right in the foot. Though, I must say, often times, when typing an instant message, I feel like the world’s fastest typists. I’ve often felt that if there was some sort of Olympic competition to see who could most quickly communicate their thoughts on the day via instant message, I’d have to at least represent our country, if not the hemisphere.

My major issue with IMing, which I’m 100 percent guilty of, is the ever incessant need to correct typos.

A little while back, I messaged someone, “I’ll be, bathroom.” Almost instantaneously, I felt the need to make sure that person knew I meant, “I’ll be back, bathroom.” As if, the person on the other screen is looking at that, thinking, “He’ll be bathroom?! He’ll be bathroom?! What the hell does that mean? He had better correct himself soon, or I’m going over to make sure he’s all right.”

My ultimate hope is that someday, in the near future, we’ll be able to just do away with talking face to face or even via phone. Maybe you could even donate your vocal boxes to people that can’t afford iPhones. Who knows what the futur holds?

*future holds, my bad.

Scott Spinelli’s humor column appears in the Daily Orange every Thursday. You can reach him at saspinel@syr.edu. He wants to know why people don’t celebrate Columbus Day like they do St. Patty’s Day.

March 20, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

Bob Who? Good Speaker Doesn’t Represent Whole Campus

3/6/08

by Scott Spinelli

Phewww.

Finally, I can relax, get some sleep at night. As a matter of fact, we all can. Reported earlier this week in this paper, the graduation speaker has been announced.

Feel free to drop out of that Facebook group – Shawn Carter isn’t coming. No, no, the university went in the direction we all prayed they would – Bob Woodruff is coming to the ‘Cuse.

“Sick, the Watergate guy!”

No, not him. Right Bob, right Wood, wrong, uh, suffix.

For those people that thought the Newhouse School is considered the most important institution on campus, this just about seals it.

Now, let me make one thing clear. I’m in no way suggesting Bobby Woodruff can’t do a good job, an inspiring job. Yet, as was the case last year, the university has immediately snuffed out a little thing called “hype.”

“Oh my Lord! Frank McCourt first, now Bob Woodruff! I might have to go to graduate school just to find out who they’ll bring next year.”

Honestly, how many people know who this dude is? If you have to look your speaker up on Wikipedia, it’s not a good sign.

I’ve discovered Woodruff is a former journalist (I did know that part), former ABC anchor and was injured in Iraq. Sounds like the perfect qualifications to speak to Newhouse students, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing, I am a Newhouse student, and I still don’t care about Bob Woodruff. What annoys me most is, in choosing him, the rest of the entire student body is ignored.

Though, in fairness, I feel like getting gypped out of a commencement speaker is something I could’ve seen coming. The signs are all around.

Take a look in front of DellPlain Hall. Good thing SU took away some more green space here, who wants to play catch, sit around on a nice day on anything other than rubble? I actually overheard a conversation between a few of the construction workers.

“So, for today, we’re just going to take this dirt over here and move it over there. When we’re done with that, we’ll just move that dirt…over here.”

How about those ridiculous thermometer signs in various buildings throughout the campus?

“Help us reach our goal! … Of one billion dollars!”

Come on already. First of all, just once, I’d love to put one of those thermometers in my house. “Help me reach my goal…of $25?”

Second, can we please have somebody break down where our tuition money goes? All I ask for, before I graduate, is to have someone just let me know how on Earth it’s possible that I pay more than $40,000, but I’m always being asked for more money.

Lab or course fees? What the hell is tuition other than a course fee? Honestly, if you’re going to charge a course fee, please stop insulting our intelligence and just make it something obscene like $1,000. After 40 grand, I still need to pay 75 extra bucks?

Still, even if you were blindsided by this Woodruff thing, fear not, I have some suggestions. The following people would easily make more buzz around campus. I can’t promise they’d be better choices, but they’d generate a little more excitement.

Sean Kingston. Sure, he’s not old enough to drink alcohol legally, and he’d be upset about the lack of beautiful girls at SU, but you can’t deny the fun that would come from hearing him shout “JR!” at the end.

The lead singer from Blues Traveler. I’m not sure of his name, but he has several useful pieces of advice to impart. First, the harmonica is a skill not worth investing in. Second, don’t blow your load in your first job – success is defined throughout multiple years or CDs, whatever.

Lieutenant Dan. No, not Gary Sinise, Lt. Dan. Logistically, it’d be easier if it was the Lt. Dan that had fake legs and showed up at the wedding with that Asian chick. But, it’d be a lot more meaningful if it was the angry, bitter, sea-faring Lt. Dan with long hair and a ragged wheelchair. Talk about a war hero, a guy who’s been through a lot. And, think of the whole crowd, at once, asking him if he wanted ice cream.

Scott Spinelli is the humor columnist for The Daily Orange where his columns appear every Thursday. He can be reached at saspinel@syr.edu. He isn’t going anywhere for Spring Break, due to a lack of funds and friends.

March 6, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

Everyone Turns Into A Doctor When I’m Sick

2/28/08

by Scott Spinelli

For quite some time now, one of my secret wishes was to have a raspy, deep, sexy, sore-throat voice. The sort of voice that sounds like you’ve been smoking Lucky Strikes since you were eight.

Over the past few days, my wish came true. I have a sore throat. Or at least, that’s what I call it. I’m surprised they’ve had enough time to come up with a name for an illness they have no idea how to treat. At this point, I might as well have polio, as the timeline to have myself rid of it would be shorter.

I’ve tried those lozenges, the chloraseptic sprays. None of it works. Recently I purchased lozenges from a brand I’d never heard of before, Sucrets. Here’s a sucret: you can only take one every two hours, they numb your taste buds and, oh by the way, they don’t help at all.

I guess it’s my turn to be sick though. It’s that time of year. If you don’t believe me, stop what you are doing and listen to the sounds of your class for one minute. Sniffles, loogie snorts, coughs. Everyone’s got it.

Still, when whatever bug is popular that month does catch you, you act not only as if are you the first person to ever have a sore throat, but have the worst case to ever be documented.

“Can you believe this, I’m not only coughing, but my voice is sore too!”

I actually caught myself speculating that I might have a rare, uncharted form of bronchitis. What that even meant, at the time I didn’t know. But, I did know my throat was hurting, and thus, it has to be something from another planet. No one has ever suffered like me.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, injured or ill at all, I immediately become a world-renowned physician. Somehow, everyone around you also sheds their normal personality – the hell with being a senior engineering student, junior magazine major. Their real calling has always been medicine.

It happens all over the place, for instance, immediately after an injury.

“No, no, you wouldn’t be able to walk at all if you had torn your ACL. They usually have to cart the players off, so, if only by that logic, you’re fine. Forget the fact that your knee feels like its slipping into the bottom half of your calf. Trust me, I watch the NFL.”

My favorite is the suggestive response. Even as I write this now, I’m embarrassed to admit that not only have I been given this suggestion, but I’ve made it to others as well.

“You know what you should do, go down to the health center.”

Wow, there’s a novel concept. Health center, you say? Don’t tell me there are doctors there too?

In the mean time, I’ve tried all sorts of methods to clear my throat up. Hot water with salt (that one makes very little practical sense, but my mom told me to, so I couldn’t tell let her down). Orange juice (for the vitamin C, though ironically at this school, the dining hall orange juice is disgusting). And tea. Lots and lots of tea.

I don’t particularly like tea, nor do I know how to make it. I get the general gist – hot water, bag of seeds. Still, there has to be some technique to it, because the cups I’ve brewed have been wretched. There’s nothing worse than tea that’s either warm or (gasp!) cold.

As if the lack of enjoyable taste sensation wasn’t enough, now the value of hot liquid has vanished. At this point, I’d like to drink lava. It’s thicker, and, from what I read, it’s incredibly hot.

Without getting on too much of a tangent, I will say, I have a theory with regard to hot drinks. Whether it’s coffee or tea or hot cocoa or that unidentifiable chai nonsense, people love carrying around boiling beverages. It makes them feel important, like adults. Sometimes, I’ll put orange juice in one of those coffee containers to make myself feel older, kind of like Tom Hanks in “Big”.

As painful as it may be, the key to whole “sore throat” routine is the raspy voice. Without it, no one believes you. If you “hurt” your leg, you better pray you have a limp. Otherwise, you’re just another college kid with a Harvard medical degree and a propensity to exaggerate your own illnesses. Join the club.

Scott Spinelli is the humor columnist for The Daily Orange where his columns appear on Thursdays. He can be reached at saspinel@syr.edu. If you’re looking for fun: battle mode on “Mario Kart” with Luigi.

February 28, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

Crying Uncle: Having a Niece is Overrated; Little Kids Hide Behind Their Cuteness

2/21/08

by Scott Spinelli

Easily the strangest moment of my life was when I found out I was going to be an uncle. My sister, as it turns out, was going to have a kid.

“Wait a minute, Abbey has sex?”

Gross as it may be, that’s where my first thoughts went. Unless that stork nonsense turns out to be true…But really, the thought of it, to this day, induces a vomit reflex.

But that was almost two years ago. Now, my niece, Julia, is starting to do real human things. You see, my parents were always angry at me for not paying her enough attention. As far as I see it, until she starts doing things the rest of us do such as walk, talk, deal with disappointment, hide secrets from one another or enjoy fine Italian cuisine without spilling it all over yourself, she’s nothing more than a living blob.

Terrible? Maybe, but really, am I supposed to be impressed by something pointing in the general direction of a man, uttering “Pa! Pa!” That’s the true beauty of being that young. Anything you do is akin to reinventing the wheel.

Take, for instance, when you learned how to ride a bike. Before I could actually do it without those helper wheels, I thought I had a better chance of scaling the Himalayas. Could you imagine if your 20-year-old friend couldn’t ride a bike? What was the skill set there anyway? Balance?

I don’t know. I’m just never impressed with little kids. If my sister called me to tell me Julia learned how to write calligraphy, I’d come home to see it. Otherwise, what am I supposed to say?

“Oh my God, she said Pa! So what that she’s pointing at the chair. Pa sits in chairs, sometimes at least, so that’s probably what she was referring to.”

That’s another thing, you can’t make fun of infants, at least those related to you. And, it’s not just because they can’t defend themselves, though I guess it has something to do with it. The real reason comes from one group, the grandparents. My father, specifically, acts like a complete fool. There’s something about having a baby around, almost like a full moon to Michael J. Fox in “Teen Wolf.” Call it the crazy quotient, if you like.

I’ll be in a conversation with him, and he has no qualms about leaving it to get down, hands and knees and grin like an idiot at this infant who can’t even talk. Here I am, a walking, talking adult, and I can’t even hold his attention.

My parents say I’m jealous. Maybe so I do worry though, that I won’t be a good uncle. In the movies, the uncle is always the cool one, the one that takes the niece or nephew to the ball game. The one that buys the niece or nephew the first diseased prostitute. You know, that sort of family stuff.

I look at some of my own uncles. Geez. I’d imagine everyone can relate to this, but I know if there was a prison ran by and for bad uncles, I’d at least have a few jailors and the warden.

Thing is, I don’t even think she knows me. I’m never home, so my two nincompoop brothers are busy stealing prime “Don’t You Remember When” time. Already, her memory of me is fading. I spoke with my sister recently, and she told me Julia calls me “Uncle Cott”. Cute? Maybe to some. I look at it like I’ll be “Uncle Ott” in a few years. Ultimately, phased out.

The other thing I always think about is what she’ll be like when she’s older. Because I’m an infant in my own right, I group her future possibilities into the stereotypical categories I saw on display in high school. Will she be really hot, cheerleader type? How about one of those nerdy girls with no friends who wears make up to convince herself she’s not as big of a loser as she actually is? Or maybe one of those superstar athletes who could beat the snot out of me.

Whatever it is she does become, I can imagine softening my tough-guy stance. I look forward to actually talk to her. Though, I’d imagine I’ll only have a few years to get any good conversation in before I have to take the obligatory, “You’re a Teenage B*tch” break. If she takes after her mother, that’s almost a no-brainer as well. Still, if in the end they come out the same, I’ll be more than happy with that.

Scott Spinelli is a humor columnist for The Daily Orange where his columns appear Thursday. He can be reached at saspinel@syr.edu. He’d like to send out his best wishes to the girls from DanceWorks.

February 21, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment