Previous “Fun With” posts

Fun With the Memo Field While Committing Abhorrent Crimes 

With just three little words, “head number 7” says so much.

Recently, the manager of the Harvard Med School morgue was accused of stealing and selling human body parts. Cedric Lodge and his wife Denise were among a half-dozen people arrested for some pretty grotesque crimes. This part is also at least a little bit funny though:

Over a three-year period, Taylor appeared to pay Denise Lodge more than $37,000 for human remains. One payment, for $1,000 included the memo “head number 7.” Another, for $200, read “braiiiiiins.”

In a recent Money Stuff column, Matt Levine’s take was that the memo field itself is the issue:

…[Y]ou can know, intellectually, that you should not put evidence of crimes in writing, but when you get to the little memo field in PayPal or Venmo or your checkbook or whatever, and you are buying human brains stolen from the morgue, you will be unable to resist writing “brains.” I get it! I am typing this advice, and I have seen the consequences when people fail to follow it, and I have absolutely no interest in ever buying stolen human remains, and if I did I would not use PayPal, but if I did buy brains using PayPal, I would absolutely type “braiiins” in the memo field. “Welp, guess I’m going to prison,” I’d think, as I typed it. The temptation is so strong!

Levine proposes a niche payment platform that specifically does not have a memo field, or better yet, has a memo field which does not actually save. You know, for crimes you just really want to talk about but know you shouldn’t.

Fun with Plurals

Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.

Recently, Apple turned on a new “Emergency SOS” feature, which uses satellites in space to make it possible to call for help even when no cellular service is available. That’s both impressive and something I hope I never need, but I want to note Apple’s press release, whose headline states that the feature is available for “the iPhone 14 lineup”.

Me, I prefer to say it’s available “on all the iPhones 14”. Indeed, many moons ago, I tweeted the following:

  • New hobby: Creating & using odd plurals similar to ‘attorneys general’.

    Successful Examples:

    iPods Touch
    Millers High Life
    Minis Cooper

In the 13+ years since that tweet, I have kept up this silly little quirk. For me, it’s most frequently useful with Apple products. Though the company recently retired the last of the iPods Touch, they still sell MacBooks Air, iPhones Pro, and HomePods Mini by the millions. Heck, Apple has even followed my lead themselves, with the AirPods Pro. I encourage all those who write about Apple to adopt this style, for it is fun and at the very least, not incorrect.

There are plenty of other odd plurals already in use in the English language, and they always make me smile. I don’t often get a chance to say “culs-de-sac” or “Johnnies-come-lately”, but when I can work them into a conversation, it makes my day. As evidenced by the “Minis Cooper” example above, however, I also enjoy pluralizing things in ways that stodgy old language experts might claim are wrong. To them, I say “Fie!”. If a name has two parts where the second could conceivably be an adjective, well then, let’s go wild.

Car models of all sorts are a good starting point. While the rental car fleet in America is chock full of Toyotas Corolla, those seeking more adventure can find plenty of Jeeps Wrangler as well. When you’re out on a drive, you might dine at one of our many fine chain restaurants, choosing from among thousands of Burgers King or Pizzas Hut in the US. If an approximation of food from other lands is more your thing, we have Tacos Bell and Pandas Express galore. And for dessert, we have many scrumptious candies. This past Halloween, I spent an hour trick-or-treating with a mother-daughter pair of Rosies the Riveter. In that time, I sought out Kits Kat, while avoiding Bits-O-Honey and Babies Ruth.

Much like embracing the glorious imperfection of bad photographs, utilizing odd plurals is a wonderful way to add whimsy to your life. Give it a try, and you too can revel in the strange looks you get.

Fun With Address Labels

Good, Cheap, Fun. Pick all three.

The mass of men lead lives of boring return address labels. I choose not to count myself among them.

I want to live deep and suck out all the marrow of mailing letters.

I purchased these labels because I wished to live humorously, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not laughed.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me good fun and allow me to share it with others.

Cliff’s Notes Summary: Don’t waste your life with those free address labels sent to you by a charity you didn’t even support. Shell out a few bucks and give a smile to the recipient of your letter. Each time you move, come up with a new idea.

Fun With Checks

Checks can't avoid being stupid. They don't have to be boring as well.

At this point in time, checks are a very stupid method of payment. For many years now, upon receiving a check, I’ve deposited it by taking a digital picture of it with my smartphone. At a bare minimum, the person sending me a physical paper check could instead have just emailed me a digital picture of the check. Far less ridiculously, though, we could just cut the entire paper part out of this.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the internet exists, checks remain a relevant tool in the 21st century. Given that, we may as well at least have some fun with them. Fans of my on-an-extremely-long-hiatus podcast “Just The Tip1 may remember that my co-host Amy has some amazing personal checks. We call them pizza checks:

A personal check featuring a cartoon pizza chef in the upper left
It’s just so good.

Despite what her checks might imply, Amy does not own a pizzeria, nor even a chef’s toque.

After seeing this delightful nonsense, I knew I had to step up my own check game. When I needed new checks awhile back, I spent some time scanning through the images which could place in the upper left corner, where the pizza chef is seen above. There were many dull options like a stylized initial (“P”), but I was looking for something with comedic value.

The first thing I considered was this truly ancient computer:

Ancient PC check
The CRT really dates this.

The collegiate logos section offered me the possibility of having “Ball State” checks. At best, though, that was worth a juvenile chuckle:

Ball State Logo check
The logo ruins what’s already a very, very weak joke.

I also contemplated getting something goofy like a monster truck, which would surely appeal to all those 7-year-olds to whom I write checks:

Monster truck check
This is really pretty sweet.

Ultimately, though, I wanted to see if I could come up with something that wasn’t quite so derivative of Amy’s glorious pizza checks. It was in this pursuit that I stumbled upon the “Expressions” section of the check ordering website. Expressions are simple lines of text (and the occasional small image), offering up banal statements like “I ♥ Baseball”:

I love baseball check
I assume the actual physical checks would have higher quality printing than their terrible mockup does.

While I do enjoy baseball, my checks don’t need to advertise that fact. I’m also not interested in having my checks say “God Bless America”, “I’d Rather Be Gardening”, or “Save the Planet”. There were almost 250 different possibilities for an “Expression”, and they were almost uniformly terrible.

However, after much poking around, I stumbled on the “Miscellaneous” section. There, I found the single most ridiculous option I could imagine. As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d found my perfect check. I quickly finished my order, then set up a tent by the mailbox so I could camp out and wait for them to arrive.

Just a few days later, these beauties showed up:

A check that says ‘I need a hug’.

Yes friends, whether I’m filing my taxes with the IRS or paying a plumber, each and every check I send lets the world know that I need a hug.

I don’t know why this option exists. I don’t know who would order it with any degree of sincerity. What I do know is that these preposterous checks have now given me years of enjoyment. The thought of folks being utterly confused upon receiving one of these is a true source of joy each time I write a check. That joy has helped offset, if not eliminate, the annoyance at the fact that I’m still writing checks.


  1. The show’s not dead until one of us is. ↩︎

Embrace The Glorious Imperfection

The world is a mess, but we don't have to let it get us down.

We all take plenty of bad pictures. Thanks to the digital nature of most photos these days, it’s easy to delete the images where someone blinked, sneezed, or just looked really dumb. However, I want you to consider another way. We should embrace our glorious imperfection, as exhibited by the inherent truth of a bad photograph.


The genesis of this philosophy began over a decade ago, when my pal Merlin showed me his truly fabulous Costco membership card. Please enjoy this terrible photo of a terrible photo, courtesy of the original iPhone and a dimly lit bar:

Having no idea what information on this ID might be useful, I’ve blacked it all out.

Years later, when signing up for Costco myself, I kept Merlin’s example in mind. Where he went with a diabolical genius laugh, I aimed for more of a deer-in-the-headlights look. Here is a very high-quality photo of a terrible photo:

Costco really does not use good printers for this.

While this sort of clownery is unlikely to fly on a driver’s license or passport, there’s nothing stopping you from looking intentionally ridiculous in other identification documents. Go on, live a little!

Fun With Your Address Book

Of course, IDs alone aren’t enough. In an effort to push the world beyond its vain ways, I have also expanded this philosophy to my contacts. Fair warning, if you’re a buddy of mine, I have likely set an amusing picture of you as your contact photo. That’s just the price of entry into the wonderful circle of friendship.

Every so often, I’ll take a moment to really notice one of these pics, and have a good laugh:

Scott finally proved them all wrong.

And if, god forbid, you call me? Well, the awfulness of using my phone as a phone will be lessened by seeing something like you cuddling up to Danny Devito’s sweaty, naked ass:

The explanation for this photo is, in a word, complicated.

Turnabout Is Fair Play

Of course, I’ve shown many of my friends the ridiculous contact photos I use for them. As a result, the practice has spread. Many of them share screenshots of my own contact in their address book, as seen in the examples below:

You may recognize that picture from this March post.

That veggie sausage was moving toward my facehole at a high rate of speed.

For this to work, we must all be willing to allow the spread of less-than-flattering photos. As my Instagram feed can attest, I practice what I preach, and I’m quite willing to post ridiculous photos of myself for comedic effect. Please enjoy these three examples. If you’ve got me in your contacts, I encourage you to use these pictures, or others like them.

Lean In

The real world is not what we see through Hollywood’s Vaseline-smeared lens or the false curated perfection of social media. The real world is a mess, and if we can’t laugh at it at least a little bit, we’re all lost. Embrace that terribleness. Lean in to it. You’ll have a lot more fun.

Fun With a Gratuitous Photo Booth

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace Las Vegas are strange and terrible, and this machine fits right in.

On a recent ramble through Las Vegas, I found myself in the surreal Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.1 This is apparently the highest grossing mall in America by sales per square foot, but the retail collection occupies a place of dread in my mind. Its dim lighting and second-story faux facades combine with the bizarrely sky-painted ceiling to warp reality in almost Daliesque fashion.

Photo of the Forum Shops mall
This is a deeply weird place to shop, or even just exist for an hour.
[Photo credit: Simon Property Group]

Are you inside? Are you outside? Would you like to dine inside inside at Trevi, the Italian restaurant next to a paltry attempt at a Romanesque fountain, or outside inside to really soak in the lack of sun beaming down through the “clouds”?

Naturally, this mall featured a photo booth placed outside of a meatball restaurant. While I did not eat at Carmine’s, upon noticing their contraption, I was more than willing to take advantage of it. It paid off in spades.

Photo of me using the machine
Perhaps in sympathy to their hosts, the Carmine’s sign lacks an apostrophe.2
[Photo credit: T. Arment]

As you can guess from the Facebook and Twitter logos seen on the front, this machine is intended to aid customers in spreading the word about the restaurant via social media. You can do it “for FREE!”, no less, which is surely the highest price anyone would pay for this. I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten a meal after which I felt the need to send a digital postcard to my friends, but to each their own.

Wanting to see just how strange this would be, I took a photo, then punched in my own email address to receive a copy. I thought it best not to subject anyone else to this exercise in stupidity and data collection. Though the on-screen keyboard malfunctioned repeatedly, I eventually convinced it to send my picture. My task complete, I stepped away so that literally no one else could use, or even notice, the machine. I pulled out my iPhone to check my email, but there was nothing. I checked my spam filters, but still, bupkis. Feeling defeated and not just a little claustrophobic, I decided to move on and out of the mall.

Several hours later, however, I received an email from myself. With the subject line “I’m at Carmine’s Vegas!”, it indicated that “a friend” had sent me a uPostcard.

Success! My photo had arrived, in glorious, 800×600, framed, PNG-not-JPG glory. Here it is:

My dumb face
This photograph accurately captures what it feels like to be at the Forum Shops.

As you can see, I have been dubbed a “Spaghetti fanatic”.3 Shockingly, despite the unrequested title I’ve had bestowed upon me, this postcard design actually isn’t awful. While it seems completely unrelated to the restaurant outside of which it sits, with a smiling face, better alignment, and a lack of derrieres in the background, it could at least produce an acceptable reproduction of being at the mall.

However, this is not actually what a recipient will see. Instead, when the emailed link is clicked, this is the hideous train wreck you’ll be shown.

A real train wreck of a design.

From the words being shoved in my mouth via a misaligned dialogue bubble to the sprinkle of social media droppings including the just-about-to-be-defunct Google+, it’s all stomach-churning. So it is that I can say this for Carmine’s: Whether you eat the food or just use their unnecessary photo booth, one way or another, you’re not going to leave hungry.


  1. No apostrophe, though there certainly should be one, ridiculous explanations aside. ↩︎

  2. The restaurant’s name is a possessive “Carmine’s”, and the horizontal signs include an apostrophe. ↩︎

  3. The business cards are due back from the printer any day now. ↩︎

Making Medical Walking Boots Fun

Medical walking boots don't have to be bland.

I broke my foot last May, as readers may remember from the post on my iWalk. In addition to that high-tech peg leg, I had to wear a medical walking boot. This was also decently advanced technology, but it was more than a little bland:

A dull gray Aircast

In an effort to give the boot a little pizazz, I stuck on a gem of a sticker:

A sticker reading 'Now slower and with more bugs'
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

However, what I really wanted for the boot was some rad flames, because flames make everything faster. A dope flame decal was more difficult to find than I’d have expected, but I eventually acquired these:

Some sweet flames stickers

This set included not just flames, but snakes! I used several of these stickers together, to really spice things up:

Stickers in place on the boot
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

This was a small way to put a smile on both my face, and the faces of anyone who noticed. However, the stickers also led to something which gave me a terrific laugh. After posting the above boot images on Instagram, I noticed this:

Instagram showing that flauntboots liked a post

When I saw this, I thought “Is that a medical boot accessorizing account?”. I’m delighted to tell you that yes, yes it is! A medical boot accessorizing account which wisely searches for the hashtag #brokenfoot, no less. This company sells all manner of covers for medical walking boots, to make them look more stylish.

A flauntboot and a regular heel
[Photo via Flauntboots]

As long as they match, surely no one will notice that you’re wearing one small shoe and one comically huge one!

Honestly though, I can’t knock the idea. I know from experience that anything which makes having a medical walking boot less awful is a good thing. So if you’ve ever got a broken foot and money to burn, your medical boot could look sort of like a Chuck, or an Ugg, or several other types of shoe. Alternately, you might just check your local hobby shop to add a few sweet decals.

Fun with SiriusXM

Modern rental cars often include SiriusXM radios, and they can be fun to fiddle with it. In addition to a decent variety of music, you can catch baseball games, tune in to terrible talk radio, or simply marvel at the ridiculous number of channels on offer. Sadly, a once-humorous divide in political channels is no longer as ridiculous as it once was. Years back, Sirius offered “Sirius Left” for left-wingers and “Sirius Patriot” for right-wingers. Now they’ve got the more ambiguous pairing of “SiriusXM Progress” and “SiriusXM Patriot”.

My favorite way to enjoy SiriusXM is with the alerts it can pop to inform you when music you want to hear is playing. When you begin a road trip, just star your favorite songs and artists as you hear them. When that song or artist plays again, on any station, the radio will pop an alert. With a quick tap, you can tune in and get that party started. Now, my rule is that you must tune in, which can have some interesting consequences. If you star enough artists, or the song of the moment (currently it’s The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”1), you’ll get very frequent pop-ups. You might not hear a full song for some time, but you’ll be amused to flip repeatedly, possibly from a song to the same song starting on another channel. See how many tracks you can chain together, without ever hearing the end. My record is thirteen different songs.

Because these are rental cars, sometimes you’ll find other people’s favorites still on there. You can clear these out easily enough. Of course, when you do, you might just be presented with something like this “Who’s On First?”-esqe dialog.

Delete Yes

I like to think that whoever favorited this artist did so solely to make some future person see this ridiculous dialog box. I’ll certainly be favoriting “Yes” whenever possible, explicitly for this reason.


  1. The Weeknd, I think you may be having a stroke. This is no laughing matter. Please stop singing, and seek immediate medical attention. ↩︎

Fun With the Airlines

As we near our 10th straight year of living in a world of constant, illogical fear, it may seem unlikely that one could have any fun at all with an airline. Whether it’s finding yourself nickel-and-dimed in every imaginable way, having the TSA meet the resistance, or simply dealing with being packed in tightly with your fellow man, traveling by air can be quite dispiriting.

Nevertheless, there remain opportunities for tomfoolery. Often when booking airline travel, one will be presented with an option to select a prefix or title. The result of this choice is meaningless (though selecting one appropriate for your gender is likely advisable), making it a great place for a little chuckle. To wit:

Delta Booking
Strangely, Delta feels I’m worthy of reverence.

Continental Booking for Sir Paul
Continental also shows respect.

Weeks or months later, when you get your ticket, you can laugh at the title your past self has bestowed upon you. There are usually an assortment of options, but the above two have some of the best deniability in case anyone calls you on your nonsense. Recently however, when signing up for Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program, an option too fantastic to be ignored was offered:

Frequent Flyer Card
Professor Doctor

Yes, thanks to Lufthansa, I’m now a card-carrying Professor Doctor. I haven’t decided on a field yet, but Professor Doctor of Love seems sure to impress the ladies.

I assumed two titles would be the maximum I could get out of an airline, and felt quite pleased. Then, I saw the envelope in which they’d sent the card:

Mister Professor Doctor!

The next challenge? Suffixes. Mister Professor Doctor Paul Kafasis, Esquire really rolls off the tongue.