Things that bug me

1. Dumb sitcoms- I am just so sick of unoriginal plot lines, cookie-cutter characters, and unfunny jokes. The show that angers me the most these days is "My Wife and Kids". What a wretched piece of garbage. The only chance this so-called comedy has at making me laugh is when it provokes me to set fire to my TV and cackle maniacally as it burns into a pile of ashes.

2. People forgetting to turn off their cell phones- Let me tell ya, when the bride and groom are professing their vows, the last thing we need to hear is an obnoxious ring tone of "Flight of the Bumblebee” coming from some clown's cell phone. Okay, I'll admit it. It doesn't make me nearly as angry as it should. In fact, I think it's actually kind of funny...

3. Celebrity couples referred to by one name- Brangelina, TomKat, Bennifer, we've heard them all. But why do only celebs get the treatment? If people started referring to my wife, Violet and I as "Briolet", I would like that very much. It's short, compact and to the point. But no, it will never happen because we're not famous enough. As usual, the pampered Hollywood stars get all the perks.

4. Jarod from the Subway commercials- Every time this guy comes on the screen, I begin seething in anger and have to change the channel before I break out into an unsightly rash. Yes, we get it; the dude lost a boatload of weight, but he's not Kirstie Alley. He's just some ordinary shmoe. He doesn't get to set trends. The fact that he eats at Subway gives me no motivation whatsoever to do the same. Please stop shoving him down our throats as some sort of celebrity when he just isn't.

5. Bumpers at the bowling alley- When I was a kid, there was nothing shielding us from the ugly fact that we couldn't bowl for crap. You went home with a total score of 13 and dealt with it. Nowadays, it is nearly unbearable for me to watch a child purposely aim for the gutter so that he can strategically bounce the ball off of the bumper and get a strike. That is NOT real bowling. Sure, it prevents kids from screaming, crying and kicking the ball return after the 15th gutter ball in a row (not that I ever did that), but it's all just an illusion. They have learned nothing about bowling, or about life, for that matter.

6. Generational categories- Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and who knows what else. Why do we insist on categorizing and pinning labels on people who happen to grow up within 10 to 20 years of each other? It provides no useful social commentary and just creates inaccurate stereotypes. For instance, I am at the oldest end of Generation X. Yeah, me- a member of GenX. I have about as much in common with Kurt Cobain as I do Hilary Duff, perhaps even less. And my 4 older siblings are Baby Boomers, so one would assume that back in the day they were acid-dropping hippies driving around in a beat up van to anti-war protests. In reality, the closest any of them came to being anti-establishment was a Black Power rally that my sister ended up at accidentally. Whoever is doing this mindless labeling, knock it off. Being a GenXer, I already have enough angst as it is.

7. Odd musical pairings on PBS specials- I remember a few years ago flipping channels and landing on a PBS special that featured Pavarotti and Bryan Adams singing a duet. I thought to myself “and they expect people to donate to their pledge drive after being subjected to this?”. Now I'm sitting here watching Reba McEntire perform South Pacific with some operatic guy and I can't help but think somebody over at PBS is just messing with us all. I'm just waiting for them to totally tip their hand and give us an evening with Barbara Streisand and Axl Rose. Oh, and believe me, it's coming.

8. The contra bassoon- What is with this instrument? Is it really necessary? If you stepped on a large goose, you would likely get a similar sound to what comes out of this monstrosity. While in college, some friends and I attended a recital featuring a bassoon quintet. We waited all night long in mock anticipation for the contra bassoon to make an appearance, and when it finally did, the guy next to me yelled “THE CONTRA!” We were lucky we didn't get kicked out. Okay, so my college days weren't exactly normal, but that is totally not the point.

9. Email forwards- If you have email, there are a number of jokes, stories, petitions, etc. that circulate around the internet and inevitably, all of them will find their way to your inbox. Two varieties that irk me:
-The inspirational prayers that end with something like “and if you want this prayer to be answered, you have to forward this email to 10 people”. Great. The awesome power of prayer, held hostage by the ignorant superstition of a chain letter.
- Urban myths. Before you send me an email that warns me about a virus that is going to reach out from my computer and give me the bird flu, would you please first verify it on or another reliable “fact vs fiction” website? I know, I could just delete it, but where is the fun in that?

10. Birds coming back from the South too soon- When I was a child, I was told that the sighting of the first robin was the sign that spring had arrived. Well, when it's 30 degrees outside, with a foot of snow on the ground and there are robins everywhere, somebody needs to be held accountable. These guys have been migrating since the dawn of time and they still can't get it right. Enough of this already. I say if they want to keep the title of Official Herald of Spring, then they will need to fix the problem by next year or the job goes to someone else.

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