BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
28 in Dog Years Ben Levy 22, January

Today is the fourth anniversary of BrokenJPG! Quick- somebody make a poop joke!

Oh. Covered that, huh? Maybe some technology humor?

Really? Jeez. Ok, how about a hate-fueled rant regarding popular culture?

Augh! Fine! Let’s just rip on something topical!

Yeah, yeah, you’re right. That is how this whole thing got started.

Fuck. I better come up with some new material before this shit gets stale.

…aaaaaand there’s your poop joke.

Eh? EH? Zing.

hey look
you found
the hidden text!
Ninjas

Seriously, who’s still reading this stuff?

Thanks internet, for suffering through my self-indulgent crap for a whole four years! It warms the cockles of my heart. Which is creepy. Get out of my cockles, you perverts.

Not a paid actor Ben Levy 16, May

For those that don’t watch 60-minute infomercials at 3am, P90X is a cross-training routine available on 12 DVDs. If you call now. And according to all the people desperately trying to convince you they’re not actors and models, you too can get this ripped and lose 47 dress sizes if only you follow this program. Which is hilarious.

Except it actually works. No, really. I’m all sexy* and shit now. I no longer scare babies just by walking down the street. It’s incredible.

*All claims of sexiness should be understood to be the opinion of the author and not intended to be taken as fact. Readers are urged to remember that sexiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and therefore cannot be stated with any confidence. Plus, have you seen the author? Sexy? Ha.

You can find a ton of information about P90X on the internets. Information on exercise technique, diet, and how best to take shitty pictures of yourself in your bathroom mirror so you can show everyone how ripped you’re getting. I’m not going to cover any of that here. I just thought I’d tell you what you can reasonably expect from the program, based solely on what happened to me.

Week One:
After doing plyometrics (jump training) for the first time, your legs become jelly. You spend the rest of the week dropping into chairs like an octogenarian. This is particularly upsetting on the toilet.

Week Two:
After an entire week, you’re still unable to get through the fifteen-minute ab routine without pausing at least five times. During these breaks you will claim the salty moisture running down your face is sweat. This may or may not be true.

Week Three:
You catch a coworker staring at you funny. She awkwardly tells you your arms look nice. Everything is worth it.

Week Four:
By the end of the first month, you will be able to perform the majority of the exercises without looking like a complete wuss. You will believe the worst is behind you. You will be wrong.

Week Five:
You see a new exercise that makes you pause the video and exclaim “WHAT?” It is this one:

Week Six:
You can actually do those now.

Week Seven:
You’ve lost so much weight that your wedding ring no longer fits, and you have to wear it on your middle finger. This makes people worried you’re either becoming anorexic or getting divorced. A lot of time is spent assuring them neither is true.

Week Eight:
You manage to do four 1-handed push ups.

Week Nine:
You finally manage to stop talking about those four stupid 1-handed push-ups.

Week Ten:
In the midst of explaining about P90X to someone, they ask to see your abs. Your confidence level is such that you actually lift up your shirt in public. They describe you stomach as “magnificent”. Pretty much every part of this encounter is disturbing to think back on.

Week Eleven:
You do over 100 pull-ups in a single work out session. You will basically never shut-up about this.

Week Twelve:
You’re in the best shape of your life. You weigh less than you did in high school, and your metabolism is near Kenyan-runner levels. You’re also well on your way to becoming an insufferable ass to all your friends, who don’t want to hear about how you “broke your personal best” again, or how “crazy” it was when you did those hundred pull-ups that morning. Seriously, when will you shut-up about this?

Finally, you’ll write the most egotistical, narcissistic post in the history of your blog, hoping that if you make it sort of funny, people won’t notice how you just spent 500 words bragging about yourself. You will fail.

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Last week I had an experience so traumatic that the only way I can express its true horror is by making an analogy to a multple choice math problem.

Step 1:
The first step in solving any multiple choice math problem is to remember that you fucking hate math, and to curse yourself for winding up in a situation where people can ask you questions about it.

Which was exactly how I felt on Friday night, when the new synagogue rabbinical intern stopped me on my way out and said “You look really familiar, do I know you?”

Step 2:
Eliminate all answers that cannot possibly be correct.

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, and haven’t been to synagogue in a few weeks. Also, I’ve never been introduced to the rabbinic intern before. So of course the answer is no.

Step 3:
Have someone explain to you that the reason you’re struggling is because you fucked up step two.

“Is your name Ben? Ben Levy?”

Step 4:
Stand there dumbfounded.

Lady, I don’t know you. Or even your name. Even though I know the Rabbi mentioned it like seven times tonight. I wasn’t paying attention because NO ONE TOLD ME THERE WAS GOING TO BE A TEST.

Step 5:
Have the person start to explain how to find the right answer. During this step, you will be able to follow everything they say. All of it will make sense. But you still won’t understand how it leads to the right answer at the end.

“Did you go to Camp Ramah in the Poconos? We were in the same Adah (age group)! With [CENSORED] and [REDACTED] and [OH GD I KNOW ALL THESE PEOPLE SHE'S NAMING BUT I SWEAR I'VE NEVER MET HER BEFORE]!

Step 6:
Stare at the person with the look of one who is cursed to seek the answer to this problem for all eternity and to never find it.

This step isn’t even an analogy. It’s just what happened.

Step 7:
The person has now proudly, logically, reached the end of their explanation as to why you’re a complete idiot. You still don’t get it.

“It’s me, [FIRST NAME]!”

Step 8:
They run through the explanation a second time.

“[FIRST NAME] [LAST NAME]? Remember?”

Step 9:
With dawning horror, you realize that of course that’s the answer. You would have sworn on your Grandparents’ graves that was the least likely answer of all the choices given. But you were wrong. You were so wrong that it feels as though you didn’t just fail to understand a multiple choice math problem- you failed to grasp a basic law of reality.

Oh my gd. I do recognize her face now. I….I’ve had dreams where I showed up to school naked that were more comfortable than this.

Step 10:
Here the analogy breaks down. Because in a multiple choice math problem, the horror ends at step 9. But in my life, this happened:

“You remember my mother don’t you? She was a teacher at Camp Ramah.”
“Oh, hi Ben Levy!”

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Idiocy in One Act Ben Levy 27, September

Brought to you by the NJ PATH, and today’s educational system.

Characters:

Urban Youth 1- An Urban Youth.

Urban Youth 2- Another Urban Youth

Educated Black Woman – A credit to the human race

Scene:

The back half of a train car, 9:30 am. The Educated Black Woman is wearing headphones and reading a book on law (seriously, I can’t make this shit up). Next to her sits Urban Youth 1. Urban Youth 2 is across the aisle. They are shouting at each other and laughing raucously.

Urban Youth 1: Yo! Yo yo yo yo, what I do is- yo what I do is, I stick my dick in her ass, then make her lick it off, then stick it back in!

(Urban Youth 2 laughs uproariously. It is clearly the funniest thing he’s ever heard)

Educated Black Woman: (to UY1) You’re being ignorant right now.

(Urban Youth 1 looks at the woman a moment, then addresses his contemporary across the aisle again)

Urban Youth 1: Ok, ok-ok, Avril Lavine, or Lady Gaga?

Urban Youth 2: (instantly) Lady Gaga!

Educated Black Woman: Thank you. Keep it at that level. You’re being ignorant. It’s too early in the morning for that.

Urban Youth 1: Yo, whatchoo listening too?

Educated Black Woman: NPR.

Urban Youth 2: NPR? Ya mean elevator music?

Urban Youth 1: Yo shut up.

Urban Youth 2: Wha? I lissen to all kinds of music. I’m just saying…

Urban Youth 1: (bragging to Educated Black Woman) Fool doesn’t even know who NPR is. I know who NPR is, I used to got NPR as my ringtone.

Fin.

I deeply apologize for the lack of content last Friday. I was in Skeneateles for a wedding and- well, see below.

There’s this new game I just invented where you assign points to technology. The idea is to see whether all this fancy wi-fi’ing, blue-toothing, micro-satellite-RFID-emitting gear of ours is legitimately helpful or just a ridiculously expensive set of paperweights. Let’s take my last Thursday as an example:

My Garmin GPS- a device less than a year old, and designed for the sole and express purpose of navigating America’s roadways- informs me that the city of Skeneateles does not exist. This is troublesome, since both the wedding and motel are in Skeneateles. -1 Point

My Droid Incredible not only locates Skeneateles and the motel therein, it also provides flawless directions, suggests some nice places to eat nearby, and tells the GPS just how far it’s rating has dropped on Amazon. +1 Point

Google locates one “Emerson Park”, where the rehearsal is taking place. One click brings up directions on Droid. +2 Points

Evidently there are two Emerson Parks. Dammit, Google. -1 Point

Use Droid as an actual phone, call bride-to-be just to confirm I am nowhere near the right park. Confirmed. It is agreed I should just head towards Country Club for rehearsal dinner. +1 Point

Look up Country Club address on Droid. +1 Point

In order to enter it into GPS. -1 Point

Using the Droid Incredible as a GPS for hours on end makes the battery sad. It shuts off with a tone that is clearly the binary equivalent of “You’re boned.”
-1 Point

GPS gets me to the Country Club. Or would have, if the road wasn’t closed.
+1 Point

The rest of this tale, about how I stupidly decided to just walk to the Country Club once my GPS led me straight to a closed road and I thought it “didn’t look very far” will have to wait till later. It’s a tale of such elegant stupidity that it really requires it’s own post. Regardless, I think you begin to see why I missed last Friday’s update.

Also, Thursday ends up with a point value of Positive 2. This suggests that while the tech wasn’t totally useless, I spent an extraordinary amount of time using it to fix the problems it caused in the first place. It’s also why, at the end of Thursday, I started designing a poster with the tentative title of “Oh Technology, you World-Changing, Life-Saving, Child-Raping, Anti-Christ.”

I’ll probably make it a t-shirt when I’m done.

I wrote a book. Yes, really. Ben Levy 31, March

It’s been five months in the making. Five months of me trying to keep my mouth shut (I failed pretty spectacularly) or at least not mentioning it on the blog until it was a reality (I barely- BARELY- managed that).

But now it’s done. So I can post this:

Picture 7

What? You have read this blog before, right? I mean, I hope you weren’t expecting something more appropriate. Something deep and meaningful and Shakespearean? That’s not really how I roll.

I Have A Dick. Now What? is about all those things that guys should know, but often don’t. The best way to stare at a woman without getting caught. The best methods for hiding porn. And several plans of attack for removing a bra. This book- while addressed to males- has proven to be entertaining to the womenfolk as well, as it peels back the (admittedly shallow) mystery of common male behaviors. To the rest of you- who have ever been caught ogling the fairer sex, have protested to your mother that you don’t know how the Playboys got under your bed, or desperately swore that you’d have that bra unhooked in no time no really you mean it just one second oh thank heaven there it goes- you may want to read this.

Like this blog, it is written by me. Unlike this blog, it’s nearly 50% pictures. A typical page looks like this:

IHADNW_Sample 7

Although it could just as easily look like this:

IHADNW_Sample 9

Like this blog, it is available electronically. Unlike this blog, you can also have it delivered in print form.

If you want more info, you can check out the site here. There’s more sample pages, an “about” section explaining where the idea came from, and even some shirts (there will be more later). There’s also a facebook page here, since I’m told the kids love that. Become a fan, won’t you?

Please help me out by re-tweeting, re-posting, and generally spreading the word to anyone who you think might find this book amusing. And do keep in mind the vast, untapped possibilities represented by offering it as a gag-gift. I mean, that’s the whole idea behind the dedication page:

dedication

Next post: My thoughts on just how awesome it is that a no-talent hack like me can publish their own book in the year 2010.

But it won’t work. I’m on to you. After this, this, and this, I can spot your attempts to skullfuck the last remaining vestiges of my happy childhood memories from a mile away.

I’ll give you some credit, though. When I first heard you insidious franchise-fucking money whores had started filming an A-Team movie, I thought I knew what to expect. I was ready for the post to practically write itself.

a-team

But then I found an photo of Liam Neeson in costume, and he was the spitting image of Hannibal. And then I read it was being directed by Joe Carnahan, of Smoking Aces fame. How proud you must have been, Hollywood. I can see you steepling your fingers in a dark room and laughing to yourself. “He’ll totally buy it,” you cackle, as you chew on newborn children while their mothers watch, and think up new ways to ruin the Transformers franchise, “he’ll be too intrigued to hate the film. He’ll see too much potential.”

infphoto_1078939-533x800

It almost worked too. I was ready to believe. I was fresh off Inglorious Basterds and District 9, and I told myself that maybe, just maybe, the A-Team movie wouldn’t be that bad.

Then I woke the hell up.

Smoking Aces was a thing of beauty. And Liam Neeson can be funny if you’re a little drunk and he’s not playing a dad. But neither of them are A-Team material. You’re not making the A-Team. You’re making a cinematic sin.

Your mistake, Hollywood, the thing that really proved to me that you were going to beat to death one more of my childhood loves with a phallus-shaped baseball bat, was this: UFC fighter “Rampage” Jackson as B.A. Barracus.

The-A-Team-tv-09

Mr. T isn’t dead, you sniveling, spineless, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing, twats. I defy you to tell me what the hell is wrong with casting him as (essentially) himself. Not a damn thing, that’s what. I know this movie isn’t really about the A-Team. It’s about some fuckwit who wasn’t smart enough to craft an original premise, so you just bought the rights to an old TV show and prayed that enough people would love the franchise to see it no matter how horribly you mangled the plot. But if you really want to bring in the hordes, why didn’t you morons at least get the single most memorable person from the original show? This could have been the Return of the Teletubbies in 3-D, but if it had Mr. T, being Mr. T, I’d have gone to see it. Twice. Now? You have nothing but my unrequited rage.

The only thing that would save this movie now is if the whole thing was a publicity stunt. Halfway through the advertising campaign, we discover that this movie is a plot to discredit the original A-Team, and they all reunite, jump in the van, and start busting the heads of every Hollywood dipshit responsible for this mess. That movie I would see (along with Mr. T and the Teletubbies).

But then, that was my fevered prayer for the GI Joe movie as well, and look how that turned out.

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I have a theory Ben Levy 31, May

The theory is that my dog believes all squirrels are filled with crack.

My dog was adopted from a shelter in Miami. This means two things. First, that we don’t know her early history. And second, that she lived in a city with a fair bit of drug traffic.

She’s crazy for squirrels. Absolutely flat-out, bat-shit, lose-her-damn-mind-and-attempt-to-climb-trees-which-she-can’t-do-cause-she’s-a-dog-not-a-cat crazy. The vocal and gymnastic displays she performs could get an unlicensed animal put down. And I have developed a theory that perfectly explains this behavior.

At some point, a desperate drug trafficker with more creativity than sense decided that he would evade detection by using squirrels as couriers. I don’t pretend to know whether he had a herd of the damn things, or just tried stitching a few grams into a single test subject, but somewhere a squirrel got loose. We can all agree that once that squirrel rode it’s stolen hamster wheel out the window and across a telephone wire to safety, it was too tired to climb a tree and just sank gratefully into the grass in a nearby park.

I think my dog found it. I think she ate it. And I think she’s been looking for her next hit ever since.

Q: What’s the worst joke you can tell someone, only it’s not a joke and when they realize you’re serious the laughter dies in their throat almost as quickly as their will to live?
A: Will Smith is re-making the Karate Kid.

karate_kid

This is not the first time the entertainment industry has tried to murder me via coronary by retroactively destroying my childhood. There was that Shite Rider crap. And the GI Joe movie (more on that in a few days). But this may be their master stroke.

This time they’re not content to simply exhume and anally violate one of the cornerstones of my childhood. No, this time they’ve conned one of the few actors I respect(ed) into doing it. They’ve discovered how to sodomize both my past and present simultaneously. If we’re lucky the resulting black hole from bending the space/time continuum this way will destroy us all before their plans are complete. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just smother myself in honey and hit bears with a baseball bat. Anything to lessen the pain.

I’m going to be honest here. This was not a bad idea because Jackie Chan is on board, and he’s old. It’s not a bad idea because supposedly the kid travels to China and learns Kung Fu, which isn’t fucking Karate you damned ignorant fucktards. It’s a horrible, flawed, embarrassingly bad idea because the entire premise behind Karate Kid is simply retarded.

newkaratekid

I loved the Karate Kid. We all did. We all really, really wanted to believe that we could learn martial arts from some diminutive foreigner who was probably in the country illegally and start kicking bully’s asses left and right. I don’t know about you, but when I was ten, that was the American Dream.

And back then, it worked. It was a good movie. But -and I’m serious here- it only worked because we were idiots.

Listen to me Will Smith, or whoever is controlling the Will Smith robot suit that’s giving the orders- that was a simpler time. We all believed that painting fences and sanding floors might actually turn us into deadly fighting machines. It’s because we were stupid.

We’ve got the internet now. We’ve got the UFC. We know what real fighting looks like. And we know the truth is that if Daniel-son had gone into a real tournament, he would have been choking down his own excrement inside of 30 seconds. If repetitive motion automatically granted martial prowess, every right-handed male from the age of 11 and up would be kicking ass like Bruce Lee. (The lefties would be doing it mirrored) But that’s just not the way it works.

karatekid

At the time, it was great. But we’re talking about a generation of kids who- and I’m including myself in this- honestly went home after seeing the movie and practiced the Crane Kick in the mirror. I mean we really fucking considered it for a minute. I have a tiny bit of experience in the martial arts, and I can promise if you tried to pull that shit in a fight the only reason it would work is because your opponent might laugh so hard that they rupture something. My point is that the film was great for it’s time. Leave it as a warm, fuzzy memory of a simpler time in our lives. You really can’t make this one cool again.

And as for you, Will Smith- No. NO. Bad, Will Smith. Very bad Will Smith. You go sit in the corner and think about what you’re potentially going to have done.

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Fuck Twilight Ben Levy 17, November

Let me tell you what I have against this movie. It’s making vampires “popular”.

Full disclosure: I’m a geek. I don’t wear it proudly, per se, but I don’t deny it. I never wore a pocket protector, and among my friends I was the most comfortable talking to girls. But I suck horribly at sports (martial arts excluded), and have always had a predilection for using words like, well, predilection. Once or twice I have been accused of rolling dice.

I liked mythology as a kid. Still do. And so along with the Greek and Norse pantheons, I also knew about Vampires. And werewolves. And dragons. And elves. And do you think I ran around talking about them? Do you think I read books about them in school, or bought folders that had them on the cover?

Shit no.

It was a dark secret. Like masturbation was during the 50s, or watching porn before the internet. Even if you did it, you never talked about it. You couldn’t talk about it.

But now, the cool kids are watching vampire movies. The popular people. The trendsetters.

No. I simply won’t stand for it.

Fuck you people. You’re pretty. You’re popular. You lost your virginity in 8th grade, and you didn’t have to take your cousin to prom. If I’d been caught reading Brahm Stoker’s Dracula, I’d have gotten a wedgie. But you read some Dan Steele infused necrophiliac babysitter’s club fantasy and claim it’s in vogue. Damn you to hell.

I didn’t draw the g-damned line, but I stood on my side of it. The Vampires didn’t love people, they freaking BIT THEM. So did the damn werewolves. Which, by the way, never bothered fighting the vampires because who gave a shit, they were werewolves. And the elves were awesome because they were elves, not because they were Orlando Bloom. You had your sex life, I had my books, and we knew where everybody stood.

But no. Now, you pervert my secret love. You take this thing, these stories, these myths. You apply your damned Gilmore Girls soap opera plots to them and call them your own. It’s Dawson’s Fucking Creek with vampires, and now suddenly that’s ok. Well it’s not ok. Not unless you retroactively start dating me instead of the varsity jock boyfriend you had in 10th grade.

Of course it’s been pointed out to me that I want my wife to read these things. Precisely because they’re Dan Steele infused necrophiliac babysitter’s club fantasy. And aside from the necrophiliac part, I find that a compelling argument. I’m considering buying her the first one for Hannukah.

But I’ll still force her to hide it out of sight when there are people around. That’s the price of admission, and all the true blood-drinking fans paid it back in the day.