How's the economy doing? Judging by the offer I got this AM, I'd say it's looking up!

In case you don't know how my particular brand of travel writing works, I am (how you say in English?) a prostitute. Basically, travel companies, tourism boards, television stations and magazines pay for me to go places and say nice things about them. I'm not a critic. I'm not interested in the downsides of things. When I travel, I look for the unique and wonderful parts of the experience and I try to convey them to my readers.

While this is obviously HUGE amounts of fun, it's not really the most lucrative way of doing business, so I rely on these companies and media outlets to fund my trips. (Otherwise, I'd wind up paying $10,000 to research a story for which I'd be paid $1500.) Unfortunately, with the state of the economy right now, the offers have been few and far between, so this morning, when I was sleepily sipping a cup of coffee and reading my emails, I was pretty psyched to spy a message with the header “Tierra Del Fuego Press Trip Offer.”

I eagerly maximized the message to read the details and the following is what I encountered: (Note, I have changed the geographical specifics of this offer so as not to embarrass anyone, but nothing else has been altered.)

"On August 7th, 2009 we have a couple of last minute openings on our Tierra Del Fuego Unbound Adventure."

Oh hell yeah! That's right in my wheelhouse, baby!

"We are contacting you to offer a free press trip to this iconic destination."

Hello Tierra Del Fuego! Goobye economic downturn!

"There are two spots available. These could be used by a qualified writer/photographer team, or simply two qualified writers. There are quite a few angles that are press worthy with our adventure but we have found the best way for writers to find their own unique story is to experience our unique adventures first hand."

I love first hand. I'm all about first hand!

"You would be responsible for your own travel expenses to and from Tierra Del Fuego as well as the $100 Tierra Del Fuego Park Admission fee and a $250 admin fee."

So... if I pay to go on a Tierra Del Fuego Unbound Adventure I'm allowed to go on a Tierra Del Fuego Unbound Adventure? Well hot shit! Where do I sign?

I don't intend to be braggadocios, but it's obvious from this message that I am kind of a big deal. I mean, it's not every travel writer who gets personally invited to pay for a vacation to Tierra Del Fuego. You've got to have a certain degree of cache to be allowed to pay the same amount as everyone else to do the things everyone else can do. That kind of VIP access has to be earned, and offers this fabulous wouldn't be extended unless the economy was looking up.

So, let's all chill out. Everything's fine. If you were thinking about breastfeeding your starving neighbor in a barn, don't! The cogs and gears of industry are finally churning again and pretty soon we'll all be swimming in heaps of cash like little Scrooge McDucks. Oh, and to further underscore how Big Time I am, I was also recently contacted by the Burger King Corporation, via my television set, and they have invited me to visit any one of their fine restaurants across the country to purchase my choice of delicious sandwich items, sides and thirst quenching beverages. Laissez le bon temps roule!

If you'd like to read some of my travel stories, here are a few of my faves:

Cooking in the kitchen of Food and Wine Best New Chef Gavin Kaysen

Following the Iditarod

Sailing to Antarctica

#108 - Can You Say "Better Mousetrap?"

No? How about better key chain? Because that's what this is. I've written previously about my lifelong obsession with stripping down and and minimizing the things I carry with me. I'm always on the lookout for a smaller phone, a thinner wallet or a lighter key chain. So when I spotted Scott Amron's Split Key Ring--a key upon which you can keep your other keys--I sprang into action and ordered one. I love waiting for stuff in the mail, and I'm particularly psyched to get my new key.

In case you're curious, Mr. Amron's other inventions include a buoyant spoon...

a glass of water/clock that tells time via evaporation...

a toothbrush that redirects water for easy rinsing...

and whole bunch of products fabricated from non-conductive material that allow you to take advantage of your extra outlets.

While I was rereading my thoughts on carrying things I also spotted this little piece: 21 Ways To Thrive in the Recessed Economy. We probably need this information now more than ever so I'm posting it again.

21 Ways To Thrive in the Recessed Economy

1. If you can’t get bread to eat, just have some nice cake.

2. Next time someone gives you a fish, thank him, but then try to learn where he found it and how he managed to capture it.

3. Get you some pencils, put 'em in a cup, and sell 'em. Or apples. Apples is good sellin'.

4. Patronize uglier hookers.

5. Since you're NOT giving up happy hour, drink cocktails with some nutritional value: bloody marys, pina coladas, martinis with extra olives, etc.

6. All You Can Eat (Not a bargain, a CHALLENGE!)

7. Cut down on toilet paper expenditures by training your ass muscles to pinch off your poops clean, or...

8. ...shop your workplace for everyday items like toilet paper, light bulbs, plants, liquid hand soap, those brown paper towels, etc...

9. Learn to cook pets. Animal shelters are a great source of free exotic meats.

10. Babysit!

11. Go to your town’s financial district. Wait for the stockbrokers to start jumping out the windows. Take their watches and wallets.

12. Never stop breastfeeding.

13. Okay, this is kind of complicated. 1. Start a munitions and defense contracting company. 2. Make friends with highly-placed political insiders. 3. Get elected vice president of the United States. 4. Start a war. 5. Gently usher all munitions sales and defense contacts to the company from step 1. 6. Repeat steps 4 and 5.

14. If you work in an office, learn to eat non-dairy creamer.

15. Push your kid relentlessly until it either gets drafted by the Yankees, wins American Idol, or becomes Steven Speilberg's protégé.

16. When deciding which of your friends you will eat in a pinch, base your selection not on which friend you think would be the most delicious, but on which one will provide the most sustenance while requiring the least caloric expenditure to kill.

17. Find oil

18. Get a job as a janitor in a department store and work there until the son of a captain of industry takes a fancy to you and requests you as his birthday present. For a while, you’ll have problems suffering the indignity of serving as a human “toy,” but eventually, you’ll both learn a lot about the nature of friendship—and money can’t buy that kind of understanding.

19. Just lower the poverty line. Duh.

20. Warning: Do not cut off your hair to buy your husband a watch chain, because he already sold the watch to buy you a comb!

21. Get a totally better job that totally pays more.

[NOTE: This content produced for Desert Living Magazine]

#107 - I! LIVE!

As none of you probably noticed my site's been down for a few days while I struggled to convince eNom and Google.com that I am, in fact, Chris Connolly, owner and proprietor of ChrisConnollyOnline.com and that I should be allowed to renew my domain name. Eventually, after many hours on the phone and much back and forth with both entities, I sent them this email:

Somehow that impassioned plea sparked something in the eNom guy's head and he came back to me this morning with a link that fixed everything in about 15 seconds. The link, essentially, was


I don't want to dwell too much on this painful experience, so I'm just going to move on. (At least until next year when I get to do it all over again.) Anyhoo, if you missed it, please scroll down or click here to read about my new BFF, Nonplussed Toilet Paper Dispenser Alien.

And to celebrate my return, check out this tremendous new gallery of horrible tattoos I collected on the Internet. Also, I know it's going to sound like a fish tale, but I nearly nabbed a tremendous piece of original content while walking on the beach the other day. I passed by the woman pictured below and noticed she had a tattoo down her spine which read, in large letters: "This To Shall Pass"

I debated inwardly for the next hour or so how I could possibly get a picture of the tattoo. I didn't want to just take a picture and run, so eventually I put my beach bag down and pretended to be looking through it while I snapped away. Sadly, just as I pulled off my coup, the woman rolled over onto her back. My opportunity "to" had passed.

The one thing I thought about in her behalf was that maybe she was an enormous Buffalo Bills fan. (We were in New York after all.) Maybe, I thought, the tattoo was an attempt to register her displeasure at the signing of Terrell "T.O." Owens. Far fetched? Perhaps. But so is misspelling such a serious sentiment. Here's the rest of the collection.

Well, okay then.

One of the hallmarks of the really atrocious tattoo is an overarching sense of awfulness that runs all the way from concept to execution. This king dragon/dinosaur thing was a bad idea when it was kicking around in the dude's head, then it continued to be a bad idea when the guy sketched it out, and it went right on being a bad idea when the tattoo artist inked it on poorly. This tat wins the triple crown of bad tattooing.

And you can pretty much double everything I said above when it comes to Amorphous Grinning Mongoloid Tiger.

What? How? Why? I feel like this has to be the result of a lost bet. And if that's the case, the winner of this bet may be the coolest man or woman alive.


You know, if you go to the doctor and say, "Hey, I want you to re-route my colon so I can shit out of my armpit," the doctor doesn't have to do it. Why haven't tattoo artists embraced a similar philosophy?

This could be either a bad tattoo or a great one. If the guy's request was, "I want a tattoo of the saddest little fourth green in the world. I want it it be like the fourth hole that would have been on that tiny planet where the Little Prince lived," then this is damn near genius. Otherwise, it's crap.

I suppose by definition every tattoo artist has to produce his or her first tattoo. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it suck less if you're the one who gets it.

You are a winner. I want to hang out with you.

You are a loser and you're not invited to my party.

Just because something's sweet doesn't mean you need to drink it.


Hey bro, nice font.


Misspelled Cakes
Contractor Errors I
Contractor Errors II
Orange Guidos

Protest Signs

#106 - Non-Plussed Toilet Paper Dispenser Alien

As some of you may have noticed something's gone awry with the domain name chrisconnollyonline, so, at least for the moment I'm going to be posting here at good ol' fthefollowing. I spent the last two days on the phone with tech support people trying to figure out how to BUY MY OWN F-ING DOMAIN NAME and no one can help me do it. Is there anything more annoying than when you're actually trying to give someone money and you can't?

Anyway, I was nearly appopleptic with fury during this process so I went out to run some errands. While I was doing this I went into the bathroom at our community center and made a wonderful discovery: Someone repositioned a toilet paper dispenser on the wall of one of the stalls and uncovered my new best friend in the whole wide world, Nonplussed Toilet Paper Dispenser Alien. MAN! I love NTPDA! I sat there for many long minutes explaining the problems with my domain name and he understood me completely. Oh, Nonplussed Toilet Paper Dispenser Alien, no one understands me the way you do.

#104 - New Construction Errors

Ask and ye shall receive. Herewith: A brand new collection of puzzling contractor and construction mistakes. If you spot your own, please email [email protected].

Hey, I'll be right there. I just need to wash my hands and then mop the floor.

Seriously, I would do this.

This kind of thing is not nearly as rare as you'd think.

This is one of those deals that starts as a temporary workaround, then, after six months, when everyone's used to it, it just kind of becomes permanent.

If you live in New York, this probably looks like a nice little place. Hey, you could keep your toiletries in the oven!

What makes this outstanding is the intricate, curved bricklaying to the right of the escalator. Yeah, cover it in bricks. It'll look fine.

If there's any justice in the world, this is the bottom of the escalator above.


Hey! You got a flat screen! Sweet!


Handicapped people: You gotta want it!

Welcome to Hedgecock Estates.

C.H.U.D. scared me too, but I got over it before I was old enough to get a job with the city.

These are built fine, I just think it's weird they put the SUPER HOT bench so close to the SUPER COLD bench. I bet it's nice on the MILD bench in the middle though.

Luckily that house is inhabited by two extremely dedicated motorcyclists.

Look, my condolences on your daughter's passing, but there is a sign.

When you have a nice storefront like that, a saggy awning just won't do.

You know what? Why the hell not?

I guess for some people it never got much better than padding, stacking chairs, fans and giant pots.