Stein-O-Mite!

AOL Time Warner must have something against me.

In 1998, Entertainment Weekly published a letter by Jose crediting them for his victory in Jonathan Yu's first-annual Stupid Little Oscar® Game which, in turn, made me look like the biggest ignoramus in America. I remember he said something along the lines of "Guess [Jon] should have listened to you guys, huh?"

Three-and-a-half years later, "America's best" media conglomerate is at it again. It has come to my attention that Joel Stein, the oh so irreverent columnist/interviewer of Time magazine, outright appropriates quite possibly the most popular star of MY website in Time's latest issue – the one with "America's best" high-maintenance woman Julia Roberts on the cover.

That's right. Stein appropriates MY Adam Riff™ in his latest column which, by the way, discusses issues I too wrote about on my site nearly a month ago, albeit less successfully. The audacity of Mr. Stein! This is the same Adam Riff™ whose name I went out of my way to trademark in March. He's my Adam Riff™! I got him first! I even had dolls of him and I made…with matching outfits and all!

Now, I understand that Adam Riff™ is a living and breathing human being and I have absolutely no control over how he chooses to live his life, especially since I've never met him before. I also realize that I can't stop him from inviting Stein over to his house for an AA meeting a group therapy session with a bunch of his friends. But couldn't Stein have at least used a pen name like "Adim Raff" or something? The "fair use" rule only goes so far.

[sigh] I know, I should be happy for Adam Riff™. Why am I acting like a prick? I'm not a prick; I'm profitable. Just ask Joel Stein. It's only a matter of time before Rory Brown's name starts popping up in People magazine. Oh well. Better Stein steal from me than from, say, "America's best" wishy-washy writer Thomas Pynchon.

To show that I've no ill will towards Stein or any of his bastard children from different mothers, I have taken the liberty of copyright infringement and re-printed the now infamous tabloid kidnap of Adam Riff™ below in its entirety, with a few annotations…and for free!

"High School Drop-In" by Joel Stein

I've wanted to speak at a graduation since I left my snotty high school, with its inane rule about needing good grades to address the class. I wanted this not only to rail against the mind-numbing factory model of education and the bureaucracy that made statewide testing more important than learning, but also because it might finally score me points with Kerri Holt.

Luckily, I got an offer from Palo Alto High School in California. But when I got there on a recent Sunday morning, I learned that it wasn't so much a graduation as a baccalaureate, which is some sort of religious ceremony. This did not work with the remarks I had prepared. I also found out that I was sharing the stage with an ESPN News anchor. Not ESPN, ESPN2, or even ESPN Classic Sports, but ESPN News. I was feeling a little stupid for flying across the country for this.

After a bunch of choir stuff, principal Fred Dreier gave a speech. I heard phrases like "lived through Hiroshima," "suffered a stroke" and "Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Thomas Jefferson," the last of which, sadly, was not the setup to a joke. I am not sure what his speech was about since I was busy crossing out paragraphs from my speech. Then the ESPN guy talked about a "mentally challenged" kid in his high school who had taught him something about something. Again I was busy crossing out.

I opened my remarks with, "I know who you are. You are rich, don't study too hard and have probably done cocaine – in short, you're well on your way to being President." This was not a winner. Then I dispensed advice, including a tip that you should try not to wind up as the moron who dies of alcohol poisoning. This wasn't a good call because it turned out a Palo Alto graduate from last year before had died of alcohol poisoning. My speech then touched on such topics as me kissing a lesbian and the fact that after age 22, people have sex on the third date.

After Principal Dreier whisked me out of the auditorium and toward my car as if I was Nixon in Venezuela, I was raked by images of being a dirty old man and hearing a woman I was sleeping with say, "I think you spoke at my high school graduation." I saw this happening in about two hours, after a light lunch.

The next day, I read a critique of my speech by parents Raymond and Kristine Hebert in the Palo Alto Weekly's letters section: "Any mature adult, chosen at random and speaking extemporaneously … would have likely had a more positive effect on the audience than Mr. Stein." Mr. Stein. That sounded cool.

Later that day I got a qualified [qualified?] thank-you e-mail from student Adam Riff™, who invited me to hang out with a dozen friends in his parents' living room [as opposed to the children's living room], where they tried to make me feel better [awww, how sweet]. "We all enjoyed watching the principal squirm and turn red in the face," Adam offered [that's my boy!]. I was also told I was in good company because Star Trek: Voyager's LeVar Burton spoke last year.

By 1:30 a.m., when my new friends, continuing their efforts to rebuild my ego, lined up to take pictures with me as if I were a cutout of the Rock [wrestling reference…good], I felt much better. But as we headed to our cars, I heard senior Vanessa Reid say to her friend, "I would have liked to see LeVar Burton, I must say" [Star Trek fan…bad].

"America's best" faux nerd Sima once advised me to pursue a career similar that of (guess who?) Joel Stein. True, great minds think alike, but I can't do journalism, no matter how yellow it is. I'd probably be sued for libel even before my first article gets published. I think I'll stick to what I'm good at: dancing.

Adam Riff™ fever – catch it!

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