Nobody beats the Whiz.

Someone mentioned the Original Whizzinator (accept no substitutes!) in the comments the other day — it’s basically a device designed to beat drug tests, if one doesn’t mind the idea of wearing a hollow strap-on filled with reconstituted freeze-dried urine. Nothing like being on the cutting edge; the WashPost brings us an amusing account of the Whizzinator’s moment in the congressional sun this week:

The Whizzinator isn’t quite the gold standard in athletic endorsements. Rather, Stupak is bemoaning the ease with which people can buy Whizzinators with credit cards, money orders or checks, and have them delivered by U.S. mail or UPS or FedEx.

“How will we stop the flow?” he asks plaintively. A small cluster of spectators — seizing on the unintended double-entendre — giggle audibly in the back of the room.

It is one of those mornings.

We meet the Whizzinator’s inventor, too:

A press scrum gathers around Dennis Catalano, originator of the Whizzinator. He is one of three representatives from companies that make products that could be used to subvert drug tests who have been compelled (by subpoena) to testify.

Catalano, who owns Puck Technology of Signal Hill, Calif., is something of a Henry Ford figure in this business. There are all manner of urine purifiers and substitutes on the market. But nobody beats the Whizzinator in terms of brand recognition, especially after Onterrio Smith.

But I don’t want to spoil your fun. Go read.

Personally, I think when you start shopping for a Whizzinator, the universe is telling you something. Specifically: “Lay off the pot, hippie-boy.” I’ve been fortunate in the timing of my job changes, vis-a-vis drug testing, which is one way of saying by the time they got started in earnest, I had aged out of the Whizzinator demographic, so to speak. I recall the editor of my newspaper telling us corporate policy would now require drug screenings, but he wanted us to know that a positive test would not necessarily be a deal-breaker for new hires, as far as he was concerned. It would be but one factor among many to consider. He was a good guy.

How things change. A few years later, a good, competent reporter came to fill a temp position and did so admirably. His hiring on a permanent basis would have been a shoo-in, were it not for that urine sample that tested positive for cannabis. (Needless to say, the one-factor-among-many editor had left the building by that point.) “You dumbass,” the editor who broke the bad news said to him, and I can’t blame her for using that word, although we were dumbasses, too, because he would have been an asset to the staff, at least based on his performance. What he does after work is his own business, in my opinion.

But then, every time you say that, you tempt fate, and beckon the forces of irresponsible drug use to start plundering office supplies, to sell for one’s next “fix” of “Acapulco gold.”

I interviewed a restaurant executive chef not long ago, and we got off on a tangent about dealing with owners, who may enjoy the experience of owning a restaurant — so everybody-goes-to-Rick’s, doncha know — but may not know much about the business. She said the owners wanted to institute criminal background checks and drug testing for each and every employee, which was proving to be way more trouble than it was worth. “All I need is a dishwasher,” she moaned. “If I were a dishwasher, I’d be stoned all the time, too. It’s like a job requirement.”

(You know, most days I sit down to update this site with no idea what I’m going to write about; I just sit down and let my subconscious drive. And see how useful it can be? I’m now reminded to prepare a pitch for a magazine story I’ve been wanting to write about my distant cousin, founder of the U.S. Marijuana Party.)

I won’t be seeing the new “Star Wars” movie, non-sucky reviews or no. That’s another demographic I’ve aged out of, and since my own child shows little or no interest in “the Star Wars brand,” as it’s called these days, well, good for me. I capital-E enjoyed the first one; I lowercase-e enjoyed the second. By the time Lucas had stooped to the squeaky Care Bears, I had moved on from Han Solo to the erotic charms of Snake Plissken, thanks very much.

Just reading the reviews makes me smack my forehead. Is there actually a character named “Darth Sidious”? Count Dooku? Boba Fett? Spare me. Or, to put it another way: I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Posted at 9:05 am in Uncategorized |

19 responses to “Nobody beats the Whiz.”

  1. Paul said on May 18, 2005 at 10:24 am

    Nancy-I hate to let my geek flag fly, but “Boba Fett” was in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. And, on the matter of Snake Plissken, may I just remind you of the existence of Escape From L.A.?

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  2. Nance said on May 18, 2005 at 10:38 am

    Who was Boba Fett? That wasn’t Billy Dee Williams, was it? (No, he was Lando Calrissian. I can’t believve I remember this stuff.)

    When Snake surfed that tidal wave down Sunset Boulevard, or wherever the hell he surfed it to, I had a blinding insight: It may be wrong, but it feels so, so right.

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  3. Dorothy said on May 18, 2005 at 11:18 am

    Wasn’t Boba Fett the big pile of goo who had Princess Leia tied up?

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  4. Dorothy said on May 18, 2005 at 11:24 am

    Ooops – no I take that back. Wrong character.

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  5. mary said on May 18, 2005 at 11:25 am

    Nah, that was Jabba the Hut, Dorothy. Boba Fett was a good guy. My kids had an action figure of him at some point. It probably still exists in the box of smallish plastic junk in their closet.

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  6. ashley said on May 18, 2005 at 11:53 am

    That action figure is fetching about $200 online. Boba Fett is the most collectible Star Wars character, even though in all 6 movies he had a whopping total of 5 lines.

    I read all this somewhere over the weekend while reading about the “Star Wars Holiday Special”, the worst piece of drivel ever made. George, buddy, do you need the money *that* *bad*?

    I remember my gig as a dishwasher, when I was 16. Western Sizzlin steak house. If you’ve been there, you know they have metal plates: guaranteed to slice a dishwasher’s fingers every friggin night.

    Between that, the first night being a banquet, which meant I didn’t get to sit down for an entire 8 hour shift, the meat cutter who had his own collection of knives, the general trailer-park mentality of the place, and everything else, I lasted for about 8 weeks.

    and lest you forget: “Snake? I thought you was dead?”

    “The name’s Plissken!”

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  7. ashley said on May 18, 2005 at 11:56 am

    One mo thing: I keep watching that movie, thinking that maybe this is the time that I’ll get to see Adrienne Barbeau’s boobs.

    That’s why I still watch it.

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  8. Dorothy said on May 18, 2005 at 2:12 pm

    Didn’t her boobs get shown during an episode of “Carnivale” in the last couple of years? I’d have to check with my husband – he was the bigger Carnivale fan. We have arguments sometimes about the viability of that show. It just got cancelled, and I said “About time.” He loved it. I found it too convoluted and no resolution ever seemed to be around the bend.

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  9. mary said on May 18, 2005 at 2:46 pm


    I doubt our Boba Fett would fetch 200 bucks. It’s been played with in the ways boys play with little plastic army guys and the like. Boba’s likely at least partially melted with a magnifying glass, or has had facial hair added with a sharpie.

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  10. Lance Mannion said on May 18, 2005 at 2:56 pm

    Well, Nance, it’s not exactly a virtue to have had a daughter instead of two sons who happened to be the prime viewing ages when the three most recent Star Wars movies were released. I’ve had to see the first two, and I’ll see this one, again and again and again and again. And hear all about them too. As a defense I’ve had to find ways to enjoy the movies myself. One of the ways I’ve found is to pretend they matter and think about them as though they were more than popcorn sellers.

    Fortunately, I have a strong inner geek to guide me.

    But, then, it’s no virtue to love what your kids love and enjoy what makes them happy—Star Wars is their favorite. We won’t be going to see it opening weekend though. We’re holding off. We’re going to see it in Boston with their favorite uncle, who saw the original 55 times.

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  11. mary said on May 18, 2005 at 2:57 pm

    Sigh. I just looked at CNN, and they have a Star Wars who’s who. It says Boba Fett’s a bad guy. Oh well. There is a head shot of him.

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  12. Lance Mannion said on May 18, 2005 at 3:26 pm


    Boba Fett is a morally ambiguous character. He’s a bounty hunter and crosses the line between good and evil all the time. His father, Jango Fett, stayed pretty much on the wrong side of the line. Boba’s had heroic moments.

    Of course this isn’t in any of the movies. It’s a fact about him that developed after the first movies, when it turned out that lots of kids thought he was real cool. So you have to read all the comic books and novels…or have children who do, which is how I know. I used to think he was just a bad guy too.

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  13. Paul said on May 18, 2005 at 3:36 pm

    Ah, good, Lance–I thought I’d missed the moral ambiguity in Boba Fett. But if we’re doing Expanded Universe stuff here, I’d like to announce to readers that a) Han and Leia get married, b) they have kids, and c) Luke also gets married (to a character who wasn’t in the movies).

    (Lucasfilm did a lot of this marketing stuff during the 90s and early 2000s–Wedge Antilles, who somehow shows up in all three of the original movies, has ten or twelve books written about him.)

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  14. Dorothy said on May 18, 2005 at 4:04 pm

    Geez I forgot to mention I took my son out of middle school when one of the Star Wars movies came out (had to be about 8 years ago – I can’t remember which one that would be). I pretended he had an orthodontist appointment – he was confused in the principal’s office, so I just gave him a look. When we walked to the car I told him the truth – we were going to play hooky. He thought I was the coolest mom in the world that day. He’s read (and owns) all the Star Wars novels, has exchanged e-mails with the author of the novels, and owns all the movies on DVD, of course.

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  15. Nance said on May 18, 2005 at 5:30 pm

    Jeez, and here I thought the Whizzinator would be the big talker today.

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  16. joodyb said on May 18, 2005 at 5:42 pm

    and in light of that, nance, i offer this link, which i hope all can get to from here:

    in the misery loves company or some such category. the yoda commentary rang especially true in my book.

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  17. ashley said on May 18, 2005 at 6:29 pm

    You guys were just itchin for this:

    …and when it came to “Carnivale”, I felt like a dog that had been fixed. I don’t get it.

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  18. mary said on May 19, 2005 at 2:17 am

    My two sons like Star Wars, but are not even close to being fanatical about it. Two of my 11 year old’s classmates are staying out all night tonight to see the very first showing of the new movie in Hollywood, but he hasn’t expressed any envy.

    The only Star Wars toy we’ve had that has been cherished in this household is a very small model of the Millenium Falcon, which has the voice of Han Solo on a chip. When you press a button, there’s Han saying, “Laugh it up, furball.” This phrase has become one of those family in jokes, thrown out when a situation arises that leaves one speechless.

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  19. Dorothy said on May 19, 2005 at 6:18 am

    I coulda sworn Han said “Laugh it up fuzzball”. I’m gonna have to consult with Josh on this one.

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