Several years ago, I participated in a fund and awareness raiser in San Francisco for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's chillingeffects.org, where I made a speech, and participated in a celebrity boxing grudge match with Barney the Dinosaur.
The whole thing was about fair use and parody rights, and it was the awesome. It was held at DNA Lounge, with an after party that I was criticized for leaving early (read: after three hours, rather than when the sun rose) by morally outraged and holier-than-wil participants who couldn't be bothered to find out: 1) how many totally spun people got up in my shit and completely freaked me out, (the answer is one, but that was enough) and 2) how many hours I'd already been awake by the time I left a few minutes short of complete exhaustion (the answer is close to twenty, including six hours of "I'm-Entertaining-People" time, which is like eight hours of regular time.)
Before I so rudely left the party, I got to hang out with lots of awesome NorCal folks (thanks for the water, you guys -- I'm running some out into the street right now, just for you), one of whom brought this rather . . . unique . . . sweater, which I was asked to wear.
I've been in the public eye long enough to know that doing things like wearing an incredibly ugly sweater and posing for a photograph while wearing said sweater is bound to result in something Not Good, but the sweater was hilarious, and in the spirit of the evening (not, I might add, in the spirit of lots of Guinness. I was too tired to avail myself of the DNA's fantastic bar that night), I went ahead and posed for the picture you are now trying so hard to get out of your brains.
About once a year, this photo (which was taken by my friend loren, who never gets credit for it, you bastards) surfaces, and makes a brief run around The Internets, where it is the subject of much speculation by random people are are just positive they know what they are talking about, like "Well no wonder his career bombed." Oh! Burn! I am so nailed by your clever insight! Someday, I hope to achieve whatever it is you've achieved, Anonymous Internet Genius! Allow me to retort, in a vernacular you may understand. "Your leik so right! I am a such a looser!"
If anyone is still reading, and is interested in knowing exactly what the ugliest sweater in the world (sorry, Mr. Cosby, but it's true, and you lost) is all about, take a look at the Clown Sweater Project's page at Internet Archive, where we learn that
"I found this sweater at the Salvation Army thrift store on Valencia Street in San Francisco a few years ago. It cost me $3.75. It has proved to be a good investment."
There is also a page featuring photos of all the hapless souls who have had their careers ruined by the Curse of the Clown Sweater in one place, which takes about a year to load on my cable modem, or fifteen years if you're on dial-up. If you'd like to find out what happened to that once-promising co-worker of yours, but you don't have one to fifteen years to invest, try this page which breaks up the collection into slightly more managable chunks. Unfortunately, archive.org stops at the first page, so if you're manic about looking at all the pictures, you'll have to go to the page with all the photos. See you in ten to fifteen years. (If I may offer a bit of advice: spending one to fifteen years waiting for photos to load on The Internets may cause your career to bomb almost as fast as posing for one picture while wearing an ugly sweater. But do whatever you want, man. I'm not the boss of you.)
Whenever something like this hits a new unique online community (in this case, people who like to knit), a bunch of new readers will show up to see what all the fuss is about, with their preconceptions of me locked-and-loaded. If you're one of those people, I'd like to welcome you to my bit of madness on the intarweb, and encourage you to read some archives before you send me e-mail about what a huge idiot I am for [your reason, which you've formulated in the span of fifteen seconds based on a quick skimming of one or two pages of my blog goes here]. Now, before you decide that I hate knitters, I should point out that my wife does Stitch-n-Bitch from time to time, making totally awesome hats for cancer patients, which totally rules. I do, however, really hate the Oakland Raiders, Toronto Maple Leafs, people who lie, dishonorable people, milk, neo-cons, paying too much for parking anywhere, and this pain in my right hip that just won't go away.