lundi, décembre 17, 2007

Energy Drink Tutorial

The first idea concerning energy drinks is simple: DON'T. Most of them taste like absolute crap. Furthermore, these "beverages" are for fools who have been bamboozled into thinking that jump-boosting your heart is a legit alternative to getting sufficient rest. It's Christian Crank. It started with little 8 ounce cans of Red Bull in an obscure corner of the corner mart. Now there's an entire section dedicated to an unthinkable variety of 40 ounce monsters (figuratively and nominally). If you are a parent and your kid is drinking these, then I say without reservation that you are either negligent brainless. (Thanks to my son, I've been both).
On the other hand, it might be the best way to get the young started early on their participation in the national caffeine addiction. How else to make sure they make their quota? Seriously, try and tell even ONE coffee cranker that they have a habit. Even the good natured ones will feed you screed. Many will even raise it to the level of a harangue. Most of them--even as they drag their feet and say pitiful things like "don't talk to me, I haven't had my coffee," or even--as I once myself observed--when all work stops at the office until they find an alternative source of artificial pep to replace their broken Mr. Coffee--they consider themselves immune to criticism. They're dedicated to finding "studies" to support the idea of having this one little chemical that you absolutely can't live without. It's the socially acceptable fix.

But this is not the place to combat the caffeine craze. In fact, the above paragraphs only make what I really have to offer here all the more shameful.

See, I work nights for Mental Health (4 nights a week), and teach during the day. Every day. Teaching beginning guitar can be mind-numbing on a full head of steam. Driving a thousand miles a week on the same roads day in and day out on little to no sleep is a recipe for disaster. So I excuse myself in a little energy drink consumption, and have, in fact, become the state's leading connoisseur. I'm the Energy Drink Czar. And for anyone wedged into the same financial corner as myself, I offer the following tutorial.

Once you've broken the prime directive and find yourself needing to consume, the first consideration is, of course, TASTE. Red Bull is a great example of the taste you want to avoid.
The second consideration is, as with so many things in life, SIZE. You want to consume as little as possible. More jolt with less junk. More pep with less poison. These are words for the consumer of energy drinks to live by.
The final consideration is HEALTH. Is the juice in question merely metaphorical? Or might your energy drink actually contain something beneficial to offset the toxins? Let's begin.

On this scale, the greatest energy drink of all time was the BooKoo Mini Shot. It was the cutest little can on the shelf. 5 ounces of fruity refreshment that kicked like a red bull without tasting like the bull's urine. The calories were minimal. And did I mention how cute the can was? You'll notice I'm speaking in the past tense. Alas, the Shot has disappeared. If you work for the company, consider this request official: Reinstate the Shot. If you are a civilian and you happen to see some, buy them all and call me.
Even so, the 5 ounce Shot was lacking in the health rubric. And this brings us to second place. The FRS. The letters stand for Free Radical Scavenger. Essentially a mildly caffeinated vitamin drink, (with more flavanoid antioxidants than 6 helpings of blueberries), the FRS weighs in at 12 ounces, and tastes a little like drinking a vitamin--but with minimal calories it delivers a sustained pep sans crash. It has a variety of flavors, the best of which being the lime and the orange, because the berry flavor is good but has chunks of stuff at the bottom and the peach mango is just plain gross. Even in the presence of the BooKoo, (and despite Lance Armstrong's endorsement) FRS would make a strong case for the top spot.
Next up is the Extreme Energy Shot from the people who brought you Arizona Ice Tea. It is ten percent fruit juice and has a rather pleasant taste. It is one of the few offerings that has stuck with the 8 ounce can. It is listed, however at a mere 99 cents, and even says "trial offer" on the can. It doesn't seem to be restocked once it disappears from the shelves. So I'm stockpiling it. It may be going the way of the BooKoo mini.
In a three-way tie for fourth place is the Sobe Adrenaline Rush, which comes in this high because of the pleasant taste and the 8 oz can, ditto the bizarrely named but grapetastically delicious Hyphy (tastes like grape crush if you can find it) and the elegant Go Girl Glo. I cannot brook the normal Go Girl in the pink can, but the teal tinted Glo is a thing of beauty. A little bulky at 12 ounces, it nevertheless boasts ingredients like Aloe, star fruit, and vitamin E (whence the titular glo[w]). There may even be some pomegranate in it. It is only mildly carbonated, which is very pleasant, and is low in calories. There is an annoying artificial sweetener aftertaste, but that's a small price to pay for a drink that you can hand to a sexy lady and say "Come and glow with me." To be fair, I should mention that I've only been able to find the Glo at one gas station and nowhere else.

And that's it. Everything else has gone the way of the monster and is a 20 to 40 ounce sugary abomination. They taste bad and are bad for you. There is a sub-genre I haven't mentioned (and with good reason): the little energy boosters in vials next to the check out stand. The prime offender is the 5 Hour Energy fraud. Simply a concentrated overdose of B-vitamins and caffeine, you only need to experience the troubling "niacin rush" once to wish to avoid it forever. One of the other vials I tried tasted so bad I actually vomited a little.

So if you absolutely MUST partake, like if it's a choice between crashing your car and sipping a little boosty beverage, then I hope this helps. The best option is (OBVIOUSLY) sufficient rest, abundant exercise, and diligent nutrition.

lundi, décembre 03, 2007

Road Trip (ode to nevada)

It's barren. Bleak even. But the most beautiful stretch of highway in America is I-80 across the top of Nevada. And I'm not kidding.

It goes beyond appreciating the stark, threatening beauty of the desert.

No other highway has exits with names like these. Some simply sound beautiful. Dunphy. Golconda Summit. Beowawe. Elko. Welcome Valley. Its a privilege to speak such beautiful words. They are poetry, in and of themselves. As I drove through the night, and began to feel desperate for sleep, how grateful I was to be able to pull over at an exit called Imlay. No services? Hardly. The name is a lullaby. Imlay. It took the edge off the sound of the 18 wheeler who pulled up behind us. I hoped he also needed sleep, but couldn't convince myself of that fact, and so bid a reluctant farewell. Never trust a long haul trucker after dark in the dark. Not even in Imlay.

I still needed rest. My mind wandered to another category of exits, the ones you might say have Kitcsh. Maybe a little whimsy. Winnemucca. Rye Patch. Beverly Hills. I pulled over at the perfect place: Pumpernickle Valley. It consists of a road in the darkness that wanders away to parts unknown. Not a soul for miles. No light but the stars. It was the best two hour nap I've ever had.

As if Beauty and Whimsy don't suffice, I-80 across Nevada also offers the hard nosed, gritty names that made the west great. Battle Mountain. Silverzone Pass. Iron Point.

In one such place, at 4 in the morning, I met one of the people who live up to such names. The gas station is the exit's only feature. Well, that and a couple of trailers, wherein those who tend the lone gas station most likely spend their off hours. "The sturdy clay of the frontier," I thought. "Salt of the earth. Out here in the hairy belly button of nowhere, eking out a Waldenesque existence in almost total isolation." Couldn't wait to meet them. Upon entering the station, I found no attendant, but was greeted by the theme music of the bleak frontier and its people: Gangstah Rap. I counted 4 "Muthah F*ckin"s and 3 "N*ggaz" before I found the restroom. Washing my hands, I tried to picture the man or woman who must be working there. He was waiting at his station as I walked past the sentinel slots: a short, stocky, white, middle-aged man with graying goatee and a foam and mesh trucker cap. He called me brother. He told me to have a safe trip. I slipped up and said, "You too, man." Even though he was obviously not going anywhere. He jumped on it.

"Hey man, I'm always safe when I'm tripping."

So forget about Route 66. Leave behind the ostentation of California's coastal 101. Take I-80 across Nevada. The faces, and the gorgeous names of placeless places, will fill you with a new sense of America. No matter what time it is.

lundi, novembre 12, 2007

Hey, You!

That's right. I'm talking to you. I'm calling you out. All of you.

To the co-worker who drank my Go-Girl Glo: Yeah, sure. You make fun of me for drinking an energy drink with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, sweetened with pomegranate and star fruit, and then you drink it behind my back. This is worse than the time you laughed at the idea of girl pants, and then I caught you staring at my sweet cheeks. I don't know which one of you drank it. But you didn't deserve the mildly carbonated lift. And by the way, if you're a man, I'm more man than you in girl pants and a go girl in my hand. If you're a woman, then, well, I'm not more woman than you. That would be biologically impossible. But I am more in touch with my feminine side. Deal with it.

To the guy with the giant hairy butt-crack who crossed the street in front of me with his shirt off whilst I was waiting at a red light: My first thoughts were, PUT A SHIRT ON YOU DISGUSTING WHITE TRASH SLOB! What do you have against clothing? When did it become O.K. to parade around half naked? If a hot girl can't do it--if our society has decided that there is something morally askew about perfect breasts being exposed to the public--then your bloated, hairy belly and shaggy/saggy man boobs constitute a capital offense against our democratic republic. Shirtless people are corrosive to society. Shirtless people whose larded front side prevents their pants, (or acid washed jean shorts) from covering their hairy backside are surely a sign of the apocalypse. YOU WILL PERISH IN FLAME! YOU AND ALL YOUR HIRSUTE ILK!
These were my first thoughts. And I would have made them known to you out loud, except that my second thoughts were: I should get a picture of this! Unfortunately, by the time my inner screed ran its course you were too far away to get a good picture with my phone's crappy camera. How bittersweet for you. Your crack can practically be seen from space, and yet my phone can't capture it. And if you're curious as to why I didn't roll down my window and give you what for, well, just consider yourself lucky that red lights turn green.

The guy who was vacuuming at the car wash just before me:
I didn't see you, but the fifty pounds of fetid kitty litter you must have vacuumed into the canister filled my nostrils--and the interior of my car--with an unbearable smell. Thanks for the stink, friend. It makes me wonder. I mean, I don't know what it is about poop, hair, and dander that you "pet" people fancy, but it mystifies me.
P.S. Until you get rid of those cats, we're through. Whoever you are.

I'd go on. But the remainder of my helpful advice is for my family, and can be handled face to face.

mardi, novembre 06, 2007

Last Time (I swear)

I've tried to go clean. I've tried to change the subject. But every time I do, these people keep dragging me back in.

After this, I'll either admit to being a one-note-johnny or move on. I promise.

The Small World ride at Disneyland is closed down. Not to update what is probably the worst attraction at the park. Not to summarily execute all those nightmarish little robots (which were--we can say it now--originally intended to become the first wave of attack in Walt Disney's unholy army of the night. Had he not died tragically early, those adorable little animatronic wonders would at this moment be cracking a whip across your back.)

No, the ride is closed down because the original rinky-dink boats were designed for a different America. Those who imagineered the original lived at a time when the average woman weighed 120 pounds and her male counterpart a trim 175.

Now the boats are bottoming out in the fetid water. And I wish they would have consulted me, because rather than simply post a sign that says "You must weigh less than this to ride this ride," or "this attraction was designed for our less than generously appointed patrons," or "help us avoid malfunction by kindly removing any excess baggage/equipment/body fat," or "if you regularly consume more calories than you burn, you are disgusting and you don't deserve to ride," or even the now classic "NO FAT CHICKS!"--rather than simply asking fatties to ride through It's a Small World alone (as they are destined/doomed to ride through the less popular This is the Real World alone)--rather than post enlarged pictures of the bottomed out boats embarrassingly stopping up progress with the caption "This could happen to you!"--rather than any of these sensible options, Disney has inexplicably chosen to accommodate the obese. They are actually remaking the ride in the image of a gentler, fatter nation.

To which we can only say, in the words of a noted local radio celebrity:

Goodbye, sweet America!

vendredi, octobre 19, 2007

The New Environmentalist

I am dedicated to the idea of doing right by "The Environment," (an entity formerly called "Mother Nature," and before that, "God's Green Earth.") Whatever you call it, it isn't the fragile, shivering baby thing that humans have come to believe actually depends on their insignificant little nothingness. Make no mistake, Gaea is a fully independent, dedicated-to-the-big-picture woman with her own agenda, who under no circumstance can be said to be significantly influenced by human activity. Of course, she has wanted to kill us from the beginning. She was thirsty for our blood millions of years before our pitiful industrialization uglied her up. Any puny HUMAN who says anything like "She is in our hands" is a self-important idiot. Nature always wins. Always. Even when it appears to destroy itself with devastating, climate altering volcanoes, (or ocean warming under-water volcanic activity, or ice ages that creep down from the north every 8,000 years or so, or species killing droughts, or earthquakes, or floods), never forget that Nature loves ONLY three things: Birth, Death, and Change. And the change is always in the name of long term balance. We are a blip on her screen no matter what you see on the news. We are really trying to save ourselves from her.

So let it be admitted that today's so-called environmentalist is really a humanist. Any list of activities designed to better the Environment is really for either our own selfish ends, (for instance, I might want to feel good about myself, or make some place look or smell nicer, or try to stop an animal from being added to the list of extinctions--most of which were put there by Nature herself--or save money, or whatever), or, more likely, we're doing it for the harmony and sustainability of a community of HUMANS called civilization. (And civilization may or may not be opposed to Nature--that's another question entirely. But before you fool yourself into thinking the question is remotely interesting, remember the answer is short: IT DOESN'T MATTER).

Anyway, here is the list of what I'm doing to improve my green status. (Remembering that by now recycling is a given. If you're not doing at least that, then YOU ARE the trash.)

1)Taking shorter, cooler, and less frequent showers.
I hope this doesn't have an adverse effect on my body odor, because, I'd let every dolphin in the ocean suffocate in tuna nets before I let myself exude an unpleasant smell. So I'm obviously not asking us all to descend into hippyville. Still, I can't figure out why all you "environmentalists" let yourselves soak away long moments in a steaming hot shower. Get in, get clean, get out. You don't even need to steam up the bathroom.

2)Driving a car that gets 50 miles per gallon.
Not to mention the fact that as soon as I have the money, I'll be converting my Jetta to run on pure vegetable oil. So I can with confidence say that YOU are part of the pollution problem, whoever you are. And I am not. So screw all of you.

3)Avoiding meat.
The mass production of meat might be the most disgusting thing man has perpetrated. But this is about green house gases. If I can keep one cow from flatulating, I feel like I made a difference. The meat industry is not growing methane machines for me, brother. (Now, you might say that eating said cow is the best way to stop it's gas production. And come to think of it, you're right. But I've noticed that the less meat I eat, the less methane I produce. If you know what I mean. (Of course, by the same logic, I'd have to stop eating dried apricots. And Kashi. And broccoli. And my father's magnificent vegetarian three bean soup. All right, there's nothing I can do about my methane production. But meat is still disgusting.)

4)Stealing Music.
All the packaging that goes into CD's is a crime. By the time our more savvy artists started reducing the mess and/or making it out of recycled material, it was too late: the green public was protesting the waste by sharing and downloading music for free. Or were selfish, greedy people simply engaging in blatant, white trash thievery? I know where I've stood from the beginning. I borrow CD's and burn them to save the planet.

5) Holding My Breath.
I know carbon dioxide is plant food, but apparently the production of it is giving my fellow doomed humans an excuse to complain. So for at least 15 minutes a day (not consecutively) I hold my breath. I'm serious about this. Humans are carbon dioxide machines. Do your part. If you're not going to hold your breath, at least stop talking.

Keep tuning in for more tips. Together, we'll feel good about each other while Mother Nature plans our extinction.

vendredi, octobre 12, 2007

Most Romantic Song

So Donna-mo sends off this e-mail.

"Most Romantic Song. Bring it on, Suckah."

That's how she is: provocative. But provocative in the real sense of the word. (Many people today think that "provocative" means "sexually explicit." Only when the blessed day comes and dictionaries rain down from above upon all who so blithely and routinely desecrate Our Holy English Language will they truly receive their comeuppance. Until then, we must content ourselves with impotent screed.)

Where was I?

Oh, yes, Donna-mo, the provocative record store girl. In this case, she was provoking thought. So I let myself be provoked.
But before simply taking a garden walk through the vast discography in my head, I thought a few ground rules were in order. We should examine what exactly constitutes a "romantic song."

Most people make the mistake of thinking that a romantic song is the one associated with some maudlin kissy kissy moment in their lives. Were I to make the same mistake, the so-called "most romantic song" would be Madonna's Crazy for You, which happened to be playing the first time a female who was not my mother held me close on the dance floor. It was a momentous thrill. But even if I can still feel her lithe frame moving rhythmically with mine, even if I can still feel her sweet breath upon my neck, and even if the song replayed itself in my head two weeks later when she became the first person to put her tongue in my mouth--a moment which left me breathless and jumping for joy on a street corner at midnight--I am still bound to admit that Crazy for You is a cheap, even tawdry excuse for a love song. (It is, in fact, so bereft of actual romance that if it's on your list, you should excuse yourself from the room now. If you even considered this song, or any of it's nefarious ilk, this discussion is beyond you.)

No, the most romantic song cannot rely on association. It must be romantic per se, (which is, for those of you who were just asked to leave but kept reading anyway, a Latin phrase meaning "in and of itself.") The first step, then, is to quickly set some parameters.
We'll assume that by romantic we do not mean "Romantic." With appropriate deference to Liszt, Delacroix, and Shelly, I don't think Donna-mo intended to initiate discussion of the powerful music, literature, and art of the 1800's. She meant romantic in the pejorative, which is, (with thanks to

3. imbued with or dominated by idealism, a desire for adventure, chivalry, etc.
4. characterized by a preoccupation with love or by the idealizing of love or one's beloved.
5. displaying or expressing love or strong affection.
6. ardent; passionate; fervent.

We add to this the insight of Wilde, when he proposed that Romance (like ignorance) is a "delicate, exotic fruit. Touch it, and the bloom is gone." Think on it for a moment and you'll agree. A romantic song must be rife with yearning. But that yearning must to some degree remain unfulfilled. Because to satisfy it entirely would be to kill it. And there must be something eternal if one is to fill this cup to its brim (or drink it to the dregs, whichever you prefer).
I think there should also be a reckless element. Some kind of abandon. Romance has to throw caution to the wind.

With these concepts in mind, we can make a list that avoids the merely lovey-dovey, the simply sweet, the oversimplified, and any and all make-out songs.

And the list is short. It has only one song. I believe this ardently, passionately and fervently. There can be, in truth, "no debate." The title of Most Romantic Song goes unequivocally to THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT, by the Smiths.

Head and shoulders above anything else that could be mentioned. From the opening line, the idea of just wanting to go out with someone and not caring where crystallizes the aforementioned necessary sense of abandon. This is seasoned by the sense of longing and sadness (also requisite to romance) in the lines about not having a home anymore.
Notice the exquisite sense of non-fulfillment in the verse that recalls "the darkened underpass" under which we thought "oh God, my chance has come at last." But then a strange fear gripped us and we just couldn't ask.

Then comes the legendary chorus, which I only write it here for the privilege of repeating it:

"And if a double decker bus crashes into us: To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.
And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us: To die by your side, well the pleasure and the privilege is mine . . ."

If anyone can beat that, I haven't heard it. And all of it is punctuated by one of the most haunting string arrangements of all time, fading out to the titular line, full of that mix of longing, loss, eternal devotion and unnameable bittersweetness that is quintessentially romantic.

And with that, I honestly believe the debate to be over. Because everyone else is just blowing hot air about how much they love somebody. Which is sweet, but not romantic.

Close seconds:
"Just Like Heaven"--the cure,
"Do What You Have To Do"--sarah mcglaughlin
"Canon" by Johan Pachabel. (The "Grand Finale" from Edward Scissorhands should also receive consideration.)

Candidates for very distant third:
"You Are My Radio"--squirrel nut zippers
"The Sensual World"--kate bush (just for the sex of it)
"Driving Your Girlfriend Home" --morrissey
"To Me You Are a Work of Art"--morrissey
"Nothing Matters When We're Dancing"--magnetic fields
"Love Song"--the cure
"Always On My Mind"--willy nelson
"Dreaming My Dreams"--the cranberries
"Can't Help Falling in Love With You"--Elvis presley
"If You Leave Me" --ray charles (which might actually be called "What Would I do?"--I can't remember)

Go ahead and add to the list of seconds and thirds. But you will NOT persuade me that There Is a Light That Never Goes Out doesn't stand alone.

caveat (a.k.a "the pipe dream.")

Sometimes, I read the posts on this blog and think: I hope I'm the loveable kind of curmudgeon.

lundi, octobre 01, 2007

You Don't Want to Hear This (or, Yes, I Am About to Offend You)

We need to clarify some issues. No matter how bad the truth hurts. If girl pants have taught me anything, it's tough love.

Having recently blogged about certain OCD tendencies, I began to fear that some people, or, a certain type of person, might exploit the occasion. Not in the sense that they might use it as leverage and try to get the upper hand over me--that would be fine--but rather in the sense that they might look around at their messy house and excuse the abomination.

So we need to make something very clear: A clean house is better than a messy house. It just is. It always has been and always will be. OCD is not a factor in determining the moral, aesthetic, and hygenic superiority of cleanliness. People with clean houses, OCD or not, are better people in that regard. Pure and simple. The degree to which your house is a mess is the degree to which it is inferior to a clean house.
It should go without saying that even if you are a slob, you are a valuable, vital, and important human being with a lot to offer, infinite potential, deserving of love and respect. And everyone should, right now, stipulate to the fact that even a messy house can be full of "love." But don't try to give us any crap about how you're artistic, or how you "organize differently." You're messy. That's it. I've heard moms say "I'd rather play with my kids than clean my house." Wonderful. You are honestly to be admired for that part about playing with your kids. But frankly, I'd rather play with my kids IN a clean house, thanks.
And then the Hippies chime in. "Nature isn't clean. Don't be a clean freak." (Which is just the atheist version of "Hey, God made dirt.") Forget about the fact that Nature is ordered and constantly cleaning up after herself. That's a different topic. Just remember that you are human and this is civilization. A clean house is better than a messy one, and there is nothing--NOTHING--you can say to make your messy house a tribute to anything but messiness.

While we're ruffling feathers . . . there are a couple topics that need revisiting. (I've worked all night and I'm feeling punchy, so watch out.)

Obese people ARE second class citizens. Not in the sense that their potential is anything less than infinite, or that they should be treated with emotional disdain. Many of them are far better people than I might ever be. In fact, the only reason I feel fine saying this is because I believe in everyone's ability to accomplish anything. But this is undeniable: The degree to which you are overweight is the degree to which you are physically inferior to people who are in shape. Sure, you might be smarter, nicer, richer or more loving, but in that one regard, YES, you suck and it is gross. That's it.
(ASIDE: In the event that one of our larger citizens takes real offense to these comments and attempts to take physical revenge, I'm reasonably sure that I could outrun any of them on zero hours sleep with my shoelaces tied together. And I think this proves my point. Yes, charge them more for health care. YES make them pay for two seats on a plane. I might even be in favor of levying a fat tax. What are they going to do? Organize and protest? March on Washington? Good!)

Moving right along: If you still vilify either one of the major political parties and think the other is morally superior, you are to a certain degree STUPID and your opinion on almost everything else should be considered inferior. We don't even need to make any stipulations here. You are either dumb or uninformed. Either way you're dangerous.

Moreover, if your religion has ever excused you in dismissing or discounting the value of people outside your religion, then your religion is, at that particular juncture, inferior. Maybe even invalid. This includes these "easternists," yogis and bhuddies, who routinely dismiss and stereotype christians. They are as UNenlightened as their counterparts are UNchristian. (In fact, they're even stupider, because they think they don't have a religion.)

Furthermore, people who think Dave Matthews "rocks," have inferior musical tastes and are not to be trusted, although they are still a cut above anyone who will groove to the endless masturbatory guitar solos of blues rock. Dead Heads are the bottom of the barrel.

To end on a hopeful note: a world where people can accept the unvarnished, unabashed truth, is to that degree, a superior world.

These are the facts. They are beyond contestation.

vendredi, septembre 21, 2007

My Recovery

If by the end of this, I have your sympathy, then I have truly failed. This is not a plea for help. Sometimes you just have to be willing to think out loud. Explore an idea. It was, once again, the girl pants that started it all.

The originals. The black ones of the stretchy corduroy. I found them in the bottom of the black pants drawer. I couldn't remember the last time they'd been worn. I put them on and couldn't believe how comfortable (and hot!) they were. Why had they been relegated from my bottom to the bottom of the drawer for so long? No answer forthcoming, I wore them to work. I mostly work nights, and all night I reveled in the pants. Not until the sun rose did I know. In the parking lot, as I fished the car key from the shallow pocket, I noticed several faults in the coloration that are absolutely invisible under anything but the sun. A bizarre red area. A bit of worn, inexplicable blue. The discoloration is as unmistakable as it is inexplicable. They reverted to perfection in the shadow of the car's interior, but the reason the pants had been in exile remained clear.

My penchant for cleanliness is well known. OK, it's more of a need than a penchant. My family would say it's more of a mad, Hitleresque regime of perfection that rules the house to the chagrin of all who dwell therein. But I think that's an exaggeration. I'm a neatnik. I prefer order to chaos. Tidiness to clutter. Am I a freak for recognizing civilization's reasonable decree that a toilet be as springtime fresh as it is winter white?
That said, I have to admit that not being able to even think in my house when it is cluttered or in need of a good vacuum might be slightly beyond the pale. And lying in wait to catch the person who can't seem to keep their foul fingerprints off my stainless steel fridge might not be the best use of my time.

"Aha! So it's been YOU all along!"
"It has a handle for a reason! The handle is fingerprint proof. Use it!"
"I just wanted something to drink."

On the other hand, I'm sure this conversation takes place all over America a thousand times a day. Someday I'll have one of those new titanium fridges that doesn't accept fingerprints. Until then, I suppose I'll just have to keep the Windex stocked and ready.
But cleanliness is easy--totally rooted in a desire for a better world. And I don't call other people slobs or tell them how messy their houses are, I am not germ-phobic, so there is obviously no reason for concern.

Until you consider the tag problem. I wish people would either put them down or cut them out. There was a girl at the Salvation Army whose tag was sticking out. I approached her to mention it, but she turned to explore the jeans, and as it turns out she was kind of beautiful. I realized that she might take my interest in her tag as an interest in her time. I turned to make my purchase. But I had to stop, and turn around, just to see if she had, by some miracle, noticed the tag and put it down. She hadn't. I decided on the only sane course of action: Sneak up on her and see if I could fold the tag in without her noticing. I'd be doing her a favor, right? I'm sure many of you would have done the same. But she was too wily. She kept turning and shifting. I think after a while she thought I was following her or something, because she looked at me funny. If she could have focused for just a second, she would have heard me say "your tag is sticking out." But she turned away and I ended up just mouthing the words. To my credit, I accepted that it was a complex situation that wasn't about to be resolved, and I moved on.

I also have car problems. I realize: when I change lanes on the freeway, I am bitterly disappointed if I cannot do so without touching one of those bumpy things. I have pulled over to clean specks off the dashboard. I almost crashed reaching for a candy wrapper on the passenger side floor (which would have made it into a proper receptacle if not for the breeze.) I have repeatedly pulled over at car washes to vacuum the car.

When I go to the cinema, popcorn is a guilty pleasure, as long as I grab a napkin on the way in and stop at the drinking fountain to moisten it. Without a wet nappy to clean the quality butter flavored alternative from my fingertips, I'd have to smuggle in a rubber glove with which to eat the popcorn. Either that or just get up and go wash my hands when the small or medium bag is done.

Sometimes I am late because my jacket or my jeans or my shirt or my shoes, or the combination of said elements, isn't quite right. And even as I panic a little about being late, I cannot leave the house until I can see the clothes and say: "This I must wear." And I keep telling myself "Just leave! it's fine! THEY'RE JUST CLOTHES!" But then my brain tells me, "The perfect jacket is the next one you try on." Three times in the last year I left work to buy a shirt, because the one I had worn wasn't quite right, and home is too far away.

For a long while, when a drinking fountain featured a tall one for adults and a short one for the kids, I couldn't just take a drink from one and ignore the other. It had to be both. Sometimes one, then the other, and then the other again, just to make sure. Sure of what, I really couldn't say.

I'll stop there, because to list all the details would take pages and pages. Let it suffice to say that working for County Mental Health, I became acutely aware of the implications of some of these tendencies. So special steps were taken. I made it a point to ignore the bathroom sink until my slob family let it fall into a state of abject filth before hitting it with the Windex. I took one long drink from the tall fountain and walked away. I would ignore my coworker's tag for a good half an hour before taking the scissors to it. I would eat the dark chocolate M&M's in whatever order they fell. Even the brown ones.

But during this period of self intervention, I had failed to pull out The Pants, and put them on, and wear them in the bright light of day, just to say I could. So here it goes. I don't wear them to prove anything. There's nothing to prove. Because I'm fine.

They say that when an Indian woman is weaving a blanket, she weaves a flaw into it, to let the soul out. This is a beautiful assessment of what it means to be human. Or it's insane, or just a great way to cover up an obvious gaff in order to sell more blankets. Whatever it means, it's a great little mantra to keep uttering to myself every time the sun highlights the discolored patch, the dashboard dust, the fleck on the carpet, that other drinking fountain, the tags all over the world, the stray hairs, the cat dander, the clutter, the disorder, the filth, the fowl, the fake, the fools, the fat, the fray, the . . .

mardi, septembre 18, 2007

Burn in Hell, Barry Manilow

I've said it many times before. But this time I mean it: Barry Manilow represents everything that is wrong with this country.

Before, it was in jest. Because I was raised listening to his muzak and have a special secret place deep in my heart where listening to it doesn't make me grind my teeth to powder. And let's give the Devil his due: he has written some of the catchiest tunes in the American catalogue, even if you only count the millions of advertising jingles he has composed and, of course, the old theme to American Bandstand.

But all that is out the window now. Flushed down the toilet of poncy leftist hypocrisy. (It's a big toilet. It rarely gets flushed, and it backs up and oozes stench and filth all over the arena of ideas.) All because the man who writes the songs that make the whole world sing refused to be on the View.
Before I go on, let me say this: The concept of the View, when you think about it, is sort of beautiful. Four women of divergent backgrounds and philosophies discussing events and ideas in an open forum. Beautiful, really. And furthermore, give Barbara Walters credit for teaching us all the true value of the cat fight. Add a good natured hiss here and an ideological scratch there, and a good (but slightly stayed) concept has teeth.
On the other hand, the one time I tried to watch it, actually made me wish for death. I didn't want to live in the same world as that show. It was embarrassing that I could feel that kind of visceral hatred for four reasonably intelligent women. So I tried to be serene and let these ladies have their say. I even found it in my heart to be grateful for the show, because it inspired some really great parodies on SNL.
Even so, when I heard Mr. Manilow had refused to appear, my heart applauded a little. Until I found out why.

Turns out he is not a discriminating viewer of televised infotainment. Neither is he a dedicated artist who refuses to lap up even the most offensive opportunity for exposure. He is, simply, a ridiculous hypocrite. The reason he refused to be on the show is that he disagrees with one of the women. I didn't know which one at first, because her name is the same as an NFL quarterback, and that is where my knowledge (and interest) ends. So I forced myself to watch an entertainment show, to find out she is the so-called "conservative one." I don't care which woman it is, but if you have to run scared from her views, than yours must be exceptionally petty.
Think of it: here is a show that celebrates diversity of opinion. Barry Manilow's response is to take a stand against diversity of opinion. "I disagree with you" he says, "therefore I refuse to even occupy the same room as you." The sad result is that thousands of intellectually bankrupt haus fraus are deprived of hearing a song that might have reminded them of the halcyon days when they could fit into their husband's jeans (and when he wanted to get into hers). You might have even brought back a few of the overweight lesbian demographic that left when Rosie turned tail.

Come on, Barry! I might be petty and celebrate that those four yapping blabbers are silenced for a few minutes, (even if it has to be by the mellow tones of an aging, jobbed up composer of elevator muzak). But I at least consent to the fact that those women should have their say (and not have to temper their views--not even to cater to the man who gave us "Mandy.") I would never dare send the message that if someone disagrees with me, then I'm just not going to show up. You are pitiful. You are a joke. You and everyone who applauded your action is a mental pygmy who will rot in the cellar of humanity's wasted brains. Go to hell and fester there, you colossal idiot. I don't even believe in Hell in the traditional religious sense. But I'm making an exception for you (and whoever invented easter grass). At least there you'll be surrounded by individuals who won't hate your guts for looking down your nose at someone who represents another side to an argument. No, they'll congratulate you and tell you how brave you were for taking a stand. And you'll feel that same sense of inflated self worth that was your bread and butter on earth. And you'll be content.

Until someone turns on the TV. Because Hell has only one station. And it plays only one show around the clock.

Enjoy the View, Barry.

lundi, août 20, 2007


I didn't get the male orangutan.

Nature fitted him with ridiculous flaps on either side of his beady little eyes, flaps which seem to grow bigger and thicker the wiser (and more comically inspirational he becomes.) But think about it. This poor creature suffers from Nature's worst case of biological tunnel vision.

I said to myself: "I'm not falling for his crap." He can't even see past his own face! How can that be a biological imperative? How can a complete lack of peripheral vision be an advantageous mutation that gets passed on? And if they truly are our relations, how then could my parents forbid me from wearing that Batman mask at Halloween, on the grounds that it restricted my vision and would inevitably result in me getting hit by a car?

But then I remembered what really drives biology: Sex, and its accomplice, Fashion.

Somewhere in the annals of Time, some orange haired ape chick said: "Look at the cheeks on that one!" And he got all the tail. And then his kids got all the tail. And just when face flaps were about to go out of style, the ingenious (read: horny) males let spread a rumor amongst the women of the jungle. A bawdy little myth that linked flap size with penis size. Then it was all over.

No male orangutan since has seen anything to his right nor to his left.

It makes perfect sense.

vendredi, août 17, 2007

Health Care

A recent study shows Americans dropping like a stone in the race to lead the world in the useless "life expectancy" statistic. On a normal day, I think we'd be savvy enough as a nation to ignore the tripe. But we live in a time when a fat, neck bearded socialist can make a "surprise" visit the best hospitals overseas, compare them to the worst here, and somehow propagandize a statistically significant portion of a nation into thinking that the grass is greener in Cuba.

So, if for no other reason than to keep us all from panicking the nation to an even lower life expectancy quotient, why not explore the factual possibilities? The most elementary analysis reveals that the "problem" has little if anything to do with health care. IF Americans have ever lived longer than people in other countries, (and I wonder if they have), then, frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Lest we forget . . .

Americans invented and pioneered the noble profession of Daredevildry. We have a higher population of people willing to risk serious personal injury for glory. My own uncle almost died jumping over 12 neighborhood kids on roller skates. His early death would have brought the numbers down, but who would dare call that a tragedy or a failure of the health care system? And have you ever seen a French or a Cuban Monster Truck? Enough said.

Americans handle business militarily. For good or ill, the amount of American young people dying overseas far exceeds rest of the world. It always has. We've never needed anyone to bail us out (except financially--and by the way: thanks, Chinese lending consortium!) whilst other countries are constantly expecting our soldiers to come and expel various versions of Hitler from their midst. Of course, the reasons for sending said soldiers to die on foreign soil seems increasingly useless, but we do have a reputation to uphold. Possibly even a quota to fill. And here's the real question, Where was the amazing socialized medicine when millions of allied troops were dropping like flies in WWII? Sadly, for the next foreign war, we will most likely have to draft aging baby boomers, because A) it would be the only way to stop that entire generation from its incessant whining; and B) killing them off is certainly the only way to stave off the imminent Social Security crisis.

Americans play Football. The average age of death for players in the National Football League is in the mid 50's. Apparently, making a career of slamming into other men at high speeds with the intent of smearing them into the turf shortens your life expectancy. God bless these men.

Americans are supposed to be self governing and individually responsible. That is the foundation of our nation, our identity. Our system is designed for a self governing people. Unfortunately, as we transition from a nation infused with faith in a benevolent God who expects us to behave to a nation infused with faith in the holy trinity of Sex, Government, and Reality Television, one should expect a temporary epidemic of bad lifestyle choices to shorten life expectancy.

Americans have been lied to. They have been told that you have to accept fat people as normal and treat them as the equals of people who take care of themselves. This has led to an epidemic of obesity, which is the surest, and ugliest way to shorten your life. (I think I'm supposed to say: "Hey, we're fat, so sue us!") Even our ridiculous penchant to worship in the Church of Hollywood Stardom has not lead to a serious backlash against the Unnecessarily Large. Long gone are the days when a token fatty hammed it up on every sit-com (Hey hey, ReRun! We miss you! . . . Come to think of it, maybe they just died off faster than they could be replaced: Good night, sweet Farley). Today's stars are leaner and fitter than ever. Even so, placing them on a pedestal makes their rock hard abs and lusciously proportioned booties seem otherworldly and unattainable. It excuses John Q.UsedtohaveaSixPack and Sally HastowearaHouseCoatbecauseshecan'tfitintoherjeansanymore from having to do anything about the blubber that starts in their heads, creeps around under the skin, and makes its way into the heart.

Americans kill more criminals. Unfortunately, I am not referring to the Death Penalty. That little gem can't lower life expectancy stats, because it doesn't kick in until years of legal wrangling have left you an old man watching cable whose crimes are long forgotten. No, I mean that Americans have guns, so lots of young people lower the bar by dying in gun battles, which usually (but, sadly not always) amounts to criminals killing each other (mad props to Tupac and Biggy for doin' they thing and gettin they gunz on!)

I could say more, but hopefully you get the point: There isn't a problem. And if there is one, it isn't Health Care. Perhaps proud American James Dean spoke for all of us when he said: "Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse."

lundi, juillet 30, 2007

my curmudgeonly friend

We drove along, trading in palaver as usual.

I expressed that I could no longer bring myself to care what happened to people low enough to vandalize or steal. If they are to be bludgeoned with baseball bats, so be it. As long as I don't have to watch. (I don't have a stomach for violence. Which is why I couldn't sit through even one episode of the Sopranos. However, I suppose if they were strung up, pinata style, and I were charged with the task of pounding them while wearing a blindfold, I might consider it. Just trying to be open minded.)

My co-conspirator laid out his plan to rob otherwise good people and businesses of their livelihood by destroying their signage (with the vulgarity of vandalism if necessary) and replacing it all with handmade cardboard bric-a-brac and tack-on "Gar[b]age Sale" posters that will blow off in the wind and cover the earth in trash. I guess once you concede that a billboard is the Ultimate Evil, minor infractions like destroying other people's property, or covering your community in neon paper products that you have no intention of picking up even weeks after all your crap that you think other people should pay money for has been picked through and the left overs taken to the landfill, seem somehow less egregious.

But it left me thinking, "and I'M supposed to be the ornery one?"

It's what makes us so effective as a team. I'm the homebound curmudgeon; he's the extremist variety; and neither of us makes any sense at all.

lundi, juillet 23, 2007

Summertime, and the Living is Easy

School is out, and that means a good deal of free time for teenagers around the country. What will they do with all this free time, and what should parents have to say about it?
A recent study by the Nevada County chapter of Parents of Entitled, Self-important Teenagers (or, P.E.S.T) reveals that good parents adopt a “get out of the way and let these young people do their own thing” approach.
In a press conference attended by P.E.S.T. members and one reporter, spokesperson Linda Kay Berke-Johnson said: “We despise George W. Bush, and stand by all our earlier statements against anything and everything he does. But at least his twin girls did drugs and used fake ID’s to get into bars and buy mixed drinks.” Area teens reached for comment as they “hung out” at the corner store said, “I don’t know, I’m just hanging out. What’s with all these questions and pressure? You’re stressing me out! Leave me alone! Gosh!”

Dried Fruit

This is the season of Fresh Fruit. During which I consume what many might consider an unhealthy amount of nectarines and cherries. Rest assured, they would be my favorite fruits even if they where available all year. But their limited availability makes them all the more precious. But there is a way to enjoy fruit year 'round: through the miraculous process of dehydration.

I can see where you might want to abstain from dried apricots, given that they are blamed in the infamous "Jason made his poor pregnant wife throw up" incident. (Just don't blame the apricots: the problem is obviously caused by the sulfuric acid they are treated with.)
I can even go along with you on the dried apples. There's something creepy and leathery about them. So even whilst enjoying them, your point is taken.

But how can you have aught against the dried mango? Philippine brand dried mangos are made from the finest mangoes Mother Nature can produce. Full of "sweet memories of Cebu," these delights are as close as you can get to picking it yourself, and not nearly as sticky. I'll go as far as to say that the dried mango is better than the fresh, being cleaner to consume. No pealing. No dripping.
And how can you rail against the sweet experimentalism of the (extremely rare!) dried cantaloupe?

Perhaps the way the sugar concentrates when the water is removed makes these delights too sweet for you. If so, then you should go, as Gibran instructed, out into your seasonless world, "where you will laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears."

vendredi, juillet 13, 2007

Man Pain

It should go without saying that women are superior to men in most ways--at least that is what I was raised to believe. In the very least, we can all admit that they put up with a lot more, what with having to share the world with men and the whole menstruation/pregnancy/childbirth thing.

Having said what should go without saying . . . There is a cramp in my right buttock, and I know the cause.

And you women cannot even speak of it, because you have no idea.

I basically drove across the country this past week. And as my auto lapped the miles, a pain began to develop. By the time the car stopped, "docile and omnipotent," at my own stable door, it was a fully fledged cramp. As I went back to the daily grind, it became a dull, lingering ache.

Let me remind the reader that I was, indeed, wearing girl pants on this trip. The stretchy corduroy of legend. This is only significant because said pants have back pockets.
And what does a man, and only a man, have in his back pocket? What has the sexist matriarchy dictated through their fascistic fashionistas that men cram into one of their back pockets? You guessed it. A wallet.

A wallet that initiated a muscular incongruency, an imbalance, large enough to cause an entire buttock to revolt. How long until the rest of me follows suit? And what if other men join me?

I hear you saying: "why didn't he just take the wallet out of his pocket whilst he drove?" The answer: I shouldn't have to. Society is to blame. I've tried. I thinned my wallet down to the bare minimum: License, credit card, Apple ProCare card, Emily Dickinson fan club membership, First aid/CPR certification, a letter from an old friend, and a Canadian 2 dollar bill. That's it. You see how I couldn't get by with less. My wallet is actually thinner than most.

You sit there with your symmetrically cradled buttocks, with your bottomless purse seated comfortably next to you, and you have the nerve to mock. But unless you're going to massage my right buttock, then I suggest you try sitting on that purse as you drive and see what the world is like for people on the fringes of the power structure.

lundi, juillet 09, 2007

Karma Police

I'm still grappling with how good it felt to get my hate on.
But so many people wrote to tell me how bad hate is that the good feeling has to be doubted. They weren't writing to me, mind you. Not directly. But 80 million moral philosophers can't be wrong. (Even Helen Keller came after me. Something about giving my power away.) While no official apology will [EVER] be issued to anyone specific who may have been offended, the issue was taken under advisement with the appropriate authorities.

Hence, because Hate is (apparently) not the answer, so as to avoid "karmic backlash," and--most importantly--lest anyone think I am either a rock or an island, please enjoy making fun of me for the following:


* There was this mass e-mail from a friend in Quebec, about this grocery bagger, who had Downs Syndrome or something,(I forget his name, but doesn't it have to be Jimmy, or Billy, or Danny?) who decided to "make a difference" in the only way he could. He started putting an inspiring "quote of the day" in his customers' bags. People lined up to get in his line because they wanted the wisdom. The mood around the store changed. The florist started giving away flowers. The butcher stopped selling tainted salmon. Basically, the Aliens delayed our annihilation for a good year based on Jimmy's contribution. I was crying all over my keyboard just before I deleted it. And NOT because of the bad luck I got for not forwarding it to at least ten people in the next ten minutes.

* I watched this French movie about a failed musician who goes to a crooked school/home for wayward boys. Of course, he transforms the school. (How do failed musicians do that, by the way? How is it that the people chewed up and spit out by Art are destined to radically alter the perspective of the world's wayward Youth?) Anyway, I cried when they sang--and not just because it was the moment the Mr. Holland's bogus Opus was grappling for. It really was beautiful. Then I cried at the end when he gets fired (of course) and the boys who are forbidden to say goodbye do it anyway by throwing paper airplanes (which he taught them to make) with their thanks written on the wings out the window. It was Dead Poet's Society all over again. I was totally fine with the snotty actor kid killing himself. But man, when they all stand on the desk and say "Oh Captain, my Captain!" I am a weepy mess for a good hour.

* An old friend sent me a package of pictures and souvenirs from Emily Dickinson's house. Before you make too much fun of me for crying at this, you should know that the souvenirs included an acorn from Emily's tree. Can you imagine anything cooler? Either I was crying at the friend's kindness, or over the fact that as a teenager I actually tried that "Somewhere in Time" trick from that sad little Christopher Reed movie. I wanted to go back in time and convince her to marry me. Obviously it didn't work. And no I did not play the soundtrack as I made the attempt to meditate myself backward through the continuum. On second thought, it has to be the friend's kindness, because, while I flagellate myself with guilt over all my teenage stupidity, I never cry about it.

* They Might Be Giants have a song called Ana Ng. If you really listen, really close, at the right time of night, alone in your car as you sit in the parking lot of the job that has been sucking your soul out through every orifice for ten years, wondering what it would feel like to walk through life without the weight of the world absolutely crushing your shoulders, the song inspires tears.

* The 4th of July fireworks in my little town go off right over my house. The noise is deafening and the light is blinding, but it was neither the red glare nor the suffocating sulfur in the air. As I squinted, covered my ears, and hoped the fire department was at the ready, I started to think about the miracle that is America. Yes, I teared up a little.

* This was a while ago, but I enjoyed that hate a LOT, to I'm going further back. I spent Father's day fixing my own meal, enjoying a gift I had purchased for myself, and cleaning up after my slob son and the mother who taught him the art of mess. I didn't really care, because that reality isn't worth fretting about. But as I went out into the night to head off to work (see Reason to Cry #3) I actually did begin to feel a little sorry for myself. Then I noticed a strange neon glimmer from inside the car. My son, who seemed to have spent the whole day not giving a crap, had written "Happy Father's Day" with glow sticks taped to the inside of the windshield. The whole interior of the car was glowing. (See, now YOU'RE crying). I shed a tear of gratitude. Then another because his little gift made it impossible to drive, and was going to make me late for work. Another tear for useless good intentions and good deeds justly punished. Then one more for the realization that what he had really done was make ANOTHER mess for me to clean up. . . And then one last crocodile tear for the fact that being late for work and cleaning up the spent glow sticks in the morning was totally worth it.

So there it is, Universe. I hope that completes my penance. I promise to never again admit in writing to enjoying hatred or rejoicing in anyone else's misery.

samedi, juin 23, 2007

Bring on the Hate

I don't pretend that this will make me feel better. It won't. But I wanted to try my hand at this "I'm intolerant of intolerance" angle. I figured that, rather than dip my toe in the shallows, I'd dive right into the deep end and go for the real meat: Hate. I mean, maybe I've never hated anything because deep down a curmudgeon needs to be annoyed, and so, in a stupidly twisted way, embraces the source of the annoyance. Or maybe I never cared enough to get my dander up to the point of actual hatred. Even when it came to the extremely unpleasant and wholly unjustifiable serving of liver and Lima beans, I could only muster the old lukewarm "agree to disagree" cop-out. Well, no more. I'm about to bring on the hate.

If you support the "Fairness Doctrine," I hate you.
Not because you are ill informed, I'll give you the benefit of that particular doubt. But because you want to live in a world where Congress will literally have the power to tell American radio stations what they can broadcast, where there is an outside chance (I don't care how remote) that we might have to "balance" songs about sex with an equal measure of songs about abstinence, or force program directors to go out and find someone who loves the war and broadcast their statement every time someone says they despise it. You'll say this example is egregious: I hate the idea of rape. I hope that you do as well. Imagine a broadcasted discussion about the horrors of rape, featuring numbers victims could call for support, followed by a legally mandated commentary by some freak who thinks it is part of the natural way of things. This is what your fear of people who disagree with you will get us.
And by the way: If you're afraid to let the market decide who should be on the air, then I hope you can accept my hate as a respectful substitute for the pity I was going to extend.

If you have ever compared (or agreed with anyone who compared) modern Islamic extremists to modern American Christians, I hate you.
I'm not part of any born-again evangelical superchurch, in fact it irks me to say anything that appears like defending their ilk. But really--go ahead and mock and deride and dismiss religious types all you want. Just don't EVER put an American who would show up at your door with banana bread if your spouse was ill with someone who would cut off your head because you think Jewish people have a right to exist. I get that religious extremism causes problems, but an activist who carries a sign that says "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart," is a far cry from a jihadist who stops beating hearts on a bus with a bomb strapped to his chest. Surely you see how even a so-called christian who writes their Congressperson to express their stupid opinion that gay people shouldn't be able to visit each other in the hospital (if you ever meet one, by the way, I'll give you a dollar) cannot be put in the same box as a religiously sanctioned official who would castrate a gay person in the public square. And if you think they ARE in the same category, then I'm beginning to think that you are a bigger problem than both of them.

If you persist in thinking that there is a huge difference between the two behemoth political parties, I don't hate you yet, but I'm getting there.

If you bought a Dixie Chix album just to support their apparent cause (as if it could or should be anything beyond selling records), I hate you. It used to be about the music, man.

If you are in the Mafia, I hate, Hate, HATE you. In fact anyone who has ever perpetrated or observed an act of physical violence without feeling sick inside should be feeling the hate.

Yeah, now I'm rolling.

I'm also officially stating an official hatred for litterbugs, thieves, and guys who take their shirts off in public, with an honorable mention to teenagers, that guy who threw the giant beer soaked paper towel wad at my head at a baseball game, anyone taller than me, every last one of you who has ever spoken ill of a Mormon missionary, and anyone who ever made fun of my little brother.

I was wrong. I do feel better.

vendredi, juin 08, 2007

Foul Dickies

So and So has a pair of black Dickies. A sweet cut--everything just right except they are getting old and fading. I've searched high and low--even a Dickies outlet in the bowels of Southern California. Nothing. I thought I saw a pair in the women's department at Sears, and even bought a pair. The cut was gay enough. They might have even been stretchy. But the lack of back pockets ended up being a deal breaker. Again. So I guess I wasn't lying at the check out when I said they were for my wife.
I thought the internet would save us all. The Dickies web site featured the very pair I had been seeking. The picture was beautiful. The text was poetic. But I clicked and clicked and could not order. Finally I went back to the phone age and dialed customer service. A very gracious Texan (props for not outsourcing to BFE overseas!) informed me that THE PANTS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE. "Then why are they on the site? It is to goad and mock me and turn my quest into a life souring failure?" She assured me it was nothing personal, and referred me to a pair of pants that might fit the bill.
But in this case, the beautiful picture and poetic texts were simply a ruse--which I only found out when the pants arrived by post and I tried them on. These were nothing like girl pants with pockets. At 3 PM I officially gave up hope.

Curse you, Dickies, for making the perfect pants just long enough for me to NOT be able to purchase them. Curse you for keeping the picture of the discontinued pants on your website just long enough for me to see them and almost hope to own a pair. Curse you for recommending a quality butter flavored alternative that looks edible but tastes nothing like the real thing.

Only Oprah can help me now: I envision myself in the pants. I feel the joy of owning several pair. I walk around the house pretending to catch the hotness of them in the mirror (not an easy task considering the kind of undergarments I wear--luckily, I don't get a lot of visitors).
Hear me Oprah: You promised me this would work. You promised me the pants of my dreams if I could only employ your secret.

I expect the pants before the end of the summer. Don't make me curse you.

lundi, mai 21, 2007

My New Book

I thought I'd try my hand at the Great American Novel. Here is my strong opening paragraph.

The wind from the east tossed the garland jauntily about her wimple. It was the kind of effect that drove him crazy with lust. Pant. Pant. Pant. Her bodice was laced tight enough so as to restrict her breathing. This also was the kind of effect that drove him crazy—this time with something not quite lust, but closely resembling it. He could have put his finger on it, but his hands were occupied with the act of fidgeting in the folds of his tunic, looking for the silver drachma he was sure he had placed there before leaving the house, if for no other reason than to be able to locate it for just such an occasion as this. Presently his hands found other things to do. Mainly, a genteel caress of her nape. Now it was inevitable. Kiss. (pause) Kiss. (longer pause) Kiss. He looked deep into her eyes. Once they had stopped kissing, that is. With his left hand, he began once again the search for that damned drachma. His right hand he raised to her voluptuous face, placing it on her cheek, which was blushing. “My darling,” he said, and gently squeezed her goatee.

What do you think?

jeudi, mai 17, 2007

Psuedo Paradox (is What Happens When You Don't Sleep)

The nonsense of Dreaming makes waking lucidity possible. There's a word for that . . . Sort of like when you've been up for days and you realize suddenly that:

In order to work towards a colorblind society, our government and news media must be constant and feverish in their delineation of races and the reporting thereof.

In order to make freedom meaningful we must force our version of it upon others.

In order to make freedom fair we must take money from people who have it and give it to people who don't.

To be interesting to a mass audience, liberty has to include vice and destruction.

In order to establish the equality of the sexes, we must assure that women are every bit as vile and violent as men.

Reproductive rights are secured by preventing reproduction.

Being the party of limited government means spending more money on a military you have sent to a foreign country. (And possibly spending more money, period.)

If there are an above average number of hurricanes, blame it on global warming. If there isn't, keep your mouth shut.

If the president's approval rating is 33%, put it on the front page. When the new Congress gets a 27%, bury it.

The basis of your opinion on national issues and world events is a show that makes fun of national issues and world events.

If a Muslim trying to kill Jewish women and children happens to blow up a Jewish soldier, he is still a terrorist. If a Jewish fighter pilot trying to kill terrorists happens to kill a woman and a child, he is also a terrorist. Either way, it is America's fault.

As an American, you are to be derided for not living in the moment and keeping to your own shores. But you also have a responsibility to feel guilty and fretful over events in the past and conditions in the present that you had nothing to do with, have no control over and can do nothing about.

Rich white people don't go to jail for drug offences, they go to rehab. And they don't have to stop polluting. They purchase carbon credits.

When Al Gore says carbon dioxide is CAUSING warming, make a movie. When he goes before congress and says that, historically speaking, carbon increases have FOLLOWED temperature spikes, cut to commercial.

In order to have credibility and influence, a band must have hits and sell records, in which case they have sold out and have no credible influence.

80 million Elvis fans can't be wrong. But McDonald's has sold 5 billion hamburgers and they are still evil and their food still sucks.

On the one hand, we must not judge people by body type or appearance. On the other hand, obesity is the new plague and anyone caught eating trans fats will be strung up by their cellulite and shot.

Smoke marijuana and you're a free thinking open minded progressive. Smoke tobacco and you're a parasite and a pox who mustn't go near children. (Corollary: smoking pot in movies is hilarious--smoking cigarettes on film is verboten!)

A male teacher who has sex with a student is a pervert and a predator. A female teacher who has sex with a student is a tabloid darling.

Some say sleep is the most important meal of the day. Others point out the fact that it is a gigantic waste of time. (Einstein's own calculations prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that mass increases with velocity making it impossible for anything but light to travel the speed of light. And yet here I am going mad with sleep deprivation, shortening my lifespan by the square of the speed of light by working around the clock. An early grave assured and confirmed by the observation of light bending around my head during the eclipse that occurs when my head comes directly between the sun and my pillow approximately once every hundred years. A lunar eclipse happens more often, but you get the same effect from heavy amounts of pollution.)

Julia Roberts and George Clooney can demand more money than they will ever need in three lifetimes to make one movie. But an oil company is not allowed under any circumstances to make a profit.

If you morn the death of Jerry Falwell, you're an idiot. If you rejoice in his death . . . you're still an idiot. Sometimes people can agree to agree. And that is what we call hope.

mardi, mai 08, 2007

I Agree with Jason

Something has to stop. Now. It is the constant misuse of the term ANAL.

ATTENTION, ALL YE ENDS OF THE EARTH: "Anal" means "having to do with the anus." That is all it means. I can't figure out why anyone commiserating about shopping or talking about someone's housecleaning prowess would bring up their anus. And even if you are making reference to the "anal retentive" state elucidated by Freud, that doesn't mean what you think it means. I believe what the guilty, and all their anal ilk, mean to say is "fastidious," or something along that vein.

So let's all stop this clear and corrosive adulteration of our language. If my impotent screed here doesn't cure you, google the word "anal" just once, even with the safe search on. It will take you a good long while to find a reference to someone who is detail oriented or germ phobic. And you will NEVER misuse it again.

samedi, avril 14, 2007

A New Orientation

Scrolling through the archives, the realization came that an important socio-medical issue has not been addressed.

We know about Hetero, Homo, and Bi. These are the sexuals as they currently stand. One might also include the -philes: the Zoo, the Necro, and (try as you might to stop them) the Pedo. These have an established academic value.
(Before getting to the point, let us quickly dismiss the thousand and one kinks as subcategories too small for relevance. We won't presume to tell you to stop smelling belly lint or to desist all relations with imaginary 100-foot-tall women. We simply relegate you for the moment to the statistically undifferentiated file.)

But we hereby propose a new, instantly vital, and heretofore marginalized sexual orientation: The Ultrasexual.

What is an Ultra?
In a nutshell, Ultras are a subgroup of both orientations, consisting of people who, quite simply, experience a stronger biochemical sexual response than others. For a combination of emotional and physical reasons, their desire for, preoccupation with, and enjoyment of sex is greater than their peers. These individuals are not necessarily dirty, or even Drrrty, but having that initial jolt of attraction multiplied by a factor of 10 or more (and sustained past the point where most people simply get over it) often sets them up for behavior and commentary that might appear crude to average hetero or homo sexuals. It must here be stressed that we are not talking about hormone addled frat boys or the macho posturing of construction workers--though there may be closeted ultrasexuals in both categories. Neither do we here refer to the common nymphomaniac who is trying to get back at Daddy by giving herself to the football team. No, we speak of a biological reality that exists from birth. Exhibitionism and crudity are not necessarily indicators.

Are you Ultra?
There is currently no clinically definitive way to determine your status. Initial surveys were considered flawed because questions like "Have you ever said no to sex?" ended up putting horndogs, girls with low self esteem, and people who have never been asked in the same category. None of these, strictly speaking, are Ultrasexual. Early stage focus groups were equally ineffective, as suspected Ultrasexuals often paired up and took off during the first coffee break, leaving people who were simply lonely or deprived to stay and either giggle and titter, or complain.
In general however, studies do confirm that unconfused Bisexuals are predominantly Ultra, as are rock stars, pouty secretaries, the cloistered writers of shows like Friends and Grey's Anatomy, Hawkeye Pierce, James Bond, and upper echelon right wing religious and political leaders.
Interestingly, several individuals and groups have been confidently excluded from Ultra status. For example, it turns out that pizza delivery boys are simply zen like, go-with-the-flow types who could really take it or leave it. Researchers were most surprised when the data indicated that Bill Clinton, who they thought would be the poster child of Ultrasexuality, was a simple charismatic horndog with a craving for power and a multitude of reasons to get away from his wife.

Further research will have to determine the social implications of Ultrasexuality, and what legislation should be considered to protect Ultras from discrimination by "normals," (the derisive term they use to designate the non-ultra majority).

Above all, the public is urged to remember that Ultrasexuality is not a problem in and of itself. It is hoped that acceptance and understanding will increase with awareness.

Ultrasexuals are people too.

vendredi, avril 13, 2007

A Concerted Effort

There are a number of words and word combinations you have to stop using. Too many to name here. I'm willing to be patient with most of them, but the following must be stopped immediately.

1) "But yet . . . "
Don't you see? You can either say "but," or "yet." You can even say "And yet . . ." But when you put but and yet together it makes no sense whatsoever.

2) "Again . . ."
Many of the people people using this at the beginning of every other sentence, are not realizing that they aren't actually repeating an idea. In the event that you ARE using it correctly, I'd actually rather you just shut it down if you are just going to restate a previously elucidated idea for the third or fourth time.

3) "Concerted Effort"
You'll just have to look this one up to realize how ridiculous it is to say anything resembling "I am going to make a concerted effort." Or just apply this helpful hint: ONLY use it when you can replace the I with WE.

4) "The Bomb," "My bad," "It's all good," ETC.
Please understand: Your need to sound like an outdated Budweiser commercial is superseded by my need to never hear these phrases again.

5) "Touch base" (or bases)
(repeat the tag from number four, replacing "outdated Budweiser commercial" with "vaguely businesslike")

6) "Global Warming"
Yes, cumbersome as it is, because of exploitative erroneous connotations, you must now replace this "global warming" with the completely and undeniably more accurate: "Sadly Exacerbated but nevertheless inevitable and natural cyclical processes of climate change." P.S. the day I hear a group of passionate protesters, rhythmically chanting "Stop sadly exacerbated but nevertheless inevitable and natural cyclical processes of climate change!" will quite possibly be the greatest day of my life.

Thank you for your cooperation.

lundi, avril 09, 2007

Quoth the Ringo

Spring where I live is perfection. So I felt a little sheepish feeling inexplicably down on such a delightful day. Lunch with friends in the park seemed like the perfect antidote. My friends are an earnest priviledge to know. They're smart, sexy, and fun. I love them. They are, frankly, better people than I am.

The subject of names came up. I mentioned that some people I knew had named their daughter Liberty. My open minded friends assumed I was poking fun and proceeded to deride and stereotype. Later I'll tell them that Liberty's parents are friends of mine who will probably be the ones bringing them sandwiches and toiletries when the President orders a hurricane in their area. I don't know if I'll tell them that their mockery made them sound like my curmudgeonly father when I told him about my hippy friends naming their daughter Sequoia. To be fair, I don't think my lunch mates knew they were doing it. Most people are not knowingly dismissive, are they?

Later that picturesque spring afternoon, one of them brought up a conversation we'd had about a certain annoying radio and TV personality. I had given him an hour of my time, and found him, at least for that one hour, saying things that they themselves might have said, making their bitter hatred somewhat of a mystery. I had also found out that he gave all the profits from sales of his promotional "gear" to charity--inner city youths, college scholarships, etc. They proceeded to deride and stereotype, making assumptions that made them sound like the Religious Right, running from the facts lest they have to accept that there might be tires on the other side of the car that might be worth inflating. (Luckily, the personality in question isn't a personal friend. Had I given a crap when the subject came up, the uselessness of the conversation might have felt more egregious.) To be fair, my friends are loyal viewers of the people who make a career making fun of people like him, and who am I to say the opposition isn't the best source of information? Serves me right, right?

As the breeze danced in the giant oaks, a certain springtime holiday came up, and one or two good people at the table went out of their way to belittle what are for others deeply held religious convictions based on either thousands of years of tradition, or recent spiritual epiphanies, or both. It was all very enlightened and progressive. And the breath left my lungs with the warning of how futile all the test responses sounded. I had faded into the corner and realized how they must talk when I'm not around.

The food was good. The weather was perfect. The conversation was otherwise charming. It was a day to be relished. Truly.

I get by with a little help from my friends.

lundi, avril 02, 2007

The Latest Greatest Best Band Ever

Read the archives and you'll know: in this space, every attempt is made to avoid being divisive. If anything, we promote healing though finding the sane middle ground between the extremes.

But every once in a while, one has to make a stand and healing be damned.

Let us therefore make the following proclamation:

If you have never listened to The Decemberists, you suck.

Furthermore, if you have listened to them and you think they suck, then your brain has been eaten, and you have joined the zombie hoards that have besieged humanity since Industrialization. You should be spurned as one might spurn a rabid dog.

So listen to them, will you? All this spurning is making me tired.

lundi, mars 19, 2007

The Kraken! (or, I Am a Hopeless Puritanical Nerd)

I don't know who said it. (Believe me I wish I could take credit for it.) But a few weeks ago, I was walking somewhere with someone, and a girl in front of us bent over for something. As she did, the obligatory inch was revealed. With Greek doom in his voice, the person at my side said, "Release the Kraken!"

Those words have been repeated, in my head or by my mouth, at least every other day since. It isn't just comedy gold. It creates a pleasant insulator, or buffer, between you and the people who have made Dan Akroyd's plumber sketch from the halcyon days of Saturday Night Live their fashion paradigm.

Some people are just innocent victims. And by saying (please don't forget the doom) Release the Kraken! when they bend over you can remind them, with the innocence that only Greek mythology can confer, that current fashions require a manoeuvre called the "Bunny Dip." Apparently, playboy bunnies have been doing this for years. If you must bend over, and your purpose is not to stoke the flames of passion, you bend at the knees, keeping the back perfectly straight. It was demonstrated to me by a hot friend in hip huggers. She coyly dropped a pencil and retrieved it without revealing a thing. At this point I learned something about myself: It turns out that the grace of the rigidly held back and the subsequent modesty was a much bigger turn on than the exposition of anatomy. She sensed my mental impropriety and demonstrated the "Golfer's Grab," wherein you lower one hand to the ground (ostensibly to retrieve your ball) by extending one of your legs straight behind you and keeping the other straight and firmly planted. It's an ergonomic masterpiece, and it lacks the sex appeal of the bunny dip.

The point is that there is no excuse. Everyone in the world can dip and grab no matter how low your pants are slung. I never have to see another butt crack in public.

But every time I do, I will avert my eyes, raise up the severed head of the Medusa, and be heard to utter: RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

lundi, février 26, 2007

One for Each Toe

There are many more than ten, but here are the TOP ten Truths that Humans Being Have Forgotten. I hope none of them are inconvenient.

10) We cannot destroy the Earth.
Surely we can make it uglier, and smellier, (and the news/entertainment complex has gone a long way to making it stupider, as it were) but destroy it? Don't inflate your own power and significance. People are a blip on the Earth's flashdrive. She told me so over the phone a thousand years after the nuclear holocaust that never happened. I was calling her from the verdant climes of Mount St. Helens, crying and apologetic. She scoffed and said the same thing she said at the end of the last ice age: "Baby you give yourself too much credit. And by the way, get those stanky chemicals out of my river."

9) Your spouse does NOT love you by default.
Why not? Because there is no such thing as love by default. Either you have maintained yourself and the reasons he/she fell in love in the first place, or better yet, you've created an exciting matrix of new reasons for attraction and dedication. Short of these you are slapping your lover in the face. Things change, fine. And true love can withstand the sands of time. And "love existed" means that "love exists." Fair enough--and true statements all. However, if you are one of these people who let themselves go after hooking a mate and then just expect them to trudge through the thickening slosh of your sloth and decay to find the kernel of your love, then you are a scourge and a blight upon humanity that should be purged with fire.

8) Fame does not confer enlightenment.
Stop listening to Hollywood stars. Most of them have very little to say. Strike that--most of them have way too much to say. Some are intelligent. A few are insightful. But your average star's brain is so tainted with publicity and praise that they cannot think straight. This is a group whose chief talent, after acting, is divorce. Shun them as you would the know-it-all drunk hunk in the bar who thinks that because dumb drunk girls drool on him he can hold forth on the gas tax. While they are justifiably held up as the paragons of fashion, the bile and blah they spew must be ignored until they shut up and entertain us. Mark my words: The notion of the socially conscious star will be the death of Art.

7) McDonald's has the best fries.
I wish this wasn't true, because the full version reads: "...that's because they're fried in animal fat, silly!" I can't even look at a McDonald's, much less set foot in one. But I really do miss their fries. Also, In-n-Out Burger has the best shakes . . . because they have the most fat.

6) You have to burn at least as many calories as you consume.
Sorry, fatty. This is why you are fat. You are not big boned. You don't have a gland problem. There is no big secret. Simply burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight. I wanted to say you are still beautiful on the inside. But I talked to your inside, and it said "Feed me while I watch TV," which is not a beautiful thing to say. I don't know why I should feel obligated, but there has to be something nice to say here . . . ah: Forgotten Truth 6b) All humankind, regardless of weight, have the same, unlimited potential for excellence. There, feel better?

5) Adherence to your favorite tidbits of 'Eastern Spirituality' does not make you better than everyone else.
You know you think it does. In the midnight of your soul, you'll admit it. But congratulations: you found a belief system that allows you to look down your nose at "religious types" and still be on the Path to Enlightenment.

4) The Beatles are the greatest rock band in History.
Wait. No human being has forgotten that.

3) Astrology is an embarrassing joke.
"If you've ever even checked your weekly horoscope" says Astronomer magazine, "it's time to do a little research." "But what boxes will I cram people into without bogus astrological signs?" you ask. Here are at least two: People who believe in astrology and smart people. Forget the fact that even bringing it up makes you sound as if you passed your prime in the 70's. The studies that debunk it completely, almost mercilessly, are too numerous to even mention here. But here's a quickie. I often read the obviously bogus (but completely hilarious) horoscopes from the Onion in the office. More than once, true believers have uttered words to this effect: "Oh my gosh, I have an aunt who's a Libra, I should warn her." I'm not kidding.

2) The original Blues men that came out of the Mississippi Delta were the coolest people that ever lived.
Even their names can't be argued with: Muddy Waters. Son House. Johnny Shine. Robert Johnson. Watching and listening to these guys, it almost hurts to know how cool I will never be. Sadly, the degree to which these guys were cool is precisely the degree to which the average modern blues rocker in your local tavern is NOT.

1) It's your own damn fault.
"You do it to yourself," said Thom York, "and that's what really hurts." Admittedly, I myself forget this one on a daily basis. But moments after blaming cursing my wife somehow causing me to forget to repair the crack in the main line that caused the pipe to rupture and send sewage flowing into my back yard, I still say: O how the world will change when we all pull our heads out and stop blaming everything on everybody else! A good place to start would be for all people everywhere to rise up, take charge . . . and stop blaming me. For anything. Ever.

lundi, février 12, 2007

Congratulations, Chix!

I know what I said. The Dixie Chicks (a.k.a "the walking dead from Michael Jackson's Thriller") were teetering on the edge of irrelevance. Their stylist had done them an irreparable wrong. Their white trashness was testing our patience. They were following in the footsteps of the multitude who dared utter "Look how hard it is to be a rock star!" and then faded into oblivion.

Yet there they were, looking (let's not deny it) fairly radiant as they made multiple trips to the podium to accept major awards.

I'll eat more crow: I had wrongfully assumed that their collective IQ wouldn't add up to the weight of the short one. But their deft Simpsons reference indicates an astute cultural awareness. It looked on the surface like a twelve-year-old flouting the high road and throwing it in the face of her teachers who all got it wrong when she was flunking out of fourth grade. But think about it. Fellow cross over artist Homer Simpson's musical career was legitimized and validated by Grammy as well. Of course, he crossed over from the Hilarious Drunken Overweight Dumb-Ass with a Heart of Gold category into Barbershop, but it doesn't take a Dixie Chick to percieve the layers in her allusion.

Gone were the cross-eyed fiddler and the chubby white trash girl from Shitewater, Texas. Gone were the retarded alt-country "you go girl" anthems. Forgotten, the low-class gyno-posturing. Far behind us the shameless pub hounds lapping up the free press given to anyone who hates the president. The Chicks rose above it all, no apologies (not even for holding a knife to Stevie Nicks' throat and forcing their nauseating version of "Landslide" on the world), and proved to their critics that as long as the world needs Art, and artists willing to be all up in yo grill saying, loud and clear, "We have never heard the word DECORUM!" they will have a place. They've bloomed. They've matured. And they've got a long, important career in front of them. I was wrong.

One question remains: Now that you are, in your own words, not "Country" artists anymore, are you going to drop the "Dixie" facade and just be Chicks?

vendredi, février 02, 2007


Someone recently asked me about my "turn-ons."

A crushing sense of being out of touch decended as I realized: I had no idea how to address the issue.

What, you mean like, things that I find arousing in people? Tricks played by the opposite sex that I fall for? Kinks? The question itself became a turn off, because I instantly thought of Hitler saying: "I really like it when prostitutes urinate on me." For the first time, that little factoid wasn't just interesting dinner conversation. It made me queezy.
By the way, how do we even know that? How is it that History preserves that kind of information? I know for a fact that Hitler was never on the Dating Game, and the Real World was still a few years away when they put his brain in cold storage next to Walt Disney's frozen head. (Assuming they were two separate people. You don't need a tinfoil hat to accept the strong possibility that the Final Solution entailed a well thought out second life as a "creative genius." Come to think of it, the day they thaw out Disney/Hitler's head, the four horsemen of the apocalypse will be in place. Walt Disney, Paris Hilton, Rosie O'Donnel, The Trump of Kenny Rogers summons you forth! The time of purification is at hand!)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. So there I was, a little queezy, and suddenly fearful, trying to wrap my head around the definition of a "turn-on." Once I got past the Hitler problem, my first attempt just made me feel shallow. Things I generally enjoy about the opposite sex: Flanks. Firm, taught, smooth flanks. In fact firm everything. Basically anyone over twenty who lacks an extensive exercise regime is out. Sadly, as waistlines fall and shirt hemlines rise, the fashion world seems dedicated to revealing love handles along with the butt cracks. It's a conspiracy to keep the full figured woman from making a comeback. "I'm big boned!" Oh yeah? I've never seen bones oozing over a belt like that. "Child bearing hips?" Is that what they call those things that bloop out from under your shirt? Never has a flat stomach been such a necessity: either you flout the trend or advertise that you don't know what crunches are. It all came crashing down into my own hips recently when I lifted up my shirt to show off my super sexy appendix scar, and my good friend Tom had the gaul to point out that I had a "muffin top." I was even wearing MAN pants. (Girl pants and man pants now have the same oppressive sexiness. I have to fold the waistline of my undergarments down to keep up.) I didn't want to believe him. But there it was, a little extra flesh protruding over the low slung waistline. Not one of the principle cast of Lost has anything resembling this. How can I go on? I am by no means overweight. But honestly, that muffin top is a turn off. Even more so when you see it on yourself.

Wait--I was supposed to be talking about turn ON's. You see how hard this is?

OK. Let's get past the initial, biochemically involuntary need for brick house hotness. There has to be more to it than that, right? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing a turn-on should be something that excites and captivates beyond the insidious nether regions. So I start thinking: Literature--if you read, understand, and can intelligently talk about Great Books, that really gets my dander up. Housekeeping--yeah, keep a place clean and I'm halfway to heaven. Seriously, who doesn't get excited over a bathroom that is both springtime fresh, and winter white? What could be better? And Sushi--I love to watch a woman enjoy the world's greatest cuisine. Mostly because it usually means that I'm enjoying it with her. This might be the one place where the brick house standards can truly be left aside. I'll eat sushi with anyone. Or alone. Come to think of it, you can leave the hot girls at home, because that leaves more for me. I don't care how sexy you are, I don't want you horning in on the Dragon Roll. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. I mean, food and sex should never, I mean NEVER go together; but Sushi is a sensual experience.
Where did that idea come from, by the way? Food and Sex. It's difficult to think of a more disgusting combination. People used to talk about that "hot" scene in the otherwise forgettable "9 and 1/2 Weeks." The thought of two people taking food out of the fridge and making each other all sticky in the kitchen nauseated me. It's messy enough as it is. Just the image of someone putting any kind of syrup on any part of me almost makes me throw up a little in my mouth. And dairy products!? Don't even get me started.

I give up. I don't understand the turn-on proposition.

And I'm sure the person in question was sorry she asked.

vendredi, janvier 19, 2007

K-Lo J.

Let me digress a moment and recommend a wonderful book by a wonderful man.

Oh Holy Day, by Keith Lowell Jensen, while laced with profanity, is a great read that will make you smile.

You can read more about it on his super cool web site: Or just google his name. You won't regret it.


jeudi, janvier 18, 2007

In-n-Out Burger

New ways to exclude yourself from the realm of intelligent public debate crop up everyday. Tin-foil hat theories about Katrina and 9/11 seem to have subsided. But that doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels and allow people with half-a-brain syndrome sully the sacred arena of ideas. Hence:

*If you think the phrase "military/industrial complex" was a recent invention, designed to either bolster or scandalize the current administration, you're out. You are to congregate in the parking lot with the "pundits" who wondered or worried if the nuclear explosion on the season premiere of 24 would "help" Bush. Avoid high fives and handshakes: You may be allowed back in, if the gate staff can still read your stamp when you come back.

*If you get your news from the Daily Show and then dismiss out of hand the millions of people who get theirs from FOX, then goodbye. Don't return until you have recorded yourself and can hear the condescension in your voice. You don't have to watch FOX news (I don't) unless you're going to scoff and deride people who do. You are not enlightened because you avoid or stereotype people who disagree with you. The fact that conservatives have adopted the ages old liberal mantra of "I accept and respect people from all walks of life . . . unless they disagree with me" is not an excuse. Note: There are some tailgaters barbecuing out there who were dismissed after refusing to watch CNN because Rush Limbaugh called it the "Clinton News Network." Go ahead and hang out with them. They've got some really delicious treats (if you like meat) and they are really nice about sharing.

*If you think the Iraq war is going well, then your ticket is permanently revoked. There may be some room left on the departing bus of people who think Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster. Good riddance to all of you.

*While it isn't new to state that protesters (flag waving, sign carrying, or otherwise) are excluded, management is excited to offer them the opportunity to return after attending "Protest Camp," where you will be allowed to scream your angry, impotent vitriol into the faces of counselors who will patiently wait until you've gone hoarse, and then sing Kumbaya around a fire made from your stupid pro or anti whatever signs until you can interact without shouting and venom.

*If you have ever uttered, printed, or agreed with the phrase "STOP GLOBAL WARMING" you are out. But because you have a good heart, you can be let back in after engaging in a little non-political research. While it is understood that "STOP CONTRIBUTING TO AN INEVITABLE CYCLICAL PROCESS" is a little cumbersome, telling mankind to "stop" a warming trend that has been ongoing for 8,000 years (7,800 of them pre-industrial) represents an ignorance that devalues environmentalism. If you accepted without research every claim put forth in Al Gore's movie (many of which, it turns out, are spurious), you are likewise excluded. It wouldn't be fair to send you home on same bus as the willing polluters, unconscious consumerists, and idiots who used the term "TREE HUGGER" to dismiss people who care about the environment. In fact, it wouldn't even be possible. They left so long ago we can't track them. Simply wait in line at the "Science Is About Facts and Should Not Be Railroaded by Partisans from Either Side" kiosk. You can get a new pass there.
P.S. Keep caring. And keep in mind that someone who doesn't hop on the corn plastic bandwagon doesn't necessarily despise their Mother Earth. They might have just done a little research and found out what people with corn plastic brains mean when they say "compostable."

While it would be delusional to hope that someday all people can participate in the ideological melee, it is hoped that the above dismissals will at least make the debate worthwhile to an increasingly jaded republic.