lundi, décembre 08, 2008


On the surface, and way deep down, I am Serenity incarnate. I am at peace. I love all people earnestly and reach out to them with arms of fraternal kinship. I am confident that this world, such as it is, represents the best of all possible realities, and I take the vicissitudes thereof as they come, with calm and wonder.
But somewhere between the still surface of the water and the serene depths, there are brief little churning whirlpools of acid. They come and go and are erased with a moment's reflection, or a wry accepting smile. Perhaps you have them, too. They cannot define us. But to deny them would be to let them fester until an illness of real proportion crippled the mind.
Hence, allow me to admit, however perfunctorily: I'm so very sickened. I am so sickened now . . .

I am sick of smoking hot beautiful women. They are real. Not airbrushed or photoshopped or animated or dependent on fabulous lighting. They're just damn hot, and there are lots of them. And I'm sick of them. Just because I can't have them you say? What other reason is there? I'm sick of the way these women put me instantly, painfully in touch with the just plain sickening part of myself that wants them all, all the time, and the just plain sickeningly stupid part that insanely concedes some infinitely minute and distant basis for thinking that there is even the slightest infinitely minute and distant possibility that any one of them and any part of me, (even the decent, cogent, serene part), could ever enjoy any kind of mutual anything.

I'm sick of movies that are based on the premise that a whole bunch of what is essentially shit has to happen happen happen all the time. So, so sick of movies that are so predictable at every turn that I have made my poor wife sick of me ruining the movie whispering derisively in her ear the next three plot points before they happen. Even the twists--SCREW the FAKE STUPID twists. I'm choking on useless sequels and remakes. Like swallowing vomit. I'm sick of wandering around the video store wondering if there will ever be another good movie that isn't a documentary.

Surprisingly, I'm not sick of huge fat slob people. (They make me a little sick, but that's actually different when you really think about it.) More than ever I respect their hearts of gold. Several of them I number among my friends, so I was happy to hear that the Canadian Supreme court ruled in Fatty's favor and said that if you achieve an admirable enough girth, you are ENTITLED to two seats on a plane, but you only have to pay for one. It took the generously proportioned of the Great White North (and there are A LOT of them) to prove once and for all that Canada is indeed a silly place, doomed to eventual implosion from which only the black hole of a gargantuan self esteem complex will remain.

I was about to be sick of Oprah Winfrey, until 30 Rock reminded me that Oprah and the Universe are one. Seriously, have you ever seen them in a picture together?

I'm sick of fashion. What am I supposed to do with these boot cut jeans? They came and went faster than The Secret. I'm too poor to keep up and I am a hopeless metrofashionista.

I'm sick of being a hopeless metrofashionista.

I'm sick of hair. Really just my own. Long hair is for the young, so I keep it short. But wanting a change, keep trying to grow it out. After a few weeks it enters this undefinable middle phase, not long, not short, just an unmanageable mini-fro from hell. I wish I'd just go bald. Maybe I'll wear a hat for a year. Or a wig. It worked for our first president.

Speaking of which, I'm really sick of people who have never read the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, or the Federalist Papers, or any of the thousands of documents written by the founders, who have the gall to think they have any idea what America is. Shut up all of you, turn off the Daily Show (OK, you can tivo it), read a little, and then talk. To be fair, the problem isn't you, per se. It's the bile that rises in my throat every time you talk that makes me queasy.

Other than that, I'm like a cool morning in Spring. A smile on my lips and a song in my heart.

lundi, novembre 24, 2008

All Apologies

As the act of blogging begins to feel pointless (which, I suspect, might just be the very point at which it begins to have a point) I feel to abuse the medium by perpetrating the lowest common denominator: the cyberconfessional.

Forgive me, blogosphere, for I have sinned. (confessions in purple)

I'm impeccably clean. I really am. But I don't wash my hands as obsessively as people might assume. I have nothing resembling germ phobia. Furthermore, most of my housecleaning (outside the bathroom!) is purely cosmetic. My obsessively clean house floats on a massive wave of total disorganization. The truth is, I just want things to look nice.

I hate my hair.

People with pants sagging well below their underwear line really make me kind of sick with anger and disapproval. I don't care if judging them thus makes me sound old, or intolerant, or judgemental. Go to hell all you butt-dragging ass wipes. All of you.

I sometimes exaggerate my level of disapproval of a given something, just for effect. I don't know what I get out of it. [Ed. Note: we were ABSOLUTELY NOT kidding or exaggerating about punching Bill Maher in the face.]

Once, when morbid curiosity got the best of me, I clicked on a link that was supposed to take me to a free viewing of a Paris Hilton home movie. I was relieved when the link was a joke. But I still clicked it. And I have to live with that for the rest of my days.

I know it means that 50% of the population will seethe with hatred toward me, and the other half will misunderstand, but I can't wait for that blessed day when we can joke about or question Obama. At the moment, every time I do so, someone cries, or hates me quietly, or worse, assumes I voted for McCain or Bush.

I ate meat the other day. On purpose. A piece of roast beef from a plate of cold cuts and it was delicious. I still have no desire to participate in the truly repulsive meat industry. And I still went home and made a tofurky sandwich. But there it is, hypocrisy on rye.

I just realized I could go on almost forever. There are so many things wrong, or at least questionable, in my conduct and/or character, that there might be no hope at all for me. No matter who is president. Damn.

mardi, novembre 18, 2008

Think Positive

You're short.

But this literally means that a smaller percentage of the population can see up your nose. And a large percentage of those who can regularly pick theirs, and some of them eat it.

That said, the technology exists for you to keep the nasal passages clean, and keep hair from protruding. In the absence of such technology, the act of forcibly removing nasal hair is a great way to manufacture tears, or stay awake on the night shift.

That said, working nights is a bitch, but what a great opportunity to keep the nasal passages clean without recrimination. I mean, you're short, so it isn't likely that anyone is going to be able to see up there anyway--and hey, why not congratulate yourself for being Zen about it? You're not one of those tall people who keep it clean just because so many people are forced by the inequities of Nature to look up there.

Which may not be the best motivation, but they should keep it clean anyway--for whatever reason they can find. Don't they realize that shorter individuals are granted a rather unfortunate perspective on the nasal cavities of others? Come on, people! If we, the short graveyard shifters of the world can keep it clean just because, they have all the more reason! They might take longer to achieve an enlightened perspective on the matter, but that's part of the misfortune of standing a head taller and looking down on people who, if there was such a thing as justice, would be able to look down on THEM, with their booger filled noses riddled with protruding hair, and say "Look in here! It is clean and the hair is carefully cropped, and not for your benefit, but simply because it IS."

Of course, if that were the case, I suppose the time currently spent lording over short people might be spent pondering the intrinsic beauty of a clean nostril, which they might never experience. So you can take a moment and rejoice, even in shortness. There's a positive side to everything.

lundi, novembre 03, 2008

Don't Fall (in Love)

Reasons why I wanted, earnestly, for pull for Obama:
1) He is, or seems, intelligent. His books are well written and have inspired millions. Then again, compared to Bush, who wouldn't look smart?
2) He taught constitutional law at a prestigious white bread university
3) He is black. (yes, racist as it is, I think it would be totally cool to have a black president)
4) As long as there is no real difference between the way the two parties govern, and until a viable third party rears its head, why not vote for the guy who reads a tele-prompter better?
5) He is a smoker, and I want to be able to say, "Hey, I might not be president, but at least I'm not stupid enough to fall for that damn fool habit."
6) He is from the mid-west, which seems like a very grounded, sensible place for a president to come from.
7) He is good looking, and I honestly feel it is just and right to favor better looking people.
8) I have friends, with opinions I respect, who are in love with him

HOWEVER, when I'm honest with myself which is as rare as it is dangerous, there are reasons why I cannot, under any circumstances, support Obama:
1) The Hollywood Elite support him. Actually, they not only support him, they vociferously, emphatically support him. This cannot be good. These are the rich, out of touch people for whom the phrase "tabloid fodder" was invented.
2) His tax increases started with those making 300K, then dropped to 250K, then down to 175K. Meanwhile he and his running mate both voted to increase taxes on people making more than 40K. Whatever your opinion about tax increases or punishing the rich might be, you have to admit that this is either incoherent or dishonest. These are your only choices and they are not good ones.
3) The News Media have their heads so far up his ass, they can't think straight. Actually, they're lucky the sun shines out of there, otherwise our entire press corps would be lost in the dark. If you think this is false, feel free to stop reading. If Triumph the Insult Comic Dog sees it, call it a fact. And you know it would bother you if they were swinging for the guy or gal you hate.
4) Hypocrisy. Never mind that he PROMISED to accept public funding until he tasted the millions pouring into his private coffers. And I know they're ALL guilty of it. But from the man who gave us the truly noble "I am my brother's keeper" speech, who makes millions on book deals and probably hasn't paid for a meal or a suit in ten years, I would expect his aunt (living under the poverty level in public housing), and his brother (a hut in Kenya) to have gotten on the gravy train. As far as I can tell, he hasn't done much for them, except ask you and me to open our wallets and buy them something. On the rare occasions they are approached by the press, what do they say? "Check this car he bought me?" No. "He invited us to stay in his mansion in Chicago?" Not even close. Not even, "This suit was Barry's. He sent it over when he got some new ones." No. All they say is "We've been told not to talk until after the election." He could have really had me here. I love a person who, like Oprah, quietly, personally shares their bounty, first with their family, then with other's in need. Which brings us to the deal breaker.
5) Socialism. My noble, big hearted brother has been heard to say "Damn right I'm a socialist. I want to help and take care of people." To the degree that his desire to help others is honest, I can only commend him and everyone who believes as he does. But this is not what socialism is. If you want to go out and help and take care of people, nobody's stopping you. Go ahead. No, a socialist is NOT someone who wants to help others. A socialist is someone who wants to force other people to help. Since the whole Joe the (pretend) Plumber imbroglio, I have made the same proposition to every Obama supporter willing to discuss it: "Not sharing from one's wealth is selfish and wrong. Obviously. But the only thing worse is someone who thinks it is OK to FORCE people to share. Discuss." They cannot disagree. They change the subject every time. I want them to explain it to me in a way that makes sense to me. They never can. Let me state it more clearly: I believe with every gummy bear lodged in my heart that not sharing is wrong. That said, with those same gummy bears I know that forcing people to share is Satanic. It is evil. It degrades every culture that has tried it. It never elevates poor people. It results results in class warfare (as George Bernard Shaw observed, the government that robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul"). It goes against the founding documents and philosophy of our country. And to the degree that you think it is OK, you are either ignorant or evil--or you know something I don't. The government forced redistribution of wealth is at least as sickening as greed and selfishness. If I could believe otherwise I would. But I cannot find a philosophical or historical leg for socialism to stand on. And finally . . .
6) I'm not looking forward to 4 years of toothless SNL and Daily Show episodes, as they man they love and support and endorse takes the office they are accustomed to mock and deride. But they're smart people, perhaps this final fear is unfounded.

So there it is. I might have just lost the respect of some people whom I love, who stopped reading this blog a long time ago. All I ask is that you extend this one, all important courtesy-the most important favor people in a democracy can do for each other: When someone goes through the trouble of thinking things through honestly, and applies that thinking to earnestly held convictions they hold because they want to be good, give where they're coming from a chance. When Obama is elected, he will be my president, and I will honor the office and the man in it appropriately, which is much more than people who disagreed with the previous president can say.

Do I need to repeat that I did not vote for Bush and won't be voting for McCain?

mardi, octobre 28, 2008

Death Wish

Traffic Court is a nightmare. Worse than a nightmare. They tell you to be there at 10AM. At which point the judge is still trying to finish up with the idiots who still believe in the myth that if you go to trial the cops never show up and you get off Scot free. Almost without exception, the guilty parties stand and, after listening to law enforcement's clear, undebatable version, get up and say words to the effect of: "I cannot dispute any of the facts; please admit my opinion that I should be able to break the law as exculpatory evidence." One by one the judge, who has the courage of a lion and the mercy of a legion of angels in the face of ultimate stupidity that often crosses the line and becomes actual rudeness, graciously and patiently adjudicates the cases, does everything he can to ensure the minimum sentence. He is either drunk, or some kind of half man, half god sent from above to ensure that democracy's most annoying side effect is processed and evacuated from the body politic. I don't know how he does it. More than once I wanted to sentence the sundry violators to 10 years cruel and unusual punishment. My teeth were ground to a powder.

At 10:20 the poor man needs a break, and calls a 20 minute recess. Others who were told to be there at 10 were miffed. I imagined the judge going back to his chambers and overturning all his bookcases, punching holes in the drywall, screaming red faced to the heavens until his scarred vocal chords leave him sounding like Clint Eastwood. I'm glad he has the time to get that out of his system before he has to listen to me say: "I know I'm guilty of talking on my cell phone. If my wife wasn't sick I wouldn't have taken the call. I'm also very poor. If you could see your way clear to lower the fine, I promise I'll never darken your doorstep again." At 10:36 I couldn't hold it anymore, but I didn't want to lose my place. "I'll be right back," I said to the hot girl texting behind her bangs next to me, "If someone tries to sit here, kick 'em in the shins."

To describe what comes next would not be fair to the reader. The lower circles of Hell are best left to the imagination. Suffice it to say that, after 3 HOURS of listening to people completely ignore the simplest instructions ever given by an authority figure, I was ready to take off my shirt, put on a black hood, pick up an ax, and behead in the name of the Queen the next person who said something stupid to the judge, who, miraculously, only seemed to get more patient and kind as the morning drew on.

My talk with the judge went as expected. But the lowered fine was cold comfort. As I drove home I was overcome with fear. First of all, the thought of returning to traffic court was unbearable. I swear before God I will go to jail before setting foot in that circus again. So I suppose the experience did its job: you won't find me breaking any laws or codes of the road. But secondly, court had helped me understand, more clearly than ever, that, all around me, in explosive death machines, were the stupidest, rudest spawn of hell ever disguised as humanity. Needless to say, I'm driving extra careful at this point.

I exited at a given exit, came to a stop, and heard a honk. I thought the person next to me was impatient of my caution at the stop sign. I turned left and came to a stop light. He honked again. In my rear view mirror was an older gentleman in a crummy car with a dog on his lap, gesturing violently for me to pull over. I thought maybe I'd left my gas cap open, or had a cat stuck to my bumper or something. I pulled over, but as he did his macho-posturing swagger to my truck, I elected to remain in my vehicle. I rolled my window down halfway.

He stared at me for just a second, obviously for dramatic effect. I asked what was up. He sneered, "Do you have a f*ckin' death wish?" It took me a second to process the question. [ed.note: one Jason Adair, who was listening to the whole affair through the legally mandated blue tooth ear piece, has since advised us that if anyone asks you if you have a death wish, the answer is always, ALWAYS, an unqualified YES.] Maybe I was distracted by the horrific state of the poor man's teeth, chipped and stained beyond any hope of a normal American social life, but all I could muster as a befuddled: "I don't know what you're talking about." I've realized since that one of the principle problems in our society is that a certain class of person always believes they're about to be on television. Deep inside he must have thought cameras might be rolling, for he took of his glasses with no small degree of trashy flare and repeated the question, a little louder and slower. I repeated my response, trying to be honest about having no idea what his problem could be, and trying not to think about his teeth, or what kind of maniac drives around with a dog on his lap.
"Six miles back you cut me off! I called the cops and gave them your plate number, they're on their way."

Maybe it was the fact that I hadn't made a lane change for more than six miles. Or maybe is was my gigantic ego filling me with condescension. Perhaps it was my reasonable assurance that this man could not have called the cops, because he obviously couldn't have operated a cell phone even if he owned one. I'd like to think the love of a higher power filled my heart with sincere love and pity for this lonely, deranged soul. But for whatever reason, what should have been a colossal fear of having to return to traffic court at the behest of this manchild became a bemused sense of novelty. I was interested in resolving the situation amicably. I tried to apologize. I told him that I was sorry if I cut him off, and that I always try to be careful, etc. It didn't help. He looked into my eyes. "Your pupils look dilated! You're on something! Now they're gonna get you for drunk driving, too!" He was still seething. A small part of me wanted to step out of my gutless economy truck, stare the doughy, wispy haired baby boomer down, and offer an alternative. "I tell you what, let's exchange information. I need your name, address and insurance information so my lawyer knows who to sue for harassment and making death threats." There were a thousand options, a plethora of pithy retorts, but at this point, as inexplicably as I had gained it, I lost interest entirely. I said "I'm sorry" one more time and simply drove away, leaving him at the side of the road.

Take from this what you will. This isn't a plea for more civil conduct, or judicial reform. That would be pointless. Stupid people, like cockroaches, are with us for the long haul. They're not capable of processing the idea of improvement or change. And no matter how many cheap motels you trap them in, their kind will be here long after you and I are food for their numberless children.

mardi, octobre 14, 2008

Ear Peace

Sitting in this Internet cafe, surrounded by up and coming go-getters, I came to realize how judgemental I am.

People sitting in a crowded room talking through a blue tooth head set appear to be talking to themselves. Or, if you can see the ear piece, they present, for all intents and purposes, as freelance telemarketers. People who love talking to distant parties so deeply that they can't stop the conversation, even to order a beverage, or enjoy a quiet moment.

And I think they look stupid.

But I have to get used to it. In the Bright and Shiny Future, there just isn't going to be a reason to hold a phone to your ear. I might ask myself a simple question: Did the denizens of the Federation of Planets grouse when the Next Generation replaced their archaic "communicators" with those super slick chest insignia models?

mardi, octobre 07, 2008

Full of Bull

I saw the edited version as a youth, and was taken, like almost everyone else at the time, by the Crash Davis "I believe" monologue in Bull Durham. It seemed like a unifying event. A cultural flagstone. A well constructed house of philosophical cards. A string of clear, unqualified beliefs stated briefly and with unimpeachable conviction. When he said "I believe in the small of a woman's back," it was a revelation, written with fire on the stone tablets of my heart. I believed in the same thing--deeply, without reservation--but would never have thought to make it part of my moral fiber.

(It even holds up, mostly. Check it out here:
but watch out for where he says some "bad words" at the beginning. Like I said, I had only seen the edited version.)

Might we not all benefit from a small, but healthy dose of moral clarity by way of reduction? What if you had to encapsulate yourself in a 30 second speech? We don't have to do it as part of a plot to get into Susan Sarandon's pants, but we should all compose our own version. Lay it on the line. Forget about who might take offence and dance to the music that plays on our innermost gramophone.

I believe in the Body, and the Spirit, and that the two together constitute the Soul. I believe in Sushi, Green Tea Ice Cream, steamed Broccoli, artichoke hearts, avocado, and whole wheat pasta. I believe in Garlic Salt and Lemon Pepper. I believe in Nectarines, and that any apple besides the Fuji is a waste of my time. I believe in fiber. I believe it is morally, logistically, and sanitarily impossible to mass produce meat. I believe that cats serve Satan. I believe that pornography is poisonous. I believe Wuthering Heights is worth reading once a year. I believe in the Cohen Brothers, Sketch Comedy, and that someday the world will be rid of classic rock and that it will be a better place. I believe that the Smiths were the greatest band of all time. I believe that the only thing more evil than a person who doesn't share with those less fortunate is the person who thinks it's OK force people to share with those less fortunate. And that the only thing worse than an overbearing evangelical christian is an overbearing evangelical atheist. I believe in the necessity of preserving green, open places, because I believe in Nature, even as I believe her primary objective is to kill me and everyone else. I believe in perfection. I believe in words. I believe that Joseph Smith saw and spoke with God the Father and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees. And I believe in long, soft, deep, passionate kisses that last three days.

(Sorry, I had to steal his final line. It's just too good. And you'll note I failed fit in anything about my disdain for obese people--there just isn't space enough.)

Your turn.

mardi, septembre 30, 2008

Last Political Blog (jumble)

With the NFP up and rolling, and the Party Platform out there for all to see, we have decided that we just can't stand the thought of going on about subjects political any further. The people who need to read it aren't going to read it. And won't be swayed at any rate. Hence, some final thoughts, in the form of an exciting Jumble!

*THE FINANCIAL CRISIS! If you are still attached to the idea that one party is responsible, then you really are either too stupid or too uninformed to participate in the election, and I mean that sincerely. This is one of the reasons political blogging has become so tiresome. There are actually people, (and that term is not used here in the intellectual sense) who actually believe that one party or the other is to blame. Given that these people are truly not smart enough to vote, and should rescind their registration on the grounds that their IQ is not high enough to comprehend the process, it doesn't do any good to mention that in 1999, a bill sponsored by a republicrat senator was then signed by a democrublican president (who bragged about it like he had just saved the economy). This bill paved the way for the current mess by eliminating the line between investment banks and traditional lending institutions. But because you can't use that fact to nail the opposition, few people want to hear about it. Moreover, it only serves to frustrate the poor messenger who tries to inform Obamaniacs that three years ago John McCain tried to introduce legislation intended to reign in Fanny May and Freddy Mac and hold them responsible for corrupt practices. This legislation was shot down by senators like Schumer, and Dodd, and OBAMA, who happened to all be receiving large sums of money from the companies just mentioned, the fat cat executives of which happened to be liberal democrats. It only leaves one forlorn to mention to McCainiacs that the only reason their man doesn't shout this fact from the housetops is that he was implicated in the last big banking scandal that shook the governing bodies lo these many years ago. People starry-eyed enough to vote for something as nebulous as "hope" will not be influenced by footage of democrats shrieking that the financial institutions that started the meltdown are fine and should be left alone, or treatises by community activists who pushed said companies to make bad loans. People opposed to the hopesters don't want to hear that they had had both houses and the presidency for long enough to see this coming and do something about it.

So screw all of you. If you ever wake up and realize that you replaced your brain with the panties you had in a convenient wad, we'll welcome you with open arms into the Arena of Ideas. Until then you are dismissed sans further comment.

*THE DEBATES! Never mind McCain's pretty smart attempt to make Obama look out of touch by begging out of the debate to go and do the only job they're both currently sworn to do. And never mind Obama's deft response, making Mcain look old by insisting they could do both. The debate itself left me with a bizarre, twilight-zonesque feeling that these two men had been cloned and trained to state the same position in different ways, so as to try and fool the public into thinking there was a clear difference between them. Admittedly, I was listening to it on the radio, and so couldn't appreciate how creepy and old McCain must have looked, and how dynamic and young the man who invented hope must have appeared. I could only listen to their words, and so lost count of how many times they disagreed to agree, fumbling to restate what the opposition just said, in a way that pleases their constituency. It reminds me of that great episode of Futurama (ah, that show of shows!) where the two candidates actually are clones of each other. I was disappointed in McCain, who had a chance to hit a home run when Obama lectured on how to treat disabled veterans. All he had to say was "Hey, guess what? I am a disabled veteran. I might know a thing or two about it." He might be too dedicated to appearing civil to be president. There are not words to describe how sick I am of these two, pretending to take the high road while their "people" dig for dirt and splash it all over the television. At any rate, I'm sure they are, as this is being written, engaged in fervent discussions with their campaign managers on how to differentiate themselves from each other. And how to keep their apparently insane VP's from talking to the press any more.

*WAR IN IRAQ! Remember when we were treated daily to news of the inefficient bloodbath that was destroying all hope for any decent future for all humanity in Iraq? Did you hear the news that their recent casualty totals are at all time lows? I almost missed it, too. I had to dig for it. Did you hear the General's recent declaration that we should definitely be out of there by next summer? Did you hear about the thousands of soldiers who beg to go back when they are discharged? Look, I was totally in love with the fact that the war was questioned so stridently. I also believe firmly that we shouldn't have gone there in the first place--(even as I admit that to debate whether we should have gone at this point might be the most useless exercise since the thigh-master). Finally, I hate to sound like one of those whiners who complain about how there's never any good news on TV. But seriously, if there is something good going on there, and the situation is better at this point than it has been in a long time, what's wrong with reporting that?

*OCTOBER SURPRISE! Wouldn't it be weird if Osama Bin Laden was captured just days, or even hours before Americans went to the polls? Yes it would be odd. But I'm pulling for it because that was time frame for his capture that I had in the office pool. I stand to win a good sum of money if he's captured or killed any time between now and the election.

*HOLLYWOOD! Do you think that McCain would see a bump in the polls if Tom Cruise made his endorsement of Obama more vociferous? If Palin ends up Vice President, do you think she'll take action against Oprah for not letting her on? Do you have as much desire as me to NOT see this so-called "conservative comedy" starring John Voigt and Kelsey Grammer? It was made by a man (Zucker) whose last great film was Airplane! and stars Chris Farley's little brother for heaven's sake. Does he have any claim to fame except that his dead brother was as talented as he was fat? I will not be watching any comedy that advertises its ideology before its other credentials. But I'll give them props for having the guts to say what they were after, unlike the even fatter (but less talented) Michael Moore and his "documentaries." (He'd get a lot more mileage with me if he admitted to making propaganda). A good example of how to do this correctly was Year of the Dog, starring the genius Molly Shannon. If they would have gotten PETA involved in their advertising (it was, in the end, a transparent animal rights advertisement) I would have avoided it, and missed a really charming, well made movie. Speaking of PETA . . .

*HOORAY FOR ICE CREAM! And mad, mad props to PETA for finally doing something that is not bitch-slappably annoying. Their recent attempt to pressure Ben and Jerry's to replace the cow's milk in their ice cream with human breast milk was an ingenious way to highlight how creepy milk really is, without highlighting how creepy PETA people can be. (Not that I'm going to stop eating an occasional bowl of ice cream. Even if the only frozen treats in my freezer are Tofudi Cuties). How many of you, upon hearing the news, called your friends to suggest that you get into the "dairy" business? Jason Adair swears that you'd save a fortune in sugar making ice cream that way, because you wouldn't have to sweeten the milk. OK, that joke is creepy as well. But send your complaints to PETA.

vendredi, septembre 19, 2008

THE NFP! (Finally, a viable third party . . . )

If you are loyal to either party at this point--if you really think that, on a national level, either party represents anything beyond its own bloated self--if you still think anything along the lines of Democrat good, Republican bad (or the reverse)--then you are frankly too stupid to continue reading this and I happily invite you to leave and never come back and yes I just insulted you in a run on sentence and you totally deserved it you stupid idiot. PS: I'd tell you to go to hell, but your intellect is already rotting there. PPS: This is the strident, melodramatic, rhetorically irresponsible, attention grabbing opening paragraph. Which is the last traditional political tool you will read in this entry.

And which I will not retract.

But seriously, if there was ever a need for a third party, it is now. If ever there were two parties desperate to spawn a third to reign in their tired, weak-sauce excuse for governance, we are witnessing them in action now.

I therefore propose a new party. One with a platform simple enough to believe in, because of the beautiful complexity of the changes it will make. One with achievable, measurable goals which will produce powerful, obvious results. With special thanks to Jason Adair for the working name, you are witnessing, here and now, the creation of the New Federalist Party. (I had thought of calling it, simply, Party Town, or the No Fear Party, because those are hype names, and for reasons that will become clearer in a minute, but New Federalism was too good to pass up.)

Our philosophy is simple: POLITICS IS ABOUT GOVERNMENT. The national level is simply not the place to debate or make policy over the majority of issues. The federal government is not designed to help you feel good (or bad) about yourself--or really, to do anything that effects your life directly. We're not going to waste your time blathering on about hope, or strength. Government can be about one thing: Efficiency--leave moral debates, bureaucratic oversight, and policy making where they belong: WHERE YOU LIVE.

Our action plan is simple. Given that we are not interested in the overarching (and yet somehow petty) moral principles that you should be adopting and discussing in your own home and in your town hall, we can leave beliefs out of our modus operandi.
Furthermore, since we have no desire to regulate aspects of local life that we cannot see from inside the beltway, we have, thankfully, nothing to say about education, or infrastructure. Trusting such things to the federal government is like filling a bag full of quarters, poking a hole in the bottom, and appointing someone to drag it to Washington D.C. He drags it there sure enough, but of course leaves a trail of money you'll never see again behind him all the way there, where blind bureaucrats run their fingers through it, lose much of it, poke a few more holes in the bag, and finally send it back. The only thing left when you open it is a wrinkled piece of paper with their useless recommendations on it. This analogy applies to ideas as well as money. You can't tell me this isn't true and that this isn't the way we are currently trying to run the country.
Finally, you have to face it: most of the so-called issues you care about, and have attached to grandiose, hyperbolic political machines, are out of place in the form of federal legislation, which almost always takes the form of some feckless, unfunded mandate. An excuse for partisans and ideologues to argue and make themselves feel important. We feel that if we actually focus on a few ideas with real impact on the American public, we can get the country back on track.

Hence, our three pronged plan of action.
FIRST: Institute a national sales tax and abolish the IRS. Imagine a world where you get you keep your entire paycheck. Imagine the era of freedom that will dawn when we are made responsible for our own income and rewarded for our efforts in full--in a world were we don't have to live in fear of an audit, or a slip up on a form. There are simply no disadvantages to this. And the advantages are legion.
a)The mechanism to collect it is already in place. We're getting rid of billions in spending and replacing it with total simplicity.
b)Tax loopholes and sleazy accounting practices disappear.
c)You still get to punish the rich, who cannot escape taxes with high paid shysters who know the creases in the tax code. And imagine the tax on a yacht, while necessaries like food and medication, etc. are exempt!
d)At last we extend the privilege of participating in our government to pimps, prostitutes and pirates--not to mention illegal aliens, tourists, and convicted felons with Internet access. We'll pay of the national debt in a matter of years.
e)Consumerism, finally the engine of the free market system it should have funded long ago, also becomes something we should be a little more scrupulous about. You might wash a few dishes rather than pay the tax on the stack of paper plates you would have otherwise added to the land fill. Every time you buy, you get to feel good about helping make the government work. And every time you don't, you get to feel good about not contributing to the egregious waste we have been too eager to produce.
f)People might actually save money. Forget about the ridiculous idea of tax exempt accounts, which really amount to them taking money, then giving it back to you after fooling around with it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Everything will be a little more expensive, but you'll have a lot more money to spend. I personally cannot wait to put money in a savings account knowing that the money is all mine. That the government cannot touch it unless I decide to purchase something with it. All the while knowing that that same government, under this plan, will have more money than it knows what to do with.

SECOND: Legal Reform. Our justice system is crippled by greedy idiots and their greedy clients using it to make a buck. This is not just the only thing more stupidly immoral than the IRS--it's an issue that actually effects your life, where the federal apparatus can take logistically feasible action. Our proposal is simple. Eliminate frivolous lawsuits with a federal law, which stipulates that a judge or jury can deem your lawsuit frivolous, making you responsible for all legal costs (yours AND those of your legal victim), and levying a fine (a percentage of what you were seeking). This solves a host of other problems you might not even think are related. A medical system that doesn't have to concern itself with being sued by every litigious ninny that passes through it might actually be able to take care of people. A restaurant that can serve coffee without having to worry if the customer is going to make a million dollar profit by spilling it in his groin could actually lower its prices and serve decent food. Think of the ink and paper we could save. Think of the common sense that might prevail. I offer the following brief illustration. Your daughter's friend breaks her arm on your trampoline. Her idiot parents consider the idea of trying to take a little money out of your pocket, (or the pocket of your insurance company, which is the same thing). They call their lawyer who says: "Listen, there is an accepted risk when you jump on a trampoline. There is a good chance the judge or jury would think your claim to $30,000 in pain and suffering for a simple fracture is frivolous, at which point you'd owe me, their lawyer, and the American People a big chunk of change. They were not negligent in letting your kid jump on their trampoline, they were being nice. Why don't you just call them and tell them she's OK, invite them to dinner and remain friends?"

THIRD: Abortion! Finally, a way to resolve the unresolvable debate. Take it out of the hands of the federal government, where even Obama said the issue was "above my pay grade." Every state gets to vote. If your state votes against it, and you don't want to live with people who think they can tell a woman what to do with her unviable tissue mass, get out. Start an abortion clinic on the state line. That'll teach 'em. If your state votes for abortion, and you are against it--tough. If you don't like it, and you just can't live in a place where people can callously destroy miniature humans in good conscience, then move. (Then when your daughter gets pregnant, you can drive her across the state line to the clinic.) Either way, the feds are out of it. They will never fund another procedure. And we never have to listen to a presidential candidate dance around the world's most delicate topic. We give the abortion issue as an example of how New Federalism will deal with a host of formerly difficult topics. The legalization of Marijuana, (or just hemp if you want). Speed limits. Education. Even Welfare. These are not federal issues. Washington has a 0% success record managing them effectively. So neither your communist co-worker nor your stuffy conservative blowhard uncle can make a "federal case" about them. In fact, we might lose that particular figure of speech entirely.

And that's it. For the time being, those three points are all we as a party need to believe in. I hear you asking: "What about foreign policy? International Trade? Terrorism?" These are precisely the province of the federal government. Can you imagine the international efficiency of a streamlined, unencumbered national machine? Can you imagine the influence a solvent administration could wield for good in the world? Could you imagine the diplomacy that could be accomplished by a diplomat who was officially not concerned with moral issues that are out of his or her purview?
FOREIGN DIGNITARY: Mr. Secretary, we find some of your citizens' views on homosexual marriage to be old fashioned. [or vice versa]
AMERICAN DIPLOMAT: With all due respect, that's really got nothing to do with my duties here. Let's get down to business . . . [insert substantive discussion of international issue here]. By the way, while we are aware that we no longer have a national debt, we are no longer authorized to give you millions of dollars in aide without oversight. It isn't efficient. Perhaps if you can prove that the money is feeding starving children and not arming warlords, we can authorize a small amount.
FOREIGN DIGNITARY: No one ever checked on us before.
AMERICAN DIPLOMAT: We didn't have the means, but now that we're streamlined and focused on tasks that make sense, we have the time. I used to work for the IRS. . .

We hope we can rely on your vote.

lundi, septembre 01, 2008

Election Tips

Election time is usually a period of storm and stress for people of good sense. A time to run or hide from idiot partisans and ideologues until the whole ugliness blows over. This is to be mourned. Like the ridiculous taboo against discussing religion, the idea that people of divergent political views cannot discuss such is worse than preposterous. In the country that invented freedom of speech, no one should have to live in fear of expressing their opinion, no matter how stupid it is.

That said, let us first discard the idea that one is bound to accept or respect someone else's opinion based on some insane concept of automatic fairness. You have to accept that they have an opinion. You have to respect them as a fellow human. But you are NOT bound to respect any one's opinion if they can't back it up with reasonable philosophical argument. EVER. It is OK to disagree! If we could arrive at a point where we could question a bad opinion without calling anything else into question, we might have a substantive discussion or two. All of the really smart people I know have good friends with whom they passionately disagree. Think about that. Our society has arrived at a point where stupid people stay stupid by surrounding themselves with friends who never question them, because of some idiotic notion that a friend is someone with whom you agree, and anyone who is not in your ideological camp is an enemy. We have, by and large, lost the ability to disagree with civility. There might not be a worse tragedy, or a clearer harbinger of doom for our political system.

As paralyzing and hopeless as that may seem, for the time being, all that can be offered as a remedy are the following tips for the minuscule minority (people with sense and decorum) to tough out the election season.

1) Avoid discussions with people who have deflated the tires on either the left or right side of their intellectual vehicle. They are more easily identified than you might think. One big indicator is the economy. People who seem to have a deep, personal investment in declaring how totally screwed up it is are simply not capable of a reasonable discussion. They are, in fact, worse than people who go digging around for positive economic news for the sole purpose of claiming credit for their particular party. If you try to point out one of the hundreds of positive economic indicators currently in play, and the person with whom you are conversing can't accept it in anyway, simply change the subject and talk about sports. I don't know what these people get out of constantly harping about how f*cked up everything is (while they and almost everyone they know enjoy a level of prosperity unheard of in the world's history), but I do know that none of them have ever advanced the debate. And while they will absolutely deny this, I know with absolute certainty that when someone they like is in power, they find something positive to hang their hat on. IT SIMPLY ISN'T POSSIBLE IN AMERICA FOR A POLITICAL PARTY OR PRESIDENT TO TOTALLY SCREW UP THE ECONOMY. THERE ARE ALWAYS BIGGER FORCES AT PLAY. IT IS ALWAYS GOING UP AND DOWN. IT ALWAYS HAS POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES. FURTHERMORE, IT IS ALWAYS A LITTLE WORSE THAN THE PARTY IN POWER WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE, AND A HELL OF A LOT BETTER THAN THE OPPOSITION WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE. It has always been that way, and people who try to convince you otherwise are a waste of words. Don't waste yours on them, or waste your time listening to theirs. Find out if you like any of the same television shows and talk about those.

Another red flag to watch for is raised by the "dirt diggers." These people who spend their time digging up Internet dirt in the history of the people with whom they disagree. They can have a certain value, but they must be vetted. If someone approaches you and says they have anything resembling dirt on any candidate, simply say "And what's the dirt on your guy?" If they don't have any, change the subject or run. Either they are living in a world where they actually believe that only the "opposition" has shady elements in their past, or they are willing to turn a blind eye when it is politically expedient. Are these people with whom you could possibly have a worthwhile discussion? Enough said.

As for people who have taken it a step further, and are deeply, personally invested in one party or the other, who derive any degree of personal/emotional satisfaction at the idea of the demise of the republicans, or the defeat of the democrats, to hell with these mental midgets. Even if they have an opinion that makes sense, it is invalidated by their bile. You'll have to fall back on the old Mr. Rodgers Rule. Simply find something to like about them and focus on that until they shut up.
2) Avoid certain hot button issues. Number one is abortion. It is, technically and rhetorically, impossible to have a debate on a subject where the two sides have never once talked about the same idea at the same time. Even the labels are misleading: "Pro Life" people have chosen that designation to disguise the fact that they do indeed want to (justifiably or not) restrict certain currently held freedoms. "Pro Choice" types have chosen that description of their position so as to avoid thinking or talking about the reality that the "choice" involved means the literal and brutal destruction of a miniature human being. In this sense, both sides are equally useless and vile. You will never find a pro-choiceketeer willing to chant "I support a woman's right to suck the baby out of her womb with a vacuum or tear it to pieces with forceps!" And you will never find a pro-lifeketeer with a sign that says "whether you have your baby or not is OUR decision!" As soon as the issue is brought up, both sides change the subject. My own dear son asked my dear sister-in-law her position. It wasn't two seconds before she was talking about unwanted kids born to abusive or neglectful non-parents. My son got sucked in, and asked "I know a man who was raised in an abusive environment by parents who didn't want him. He's one of the most inspiring people in my life. Are you saying he should have been aborted?" There is no answer for this if you are pro-choice, but it was her fault for not answering the question in the first place. And had she asked this teenage boy if he had a right to tell an abused, cracked-out mother of 6 to bring the 7th spawn of her drunken, shiftless husband into the world, he would have had no answer. Until both camps are ready to face the ugly sides to their position, a substantive discussion is impossible. Frankly, with the precious little moral common ground the factions have left, "the Sanctity and Infinite Potential of Human Life vs. the Sanctity of Liberty and the Scourge of Unwanted Pregnancy" might not be a conundrum we can resolve.

Other useless topics to avoid for similar reasons: Whether or not the news media are biased; Global warming; Big tobacco; Matt Damon vs. Ben Affleck; Mooseknuckles; the merits of Dr. Phil; Reality television; Gay marriage; and anything about New Orleans except the Saints.

3) Stop thinking about a debate as something to be won. In the first place, since partisans and ideologues literally cannot be argued with in the best sense of that word, you weren't going to win--even in a world where it was OK to try. In the second place, tearing down someone else's beliefs does not constitute victory. Finally, if you can truly convince yourself that every discussion is simply an exchange of ideas between two people with more in common than not, it will not matter what a mindless, one-sided, or starry eyed, or pig headed, or bleeding hearted, or stodgy old fashioned wonk the other participant is. Unless you are getting paid, no one you talk to is your opponent. She or He is your fellow American. That idea alone should be the grain of salt which, when taken with all opinions and comments, makes this election season bearable.

jeudi, août 21, 2008


Axioms vary from culture to culture, from era to era. Self evident in their prime, wise old sayings like a penny saved is a penny earned were once indisputable in America. While it behooves us to observe that every old adage in this country was either coined or catalogued by Benjamin Franklin, thereby reinforcing his case for the title of Greatest American Ever, it has to be obvious to any observer that such rustic wisdom no longer applies. This is a country where a penny saved is a penny you could have flushed down the toilet of credit card debt buying crap you can't afford.

So let us begin the process of cataloging our new axioms, wise new sayings by which future generations can understand who we are. Self evident truths like:

"A stitch in time can extend your career several years."
But more than one will make you look like a freak, on a sliding scale somewhere between Joan Rivers and Michael Jackson.

"Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, but still somehow sucked into the national caffeine addiction."

"The News Media and the American people are like mongrel dogs meeting in the street and smelling each other's butts."
Each can only offer the lowest common denominator, because each is only offered the lowest common denominator.

"Make the world a better place: punch Bill Maher repeatedly in the face."
Ok, this one is something you DO more than say. But it feels good just thinking about it, doesn't it? To be fair, I was totally in love with the book he wrote just after 9/11. But that was yesterday. Seriously: I want to fight Bill Maher. I'm putting it out there now. Because having a discussion with him is like wrestling with a pig, you both get dirty and only Bill likes it. I know, I know, violence just plays into his hands, because smarmy condescension is his tool to get your brain to go angry and shut off so he doesn't have to worry about you exposing his weak, wannabe hipster bombast. I don't even care if I get paid. And it doesn't have to be in the squared circle. A back alley will do just fine. The need for this has to go all the way back to elementary school. He has literally been begging for it his whole life, and the only reason he has gotten this bad is because the poor fellow has been coddled when he should have been beaten. So let me be the one. [Editor's Note: Given S.K.Namanny's well documented abhorrence of violence, and his total inability to stomach fighting of any kind, it is unlikely that he would be able to follow through on the above-mentioned threats. He is, after all, a vegetarian. It is hoped therefore that the mere image of Mr. Maher's bleeding nose and/or blackened eye will suffice to please the reader.]

"You made your bed--now have loads and loads of sex with multiple partners in it."
If you don't, they'll never put you (or any fictional character resembling you) on television.

"Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em."
I don't know exactly how or where it applies, but please, just for me, will everyone please please start saying this as often as possible? For instance, the next time you get pulled over for a traffic violation. The cop says the requisite "Do you know why I pulled you over?" And you respond with "I don't quite know officer, but as the old saying goes, Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em!" It works on so many levels.

It's no Poor Richard's Almanac, but it's a start.

mardi, août 19, 2008

News From the TMI Dept. (or, the road to nirvana is paved with toilet paper)

Years ago, I read something above a urinal that troubled me.

No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always falls in your pants

With the wherewithal I then possessed, I had only one course of action, to prove the statement wrong. I developed an elaborate ritual of shaking and dancing. Eventually I became convinced. The last drop was not in my pants. It was elsewhere. It had to be. No bodily fluid could withstand such dedicated efforts. Years passed. I was able to move on.

Enter Doctor Long, professor of philosophy at my Alma Mater. When he started the first day with a seemingly non sequiturial story about taking his dog out to the forest to put it out of its misery, I knew I was in the right place. Here was a professor who aggravated--nay, infuriated the general ed. minimalists who wanted to get a C, fulfill a requirement, and get back to beer and mindless sexual conquest.

One day he arrived purposefully late. There were already grumblers, using the occasion of his tardiness to complain about how our instructor seemed to bring up annoyingly useless information on a regular basis--that they didn't have any idea why they were even in this class. I was debating the merits of wasting breath explaining to the bimbo contingent how badly they were missing the point(s) when the inscrutable philosopher walked in. In place of an apology, he simply surveyed the class and made the following announcement: "I wear shorts. I prefer shorts. But how can I stop the urine from splashing on my knees when I urinate? It's inevitable, and a little disgusting. I guess people who wear pants don't have to worry about it. Anyway . . . "
Ingeniously, he had confirmed the complaints that were circulating before his entrance. He didn't discuss the matter further. Because to explain literally means to flatten out. And because obvium est means there is something in the way.

But something was in the way. I knew what he was doing. And as I examined the useless minutia of life, and let myself wonder if they do indeed constitute its truest meaning, an errant thought, a dangerous thought, entered my mind: What if the last drop is still falling in my pants? What if, for all my ceremonial shaking, the act of evacuation is what it is? Can life be clean and still be called life? Was that bit of potty humor written by a prophet? How can I go on living if I can't stop the last drop of urine from dropping in my pants? Am I not a man? Can I not pee standing up and return unencumbered and unhindered to my manly pursuits? It haunted me. For a time. But the purpose of it all had to be acceptance. So I accepted. I agreed to disagree with Life.

Until one day, when, peeing in the privacy of my own home, the toilet paper called to me, saying: Discard your gender bias, your learned self deception. I've been here all along. Follow the path. Enlightenment awaits. You will see. You will see. My brain went to a place of utter focus, stillness even. Upon completion of the drip drop dance, I exited my body and saw my hand reach out for a few squares of toilet paper. I saw that same paper used to daub, or dab, and witnessed the drop of urine that no dance could shake free, a drop that would have ended up in my pants. I didn't even stop to fret about all those drops that had obviously been there despite my efforts. This was a new dawn. Toilet paper had set me free.

The only problem then was that I was left to mourn for all those who didn't know. Who couldn't answer the call of the toilet paper. Who unhygienically allow that last drop to fall where it may. It didn't seem a subject that could be broached. Maybe people must discover Nirvana on their own. Maybe they can't face the truth. Maybe we just don't talk about what happens in the bathroom for a reason.

Then, as I sat eating a wonderful lunch, the woman who had thrice tried to kill/maim me offered the following question, which, if she is the first to ask it, makes her a philosopher in her own right: "I've always wondered, do men wipe after they pee?" The initial answer in this unenlightened world is, "wipe what?" followed by, "we don't have to, we're men." She could not have known how destiny had prepared me for this question. I proudly stood and proclaimed: "Alas, by and large, we do not. But those who have attained wisdom know what to do!" I felt liberated, and, as is the case with all true liberation, called to a higher purpose.

Hence, after all these years, I can at last pass it along. Use this information as you will. Even to make fun of me. I don't care. You all go ahead and shake and dance. The last drop doesn't fall in these pants.

lundi, août 11, 2008

The Onion

We would be amiss if we failed to pause and raise our voices in collective praise to brilliance where and when we find it.

If you already visit on a regular basis, then this will be nothing but another chance to agree with Girl Pants. If you already read the onion in print, but have yet to visit their website, this post will not necessarily change your life, but it remains a revelation of sorts. If you have never heard of "The Nation's Finest News Source," then I'm about to make your day, and at least one day a week for the rest of your life.

Please to be visiting immediately. Absorb their completely revolutionary and consistently hilarious take on local, national, and global events. Watch all their videos. All of them. There are hundreds in their archive, but there isn't one that will disappoint you. Order their books, (starting with Our Dumb Century). Don't read it in the bathroom, because you'll spend hours in there, laughing out loud. People will get the wrong idea.

Before there was the daily show, there was The Onion (many of their writers now write for the Daily). Considering their amazing, juggernautesque track record, I don't think it hyperbole to state that The Onion is, quite simply, the greatest, most inspiringly funny presence on the internet. [And one could write an entirely separate post paying tribute to their A.V. Club, which consistently offers the most insightful commentary on the entertainment industry (movies in especial) available on-line.]

They certainly don't need my advocacy, or your patronage. But do yourself a favor. Log on to The Onion at least once a week.

jeudi, juillet 31, 2008

Connected: to Nature.

As we sat in one of the five Starbucks in our small town, discussing issues of politics, art, and religion, (it would later be remarked how very European it all was) the natural world entered into the conversation. Specifically, a recent naturalist's thesis which posits that humanity is "losing its connection" with Nature. I got a little distracted when I realized that Starbucks had switched from carrying Odwalla to Naked overpriced health juices, but I think the gist of his argument what that there are fewer and fewer vacant lots for kids to play in.

Naturally, somebody cut to the heart of the issue.

"What does that even mean? What constitutes a connection with Nature?"

We were running out of time, and we hadn't spent any money whatsoever (now that's European!) so we ended up leaving before putting any kind of point on it. The closest we came was when someone put forth that there may be something meditative to the connection, something therapeutic. People who are connected to Nature turn to her for some kind of spiritual renewal. I've thrown it out to a few others, and (perhaps to put an end to the conversation) they seem to agree with that reduction rather readily. Someone very smart even brought up Emily Dickinson, for whom Nature took the form of her religion ("some keep their Sabbath going to church"--etc.)

But this is, without a doubt, too facile, if not a total cop out. It is proof that the question itself is uncomfortable--especially for people who consider themselves "in touch" with nature. Because if to answer the question ("what constitutes a connection with Nature"), you have to resort to something outside the scope of the subject of the question ("spirituality"), then your answer is that you have no answer. I cannot find a definition of Nature that even implies that it has anything to do with the spiritual essence of the creatures that inhabit it.
Let me admit that people who resort to Nature for a renewal of some kind, or who draw meditative calm from its wild places--these are my kind of people. But do we who love the great outdoors, who live in remote places so as to avoid the excesses of urbanization really have a greater "connection" to Nature? Can we claim such if we can't even really define what that means?

So, though I was at first offended when the heir to the Unabomber proclaimed that we are losing touch, I am now ready to take his argument a step further. We are not losing touch, we've lost it already. We lost it thousands of years ago. We might never have been in touch. We might not be meant to--except in the spiritual, meditative, caretaking way we have invented for ourselves. How do you like them apples?

Consider . . .
*Humans all over the world are warm when it is cold outside, and cool when it gets hot. We've been fighting it since forever. (Don't listen to losers who claim to not believe in air conditioning. When it gets into the triple digits, they believe. All of them.) From the moment the first of our kind decided to wear the remains of the animal he'd just eaten, we were out of touch. We didn't need to evolve blubber or body hair (Burt Reynolds excluded) or migrate long distances to avoid the cold. We were out of touch with the seasons of the earth.
*We are the only creatures I can think of who don't void the contents of their bladder or bowel all over the place. Except on the streets of Paris, France, we've stopped participating in the idea of randomly returning to Earth that which we have eaten. We even demand the same from the animals we have domesticated. The moment you suppress the urge to go--even for a second--you've lost touch.
*The rest of Nature's children have only 2 real interests, which are, in order: 1) the next meal; and 2) the next mate. I was about to posit that we have interests beyond food and sex. But come to think of it, in this sense we are very much in touch with Nature. There might be a rare exception here and there, of course. We're only human. But hooray for all of you gluttons, sluts, nymphomaniacs and ultrasexuals: in this one respect, you do not fall under the indictment of the so-called Naturalists.
*That said, we are almost alone in our constant preoccupation with and use of sex for some purpose other than reproduction. The entire existence of almost every other creature is centered on reproduction. We on the other hand have a never ending line of products and procedures to ensure that we can have sex more often than rabbits without the horrible side effect of actually having to deal with the most natural result of that act. Nature made it pleasurable so we would want to do it. We looked her in the face and said: Look, we'll do it like dogs in heat, we'll even call it a "reproductive" act, but we will tear that little nightmare out with a vacuum before we'll compromise our freedom, job, or wardrobe. If you believe in birth control like I do, admit to being WAY out of touch with Nature.
*We do not know where our food comes from. Noted naturalist Jason Adair would disagree that this constitutes a disconnect. (The only explanation for this stance is that he is heavily invested in McDonald's and its parent and subsidiary corporations.) I don't care if you know that the egg came from a chicken. Obviously any dumb-ass knows that. And only a dumb-ass would use that as proof that humans are connected in any way with nature through their food. We have taken the second most fundamentally natural act, namely, food consumption, and turned it into a pre-packaged jaunt down the aisles of a sterile, air conditioned supermarket. And you and I both think that is just great, or we'd be scavenging around the wilderness for whatever is in season, or sucking the blood from our fresh kill, or at least gardening.

So please join with me in seeking [un]natural spiritual renewal through Nature's gorgeous green places. Appreciate unspoiled wilderness. (You can even read Wordsworth and agree with him that people who don't are "dull of soul.") Please love your fellow creatures and preserve their habitats. You can even make Nature your religion, or at least part of it (if it isn't, then your religion is totally screwed up). But let's hunker down and admit that you and I are observing from the outside. And have been since we could be called Human. And there is nothing wrong with that.

dimanche, juillet 27, 2008

Ears, Bud.

I tried shouting this from the housetops. But nobody heard. (Guess why).

Hey, Soccer moms! Hey, newly minted faux yuppies! Hey, formerly technophobic Seniors!
The new law stipulates that you must use the bluetooth--or other hands free technology--whilst DRIVING. You are not required to keep it in your ear in the grocery store. You will not be fined for talking on your phone at the bank. The Highway Patrol cannot pull you over while you walk with your baby in the park.

Please spread the word amongst your ilk.

vendredi, juillet 25, 2008

Mr. Clouds/Mr. Sunshine

The standard formula for political discourse hasn't changed since the disgusting idea of being a politician entered into the first Greek head. It goes something like this:

Part 1) Let me tell you about all the problems (if there aren't any, I'm the incumbent).
Part 2) Let me tell you how I'm going to fix the problems.

Simple enough. But a good politician doesn't just follow the flow chart. A really slick one makes it seem like there isn't any formula at all. A legendary one speaks from the heart, where a bedrock of firm principles and well conceived, actionable plans dictate words we won't soon forget. A bad one has only the formula to offer.

And then there is Barack Obama.

With full apologies to the intelligent, forward thinking, principled people who have latched on to idea of change in American Politics (and NO APOLOGY WHATSOEVER to the orgasmic hoards who mindlessly worship him as the Great and Eloquent Messiah who shall deliver us from the Abominable Satanbush--this second group includes a sizable portion of the American Press Corps), I find myself in the regrettable position of having to do some playah hatin'.

Let me first admit that I found myself drawn to the man. Seriously. I'm not setting up a punchline. I wanted to believe in him. Despite his almost total lack of relevant experience (just over a hundred days in the senate is his only official qualification), and willing to turn a blind eye to his truly ridiculous affiliations with really horrible people, I found myself listening to his speeches, becoming really enamored with the idea of a President who was also an effective public speaker. I was so into his early offerings that I was even willing to overlook the sneering comments of his wife, who took it upon herself to go on record saying that she was never proud of her country until it started salivating over her husband. I liked the tone of his voice. I liked his look. I liked the way he handled the female embodiment of all that is evil in the universe. Had my affection continued, I might have even been ready to forgive the way he defiled sacred spots in Israel with campaign posters for a photo op, or the way he mumbled and fumbled his way through a recent press conference in Jordan (where, between unquotable hesitations, he ingeniously observed that "Israel is a friend to Israel.") [editor's note: the author is not Jewish. Obama just happens to have been most recently in the middle east.] I was even completely ready to overlook the fact that he is, technically speaking, whiter than Tiger Woods. The fact is, the man had my ear. I was listening.

The problem is that I kept listening, and began, almost against my will, to perceive his transparent use of certain rhetorical traditions. I don't begrudge him using the formula--they all must--but I am bound to despise the shameless sophistry with which he employs it. Every speech he gives comes down to a shallow litany of how bad America is, followed by him filling a hot air balloon made of gold colored tin foil with billowy clouds of empty ersatz eloquence.

The OOPAPOTS translation of any randomly selected Obama speech comes out as the following. (Please read it in your best Obama voice replication pattern).

This horrible place cannot be allowed to exist as it does any longer. Show me your guilt button, I will push it. Don't tell me you're not suffering--you are. Show me your panic button, and I will massage it for a moment before lowering my fist upon it with a mighty force. Now everybody drop your pants and bend over. I'm about to blow copious amounts of warm, meaningless sunshine up your ass and you're going to love it. It feels so good. It will not satisfy your mind. It cannot. But you will feel uplifted. NOW. Did you hear me? I said feel uplifted! YES! I AM THE WALRUS!

He is, when you get right down to it, damned insulting. Why not just say "if you vote for me, all your wildest dreams will come true" and then get Napoleon to dance? He says nothing. I don't care anymore if he delivers it well. What good has ever come of a politician whose message amounts to "close your mind and open your anus"? I'm not by any means endorsing McCain. But I've had enough warm gilded air, thanks.

mercredi, juillet 16, 2008

Free Translation Service

As it turns out, people do not always mean what they say. Even less often do they say what they mean. Which used to be one of the more demoralizing elements of public discourse. No longer.

With our database, software and search engine at last complete, we are pleased to announce the launch of our new Translater. The Obscure, Overly-Partisan, or Purposefully Arcane, Political Opinion Translation Service (O.O.P.P.A.P.O.T.S). Readers of Girl Pants can now send in comments they have proposed or overheard, and OOPPAPOTS can render them into a cogent, cohesive statement, stripped of obfuscation, sophistry, and based on the brazen reality of the situation. With our "Input Context" option we can even account for a wide variety of source material.

Here are a few of the samples our research team have released.

COMMENT: The Daily Show and the Colbert Report are what I watch for news.
TRANSLATION: I am uninformed. Let us share some ripping good rips on people with whom I disagree. After that discard my views on current events.

COMMENT: Coldplay is overrated.
TRANSLATION: Coldplay is either too mainstream, or not mainstream enough for me.

COMMENT: Bush is an idiot. (true BTW)
TRANSLATION: (*Input Context /loyal republican/) I am willing to concede that the president might not be a brilliant man if you are willing to shut up about Iraq, the price of gas, and to never say 'nobody died when Clinton lied' ever, ever again. Oh, go ahead. I guess this is my punishment for rubbing Jimmy Carter's royally inept destruction of the economy in your face all these years;
(*Input Context /stodgy conservative/see also older white male/) He ran as a conservative and governed like a liberal. I can't believe I voted for that chump;
(*Input Context /average middling or lazy social lefty/) I love saying things that don't have to be researched or backed up because they are accepted as media fact;
(*Input Context /activist liberal/) If I could spit acid on him I would. If he was on fire I wouldn't piss on him to put out the flames. But my virulent hatred is justified by my bumper stickers. I am at peace and love all people. Except for George Bush, for whom my heart burns with an everlasting red hot hate that I can barely even conceal when broadcasting the news.

COMMENT: We are destroying the planet.
TRANSLATION: Human beings tend to have a destructive effect, and need to do better. I might be a democrat or a republican, on this issue it really doesn't matter. Also, I have researched it and discovered that Mother Nature can cause, and has caused on hundreds of thousands of occasions, more damage to herself in a day than we could in our best 100 years. So I take a calm level headed approach to it. I don't fall for junk science. I accept that human beings, destructive as they may be, have a right to exist as children of this planet. I do my best to accept other people's choices. I truly love nature and make every effort, with my time and with my pocket book, to preserve and appreciate it.

COMMENT: WE ARE DESTROYING THE PLANET!!! (note tone of panic and exclamation points)
TRANSLATION: I am desperate for some emergency to get heated up about. It makes me feel important and sates my need to feel socially responsible, if not socially superior. The "devoted to a higher cause" vibe that other people get from their religion, or their job, or their family, or from actually helping people, I get from hyper ventilating over imminent disaster that has been steadily and wrongly predicted in various forms since the beginning of time, and telling other people how to live their lives. In fact, I am, socially and philosophically speaking, NO DIFFERENT from the panicked crowd in the 1800's who were convinced that the 2nd coming of Christ was around the corner and went around telling everybody how badly they were screwing up and how imminent was their demise. Remember, we blew out record amounts of hot air fretting about an upcoming ICE AGE back in the seventies. We've switched to global warming now, and I don't know what it will be tomorrow. But whatever it is, you can rest assured I'll give you an earful and tell you all the ways that YOU and the rest of humanity are f*cking up the planet.

COMMENT: Those pants do NOT make you look fat.
TRANSLATION: Either I do not have sufficient respect for your ability to handle the truth, or I don't want to mess up my chances of having sex with you later, or both.

As you can see, the applications of OOPAPOTS are numerous. While it is no help at all with a person who simply lies to you on the bald face of it all (for which there is no remedy), you can get, within an increasingly small margin of error, right to the heart of the matter, or to the matter in other people's hearts, thereby avoiding a good deal of the rancor and misunderstanding that has become the norm in American Arena of Ideas.

mardi, juillet 08, 2008

Hands Free

As you are most likely aware, California has recently made it official: as of July 1st you can no longer speak on your cell phone without a hands free device whilst driving.  You will get pulled over.  

Never mind that this law was obviously enacted with funds from the lobbyists representing the makers of hands free devices, (since studies have shown fairly conclusively that it is, in fact, the CONVERSATION that distracts, and not the act of holding a phone).  Here is a list of things you can still do at the wheel and not get pulled over.  This list contains things I have either done, observed, or heard direct testimony about.  I suggest you try these while you still can.  If the fascist law makers and special interests have their way, we'll have no choice but to focus on the road.

Shave (face)
Shave (armpits)
Read the paper
Put on make up
Change your nylons
Watch a DVD
Receive oral sex
Engage in sexual intercourse
Paint and/or file your nails
Eat a variety of food items
Stick your left leg out the window in a desperate attempt cool off by getting air to funnel past the groin and down the other leg
Yell at your kids
Physically discipline your kids
Play the Harmonica (this one was my brother, who did get pulled over, but not for being dangerous at the wheel: the cops thought he was smoking a crack pipe)
Play air guitar
Rock out in general (not possible with the Dave Matthews Band)
Pop Zits
Brush Teeth
Urinate into a bottle
Try to communicate, with various hand gestures and "looks" how stupid, how desperately, INFINITELY STUPID a person's bumper sticker is.  

Feel free to add to the list. It is by no means definitive or exhaustive.

jeudi, juillet 03, 2008

Eugenically Speaking . . .

In my never ending quest to bring the peoples of the worlds together, (and with a brain aflame in the sweet, sweet fever of sleep deprivation) I've spent a few hours reconciling various poles of contradiction.

For instance: What happened to cops? Everyone seems to have a problem with law enforcement. Yet somehow I have never met a bad one. Every cop I meet is courteous, respectful, often lenient. Even as a teenager skateboarding in technically illegal places, I always seemed to be caught by the patient officer with the kind word. No power trips. No smug authoritarians. No short (or otherwise undersized or testosterone deficient) men who needed a gun to compensate. Not even any Porn 'staches. Where are the corrupt asses I see in every movie? The shiftless ineptitude portrayed on television? There must be something missing from my experience, since everyone else seems to hate their guts. (Or worse, like my good friend who, as a teenager, could NOT get cited for anything in her home town, because her father was Chief of Police. And believe me she tried. They'd see her I.D. and just let her go.) Since I refuse to believe that television and movies have betrayed me, I have no choice but to determine that my experience is an aberration.  My anecdotal evidence is suspect.  

The question is, Was there ever a time when one joined the force for the right reasons? Maybe the old West. Because let's face it, in the here and now, if you're interested in real Justice, you become a caped vigilante.

On to another contradiction: I think you can believe in Evolution and God at the same time. Einstein did. (Set aside for a second that Evolution is not something that requires belief, and that saying you "believe" in Science belittles both Science and the being religious types call the Master Scientist. Why are both sides of this issue so invested in acting as if these elements are mutually exclusive? Why must evolutionists make it their religion while religionists make every effort to exclude it from theirs?  But that wasn't the point. . . was it?) It seems to me that most of the devout evolutionists I know are also on the political left, really into Utopianesque visions of a humanity where everyone takes care of everyone else and compassion rules the day. (Never mind that what they really mean, whether they know it or not, is that the government takes care of everyone while a small percentage of the citizenry pays for it.  Either that or the Vulcans are about to detect our warp drive experiment, land here, and inaugurate a new age of exploration where money is meaningless and technology will save us all.  But what was the original point?)  

The question is, if evolution is your "belief," where does compassion figure into it?  Nature has none.  NONE whatsoever.  Make no mistake, she is beautiful.  She is wise.  She is also the baddest pimp on the block.  Diabetes, Cancer, etc. are her ways of selecting you out.  So technically speaking we have no business preserving you, especially if you plan on reproducing.  If Nature is all there is, and we are simply a part of the beautiful ecosystem of earth, what business do we have acting differently from the other cogs in the natural machine? Why Art?  Why Charity?  If we are allowed to differ from the ecological consensus in so-called good ways, why is it such a tragedy when we do it in destructive ways?  And why do we seem to have so much more power to destroy and preserve?  Every creature produces waste.  But we are the only ones that make it with something other than our anus.  Is that significant?  

Wait.  What was the original point? 

 I guess sleep deprivation is not the path to enlightenment.  


lundi, juin 23, 2008

Hell and Gonzo

I said before that if I believed in Hell, it would be because there has to be a place for the guy who invented Easter grass.

Turns out there are other reasons that Hell has to exist.

Because there isn't another way to explain State and/or County Fairs. The horrifying food, the vomit comets operated by demonically deformed carnies, the myriad booths selling garbage to alcoholically compromised dupes, the unholy conglomeration of the whitest and trashiest of all white trash, the exponential addition to the rodent population--and the bands, THE BANDS!!--all combined with the oppressive heat of summer. Honestly, if these things aren't oozing through some dimensional rift, then how else to you explain them?

Because the whole "Satan told us to wear make up and spandex" aesthetic of the 80's Heavy Metal Hair bands could not have been a strictly human invention. Can you imagine a group of musicians having a meeting and deciding on their own to tease their hair up like bible belt hair dressers, cover their faces in dime store cosmetics, wrap themselves in skintight leather, stick a cucumber wrapped in foil down their pants and pose in a studio full of imitation human bones in the shape of a pentagram? "What the hell!?" I hear you saying. Exactly. The good news is that if you fell for that music in any way, and especially if you threw your panties onto a stage populated by ersatz Knights In Satan's Service, you don't have to be overcome by shame for eternity. You can claim with a fair amount of confidence that the devil made you do it. Hopefully you've grown up and won't have to follow your former heroes to the Hell that absolutely must exist if their existence is to make any sense whatsoever.

Because The View needs a place to go into syndication.

Because every single person who claims the title of "Journalist" and then transparently campaigns for a party or candidate has to be in thrall to a being more demonic than even a Television Network Executive--and that's saying something. Or maybe it's just that I want them so suffer in ways forbidden by our constitution for the way they slant their coverage and then have the gall to claim neutrality. We may have been stupid enough to let them hand pick BOTH candidates, and maybe at some point we will stop paying attention to the news media entirely and they will fade away like the monsters under the bed, but until then I have to believe there is a Hell for these people--or I might start dispensing justice vigilante style and go to jail, which is purest hell according to all the reputable films.

Because Morrissey said "There is a place in Hell for me and my friends."

Because that's where cats come from. And with their nefarious powers they hypnotize humans into thinking that a house filled with dander, hair, hairball vomit and poop is worth the "affection" they pretend to give you as long as you feed them, clean up after them, and do their bidding in various other ways (like opening doors at all hours).

Because on a CNN radio news update, the lead story was the birth of JAMIE LYNN SPEARS CURSED SPAWN. At that moment, the world had to know: Hell is here and now.


mardi, juin 17, 2008

I've Got Two Hands (sometimes three!)

Below please find a cursory listing of vastly divergent opinions I've honestly held, often within minutes--even seconds!--of each other.

Someone decides they must live in another country.

1) Good for you! Everyone should live abroad and experience immersion into another culture. Whatever your motivations are, this will be an important experience. You don't want to be one of those myopic Americans who thinks We are the World. Even if you're leaving because you hate America, then good! The righty kooks said "love it or leave it!" So you left. And since you should have the right to live unencumbered anywhere you choose, I don't see as how anyone but you should have anything to say about it. Keep in touch and tell me how it goes. I'd love to hear about your experiences and insights. But I sincerely hope you come back, because you'll make the country a better place.

2) On the other hand, who the hell do you think you are, you stuck-up leftist nose-in-the-air bastard? Are you really so ignorant that you think human nature is different depending on how freaking socialistic the government is? Go ahead and move to Canada, you ass. We'll see you back in a few years, when someone in your family needs real medical care. You'll come running here like the Canadians whose polaroids I used to see taped on coffee cans in the grocery store: "In the States, they can cure me" they said. Maybe they just didn't feel like waiting 6 months for an MRI, or pretending that Canadian football is a real sport. Oh, Europe is it? Good riddance to you. Italy thanks you for raising their snob quotient. We took their dregs by the millions for almost a century. The least they can to is take the whining intellectual elitists off our hands. Bye!

Someone fails to compliment (or notice) my new glasses.

1a) Who cares.  In fact, thank you for NOT noticing.  I don't take compliments well anyway, and I appreciate the fact that you are focused on more important aspects of life. 
1b) (On the other hand) It might be a nice little boost to my twisted, faltering self-esteem if you paid a little attention to my attempt to find decent glasses.

1c) (On the other other hand) What the hell is the matter with you?  It should be as clear as the nose on my face that there is a fashionable pair of designer frames in the picture that weren't there yesterday! AHHHH!

Someone issues a generalized insult to the owners of SUV's.

First) You are absolutely right.  I might not agree with the venom, but dammit, unless someone is hauling around 50 kids on a daily basis, or braving the Rubicon trail, they have no business wasting gas and space with that TANK.  And why does anyone who lives in the city need 4 wheel drive?  Have they ever even taken that thing near a dirt road?  Maybe imitating Hillary Clinton and her fellow senators is their way of activating "The Secret," but they're not impressing anyone but Oprah with the shiny black Escalade they're driving to the corner mart alone.  

Second) Oh yeah?  You don't like SUV's?  Then don't buy one, jerk.  PS: I'll phone the God you don't believe in and inform him that he doesn't have to waste his time judging the SUV crowd.  You seem to have it all wrapped up.  Until just a second ago, I wasn't going to say anything about your hygiene and style choices, which I think are offending Mother Nature, for whom I have been given the authority to speak (yeah, that's right, you're not the only one!).  And just so you don't forget, I'll scratch a little note to you into the paint of your pseudo hippie car with my keys.  

Someone brings up our society's unfair body image expectations.

Initially . . . I couldn't agree more.  I can't stand how surface oriented we are in modern civilization.  There is a deeper beauty that should be recognized.  As a matter of fact, if it doesn't come from within, who gives a crap how beautiful the exterior seems?  It's simply ugliness with a sexy mask, and we shouldn't fall for it, let alone promote and glorify it.  Down with superficiality!

Then . . .On the other hand, to hell with you, fatty.  The only reason that people hate on beauty in any form is jealousy.  And I've had enough with your slantwise confessions of how ugly you think you are, or how lazy you really are.  Hotness is hot--that's it.  Screw your down-to-earth common man/woman approach.  Beauty is to be worshipped in any form.  I don't care if the model in the ad was photoshopped, she's gorgeous, she's real, and she probably works like a dog (a super hot sexy dog!) to stay in that kind of shape.  I don't care who has fake parts.  I don't care if Hollywood starlets are dimwits.  I don't care if Demi Moore has a personal trainer and you don't.  The products, the clothing, the exercise programs, and the healthy diets are out there.  We can't all be hot.  The universe is stratified.  But what we can do is accept that, and use the tools in front of us to maximize whatever cosmetic beauty we've been given.  And if you don't want to be part of the cosmetic world we live in (which one might equate to people who refuse to get a cell phone or utilize the Internet) then the least you can do is stop complaining.

And later . . . besides, you're pretty hot in your own right.  What did you say your name was? Hey, what do you think of these glasses, I don't know if they're really me.

ANYWAY . . .

So you see, I'm a house divided.  At any given moment, I actually adhere to a view that is immediately, almost simultaneously, undercut by an opposite opinion about which I am equally passionate.  I'm earnestly down for double.  Strangely, I have a feeling that it does NOT make me open minded, but in fact the exact opposite.