ezy

All is well with the world don’t ya know

by ezy at 10:31 AM on June 30, 2003

Whew! What a hell of a ride the last couple of months have been. I have seen the top of the mountain and almost jumped off. Where to begin? The beginning I guess.

My Dad is doing great for one. He had a quad bypass and is recovering remarkably. He told me last night that he feels twenty years younger. He definitely looks better. Seeing him in the hospital brought back all kinds of bad memories from when my Mom died. She had cancer and passed away four years ago. We were very close so, needless to say, I didn’t take it very well and went through a self destructive phase that I nearly didn’t survive.

Being a little older, not to mention smarter I hope, I can now look at that phase for what it was, stupidity. I’ll never put myself through that again. When I was young I made a promise to myself to protect my parents against anything that threatened them, no matter the cost. I guess the helplessness of watching my Mom die, while there was nothing I could do, was too much for me to handle, at the time. Seeing my Dad in the same position brought all of that back.

I definitely handled it in a different way this time. I had a good cry and leaned on my friends and my amazing girlfriend (I’ll get to this) for support instead of internalizing it. I’m blessed to be surrounded with people who are truly good and care very deeply for me. I don’t think I would be where I am or be as successful as I am without that support chain. It’s crazy when you can put aside the negatives, in your life, and see how much good you really have. Believe me; it took me years to figure this one out. Now to my girlfriend.

cont'd »

comments (6)

anna

That diamond crucifix in his ear is used to help ward off the fear that he's left his soul in someone's rented car

by anna at 01:41 PM on June 28, 2003

Day after day I scour the wire services in search of ethical questions that might conceivably stump Chris the Thoughtful Commentator. And for once I think I’ve got it.

Say what? These two romantic rivals get into a tussle, one’s fetus winds up stillborn and the other is guilty of murder? The parallels to abortion are inescapable. If causing the “death” of a fetus is murder, then what is the act that abortionists commit daily---harassment? What about the man at the center of this dysfunctional love-hate triangle? Can he now seek damages? (Believe it or not, their homeowner’s policy might cover this loss.)

Now I am not blind to the differences, primarily that a woman having an abortion is usually a consensual deal whereas one who loses her baby to an assault is not. But that consent is the expectant mother’s, not the fetus’s. No in vitro consultations with the little bugger take place. And this defendant was charged with the murder of the fetus, not the mother who remains alive.

Also, assuming a soulless fetus can somehow qualify as a murder victim, under what circumstances is killing one permissible? (Aside from abortion, which Roe vs. Wade explicitly endorsed as a constitutional right.) Suppose a drug-crazed pregnant woman attacks you and you fight back. What if the fetus dies in the ensuing struggle? Would that constitute justifiable homicide under this “seldom-used” Pennsylvania law? Or what if she’s only two months pregnant, scarcely showing, and you accidentally terminate her pregnancy in a catfight? Are you then a murderer too? In other words, is there a minimum age?Lastly, do you suppose Corrine Wilcott considers this crazy-ass law “seldom- used” as she serves out here 7-14 year sentence? I think not.

Justifiable homicide is a thorny question indeed. Most would agree that vampires and self-defense are good reasons to whack somebody. Others would argue that there’s no such instance. Yet, until recently in the South, this would be considered perfectly apropos: A cracker staggers into his trailer to find his wife kneeling before another man, bobbing on his knob with her hand between her thighs. He empties his chamber into the interloper’s head just as he empties his into hers. “Ma sister never done ‘at fer me ’n we bin hitched a good ten years,” does he declare.

Chris, help!

comments (10)

snaggle

Just Numbers

by snaggle at 10:46 AM on June 27, 2003

I have yet to embark upon my cross-country odyssey, mostly due to projects creeping up at work. Creeping, or suddenly running into my office to beat me bloody with baseball bats. God I hate clients.

So therefore, I have no excuse for not posting lately to keep you abreast of events in my life. (Heh, heh, I just said “breast.”) But I hope you can absolve me of any wrongdoing, since there has really been quite little for me to share with the world.

I do have one thing of note, however. Last week I turned 23. Yes, 23, the most insignificant birthday since 22, was upon me after months of apprehension. Any of you who’ve been around here for a while know my tendencies towards birthdays. This year, however, it was relatively depression-free. I took it all well and enjoyed myself. I imbibed a fair amount at the Garden last Saturday, yet I remained in control and didn’t black out or do anything incredibly embarrassing, which I can’t say the same for other birthdays.

I have to say birthdays are one of the best ideas humanity has ever produced. I, for one, hold birthdays as a sacred event, a cornerstone of a person’s life. It is a day when a person must not be crossed for any reason. If it’s a person’s birthday, they are entitled to just about anything, in my book. And in compensation for the increasing numbers that make you remember that the ache in your back isn’t just from sitting wrong, the span of “birthday privileges” increases as you get older. From about 18 until 35, I think you get three days, or long enough for a normal weekend and such. 35-45 you get 5 days of everyone bending to your will. From 45 until 55, it’s two weeks. After 55, it gets a little longer. 55 to 70 is a whole month, I think, and after 70, well hell, you just get the whole year (as anyone with grandparents can attest.) Now if only there were a way to have multiple birthdays in a year without getting older...


In other news, the US Supreme Court (or SCOTUS, as the press has taken to calling it) smashed down an archaic law on the Texas rulebooks forbidding “sodomy” (I hate that word.) Consenting adults are now free to engage in whatever acts they desire within the privacy of their bedrooms without worrying about a Gestapo-like seizure. Quite a milestone, I say. Finally the Supreme Court is proving that religious morals and law, though long bedpartners, are different entities altogether. Combine that with a Canadian ruling to allow gay marriage and I’d say the world is in a pretty decent shape.

In honor of the SCOTUS ruling, I hereby declare July “Worldwide Sodomy Month.” How’s this for a slogan: "Sodo-Me, Sodo-You, Sodo-Everybody!"

comments (7)

anna

My name is Anna and I am an asshole

by anna at 06:26 PM on June 26, 2003

As you'd probably guess I'm just as much of an irritant in the physical realm as I am here in the vapors. This tendency manifests itself in myriad ways. I'm that boorish dick who muscles his way into the front of the line when traffic backs up. When drunk I'll ask complete strangers if they're still into bondage & humiliation. I even snag the last cup of coffee but refuse to brew another pot. I'm like a cloud of tear gas wafting through a drunken orgy.

My latest obsession involves sending instant messages at work via Command Prompt. Clicking this icon leads you to a DOS prompt where you type in "net send" followed by the recipient's email name and your message. The beauty of this primitive IM format is that it's totally anonymous. There is no way to block it as far as I know.

So I prowl the corridors on the lookout for various nefarious activities my coworkers may be engaged in. Then I skulk back to my computer and begin sending them surreptitious IMs. My favorites include: "Company property was stolen at this work station." "This employee took a big dump, stunk up the restroom and didn't wash his hands afterwards." "A personal phone call was detected at this desk." "You have just visited a pornographic website." "We're reading your email." "We're counting your keystrokes." "Stop scratching yourself down there." An omminous grey message box appears on their screen, accompanied by the jarring ring of a bell.

It's jolly good fun to watch as paranoia sets in. Coworkers scratch their heads and wonder if this could possibly be for real. Then they quickly close whatever website they were viewing. Big Brother is watching your every move!

Yeah he is. Come to find out that in those insider trading scandals which proved Martha Stewart's downfall, most communication was via IM. Brokers and clients alike feared that email trail which caused such headaches for Bill Gates. So the SEC now mandates that financial companies keep tabs on employees' IMs and maintain a record thereof. D'oh!

Penis puppeteers have more sense than me.

comments (6)

doyce

I call it "crap that fell off the pile as I carried it to the curb." It's listed for five hundred dollars.

by doyce at 10:14 AM on June 26, 2003

So, in Boulder Colorado some students put together an 'art piece' set to go on display at the city's downtown library.

The plan was delayed just a bit, however, since the assembly crew had to dig the whole thing out of the garbage, which is where the library's janitor dumped it.

"I don't know art, but I know what I'm supposed to do with crap like that" the janitor (named Ed or Tom or Jim or something down-to-earth and honest) might have commented. "I mean, Christ on a Crutch, I barely made it through high school and these damn kids are upping their college GPA by dumping a pile of crap in the entryway and putting a sign behind it. I'm in the wrong damn job, I guess -- I've been taking trash away for the last twenty-odd years."

"This is a slightly different kind of art," said Karen Ripley, director of cultural programs. "It's not meant to be beautiful."

"You got that right, sister." Our fictitious but brutally, stunningly honest janitor might have muttered from the back the room. "Now, do you want to pick up the coffee cups from this press conference or bronze the motherfuckers? Morons."

comments (12)

anna

Thought Crimes and You

by anna at 06:29 PM on June 24, 2003

With the Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote to uphold racial preferences in college admissions, I thought it appropriate to spring the following pop quiz on y’all. Please answer honestly and record your C-score (total number of questions answered “C”) below.

You see a black man running down the street clutching a big-screen TV. You assume:
A) He has just stolen the TV.
B) The police won’t be far behind.
C) This is a new exercise fad.

You go to a Japanese steak house. Instead of the usual staid Oriental guy who spins the eggs, tosses prawns around and slices up the meat, a jive-talking brother appears. He’s sharpening his knives with wild, darting eyes. “Yo, yo, yo whassit you be jonesing fo’ to-NIGHT---some spare ribs, perchance” he asks with a tooth-baring grin.
A) This ruins the whole experience. The food doesn’t taste nearly as good as it usually does, so you stiff him on the tip.
B) The food isn’t bad but you’re afraid he plans to stab you with those knives in the parking lot.
C) You figure this must have something to do with affirmative action.

Your son makes the finals of a spelling bee. The finalist are him, an Asian and a blonde. You’re thinking:
A) My kid doesn’t stand a chance against the clever Asian.
B) At least he’ll beat out the ditzy blonde.
C) Everyone stands an equal chance.

A black woman is running down the street afire. You figure:
A) She set herself ablaze while freebasing the old fashioned way.
B) Another tenement must have been torched for insurance money.
C) It’s a symbolic act of self-immolation to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Three Hispanic families move into the other half of your duplex. You:
A) Call a locksmith about getting deadbolts put on your doors.
B) Gripe that they’re probably going to park their low-rider cars on the lawn and blare mariachi music at all hours of the night because they don‘t have to get up for work the next morning.
C) Welcome the diversity your neighborhood so sorely lacks. Bake them a welcome cake.

A gaggle of Arabs pour out of a mosque waving their fists and shouting slogans. You’re thinking:
A) They are terrorists.
B) They probably aren’t wearing deodorant. You don’t want to find yourself downwind from them.
C) They’ve just heard a particularly inspiring sermon.

An actress is quoted as follows: “I know feminists are going to hate me for this, but I like to be possessed by a strong, confident man.” Your reaction:
A) I do too. My main purpose in life is to serve my man.
B) Damn right. Women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.
C) She must suffer from self-esteem issues. Maybe she’d benefit from electro-shock therapy.

You run across an Indian sobbing uncontrollably: You think:
A) What’s up with this? Aren’t those people supposed to be all stoic?
B) What with all the dough they’re making off casino gambling, he should be glad.
C) I should try to cheer him up.

You meet a guy and try to engage him in conversation about the local football team’s prospects. He doesn’t seem familiar with the roster and can’t name a single player. He does, however, display an impressive amount of knowledge about show tunes. You deduce:
A) That he’s gay.
B) That you don’t want to have unprotected sex with this character.
C) That he’s new in town and still roots for the team from his former home. And besides, sexual orientation doesn’t matter.

You’re dining with a woman. It’s a blind date. Between courses, she bares her breasts and begins coursing her nylon-clad toes up and down your thigh while licking her lips. You surmise:
A) That this chick must be a slut. You really must call all your friends so y’all can tag-team her. To paraphrase Frank Zappa, she’ll love it. It’s a way of life.
B) That this chick is a prostitute and possibly an IV drug user too. You don’t want to have unprotected sex with her.
C) That she’s a liberated woman who’s taken a sudden liking to you. You should treat her with utmost respect.

You see a handsome, middle-age woman draped on the arm of a twenty-something hunk. You’re thinking:
A) He’s a gigolo.
B) She must be rich. He’s humoring her just long enough to get his hands on her ATM card and PIN.
C) How cute! A May-December romance is abloom.

Scoring: If you answered “A” or “B” to all questions, then you are a despicable, racist, sexist, ageist, xenophobic pig. If you answered “C” to every question, then you are a right-thinking person if a tad naive. Or else you’re lying. If you answered a combination thereof, you’re like most people---progressive-minded but tainted by outdated attitudes.

comments (7)

effenheimer

Goonies ARE good enough to make me feel like a man!

by effenheimer at 08:38 PM on June 22, 2003

Last night I went to the midnight showing of "The Goonies" in Omaha at this hipster theater that shows art films during the week and something old, fun, cool, whatever at midnights on Fridays and Saturdays for the raucous crowd. This movie, whatever it is, is usually going to be filled with good riffing and yelling at the screen expecially if it is a fun old piece of crap like "The Goonies."

So there I was at 12:10 a.m. watching the trailer for "Changing Lanes" for the second time right after the usual promo for popcorn with butter that always runs backwards to shouts of "Yes, Oh Dark Lord, we shall do your bidding!" when this douchebag in front of me tells me to shut up. The theater is packed with people yelling at the screen Rocky Horror style or just drunken reveller styler and this little punk bastard turns around and tells me to be quiet.

So I told him to lighten up and gave the bill of his hat a little flick with my finger and the southpaw cocksucker hits me right in the eye! So I bitch slapped him open palmed right in the side of the head.

So what does this little fucknut do? He goes and gets an usher! I couldnt even freaking believe this shit. I go to this movie pretty regularly when it doesn't suck or isn't three hours long and I always get there a half hour before the show and talk to the guys selling the popcorn about the movie because they picked them and I like to be sociable. So the usher comes up to me and tells me I don't have to leave, just be cool and I'm all like, this little fucker tells me to shut up and hits me he's the one who needs a lesson on how to keep cool.

Needless to say, the little pussy was not happy that I wasn't asked to leave the theater especially since I then spent the better part of the next two hours pointing my comments at him. At one point the crowd had been lowd and just as they quieted down I said in my best nasal drone, "excuse me could you people please keep it down or I shall be forced to get the usher." When Andy tells Mikey he will grow up to be quite a kisser I said, "And then Mikey grew up to be the best male prostitute in Omaha... right after this guy."

Oh for fun. I haven't been in anything close to a fight for years, but there is something so satisfying about smacking a dude right in front of his girlfriend (did I mention that he was there with four other people including his woman?) when he so clearly deserves it and getting away scot free that just makes my weekend.

That and the Associated Press is all hot on a story I did this weekend about a letter mailed in 1968 that just arrived (http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=8477217&BRD=2554&PAG=461&dept_id=507134&rfi=6).

comments (5)

effenheimer

the persistence of hatred

by effenheimer at 01:37 PM on June 21, 2003

Hugh Sidey got his start at my paper in Council Bluffs. He was JFK and LBJ's biographer. I asked him which man he thought was the better president and he told me they were both good but Johnson always had a chip on his shoulder. There he was the president of the U.S. and he still had to make these rich fucks watch him take a shit just to let them know he was the man. Makes me think that no matter what I do, I will always have a chip on my shoulder too.

as far as revenge goes, the thing with me is i don't actually keep a list of peoplle like some freak, i just remember all the people who have screwed me over and each one was committing an act against me, not just accidentally being unkind.

my 8th grade football coach/gym teacher cornering me in the locker room and telling me I should go to the other junior high school with all the OTHER greasers. I cannot forget that and it isn't because I'm petty. The man is a villain and I KNOW he's done this to other kids for years. I saw him routinely pick on this retarded kid until he cried.

My high school newspaper teacher gave me Ds every quarter just because she didn't like my kind and resented that I had slipped into her class on the recommendation of a DECENT teacher who saw my potential. Believe me, compared to the other losers in my class, I was the single greatest writer/newspaper man to come out of the class of 86. plus, when i ran away from home, I had to skip school to find a place to stay, I went into the paper to talk to a friend of mine and see if I could stay at his house and she made me stay for three periods to finish a story knowing full well I had run away from home. She also wouldnt let me write a column, actually she wouldnt let me try out for a column. Columns were for plagioarist honor roll fucks with subscriptions to Rolling Stone. Don't ask, don't tell and maybe we can win a few awards. Let a kid with talent write and we might not win anything. People like that make me sick.

My 5th grade gym teacher physically abused me and a bunch of other kids. most of the teachers knew about it and none of them would stop him or say anything. Probably because he was nuts and black in an all white school. he would do it right in front of them, but never to the kids who would tell their parents or the kids who had parents that wouldnt take that shit. he got off on the fact that none of those chicken shit white liberal asshole teachers would tell on his black ass for fear of being called racists. how fucked up is that? The principal at the time now works at the school across from my house. I see him every day on the way to work and I want to kick the holy living shit out of him.

Now, the thing is and you might not believe this, but I used to have an air of innocence about me. People would remark on how sweet I was. I had that shit crushed out of me by these people and others. I didn't attract it because of hatefulness. I gained my hatefulness through intermittent years of abuse, inequity and poor behavior. When you grow up poor and less white than the German kids, people think they they can get away with taking advantage of you and you know what? They can. Works every time.

Now the pressure has built up inside my head over the years because nothing was every done. Now I fear if I do nothing, I will explode. I want to do something constructive to let these fucks know they have no power over me, to let them know they didn't get away with anything and that they didn't beat me, but in a sense they already have and I know it. Any time you carry something like this around for 30 years, it is safe to say the bad guys won. What I can REALLY accomplish is letting them know they created a monster that could come back to get them at any time.

Plus I can then write about each experience. You'd read that, right?

comments (7)

anna

Jellybean, feeling pretty psyched

by anna at 08:24 AM on June 21, 2003

My son has a tendency to take everything literally. My boy does not go in for sarcasm, hyperbole or nuance. He doesn't sense things that many people take for granted, but he's great at precise measurement.

Last night he went to Barnes and Noble for a release party. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was due out at midnight. Festivities began at 9:30 PM. Among these was a contest that involved guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar. Ian does not do guesswork. Instead, he applied the "volume formula." To determine how many jellybeans are in a jar, you need to know the height, width and length in jellybeans. So you count them and then multiply H x W x L = the precise number of jellybeans.

In this case it came out to 392, which is 7(L) x 8(H) x 7(W). Not 391 or 389 but exactly 392. Not a wild guess but a precise determination. Ian won the jar of jellybeans. His only question was whether there were indeed 392 in there. The answer: yes. One of his teachers happened to be on hand. He remarked, "I should have known."

So now Ian is the proud owner of 392 jellybeans that he cannot eat due to the fact that he has braces. He figures he'll keep them in the hermetically sealed jar until his braces come off on October 1, 2004. That is exactly 467 days from now.

Ah, clarity and precision.

comments (18)

effenheimer

Armageddon married in the morning

by effenheimer at 11:23 PM on June 20, 2003

I am not a big fan of weddings. Next to funerals and riots, they are my least favorite social functions to attend. My favorites are — in no particular order — ritual circumcisions, sweat lodges, armistice agreements and public executions.
Of course, being a groomsman is much worse than just going to a wedding. At 34, all of my friends were married long ago. Then I decided to go back to school and hang out with 19 and 20-year-olds. Long story short about to get long again, three weddings in the last year so far and now one of my little buddies wants me to be a groomsman.
It isn’t basking in other people’s happiness that I hate so much ... no, wait, I do hate celebrating other people’s happiness more than anything. My existence is pretty empty, bitter, dull, loveless, petless, even plantless and sometimes pantsless so being asked to publicly acknowledge and participate in the joy of others is about as much fun to me as eye surgery.
There is something inconvenient about attending someone else’s celebration of wedded bliss. The miserable individual buying the happy couple a gift is a rude social irony. But to have to stand up during the whole thing? That just crosses the line from friendly obligation to brutal indignity.
And of course they’re Catholic, too, so this thing isn’t going to be a 15-minute rite of passage either. It’s going to go on and on and on until not only the bride and groom feel married but everyone in the church, the guy down the street and even the lilies of the field. The nerve of some people.
Frankly, I’m tempted to end the friendship just to get out of the wedding. If I had to drive far, miss “The Hulk” or be out after 9 at night, I’d probably tell them to go do something biologically improbable. Seeing as their wedding night is involved, they were probably going to try it any way.
My favorite part is the tuxedo fitting. Not the wearing of the tuxedo, although that bites too, but actually having a stranger measure all your body parts. I suppose if you are skinny as a rail or super buff it’s no problem, but I’m a bit of a fatty the way Robert Downey Jr. kind of likes heroin. There is nothing less likely to harsh my mellow than hearing the words “Brianne, could you bring me TWO tape measures and some duct tape, please?”
The only saving grace is I will not be expected to pay for the rental of the monkey suit myself unlike most bridesmaids and their hideous dress. They should go on strike. Not only are they asked to look like hell in comparison to the bride, they have to pay for the humiliation of wearing their worst fuschia taffeta nightmares in public.
At least there is the payoff of the bachelor party the night before and the reception right after, huh? Not for me, I’m on about four different kinds of medication. So these days I do all things sober (isn’t that an NPR show?).
Alcohol is bad for you. Legally, ethically and morally I feel obligated to say so. But there are a lot of things alcohol makes easier, that’s why it’s called “a crutch.” Explaining how you know the groom for four hours to Talula, the bride’s great aunt from Keokuk even she hasn’t seen since she was 3-years old, for example, that takes anesthetic.
I really don’t see any advantage to being married that just living together doesn’t accomplish without all the fuss. Does it really matter if children are “legitimate” these days? Being born “out of wedlock” doesn’t carry the same stigma it once did. Get over it.

comments (3)

effenheimer

The Season of Revenge: Son of Sam I Am

by effenheimer at 09:03 PM on June 20, 2003

“I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am vast and contain multitudes.” — Walt Whitman

Previously, I said the best way to live is to let things slide. Who knows, depending on my mood I might believe that again some day, but right now I want to reverse my position on sweet, sweet revenge.
Lately as I sit around my fashionably adorned flat contemplating how my life, void of satisfying personal relationships, is defined by my various, insurmountable personality defects which are attributable to figures who abused their position of trust vis-a-vis me, I have begun to think there is a fine line between letting things slide and being a wuss.
Anyone who has ever felt the satisfying crunch of their enemy’s teeth beneath their fist knows revenge might not be a cure all, but it sure feels good for that moment of triumph. What are laws but the triumph of order over chaos? Isn’t justice the socially acceptable form of societal punishment? What is karma after all but a universal balancing act of right and wrong? Who is to say that we are not in some small way responsible for getting our own payback? God helps those who help themselves.
Combine that bit of mental gymnastics with the fact there’s not much else to do here in the summer and you’ve got a recipe for FUN AND ADVENTURE! Can you smell it? Hell’s-a-poppin’! I am officially declaring summer 2003, The Season of Revenge.
Like most desperate loners, I keep a list of people who have wronged me since I was 5-years-old. Why not put my overactive imagination to work by finding creative ways to punish those who, in my admittedly twisted opinion, deserve it? If nothing else, it’s good material for future works of “fiction.”
Rationalization is important. I now realize what corporate executives, politicians and biker gangs have known for years, it’s not illegal unless you get caught. I mean, c’mon! Technically all forms of revenge are “harassment” and that CAN’T be right in the grand scheme of things. Plausible deniability is the next best thing to a rock solid alibi and a rock solid alibi is as good as innocence.
For example, if you had a college professor who asked you what grade you THOUGHT you deserved in that composition class then laughed as she gave you that grade because she KNEW Midwesterners ALWAYS undersell themselves then surely having her “subscribed” to every magazine, journal, newsletter, book club, record club, mailing list and pornographic Web site you could think of would be minor in comparison, wouldn’t it?
If some sack of equine waste product scratches your brand new car and drives off without so much as an apology and you find out his name and address, surely breaking into his house late at night, kidnapping him, locking him in a steamer trunk covered in quick-dry cement before tossing him into the Missouri River is only fair, right?
And if you find yourself at that 10-year high school reunion face to face with that big, old bully who once dangled you from the observation deck of the IDS building because you were “bugging him” then why not “zing” him with your superior verbal skills. Failing that, kick him in the teabag and run.
Revenge. It isn’t sweet. It’s SUH-WEEEEET!

comments (4)

anna

Find a job, settle down, perhaps you'll even marry

by anna at 06:31 PM on June 19, 2003

So I saunter into my living room covered in paint. I cannot sit down so I just stand there listening to my wife, her ex and my stepdaughter discussing the newest addition to our clan. Yes, the girl is pregnant. Not my wife you silly goose, the stepdaughter. This was the first I'd heard of the joyous news and I found myself at a loss for words. Though we've never been real close, "congratulations" seemed kind of generic and distant. That's what Joe Rogan says to the winner of Fear Factor just before, "Evidently fear isn't a factor for you."

By way of background, one of my first posts had to do with this night owl. I suspect her nocturnal tendencies will serve her well after the baby's born. Except babies sleep about as much as crystal meth users so sleeping all day will become a thing of the past.

Anyway, she's going to be a mom at age 20. She's between jobs and until recently of no fixed address. And while at 1st blush this may seem like a bleak situation in which to start a family, there's a brighter side to the picture. She exudes that unique glow of pregnancy. She seems more grounded and focused than ever before. She's got an apartment she is decorating. And she's involved in a loving, committed relationship with a journeyman electrician.

It's the last thing that warms my heart. See, I believe a college education is vastly overrated. I earned a BS degree and upon graduation my job prospects were: 1) Game Warden, which entails accosting heavily armed, drunken poachers in the middle of nowhere. 2) Drug dealer, which often leads to incarceration and those inevitable episodes of behind bars lovin'. 3) Painter, which paid $7 an hour and might involve falling to your death. I chose painter.

Tradespersons such as plumbers, electricians and assassins don't grapple with that sort of dilemma. Nor are they subject to the whims of a given market like thousands of laid-off dot-commies. And wherever they may roam, steady work is readily available. There's always leaky faucets to fix, houses to rewire and people that need killing.

Plus, physical work begets real muscles, not those grotesque physiques borne of countless grueling hours spent sweating in the gym. And blue collar workers enjoy the satisfaction of an honest day's work well done, unlike office workers mired in the shifting sands of office politics.

That's why I implore all young people to forgo college in favor of plying a trade, preferably union. You'll never be rich but you will live comfortably.

So what does this make me, anyway---a step-grandpa? And speaking of convoluted familial relationships, check this out.

comments (6)

mg

do'h!

by mg at 11:54 AM on June 19, 2003

I managed to do something very stupid. I accidentally deleted the site off the new server and now have to move the old site from the old server and redo all the damn fixes that I've been doing over the last couple days. I'm very frustrated with myself because everything was working fine, and now I have to fix all the things I'd already fixed (plus still fix all the things I'd yet to fix), and nothing is worse than trying to do coding fixes while you are angry and pissed off. Sigh. So, please feel free to tell me I'm an idiot now.

comments (16)

anna

I would tell you all about my past but then I'd have to kill you

by anna at 07:01 PM on June 13, 2003

And the southern girls with the way they talk, they knock me out when I'm down there. -Brian Wilson, California Girls

Sifting through mounds of my junk I find a stack of vinyl albums. (For those of you unfamiliar with these, I refer to flat, grooved discs the size of dinner plates. By putting them on a contraption known as a "turntable" you could cause music to blare forth from huge speakers that doubled as end tables.) Anyway, among the selections were the Charlie Daniels Band, Marshall Tucker, Allman Brothers Band and ZZ Topp. Back in the day these countrified southern rockers were all the rage.

Time for a quick local geography lesson. I huddle in northern Virginia, which might as well be a separate state. We pride ourselves on being sophisticated people who put our beer in glasses. We speak with nary a trace of southern drawl. We couldn't name a single NASCAR driver. And we look askance at the backwards rubes downstate.

So I'm preparing to graduate from high school and settle in for a lifetime spent lounging about my parents' home. Talk about a rude awakening---mom storms into my room to inform me that if I don't go to college I'll be living al fresco. I'm scrambling, trying to find a college that would accept a slacker whose SAT score was in the top 1 percentile and yet had a meager .8 GPA. The only one that would was located five hours southwest of here, deep in the benighted hinterlands. Let's just say I was less than thrilled about the prospect of mingling with the great unwashed of rural VA. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise.

My first roommate Skin hailed from Richmond, former capital of the Confederacy. He called the Civil War the War of Aggression. He promptly announced that the only thing black at his private high school was the tires on the bus. I'm like, oh...my...god. But he turned out to be one of the wittiest guys I'd ever met. Despite his bigotry, we hit it off swimmingly. We'd frequent a local pool hall where I found it surprisingly easy to hustle the locals out of their hard-earned paychecks again and again. I was that kid who grew up with a pool table in his basement.

Likewise, all the gals I dated were ditzy southern belles. I couldn't get enough of their lilting drawls, homespun ways and elaborate tattoos. One was even a debutante, though you wouldn't know it from... er, never mind.

It was Skin who introduced me to the hick music. We'd blare it in his souped-up 69 'Maro en route to pig roasts where keg beer and moonshine flowed like blood from a gaping head wound. Had there been a hoedown or a hootenanny we'd have attended that too. Mortifying as it is to admit now, I was country when country wasn't cool. And I'm not talking Faith Hill, I'm talking Loretta Lynn.

When I returned home my parents were floored. The detached cynic they'd raised had been transformed into Jethro Bodean from the Beverly Hillbillies. I had the drawl down pat. Tattered overalls and a cowboy hat put the crowning touch on my newfound Dogpatch persona.

Renecks, like blondes and lawyers, still find themselves the butt of cruel jokes. Somehow the umbrella of political correctness never extended to them. To add insult to injury, tornados touch down and immediately hone in on the nearest trailer park. Since these humble abodes lack basements, the slack-jawed yokels who reside therein are advised to seek refuge in a ditch. A lot of good that'll do ya in a twister.

But y'all shore do seem to trust we southerners more'n you do shifty-eyed northerners. Of the last ten presidents elected or selected, six hailed from the heart of Dixie. Only two called northern states home, Ford and Kennedy. Ford's presidency was a fluke so he doesn't count. Kennedy got shot dead three years into his tenure---in Texas, stomping grounds of ZZ Topp.

Yup, as Charlie Daniels once put it, the South's gonna do it again. Shore it is.

comments (5)

ezy

Killin’ in the name of

by ezy at 12:12 PM on June 12, 2003

Hey all. Sorry I have been quiet for so long. I have been going through a pretty rough time lately. My Dad had to have a quadruple bypass and I've also been having some other personal demons to beat down. I'm going to my Dad's place for a couple of weeks to take care of him so I'll be dropping off the radar again. I'll definitely be back when I get all of this shit sorted out and can think straight. Until then peace, love and hair grease y'all.

Ok. One of Anna’s earlier posts has inspired me to explore a topic. This is a something that has been pissing me off for quite a while.

These pro-life fanatics have been giving me a case of the ass for years. Their holier than thou attitudes are infuriating.

Morally, I’m not even sure I’m in favor of abortion. I, really, have no idea what decision I would make if I were in that position. I probably wouldn’t choose to abort but that’s my choice.

Whoop there it is.

That’s the crux of my displeasure with these people. It’s about freedom of choice. You know, one of the pillars our country was founded on. I believe everyone has the right to make the decision as to what they do with their bodies or products of them, within reason. If I want to eat fourteen chocolate cakes every day until my tub o lard ass can’t even get out of my house and die miserably alone or masturbate constantly without food or water until I waste away, guess what?......It’s my right.

I’d also be killing myself, correct? How long do you think the old body could subsist on a diet of chocolate cake only or go without food and water? A few years, tops, for the cake and a couple of weeks without food and water, I would guess. Well, if the argument holds, I would be killing an innocent person, myself, so that would be against the pro-lifer’s beliefs. Would I end up with masses of pro-life people demonstrating on my lawn? Would they kill the baker delivering the cakes, for the greater good, as they did Dr. Slepian in Buffalo, or cut off my stroking hand and force feed me?


On Pro-Life Virginia’s Website, a large picture of a smiling Paul Hill was displayed with the caption, “American Hero.” Hill, an anti-abortion activist and former minister, shot and killed Dr. John Bayard Britton and volunteer clinic escort James Barrett outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic.
Pro-Life Virginia’s Rev. Donald Spitz wrote that Hill was “currently awaiting execution … for saving innocent babies from being murdered by baby-killing abortionist John Britton.” Spitz also publicly cheered Slepian’s murder.

http://www.armyofgod.com/

A Reverend said this?? Pro-life my ass. How can your motto be pro-life when members, of your group, are killing doctors and clinic assistants, while you condone it? Any group Eric Rudolf and others like him are affiliated with needs a long hard look, in my opinion.

Oh, this is good. The majority of pro-lifers are also pro-death penalty. http://usconservatives.about.com/library/weekly/aa062101a.htm

It seems that killing is justified, in God’s eyes, if the person being killed deserves it. Hmmmmmm. Let’s see. Our courts are ruled by human beings. We’re imperfect and make many mistakes for which we must atone before God, if you believe in the big guy, every day. What makes the pro-lifers think that every person we condemn to die, in a court of law, is guilty? I mean hell, the guy might not have Johnny Cochran and the Chewbacca defense in his corner. Have they missed the news in the last say……two years? Forensic medicine is getting inmates released from prison, including death row, at a pretty steady rate these days. How will they justify the deaths of the innocent who have been wrongly convicted and put to death? They haven’t been investigating cases where the convicted has already been executed, that I know of, to see if mistakes were made. They will eventually though. Does that mean that the supporters of the death penalty and pro-life are now no better than the supporters of pro-choice? Innocent people are dying. Listen, I know that not all pro-life supporters are like this but there is a large enough contingent to make it disturbing.

Screw it. I’m going to be pro-porn and nobody is going to tell me otherwise. I may even start offing people who oppose porn. Then I can be just like the radical pro-lifers. Valhalla I am coming.

comments (12)

mg

chris kirkpatrick you can get your ass kicked

by mg at 01:11 PM on June 11, 2003

Hi, my name is MG, and you might remember me from such websites as, well, this one.

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been around much. In fact, to find the last post I’d written here you’d have to check back to shortly after the dim pre-historical period paleoanthropologists call Cinco de Mayo.

It’s not that I’ve necessarily been away, I just that I haven’t really had much to say. But, I got an email the other day that went a little something like this:

where are you? are you not going to post anymore? you are the only one i come here to read.

Actually, it went exactly like that.

I still don’t have anything to say, or any expectation that I’ll have anything to say in the near future, much less the mental capabilities to express that nothingness (or, in the case that I might have something interesting to say, “that somethingness”) in a creative and entertaining manner.

But, since it’s been requested I return (and this wasn’t the first time), I guess this is just to say that I’m back. I’ll be about as interesting Friday night TV, but at least I’ll try.

comments (14)

anna

Of a trusted friend who needs to humor me and tell me lies

by anna at 06:56 PM on June 10, 2003

Among the regrets that I can’t get past is the fact that I didn’t have a true best man at my wedding. How this most unfortunate of circumstances came to be is a strange and twisted saga.

Growing up I had a best friend named Matt. Our personalities complemented one another well. He had integrity galore where I had none. I was outgoing and adept at chatting up strangers where he was somewhat shy and retiring. We were constant companions. Once he took a vicious licking from a bully who’d been harassing me. Another time he risked taking the rap for me in a caper that could have landed him in prison for a long time. Those are the kinds of heroics you never forget.

When he got married, I was his best man even though he had a brother. I threw him a memorable bachelor party complete with a trashy stripper, champagne and heaping mounds of cocaine. Not long thereafter I, my then girlfriend and the happy couple moved in together. The usual group house tension over chores, unpaid bills, use of coasters and stolen beer soon cast a pall over the fledgling household.

More vexing still, his young bride was quite the flirtatious hussy. Watching TV, she’d put her feet in my lap and ask me to massage them. She’d situate her bathrobe in a way that made Sharon Stone seem modest. (Oh, pull your pants back up---she looked more like this.) All of which went on right in front of her husband. Naturally Matt began to suspect that something was going on between us. And though I’d always rebuff her advances for obvious reasons, he became more and more convinced that I was the cause of their deteriorating marriage. They moved out and were soon divorced. Matt became understandably embittered.

(I believe the cause of their breakup had more to do with his fastidious nature and her sloth. He was forever wiping surfaces and straightening up while her pantyhose were strewn everywhere. Something to consider when choosing a mate.)

Though we ran in the same circles, for years we avoided one another. Both of us were either too stubborn or too proud to approach the other. In the meantime I hooked up with my wife. I asked her to marry me and surprisingly she accepted. She set about making the myriad arrangements a full-scale wedding entails.

As the big date fast approached I realized I had no suitable best man. Talk about a nightmare scenario---all my life the best friend role had been filled by Matt. Given the freeze between us, asking him would have been out of the question. My own brother is dead to me. Roger, who I’ve posted about, is too unpredictable. Besides my wife hates him. So my best man turned out to be my roommate, whom I’d met a year earlier via a newspaper ad. He didn’t even bother to throw me a bachelor party, which was just as well. I haven’t seen him since. When I look at my wedding photos, it’s as if there’s a stranger who’s been inserted next to me in the group shots. Even though Matt and I eventually patched things up and my marriage is a blessing that literally saved my life, the best man thing remains a sore spot with me to this day.

I suppose the moral to this sordid tale is: If you have a best friend, guard your relationship more fiercely than a lioness does her cubs. Don’t let anyone of the opposite sex come between you. And should a rift develop, hasten to swallow your pride and apologize---even if the accusations are unfounded as in my case. It’s worth it, because one day you’ll want to get hitched and you don’t want a rent-a-best-man or maid-of-honor.

(Don’t laugh, there are companies that will provide stand-in mourners in case you die and no one cares enough to attend your funeral.)

If you don’t have a best friend I suggest you see about horning in on someone else’s. But don’t expect it be easy. Fact is it’s a lot simpler to replace a boyfriend, girlfriend or hook-up buddy than it is to cultivate a best friendship---for potential mates abound whereas all the best friends are already taken.

Flash forward to the present. Nancy and I will celebrate our fifteenth anniversary next month. Yet even after all these years, this still sticks in my craw. And it’s not the only time I’ve been blamed for a major transgression I didn’t commit. (The reason is hidden elsewhere in this post.) As the accusations persist, they become quasi-facts. Self-doubt begins to creep in. For all the believers in your repeated denials, you might as well have done the deed. You’re Bill Clinton only without the tacky lipstick smeared all over your dick.

comments (7)

anna

Perhaps I've grown a little cynical

by anna at 06:54 PM on June 06, 2003

I'd hate to be a congressperson forced to vote on something as ghastly as "partial birth abortion." To hear anti-abortion zealots tell it, this entails dragging a baby kicking and screaming from the womb and sucking its brains from its eggshell-like skull. Abortion enthusiasts oppose any ban on it, which they call "dilation and extraction."

You'll note I didn't use the trendy terms "pro-life" and pro-choice." Aside from mass murderers and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, everyone is pro-life. Thus the term lacks meaning. And pro-abortion forces favor abortion, not the intentionally vague "choice." I want choice too. I want a choice between plain old cream cheese on my bagel and something more exotic that looks like vomit or worse, yoghurt.

Lest anyone dismiss these matters as strictly academic, consider the Laci Peterson case. California charged Scott Peterson with duel murders, that of his wife and their unborn child. This was done to make him eligible for the death "penalty." It also put feminist groups in the awkward position of opposing the second count as it confers personhood upon little Conner. (BTW, what was this idiot thinking? I'm sure most would agree that Laci was much prettier than his horse-faced mistress.)

I put "penalty" in quotation marks as it's preposterous to characterize the killing of a person in such a mild way. A penalty is what the IRS or an NFL referee assesses. State-sanctioned murder would be more accurate, because that is... gasp!... what it is.

Slippery Bill Clinton famously said, "That depends on how you define the word 'is.'" Everyone laughed, since "is" is such a straightforward word free of ambiguity. He clearly was engaged in semantics in an effort to mask an unpleasant reality. And that's what is @ play whenever people use euphemisms.

When used car dealers started touting their wares as "pre-owned," everybody laughed too. Oh sure, you want your car broken in by someone else. You want them trashing, smoking in or having wild sex in it and leaving used rubbers under the seat.

I believe words are of paramount importance. I think we need to use the most accurate ones available at all times. Calling a spade a spade is a time-honored tradition. Yet political correctness threatens to undermine it. Consider the term "retard." When used as a verb, it simply means "to slow." Thus when used as a noun it means "one who is slow." And mentally challenged people are slower on the uptake than others. Still, it's considered a demeaning slur. Same goes for "African American" versus "Negro." Some black people trace their roots to Caribbean islands, not Africa. And what if the fellow happens to reside in Africa? Is he then an African-African? "Negro" is nothing more than short for Negroid, which is the technical name for this particular race. Assuming there's any point in mentioning someone's race @ all, which is debatable, "Negro" should be acceptable. But of course it isn't, any more than it was for J. Lo to use the derivative "nigga" in her song I'm Real.

I have friend who is very active in his Indian tribe. One of their pet peeves is the term "Native-American," which the tribespersons claim was foisted on them by the government. They'd much prefer to be known as "Indians." And how ridiculous is the term "tribesperson?"

Ousted American Idol Frenchie isn't fat, she's "plus size." You didn't just get laid off, you were "deselected," like a bruised piece of fruit @ a produce stand. The list goes on.

Euphemisms are ever more pervasive in common discourse. They are used to mask odious realities, to mislead or to cloud issues. Arguably, their only real utility is to spare feelings. Thus, on balance, I'd argue that these terms should be banished from the language.

That said, I'd be interested to hear your favorites.

comments (15)

effenheimer

The next Charles Starkweather aka the strippers are pissed again

by effenheimer at 06:31 PM on June 04, 2003

Every few months, thing pick up on my old post "No matter what a stripper tells you she is just a timid whore." This thing must be making the rounds throughout the dark underbelly that is the stripper culture. Sometimes, the things people say to me strikes so close to home, it makes me want to cry. I mean, maybe my anger towards strippers does belie some deep seated anger towards women in general that means I am really just a rapist waiting to happen? Combine that with my love of hurting animals and who knows, maybe I'm the next Charles Starkweather?

I don't want to hurt anybody, but maybe the critics are right. Maybe the reason I say these things is because I am just this close to losing control? Is any woman safe? Perhaps I should chain myself to the wall during the next full moon... you know, just in case.

Or maybe its just that all these people who hop on BS to tell ME what makes ME tick are just full of shit. In the words of Tweety Bird, "Hmmmmmm, COULD BE!"

comments (12)

anna

Dream on

by anna at 07:37 PM on June 03, 2003

You hear much talk about globalization these days---hey, come back here! Leftists even call for a one-world government. Others scoff at these utopian notions. I daresay they laugh too soon.

Oh it's coming. The omens are unmistakable. The US props up its puppet regime in Afghanistan while occupying Iraq. Once we overrun Iran a wide swath of southeast Asia will be under our control. The countries of Europe put aside their longstanding differences to form EU. A World Court in The Hague issues warrants and its cops abduct citizens of once sovereign nations to stand trial.

This United States of Earth will need a government. George W. Bush is a shoo-in for Emperor, just as Tony Blair will surely be named Vice Emperor. Each former nation will send a delegate to the USE equivalent of our House of Representatives or Britain's House of Commons. But today's configuration of 193 separate nation-states won't do. We need to winnow the list down to 100 or so. To this end Trinidad and Tobago can be combined. They already send a single team to the Olympics. Same goes for the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share a tiny island. We don't need all those 'Stans in central Asia. Nor is there any need for separate Koreas. Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia can be merged into Greater Arabia. EU gets one vote. Call it global redistricting.

Modeled after the UN Security Council, the world's major players would form a Senate-like body. Up-and-coming nuclear power India would replace France while Australia would supplant Germany. Why? Aussies'll bring plenty of cold beer, mate. We don't need to worry about creating a judicial system cuz it's already operational.

USE will require a common language. Since it's already spoken throughout Spain, South American, Mexico, Florida, Texas and SoCal, Spanish seems a natural fit. Plus it's easy to learn.

The airline industry is in dire straights. But my plan will remedy that. With all immigration and tourism restrictions lifted, global travel will burgeon. France can provide its speedy SSTs to replace our aging fleet and Israel can handle security. Likewise, our woeful health care system will improve. Patients will gain access to a variety of specialists to include trepanation providers, witch doctors, shamans, faith healers, aroma therapy and any joker with a chicken bone and a bandana.

Of course USE will face major hurdles. We'll be grappling with the slavery issue anew. 250,000 people are currently in one form of bondage or another. Their owners are unlikely to give them up without an epic battle. And with all that globe-hopping, communicable diseases are bound to pose a big problem. SARS won't remain confined to China. We'll all be forced to wear those ridiculous looking masks. As Africans fan out in search of food, shelter and uninfected prostitutes, AIDS will spread like wildfire. It's estimated that 25% of African adults are HIV-positive. In hard-hit areas life expectancy has been slashed in half. Look for similar numbers across USE.

Then there's that thorny bone of contention, religion. Given that one in six people subscribe to Islam, it seems a natural fit for a universal faith. This would entail giving up alcohol, but that vice could be replaced by opium or hashish. Also, guys are likely to go for harems. No need for risky nooners anymore. Meet someone that strikes your fancy, marry 'em.

The main stumbling block is that which proved the ruin of communism. People tend to put their own self-interest ahead of the common good. They balk at sharing. And considering that the US income level is 29 times that of the least developed nations, this spells real trouble. Ingrained Western habits like living indoors, bearing children and bathing regularly are liable to die hard.

But in the long run mankind will be far better off. Those obscene disparities and income and lifestyles will narrow. Nationalistic pride, xenophobia and ethnic rivalries will dissipate. Justice will reign for all. The world will be as one.

This is going to suck.

comments (13)

effenheimer

COPS and other shows popular with closet cases

by effenheimer at 01:07 PM on June 01, 2003

I was thinking recently about a study of male sexual behavior I read in college.

In this study, two groups of straight men were gathered. Half of the group claimed to have little to no problem with homosexuality, while the second half of the sample were self-proclaimed bigots. Both groups were hooked up to sophisticated, electronic, medical, monitoring devices or "cockrings" which would record any activity in the nether regions. Both groups were then given a saucy selection of salacious homoerotica to watch, like "Hard into Gary" or "Donnie Does Dennis" or "COPS" — you know the kind of stuff I'm on about.

Wouldn't you know that the group that squawked the loudest about how much they hated homosexuals had the most noticeable responses. The ones who hated gays the most got the most excited about seeing two men go at it fast and furious.

We always knew it was true, didn't we?

When I was growing up listening to macho pubescants make fun of sissies (gay or not) by calling them "homos," "queers" and "fags," I just knew their real motivation was sexual frustration! Why? Because these guys always felt like they were one step away from playing biggest man on the cell block.

For example. Young Slab "Not at all Gay" Hardnoggin sees a slightly-built lad with a nice ass and, before he has a chance to repress his feelings, they get the best of him. He has to act out before he has the chance to feel ashamed. He gets some of his cavebuddies (because he needs to know he isn't the only one, but since he is technically gay, he needs a lot of muscle around him) to kick the crud out of the boy so he can get rid of that loving feeling and replace it with some good, old-fashioned hate.

Real life example. A kid I knew in high school used to get boners in the shower all the time — let's call him Rod because that's a funny name for a pecker. I don't know why Rod got that one boner that one day. He might have been gay and it might have been a one time thing. Either way, I didn't make a big deal out of it because I got wood all the time and was afraid I might get a boner in the shower too after all the jokes people told about it.

Rod's position was kind of funny, but I wasn't sent into a homicidal rage over it like a couple of the super-dominant, thick-browridge types who had to make a big show of how pissed they were that this little "fairy" was naked in the same room with us. They cornered young Rod and one dude who came out in college, beat the hell out of him. They then stood around high-fiving each other like a bunch of troglodytes, joyful in the knowledge that they had managed to repress their natural instincts for one more day. I'm suprised they didn't gang rape him just to prove how NOT gay they were.

Have you ever noticed that it is always the fiercest homophobes who do the really killer imitations of gays? They love to prance it up and do the whole limp-wristed, super-lispy tinkerbell thing while they mince around the room shaking their asses like the little sluts they are, acting out in a way that would never be acceptable to them if it weren't drenched in hatred.

comments (11)

anna

And I'm never going back to my old school

by anna at 10:57 AM on June 01, 2003

My friend Roger and I attended high school, junior college and a university together. We flourished at the first two levels, but never quite fit in at Va Tech.

I blame him. You may recall how his favorite icebreaker was, "So, do you still have that picture of my dick and balls on your nightstand?" Surprisingly it worked pretty well at times. He never wanted for wanton women.

At one point he tried out for the football team. As a walk-on, he floored everyone by beating out the scholarship athletes for the starting position of runing back. Then he quit, saying he just wanted to prove it could be done. Another time he sucker-punched a frat boy just to see how his brothers might react (not well, I'm afraid.) He'd gulp down a handful of mushrooms and peer into first-floor apartments, which had to be a bit disconcerting to residents. But overall, he was a relatively harmless enigma.

We used to crash these raucous frat parties. Inevitably Nick Carter's Wanna Shout would come on, prompting everyone to crowd the dance floor. They'd thrust their arms skyward in unison. Then they'd do this limbo number and wind up writhing on the ground like gators. Roger and I would look on with detached amusement. Not once did we consider joining in the forced frivolity. We were outcasts alright, but we felt smugly superior nonetheless. Nothing looks more ridiculous than a bunch of morons gator-dancing.

The only interaction we ever had with that blissful set was hustling them at pool. This is hardly the way to go about ingratiating yourself to others. Consequently we spent most of our time holed up in our apartment alone.

I'd bet latter-day frat rats and sorority babes are still boogying to Wanna Shout. These bland, clean-cut folk are a unique and timeless segment of society. In the 50s they felt as though Joe McCarthy got railroaded. In the 60s they skipped peace rallies in favor of pep rallies. They preferred The Sonny and Cher Show to The Twilight Zone, Herman's Hermits to Jefferson Airplane. They didn't attend Woodstock. Richard Nixon dubbed them the Silent Majority.

In Generation X, their progeny must stick out like sore thumbs. They haven't launched their own websites. They aren't all ironic and self-referential. Globalization means nothing to them. In their minds the term "money" connotes currency. They wouldn't know The Osbornes from Ozzie and Harriet. They are the 3 million saps who actually bought Kelly Clarkson's insipid album. Hell, they might even admit to having had a favorite in the American Idol reprise.

They form the bedrock of our culture, such as it is.

Yet through the years NYC/LA's media has consistently ignored these hinterland yahoos in its insatiable quest for the newest fad or trend. And it makes me wanna shout, cuz we need more dependable constants like them and less inscrutable, aloof Rogers & mes.

comments (5)