The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. -Pat Robertson
Among the crowning achievements of our times is the rescue of Native Americans from the poverty, squalor and hopelessness that pervaded their “reservations” i.e. prisons for generations untold. How was this accomplished? By allowing them to run casinos, that’s how. Private enterprise, trafficking in what many once considered a vice no less, succeeded where scores of government handout programs failed so miserably. Irony is seldom more wicked. The long-suffering Indians found the palefaces’ Achilles heel, greed, and exploited it to the hilt.
Meanwhile our spendthrift government sinks further into debt by the second. It is literally hemorrhaging your tax dollars. Talk of budget surpluses and lockboxes is a trifling thing of the past. Those under 50 can thus forget all about receiving any pittance from Social Security or Medicare. (According to my statement, I’m out $66,000 so far.) Look forward to your golden years spent residing in an appliance box under a bridge. I call dibs on the dishwasher box.
And it is time to wake up to the irrefutable realization that this “war on drugs” (or for that matter illegal gambling or prostitution or online porn) is not winnable. In fact, it’s a no-win proposition because all these businesses are reliably profitable. The drug thing in particular has gotten way out of hand. Violent pot farmers control a wide swath of northern California and have expanded into our national parks. Likewise, terrorists show no compunction about financing their operations from smuggling opium. When kids can’t get their hands on Ecstasy they’ll huff the propane from your grill.
All those financial woes could be rectified in one fell swoop, if officials would only face up to this stark new reality. If they’d stop listening to hypocritical moralists like that crackpot Robertson, insufferable Bill O’Reilly or equally loudmouthed junkie Rush Limbaugh, they could dare to admit the obvious: That vice (“victimless crime”?) can never be stopped or even curtailed by law enforcement. That these illegal businesses are so lucrative because of, not in spite of, spotty law enforcement. That their tax-free status only makes these rackets more attractive to people with few other options in life. It’s a vicious cycle of our own making. And it’s gotten to the point where it threatens our very way of life---see above.
Thus we need to repeal all laws against prostitution, gambling, porn and dope post haste. The government doesn’t need to get involved in doling out these much-sought-after goods and services, however, since the distribution channels already exist. All they need to do is slap a 20% sin-tax on all drug, porn, gambling and pimping revenues. Supposing that these age-old industries rake in $3 trillion a year, that comes to $600 billion for the Federal treasury. Plus, the big-budget DEA could be disbanded, resulting in an additional windfall. On the local level, cops could quit chasing streetwalkers and get after the Real Killers of Nicole Brown Simpson.
Indeed, it’s simply a matter of cost-benefit analysis. As it stands, a junkie stockbroker can obtain his daily fix easily enough. But he is overcharged by the bicycle messenger. A farmer can ring up a prostitute while sitting on his tractor; but he is liable to contract some life-threatening disease. Anyone who wants kiddy porn can download it by the megabyte. You can fritter away your life savings online or in casinos across the country. Yet the government can’t touch a dime of these obscene profits because those pesky scolds have their hands tied. Rather than addressing problems such as this head-on as they should, our chosen leaders allow emotion and outdated mentalities to skew their decision-making.
The treasury makes up for the shortfall by taking more from you and your employer, which in turn pays you less as a direct result of this foolishness. Once they get their grubby mitts on your hard-earned dough, what do they do? Why, they turn around and gleefully pour it down that very same rat-hole! Narcs buy more helicopters to rain deadly poisons onto Peruvian coca fields. They claim they’re eradicating these cash crops. Ah but they mysteriously reappear the next season. It’s the same way with poppies in Afghanistan, an exercise in futility.
Aside from appeasing old people at the expense of the young ($66,000, yikes!,) no governmental policy has remained so inexplicably sacrosanct and above reproach. Folks, it’s time for this to change. High time, if you will.
I drive my wife crazy with my insistence on carrying around large sums of cash. It's something I inherited from my dad. He ran a restaurant before the prevalence of credit cards. Any cash that came in went directly into his pocket and I mean literally. He once bought me a brand-new car and paid cash.
But sometimes I forget. For Christmas my sister bought us tickets to see The Taming of the Shrew at the Kennedy Center as well as a voucher for a fancy dinner afterwards. Foolishly believing that all was taken care of, I set out for DC with a mere $15 in my wallet. Bad move.
The Kennedy Center is not an easy place to get into. You have to drive way past it, double back and then negotiate a confusing maze of signs that eventually lead(s) to a parking garage. The sign said parking was...$15. My raging paranoia about being caught with no cash set in. I asked the lady if they took Visa. She smiled politely and said, "Uh, no." So I parted with my last dollar.
We picked up the tickets. There was a half hour to kill before the show began. Cash bars were doing a brisk business as well-dressed patrons swilled their vodka and cranberry juice cocktails. Folks snacked on overpriced peanuts and pretzels. We looked on like famished dogs peering through the frosted window of a cheery Christmas morn. I was dying of thirst, but there are no water fountains. I figured I'd drink from the bathroom sink but it's one of those automatic deals that only dispenses hot water. I tried to cash a check and they just said to use the ATM. But of course I don't know my PIN. Bah!
A lone Japanese woman surprised me with her forwardness. She not only asked me to take pictures of her but issued highly specific instructions on the composition. I thought about asking her to buy us a round of drinks in return.
The bistro we chose was only .8 miles from the theater. But Washington isn't laid out in logical square fashion like New York. It was designed by some addled Frenchman on 10,000 mikes of acid. So that .8 miles turned into a harrowing hour of u-turns, near-wrecks, indecision and angry horns beeping at us. By the time we reached our designation a combination of thirst, hunger and frustration had my nerves frayed big-time. Does the restaurant have its own parking? At these prices it should have a freaking valet. But no: There is a shady-looking character with a postage stamp sized lot and a handwritten sign that reads, "Public Parking $8." Bah!
Fortunately my wife puts her change in the ashtray. So there we are, in all our Cristmas-present finery (I got her a fake Chinchilla coat to match her ranch and my mom got me a new camel-hair dress coast,) sifting through this pile of change: 25, 50, 75 cents, a dollar, a dollar ten, a dollar twenty, a dollar twenty five... After about five minutes of this, we determined that we had precisely eight dollars between us. We'd just taken in a show that cost $125. We were getting ready to enjoy a meal that would cost much more than that once the wine was factored in. But the parking guy took our last dime, literally. Bah!
We skulked into the restaurant feeling like paupers in a palace. The coat check lady asked for our coats. I reflexively handed her mine, as did my lovely wife. But it occured to me that we'd have to tip her or else our new coats would be mysteriously lost. I had to go back there and retrieve them for lack of a dollar or two. Bah!
There were four rude yuppies seated next to us. They drowned out our conversation with one of their own. This drunken guy was telling this chick about how his son would nail her daughter in a heartbeat but only with her consent, because he's instilled morality in the boy. He's no date rapist, or so his dad believes. I thought about stealing the stingy cash tip they left.
Of course we got lost again on the way home. There are no gas stations and no one is on the streets of DC. Again, this ain't New York. I spied a homeless man jingling coins in a coffee can. I'm like, dude, I will give him $5 if he will just point me toward one of many bridges leading to Virginia. But my wife reminded me that he had more cash than me. Bah!
So that's my New Year's resolution: Always carry at least $100. And here's to you, dad.
imagine the security measures in force at a major international airport on christmas day during a high terror alert based on credible threats to that particular airport. imagine driving into the airport in a car you've been living out of for months, and prior to that were keeping messy chiefly to annoy the sort of person who tends to be annoyed by that sort of thing. now imagine the vehicle inspection.
it went a little something like this, only without the words: "are you white? excellent. carry on." i could have been carrying several hundred pounds of c4 in the trunk (or concealed under the large pile of crap that occupies my back seat, for that matter). on the floorboards of the passenger side in plain view was all my spare computer crap - a mass of wires, keyboards, enough stuff to build something quite nefarious i'm sure. and they waved me on by. to their credit, they may have taken one look at my fluorescent tangerine hair and figured "this person can't possibly be up to something, you can see her hair from space", failing to make the connection between punky colour and dangerously subversive anti-government tendencies. whatever. my point is, i entered an airport looking fourteen kinds of freaky in a suspiciously nondescript 9 year old grey buick during an orange alert, and i did not feel inspected at all. i believe a good inspection should involve latex and astroglide and handcuffs and maybe a nice spanking, or maybe i'm thinking of something else entirely.
i would have stopped and *demanded* the cavity search i so richly deserved, if i hadn't been late due to unnaturally disasterous weather conditions, by which i mean, water. there was water, coming out of the *sky*. as you might expect, many of the natives became agitated and confused, often maneuvering their cars sideways into palm trees beside the road, possibly to get a better look at this bizarre atmospheric phenomenon. i myself might have joined in the widespread panic, had i not been focused on the entirely terrifying prospect of meeting someone i've been madly mentally / emotionally / otherwise involved with over the internet, for the first time in the flesh, at the airport. frame of reference for this? comparable life experience? none. nothing even remotely close. thankfully, i was in overload overdrive over having survived some fifty miles on the los angeles freeway system with no brakes in whiteout rain on christmas afternoon, so i appeared almost ... calm? normal? put it this way, no one called security about me, i was not detained, questioned, or probed in any way. which means that in the future, i'll just have to try harder.
the entire airport adventure lasted about five hours. that's three hundred minutes of nonstop white-knuckle heart-pounding e-ticket adrenaline weeeeee, and all of it utterly worthwhile for so many reasons, not the least of which is this: i got laid.
This is perfect. If no one comments I can blame the holiday lull.
Saddam is so sad. No longer can he tool around the Sunni Triangle in his battered taxi, scowling at passengers who stiff him on the tip. Seems he'll be tried in American Iraq, convicted and summarily executed.
Another equally sadistic dictator is being tried in The Hague. Serbians ousted Slobo Dan after the war. Soon enough they made him available to world cops, who threw him in a global paddy wagon and whisked him off to stand trial for sundry crimes against humanity. His trial is expected to last until the Clinton Menace regains power in 2008. He too will be convicted but sentenced only to life in world prison. (And here you thought you enjoyed the protections once afforded to citizens of sovereign nations. Ha!)
You can follow his ordeal here. It's quite entertaining if you can navigate the maze of the website. Dan has chosen to represent himself while denying that the court has jurisdiction over him. For every minute the prosecutors spend badgering witnesses, he gets equal time.
Witness: Slobo Dan's henchmen swarmed the town, raping young ladies, pillaging and burying menfolk alive.
Dan: How do you know they were my men?
Witness: Well, they were wearing Serbian uniforms.
Dan: What color?
Dan: Olive green or more like lavender?
Witness: Green. I'm a guy. I only recognize primary colors.
Dan: Could you spell my name if your life depended on it?
Where is the fairness in that? How come Saddam must die while Slobo Dan gets to live out his numbered days in a cushy global jail?
And it gets worse. It's important to know that at any given moment, George W. Bush's lackeys might storm your hovel and haul you away. Should he decide to designate you as an enemy combatant, you're fucked. All your civil rights will disappear. You'll have no right to remain silent. You'll have no right to an attorney. You can't dispute the charges. Forget due process, you'll get no process. You're presumed guilty and will never be proven innocent. You'll be disappeared. Hey, it happens. Only now you have no recourse.
Just ask Jose Padilla. Bushmen apprehended him and he's languished in solitary confinement ever since. Oh sure, he's killed people but a thorough search of his bodily crevasses turned up no WMD. So a lawyer took up his lost cause and a federal court has ordered him freed within 30 days unless charges are brought. Fat chance. Endless appeals are inevitable.
This decision didn't stem from the fact that Padilla is a US citizen. Rather, it's because he got collared on US soil. Had this happened abroad as it did to Mr. Hamdi and John Walker Lindh, Bush would still have every right to slap the EC label on him and toss him down the legal black hole forever.
But it depends on your circumstances. If you're rich, white, well-connected and clean up well like Walker Lindh, you get to cop a cozy plea bargain in the regular court system. If you're downtrodden and Arab-looking like Lousisiana's own Mr. Hamdi, so sorry. Walker Lindh will serve 12 years tops in a min-sec resort while Hamdi will die alone in a military brig. Welcome to the brave new world Osama wrought. You can bet he won't be given the chance to surrender peaceably like the sissy Saddam.
Ah, back posting again after a longer than expected hiatus.
Basically I got busy at work, didn't find myself inspired, and didn't post anything. Now with Christmas upon us, and a million (ok 8) relatives having travelled to my home province for Christmas, I thought... January just might work. With those relatives I have the good fortune to have a good portion of my family together over the holidays...
And then I had an epiphany. To many other people I have become the Grinch that stole Christmas, as I have been able to keep some of their close relatives in jail over the holidays.
The case that gave me this realization was a interesting little robbery case that I did a bail hearing on last week. Interesting in the sense that the offenders departed significantly from the normal type. The normal type is offenders escalate from more minor crime, to more major crime... from shoplifting to B & E to Robbery etc etc.
In this case neither of the two people who robbed the gas station have criminal records.
But I digress. The Grinch part of this story is the Bail hearing.
I got a call from the Police one sunny monday morning, telling me there was a robbery on Friday, that they had two guys in custody, that the offenders were appearing in my courtroom, and did I have a some time to talk to them before Court opened? Well, of course.
So I got the court package, a quick chat with a couple police officers, and off to court to try and keep a couple robbers who terrified a store clerk in jail.
Out from the side door came the two young guys (19ish), both crying as they were led in by the guards. Of course them crying in the Dock set off the Mother and sister of one of them. and I ran a bail hearing for the one, with the mother and sister (and the offender) quietly crying through the whole thing.
When the Judge gave his decision and denied bail, then the hysterics started. The mother started begging the judge to let her son out, that she could keep him out of trouble, please please etc...
As she left the courtroom I felt a little bit like the Grinch, with a heart that is two sizes too small...
I didn't get a chance to talk to her (and she probably didn't want to talk to me) and I felt a little sorry for her... But I still sleep better at night knowing that he is behind bars.
Since almost as long as decorations have shown up in stores and “Jingle Bells” has been piped constantly through mall stereos since September, people have decried the commercialization of Christmas. With only a couple more days until the big Day, I’ve already managed to watch all of the major holiday movies and TV specials, and I’d have to disagree with the whole commercialization thing. If anything, Christmas is really just communist propaganda.
Oh, sure, the Berlin Wall fell way back in 1989, but isn’t that also around exactly the time that Christmas began its upward surge from day and a half holiday to three month event? Laugh at me all you want, but Christmas, and Christmas movies in particular, are nothing more than another tool in the communist arsenal to destroy the American way of life! Check out these examples from the most popular Christmas films and specials:
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas - This is almost too obvious. Someone steals all of Whoville’s earthly possessions on Christmas Eve, yet still they wake up in morning, get in a circle, hold hands and sing.
It’s A Wonderful Life - George Baily struggles his entire life to pull himself up by the bootstraps and make his fortune outside the insular world of Bedford Falls. Every attempt to leave his small town ends up a miserable failure, and he is stuck and unhappy with his life. It is only when he accepts that his true place is in the Savings and Loan, where he has served his community selflessly, with no hope of ever escaping his predetermined role in society. Bonus: The villain of the story is Mr. Potter, the town’s wealthiest citizen. He is a horrible person with not a single redeeming quality, just like all capitalists.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Rudolph is an outcast from reindeer society. It is not until the weather turns foul and Santa needs Rudolph’s red (red!) nose to guide his sleigh. Rudolph is welcomed back into reindeer society only because his abilities met their needs.
A Christmas Carol - Ebenezer Scrooge has amassed great wealth, but has contributed nothing to his community. Bob Cratchet has nothing, but is happy beyond Scrooge’s comprehending. It is not until Scrooge begins throwing his money around (actually tossing it out windows!), with no regard for the years of hard work and sacrifice he’s spent earning it, that he is “saved.”
A Charlie Brown Christmas - Charlie Brown attempts to direct the school’s Christmas pageant, but the other children just want to dance and have fun, like the capitalist dogs they are. There is even a literal dog among them, Snoopy, who is Charlie Brown’s greatest tormentor. Finally, Linus convinces the other children to stop having fun and work toward making Charlie Brown’s pathetic Christmas tree presentable, when all Charlie would have had to do is spend a little money and buy a nice tree to begin with.
And, have you ever wondered why Santa Clause’s uniform is red? And how his elves work all year, without breaks, and without pay? It’s no coincidence. Don’t let the communists fool you! Merry Christmas, and buy lots of presents. America is counting on you.
Everybody let’s give it up for Mr. Isaac Dix.
Thank you very much. I’m Isaac Dix, president and CEO of Hummer Motors. We are proud to be the makers of these modified Humvees. It’s the perfect vehicle in case a war happens to break out on your peaceful suburban lanes. Outfit it with machine gun turrets and 2 50 mm Howitzers and you’ll be invincible. Like Richard Pryor running down the street on fire, when you driving a hummer with machine guns a-blazing, people get out choo-way.
Despite its hefty starting price (turrets are optional,) these babies are selling like hotcakes. Yuppies flock to the Hummer, which has become somewhat of a status symbol among the balding baby boomer set. Sales are way up, due in large part to a herd mentality sparked by our aggressive marketing campaign. Our catchy slogans include, “You deserve a hummer” and “There’s nothing like a hummer.” We can’t keep them in the showroom.
But it has been brought to our attention that the term “hummer” carrries a duel meaning. What we thought was a nifty takeoff on Humvee also means a blowjob in street parlance: slurp ‘n burp action, head, Monicas, going down, knob-bobbing, pearl necklaces and messy facials.
Our creative team spent weeks coming up with Hummer. Evidently they are all so old and out of touch that they were blissfully unaware of the street meaning. This poses a bit of a problem for us. Bah!
What’s done is done and it doesn’t depend on how you define the word “is.” It’s not like we can go back and change it now, any more than Elvis’s mom Gladys could go back and correct the spelling of his middle name from Aron to Aaron after he became famous. For better or for worse, Hummer is our brand name. Our customers have come to identify with it.
Not that we haven’t considered it, what with the deluge of taunting emails we receive every day. We’ve rejected Voyeurger, Fistula, T-Bag, Quick E, Heunder, Vulva, Lixass, Escort Service, Impale, Fucass, Hand Job 1, Malibu-foo, Rump Ranger, OR-G, 4Player, Dirt-Trailblazer, Explorher, Cumaro, One-eyed Viper and Rimmer. We even batted around a special edition model for the Los Angeles police called the LAPDance. But alas, none of them has that distinctive ring of Hummer. So it’s here to stay, I’m afraid. Laugh all you want, but I will go down with this ship.
Here's me chiming in, a late edition to the well wishers. Let me say thank you too, MG. What the hell else would I possibly do to go with my morning coffee as I rub my eyes at work until 10am and try to approach some meaningful thought level for working? If you have one drink this holiday, let it be your favorite. But if you have two drinks, try something else you don't normally have or even like and say it's from me. I'll pay you back later.
now to my holiday wishes....
Mr. Blank may you find your lost lady friend and draw about it on your blog including vivid penetration imagery.
Anna, may you really get a better Internet connection for Christmas and perhaps some good FIFA time with young Ian. Also may you get drunk.
Linz, may you get willingly groped by ten sailors....and see all those stars for nirvana. These two items can be unrelated.
Ezy, may you and the engineering department take turns 'cleveland steaming' Al at your office Christmas party. Then after a couple of egg nogs, tell him you know all about guns.
Lucy, may you stick around and comment more, including handy Spanish sayings that I keep forgetting, yet which describe very specific circumstances in very beautiful ways.
Jean, may you provide more 'best stories ever', for I am in constant need.
Liz, may you write more even if love precludes it...
Effenheimer, may your health return, and your wit boil over as you begin posting again. Also I’d like it if your first story back was about strippers. Preferably female.
Chuck, may you still be alive somewhere.
Lockheed (see comment for Chuck).
and MG....may you kick Mick Jagger 'out the way’ during his knighthood ceremony and receive a soft tap of the sword on your shoulder from the dodgy old queen of England.
Or maybe this already happened. I’m not so up on my news anymore.
That’s it. That’s all I had to say. Cheers to all.
sorry i meant not to be such a skittery fly by night bad samaritan. shit happens. i'm not even all the way single yet. but i am in love.
oh my. remember this etc? well as you can imagine it ended badly except of course it didn't end, it did something badly but end was not what it did. at the time i felt it doing the end-but-not-ending thing i went around saying 'i have had my first & last loves', all the while not believing a word i was saying. and then, well then i came to believe. because i met this man in of all places a board called 'this is going to end badly'. and this man is everything i've ever and never thought to hope for, this is more than exquisite perfect and ... this is the first time, the absolute first time in my forty three years on this planet i have managed to be hard to get. not play -- i have never been able to play hard to get, never really played at all, i've always been easy, and it's always showed. i am not going to speculate on the beneficial effects my actual hard-to-getness had on these interactions, and afterall what are the chances my being a little mysterious, a little distant, a little unavailable made me more desirable? oh be quiet. look i'm just hot ok? had nothing to do with the ephemera of me. the thing is i really was numb, i really was emotionally unavailable, and ... he loves me. these facts are unrelated i assure you.
so now my so-called first and last love is as he was, my best friend. we love each other in that friends-who-can't-help-it-we-have-phonesex way, we tell each other every thing and i mean every. perfect trust. and that's it, it'll never go any further and we will not end up 'together' or whatever, we are just the best friends. this rocks, don't get me wrong. however i wouldn't have gotten over the never part without the following, the falling thing ...
yes. i am falling hard fast in love with someone i fear more than i've ever ever known. he loves me and i believe this, and i love him and this is all wonderful except this one point, where i am stalled in thought tonight, aroused blissed out scared shitless, this place where trust falters on fear of foolishness and life hangs in the balance, shaken, uncertain: the difference between love and in love.
he loves me i am falling in love with him now what?
100 years ago today, Wilbur and Orville Wright flew a makeshift airplane for about 100 feet at Kitty Hawk NC. Their contraption was cobbled together with whatever parts they could scrounge up. They assembled it themselves in a modest workshop with whatever crude implements were available. Few witnessed man's historic first flight, which was powered by a stiff northerly breeze.
In 1903, the world seemed on the brink of a glorious transformation. America was swiftly changing from a a rural agrarian outpost to a major industrial power. Wondrous new inventions were popping up everywhere you looked. Standards of living skyrocketed. Everything brimmed with promise.
Today a throng of gawkers descended on Kitty Hawk to hear George W. Bush drone on about something or other. This stilted happening was staged to commemorate the Wright brothers' feat. Part of it was a re-enactment of the brief foray into the sky. Presumably all of today's modern technology, engineers and gizmos were available to ensure that it would work even if a steady drizzle enveloped the North Carolina coastline.
Of course the damn thing never got off the ground. They could barely even get the engines to start. Do we see a metaphor here? The 1903 flight signified a society spreading its wings, poised to take off. The sky was literally the limit. Although few persons actually saw it, word spread quickly by word of mouth. It was a miracle of American can-do spirit.
The 2003 non-flight signified a society in decline. Everything is limited by ineptitude, apathy and false security/safety concerns. The pall of Sept 11 hangs over all endeavor. Hundreds of people saw the failure but the TV news and Internet cheerily reported on it as if it weren't such an abject failure after all. "Sometimes history repeats itself, sometimes it doesn't," one ABC reported wryly noted. It was just another omen of how resigned and defeated we've grown, and all of our own making. Promise isn't a word that comes to mind these days.
At the risk of raising the already high "holiday season" suicide rate, here's what I am getting at: This decade, and by extension this highly ballyhooed new millenium, have both sucked homeless ass thus far. The news has been relentlessly bad. And even when it's good, no one seems to care. After they caught Saddam, the stock market caught fire for about five minutes after the opening bell and then fizzled out. These so-called "investors" fretted that it really wouldn't make much difference in the overall bleak picture over in American Iraq. Which itself has become a fixture of this surreal millennium in which friendless America routinely occupies two or three countries at a time as we shrug and await the Trials of the Month to come: Robert Blake, Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, Enron execs, Kobe Bryant etc etc.
Q: How many decades get three years in without earning even a name let alone a label like the Gay Nineties, Roaring Twenties, Me Decade or Go-go Eighties? A: None until this desultory piece of shit. What is wrong? Why can't this decade emerge with an identity all its own? Has John Ass Croft/corporate America/ the so-called "global village" stifled us to such a degree that we might as well be a bunch of lemmings on Zoloft marching in lockstep off of a Disneyfied replica of a cliff?
Might we begin by at least agreeing on a name (Zeros?) and start date? Don't forget that there are still eggheads out there who insist out 3rd and final millennium didn't even commence until 1/1/01. And technically, they're right.
Not that it matters.
Man, do you guys have that one person at work that can’t take a hint? I do. I’ll call him Al. Al is a decent enough guy but keeps committing a serious faux pas, in my opinion. He works as our technical writer and his cubicle is on the other end of our office building. Every day at 12:15 sharp, yes you can set your watch by him, Al comes over to the engineering section and wrecks our bathroom. This guy must be eating roadkill or something because the smell is awful. The stench then escapes from under the door and wafts down the hallway toward my office. You can’t even walk by the bathroom for a half hour or so without wanting to cry. Oh, get this, the guy goes in every day carrying reading material! Talk about nerve. The entire engineering department is affected by Al so we have started to wage psychological warfare on him. When he’s in the can we’ll walk by and bang on the door as hard as we can in the hopes that it will break his concentration, effectively driving him from our area to another bathroom. We’ve been doing that for two weeks straight. It doesn’t seem to be working. Just today three of us formed a line for the bathroom while a fourth went in and closed the door. At 12:15 Al comes ambling down the hall with his reading material. The expression on his face, dismay sprinkled with a little annoyance, was priceless. What did he do? He sat down in the common area and waited until we cleared out then went in and performed his evil. We thought he might go to another bathroom if he had to wait but I guess we were wrong. Maybe he views it as a personal vendetta against our department now; I don’t know. I think, for the next phase of the battle, we’re going to start slipping notes under the door with taunts or maybe threats written on them. We’re getting desperate so there is no idea what might come from that. I know that everyone has to go sometimes but couldn’t he just do it in one of the other bathrooms closer to his cube? You would think so. It’s not like our bathroom is well off the beaten path with no foot traffic. Our area is pretty busy most of the time. This doesn’t seem to bother him at all. Nothing does. Does anyone have any better ideas to drive this interloper from our part of the building other than asking him? None of us wants to directly confront him, due to the embarrassing nature of the subject and the fact that he has every right to use our bathroom, but we want him gone and sure could use some help.
On a shelf sits a vial. In the vial is a smidgen of cum. Somebody was given the unenviable task of swabbing it from a dead lady’s vagina. Virginia governor Mark Warner is now mulling whether to have it tested. DNA tests could determine if it matches Roger Keith Coleman, who bought it in 1992 for a brutal rape and murder. Prosecutors vehemently oppose the test, arguing that to proceed would set bad precedent. Coleman’s family wants it done, in hopes that it will exonerate him post-mortem---for all the good that’ll do.
Yes, these genes are a wondrous thing. There is a gay gene. There is a fat gene. People want to think everything about them is hard-wired at birth. I was born this way, dammit!
Joseph “You Can Call Me Joseph” Mengele fancied himself a pioneering geneticist. He’d scour the death camps in search of twins among the Jews, gays and Gypsies held there. He would spare their lives only to subject them to unspeakably horrific experiments. One shudders to think what he’d dream up had he gotten his grimy mitts on the Olsen Twins. (Is it just me, or do others wish those two had never blossomed into full-fledged foxes? It’s just so disturbing.)
Genes form the core of Darwinian theory. Guys supposedly want to maximize their chances of passing on theirs, so they knock up as many young, fertile chicks as possible. Like Sir Mick Jagger, they want buns in the oven all over town. Gals want a guy to stick around and help them with the arduous task of child-rearing, so they choose seemingly faithful mates. They figure older, more successful guys are less likely to run off with the first hot chippie to come down the pike. So long as all three orifices remain wide open, their reasoning goes, why would he ever need to look elsewhere? But they are often dead wrong.
Inbreeding and incest are just as wrong. These practices stifle genetic diversity. Yet we know that royal families have been at it for untold generations. In the House of Windsor, it isn’t a tall unusual for kissing cousins to do a lot more than smooch. Perhaps that explains why jug-eared Prince Charles once told his beloved Camilla that he’d like nothing better than to be reincarnated as her bloody tampon. Ugh.
It gets even uglier when it comes to matters of race and sports. Backwoods bigots alternatively bemoan and cite the fact that pro leagues are disproportionately populated by blacks as affirmation of their sick, half-baked theories. You know, Africans who could outrun ravenous lions survived to pass on their seeds and all that pseudo-Darwinian hooey. Yet, in years past, the glamour/money position of quarterback did remain off-limits to blacks. Now four of the top NFL offenses are led by African-Americans, namely Donovan McNabb, Dante Culpeper, Steve McNair and Quincy Carter. Even the traditionally white bastions of tennis and golf have been inundated by black stars. In fact, the top two female tennis players are black. The world’s top golfer is biracial. Tiger has shattered most of the records held by Big Golf’s revered white icons of yore; who’ve long since been consigned to toddling about the Seniors Tour. (This is the same PGA that has tried to maintain all-white country clubs, stop that Swedish chick from competing with the men and tried to block a disabled golfer from using a cart to tool about the links.)
Self-loathing white Hollywood reinforced this unfortunate stereotype with White Men Can’t Jump. I’ve often wondered what awful fate might befall a screenwriter who pitched Black Men Don’t Eat Pussy or Asians Eat Household Pets or The Lazy Mexican. Probably whatever it is that derailed Dana Carvey’s once-promising career.
You’d like to think genes are meted out in a relatively fair way. There’s the idiot savant, so deficient in many key areas but a whiz at math or tickling the ivories. There’s the whore with a heart of gold as depicted in many a movie before Pretty Woman. (Why they chose toothy Julia Roberts for the title role is anyone’s guess. You could park a Hummer in that cavernous mouth.)
But then you hear about this picture perfect Penthouse Pet who is also a prima ballerina and certified genius as well; which scuttles that theory and shakes your belief in any higher power. Where, pray tell, is the fairness in that? Might we take solace in the fact that she is a world class bitch who doesn’t play well with others?
When I was a new writer here, I decided it was time to share some anecdotes from my checkered past. One of my early attempts is seen here. Responses proved tepid, pity comments mostly. I now know why: Half the post is in a flippant, wise-cracking mode and then it turns all serious on a dime. Readers aren’t sure how to react to that. It’s the reason why movies described as comedy/dramas usually don’t work. Also, death is a major turnoff.
I mentioned the car accident in which Billy lost his life at age 16. Here I am going to elaborate on that horror. But first, you should know something about this guy and our relationship. We both moved in the same circles and we both played the class clown role. He had a sarcastic sense of humor that took a little getting used to. He saw and exploited the nuance in things. You might liken him to a wiry shortstop who bats in the leadoff spot, hits singles and steals bases. I swung for the fences, which made for some real funny moments but also some glaring mistakes that offended people. For a long time we mistrusted one another. But we got closer when he came to work as a dishwasher for my parents. He helped me tone down my act by explaining how badly certain things I’d do or say were perceived by others. It was an invaluable lesson.
It was along about this time that we made this movie. He played the hero, working from a script I’d penned. As an inside joke, I also played a mad scientist who creates the monster that terrorized the community until Billy rode in to save the day on my Honda 70 minibike.
So we got off work and hit the hash pipe. We then proceeded to hitchhike up to the local 7-11 where everyone used to hang out. A large Cadillac stopped. Inside were two guys: The aforementioned Bob, who may have boo-fooed Todd , and his friend Ted. Ted was driving. They were drunk and getting drunker. We noticed that they were heading in the wrong directions and Billy protested. Bob said not to worry, we were just going to drive around a little and catch a buzz. Then they’d drop us off at 7-11. We relaxed.
Ted was driving like a maniac. He approached a stretch of road that is divided by a median and a guardrail for about two miles. So he veers onto the wrong side of the road and guns it. 50, 60, 70 MPH on a windy, one lane suburban street. Our hearts were literally in our throats. Of course another car is heading straight for us. At the last second he jerks the wheel and the Caddy goes careening into someone’s yard. It demolished their carport.
When I awoke with my left arm shattered and blood spurting from numerous facial wounds, it was too late. Billy was clearly beyond help. I looked around and was surprised to note that we were alone. Bob the Blob and Ted had fled. Sirens were wailing in the distance. I guess I must have passed out because the next thing I know I’m strapped to a gurney at the hospital ER. Instead of doctors attending to my injuries, I’ve got these pushy cops surrounding me. They crassly informed my that “my little buddy” had “bought it.” Now I kind of knew that but hearing it still came as a shock. Then they informed me that I was under suspicion for the following offenses: 1) Grand Theft Auto 2) Driving while intoxicated 3) Possession of hashish 4) Destruction of Property 5) Voluntary Manslaughter. As always, they just had a few quick questions.
“Are you out of your fucking minds,” I bellowed. “I didn’t steal any goddamn car, I was just hitchhiking. And I sure didn’t kill anybody. I was in the back seat for crying out loud,” I added. So I ordered them away and about then my dad showed up and started throwing his considerable weight around. Soon enough they were gone, replaced by doctors and nurses. Emergency surgery was needed to save my splintered arm. The scars remain above and below my left eye. Not that I'm self-conscious about it or anything.
In the recovery room a more cordial detective started prodding me about the events leading up to the crash. I told him what I knew but as far as they were concerned, two teenage boys had rammed a stolen car into a carport and one of them was found dead in the backseat. The other was found passed out on the lawn. I told them about Bob, whose name and address I knew. He’s like, so who was driving? I said, “A guy I never met named Ted.” Eventually they did track the two of them down and straightened things out. But for a while there it seemed like some Kafkaesque nightmare scenario.
Of course a lawsuit was filed on my behalf but I really didn’t care. Years passed and every so often I’d hear from Billy’s dad, who acted as both my attorney and that of his deceased son's family (a clear conflict of interest.) In my second year of college my dad called and said the insurance company wanted to settle for $10,000. Otherwise I’d have to travel 300 miles home for the trial. It just so happened that the chick from the other auto accident (see Goodbye Kitty below) had moved out of the yahoos’ shack and back to her home in Charleston SC. That very day she’d come all the way up from there to pay me a surprise visit. I obviously told my dad to accept the money and send it to me ASAP. He calls back and says no, the lawyer thinks we stand to clear over $50,000 due to my injuries and psychological trauma. I’m like, dad I’ve got company. But he insists, and I’m on my way home. The trial took two days. The lawyer was inept at best. Jurors never heard about the gruesome fatality I’d witnessed. They awarded me $6,000, half of which I spent on an incredible Onkyo amp I still own. She, of course, was gone when I returned.
Recently I received an email requesting to purchase the domain name “Badsamaritan.com.” My first reaction was, “Never!”
The site was started back in October 2000. On the 1161 days the site has been around, I’ve written something on more of them than not. My 671 posts have contained in excess of 330,000 words (about half as many as in the Bible) and have generated more than 6000 comments (God doesn’t allow comments on his site, he must still be using Blogger). I’ve invested an enormous amount of myself here.
And it isn’t just about the numbers. I’ve found a place to dump any and all the weird thoughts in my head, and actually found people out there who think the same way I do. I’ve reached an audience, and been exposed to people I’d never have had the pleasure of “meeting” any other way. After three years of this, there is still a feeling of joy and excitement every time I check the site.
But, in those three years since this site has been online I’ve dumped nearly $1,000 in hosting and domain name services. I don’t even want to fathom how many man-hours I’ve put into this site. Even the long stretches I’ve not written anything or left comments for others, I’ve done what is necessary to keep the site running. The deus ex machina here is me.
When I think about all the money, time and creative energy I’ve spent here, and how, at best, the other pursuits I could have invested myself in, I’m not sure how to feel. Now I’m presented with the opportunity to give up the site, make a little cash, and suddenly be left with a wealth of free time; it’d be silly not to stop and ponder. What do you all think?
On a completely unrelated note, there is no better way to show your appreciation for someone and to help validate the impact they’ve made on your life by buying them something for Christmas.
If you’ve watched ABC recently, you’ve surely noticed that during each and every one of their news programs they keep a little “Vote 2004” thing over their own logo. This infuriates me every single time I see it, to the point that if I ever saw Peter Jennings walking down the street, I’d have to Daniel Pearl him.
Now, it’d be one thing if it were 2004. The logo could be seen as a reminder to, you know, vote. But they’ve been running the logo since at least the beginning of this year. I can’t honestly think of a time when it hasn’t been there, but my memory is shorter than Justin Guarini’s career. (note: I somehow managed to spell his name right on the first try, and that frightens me sorely.)
I’d also be another thing if the logo only appeared during news programs that discussed the election or politics. I could live with that. But, no. For some reason those watching Barbara Walters interview Renée Zellweger about Chicago and dating scary Jack White must be continuously reminded that there will be an election held 11 months from now. For some reason those watching John Stossel’s insightful and not at all stupid Give me a break! reports must be jabbed in the eye with an incessant image that is now permanently lodged in the brain.
It’s getting to the point where I’m walking around the streets and constantly see a little “Vote 2004” logo in the corner of my vision, and I can’t stand it anymore.
The point is that I watched Nightline yesterday evening because it was the first nationally broadcast debate between the democratic presidential candidates. And it was the first time in months that I could watch an ABC news program without flying into a violent rage.
Now I could be dead wrong, but I sense that most of you are footloose and fancy-free. By which I mean you remain single. You might be in a committed relationship but you aren’t, at least as yet, married. You’re thus free to go. Sooner or later that is liable to change. Someone will totally rock your world. You’ll start leaving goofy notes like, “Used your toothbrush. Hope you don’t mind. Love, Me.” (Trust me, they do mind.) You’ll learn to tolerate their butt pimples, snoring and occasional straying. There’ll be fierce fights but equally intense makeup sex. Wedding bells will ring.
And that’s when you’ll hear The Sigh. This isn’t the contented sigh you’d hear after those zestful romps in bed. Nor is it the wistful sigh of a withered old person reminiscing about what might have been. No, this is the sigh of a woman struggling under the heft of something heavy, such as a grand piano. It screams, “Don’t get up, honey. I realize how vitally important it is for you to catch every last second of that one-sided football game. No need to worry, I’ll be fine once I forcibly push the ruptured discs back into my spinal column.” Dude, if you know what’s good for you’ll listen to The Sigh. You will heed The Sigh.
There’s hooking up, dating, sometimes staying over, shacking up and there’s being married. Only with the latter do you endure The Sigh. Same goes for The Icy Morning Stare (TIMS.) This is often due to some transgression or perceived slight the night before. Maybe you made a fool of yourself in front of her parents. Perhaps you forgot your right to remain silent and answered the loaded question of whether a given garment made her butt look fat. Or you stared a little too long at some tattooed chippie in a slit skirt. Or else you boorishly dissed the oh-so-ernest Indigo Girls, Queer Eye or Trading Spaces. Hell, you may or may not even know what you did wrong, depending on alcohol or heroin intake.
TIMS is accompanied by this profound, bone-chilling silence like no other this side of a graveyard. It is not just an absence of sound, it is a freaking sound vacuum, sucking the very life out of any fool that dares to come anywhere near it. It is a silence that makes the sound of newspaper pages turning seem deafeningly loud, as if the Space Shuttle were being launched in your living room.
So you’d best pay attention to TIMS. You had better determine its root cause pronto, by subterfuge if necessary. You had better go buy a dozen roses and not the roadside/grocery store bouquet variety either. I am talking elegant florist box, $60 long stem roses with the thorns removed. And don’t scrimp and buy a half dozen as I once did. You don’t half-love her, do you?
Of course, a heartfelt apology is in order too. A rule of thumb is that an effective apology should contain exactly one pronoun: I. Good: I am sorry. I made a mistake. It won’t happen again. Bad: I’m sorry you perceived my actions as wrong. (Even worse is the generic politician standby “Mistakes were made.” By whom? You.)
But don’t expect any more makeup sex. You’ve got to earn that now. It’s kickoff time. Beer is chilled. Buffalo wings are ready. Don’t you think that piano would look so much better on the other side of the room? Correct answer: yes. Wrong answer: anything else.
Two questions: Are there other sounds like The Sigh that you’ve chanced to hear? On those rare occasions when you’re really in the clear, are you often made to feel guilty nonetheless? I know I sure am.
I haven’t posted anything about my military travels but I talked with one of my friends I was deployed with the other night and he reminded me of the following. I believe it’s time for a short story about Bosnia-Herzegovina.
I deployed to this wonderful country in late 1995. The situation there was horrible and it was decided that the presence of American troops was the only way to stem the bloodshed. Fine with me, I had been back in the US for about six months and was getting a bit antsy to leave again. We set up camp in a farmer’s field, after it had been cleared for mines, and set about doing our jobs. We ran a radio station called Radio IFOR to get information out to the civilians in the area so there would be, hopefully, no misunderstandings of why we were there and to provide them with information. After about six weeks the 1st Armored Division finally made it over the Sava River and into the Tuzla area. With the 1st Armored came luxuries like a mess tent and showers. We had gone about eight weeks or so washing out of our canteens and eating MREs so we welcomed the change. Another thing came with the building of Steel Castle Camp, Bosnian women. These women were absolutely gorgeous. Before long one was taken with me and life was a bit better. Her name was Svetlana and she had long dark hair, dark eyes and a body to kill for. This woman could’ve been a model in any other setting and I was amazed she wanted anything to do with me. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth I gladly accepted her advances. I met a guy there, from the 1st Armored named, no shit, Hercules. Herc was a cool guy and we got along famously. He hooked up with Svetlana’s best friend, who also worked at the camp, and all was well. A few months into this Svetlana came up with a plan for us to sneak out and join them for a night of wild fornication at a luxury hotel a few kilometers away. We didn’t accept right away and told them we’d have to think about it. Getting caught outside the gate, in civilian clothes, would get us both Article 15s, at the least, with a lot of extra duty tacked on. I mean, these girls were hot but that was a lot of trouble and things that could go wrong to risk. Well, after much deliberation we decided to do it. The concertina wire surrounding our camp was three deep, two high and had motion flares attached to it to alert for intruders. There were, also, two gates manned 24/7. This seemed pretty daunting to me but Herc had helped string the concertina wire and set the trip flares so he knew of a place where it would be possible to get out. This bothered me for a while afterward because if we could get out then someone could get in. Anyway, the appointed date arrived, we dressed in civvies and, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, walked to the point Herc thought we could sneak out of with little or no problem. We, sure enough, were able to escape without drawing any attention.
The ladies were supposed to meet us on the road at 8pm and we weren’t disappointed. They were right on time. I thought one of them owned a car but they had talked one of their friends into giving us all a ride to our destination. We arrived at the resort and I was surprised to see so many, obviously military, guys in there seemingly doing the same thing we were. We all smiled and nodded at each other like the co-conspirators we were, ordered up drinks and set about getting wasted. The ladies’ friend was supposed to come back and pick us up at 3am or so, so we decided to retire to our rooms and release the hounds. Well, 3am rolled around and guess what? No friend. It’s not like everyone and their Mother carries cell phones over there either so they couldn’t call to find out the deal. We were effectively screwed. We had no idea of how we were going to get back by the time everyone else got up and we were reported missing so we did the only thing we could think of. We started walking. Now I wasn’t really paying extremely close attention on the drive over but knew it was one fuck of a long walk. Action seemed more favorable than inaction so we decided to give it a try. About an hour and quite a few miles into the death march a bus came lumbering up the road. We flagged it down, explained that we were American soldiers trying to get back to our camp, and asked the driver if he would be willing to take us there. He seemed a little hesitant so I pulled out all of the money I had left which was about $100 American. Herc also pulled out about $70 and we handed it off to the driver. I’m not sure how many days pay that might have been for the guy but he said ok and off we went. Whew! We had a ride back but our enemy now was the sun which was already lightening the sky. We snuck out in the dark and, with the location of the guard gate, I didn’t think we’d be able to get back in the same way during daylight. That bothered me quite a bit. I really didn’t want to have to explain why we were in civilian clothes, sneaking in and setting off trip flares on the perimeter. Things weren’t looking great for us but we had to try. The bus driver dropped Herc and I off on the main road and we started down the secondary road that would take us to great relief or great troubles depending on if we got caught. We were halfway there when I heard engines coming toward us. We slipped into someone’s back yard and hid until the convoy passed. We decided to take the back yards and the fields to get back to our entry point. This makes my blood run cold to this day thinking about it. The amount of mines buried in that area were numerous and there seemed to be a story, in the paper, every day about some kid getting a leg blown off. I, needless to say, was not very happy about having to traverse territory that hadn’t been cleared for mines. I definitely preferred getting caught to losing a limb but just kept a close watch and trudged on. We finally got back to the point we left from and it was truth time. This was the last bet for all of the marbles. We checked the guard shack and there didn’t seem to be anybody there. They were probably huddled around the heater because it was cold as hell. I went first and got through with no trouble. Herc came next with the same result. We were almost home free. All we had to do was walk through the camp in civilian clothes, which weren’t authorized, without running into an officer or higher ranking NCO. There was no way to sneak through the camp so we walked right through the center. Nobody said a word to us. We went to our tents, got our uniforms on, and prepared to face the day hung-over with no sleep. We both got through the day and never found out why Svetlana’s friend didn’t show. I never snuck out again and thanked the Gods that I didn’t lose a leg or get an Article 15. Damn I was stupid when I was younger.
I've known for some time now that I am destined to burn in hell. It's not that time we broke into a hermit's trailer and stole his coffee can full of silver dollars. Nor is it the time a 12 year old mature enough to buy liquor without being carded revealed her true age to me in the presence of a world class gossip. It isn't that spiteful threesome with the Peruvians. Nor is it the time I rammed my Land Rover into the side of a mountain, knocking my pal's comely girlfriend out cold. It's not the fact that I then... Er, maybe that's part of it.
It's a cat. Actually it's two cats. We've owned Slash (yes, named after the late GNR guitarist) for many years. Despite his three-legged infirmity, we love him dearly. He is an integral part of our family.
Now I think it's fine to own a cat. But to have more than one is to venture into the realm of wacky Cat People. My stepdaughter's a Cat Person. Felines lounge haughtily on her mantle. They scamper across her counters and tables at will. She can't afford to get them fixed so they multiply like bacteria in your mouth. Which brings me to George, offspring of this inbred process.
She guilt-tripped us into taking him in a long, long year ago. He's a big, fat cat who struts around with his rotund balls on prominent display. The Cat Lady down the street has thirty yard cats. They are George's personal harem. So only when he's famished does he appear outside our bay window, yowling in a most annoying, fang-bearing kind of way. Should you let him in, he'll make a beeline for the dish he shares with Slash. After wolfing down some kibbles and menacing our chinchilla ranch as a wolf might a flock of sheep, he starts yowling to be let out again. Slash has never warmed up to this interloper. Neither have we.
Did I mention that he pees all over our carpet, leaving this retched stench in our family room? Or that we're planning on laying new carpet? So lately I've taken to excluding him. I ignore his incessant yowling. If somebody lets him in I throw him out into the frozen tundra. I'm hoping he eventually gives up and learns to hunt. Alas, it hasn't happened yet. Hence, when we move, we'll skulk away in the dead of night; leaving George to fend for himself.
Why not just put him to sleep, you ask? Well, that simply isn't an option because the stepdaughter would never forgive us for killing the cousin/brother/son of her feline brood.
And that, mon ami, is the reason for my eternal damnation. For this I'll be bunked with Scott Peterson in the fiery depths of hell. That, and that other little thing.
While doing my daily diligence here in the office, I came upon something beautiful. Sometime this early evening, sitting at the old internet and drawing machine I looked down at my wrist and noticed a strange little bundle. Soft and white, it looked like a little slice of heaven. But really what it looked like, was a dead bug, wrapped in a nest of matted silk fur. Its shiny legs, like skinny little wax beans, were carefully tossed over a fragile body....a picture of comfort in death. Poor little guy I thought. Poor little...
That damn thing was alive, and it was angry, and I say this in all seriousness, running right up my arm to bite my eye. So I shot up out of my chair, banged my leg on something loud and heavy, and started shaking and whipping my arm around to get it off. In fact I think I even blurted, “Get it off!!”
Now, I’m pretty good with critters normally, even gentle and caring. I’ll quietly cup a busy moth, once indoors, within the hollow of my hands to shoo it outside to a better, hopefully smarter life. I’d do the same for bees, houseflies, snakes, rats or possums. Spiders are a little different, but I’m all for saving them if they’re nice and sweet and don’t initiate a survival reaction. I shook that deadly sucker off somewhere near my seat, but since I couldn’t identify the body, I quickly flipped my seat over onto the ground and started shaking it. I blew into the crevices, slapped some surfaces, generally patting the whole contraption down with my hands. I even briefly thought about getting some spray glue to bury ol’ spidey up in the nethers of my chair. Perhaps that’s a little rash I thought. So I calmly turned the seat back into an upright position and surveyed the small mess I had just dusted up around me. A couple of books on the floor, a kicked-out plug for the space heater, my leg hurt a little....that’s when I noticed that people were looking at me. Maybe five people were looking, all told. I think they knew what was up, but I didn’t say anything. I wanted to say something cute to stave it off, something like “I thought I saw an elf” or “that was a small play about the value of clean underwear. The End”, or even “Turrets!” and then cussed up a rotten sailor’s storm. Maybe they’ll ask questions next week, when they’re drunk at our humble Christmas party. I’ll have to explain our Christmas party later.
Never did find that spider though.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it here before, but I’m a bit of a manners Nazi. I think it is shameful if someone sneezes and no one says “God Bless You.” I think you should have your license taken away if you don’t let someone merge in traffic if the person before you didn’t. I’ll hold an elevator door open if I see you walking down the hall toward me. And I still stand up whenever a lady leaves a table, and will not sit again until she does.
That is just the way I am.
Yesterday I stopped in to the bank to get some money out of the magic money machine. I’m not sure how it is in other places, but in NYC you have to swipe your card twice, once to get in the building and again to actually get money out of the magic money machine. I suppose they do this so homeless people don’t sleep in the ATM alcove, though it doesn’t really work since there are always homeless dudes waiting to hold the door open for you, stare at you hungrily throughout your transaction, and then make you feel bad for not handing them a twenty for opening a door you could easily have opened yourself for free.
But, in this situation, there were no homeless anywhere in sight, so as I was finishing my transaction I noticed a fella approaching the door. Yesterday was the first below freezing day in the city since March, sp I decided to hurry over and let him in so he wouldn’t be stuck out there any longer than he had to be. I even did that gay little stutter-hop-step thing that you do when you don’t want to run, but need a little more speed than a walk. I’m sure the guard watching that security camera had a good laugh at my expense.
I opened the door and was exiting, because although I hurried to help the would-be-banker, I still needed to leave the bank. Rather than waiting for me to open the door and egress, he pushed past me through the door. I was expecting one of those Three Stooges moments, where we’d both be wedged in the doorframe, but somehow we managed to pass without incident.
Now, I was helping this dude out, and he couldn’t even wait for me to open the door and walk through it before barging through the door, and me, himself. What was even worse was he didn’t acknowledge my presence in any way, much less throw a “Thank you” or even a nod of the head my way. Perhaps you can (and should) ignore most homeless people, but I’m not wearing a months worth of B.O. on me and hadn’t just peed down my leg.
Normally, I take these etiquette faux pas in stride. I didn’t hold the door open for a thank you, but something about the guy really annoyed me. So, I turned around and yelled “Your Welcome” back through the door. I usually don’t joy or a feeling of vindication in making someone else feel bad, but I did see a look of “Oh crap, I’m such a jerk” twitch across the guys face, and, well, it did make me feel good.
Perhaps he left that bank, and wasn’t his normally dicky self for the rest of the afternoon. Probably not, but hopefully he at least felt a little bad about continuing to be his dicky self for the rest of the afternoon.
Somebody wrote that the so-called cultural wars are waged by intellectuals. I tend to agree. Despite such polarizing events as the OJ verdict, 2000's election debacle and the current war-let, I think most ordinary folks are pretty much on the same page.
Egghead intellectuals include academics, advocates, pundits, pontificators and partisan politicians. Generally speaking these are rich people with plenty of time to lounge around on their duffs, formulating tortured arguments to support their positions on a variety of matters. All of which share one trait: minimal impact on our daily lives.
Meanwhile, we workaday people's live are consumed not by such abstract debate but by our all too real struggle to make ends meet. We spend our waking hours making money, frittering it away and then fretting about how to get more. Some scrimp, some save, some pimp whores, some go back to school to enhance their earning potential. In the few finance-free moments we enjoy, we pursue sex or rest up. When the morning light comes streaming in, we'll get up and do it again. In this arid soil, apathy takes root.
It's not like we're blithely unaware of the hoo-ha swirling around us though. We here in the DC area are all familiar with it. Partisans of all stripes love to come here and tie up traffic on our roadways. Local cops relish the overtime. We can't wait for them to leave.
These guys favor anarchy. Those guys want cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal freed. These guys want turtles to have unfettered sea access. Others want Third World debt forgiven. Those gals think world bankers are being unfair to mulatto trisexuals with genital warts or something. They all shake their bony fists and unfurl silly banners. Most everyone else turns a deaf ear to their concerns.
Myself I find it arduous to form an opinion on anything. I kind of oppose the death penalty because there's a potential for mistakes. Plus I don't like the way sexism and accidents of geography lead to different punishment for identical crimes. Yet sometimes I revel in executions. I couldn't have been gladder to see Timothy McVeigh go. I will rejoice anew when they cap the DC snipers. And I'm not alone in my ambivalence. Witness the sparce turnout at McVeigh's candlelight vigil. Maybe it was his refusal to repent or his frighteningly stoic demeanor, I dunno.
It's the same way with abortion. Those who favor it try to distance themselves from its nastier aspects, like partial birth abortion. But surely even they wouldn't advocate a mother sacrificing her own life to save an as yet unproven fetus. It might grow up to be McVeigh or Osama, for crying out loud. And if they're so dead set against it, why don't they put their money where their loud mouths are? Why not agree to adopt all the sickly crack babies that go unaborted in their dream world? Any takers?
Just as I thought.
I'll go out on a limb. I favor fishnet stockings, strategically torn, and stiletto heels. That is, so long as I don't have to wear them. I'm sure most of you would agree.
Damn it’s cold. I hate this time of year when your body hasn’t yet become acclimated to the frigid winds blowing in from the north. At least we’re not getting slammed with blizzard like conditions as they are in Boston. My place of employment has a serious problem conditioning the air to an acceptable temperature. I remember a couple of months ago when fall was starting to bring the temperature down they had the heat on bake in my office. I felt like a slow roasted piece of meat every day by lunch time. After lunch it was a terrific battle to keep my eyes open and get anything done. I actually fell asleep at my desk a couple of times due to a full stomach and an oven like office. Now, with the wind whipping freezing air all about outside, you could hang meat in my office. My fingers are cold to the touch and I can’t feel my toes. This phenomenon seems to only be taking place in the new engineering section of our office building. The sales, installation, programming and project management sections are perfectly comfortable. I know because I have visited them all during my research into this dilemma. It makes me wonder if they aren’t trying to tell us something. Is this some half assed ploy to do away with the engineering department? I’ll need to do more research.
Last night my buddy came by to visit. He was up from South Carolina for Thanksgiving and had a few hours to drop in. He loves a macaroni salad dish that has been in my family for generations. To me it’s just macaroni salad but it takes on a talismanic quality to hear him talk about it. Well, he was very upset with me for not bringing any back from my sister’s Thanksgiving feast so I called my sissy and got the recipe. I decided to surprise him with a bowl and a bowl of macaroni salad too. We toked the former and grubbed like starving men on the latter. He was very happy and sufficiently surprised. I didn’t tell him what a pain in my ass it was to get the ingredients. I started off to the store and half way there I felt my car pulling a little hard to the left. I stopped at a stoplight and took a look. Guess what? Flat tire. Great. Luckily I was only about fifty yards from the Mobile station. I went in and inquired about getting it fixed. The guy behind the counter spoke no English. No, you don’t understand. NO English. I rang the bell to get the mechanic’s attention but, after standing there for five minutes or so, I walked outside to peer in the glass bay doors. Nope, no one home. That’s when I tried to communicate with the cashier. I asked if the mechanics were coming back and he stared me right in the eye and said nothing. I was like “What the hell?” and repeated the question. I got the same result and was getting ready to lose my patience when he blurted out “No English!” I guess he did know some English but not enough to be of help. We had this surrealistic hand gesture conversation and the funny thing is that he understood me, went in back and retrieved the missing mechanic. Holy shit. I know deaf people communicate with their hands all the time but they practice it every day. My series of finger jabs and broad sweeping gestures didn’t so much resemble any language, to me, but was probably more closely akin to a dance you would see at a Phish show. He understood though and that was all that counts. The mechanic checked my tire and nothing was wrong that he could find. He put the soapy water, to check for holes, on the tire and everything. The mechanic put air in it, slapped it back on the car, and didn’t charge me a dime which I thought was nice. For some inexplicable reason my tire just decided to flatten itself. I check my pressure often so I know it had the right amount of air in it or close enough to keep a seal.
Anyway, I proceeded to the grocery store to get the items on my list. My supermarket just remodeled and I can’t find shit anymore. It took me probably twice the amount of time it should’ve to collect my things. Are Great Northern and Garbanzo beans not classified as vegetables anymore? Well, whether they are nationally recognized as vegetables or not is irrelevant; Safeway doesn’t put them with the canned veggies. They are found in the rice section. Hmmm. I can see the rice and beans connection but why wouldn’t you put them in the vegetable section? I’ll have to ask them next time I’m there because I’d really like to know. I then proceeded to the checkout lanes and was almost in a short line when this lady comes hauling ass at breakneck speed and jams her cart with 15,000 items in front of me. The store is packed and I’m in an express lane with my, under fifteen, items and she pulls that crap. I just stood looking at her and she ignored me like I didn’t exist. She starts piling her stuff up on the conveyor and has half of her cart unpacked when another lady, who just walked up behind me, mutters under breath about people with no courtesy who bring more than fifteen items to the express checkout. The lady in front heard her and turned around and said “Why don’t you shut the hell up you bitch?” Whoa!! These two soccer Moms start going at it verbally while I have to stand between them looking for an escape route. The manager finally came over and told the 15,000 item lady that she would have to re-pack her cart and move to another lane. I thought the woman’s head was going to explode. She turned a few shades of red and started to visibly shake. She screamed at the manager that the customer was always right, told him to fuck off, and, as she was walking out, yelled back that she was going to shop at a competitor where the people were nice. What? I couldn’t help myself and busted out laughing at how ridiculous the situation was. She gave me the evil eye and was out the door in a flourish. Justice was served in my opinion. I hope my boy enjoyed that damn salad.
I realized quite a while ago that the little thumbnail picture of me that appears in the upper left hand corner of every post is getting a little old. Not just in the, “I’m bored with it” way, but in the, “Damn, that picture was taken almost a decade ago” kind of way.
Which is not to say that I’ve aged terribly much in the past ten years, but still. Now, I’ve been thinking of changing the picture for a while now. Certainly since at least last year, when I shaved my head for the first time. I thought, “I now look sufficiently different that there must be some law requiring me to make the change.” For some reason (all signs point to laziness) I never did make the change though, and never really thought about it again.
Until a few weeks ago, after I posted the first few shots from my new(ish) camera phone (a feature now spun off into its own site – plug plug). One of the shots was a self-portrait, about which the oh too kind Jean remarked “MG, your thumbnail _really_ doesn't do you justice.”
I’ve been thinking about that comment for a while now, wondering if that little picture really captured me. And I’ve come to the decision that, of course it doesn’t. I’m one attractive man, and that little picture makes me look like an extra on This Old House. So, I suppose it is time to shake things up and use a new picture.
But, as indecisive that I am, I can’t make the decision for myself. Below are five little picture, except for the first (which was the shaved head picture I intended to use last year), they’ve all been taken in the last couple weeks. I’m not sure why I choose the pictures I did, but uhm, yeah, there they are.
Its been a long time that I've had seen that little picture staring back at me from this website. I'm going to really miss me.
I found this development rather arresting. Turns out that stripping is now a mainstream pursuit. Pam Anderson voices a crime-fighting cartoon stripper. Characterizing the act of parading about in thigh-high boots and skimpy thongs as a liberating, neo-feminist activity, former strippers charge ordinary women $400 for stripping lessons. Housewives and even grandmothers are having stripping poles installed in their bedrooms and basements. It’s the new chic household accessory. I raise no objection to this per se, however, at least not on any stodgy moral grounds.
But you’ve got to think that a stripper pole is one of those gifts that must be cleared by the recipient beforehand:
He: Merry Christmas, honey.
She: Oh look, it’s a L’il Minx stripper pole---installed right here in our bedroom. How thoughtful of you! Now pack your bags, you pervert.
My other problem is that it marginalizes real strippers. Stripping is one of the few professions that has retained some trace of that wild, outlaw mystique. Even prostitutes now call themselves “sex workers,” as if they stand on an assembly lining and produce Cleveland Steamers. As Girls Gone Wild did to flashing cleavage on spring break, stripping gone mainstream is just another example of how businessmen can suck the life and vitality out of just about anything we once held dear. Now it’s merely another commodity to be sold, and that is sad indeed. What were once Saucy Bad Girls From the Other Side of the Tracks is just naughty-but-nice Fun for Everyone. The words “stripper” and “aesthetic” should never appear in the same sentence.
In Flashdance, Jennifer Beal played a dancer who wanted to dazzle audiences with her sensual artistry. Guys just clamored for her to take it all off and shake her ass a little. That illustrates the difficulty in removing the tacky element from stripping. Likewise, Demi Moore sought to humanize strippers when she played a struggling single mom in Striptease. It proved to be a commercial and artistic catastrophe. Same goes for Elizabeth Berkley in the awful Showgirls.
Seems a similar misfortune has befallen bikers, another renegade group that used to pride itself on living on the fringes of society. It was Hell’s Angels who stabbed that defenseless kid at Altamont. Charlie Manson’s family befriended biker gangs. Bikers sold crystal meth long before it became a fashionable party drug. Free spirits all, they’d tool along with their long hair flowing in the breeze. Helmets were verboten.
Playing a helmetless outlaw biker in The Wild Ones, Marlon Brando tossed off two of the most classic lines ever uttered in a movie. His gang rode into a small town and set about terrorizing the residents. Naturally the young girls were quite enamored of these rough-hewn strangers on their loud machines. One of whom asks Brando’s character what they are rebelling against. He mulls her question momentarily and then replies, “I dunno. What you got?” At another point he sums up the old biker ethos thusly: “We don’t go anyplace. Going someplace is for squares. We just go.”
Bikers only rode Harleys. They held Yamahas and Hondas in utter disdain, dismissing the Japanese makes as rice-burners. My dad owned two Harleys, a fully restored 1929 pan-head painted candy apple red and a 1200 cc 1953 trike of the sort that policemen used to ride. It has a trunk large enough to hold two cases of beer. I used to ride the scoots in parades. When he died my mom sold them for a pittance, to free up space in the garage. While she had every right to do so, I still haven’t forgiven her.
It’s probably just as well though. What were once the exclusive property of grungy outlaw biker gangs is now mass produced by AMF Corporation, which also makes bicycles. Like stripper poles, Harleys are the latest status symbol coveted by yuppies. You have to get on a waiting list just to buy a new one.
Bikers must resume terrorizing small towns, selling drugs to minors and befriending serial killers. They need to trade their rice-burners in for old-style Harleys. They need to forget about safety, charity and community service. Sensitivity doesn’t become them.
Just as bored suburban housewives need to leave the stripping to professionals. And prostitutes need to start calling themselves what they are, prostitutes---not escorts or sex workers. There’s no shame in selling a dirty Sanchez, after all.
There comes a point in every person’s life in which they are truly an adult. For the Jews, it comes at age 13, when a child is bar mitzvahed. Or in Burkina Faso, at age 8 when a girl’s clitoris is forcibly removed. For me, at age 27, still in possession of my complete clitoral hood, I can honestly say that the moment of passage into adulthood hasn’t quite happened. At least, if it has, I haven’t noticed.
I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about how Americans, as a cultural group, are pretty damned childish. For example, who’d ever have imagined the need for a video game rating system so children aren’t able to play video games made for adults. Who’d ever have thought 30 year olds would still be collecting toys, from the bizarre fascination with Beanie Babies to Todd MacFarland’s comic book collectible empire? How can we explain the popularity of “Dave and Buster’s”, a chain of bars/play-grounds, a sort of “Chuck E. Cheese” for “adults”?
It’s hard to imagine that anyone from as recent as my grandparent’s generation would sit around playing video games, or collecting dolls. I mean while corporations have to block access to Yahoo! Games so employees don’t waste their entire day, my grandfather, at age 80, still works, because he wants to.
You might say, and Tom Brokaw would probably agree, that the reason we “new” adults still play with toys is because we’ve never had to face any sort of real adversity in our lives. Our grandparents lived through the great depression and a world war. Even our parents lived through Vietnam, whether as soldiers or conscientious objectors.
What have we, really, had to struggle against in our lives?
Even 9/11 and the War on Terror, the most significant world event of this early century, has had very little effect on our daily lives. As 150,000 American soldiers live and fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan every day, we here at home are lining up to see Cat in the Hat, worrying about whether Michael Jackson is innocent or guilty, and playing the latest Tom Clancy adventure game.
I don’t really know what my point is, because in life, if the choice is between struggle and comfort, why wouldn’t we choose comfort? But, I still have this gnawing thing inside me that says “Do something with your life,” “This isn’t enough,” and “Time to grow up.” I just wish I knew how to do that.