Well, it is that time of year again when I sit in my house, watch "The Twilight Zone," wash socks, eat chip and dip and mourn for my lost youth. I don't which is worse, sitting at home on New Year's Eve or going out on New Year's Eve and being disgusted with all of the assinine behavior. I don't drink much any more and believe me, nothing is more irritating than drunk people when you are sober. If I wanted to hang out with retarded people, I'd volunteer at a group home.
Frankly, all I need is a good Indian woman to sit at home with on a night like this. Luckily, my buddy Kev is married to an Indian woman who is a bit slutty and looking for revenge on my buddy who is about as faithful as ... well, he isn't, let's leave it at that. He is a filthy dog and I have no respect for his BS.
So I told Kev one night while he was sitting around my place drunk fielding phone calls from three of his girlfriends and trying to tell me he got me a Christmas present but forgot it at home, no honestly he did, that what I really wanted for Christmas was to take a pop at his old lady. To which he tacitly agreed.
The guy is an unfaithful drunk and in his inebriation he agreed to something I can only imagine he will later swear he did not agree to, but should that be MY concern? If she wants to take a shot at one of his friends in repayment for his infidelity, doesn't that make HER a bad person. And if I got the go ahead before hand from him, isn't she the only one who really gets something she wasn't expecting and isn't that OK since she was planning albeit deserved wickedness?
These are the times that try men's souls. I will let you know how it was when it's over.
So I felt a little ripped-off with my Christmas bonus from work, but I tried to see the bright side.
I mean, my company's pretty small -- just a handful of people, so when I opened the card and saw a couple decently-sized gift cards for Blockbuster, I was actually pleasantly surprised.
I mean, yeah, it wasn't really money per se, and I never go to Blockbuster at all, but my bosses don't know that -- they do know that I like movies, and furthermore the bosses themselves (the company is run by an married couple) do not watch movies or television, so at the very least I could appreciate the effort they went to in going to a store they'd never normally frequent.
So, with nothing else to do tonight, I dropped by a nearby Blockbuster and hit the 'previously viewed DVDs' section, which the store was promoting with a 'buy two, get a third one free' sale. I walked up to the counter with six picks (Orange County, Sexy Beast, Ali, Memento, etc) that came to within three bucks of the gift card total, which I also handed to the clerk.
He scanned the cases, checked some prices, rang everything up, then swiped the cards. A frown appeared.
"Umm... this..." he peered at the back of the card, then picked up the other and peered at it as well. "These cards are expired."
I came up short, simply confused. "I just got them a few days ago."
"They expired on the 31st of December." He peered at the cards again. "2000."
I blinked. "You're kidding me."
He nodded and pointed at the back of one card. "Yeah, this one says you can use it here or at Blockbuster Music and those, like," he shook his head, "went out business at least two years ago. These were probably off the shelves in '99 or '98 or something."
I can't help but grin. It's quite a night, supplying me with both a story and the perfect metaphor for my job all in one neat package.
I wasn't really expecting to get anything -- getting something was nice, but if I'd gotten nothing, that wouldn't have rocked my world. Somehow they managed to do both.
Yes MG it will be different but just barely. For posting during the holiday lull is like a tree falling on a mime in a deserted forest. Who cares? All I've got to say is this: A beauty contestant (Miss New Jersey?) once lamented that, "All the good diseases are taken." As in, the ones they will champion and raise funds to combat---like pediatric AIDS, multiple sclerosis or the heartbreak of psoriasis. With pickings slim, she got stuck with something lame like gout or Molly Ringwald, and lost.
Alas, I've been searching all day for a link to prove this, without success.
Three influxes of rambunctious relatives have left me reeling. I feel like that guy who gets flattened by the giant snowball in the Capital One No Hassle Card ads.
Though Christmas dinner went swimmingly. We feasted upon mutton, turkey, green bean casserole and homemade mashed taters chased with copious quantities of wine. In all we plowed through a box of white and two jugs of red.
Enter the traditional foozball tournament. You know that lackadaisical brand played by Joey and Chandler on the 20th century relic Friends? Well, this isn't that. We play a fast and furious, highly competitive brand. My nephews prevailed over the formidable pairing of my son and I for the first time.
Next came the gift exchange by a crackling log fire. I gave my siblings sweatshirts emblazoned with their respective college logos. Which got me to reflecting on my own desultory collegiate stint. A little background: I barely graduated high school with an anemic 1.0 GPA. This, coupled with having aced the SATs, limited my options drastically. Low motivation, don't you know. So I enrolled in a junior college with lax admissions standards. And by lax I mean: Do you reside somewhere other than death row? Two years later I transferred to a bona fide university teeming with 20,000 students. It seemed my college career was poised to take off, albeit belatedly. Alas, it never did. It fizzled like Madonna's film career.
Granted, I did okay academically. I soon learned that missed lectures could be made up @ one's leisure via videotape. Just as I learned that research data could be doctored to support any outlandish hypotheses one might dream up while high. And yes there were the occasional romantic flings of that I've-got-a-swetheart-back-home-but-you'll-do-in-a-pinch variety. No lasting friendships were forged. Frat parties were attended, but always I felt the outsider. I'm convinced those two years exiled in the boondocks doomed my social life. Freshman were thrown together in dorms, where alliances were formed. Thus a newcomer didn't stand a chance.
Fundraisers have been hounding me ever since. They might as well have saved their breath as I maintain few fond memories of college and thus I'd sooner contribute to Hamas.
On a less morose note, I've assembled my wish list for 2003. 1) No further saber-rattling about this Iraq business. If we're going to square off with Saddam again, then get on with it already. 2) Loudmouth Jesse Jackson is branded an enemy combatant. 3) Everybody Loves Raymond and The Osbornes lose their inexplicable grip on ratings. What with all the familial strife most folks cope with, why do we need more on TV? 4) Hotty Catherine Zeta Jones fails to shed those excess pounds from her second pregnancy. Michael Douglas dumps her. She takes up with his ailing dad. 5) The chronic shortage of suitable transplant organs is solved by the advent of human cloning. No longer will celebs like David Crosby and Mickey Mantle waltz off with the best replacement livers. 6) Songwriters resolve to craft uplifting love songs instead of the brooding likes of Counting Crows' A Long December or Creed/Pearl Jam's One. ("I feel angry, I feel helpless. I want to change the world yeah.")
Yeah, right. I'm more inclined to side with Cracker and their kiss-off chorus to Get Off This: "If you want to change the world, shut your mouth and start to spin it."
'Tis the day after Christmas and all through the house (badsam), not a creature is stirring, not even my mouse...
Just wanted to wish everyone a late Merry X-Mas, and let you all know I'm still alive. Things will get back to normal here once folks get back from hanging out again in their parents homes and start acting naughty again. 'Till then, go eat some more holiday sweets.
I'm just not getting into Christmas this year. I did all the stuff I usually do. I got out there and looked for stuff for people and bought some of it. I've been to several parties. I've wrapped all my gifts - I've even exchanged a few already. But, whereas I usually get pretty well into Christmas, this year it's just not taking.
I'm pretty selective about presents. I won't buy a present just for the sake of buying one. I start my shopping weeks in advance precisely because I want to find just the right thing for everyone on my list. The list I start with, BTW, is always about twice as long as the list of people I actually end uo buying a gift. I have about a dozen friends for whom I'll get something if I find something or otherwise not. And they do the same with me, so it all works out in the end.
But I won't buy any present out of a sense of obligation. And perhaps that's why I'm not really into it this year - for all the time I put into it, I'm not all that pleased with what I found. The shops might as well have been as bare as East German bakeries for all the worthy gifts I was finding. I always get a big chunk of my gifts from Amazon, but this year I had to resort to eBay twice, the stores were so worthless.
Not that they all came up short. The Jesus action figure (with wheels for gliding action!) that I contributed to the work gift exchange went over very well. Mom's getting a new computer from my sisters and I, something she desperately needs. A couple of other people are going to be very pleased with what I got them, I'm sure. But there are too many that just feel like I copped out. And since it's the giving of the perfect gift that fuels my holiday mood, it's got me feeling Scrooge-ish.
But it's not a total wash: Receiving is nice, too, and one of my friends gave me a Playstation 2. If all else fails, I can just boot that up.
Okay, groceries replenished and hovel recleaned in preparation for the next influx of quarrelsome relatives. Box- wine in plastic cup. Snow falling. Time to post.
In a sign of how far my disease has progressed, the 1st thought that popped into my mind when my son turned me on to this was: blog fodder.
Yes, it's a politically correct Looney Tunes for these pathetic Zeros. I'm surprised it's not called Emotionally Challenged Tunes. In this parallel universe, Sylvester is no longer Tweety Bird's tormentor. They're fast friends, as are all the revamped characters. I'm going to be violently ill.
In the 1st vignette, Tweety is flustered by a jack-in-the-box. His pals devise a plan to help boost his flagging self-esteem. With Bugs Bunny no longer a wily, self-centered manipulator but a rather benign facilitator, they script a play w/ Tweety cast as the unlikely hero. When the castrated Tasmanian Devil pops out of a box, Tweety summons the courage to jump up on it and push him back in.
Next the cohesive gang decides to venture outdoors for some healthy exercise. Ah but there they encounter an obstacle in the form of a large mud puddle. In olden times, Bugs would have duped his mates into laying prostrate in the puddle to form a bridge for he alone to traverse. No more. After much deliberation they collectively elect to stage an Olympics-style competition that is anything but. @ one point the Tasmanian Devil is glimpsed on a Big Wheel sporting a bicycle safety helmet. He's placed a ramp on the puddle shore, from which he hopes to jump it Evel Knievel-style. A plan foiled when Bugs discovers the ramp and moves it lest anyone trip over it. Safety first, don't you know.
Suffice it say a variety of benign, inoffensive hi jinks ensue. None of which entail an anvil coldly dropped on rivals from cliffs. And although Bugs clearly presides, he's been stripped of all his endearing personality traits. As has his formerly morose colleague Daffy Duck, who's been transformed into an affable nothing.
Speaking of that wiseass rabbit, they've invented a new character. It's an empowered female version of Bugs who looks like him were he a transvestite. Like Daffy Duck, she's also sweet as can be, without a malicious bone in her body. There's a kindly grandma who fixes the Tasmamian Devil's damaged Big Wheel as well.
Dating back as far as The Odd Couple or even The Honeymooners, conflict has always been a critical element of televised comedy. But again, no more. Now a sanitized cast o' morally upstanding dogooders can put on a one-big-happy-family charade (as many of us find ourselves doing this time of year) and it passes for entertainment.
The fact that this abomination exists at all let alone lures viewers can't bode well for the future of cartoons. What's next, Homer Simpson giving up Duff Beer and joining Alcoholics Anonymous?
Pity the children who must abide this drivel.
That's all folks!
My cousin graduated from college this weekend. The majority of my extended family (grad night dinner was 16 people) came down for the celebration. Which should explain why I wasn’t around the past couple days. Damn people, can’t I take a little vacation without you assholes getting on my back? Sheesh.
No sort of coherent story for the weekend is running through my head, here are some bits and pieces:
I hadn’t had more than a single glass of wine with dinner in well over a month. Now, I’ve never been much of a lush, but I can throw ‘em back, I’ll tell you what. I went out with my cousin the first night we got into town. My cousin the frat brother. My cousin the 22-year old. My cousin, spending his last night in college. That boy can drink. And I pretty much kept pace with him. Somehow, over the course of the evening, I acquired an Xtra-large Penn State jersey.
I made it back to the hotel, and was feeling pretty well. The drink combined with the unusually high cigarettes count (I’ve quit), and I was still feeling well. But, apparently I was feeling that well, because when I woke up in the morning, I’d thrown up all over myself.
I’ve always wanted to live the rock and roll lifestyle, but I didn’t want that rock star to be Jimi Hendrix.
When we went out to dinner, there wasn’t a table big enough for us all. We split up into a “kid’s” table and an “adult’s” table. Very much reminded me of grown up and getting to sit at the kiddie table for every function. Only now, the youngest of the kids there is nearly 18, and the rest of us are all of legal drinking age. Still, when all was said and done, the “adults” were the more loud and obnoxious table.
I wonder if that is just because they are loud and obnoxious, or whether us kids have learned over the years how to get in trouble without drawing attention to ourselves?
We were driving around town and my mom noted how everyone these days uses the plain white lights to decorate their homes for Christmas. She says how much she misses the old colored lights. All the talk about race like week, and the first thing that popped into my head to say was “You aren’t supposed to call them ‘colored’ lights anymore mom; they like to be called ‘African-American’ lights.”
Hi, it's me. In keeping with the festive holiday spirit, I'm back with more innocuous fluff.
In professing to be a new BS fan, Danielle lauds what she dubbed the "post/comment dynamic" here. A sentiment I'd echo. I'd also point out that she wasn't alone in singing the virtues of MG's site. Shannon too admits that she "like[s] this site." Then again, she may be biased. As for Danielle, please let us hear from you anew.
My point is that comments form the lifeblood of any site of this nature.
Still, there are a few curious aspects I'd like to explore briefly. Ponderous point #1: A neophyte writer might try to steer commentary in a given direction, as I did to no avail in my latest post. To a person, everyone ignored my suggestion and went off on an ancillary tangent. And truth be told, the comment thread proved far more entertaining than the rather lame post itself.
Yeah, that's the beauty of said dynamic---its unpredictable quality. As Green Day once sung, "It's something unpredictable but in the end it's right."
I enjoy posting something only to wake up and find several comments that seem to appear magically overnight. Seems there are night owls accessing BS at all hours of the day and night. As you sleep, they point and click their merry way across the Web. Ah but then the volume wanes and soon peters out altogether. Sniff.
Not everyone obsesses this way. A more self-assured typist surely posts in much the same way a mongrel dog takes a steamy dump in your yard. Carefree he squats down, deposits his load and proceeds without a backwards glance.
But speaking strictly for myself, I'm grateful for whatever feedback I garner.
Ponderous point #2: This here forum boasts a loyal cadre of comment-contributors, including EvilTom (who's harmless as a slight case of AIDS to quote MG,) Lucy, Gil, Gordon, Shannon, Quicksilver, Adam, JC, Mr. Blank, Muad'Dib and more recently Douchenation-cum-Xenos among others. Not only are they articulate and learned about a variety of matters I remain ignorant of (e.g. hip-hop, spooning etiquette, old movies, Taoist dogma & douche techniques,) but each displays a unique viewpoint. Yet right when one believes they've got somebody more or less pegged, they throw a curve at you. Hence I've given up trying.
Ponderous point #3: In my short stint here, I've noticed a weird dynamic between regulars EvilTom and Linz. On occasion he'll direct all manner of saucy remarks at her, all in fun no doubt. She'll gamely retort, despite the fact that she claims she'd be frightened of him were he not MG's pal. I suspect this goes back a ways, but I'm far too lazy (tipsy?) to go rooting through the archives.
Well, here's a hearfelt shout-out to all who've bothered to comment on my prosaic, disjointed blather. And special thanks to Linz and Lucy for helping me master the link-adding thing. Also to Mr. Blank for his Bad Samaritan without a trace pointer. Ditto for our gracious host, who's abided much self-serving shenanigans on his site, while offering a helpful hint or two to this village idiot. More importantly, he's made dozens bust a gut laughing. Pregnant BS readers have been known to give birth prematurely and it serves 'em right.
Happy Holidays to y'all from the House of Anna. Enjoy yourselves. Enjoy others.
Jeez, I sound like Halle Barry blithering at the Oscar podium and I haven't won shit. Must be that cursed eggnog liberally spike with what Chines menus call "many kind rum."
Said House is the designated gathering/bickering place this year. Best straighten up the hovel lest my sister-in-law offer to mop our floor again so her infant doesn't contract some dreaded disease. Merry Christmas to everyone. Holla' atchou lata'.
UN officials have banned all movies and advertisements featuring uber-stud Brad Pitt, claiming the promotion could be humiliating to human looks.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, “Just look at that guy. He can’t be human. And if he is, it is just depressing. No one should be that good looking.”
The move comes as a part of a broader effort to reduce the number of non-human faces used in earthly entertainment. In comments directed at all the world’s media, Annan said the widespread use of impossibly angelic faces could create an inferiority complex amongst us mere mortals.
"Why do we need to use their faces in our advertisements? Are our own people not handsome?" Annan is quoted as saying. Commenting on the Pitt advertisement he added: "We barred him because it appeared as a humiliation against all humanity."
Pitt had no comment, other than that he and wife, Jennifer Aniston, will be returning to their home planet, where they are still the hottest couple in the entire world.
As promised, I bring you now a dose of levity for your consideration. Not necessarily a comment-magnet, mind you, but a harmless lark nonetheless.
Blockbuster not only rents but sells videos and DVDs. To me, this seems curious given that one could tape any title once it comes out on pay-cable or even broadcast TV in due time.
Having said that, I own a few choice selections. Although I purchase tapes for purposes reviewing them endlessly as Meg Ryan did an An Affair to Remember in Sleepless in Seattle but rather to savor certain scenes over and over again. Call me obsessive-compulsive, but my collection is as follows:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Paul Newman and Robert Redford dashing confidently from their squalid Bolivian hideout with guns a-blazing, only to be mown down in a hail of bullets. The freeze-frame is priceless.
Trading Places: Dan Ackroyd is reduced to stuffing buffet lobsters into his seedy Santa suit. Also loved his classic line, "Those men tried to have sex with me."
48 HRS: A petty criminal fresh out of prison goes to retrieve his dusty, loot-laden ride only to be confronted with the fact that it's been parked at the garage for years. He gets up in the attendant's face and snarls, "I've been very busy."
Beverly Hills Cop: Can't get enough of that sequence where Eddie Murphy storms into a bar full of redneck yahoos to announce that he is their worst nightmare---an armed brother with a badge.
When Harry Met Sally: Ryan's faked orgasm scene. I'll have what she's having.
Blood Simple: The opening narration goes something like this: "Over in Russia, they've got it all figured out. Everyone chips in to help their fellow man for the common good. But what I know about is Texas, and down he-uh you're on our own."
The Godfather DVD Collection: A detached Al Pacino calmly looks on at his son's baptism as his henchmen exact blood revenge against his adversaries both real and imagined.
9 1/2 Weeks: The erotic refrigerator scene.
Honeymoon in Vegas: A host of Flying Elvises skydiving.
The Accused: Jodie Foster pinned to the pinball machine.
This Is Spinal Tap: Guitarist Nigel Tufnel informs Rob Reiner that his amp "goes to eleven." When Reiner asks him why he didn't just make each of the customary ten gradations correspond to more decibels, a pregnant pause ensues. Followed by a conversation-ending, "This one goes to eleven." He might as well have said he had to go feed his hostages.
Someday I'll figure out how to splice all this delightful footage onto one DVD. Perhaps the audience has snippets they'd like to see included. If so, elaborate below. Steamy love scenes, gratuitous violence, memorably witty lines, whatever---anything short of hardcore porn or obscure foreign films or of course anything involving the insufferable Danny DeVito will do.
Otherwise I hope you enjoyed the barrage of flashback imagery.
In light of Senator Trent Lott’s recent comments (in regards to the 1948 Presidential candidacy of segregationist Strom Thurman), and subsequent backpedaling, other politicians are taking the chance to amend for past sins.
Adolf Hitler, 113 years old and living in Brazil, finally came out of hiding to say he was sorry for the whole Holocaust thing. In an internationally televised interview with the Jewish talk show host, Larry King, Hitler said that ordering the slaughter of 6 million Jews was "a mistake of the head, not the heart.”
Hitler said he thinks his voting record doesn't reflect his support for equality. “My actions in directly trying to help individuals and schools and communities and education in my country and those we and community development and infrastructure and to create jobs so that people can get up out of poverty and get a good education and get a job and be able to do more for their children -- isn't that a commitment that really matters?”
While he concedes he enacted policies that harmed Jewish people, Hitler maintains that on a personal level, he loves all people. “My accountant, he is a Jew. My favorite TV show is Will and Grace - a Jew and a homosexual living together - I thought I'd hate it, but it is hilarious.” Hitler then went on to invite Larry King, the Jew, to his home in Brazil, “I’ll show you my study Larry - I have a lamp with a beautiful shade that was made from a Jew. And if you look in my bathroom, where do you think those little seashell soaps came from? I love those soaps.”
“People only see me as dictator and war monger, but I am a nice person,” he said. “In 1937, before the war, I was on my way to church at the Koln Cathedral and saw an old blind Romany woman begging for money. Sure, I didn’t give her any, but I also didn’t call the police and have her arrested, beaten, and raped.”
“I did a lot of good things for the people in Germany, and all those other countries we invaded. But how was I to know that when I, as Chancellor, said ‘Kill the Jews’ that anyone would actually listen to me?”
Hitler has been in hiding since supposedly committing suicide at the end of World War II. When asked why he chose now to come out of hiding, he said “If Trent Lott can be forgiven, maybe there is hope that the people of the world will forgive me too. Even the Jews.”
There is this fellow who ran threw the comments over the weekend and inspired the post about racism. Yesterday, he sent me an email, apologies if this gets long...
Hey MG, congrats on getting accepted to grad school. I know what down time is like in your twenties, so you must be on cloud nine now.
First rule of letter writing - always begin by complimenting the addressee. Naïve as I am, I expect the rest of this to be a love letter as well, though.
Anyways, I just wish Lockheed could be allowed to write comments again on BADSAM.
Nope, we go right into the pitch. A little clarification for all of you who aren’t me - for the first time in three years of running this site, I had to ban someone. I didn’t feel good about it, but I’d rather do that than deal with some wacko posting dozens of comments over the course of a couple hours. Lockheed is the person I banned. If you need further proof (besides his comments on the site) that he is a nut job, please note that he is referring to himself in the third person.
This tangent started when I met Sarah Silverman, after a gig about two weekends ago, had a drink with her
Okay, I’m not mad anymore – now I’m jealous.
Anyways, I told a friend if she knew who Sarah was, and she said yes, so I checked the web for her name, and guess what, she’s famous enough to be on your website.
Bad Samaritan – Star Maker? Probably not, but read the Sarah Silverman Nude post he is talking about if you really want to understand the full story here.
It's just that in your Silverman post, you explicitly use the word "Chink"(of course in context that it was Silverman's remark), but then you brush it off as if the asians shouldn't at all be offended. Afterall, it's not a controversy to diss asian americans because of their total lack of influence in politics and media in the U.S. and their un-hipness as social creatures. I was wondering if you would have felt the same way if she said the word, "N--gger," or "Ki--ke", etc, or if you were Asian yourself. Because the joke works the same with any slang at the end.
For those of you too lazy to go back and read that post (and seriously, go back and just look at the pictures, if nothing else), Silverman got in trouble for a joke she told on the Conan O’Brien show. She said she was trying to get out of jury duty and wanted to write, “I hate Chinks” on the form, but decided that’d be racist. Instead, she wrote, "I love Chinks (and who doesn't?)."
The joke would have worked with any derogatory word replacing what she said. I’m guessing she is Jewish (Silverman? Her name my as well have been Jewy Jewstein), so would it have been racist for her to say “I hate kikes?” I doubt anyone would have gotten up in arms about that. And, while I wouldn’t have been offended either way, I know she’d never get away with saying “I hate niggers.”
Why not? Well, Lockheed has the right idea – Asians don’t any political cache. Chink isn’t deemed as offensive Nigger, and the only reason is because Chinese people haven’t bitched enough to make it one. Maybe you chinks should stop worrying about your math SAT scores and start up some lobbies. You guys did so great building the railroads – I know you aren’t lazy. Don’t let those Abercrombie and Fitch fucks push you around!
Honestly, I wasn't offended at all with it, I tell self-degrading jokes all the time, it's humility and sarcasm; what got my goat was that it seems so obvious that things would be different on your Silverman post if she indeed said one of those aforementioned slangs.
You shouldn’t have been offended, it wasn’t meant to be offensive. I don’t think words can be hateful. The letters N-I-G-G-E-R aren’t, by themselves, offensive. Nor is Chink, Spic, Fag, Towel Head, or anything else. What is offensive is the intent of the word. Which is explains why no one finds anything offensive with UPN’s lineup (besides Buffy and Enterprise), why lesbians can go around calling each other dykes, Eminem can get away doing a movie about white trash, but Trent Lott’s career is over. What Lott said wasn’t particularly offensive, but it seems to reveal a deep-seated racism. What he said, if meant in the way everyone in interpreting it, is much worse than if had actually just come out and said he loves Thurman because of all the work he did “keeping those Negroes down.”
MG, I like your style a lot, but sometimes I feel that you might be the type of person who has the 'luxury' of being an 'idealist'. Kind of a Paper Tiger gonzo-journalist. Paper thin when it comes down to the reality of things, or fearing confrontation when it reaches your very own doorstep. And I hope you learn proper journalism, ie) representing both sides equally, no matter how much you distaste one or the other.
I want to clear a misconception that a lot of people seem to have – you are not reading a newspaper. This isn’t the New York Times. This isn’t CNN. I am not Tom Brokaw. This site is full of opinions, and I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly get any idea otherwise. The name of the site is “Bad Samaritan” - how could someone be so dense as to confuse us with an outlet for objective news?
As for being an idealist, no argument there, but I sure as hell don’t fear anyone confronting those ideals. Go back and read the posts after September 11th last year. I was stating my opinions about what happened, and what needed to happen. The bulk of people commenting disagreed with me. Did I ban them from commenting or delete their words? No, they stated their opinion and we had intelligent, though sometimes very heated, discussions.
This site has always been open to every idea, no matter how disparate from my own. The majority of those I’ve chosen to write for the site, not the commenters but the actual authors, have political ideologies far different from my own. Why would I let these people be a part of my site if I was scared they might challenge my world-view?
Don’t come here and after a couple days think you know anything about me. I didn’t ban you because you disagreed with me, but because you were being an asshole. Using vulgar language to make fun of racism is one thing, but actually being a racist is a completely different beast. Tell me, which do you think you were doing?
Now, to further prove I’m not a total tyrant, I’m going to leave the question of whether I should remove Lockheed's ban up to the people who read this site. Over the years, they’ve disagreed with me about a lot of things, from design, to music, to political ideology. I will abide their decision no matter what it is. So, to you, readers of Bad Samaritan, weigh in.
For those of you decrying the change in tone around here, I’ve got some good news.
You’ll no longer have to deal with post upon post with me whining about how directionless my life is. Unfortunately, you will now have to wade through a plethora of posts with me whining about how much homework sucks. (Though, there is the potential for humorous posts about me striking out with hot librarian wanna-be chicks).
What I’m trying to say is that I just go the unofficial word that I was accepted into graduate school for Spring 2003.
I’m left surprisingly speechless by the news, but I thought I’d share my excitement. One more life hurdle – successfully, uh, hurdled. All I need to do now is figure out how to pay for it.
I feel a little awkward making this request, but I do need some assistance and didn't know where else to turn. My son's tyrant of a teacher has assigned him to survey fifty people w/ this simple inquiry: Which nation do you like the best, aside from the US, and why. He's run out of people @ 35, which according to my calculations leaves 15 to go. Please, please take a moment to comment below---even if you just make a random selection. He and I would greatly appreciate it.
So MG deleted a snide remark or two from someone who happened upon this forum. BFD, it's his site. Hell, I'm sure he could block comments if he wanted. But my guess is he wouldn't.
Every once in a while someone seems to stop by by, stir up a hornet's nest and then disappear. All I have to add is that, given the tenor of the comments that survived, I'd love to see the ones that didn't. Or maybe not.
MG subtly suggested I tone down my posts, perhaps focus more on my pitfiful suburban existence. He also asked for another picture of myself which will be forthcoming once certain technical difficulties are overcome. EvilTom, it will be much more revealing.
I'm one of 14,000 employees of a "Financial Services" company, a tiny cog in a sprawling machine. Still, I try to treat clients and others as human beings. Alas, I fear I'm among a dying breed.
Case in point: My family had our mortgage with the same company for six years. Then it was sold to the Mortgage Company From Hell (MCFH.) Suffice it to say we disagreed about certain matters including the timing of late paymnts.
So boy was I elated when it came time to refinance. But just imagine my chagrin upon learning that, after multiple reshufflings, we wound up w/ MCFH as our mortgage company once again.
Okay-fine, it's the known evil. Or not. I Have literally spent two hours on the phone with MCFH, negotiating voice mail gauntlets, only to learn that, after dealing with four brain-dead customer service reps, I must prove that payments I've already made were indeed made. Otherwise we'll be living outdoors. The burden of proof has evidently shifted.
The more lip service companies pay to "customer service" the less you'll ever receive. More and more, the customer is made to feel like Dorothy and her comrades in The Wizard of Oz, groveling before the mighty corporate god who holds all the cards.
Not that I'm upset with the employees of Wells Fargo Mortgage Company.
There has never been a lot of racism on this site, even considering the sort of visits we attract from Googlers (the regulars here are wonderful people, I'm not saying anything bad about you). It's all been contained to comments on the naked Osama posts, where it is a point/counterpoint of stupidity, so I let it slide.
But someone was running through the comments last night and really annoyed the hell out of me for some reason. It is one thing to have a violent and emotional reaction to something violent and emotional like terrorism, but his words came out of the blue, on a post that had nothing to do with anything. (Well, actually it was about Volkswagen, so maybe that German connection had something to do with it?)
If you go through your daily life not hearing this sort of thing, you can sometimes forget that people are still prejudiced. Especially in a city like New York; with all the different races and religions here, there is surprisingly little strife between us all. But then something happens or someone says something (hello Senator Lott), and you realize that just because people aren't burning crosses one each other's lawn, that doesn't mean they aren't wishing they could.
This sort of polite racism is sure better than running around hanging people or dragging them behind your truck, but it is also so much worse because it is insidious. If you have these stupid views, and never reveal them, no one will ever confront you with the reality that, no matter what day you pray, what color your skin, or what gender you like to screw, everyone is pretty much the same.
You know, it's like when a friend tells a racist joke (and means it). Do you say something about it, or let it slide? I did delete a couple of the comments, because they were just stupid, but I left the majority of them up (on this and this post). I was going to let things slide, leave the comments up, and not really make a big deal about it.
But I really want to make the point that this isn't what the site is about. We may talk about sex, and race, and religion, but, even if I’m making light of it, it isn’t in a derogatory manner. Perhaps a bit of political correctness is lodged itself in my consciousness, but I can still say these things without it being racist, right? I’m not a hypocrite here, am I?
We've all been subjected to rap attacks. Each shares the following elements: 1) It invariably strikes when the victim is nursing a killer hangover. 2) It inevitably strikes at the longest stoplight known to man. 3) Groaning shock absorbers sing harmony off-key. 4) No amount of cajoling, obscene getures, indeed nothing short of gunplay will deter the offender from blaring hip-hop @ a decibel level roughly comparable to an avalanche. 5) The driver is a white punk on ginkgo biloba.
And you think it's loud,obnoxious and grating beyond belief in your vehicle. Jst imagine the ambiance inside his! And yes, I'm using the male pronoun because I've yet to encounter a gal who'd purchase such a powerful car stereo much less crank it up to ten. (I'm reminded of Nigel Tufnel's classic line from This Is Spinal Tap: "This one goes to eleven. That's one more, isn't it.") Thankfully his doesn't.
Music critics draw arbitrary distinctions between rap proper, hip-hop, gangsta rap, East Coast vs. West Coast and Dirty South. Yet to the uninitiated, and @ this ear-splitting decibel level, it's all the same thing---not so much a menace as a persistent nuisance. Blacks and Eminem churn it out and white dweebs lap it up like Monica on her knees.
So there you languish, trapped inside your ride with 200 decibals of profanity-laden rhymes stampeding through woefully overmatched defense mechanisms to burrow directly into the very core of your being. Though not generally prone to violence, your subconscious thoughts turn to homicide. You wish you hadn't left your handgun in the nightstand. Then again, it's probably just as well since you're not overly keen on becoming your burly cellmate's latest plaything. Just as the state frowns upon offing of its citizens, however loathsome they may be.
Peering around at your fellow stranded drivers enduring the torment in stoic, bristling silence, a sense of solidarity permeates the air. It's a solidarity borne of a common enemy, much as Americans of all stripes pined for Osama bin Laden's empty head on a pike after he singled out innocent toddlers for death. In unison y'all contemplate bursting from your minivans to descend upon Rap Man with mayhem foremost in your minds. But no one dares make the 1st move because, again, there's that pushy cellmate problem to consider. And for all your false bravado, you're sissies at heart.
Oldsters like me have been predicting, perhaps too hopefully, the demise of hip-hop for years. We were all but certain it would collapse uner the weight of its own greed. Yet there it remains firmly ensconced, blaring from hoop-Ds, emanating like poison gas in a Kurdish village from ghetto blasters and hollering from the TV. There's no telling how many woofers it's shredded. It's infuriatingly loud, profane when not unintelligible and always in-your-face. Indeed, rap is inescapable short of joining an Inuit tribe and hunkering down in an igloo. So you might as well resign yourelves to a lifetime spent with it. Or else squeeze off a deadly accurate head shot @ Rap Man and hightail it with threadbare tires a-squealing. Who'd ever suspect you? Or for that matter, blame you. Not me, that's for sure.
Note: Nothing in this post should be construed as advocating the murder of any actual person. It's satire, stupid.
Neighbors of technically-still-alive VP Dick Cheney are being shaken and rattled at least once a day by mysterious blasts at the U.S. Naval Observatory where Cheney lives.
(Yeah, the VP 'lives' at a military installation, as though everything you already knew about the current administration needed get more creepy and disturbing and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.)
The Navy says the explosions are part of a construction project that has been going on for several months now but won't say more because the project is classified, describing the work as an "infrastructure improvement, a utility upgrade," but really meaning "structural reinforcement of the entire area in anticipation of the extinction-level events that the VP orally describes during his nightly ether-induced REM cycles -- a process he has disturbingly nicknamed 'my nocturnal emissions.'"
Neighborhood rumors, speculation, and hypotheses -- which suggest an interlinked cave network filled with leather fetish gear, radium-laced rat's blood for clear and supple skin, and more giggling Persian boys than a Vatican-load of archbishops could deny -- have been dismissed by Washington D.C. press secretaries, since the whole 'underground complex' idea is so Austin Powers, and all that's really down there is a network of blank corridors that lead to empty, dark rooms where Dick likes to lay down on the cold tile and stretch his body into the form granted him by the Great Old Ones in exchange for the shiveled thing that used to be his soul.
"Ia, Ia, Ia," the spokesperson continued as her spine bent into a painful reversed 'U' and her eyes bulged. "The Goat with a Thousand Young! The Unnameable Thing once contained within the Pentagon will devour us all! Thank you all for coming and please leave your press passes at the door."
Has anyone seen the new Volkswagen commercial with the young shlub repeatedly heading off to work while pining away for the new Beetle convertible, all over a soundtrack of ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky. I’m sure you’ve seen it, the commercial is omnipresent, and even when you aren’t anywhere near a television the song is as persistent an earworm a damn Nelly song.
The first time I saw the commercial was during the previews on the opening night of 8 Mile. Now, 70s prog rock and Volkswagen seem an odd pitch to the demographic likely to be at the 11:30 opening night showing of a movie about a white-trash rapper, but VW did manage to hook at least one person with the ad, me.
I love the commercial. It is as good a piece of music video cinema as anything you are likely to see on MTV (not directed by Spike Jonze). And it got me thinking about advertising.
I read an article a couple months back saying that over the last 50 years advertising has moved from trying to sell a product toward trying to sell an idea, or lifestyle. That is definitely the case with the VW ad, which doesn’t even show the car. It’s true with a lot of other ads too, from the Taster’s Choice coffee soap opera, to every break during the Super Bowl.
These commercials are certainly more entertaining to watch, because that is what they are, entertainment. And as commercials have gotten more cinematic, entertainment has gotten more commercial. Companies spend big bucks to get their logos in movies and on TV. A local radio station even has a contest every Monday to spot the product placements in the previous night’s episode of The Sopranos.
There is this communication theory that suggests media exist solely as a means to get people to watch advertisements. Now, I’m no rebel. I don’t have a subscription to Ad Busters. You aren’t likely to see me throwing rocks and rioting at the next WTO get-together, but I do see some credence in this theory.
Television shows are created because they expect to appeal to certain demographics. This isn’t because any altruistic desire to provide entertainment to those people, but because those demos will attract the most advertisers.
The theory states that the entertainment creates an image of an ideal lifestyle and advertisers present products that, supposedly, will allow viewers to live that same lifestyle. As if using a certain brand of laundry detergent will get you on the cast of Friends.
It’s hard to argue against that theory, but I’ve really got to wonder how successful it is. As much as I love the commercial for the new VW Beetle, I’m not about to run out a buy one. Even if I were heading into a dealer tomorrow, I could happily hum Mr. Blue Sky while buying a Ford. It I’m spending 20 grand on a new car, no song, no matter how catchy, would sway my opinion.
Even switching now from six figure purchases to six packs, I love Budweiser’s Real American Hero radio ads, but you will never find me stopping at the 7-11 for a case of Bud.
So, I’m really wondering whether an ad has ever a) compelled you to take a certain action you never would have otherwise or at least, b) influenced you one way or another on a purchasing you were wavering about.
A while back I posted When Less Is More. The gist of which was just that---everything doesn't need to be revealed. It met with an underwhelming 0 comments. Hopefully this continuation will fare better.
Girl comes on the radio. She's tellin' me more and more 'bout some useless information. Seems these Durex condoms could "prolong my passion" and quell my worries about contracting a nasty STD. No wonder I can't get no satisfaction. But seriously, flying in the face of all logic, this throaty-sounding chick would have you believe that rubbers enhance your sex life!
Likewise, some claim condoms saved porn, since its AIDS-afflicted stable o' stalwarts started dropping off like flies a few years back. But would anyone seriously argue that the product is as enjoyable this way? First there's the awkwardness of pulling it out and putting it on. Then there's the blatantly manipulated money shots. Safer, yes, sexier, fuhgetaboutit.
It's time to cleanse airwave of this irritant. Ditto for that Viagra ad where coworkers keep pestering this dude about whether he's been working out, shaved his moustache etc. Come to find out he's just resumed banging his SO after a long and perhaps welcome hiatus.
Before him we endured crotchety Bob Dole prattling on about Bob Dole's erectile dysfunction. One imagines that he's his post-menopausal wife Libby's worst nightmare. Envision him chasing her around their house as Jack Nicholson did his famly in The Shining.
Lastly allow me to present this from the files of Products Unlikely to Catch On. "Oh, you'd like some oral? Why then, I'll just insert my handy dental dam so I look like a dental patient or a boxer with his mouthpiece in place. Sexy, huh?"
"Bob, what happened? Just a minute ago, you were rearin' to go."
Hoping to tap into that extensive market of adolescent boys who are secure enough in their sexuality to disregard the opinions of their peers, Marvel Comics has announced they are introducing the first openly gay character in a comic book.
The character will be an update of the 1950s title the Rawhide Kid. According to CNN, the Rawhide Kid will use “double entendres and euphemisms to reveal his homosexuality without saying anything explicitly.” Ignoring the fact that if you use double entendres and euphemisms to reveal something, you aren't doing anything explicitly, the character really is gay.
Though the first issue hasn't even hit the shelves yet, several other characters from the western genre are in the works for homosexual reimaginings.
The spaghetti westerns of the 1960s have already been tapped for remakes. In preproduction is the The Good, the Fab, and the Ugly. In the new version, much more time is spent in the Union prisoner of war camp. Wilson Cruz (My So Called Life) is already on board to play Blondie (The Good), the role made famous by Clint Eastwood. If the film is successful, there is already talk of several more remakes with Cruz in the Eastwood role, including For a Few Dildos More, The Outed Josey Wales, and Fisted For Dollars.
Since he isn’t doing much of anything else, Kevin Costner is slated to write, star and direct in a gay porn remake of his Oscar winning film, now titled, Dances with Other Men. In the retelling, Lt. John Dunbar is left deserted on the Western frontier, only to be befriended by an all-male Indian tribe, and taught in the ways of man-love. He gradually earns the respect of these native people, and sheds his heterosexual ways.
When asked if he was going to renew his role in a homosexual remake of the Young Guns series, Kiefer Sutherland said, "Come on, those movies were pretty gay already. They shouldn’t have let me, Emilio, Charlie, Lou, and Christian star in a movie together. And that Bon Jovi soundtrack? Queer city!”
Television is also jumping into the revisionist western ring. The Cartwrights return to the Ponderosa in Bone-anza. Only in this retelling, Little Joe and Hoss, aren’t Ben’s sons, but his domestic partners. Also returning to the small screen is David Carradine who, despite still not being Asian or homosexual, will reprise his roll as Caine, the cross-dressing Shaolin monk in To Kung-Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.
Though it hardly needs to do anything to gay itself up, I need some way to drive this joke into the ground, so Broadway is also lubing up to make some their frontier fables more fag-friendly. Opening in the Spring will be the interracial Seven Brothas for Seven Brothers, where a basketball team gets seperated from their wagon train on its way out West, and stumbles upon seven backwoods brothers. The brothers are so lonely and desperate for love they decide to kidnap the team and make the team their bitches. Hilarity ensues, all to a score by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
I'm just sitting here watching as my neighbor's snowman slowly melts away. 'Tis a rather pathetic specimen, essentially devoid of form or even appreciable contours---think Homer Simpson. A stick protrudes fom what passes for his head, presumably to represent a nose. No other facial features are evident. Perched at a jaunty angle atop said head is a bicycle helmet. Due to faulty construction, it stands askew like an old man with a wrenched back.
Lately I feel just like that pitiful snowman inexorably witherng away. It's a creping malaise, the etiology of which I can't quite put my finger on. Must be that damned Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, get it?) Or else the knowledge that we've seen the last of Rosie nee McCall's magazine. I'll so miss its monthly glorification of all-things-Rosie.
Oh well, we've still got O.
I still haven't gotten back the official results back for my GREs, but if you take the computerized version of the test, like I did, you get an immediate score on the multiple-choice questions. Even though they don’t matter at all, I'm actually more curious to see how I did on the essay section. The GRE books I looked at say, regardless of putting together a reasonable argument, the one thing that seems to really guarantee success is length.
And if there is one thing I’ve got going for me, it’s length (if you know what I mean).
I really pride myself on being able to churn out pointless drivel, and lots of it, pretty quickly. I do it here on a regular basis. So, I can't wait to see what a bunch of overworked and underpaid grad students think of the dissertation I was able to churn out for the GRE's to essay sections.
The only thing that really concerned me was getting a good score on the multiple-choice sections, and I did that. I decided to take the GREs, even though the school I'm applying to doesn't require them, because they have a special tuition assistance program; if you had over a 3.5 undergraduate GPA (in my case, a big “nope”) or scored over a 1200 on the GREs, you get $100 off every credit you take. Over the course of the program, I’d save nearly $4,000, or rather, not have to pay that money back to the nice Stafford Federal Loan people when I finally do graduate.
I had nothing to lose by taking the test, and not losing more money to gain by taking it, so I did. The $150 they charge you for the honor of letting them underpay some teaching assistants to and electronically grade your exam, and the day and a half of stress between when I decided to take it, signed up to take it, and I actually took the damn thing, was definitely worth the potential return on investment.
All I needed to do was score a 1200, and I did. So, in that regard, it was a complete success. But being the mopey perfectionist sort that I am, I still choose to get upset about it, because I didn't do nearly well as I'd hoped.
Another reason for taking the GRE was to supplement my college grades. As smart as you all might think me, and as smart as I modestly claim to be, I wasn’t the best of students. My low college GPA is due entirely to the one rotten semester right before I quit school for a year. After scoring a whopping 0.9 average (a D- average) over that semester, I decided maybe I didn't really want to be in college. Unfortunately, that realization came a bit too late.
However, discounting that one miserable semester, my GPA was pretty. I never managed to make the Dean's list, but I did just miss it (a couple times) by only a couple hundredths of a point. One of those times I'd been doing A work all semester and just plain forgot to show up for one of my final exams. So, maybe it isn't that I was a bad student so much as a self-destructive idiot.
At any rate, the grad program has a minimum requirement for undergraduate GPA that I just barely miss. I figured if I did well enough on the GRE and sent a letter (remember my awesome writing abilities) explaining things, they’d let me around that requirement. Rules are made to be broken, and if anyone deserves a break, it’s me.
Saturday morning there was an open house at the college. They usually have 15 people show up; this morning there were more than 40. I've got no other plan on how to spend the next two years of my life, and the thought of having to look for full time work in this market just makes me so very sad. So, I sat through the entire presentation shitting myself with worry that with all the competition, and having sent in my application so late, that there is no way I'm getting in.
For a moment, lets disregard the fact I haven’t another damn option available. As I was looking around the room I noticed something that makes me want to get in even more; of the 40+ people there for the open house, only 5 (including myself) were male (and I'm pretty sure two of those were gay).
I suppose this was to be suspected, being that I'm applying to an Information and Library Science Masters Program. Library screams “females here” more than a wastebasket full of used tampons, even to someone as sexually enlightened as me, but I really didn't expect this favorable a ratio. Sure, a number of them were older, and there were a couple of (really) butch dykes, but the majority were around my age and really hot. Not even hot in that marmy sort of way you expect librarians to be (black rimmed glasses and pleated skirts are SO hot), but just outright hot, even when planted into the uberhot general NYC population.
I wanted in before, but if there is a ten to one ration of hot chicks to straight guys, I'd be willing to sit through Pluto Nash if it meant I could situation myself in that kind of babelicious environment.
I don't want to talk too much more about this, because I don't want to jinx anything. But I don't really have much else to scribe about, I thought I'd let you know. I hope to find out before Christmas, but it may not be until the beginning of January. Classes would start January 16, so if you don't hear anything by then, don't bother asking since it means I didn't get in. But, if I do get accepted, you better believe I'll be screaming for joy from the highest mountaintops and stocking up on prophylactics.
Death Be Not Proud
Teddy sniffing glue, he was twelve years old. Fell from a roof on East 29. Cathy was eleven when she pulled the plug on 26 reds and a bottle of wine. Bobby got leukemia, fourteen years old looked like 65 when he died. He was a friend of mine.---the late Jim Carroll, from People Who Died
I don’t watch CSI or CSI: Miami. Could I afford HBO, I wouldn’t watch Six Feet Under either. Hated Night Shift, Weekend at Bernie’s and Night of the Living Dead. Mainly because all of them feature deceased persons in prominent roles. And I don’t take kindly to the dearly departed.
Why, you ask? For openers, call them corpses, cadavers or stiffs, but they all reek to high heaven. (Imagine how different The Sixth Sense would have been if the kid's signature line were, “I smell dead people.”) And once the mortician gets done with them, they never bear much resemblance to their former selves. Whenever they’re present, people grow all hushed and reverent. Moreover, live persons lie through their teeth when corpses are lying around. When’s the last time you heard a completely candid eulogy? Whitney Houston’s interview with Diane Sawyer was more honest.
That’s not all. Stiffs are so rigid they make Al Gore seem limber and relaxed. They’re slovenly and seldom make a meaningful contribution to conversations unless it’s a seance. In which case charlatans are bilking loved-ones out of thousands. Cemeteries they loll about in waste valuable real estate. Funeral processions tie up traffic. The deceased spawn crimes from necrophilia to grave-robbing.
Of course I jest lest I break down in tears. It’s some kind of defense mechanism I use to deal with a topic I find most touchy and disturbing.
You see, I like The Basketball Diaries’ Mr. Carroll have also seen an inordinate amount of untimely death and mayhem among my associates and acquaintances. It started when my best friend Billy and I were involved in a fatal car crash at age 16. His pulse stopped on my lap. Three years later, my new sidekick Peter got shot dead by his own brother. Dave fell off a fishing trawler and drowned. Amy died much like Sonny Bono in Vermont. Ali got beaten to death and thrown in a sewage treatment pond. Sandra’s head struck a telephone pole as she hung out of a car window, gone. Frank hung himself in despair. In a crack-induced stupor, Diane stumbled in front of a bus in New Orleans. Michelle got strangled by a water-skiing rope in a freak accident. My soccer teammate Sarah perished of a heart attack on the sideline after securing victory by scoring two goals. Nigel slept through a fire that swept through his house. Several others overdosed versus suicide; sometimes the ME is hard pressed to distinguish. And my dad, an incomparably brilliant man who succumbed to cancer in his prime.
My clique’s surviving members’ progeny hasn’t fared any better. Hopefully it’s not one of those sins of the fathers deals, but who really knows? All I do know is that nihilism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Sappy Sincere Anna will never post again. I did her as Taliban mullahs would have Winona Ryder. And no, I don't mean a $10,000 fine and 480 hours of community service either. (Sorry about the Ryder reference, Linz. It won't happen again.)
Caution: Blatant metaphor-mixing ahead. Don't try this @ home.
Although you wouldn't know it from my rambling, disjointed posts, Anna is quite the perfectionist in real life. It's not a good thing. Were I a filmmaker, I'd be Stanley Kubrick dropping dead from exhaustion due to his endless tinkering w/ the flop Eyes Wide Shut (mine were, as in sound asleep.) If I was a murderer, I'd strive to concoct a foolproof plot as Michael Douglas almost did in A Perfect Murder. But when typing in the vapors, some sense of urgency is essential. It wouldn't do to riff off an outdated link or carp about ancient history dating to last week, after all. Hence one can't agonize incesantly over details of details of phrasing or syntax. Indeed, I have perused blogs where the writer displayed grammatical and syntactic skills on a par with George W. for "We Don't Get Fooled Again" Bush.
Not so your pal Antwon. His blog teams with clever turns-of-phrase, hip allusions and the occasional insight, all set forth in impeccable King's English. It comes across as casual, offhand even, but we all know it don't come that easy. Antwon rocks.
Here's my point, lame as it may be: Antwon has literally written a book on his site, and a damn good one @ that. Yet all he receives in return is whatever pittance readers stuff in his tip jar. (Well, maybe it's not a pittance. I dunno.) Meanwhile, such text millers as Stephen King or John Grisham or Tom Clancy could whack off on a sheath of papers, slap on a $20 price and it would sell like those annual hot toys moms battle to the death over. (Last year robbers laid in wait outside Toys R Us and relieved parents of their newly purchased PlayStation 2 at gunpoint.) Likewise, I cringed with resentment as I plunked down $23 for my vampire stepdaughter's copy of Kurt Cobain's Journals. Which consists of, and I kid you not, random doodles, druggy musings and hand-scrawled draft copies of lyrics all rendered on notebook paper. $23!!
Damn snooty, insular publishing industry.
The injustice of it all is enough to drive an unstable sort to Andrea Yates action. But not me. I'm happy here in the vapors.
I was gently informed that of the nearly one gigabyte of server space here at Bad Samaritan, I’m using only a piddly 100 MB. As a big proponent of working what I got to the absolute limit, I decided to do something about it.
It was suggested I start of Photoblog. I’m not sure how likely that is to happen, considering how boring my life has become recently. Every day’s worth of pictures would pretty much consist of the same thing, since that every day is pretty much the same: lying on the couch, watching Judge Judy, Judge Hatchet, Judge Joe Brown, etc., sitting in front of my computer, alternatively searching for places to send my resume to and searching for pictures to run a batch to, making lunch, checking the snail mail and then heading to bed.
Not the most interesting of photo opportunities there.
But, it snowed yesterday, and New York is never more beautiful than after freshly fallen snow has, briefly, covered up all the filth. So, here are some pictures I took wandering around my neighborhood:
Hi, it's me, Sappy Sincere Anna as opposed to Sassy Snide Anna who is bound & gagged in the root cellar.
I truly enjoy posting in Bad Samaritan. Partly because this whole blogging thing is new to me and partly because I have no other creative outlet. And here I use the term "creative" in its loosest sense.
Nor do I harbor any burning desire to launch Anna.com or some such contrivance. For one thing, like any purveyor of arguable art or literature, I crave feedback. It warms my heart when my post sparks a slew of comments, even if it's negative or slanderous. For another, there's a palpable camaraderie here---good feelings all around, as MG put it. Were I to start my own site, I'm afraid it would languish unbidden out in some remote outpost like a forlorn orphan. Besides, I haven't a clue as to the mechanics required.
But most of all, there is an incredibly diverse talent pool here. It begins with MG, the pooh-ba with a sardonic viewpoint on every subject known to man. For instance, he once professed that any man who'd bugger another, even in a three-way, is gay. You've got the vivacious Linz, whom I suspect lacks her own blog not for a lack of technical prowess or indifference as in my case but because she enjoys posting here. Then again, for all I know, she maintains a thriving URL (does anyone know what that stands for?) Certainly she possesses the requisite wordsmith skills. Eff posts regularly as well in his inimitable style. Then there's Goose, who @ 19 is a relative newcomer. His shit slays me. Ditto for another guy who showed up about the same time as Goose, Doyle I believe. Haven't heard much from him lately though. Uberchick pops up episodically with killer NYC anecdotes. I am to them as the Three Stooges are to the Three Tenors.
There's also an array of semi-retired authors who go way back. Many of whom are profiled on MG's Authors Page. All told, MT lists 28 Bad Samaritans, in addition to scads o' faithful commentators, including Lucy, EvilTom, K.D. and a host of others who''ll remain nameless here as my memory is shot.
A while back MG groused about all the "hits" those boring political sites attract. He also harrumphed about all the attention Wired lavishes on them. He even joked about transforming this apolitical sanctuary into a war-blog. He then emerged from a brief hiatus to expound anew 'bout this publication and Bloggy awards. I never even knew such things existed. Nor did I know that BS had been snubbed repeatedly by these elitists, but MG evidently did.
Regardless of the arena, critics and bestowers of awards invariably miss the boat. Consider this: Of the top 50 grossing movies of all time, a mere two took Best Picture honors. Try to guess which ones.
Anyway, here's my point: MG's site is the best around, bar none. It seems to me he'd like to see some awards and recognition. (God knows he's got the traffic going on.) So let's crank out some stellar material that will make it happen. Come on team, let's win one for the MGipper.
Or not. Sounds way too much like work for my taste. Fuck that.
Damn. Sassy Snide Anna escaped. Arrgghh@&*.
While the cold freezes the city streets, the bustle below is a trading floor like no other. Only this trading floor has no tickers, computer screens, or people screaming at each other. Most of the time anyway.
Mr. über-hipster hopped onto the train, garbed in an über-cool shirt halfway buttoned with a white t-shirt underneath, gray second-hand shop pants, and the requisite messenger bag. Mr. über-hipster shuffles in his bag, locating his discman, only to find that his batteries have died from über-usage.
Lucky for him, sitting next to him, watching his every move, is a sloppily-dressed, homeless-like dude with a huge laundry-bag weavesack chock full of clothes he most likely rummaged out of somewhere, layers upon layers of clothes, and a pair of über-chic hipster sunglasses seen most often in williamsburg or some downtown club.
"Batteries dead?" dude asks Mr. über-hipster.
"Yeah," responds Mr. über-hipster despondently, wondering how he was going to get through a train ride without music blasting into his über-hip head.
"You have some?" Mr. über-hipster asked, hopefully.
"Sure," says dude.
He shuffles through his bag, then his pockets, and produces 2 AA batteries. Mr. über-hipster generously offers dude $2. Dude happily takes it. Mr. über-hipster hands him another dollar, nodding props to dude. Dude nods back with the same über-air and gives Mr. über-hipster the last two batteries. Dude gets off at the next stop, happy to have scored in such a timely manner, and Mr. über-hipster blasts electronica into his head.
The exchange brought on the warm and fuzzies, even if I did have to listen to bad electronica for the next ten minutes.
I wrapped my fear around me like a blanket. I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it. I'm crawling on your shores. - from the Indigo Girls' Closer to Fine
I found LINZ's workplace rant most entertaining. Seems she finds herself in an untenable position, so much so that one wonders why she doesn't just bolt and pursue her music career full-time. The answer is facile: She has bills to pay just like the rest of us tone-deaf losers.
The bad news is that it can only get worse---far worse. Father Time will inevitably impose an ever-tightening noose of onerous responsibilities, obligations and accountability to others. Exorbitant mortgages will replace rent. Heartless utilities will make good on their threat to cut off service. Ingrate children will demand daily meals when they're not, to cop MG's phrase, Winona Rydering your OxyContin stash.
It's called following the path of least resistance, or your ship of safety to use the Indigo Girls' mtaphor. This revelation came to me the last time I was prostrate on the frozen sidewalk with my arm down in the water-meter hole, turning a wrench to reactivate service. Now they threaten that if I do it again, they'll rig it up so it's impossible. Econo-Lodge, here we come.
With that said, I'll trot out my list of workplace grievances. First off, I resent all this constant focus on arbitrary "measurement" of inherently subjective "performance indicators." None of which ever bear even a remote relationship with bottom line result or impact "customer service." Why not simply hire a competent workforce, pay them accordingly and trust them to use their best judgment? Why stifle creativity and squander countless person-hours with all this feckless tail-wagging-the-dog inanity?
Secondly, there's the matter of being under constant scrutiny. Management can and does literally count your keystrokes. They know what websites you visit, how often and how long you linger (ahem, LINZ.) Calls are monitored not to ensure "optimal customer service" but to eavesdrop on problem workers. Today's employer is to employees as tyrannical AG John Ashcroft is to ordinary citizens/enemy combatants.
Hence, gone like Dana Carvey's career are the days of a benevolent employer and its gaggle o' slavishly loyal drones. This global village ain't no company town. Fact is, the company couldn't give a rat's ass about you and the feeling is mutual.
Lastly, my annual salary amounts to a meager .5% of what the typical fat-cat CEO rakes in. That's no disparity, folks, it's a freaking obscene chasm. Not that I'm bitter or anything.
I know, I know, I go months without posting and then when finally I do, it's to bitch about the weather. Well, I feel that strongly about it: I hate snow.
Not strongly enough, mind, to have stayed in Los Angeles. I'd have to be allergic to the stuff to do something as drastic and unpleasant as that. Fortunately(?), I do not actually break out in hives at the onset of winter. I just become progressively more irascible until that wonderful day the sun starts sneaking out a bit earlier and the snow starts receding.
Of course, the first true sign of Spring that girls start wearing their short skirts again. It is for this reason alone that Spring is my favourite season. Sure, in SoCal there are girls out in skimpy clothing pretty much year-round, but that just makes them part of the scenery. No lifelong SoCal resident can truly appreciate the true wonder that is the first short skirt of Spring.
But that's months away. At least I have something to loof forward to.
I was watching some crappy daytime television, as a person is want to do when they are unemployed, and heard about a program called Project Butterfly. The goal of Project Butterfly is “to send young women to prom who would not be afforded the opportunity to attend due to their family's financial condition.”
Are you kidding?
Has anyone ever heard of priorities?
It’s a total cliché, but there really are starving children in China, not to mention everywhere else in the world, even, believe or not, here in the United States. Project Butterfly estimates the high end of ending prom to be around $1,500, and they aren’t including the cost of alcohol, money to grease your big brother enough to convince him to buy you alcohol, a hotel room, and a jumbo size box of Trojans, for the teenage libido.
Who thinks it’s a good idea to spend $1,500 on prom for a kid from a family that probably can’t afford to feed their kids on a regular basis? Am I the only one who thinks this is taking the urge to make people “feel better” way too far? I understand things like Toys for Tots and the Make A Wish Foundation. In those cases, a $20 Yu-Gi-Oh toy really will make some little kids day brighter. And if you are a child with a terminal disease, you should pretty much get to do whatever the hell you want; Winona Ryder all the candy you want, torture cats, have sex with your sister, whatever.
But, I don’t even care if your parents are Bill and Melinda Gates, you shouldn’t be spending $1,500 on something as meaningless as prom. You are celebrating successful completion of high school, something legally mandated in most states and easily accomplished even by the illiterate and West Virginian. They don’t throw fancy dress dances when convicts are released from prison (though that might make for some interesting Oz moments), so why do high school kids get a party?
Besides, if you are a chick that can’t even convince your date to pay for a prom ticket, a limo and enough booze to get you to say, “Yes,” a free dress isn’t going to help you out much. It won’t make you a princess, even for one night, and it wont take the shame away when your date pops your cherry and leaves the hotel the morning after without paying, waking you up, or giving you so much as a reach around.
No, this is absolutely a case where money doesn’t help the problem, and there aren’t a lot of such situations. I’m not philanthropist, but with all the problems in the world, isn’t this such a colossal waste of time and money?
You know what wouldn’t be a waste, though? A donation to the "Help MG Pay His Rent" fund:
One might guess by my deluge of comments that I’m back. And if you did assume that, you’d still be making an ass out of u and me, but it’d be an ass I’d want to smack all night long.
I am back, and I’ll return to regular action tomorrow, but I really wanted to take the time to commend the recent crop of Bad Samaritans. If you take a look at the authors page (which, woefully, hasn’t been updated in a year – someone please yell at me about that), you can see that at various times Bad Sam has played home to many of Blogging’s elite. While BS has never been nominated for any kind of blogging award, last year saw the personal sites of our staff vying in almost every Bloggy category.
This new crop of writers may not be as well known, but damn are they good, and damn do they understand what I’m trying to do here. Now, more than ever, I really get the sense that this is a group blog, rather than just MG and some other people. I was able to go away for a week (and be pretty much MIA the couple of weeks before) and things trucked on without me. There were some great posts, and tons of comments, and just good feelings all around.
I hope everyone else appreciates these new kids as much as I do.
Ah, the holidays. To me the holidays are about one thing. Well, two things if you count gravy, but gravy is a constant; like oxygen, it should always be there when you need it. Oh sweet gravy, is there anything you can’t do?
Where was I? Oh yeah. The holidays are a special time because while the networks are busy running “It’s Chanukah, Charlie Brown,” “Rudolph’s Shiny New Kwanzaa” and edited versions of Rankin Bass classics, cable channels like A&E, History, Discovery, SciFi, TLC, The Travel Channel and even, occasionally, The Food Network counter with a variety of offbeat programming that includes UFO documentaries; some of which are even credible.
I don’t really care what people think, UFO documentaries are cool because no matter what the truth is, there is a cultural phenomenon of great interest here.
Either way, we will see who is laughing when those little grey bastards come down here to screw our women, eat our faces and take our fucking jobs. And don't tell me aliens only do the jobs Americans don't want to do in the first place because I know plenty of Americans who would be more than happy to mutilate cattle and stick probes up peoples butts for the right money.
When MG talks, people listen. And boy do they ever comment, to the tune of 10 added to his last post alone. So I'd like to pick up on that thread by saying that, while I've never met him, MG strikes me a level-headed, sensible sort who'd make for a splendid dad were he to go that route. Which may or may not be a helluva lot more than one could say for this eccentric recluse.
Now, putting aside those ancient and unproven child molestation accusations, I realize that most folks regard Mr. Jackson as a relatively harmless freak. Nonetheless, until human cloning becomes a reality as it evidently will soon , he's still governed by basic laws of biology. Like the one that require a viable womb for childbirth to take place. Plus, judging by the infant's tender age, he's probably still breast-feeding. Which means the mom was probably present during this bizarre episode.
One wonders about the conversation leading up to it. Perhaps it went something like this:
Michael: Honey, where's the baby?
Mother: Last I saw, the nanny was bathing him. Why?
Michael: There's a throng of my adoring fans outside clamoring for a glimpse of Prince Michael II. So I thought I'd dangle him from a 4th story balcony, maybe juggle him a bit.
Mother: Fine by me. Just be careful not to drop him. And bundle him up.
Right. Am I missing something here?
I was going to write an entirely different post, something about the joys of carefree youth, but then came another sign of the apocalypse - I lost another hair. It landed right between the Shift and Enter keys, lost and never to be seen again. I'm only nineteen, so I'm innocent and couldn't possibly have done anything to deserve this. I blame my parents.
Heredity is a calculating predator, attacking (mostly) males on my dad's side of the family. The genetics have been hanging over my head all my life, but I've never had to look up until now. "Next time, pick your parents more carefully" is my dad's motto. Yeah dad, I'll do that.
Optimism somehow surfaces occasionally. At least I'm not losing teeth or appendages or sex organs, I tell myself. At least I'll always have leg hair. But it's really not the same.
I wouldn't go so far as to call myself follically challenged just yet, but it's coming. Somehow, I know I won't turn out a cool Michael Jordan bald, or even Patrick Stewart bald. I'll be my dad bald.
No, screw that. I'm starting Rogaine, because it's either over the counter treatment now or illegal black market toupes when I'm thirty.