You know, there are things that are going on around us. Most of us are aware of these more or less permanent news items. But, like the carnage in Iraq and the genocide in something called "Darfur," we've just come to accept them as part of our world.
Here is one example. This joker was captured by world cops in 2001. His trial at the world court began in April 2002 and is still going on with no end in sight. He's been languishing in failing health at the world hoosegow, under constant suicide watch. He's looking at life without parole. But more likely he will simply up and die before any verdict is reached.
Aloft in space there is this. It is up there. Spacemen shuttle back and forth, maintaining it and conducting little experiments. Then they come back home and new spacemen go up and do the same stuff. Nothing significant ever comes of it. And what goes up must come down. Sooner or later the ISS will come crashing down like the Mir, perhaps on your humble abode. Hopefully no one will be aboard.
These are the permanent news items I tend to avoid like a plague of locusts: Campaign finance reform. The UN oil-for-food program. Anything else involving the UN. Judicial appointment tussles. Social Security reform. All other reforms. Anything with the words "Tom DeLay" in the headline. The weather. Tsunami relief. Deaths.
We all walk around with our masks firmly in place. At meetings, at the grocery store, sitting in a theater, we're thinking all kinds of crazy shit. But with our faces impassive, nobody is the wiser. Unless you tell them, no one will know all the weird, random stuff floating around in your mind. But now you will know what is floating around in mine all the time.
Memories of being grilled by police for hours on end.... The white-knuckle seconds right before a Cadillac travelling 70 miles crashed into a carport, leveling it.... Being at funerals and feeling nothing.... My extended time in the hospital and awkward sex with a chick there who had a leg cast and was in traction.... The time I was driven 60 miles to camp, only to have to turn around and come home to get my hiking boots..... A series of humilations... My friend Matt getting pummeled and bloodied while sticking up for me to this hood who tried to rob me time and time again.... How we all used to sit with our backs facing away from the entrance of restaurants for fear of of being caught unawares.... Time in the crime syndicate... Lor's grand mal seizure... My grand mal seizures and how peaceful I felt afterwards.... The time my pet mice got loose and scared the living shit out of my mom, who was deathly afraid of them.... Living in a tool shed and resting my head on a weed whacker.... Tom's mom reaching into a low cabinet for her bottle of Scotch only to find a six foot boa constrictor coiled around it. Her blood-curdling scream and accusatory tone with me.... Bombing at standup comedy and the maniacal laughter of one audience member.... Doubts about things I am unsure whether they really happened or I just imagined it..... Sitting in my grandpa's tiny backyard that was totally covered with tomato plants and crawling with aphids as he drank and sang, "I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream.".... My dad punching my friend in the face for making a disparaging remark about my mom.... My sister's boyfriend showing me how they'd rigged up his Z-28 for "rolling fags" and asking him why they did that. "Because they are fags," he helpfully explained..... Ridiculous clothing we once wore.... Driving a girl home after a one night stand and having her lovingly sing, "You put me high on a pedestal" to me. Wanting to sock her. Asking for her name.... A former girlfriend who'd lost her home, promising career and everything else telling me she still had big tits so she'd be fine.... Standing in the outfield praying that the ball wouldn't be hit to me.... Catching mom and dad in the act.... Being cruel to a little chihuaha we had as kids. Stuff like that.
by mg at 07:24 AM on April 28, 2005
I can understand that. But please stop. I'd never forget about you.
Just you wait and see, something big will be happening here at Bad Samaritan in the next couple days.
Keep your eyes peeled.
Time was we enjoyed a healthy, mutually benificial relationship with the companies we choose to do business with. Those days are over. Now it is a cutthroat, adversarial fight to the death over the simplest of transactions. Allow me to elaborate.
Our house is old. The prior owners were cheap. All the appliances and HVAC stuff date to before Liz Taylor's first marriage. Seriously, we're talking circa 1970. So when we bought it the cheapskates threw in a $370 "home warranty" that is supposed to cover just about anything that might break. It doesn't cover anything.
The "warranty" came from this company. Our double wall oven went on the fritz 6 weeks ago. We called them and they sent a guy out. Not surprisingly, parts aren't available to fix it. He measured the handle on the door and opined that it might be a 24 inch oven. He relayed this information to the warranty guys, who after several calls advised me that I had 2 choices: 1) A black GE 24 inch oven. 2) A check for $669 + whatever it would cost them to have it installed (Lowes charges $245.) This later changed to $629 inclusive of installation.
My friend is a master carpenter who's installed lots of them. He says it is complicated to determine whether a 24, 27 or 30 inch will fit the hole in the cabinet. We checked out the specs of GE ovens, which, as you can see, are quite detailed. He made several precise measurements and determined we need a 27.
Then the nightmare began. I told them that A) Our appliances are white. Black won't work. B) If they install the 24, there will be a gaping hole. And besides, there'd be nothing to screw it to on 2 sides. We'd have a double oven hanging loose by 3 screws.
To paraphrase that old SNL skit, no white, black. No 27, 24. I'm like, will you all at least fill in the hole? No, cabinet modifications aren't covered!!! Even if they are necessitated by your mistake? Yes. Why the thing about black? What is this, Henry Ford with his Model T that comes in any color you want so long as it's black? The policy says they can't guarantee an exact match of shade. Shade? White vs. black? Ah, but this 24 only comes in black (which we verified.)
We went to Lowe's to look at a 24. It's the kind of thing you'd see in an efficiency apartment. You'd be lucky to fit a squab in there, let alone Thanksgiving turkey. If you were suicidal you couldn't fit your head in there. Obviously, their scam is to offer you a real low amount versus an oven nobody would want. They hope that since the premium is so low, that folks will figure they came out ahead and apply the pittance toward an upgraded appliance. (These retro/chic ovens retail for well into the thousands, depending on model and features.)
Anyway, after dozens of late night calls (they're open 24-7 365 days a year,) we've come to a resolution of sorts. They've delivered a black 24 inch oven. We've refused to let them install it and leave this huge gap and give up our option of cooking a bird bigger than a parakeet in there. Not to mention suicide, which is seeming more and more attractive the longer this drags on.
So it sits in our carport, basically as a hostage. I'm not giving it back until we get what we deserve. And the weird thing is, there isn't much difference in price between the 24 and the 27. But there is a "restocking fee," which is 25%. Someone (read:you) has to pay this to GE if you fail to make the proper measurement and have them deliver the wrong model. And yes, the 27 comes in white. But no white, black.
Through it all they've reminded us that we could always just take the pittance they're offering. And eventually we'll probably break down and agree, even though it's wrong. It's a Mexican standoff. Has anyone else ever had such a frustrating experience with a company, utility or government agency?
"You don't smell half bad for a fat chick."
Every time I hear this backhanded complement, it reminds me of an essay my pal Brian once turned in. It was entitled Fat Chicks Are Better in Bed Because They Try Harder. Even though it was well-reasoned, and quite possibly true, he got a big fat F.
The flawed reasoning behind assuming that the fat smell worse than others is that they sweat more profusely. This is not true. However, consider this: A typical bath uses 40 gallons of water. Suppose ten of those are used for rinsing your hair and such. That leaves 30 to soak in. Now I am an undersized 142 pounds. I fill the bath as high as it can go without draining---with me in it. When I stand up to scrub my balls, there's only about 9 inches of water in the tub. If someone 3 times my size were to do this, they'd displace 3 times as much water. So they are soaking and rinsing their body in just 3 inches of water. Or about 10-12 gallons of water. Hence, maybe there isn't enough water in a typical tub to get totally clean. It's just a thought.
It also reminds me of an ongoing battle over hot water we had when we lived in a group house. This guy who'd come from a large family insisted that the solution was to only wash "the parts that stink" i.e armpits, crotch and feet.
When we view our favorite Hollywood stars, athletes and politicians, we see what they look like. We can hear how they sound. However, due to security concerns, we rarely get close enough to these icons to smell them and assess their aromas.
We're left to guess. I tend to think Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Audrey Hepburn (sorry Lock) and all the other pre-deodorant stars smelled awful. And yet I believe John Wayne probably smelled good, like your grandpa after a hot shower and a splash of Old Spice cologne. I bet Bill Clinton smells good. So does George W Bush, unless he's been clearing brush in the searing Texas sun. Richard Nixon probably stunk of flop sweat before each speech.
Yes, some people look like they never come clean. Jeff Goldblum and Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton and Anne Heche and Woody Allen come to mind. As do Brittany Murphy and Kate Moss and Dustin Hoffman and Homer Simpson . Whereas Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan, Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks all seem to clean up pretty well.
It is also important to realize that all these person sit there grunting on the toilet and leave the bathroom uninhabitable for hours. They do other unsavory stuff too. Monroe was once asked what the best part of being a star was. She said it was not having to suck off producers and casting directors to garner roles. Can you imagine anyone being that honest today? Even though it's true.
I think it sucks that Mr. B now owns things like lawn mowers and washer-dryers. These are suburban things. Mr. B, I think, is a 20-something artist. He should be eking out a meager existence in some starving artist loft or like some communal farmhouse in Kentucky or something.
We often think that the suburbs have always been the huge, sprawling blight they are today. But prior to WWII, most folks either lived in cities that were rigidly segregated by ethnic neighborhoods or tightly knit agricultural areas. Soldiers of the so-called Greatest Generation came home from war, hooked up with wives and set about creating the Baby Boomer generation. We in turn begat you guys of Gen X and Y.
This sea change took place in the suburbs. The land of immaculately manicured lawns, edgers, leaf blowers and a rabid hatred of dandelions. The land where your choices are conformity or ostracization or even vandalism or malicious gossip.
When I bought my 1st single family home, a neighbor sauntered up to me and observed that I had a rampant dandelion "problem." Now the only thought I'd ever given to dandelions was as a kid we used to blow that fuzzy stuff on the dead ones in each other's faces. I'm like, those are flowers. He says no they are weeds that could spread to other lawns. He wants to know what I plan to do about it. He recommends some Scott product and says I can borrow his "spreader." His message came through loud and clear.
I'm thinking about this now because I currently have a lawn problem. To wit: I don't have one. At least I don't have a backyard. I have backdirt. Now I couldn't care less about how my lawn looks. But my wife walks dogs back there and if it's wet, they track muddy paw prints all over my pristine beige carpet, which I spend hours steam cleaning every week.
So I bought a bunch of grass seed. There's a perplexing array of types: high sun, low sun, sun/shade, shade and something called creeping fescue. There's green and blue grass. There's blends. There's no way to know which is right for you. Nor is there any way to know how much is enough. It says a bag covers so many thousand square feet, but how many square feet are in a yard? I mean, a backyard. Then there's all this different fertilizer with like "guaranteed nitrogen ratio." As if some unscrupulous fertilizer maker might short you on nitrogen. So I bought then all along with something called "humus/manure: organic mixture."
All this stuff is now all over my backdirt, covered in straw. The bag says it takes 7-12 days for it to "germinate," whatever that means. It's been there 12 days. Sprinklers have been running every day. When II get home I rush back there like a kid expecting a package. Has a single blade popped up? Of course not.
But the weeds love the newly tilled, hyper-fertilized, humus/manure-laden soil. They are crowding in. And now there's no muddy paw prints, in part due to my new weed-lawn but more I think because of all the straw I laid down.
I win again.
by mg at 12:40 PM on April 19, 2005
Like many other women, when I get depressed I sometimes feel the need to buy things in the hope that will make me happy. Sometimes even the act of shopping is enough to brighten my mood, even if I don’t join in on the consumerism.
For the past week or so, however, I’ve had the overwhelming urge to get rids of things. There has been a constant, nagging feeling that I have too much stuff, and that I need to get rid of someone of it.
And I’m not sure what this all means.
Yesterday I was looking through my closet and thought, “That is entirely too many shirts.” I started to weed, but as I looked at each shirt and like Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator decided whether to give it the thumbs up or thumbs down. And while I didn’t have 50,000 screaming Romans urging me to let that shirt live, I couldn’t drop the hammer and toss any of them.
And unlike with the hording urges, the purging urge hasn’t subsided from merely thinking about getting rid of stuff.
What is truly odd is that I don’t necessarily have a lot of stuff. Besides for the necessities like furniture, music, clothing, and all my old school assignments dating back to Junior High, I don’t have much. I don’t collect anything, and I hate clutter.
Yet, still this urge to purge persists. And yet still I can’t get rid of anything.
What should I get rid of to ease these pangs to purge? What would you?
In high school it was a game of cat and mouse in the woods by the school. Kids wanted to gather to party, school officials were having none of it. They'd beat the bushes in search of pot-smoking students. This led some to dig a pit the size of a sheet of plywood. They laid down plastic, plywood and carpet on the floor, put creosote on the walls and covered it with planks and brush. It thus stayed relatively dry. Therein occured all manner of abuse, debauchery and depravity.
That's where I met a girl named Diane. We were all talking about relationships and she said, "I don't really like going out with guys. I like to tempt them and chase them but once I've got them, I don't want them anymore." I'm like, "You're a dude." She poses this rhetorical question: "Do I look like a dude to you?" Thus began a tortured, hands-off relationship that spanned namy years. I use that term for lack of a better one, as it wasn't a relationship in the traditional sense.
We did go on a few dates. Once we went to a Bad Co concert. She finagled her way backstage and wound up blowing those guys for a week or so. Another time she did the same thing with the Grateful Dead. This was what led to the conversation I had with Bob Weir, subject of a previous post. This starts to get to you after a while so I blew her off.
I didn't see much of her for several years. Then she popped up at a party I was at. We got to talking and soon enough drove back to my house. She excused herself from the couch to go to the bathroom. Before I knew it she was gone. So was my car. It occured to me that I had no idea where she lived or anything about her current circumstances.
Since he held the title, my dad took a keen interest in this development. Together we played amateur sleuth and tracked her down. We banged on her door for a long time before a bleary-eyed Diane answered. Behind her was unbelievable squalor to include disheveled matresses on the floor, overflown ashtrays, liquor bottles strewn about, her mom and random guys passed out and cockroaches everywhere. In this mess we determined where she'd left my car. From there we learned where the nearest impound lot was. There, the guy demanded hundreds of dollars from my dad, who luckily always carried at least $5000 on him. The car was there, but the windows were down. There was about 18 inches of water in it. We had to syphon it out. She never apologized.
Many more years passed and I got married. We went to a Halloween party. There was a band. My wife was six months pregnant and in no shape for dancing. Somehow I wound up dancing with this evil vixen. In the midst of all this she leans toward me and plants a ferocious tongue kiss on me. Over her shoulder I see my beloved wife looking more hurt than aghast. She fled the scene. I made it home, and it was not a good scene at all.
Diane later that night seduced the host, the husband of an old friend of ours. Through her I learned that the whore's motive in all this was that she perceived me as this little rich white kid (she was a Native American who received a sizable settlement check from the US government in some land dispute she knew nothing about) who needed to be cut down to size.
And maybe I was.
The Number of Fucks In Deadwood: HBO's series Deadwood had a reputation for salty dialogue even before the first episode aired. It was nearly impossible, they said, to keep count of the number of f-words spoken during each program. We took it as a challenge.
Of course, the obvious question here would be "Why in the world would anyone CARE how many times the word "F--K" is used by anyone?" This is HBO, after all, not PAX TV. This might be news if we were talking about Seventh Heaven, but clearly we're not.
To my way of thinking, this is truly only indicative of the fact that someone has WAY too much time on their hands. Ever think about perhaps, oh, I don't know...getting a job?? Perhaps some volunteer work might be in order??
Of course, why would you need a job, or even a hobby, when you can collect truly
useless useful information like this:
Total fucks in series: 1406
Cumulative series FPM: 1.41
Total fucks in Season Two: 575
Average fucks per episode: 95.8
Cumulative Season Two FPM: 1.78
Total fucks in Season One: 831
Average fucks per episode: 69.3
Cumulative Season One FPM: 1.23
As if this wasn't enough, the author then goes on to conduct a statistically analysis on every single episode of Deadwood. Why? Who the hell knows, but I've got to think there's a drinking game in here somewhere....
It's one of those stories buried deep within the paper. You tend to skim over it because the headline contains the words "flu strain." That is a big mistake.
Here's the deal in a nutshell: As part of a quality control test, some Canadian firm mailed the flu bug to 4,000 labs. It was supposed to be the puke and feel achy and nauseous for two days bug. It was not. It was this super-virulent killer bug that snuffed out over a million folks in 1957-58. It hasn't been in circulation since, so nobody has any immunity to it. The World Health Org was mighty upset about this creep development. They urged the labs to destroy all traces of the nasty germs pronto.
That is the old news. Here is the new news: 15 of 19 countries have confirmed that it is all gone. Burned to a crisp. The countries that haven't complied with this urgent order are---drum roll please---1) Japan, where one of the few bio-terrorist attacks occured in a crowded Tokyo subway. 2) Israel, where terrorism is a day-to-day occurrence, like afternoon showers in Florida. 3) The US, home to the worst terrorism attack in history.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: 4) Saudi Arabia, where the violent Wahhibi strain of Islam is state-sanctioned, beheadings occur daily and 15 of the 19 9/11 mass murderers came from.
As I said, this isn't good.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in a Mexican city with a friend trying to find a bar to have a pre-dinner drink. We walked around to well-travelled pedestrian areas and only found fast food sorts of places and little shops. No such luck! How could we be missing all of the bars in a 10 block radius in a city of 250,000 people? Well, it was actually a case of mistaken identity, if you can follow me. That, and a lack of bars around the city center.
As it turns out, I´m still in the same town (yes, the same town as bad-kisser and good-kisser, though no kissing has happened since I got back a couple of days ago), and although I`ve since found the cool bars, I now know what the problem was.
I woke up this morning and wanted to buy some veggies and eggs for breakfast and set out. I walked about half a block and heard blaring pop music, which would (in the States) probably be the sign of a bar, restaurant or really trendy clothing store. No such luck. It was a pharmacy. Huh?! I walked a few more doors down and heard more blaring rock music. Nope, not a bar or restaurant... just a small little gift shop. Crazy. Granted, the piercing place a block or so away from my hostal usually has punk or rap or rock blaring, but that´s a bit more expected. I just don`t get it. Next thing I know, I´ll find a butcher´s shop playing Celine Dion.
Since I have found the town´s bars, I don´t mind the bit of fucking with my head with the music. I just kinda chuckle as I walk by, and I actually kinda like it. The pharmacy nearby usually switches off between pop music and salsa. Very entertaining.
Tradedy has befallen me. I'll tell you all about it, but first some background. I'll share some random and seemingly unrelated facts and then, through clever wordplay, meld them together like Axl Rose's botched hair weave. Here goes.
I work in the insurance industry. This is part of the financial services industry. When people in these industries are portrayed in movies or TV, the casting director calls for that bald, sort of nerdy guy who wears glasses. I couldn't find his image, but you know who I'm talking about. Sometimes he'll go casual by taking off his tie but leaving his top shirt button buttoned.
I have always prided myself on my youthful, almost boyish looks. My appearance and my weight haven't changed much in 20 years. Or at least that is what I was able to delude myself into believing until recently.
All of a sudden I am losing more hair than a chemo patient. I have to pull it out of my brush just to use it. It turns up in the bath drain. I can no longer fool myself into thinking it's my wife's. It isn't. It is mine. I am mortified at this prospect. Bah!
I've also learned that I can't see out of one eye. I can close my left eye and be totally shrouded in darkness. I need glasses. I couldn't get them until now because I didn't include myself on our vision coverage. As of 1/1/05, I am eligible. Have I gone to get it done? No. Do I get my hair cut anymore? No, even though I love the head massage they give me. I'm afraid of losing any length when I am already missing so much depth. My wife says it is just "thinning." She's being kind. Come-over here I come.
The worst part is that it is going away from the front, so I look kind of like Eddie Munster. It is not a happening look. I've thought about looking into some of these miracle cures. However, I tend to view all come-ons as scams. Plus it is so pathetic to check things like that out.
If I was black I could just shave my head, get Lasix surgery and nobody's the wiser. Michael Jordan looks pretty debonair with his bald pate. Jason Kidd of the NJ Nets does not. He looks ridiculous.
What I fear most is winding up looking like the stereotypical, bald, middle-aged, bespectacled insurance geek they portray in the movies and TV. I am not that guy. I'll never be that guy. I don't even recall how I wound up in that humdrum industry. I'm not humdrum. I'm hip. I listen to The Counting Crow and Liz Fair. Really.
My son says, That's pretty random. I'm sure he's picked this up from pals at school. It doesn't mean really random it is something else. Precisely what isn't the point. It's just a convenient intro to my thoughts on randomness.
Back when I worked at a posh office building with elevators that sported gold doors that people shined all day long, I got on the elevator at the same time as the big boss of my office. She's very prim and proper. Imagine the way she sneered at the picture on the elevator floor. It appeared to be torn out of Hustler or somesuch thing. A man visible only from the waist down was offering his dick to a woman on her knees with her mouth agape. We rode up three floors in excrusiatingly awkward silence until at last she asked, "What is that doing there?" I stammer, "Uh, er, I dunno. Somebody musta left it there." Thereby branding myself as the culprit even though I had just arrived at work and thus couldn't have put it there. Random, man, random.
You see lots of random things along the side of the road. Just today I saw: 1) A bag of garbage, neatly tied with one of those twisty tie things. It appeared to be household garbage, begging the question of why its owner didn't simply leave it at the curb or throw it down the chute. 2) What looked like a cremation urn, with some kind of inscription. Maybe a wife attended the funeral of her husband with her lover and discarded it on the way to his place. 3) A single Ked. No mate. Is someone trudging around in one Ked? Does anyone still wear Keds? 4) Panties. [Insert your own joke here.]
There's a place in my office park where I go to stand around and smoke. There are no residences or restaurants or anything but office space for miles around. For months I've been deeply disturbed by the presence of a used condom next to the curb. Across the street is a mental ward. How did this get there? There's no way anyone had sex on the steep little embankment there. One surmises that it might have been tossed from a passing vehicle but it is on the passenger's side of the road. You mean to tell me somebody blew a guy driving and then was polite enough to pull the nasty thing off and hurl it into the gutter without spilling a drop? I've never known any girls like that.
One day this guy came along with this stick that had a spike on the end. He used it to pick up cigarette butts (all mine) and other debris strewn about. He got to the used condom, pondered picking it up and then thought better of it. I can't blame him. Could be HIV in there.
Don't know why but these types of questions plague me 24-7. I need an explanation but none is forthcoming.
Well, I´m living it up in Mexico in the moment. I met up with an Austrian friend here that I know from my time in Nicaragua, and we´ve been doing a pretty good job of wreaking havoc in the state of Chiapas together. We also did a good job of partying it up and generally terrorizing the locals of Nicaragua together. We´re parting ways tonight, though, which is a sad occasion. But then again, I also have no one to cheer on my scandalous ways as a traveller. Which is good... maybe I´ll calm down for a bit. However, what I really wanted to talk about was this:
Why are some folks really quite good in bed, but they can´t kiss worth shit? I met a Mexican, and we ended up hooking up after a few days. First night, we were both drunk, so on a scale from 1-10, it was about 6 or 6.5. Second time, ditto. Third time, both very sober and the experience was upped to an 8-8.5, but I realized that this Mexican just really just can´t kiss worth a damn. So, maybe that´s why my drunken memory just gave the first experiences a 6-6.5. Kissing brought the whole thing down a bit. I ended up with half a slobbery face (nose down), and that´s just not that pleasant. Nor is it pleasant to have to stop things in order to wipe all of the drool off of your face.
It is not, however, a general Mexican phenomenon that they can´t kiss. Another Mexican I met can indeed kiss, but I don´t have more of an idea of bedroom skills other than general groping in a crowded bar. Snoging again on another occasion reconfirmed that the smooching skills were there for Mexican #2.
I personally would think that if someone is good in bed, they would probably be skilled in the kissing department. But I´ve discovered on more than one occasion that that´s not the case. However, I don´t think I´ve ever met anyone that was a good kisser who was bad in bed. Does this happen, too? Is this a case of blood flowing to one body part and then the mind just not really thinking about controlling the mouth/tongue? I don´t get it. If you´re in tune with what gets a person off, shouldn´t you be able to kiss them in a way that turns them on, too?
Tonight´s my last night in town here, and I´m trying to decide which of these too I should hang out with. I think I´ll probably go for bad-kisser-good-in-bed (somewhat convenience reasons.. works and lives at the hostal I´m staying at) instead of good-kisser-no-idea-about-bedroom-ability (thought I might go to the bar this Mexican works at tonight.. though hopefully not with Mexican #2). We´ll see. Maybe I can smooch #2, then head to bed with #1. Ah, the life of a single female traveller. It´s rough, all these decisions I have to make.
by mg at 10:15 PM on April 10, 2005
This may come as a surprise to many of you, because it hasn’t been in the news much, but last week the pope died.
The cardinals and bishops have donned their robes, hit the pope with a white hammer, rubbed his body with oils, rung bells, burned incense, and done all the other crazy mystical shit that us Catholics apparently feel is necessary to get us closer to god.
Now that all that Harry Potter stuff is over, those same cardinals and bishops will get down to the very worldly a political task of picking a new pope. Throughout history the appointment of a new pope has always been a matter of international intrigue, and this selection shall be no different.
The odds on favorite is an Italian, though there is thought that appointing an African or Latin pope will appeal to places in the world where Catholicism is a burgeoning religion, rather than a dying one. And that is really what will be at the crux of this appointment: how to stem the tide of those fleeing the religion, whether because of sex scandals, or the previous pope’s unwillingness to entertain a more modern view of the religion.
But, the truth is picking another pope in the traditional mold, no matter the color of his skin, isn’t going to make much of a dent in Catholicism’s 20+ years of bad public relations. That is why I’ve decided to offer my guidance to the conclave of cardinals currently preparing to pick a new pope.
Did you know the recently departed pope’s real name wasn’t John, Paul, or even Ringo, but was actually Karol? One of the requisites of becoming pope is changing your name, and I know no one who has more easily swapped identities as Sean Combs. Puffy has a history of philanthropy, running in the New York Marathon several years ago to raise money for charity. He also has a history of getting in gun fights at nightclubs, and banging Jennifer Lopez. All great reasons for selecting him the new Pope Diddy.
In the United States Catholicism has suffered through nearly a decade of lawsuits accusing priests of touching altar boys on their holy sacraments, and allegations that the church not only knew about it, but helped to cover it up. Being kid toucher is a hard label to shake off, you can believe me on that one. Which is why I say, embrace your boy love Catholic Church and select Michael Jackson as your new pope.
Jacko is a great choice for many reasons. He has plentiful experience in covering up molestation charges. He also has experience wearing bizarre outfits: how difference is the papal robes and pointy hat from a single white-sequenced glove, or Captain Nemo era spaceman uniforms? And while he hasn’t had a hit record in the States in three faces, selecting Jackson as pope would have more cache in the third world than electing a black pope.
One of the criticisms of the Catholic Church is they’ve yet to allow women to become priests. To remedy this, I’d like to suggest a woman as the next pope, but I’m really trying to keep this list as only people I honestly think might be able to get the job, so a dame is really out of the question. While you can’t move a mountain in a day (or however that saying might go) we can and should take that first step by selecting Ru Paul as the next pope. For starters, s/he already has “Paul” as part of her/his name. And if any fella is going to be comfortable wearing the papal dress or not being able to marry a woman, it is Ru.
I’m nearing my third decade, but I can still only remember the pope as a doddering old man, but apparently he was a stern authoritarian. I guess you’d have to be to run a trillion dollar empire from your gold encrusted palace. Can you think of anyone who might be looking for work right about now, and has a history of living an extravagant lifestyle while ruling with an iron fist? That’s right! The next pope should be Pius XIII, formerly know as Saddam Hussein.
As long as no one minds the Vatican invading Florence, or Saddam having his face painted over god’s on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, I can’t think of a better choice.
As a boy my mom used to pimp out her champion Pomeranian. She'd get a $100 stud fee. She'd send me over to people's houses clutching this yappy little dog. After an exchange of pleasantries, the dogs would go at it as the humans looked on and ooed and aahed. It's so cute! Sometimes a girl I'd dated (and done that same thing with) would be there. Talk about awkward. Other times they'd get stuck and we'd have to pull them apart. But not once did he go for any back door action. He had his 100% insemination rate to think about! Or maybe that really is an unnatural act as religious nuts insist.
You wonder why hetero men choose to BF women. There's obviously wetter, more appealing options available. Perhaps it's a domination thing. Perhaps they just crave variety. But all I know is that I am aware of at least one relationship that soured over the anal issue.
I am also aware that a resident of a group house where I lived was too cheap to buy lubricant. He'd use a stick of butter instead. Afterwards he'd put it back in the fridge. Think about that the next time you're slathering butter across your English muffin.
What is the difference between anal sex with a woman and gay sex with a man?
I've read about young girls who go in for anal or oral but not regular intercourse. Perhaps inspired by Prez Clinton's shenanigans, they figure they are still technical virgins that way. For whatever that status may be worth these days. And they'll dispense a BJ with all the forethought once given to a goodnight smooch.
It's the exact opposite of my 70s and 80s heyday. Back then, all women in relationships would have straight sex with you. But a relative handful went for the other stuff. Oftentimes those favors were reserved for a special occasion like Valentine's Day or your one month anniversary. There was much talk and snickering about swallowers and screamers. Never once did I hear so much as a peep about butt sex. We thought that was just for gay dudes.
It might surprise some to know that I hold an associate degree in Ecology and Earth Sciences and a BA in Forest Resource Management. When I started school I was one of those stary-eyed eco-nuts who goes backpacking in winter. Boy was I in for surprise.
See, Forest Resource Management is a euphemism for Learning to Be a Brazen Shill for the Timber Industry. We actually had classes in how to deal with pesky environmentalists' questions about the wiseness of clear-cutting vast expanses of virgin forest. It is good for certain forms of vermin, er, wildlife. So is our practice of intentionally lighting fires in forests to eliminate brush lest it rob the crops, er, trees of precious water and nutrients.
Needless to say I was jaded and fed up with the whole thing by my senior year (7 years in the making.) Our re-education was to culminate in this big project where you actually test a hypothesis about growing trees by---shocker---growing trees! A project like that takes a long time. I kept chewing on mushrooms and procrastinating. Before long it was too late to test my theory that the more sand there is in the soil the slower Loblolly pine saplings will grow. I faked all the data and got an A+. The professor asked if he could use my project as an example in the future. I'm like, whatever, just gimme my paper and I'm gone, never to return.
So I graduate with pretty limited options. I painted houses for a while as I mulled my future. I realized I was qualified to be a game warden, which was more in keeping with my original vision. There's a whole process of interviews, essays and finally you go before this panel of judges not unlike American Idol. I performed well and was among the 3 chosen from hundreds of candidates.
They informed me of this and the fact I'd earn $16,000 a year with fringe benefits to include full use of a Jeep. And... a 45. caliber handgun. I'm like, WTF? What do I need that for?
It then dawned on me that for that pittance I'd be confronting poachers out in the middle of nowhere. Poachers are usually drunken rednecks married to their sisters. And by definition, they are armed to the teeth. And they don't feel like going to jail. It's easier to brain the warden and throw his dead ass down a ravine. So I'm thinking, no.
They told me no one had ever gotten that far only to turn them down flat. Turns out my sister's boyfriend owed me thousands (don't ask.) He was the manager of the local office of an insurance claim department. They were paying $16,000 to claim rep trainees and you got a company car. If you disconnected the odometer periodically you got full use of it too. I settled his debt in exchange for a job and a Honda 305 he bought on a whim and never rode.
That was April 5, 1983. I'm still there. He got run off in a sexual harassment scandal.
Didya hear the Pope died? Now they need a new Pope. The 4 Cardinals who are under 80 will take a vote. But here's the catch: you're not allowed to campaign or promote yourself in any way. That wouldn't be humble. And Popes need to be humble. It's in that same gracious vein that I bring you:
For your protection...
For our protection from potentially devastating lawsuits.
Safety is our first concern.
Protecting ourselves from liability and worker's comp claims is our first concern.
To ensure optimal customer service, your call may be monitored.
To weed out malcontent employees,...
Listen carefully as our menu choices have changed.
Not really, we just deleted the speak with a live human option. Visit our website you louse.
Register contains less than $100. Cashier cannot open safe.
Sure he can. Jump across the counter and shove the barrel of a loaded shotgun down his throat. Watch him fish the key from his pocket.
There is a 1/2 hour wait for a table.
Unless you slip the maitre-d a $20. Watch your table magically appear.
Lucky for the booze companies, we don't. Problem and/or underage drinkers account for half their sales.
Don't provide cigarettes to minors. Visit our website to learn about how to quit smoking.
No, they're not grudgingly complying with the terms of the tobacco settlement while aggressively promoting their wares in third world countries. And I don't suppose they own major stock in Nicorette and those nicotine patch companies either.
To chat with one of our hot, sexy babes, push 2 now.
To argue with a fat, lazy, insolent, indifferent house frau with a mouth full of bon-bons,...
Free to a good home.
Free to any hovel. What, you think they'll do background checks? Hell, they'll give 'em to Korean restaurant owners. Mmmm, cocker spaniel.
To help keep prices down, please...
To increase our obscene profit margins further, we've sloughed our duties off on you. And ha-ha, you don't even mind. Suckers.
$500 under dealer invoice.
Your calls will be answered in the order in which they were received.
There's no one here. Hasn't been for years. We know you'll all hang up in disgust eventually.
I haven't been around much, and for that I'm sorry.
But I've had a pretty good reason.
See, I've finally managed to fool someone into liking me and dating me -- even to the point of tricking him into calling himself my boyfriend and me his girlfriend.
He seems to think that I'm cute (since he tells me this several dozen times a day), that I'm smart, that he likes me (another one he tells me fairly regularly), that I'm hot, and he seems to enjoy my company.
Go figure, huh?
We met through lavalife (yeah, shut up, I feel the same way), but I've discovered that he has ties to people in my world -- the biggest being that he went through paramedic school with a guy I went to high school with.
Oh yeah - he's a paramedic. Pretty cool, especially to a government grunt like myself.
So anyhow, our first coffee meeting -- and the date we're using as our 'anniversary' -- was January 21st, and we've had a number of successful dates (obviously) since. Towards the middle of March, I finally asked him if he was boyfriend, and he said yes. Crazy idiot.
He teases me, he picks on me, he cuddles me, he kisses me, he *teases* me, he cares about me. Life is pretty good.
Now if only my work situation would improve (or if I could get the new job I'm interviewing for next week), I'd be better set.
I'm blessed too. My wife suits me to a tee. She's smart, sweet, funny, pretty, tolerant and above all, shorter even than me. Yet there's one thing she doesn't have: a Walk. Now don't get me wrong, she's no Terri Schiavo. She gets around just fine. Indeed, she walks dogs for a living. What I mean is, she walks strictly to get from point A to point B. No gyrating hips, no arms swinging to and fro. No tossed mane of hair.
It's not to say this is a fault. In fact, when I was in a marrying way, such utilitarian walking was one of my criteria. I'd dated several girls with that exaggerated, swivel-hipped gait. It grew tiresome walking through malls and restaurants with them. Everywhere you go, guys stop and gape. They make no bones about it either.
You'd think the normal rules of ogling (a furtive glance, no once-over, certainly no lowering of sunglasses) had been suspended. As if by walking provocatively, she'd invited unwanted attention. And in a sense, she had. You're calling attention to yourself, advertising your wares, even as you stroll along hand-in-hand with your boyfriend. You might as well eat bananas or suck lollipops constantly.
Now as a single guy you think this is pretty cool, at least for a while. All these admiring, jealous guys. You must be quite the stud! But there's also a twinge of insecurity as guys give your gal-pal the once-over. When it's your wife, it's more like a grand mal seizure of insecurity.
You see the Walk in the strangest of places sometimes. I viewed it once at the staid Kennedy Center. Slinky evening gown, tuxedo-clad men turning their heads like Linda Blair in The Exorcist as their wives cringed. They're not getting any tonight.
I wonder about the Walk. Is it innate in some girls to walk that way, or is it learned behavior? If it's learned behavior, do they sometimes slip up and walk normally? Once you're married and the guy-quest is over, can you lose the energy-sapping Walk? If you divorce, do you need to relearn it?
There's the smoothly confident, west coast strut you see in LA. ZZ Topp once described that as sweet as molasses. Then there's the more uptight and stylized, teetering-on-fashionably-high heels NYC version. There's a slight difference in black Walk and white Walk. Hispanic women seem to like the Walk, most Asians do not.
I think the Walk, like obvious boob jobs, long natural nails or eyelashes, that finger-rolling wave perfected by Nicole Kidman and that affected girly voice of Melanie Griffith et al, fosters much resentment among other women. There's just something so in your face about it. It's like drum-taut Demi Moore with her boy-toy. Am I way off base with this?
by mg at 06:06 PM on April 01, 2005
I just noticed that over the last four April Fool's days I have a total of ten posts.
Wow! I sure had a lot of time on my hands at one point. Well, technically four points.
So I guess that means to keep up the tradition I have to post something today.
Or maybe I wont.
When riots broke out over the verdict in the Rodney King trial in 1992, the violence came as close to me as East Los Angeles, which borders the city I live in. The first day, before I knew what was happening or why, there was a burnt rubber smell in the air and gray smoke coming from the direction of East L.A. When the violence ended, people across the Southland became upset that their city police departments were so badly provided for that the National Guard was needed to protect us. Only one police department was equipped with fully automatic weapons. That was the one in my hometown. A bedroom community whose biggest news recently has been that Phil Spector might have murdered a woman in a perfectly fine mansion on top of our one and perfectly fine hill.
I didn't know Los Angeles then as well as I do now, so the reports of buildings and strip malls burned to the ground were kind of anonymous to me. What did I know after all; I was a dutiful honors student that only left her hometown to take the SAT, to play the violin in orchestra competitions, and maybe to receive a commendation from the Goethe Institute.
The Chinese immigrants in my area were isolated from the rest of the Southland. They had their noses to the grindstone trying to raise children that would turn out fabulously wealthy. There was no time then to get to know Los Angeles, California, or even really America.
I don't think this was because the Chinese immigrants, and other Asian immigrants, were bad people. I think that they realized that their green cards were precarious things, able to be yanked away by the INS at any time. And the INS was famous for being a Terry Gilliam-like bureaucratic nightmare. For years, you could assume that any visit there would take between four and eight hours, most of which would be spent waiting in line or being bounced from one office to another. My college roommate once thought that she was going to be deported because she couldn't find her green card. Turned out an INS clerk had dropped it into her case file without realizing it, and the file had been put away in a cabinet.
Fear was a good reason for trying to grab as much of the American dream as one could, while they could. I mean, overseas they immunize you by gouging a little hole in your upper arm and putting the vaccination there. Imagine that! I can roughly tell, by looking at their upper arms, which of my friends immigrated after school age. The vaccination leaves a round scar the size of a dime. Sometimes I caught people staring at my scar-less arm with awe. You could read right on their face that they thought I'd lived a blessed life, since I'd obviously spent it all here.
It's pretty true. Unlike friends I've had, I've never had malaria. I did not escape Vietnam on a boat, didn't see a family member almost drown at sea. I am not missing a parent because the Khmer Rouge murdered him. My father never even saw combat growing up in Taiwan, or at least I don't think he did. My family didn't have to change their names to avoid being killed because of their ethnicity, although one side would have faced certain torture or murder if they hadn't left China after the civil war. There is that. And the other side is of an ethnicity which generally hates the first.
Yet comparatively I have been blessed. What do you do with such a blessing? A lot of older immigrants, understandably still traumatized and shell-shocked, cynically say that you should get money and lots of it, so much that you could protect yourself from any bad thing with it. Since when push comes to shove, no matter what country you're in, you get saved quickest if you're the richest.
I think that approach saves the body, but not always the soul. I sometimes envy people I know whose families don't mind, although they have seen as bad as mine or even worse, that their children do work which is not the absolute most profitable. They make some allowance for the well-being of the heart as well as the body. I've been blessed in some ways, but not in all the same ways that they have been.