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  11/16/03: Comedy Studio
  12/03/03: Emerald Isle
  12/17/03: Emerald Isle
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  #6: Six Stitches
  #7: What's in a Name?
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  #35: Road Trippin'
  #36: Geronimo! Ditto!
  #40: Three for the Ages
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  #47: Puzzled Over Puzzling
  #53: Justifying My Tuition
  #55: My Yearbook Quote
  #56: Whatever It Takes
  #65: Pissing in the Middle
  #78: Losing My Faith
  #85: Goodbye, Teeth
  #88: A Painful Separation
  #91: An Only Child
  #98: Nothing But Putrid
  #99: Bovine Dreaming
  #100: 'Dudden Hurt'

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Charlie/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Massachusetts/Watertown, speaks English. Eye color is hazel.
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Where the Hell Was I? has moved!

Please visit my new home at:

I'll be glad you did!

Saturday, June 28, 2003
Open Letter to an Internet Porno Phreak with Artistic Talents

Because it's the right blog to do. And a tasty way to do it!

Dear sir or madam (but almost overwhelmingly assuredly sir, in this case),

Hello. You don't know me, but my name is Charlie. I recently started a blog. Or maybe it's a journal, or even an online diary; I don't know. Anyway, it's like a lot of these sorts of things, I suppose. I post entries from time to time, and occasionally people read it. And if they can manage to keep the first paragraph or two down, they might read some more. Pretty standard stuff, I suppose. Hey, I suppose if you're reading this, then you know a little bit about it, since I'm posting this letter to my site. So you can decide for yourself what it's all about. But that's not why I'm writing, exactly.

I'm writing to ask a favor of you.

See, I understand that you're a porno phreak. (Any non-porno phreaks are phree to read the rest of this -- hey, it might even be phunny -- but keep in mind that I'm not really talking to you. My intended audience is really the phucked-up nasty horndog I was addressing earlier. And if you happen to be that horndog, then I didn't really mean that last bit. Nothing personal. Keep reading, please, Mr. Monkeyspanker.)

Anyway, you're into porn. Or pr0n, whatever the kids are calling it these days. No matter. And I gather that you're a bit of a whiz with Photoshop, or something similar. Perhaps you earn extra cash by 'touching up' stills of Britney Spears to 'expose' her goodies. Maybe you've 'transplanted' Julia Child's head onto a hot, oily naked bod for kicks. (That's sick, by the way. Nobody wants to see that. People searching for 'Julia Child' and 'breast' are looking for chicken recipes, not the itchy willies you're gonna give 'em with pictures like that. But keep reading...) You're a mis-represention artist. A nipple-drawer. A dirty old pixel-jockey. Fine. I don't care. What you do in your spare time to jangle your change is none of my concern. (Okay, I'm a little concerned about the Julia Child thing, and I would have to draw the line at you morphing the Two Fat Ladies into the Barbi Twins somehow... but I'm going to assume even you aren't that sick. Plus, I'm desperate.) I could still use that favor.

See, if you've looked around here at all, you'll see that there's a conspicuous lack of photos of 'gonzo racks'. Or 'sweet ass'. Or 'money shots' of any kind. In fact, there are no pictures here at all; it's a log, mainly, of the asanine shit that runs through my head and out my fingers onto the screen. And while I'll admit that the occasional gonzo rack might swerve in and out of the traffic buzzing in my cranium, it usually doesn't associate with anything that I'm actually writing down at the time. Usually. But all rules have exceptions, and that's where you come in.

You see, a few days ago I launched off on a tangent about Stripperella. As I'm sure you've, ahem, gushed over by now, that's Pamela Anderson's new cartoon series, in which she plays a stripper-by-night, superhero-by-later-at-night character with all the right, er, moves. (As an aside, maybe it should be called Pam's new old cartoon, because if I'm hearing correctly, it's already been cancelled -- the six episodes that were already created may be aired, but then Stripperella's hanging up the pasties forever.) Anyway, I didn't notice anything different around the old web site for a couple of days after the bit I wrote, but then it happened.

They started coming.

This is a new blog, you see -- less than two weeks old. Oh, I've told a couple of friends about it, but nobody much visits. At least, that was the case, before the entry with Stripperella got indexed by Google, et al. I first noticed on Friday -- by noon, more people had visited my humble site than on any day before. By the end of the day, I'd had as many hits as in the entire history -- about ten days' worth -- of the site. And why? It was all Stripperella. Well, to be fair, there were a couple of hits that appeared to genuinely belong to folks looking for my particular brand of insanity. And, if I were to be completely honest, just having the character's name here wouldn't have caused much of a stir, I suppose, if other posts hadn't coincidentally contained words like 'naked' and 'topless' and 'breast'. So I suppose I am partially to blame, after all. But still.

So here's the thing. I looked in my site's logs, and there have now been almost as many people finding my site by searching for 'Striperella' (4) or 'Striperella naked' (14) or 'Striperella topless' (2), etc. than those finding it by actually using a bookmark or hopping here from a more appropriate directory of some kind. And if you're paying particularly close attention, you'll notice in those search terms I listed that I actually even misspelled 'Stripperella' by accident. So you can imagine the waves of traffic I'd get if I ever actually typed it in correctly. Um, unwanted waves of traffic, of course. Of course. And God forbid that I would inadvertently place 'Stripperella' somewhere close to words like 'topless', 'naked', or 'breast'. Or in the same sentence, even. That would simply be tragic. Not to mention phrases like 'gonzo rack', 'sweet ass' or 'money shot'. It's just a good thing that I've never posted language like that in my blog, let me tell you!

So, to make a long story short, I'd like you to help me reduce all of this inappropriate, unwanted traffic. (After all, what is there here that some sort of online perv would be interested in? This is a family blog, goddamn it, and I'd rather hump a camel than to have anything change that. Or maybe I just have this camel-humping thing. Not sure.) What I'd like you to do is this -- grab a picture of the 'real' Stripperella. Off a web story, from a TV still, I don't care. Import that puppy into Photoshop or something -- whatever it is that you use -- and unleash those, ah, puppies, as it were. Strip Stripperella down, and leave not a single fleshy pixel of her animated body clothed. Retouch, morph, unblur, fill -- whatever. Ply your craft. Work your magic, baby.

And then, when you're done, post your anima-Pam creation in all of her unfettered glory. Plaster her on newsgroups and chat sites and search engines across the globe. Meta-tag the fuck out of that thing; make your porny piccy the top hit for 'Stripperella' and anything. Search for her and 'naked' -- it finds you. Her and 'breast' -- ditto. 'Toaster' -- bingo. 'Nuns' -- bam! You get the picture. Aim high -- knock Cindy Margolis and Danni Ashe off of their lofty perches. Shoot for the moon, baby. Be all that you can be. And in the process, siphon the porn monkeys away from here, and let us get back to our good, clean fun.

So, that's my request. Thanks for taking the time to read it, and I hope that you'll give my proposal some serious thought. You could be famous, you know -- 'The Man Who Stripped Stripperella'. It's beautiful; I'm teary right now. No, really. And in doing so, you'll return this site to its peaceful anonymity. Which is all I ever wanted, of course. There's nothing I hate more than a site engaging in shameless self-promotion of any kind, in some misguided attempt to draw in eyeballs. So just make sure that you use your site when you post announcements like:

Stripperella Completely Naked -- Topless, Bottomless, Completely Nude!

Because I wouldn't do that sort of thing around here. Never.

Thanking you in advance,

P.S. This is a little embarrassing, but -- now that everyone else is gone, could I actually get that 'Naughty Julia's Secret Steamy Recipes' URL from you?

Oysters, Oysters Everywhere!

Oh, it's you again. Well, try to control yourself this time, will you?

Okay, kiddies, here we go. As promised, it's Oyster Day! All hail Oyster Day! Hope you're hungry, 'cause you've got a lot to get through. So go slip on your 'fat pants', unbotton 'em at the top, and sharpen up your shuckers (Why yes, that is a dirty sexual euphemism; thank you for asking!) -- we're goin' in! Twenty-two 'oysters' in all, lovingly prepared and offered up as an open-web response / addendum to the Festival of Clams (or something) featured at Am I Blog Enough for You?. My oysters are similar to clams; some are old saws, while others are reasonably unique. The important thing is to use these phrases in unexpected, and wholly inappropriate ways, usually for the purpose of annoying others. What could be more fun (and filling) than that? So dig in, folks -- fill your plate and come back for more. It's an All-You-Can-Stand Oyster Buffet! Just do try not to fill up on hush puppies, hmmm?
(Hee -- I got through the whole intro without calling these 'pearls of wisdom' -- go, me! It's my birthday -- go me, it's my birthday. Hey-hey, ho-ho...)

1. "Stop. I'm gonna pee."
a. Used when someone else is trying to be funny, whether they're succeeding or not.
b. Delivered in a flat, slow deadpan voice for maximum drippy sarcasm.
1. Person A: "Take my wife. Please! Get it? Please!"
Person B: "Stop. I'm gonna pee. No. Really."

2. "That and X will get you Y."
a. X and Y are any nouns; for my money, the more unrelated, the better.
b. (Variation of 'That and a quarter (or dollar) will get you a cup of coffee.")
1. Person A: "Hey, I got an email!"
Person B: "That and a pocketknife will get you a blowjob."

3. "Just like an X."
a. X is any noun referring to a collection of things; "man" or "woman" are preferred.
b. Spoken with great disdain for the subject, no matter the context.
1. Person A: "My dad's having a retirement party tomorrow."
Person B: "Tsk. Just like a man."
2. Person A: "Look, the sun's going down."
Person B: "Humph. Just like a yellow dwarf."

4. "Well, do what you're best at."
a. Suitable for most 1st person, declarative statements.
b. Best used when speaker is admitting some sort of error or deficiency.
1. Person A: "Yuck. I just spilled coffee all over myself."
Person B: "Well, do what you're best at."

5. "As the (ancient) Xs say, ..."
a. Useful to spice up the most common of sayings.
b. Also useful to misdirect attention from something truly odd or unique.
1. "As the Lithuanians say, 'It takes one to know one'."
2. As the ancient Mesopotamians used to say, 'My hovercraft is full of eels'."

6. "Nobody likes you much, do they?"
a. Helpful for belittling someone prone to bragging or overt happiness.
b. Usually delivered with a disdainful look, maybe with hands on hips for emphasis.
1. Person A: "Hey, I got into State U after all!"
Person B: Nobody likes you much, do they?

7. "We, paleface?"
a. Suitable for most sentences that begin with "We have to..."
b. Especially humorous when used on spouses.
c. Can also work with 'roundeye?', 'whitey?', etc.
1. Wife: "We have to take out the garbage tonight."
Husband: "We, paleface?"

8. "Soon you'll be in a better place."
a. Suitable to combat / deflect any sort of personal complaint or bitching.
1. Person A: "Oh, no; I broke a nail."
Person B: "There, there. Soon you'll be in a better place."

9. "When in X, do as the Ys."
a. X and Y are places; again, the more unrelated, the better.
b. (Variation of 'When in Rome, do as the Romans.")
c. Usually works best when Y is particularly lengthy.
1. Person A: "Look, this is a topless beach! Should we go?"
Person B: "Hey, when in the France, do as the Great Barrier Reefers, right?"

10. "When life hands you X, make X ade."
a. X is any noun, with the exception of "lemon".
b. (Variation of "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.")
c. Also useful: "When life hands you X... wash your damn hands!"
1. "When life hands you shit, make shit ade."
2. "When life hands you oozing scabs, make oozing scab ade."

11. "I'll bet you do/are/can/would, you little vixen."
a. Used to highlight statements with possible innuendo.
b. Best delivered with a raised eyebrow and suggestive leer.
c. Subject of sentence can be changed from "you" if appropriate.
1. Person A: "I'm could really go for a Popsicle."
Person B: "I'll bet you could, you little vixen."
2. Person A: "Pork chops are my favorite food."
Person B: "I'll just bet they are, you little vixen."

12. "X monkeys!"
a. Results in interjection.
b. Generally preferred that X=bitch, though dick, shit, etc. are acceptable
1. Yelled after being cut off while driving: "Bitch monkeys!"
2. Muttered after dropping a box: "Aw, fuck monkeys."

13. "You know, there are places for people like you."
a. Can be used in response to most declarative statements.
b. Usually delivered with a disdainful look, maybe with hands on hips for emphasis.
1. Person A: "I was reading in the New York Times yesterday..."
Person B: "You know, there are places for people like you."

14. "And how's that working out for you?"
a. Used in response to declarative statements about personal qualities.
b. Shorter, edgier alternative: "I'm sorry."
c. Also, "Well, it takes all kinds."
1. Person A: "Nice to meet you. I'm Canadian."
Person B: I see. And how's that working out for you?"

15. "Well, it's about damned time!"
a. Used in response to declarative statements regarding intentions.
b. Usually delivered with a disdainful look, maybe with hands on hips for emphasis.
1. Person A: "I'm gonna go get some coffee."
Person B: "Well, it's about damned time!"

16. "I have no recollection of that conversation, Senator."
a. Used to be non-cooperative when asked to confirm an event.
b. You may replace 'that conversation' with 'the incident in question', etc.
1. Person A: "Hey, remember when we took that trip to Vegas?"
Person B: "I have no recollection of the incident in question, Senator"
2. Person A: "Joe, do you have that five bucks I loaned you?"
Person B: "I have no recollection of any such transaction, Senator."

17. "Well, if I could do that, I'd never leave the house."
a. Used in response to most any question.
b. Possible sexual innuendo in the question is helpful, but not necessary.
c. When replying to significant other, can use 'then I wouldn't need you' after comma instead.
1. Person A: "Do you want to go grab some hot dogs?"
Person B: "Well, if I could do that, I'd never leave the house."
2. Person A: "Honey, would you like to carve the turkey?"
Person B: "Well, if I could do that, I wouldn't need you, would I?"

18. "I'm sorry. We have to take the contestant's first answer."
a. Used to taunt someone unable to make up their damned mind.
1. Person A: "Hey, wanna loan me twenty bucks?"
Person B: [not paying attention] "Hmm? Sure. Wait, what? No, no way, dude."
Person A: "I'm sorry, we have to take the contestant's first answer."

19. "It's with all of the other ones."
a. Useful for derailing conversations that one is not part of
b. Avoid eye contact while delivering this line
c. Suitable for sentences that begin with "Where is..."
d. In extreme circumstances, one can use "It's up in ya."
1. Person A: "Where is the forecast report you promised me?"
Person B: [not turning around] "It's with all of the other ones."
2. Person A: "Where's Main Street on this map?"
Person B: [not looking at the map] "It's over there with all of the other ones."
3. Person A: "Honey, where are my sunglasses?"
Person B: They're up in ya.

20. "We don't do that sort of thing around here."
a. Can be used in response to most declarative statements.
b. Can also be used to avoid answering direct questions.
c. Usually delivered with a disdainful look, maybe with hands on hips for emphasis.
1. Person A: "I'm going to the ballet tonight."
Person B: "We don't do that sort of thing around here."
2. Person A: "Wanna go to the cafeteria for some lunch?"
Person B: "We don't do that sort of thing around here."

21. "Grandma did that, and we put her in a home."
a. Can be used in response to most declarative statements.
b. The longer 'Grandma started doing that, and we had to put her in a home' is also useful.
c. Usually delivered with a sad, knowing nod.
1. Person A: "I went to see that new Bruce Willis movie last night."
Person B: "Yeah. Grandma started doing that, and we put her in a home."

22. "From Hell's X, I Y at thee!"
a. X is any part of the anatomy; Y is any verb.
b. (Variation of "From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!")
1. "From Hell's liver, I drink beer at thee!"
2. "From Hell's pancreas, I waggle my finger at thee!"

And there we go! Oysters all 'round! Enjoy them with some garlic butter and a nice, cold brewski. Oh, before I forget, in maintaining the format of the original clam post, I owe you three (count 'em, 1, 2, 3) more gems that you can try at home. Amaze your friends, be the life of the party, etc. So here are three (En Espanol, por favor -- uno, dos, tres. Gracias.) bonus oysters. Or as the Sumerian plainsmen call them: dessert.

1. Mock concern. This is always very annoying for the subject of "concern". Should be delivered with a grave face, maybe with hand on the poor bastard's shoulder as you console him/her about breaking a nail, or missing a train, etc.
Example: "You've been hurt before, you poor dear. I can see that."

2. Over-explaining an old proverb or common saying. Again, extremely annoying for everyone but the speaker. Should be delivered pedantically, over-the-top, as though talking to a mentally deficient two-year-old.
Example: "You gotta put the biscuit. In the basket. In it. In."

3. Horror out of context or proportion. This is a good way to console yourself when you break a nail, or miss a train, etc., and there's no one around to mock you (see #1 above).
Example: "Oh, fingernail! Why hast thou forsaken me?"

So that's it. I hope you've enjoyed this cornucopia of fruits de mer. I know I have. And now you know all that I know. (And hopefully much, much more. For your sakes, I pray that's true.) So go forth, spread the word... and the 'bitch monkeys', and the 'paleface's, and the 'little vixen's. You have an important responsibility; you now have the power to annoy and cajole. Use it wisely. Life has just handed you oysters, my friends, and clams as well. I think you know what to do.

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411):
I almost forgot one of my very most favorite annoying phrases. See #11 for usage, as this can be used in exactly the same sorts of situations:
"I bet you say that to all the guys/girls."
1. Person A: "Hey, you want some of my pork chop?"
Person B: "Aw, I bet you say that to all the guys."

Oh, also, I meant to mention that if you're trying out #16, it's best to try to sound like Ted Kennedy, or -- more recently, Bill Clinton. If you can, of course. It's not required, but the association will get you that extra little rib-tickle.

Friday, June 27, 2003
And Now, a Non-Musical Interlude

I likes my blogs like I likes my women...

Hi all -- I'm a placeholder. Just a placeholder, don't mind me. I'll try to stay out of the way.

Anyway, Charlie asked me to step in here and say that he's sorry to anyone who happened to see the 'Oysters, Oysters Everywhere' draft this afternoon. 'Somehow' -- or so he says -- 'somehow', the draft got posted before it was anywhere near completion. Charlie blames it on the Blogger interface, which he says may have sprouted brains and posted it without his help. Hurmph. If you ask me, the fault is ultimately evolution's, who may have gotten ahead of itself and granted Charlie opposable thumbs before he was really able to cope with the responsibility.

In any case, the oysters will be available soon -- just imagine them slow-roasting in a pit somewhere, preparing to regale you with a veritable explosion of culinary delight. Or something. That's what he told me to tell you, anyway, but I don't see what oysters or any other food has to do with this crap... Who writes this shit?
(Man, I really have to get a better agent... did I type that out loud?)

Anyhow, that's the story. Charlie's a goofball, so he deleted the errant post and sent me in here to make excuses for him. Just like a man. Oh, shit, gotta go -- he's coming in now, with his lobster bib and his 'How About Some Nook for the Cook?' apron, and he looks pissed. Maybe it was the opposable thumbs bit... I dunno, these blogger types get so touchy. Peace out.

Titles Make the Blog Grow Bigger

Putting the 'more' in sophomoric for almost ten whole days!

Hey, all. Not a lot of time for chit-chat right now. The 'rents are coming into town for the weekend, so I've gotta get a full night's rest. Or as close as I can, given that I'm sleeping in what feels like the inside of a microwave. I'm afraid that if the sheets get pulled over our heads, we'll just inside-out like a popcorn kernel sometime in the night. I worship at the feet of the central air god, but my prayers are left unanswered and sweaty. O great Carrier, why hast thou forsaken me?

Anyway, consider this a maintenance report. (Hey, I hate doin' that shit in real life; maybe it'll be more fun on the blog...) I finally found that the way to get titles on all of the old posts was to cut all of the existing text, type in a title for the now-blank post, save it, find it again, pull it up and paste the old drivel.... um, that is, the delicious satire and irony, back in and save it again. A painstaking process, to be sure, but rest assured that I'll spare no expenditure of effort to bring you the finest quality meats and fish available. Or something like that -- you know what I mean (you big lug, ya).

So. Now we have titles. Par-tay. Just thought you should know, in case they don't jump right off the page to grab your attention. I think it adds some class to the old fleabag, don't you?

Anyway, that's about it, I suppose. I've got a couple of things lined up for the next few posts -- how to (not) check your fly, I think, and I want to talk about bitches, sometime. (You can never have too much talk about bitches...) And whatever else falls out of my head and onto my pillow as I sleep at night. (Well, besides the things I might need to put back in. Or eat. I know, 'Ewwwww!') But, as I'm sure no one else recalls, I did once threaten (sort of) to offer up a list of useful phrases that you might use out there when dealing with the apes and baboons that inhabit our fair cities. You know, to annoy them, or to allow you to go on autopilot for a while, or to piss them off so they go the hell away. Those sorts of things. Really useful conversational English, not the crap they teach you in the TOEFL classes. (Mmmmmmm... tofu..)

But, just like class, I'm gonna need you to do a little homework first. I've found that someone out there has made a list of the sorts of things I have in mind, and he calls them clams. Me: useful phrases; him: clams. And of course, the Indians call them maize. (See, that's a clam. Aren't you happy now? You know...) Anyway, I've decided to take his manifesto as a personal challenge, and format my list in just the same way. (Good thing the bitch-ass-bitch didn't take any of mine. Luck-y. No, no, read his list -- you'll get it.) So now you'll have two of these to steal from, or to compare (and tell me how much better mine is), or to ignore completely. Double the dosage, double the high. Of course, my list will be full of 'oysters' rather than 'clams', so we'll see what your palate's in the mood for when the time comes. So get your bib on, bub, and start singin' those chanties. We're goin' on a seafood run. Arrr!

Thursday, June 26, 2003
Man's New Best Friend?

Hey, I don't come up with this stuff. I just type what my dog is dictating.

I was at one of my favorite bars the other day. It's really quite a nice place -- they brew their own beer, and serve good food, and they have a deck, and friendly staff, and all the sorts of sunshiny little qualities that go into making it a nice place. But there are a thousand nice places around here, and they're all pretty much the same, right? I mean, if you go somewhere and someone will give you the opportunity to pour beer down your throat -- or better yet, do it for you -- then it's a nice enough place, in my book. They can play Elvis Christmas records on the jukebox, throw Barney on the television, and hook jumper cables to my nipples; I don't care. As long as they keep slingin' the swill my way, the place gets my vote.

So, no, the aforementioned amenities are not what makes this place one of my 'Faboo Faves'. No. And the waitresses hardly ever hook me up to the jumpers, anymore, now that all my hair's grown back. No, this particular bar holds a special place in my heart (and my liver, and probably parts of my colon by now) mainly because of a particular piece of equipment that they have in the men's room. I'm not sure what the official name of the thing is (and isn't that a scary thing to say about something you find in a men's room?), but I like to call it the 'I Will Get into Your Pants Tonight, and There's Not a Damn Thing You Can Do About It' machine. Let me elaborate. Please. I insist.

So essentially, it's a vending machine. Now, there have been vending machines in bathrooms for the past fifteen years or more. Not full-fledged vending machines, mind you -- you're not gonna walk into the john at a HoJo's and walk out with a turkey sandwich. Well, okay, at a HoJo's, you might -- but you won't have gotten it from a machine, I can tell you that. But the discerning male -- and probably female, for that matter; I'm afraid I'm not often allowed into the splendor that is the ladies' room to find out -- has for some time been able to walk into a rest room and emerge with a pack of smokes or 'novelty marital aid', as it says on the packaging, whether it be a French Tickler or a Belgian Waffler or a Nigerian Nightmare or an Atomic Screaming Melvin. (Okay, I may have made some of those up... On the other hand, mmmmmm.... waffles...)
(Hey, back to the ladies' room for just a minute. (And no, I don't say that to all the girls. Any more.) Anyway, now I have a chance to tell you about my second most favoritest bathroom graffiti moment ever, which tangentially involves a little girls' room. But no little girls. If there were any little girls involved, then it wouldn't be a 'graffiti story' any more, now would it? Perv.
Anyway, I was in high school, and we were having an 'annoying little dweeb' outing to a local eatery of some kind. (And no, at the time, we didn't call ourselves annoying little dweebs. But we were, anyway. Mercifully, it hit us later in life, when we realized that all pimply, perky, pouty, precocious, poetry-writing, and in countless other ways 'pre-useful', teeny-somethings are dweebs, and Dexters, and loserly dorks. So luckily, by the time we realized, we were out of danger. (By then, we were all cynical groany thirty-somethings who were just as useless, but now without the convenient excuse of youth. Bitches!)
So, to continue, a few of us -- two guys and a girl -- got to the place early. (No, it wasn't a pizza place, either. It was not 'two guys, a girl, and a pizza place', no matter how cute you thought that would be. Now shut up and let me tell the goddamned story...) So we're there early, and we'd called ahead and reserved a big table for the crowd, so they put us upstairs in a private area. (See, I told you we were annoying. Don't you just hate us already?) So it's just the three of us up there, and the girl among us needs to powder her nose, so she slips into the facilities.
I should probably pause here to assure any of you out there who are all lubed up at this point that the story does not -- repeat, does not -- take a Penthouse twist at this point. I know, I know... you got here by searching for 'French Ticklers', and I just started a sentence with 'So it's just the three of us up there', and now there's a chick in the bathroom and so there must be some action coming. But no. I know how the story ends, and trust me -- nothing happens. Okay? No backs get arched, no uglies get bumped, and no freaks get on. None of that -- I was there, and it didn't happen. Serious. So if that's your game, then you go do what you gotta do -- take care of bidness, if you must, and then come back here and we'll forge ahead. 'k? 'k.
So, anyway, she wraps up what she's doing and comes out, and my friend and I get a peek -- just a little peek -- of the room behind her. And it's like a frickin' fairy tale. Now, we know there's nobody else in there, so we barge in, and take it all in. It's breathtaking. (The room, not the -- um, atmosphere, that is. Apparently our friend wasn't droppin' number two's while we were standing by, thank goodness.) Anyway, it's a paradise -- marble sinks, marble floors, full-length mirrors, carved wood, couches, puffy clouds and deer and chipmunks... I swear to God I saw Tinkerbell flying around. And the place was huge -- you could've had a World Cup match in there. Unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it.
Well, of course, my buddy and I had to check out the men's room after that. I mean, how could they possibly top that? Chrome- and silver-plated toilets? Godiva chocolate urinal cakes? Squash courts? A masseuse? We had to know! So we busted through the door with the big 'M' on it, and this is the magical grandeur that awaited us:
It could only be described as a bunker. A concrete bunker, maybe 12 x 12 feet, and with no paint and a 'Yield' road sign on the far wall. There was a sink, over which hung another sign ('No Parking', I think it was), a dingy stall, and two urinals. Over the far urinal hung a glass case, which held a sports page from sometime in the previous month. The paper was yellowed, though whether that was a result of old age or bad aim, I didn't care to know. Over the pisser closer to us, there was a blackboard and a tiny sliver of chalk. (Here's where the graffiti part's gonna come in... it's foreshadowing, people. It's a common literary technique. Really, look it up.)
So, the girls get their log-cabin-away-from-home, like some utopian rendering whisked out of a Massengill commercial and into this restaurant, and what do we menfolk have? A half-heartedly refurbished prison cell with street signs to keep us company, and the following wisdom left to us on the blackboard by previous visitors:

  • Huck Sucks!

Oh, yeah, you'll need this before we go on -- the local college football coach at the time was Ken Huckaby, who of course, everyone called Huck. The school was Division I-AA and moderately successful at the time, which means that 'Huck' was just popular enough to help local hucksters (heh) sell the occasional used car. Oh, and to inspire derogatory graffiti. Which brings us back to our Wall of Shame, which blessed us with the following news flashes:

  • Huck Sucks!

  • Fuck Huck!

  • Dogs Fucked the Pope!

Now, I don't know what all of that means, especially the last one -- which dogs? And why? Were they Catholic dogs? No one but the author knows for certain, and he apparently ran out of chalk. But I do know this -- if I ever go back to that restaurant, I'm pissin' in the ladies' room.)

Now, what the hell was I talking about? Ah, yes, the vending apparatus in the bar I was at. The Gettin' in Your Pants box. It's all coming back to me now.

So, this marvel of modern technology is a vending machine. A condom dispenser. But this is no ordinary rubber wrangler, no sir. No? No. It's so much more. For you see, this machine has other wares for sale, as well, and as such, it represents a veritable one-stop shopping center for all of the modern man's honey-ropin' needs. Observe. Flanking the pickle-wrappers in this wondrous device are two of Trojans' alliterative chums: Tic-Tacs and Tylenol. And past the breath mints, bringing up the rear (so to speak), Pepto-Bismol.

Alone, of course, each of these meek and unassuming household products is of little use. Each has a purpose, to be sure, but mostly, these are the items that get shoved to the back of the medicine cabinet with the floss and the eyebrow wax, and rarely see the light of day. But together -- and together in a bar, where at any time an actual woman might be present, single, drinking, and breathing (all at once!) -- well, my friends, that's when these little babies cast aside the geeky glasses and clip-on ties and merge to form an irresistable, unassailable, undefeatable weapon in the war to score some nookie. And for the low, low price of four dollars (a quartet of quarters for each priceless ingredient), you too can have the ace in the hole you've been looking for.

Think about it, guys. You storm into the loo with a pocketful of change, and return with four laser-guided missiles ready to shoot down any excuse your lady companion might have. I imagine the conversations go something like this:

She: Oh, you're back. What took you so long in there?
He: Um, nothing. Just had to see a man about a dog. Or something. Anyway, how 'bout we go lather up the rooster?
She: What?
He: You know -- feed the Garden Weasel. Take the O train. No? Hose down the daisies? Nothing? Unroll my Ho-Ho's?
She: What?
He: Sorry, just trying that last one out. Anyway, dinner's done -- why don't we just make each other dessert, eh?
She: Wha... oh. Oh! I see... oh, well, I don't... um, well, I'd love to, really, it's just that... well...
He: (reaching into pockets) Yeah? C'mon, what is it? I gotcha covered.
She: Well, to be honest, I've really got a bit of a headache.
He: (slamming Captain Tylenol on the table) Okay, done. Let's go.
She: Welllll... you know, the pasta was sort of heavy. I've really got a bit of a stomach ache, too.
He: (bringing Dr. Bismol to the rescue) Yeah, I thought you might. All right, can we go now?
She: (thinking hard) Um...uhh... well, you had all that spicy food. I mean, I just don't think I could, with the garlic breath you must --
He: (shaking the Tic-Tacs at her) Hmmm? You were saying?
She: (really sweating now) Er... well, there's the matter of... surely you don't have... no, you couldn't have protection, too...
He: (slapping his Trojans on the table) Check! And checkmate! Your place or mine, doll?
She: (playing her last card) Bitches! Okay, okay, wait -- what kind of condom is that? Is it any good?
He: (without even looking) Why, it's the very latest model -- a Canadian Mounter.
She: (getting up from the table) Shit. Good enough -- let's rock.

And that's it. (Thank you, Ridiculous Innuendo Skit Players, thank you. Take a bow. Yes. Thanks.) Four dollars is all it takes, gents. If you can get to the doorstep, then you can't lose. Find yourself one of these all-in-one handy-dandy kit dispensers, and you too can close the deal. Or not. I don't really know. For all I know, you'll spend your four dollars, go through the drill and get a slap in the face for your troubles. (Especially if you use the Garden Weasel line, methinks.) But hey, look on the bright side -- you can take the Tylenol to dull the pain of your bruised cheek and battered ego, and some Pepto to ease that empty feeling in your stomach. Dump your Tic-Tacs into your Trojan and throw that party hat onto little Willy Joe, and you'll at least have a maraca to entertain you for the evening. And that's worth four bucks right there.

So try it out, and let me know how it goes. Be ready for anything, and use your weapons wisely. And above all, remember: 'No' always means no, but 'Not tonight, I gotta headache' just requires a little ingenuity to fix. Well, that and a change machine.

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411): And by 'Barney', I mean either the dinosaur or the 'Miller'; neither one raises my tent in the slightest... though Abe Vigoda is impressive in maintaining his not-dead-ness for so long. That dude's been around since the Mesozoic Period, so technically he's even older than the pudgy purple PBS pecker we started off talking about. So kudos to Abe, I guess. It's nice to enjoy longevity, from what I understand, but can you really say you're enjoying yourself when you've looked like a horse-trampled corpse for the past thirty years?

Your Stuff Is Shit, But This Shit... Is CRAP!

With all these electrons whizzing around all over the place, shouldn't we have more umbrellas?

Ah yes, a little bathroom humor in the tagline. Me likey. Nothing but highbrow entertainment around here, boys and gals. Let's make Sir Alec proud!

Okay, so I thought I'd try introducing a new feature for the blog. (It's all very exciting, I can assure you.) The feature is called 'Cutting Room Assorted Pieces'. But, as with most things around here, you can just call it CRAP.
('Audience members, this is CRAP.' 'CRAP, these are the four people who actually read this demented, ah, crap. No offense.')

So, let me tell you about CRAP, and what CRAP means to me. As the non-acronymized name (hopefully at least vaguely) implies, CRAP will be a small -- and sometimes non-existent! -- collection of ravings and rantings and thoughts (oh my!) related to the current topic, but that I just couldn't finagle into the log entry. So, stuff that just wouldn't fit, or that would've spun the entry in another direction (I know, I know -- something that would take things off topic? The horror...), or that just wasn't very good, but now I can't sleep at night until I get it out of my head. In a word: CRAP.

It seems like something that will vary pretty dramatically from day to day, depending on how caffeinated I happen to be at the time, how rich (and creamy, and nougat-covered) the topic of (non-)interest is, and whether I'm capable of making any damned sense. I'll stick whatever I have, if anything, at the bottom of each post, just to leave a little extra tangy zing of an aftertaste in your mouth. You know, like a high colonic does. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, I dunno. I'm just flingin' cats at the wall until something sticks, friends. We'll see how it goes in the long run.

In the short run, though, there's this: I figured that before I got too far along -- in either the list of topics or my dementia -- I should backtrack and purge the remnants from the Story So Far™. So, I'm gonna open up the vaults and dust off the chestnuts that just missed making it into the posts that I've written to date. Or the stuff that I thought would get me arrested. Or I'll make new shit up as I go along -- what do you care how it gets there, anyway? Why am I even telling you this? In any case, I'll list whatever I have below, all jumbled together in its gooey sweet goodness. But be warned, young Jedi -- I can guarantee you that this shit will make even less sense than the usual babbling blither. Yes, it's possible. Trust me. (Want proof? Spend ten minutes with a Scientologist sometime...)
(Actually, I wanted to index everything by post title to make things a little less schizo, but that didn't work out. See, to index by titles, you have to have titles. Which I didn't. So I tried entering some -- 'A Wall to Save Us All', for instance, for the second-ever post. (Why is it there's no next-to-first, by the way? 'Last' gets a next-to-; who the hell did 'first' piss off? Did they just throw 'last' a bone 'cause he's, you know, at the end of the line all the time?) Anyway, I entered the title, and hit 'Post'. And the BlogGods told me:
Humph. You no good enough for titles. Grocery stores and dog noses and 'Things Not to Hear'. That no blog, mortal. That a weekend at Grandma's. No title for you.

And, right on cue, my title did something that looked very much like not showing up. So I edited the post again, and sure enough, no title. I typed it in again; BlogGods say:
Don't push BlogGods, foolish one. No titles until you write something funny. Like Phyllis Diller. BlogGods like Phyllis Diller. Why can't you be more like? BlogGods have spoken!

And, again, no title. So, screw it. I'll drop da beat on the 'CRAP' today, but I ain't down wit da titles. Word. You know -- to ya mutha. An' shit. (How was that? Did I say it right, um, 'G'? G? G? Hello? Aw, gee...))
(News Flash Update: Apparently throwing in the Phyllis Diller line below was just good enough to redeem me in the eyes of the mighty BlogGods, and I now have titles! So I'm going back now to index all the crap below with said titles. So if you're reading this post for the first time, then you can disregard the intent of the above few paragraphs. (Feel free, of course, to retain any hilarity that you may have extracted from it. That's yours to keep, just for listening to our sales pitch today.) And if you're re-reading this to check for updates like this one -- good God, man, get a fuckin' life!)

So, cruising right along, assuming that there ever will be any new readers, what I'd like to say to them is this: don't start here. No touchy, soldier boy. If you started with posts later than this one, congratulations! We're both older than we were when I wrote this post, and at this point, that has to be considered a minor miracle of survival, given what we're doing with our lives these days. I mean, just look at us! Please!

Anyway, if you started with posts earlier than this one, then some of this -- not all, mind you, but a little -- might actually make some sense. Or at least sound familiar, though obviously foreign and incomprehensible. Like Spanish to Brazilians, maybe, or plain, simple English to a telemarketer. Or Oprah to men. You get the idea. So, I'm proud to bring you this long-anticipated blog feature debut. (I'd say eight paragraphs is pretty long, wouldn't you? I bet it seemed to take an eternity to get here... and man, that's twenty minutes of your life you'll never get back, too. Tsk.) And so, without further ado:

'Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you -- CRAP.' (Please do hold your applause until the last item has been read and digested. And no flash photography at any time. Thank you.)

CRAP (A Boston Compendium in Three Acts):
The most annoying thing about the winter weather in Boston is the preponderance of cars manufactured where snow is apparently not an issue. Or heard of. Or even believed in. After three winters here, I'm convinced that BMW engineers regard snow as some sort of Christmas-time fable propogated to scare children, or excite them, or depress them, or something. (Anything to distract the little piddlers away from the bratwurst and milk left for 'Santa'.) Anyway, I've yet to see a Boston Beemer do anything even remotely useful in the snow, except serve as a convenient -- and utterly effective -- barricade against actually driving to work, on those days when one of the bastard BMW owners who park in our lot tries to dig out before I do.

CRAP (A Boston Compendium in Three Acts):
Another odd phenomenon that seems to be fairly well quarantined to the Boston area is the funky way that the towns around here are pronounced. Now I made a resolution, long ago and in a saner time and place, to not question these sorts of things, and just 'go with the flow'. And to a point, I'm able to make good on the promise I made to myself, lo these many years hence. So I'm proud of myself, and usually partake of a reward when I can just 'let it go'. So I might award myself a beer, say, or a tasty greasy burger, when I don't question why New Englanders say 'Quincy' with a 'z' sound instead of an 's' type of noise. Or maybe I'll buy myself a new CD when I can manage to forget that some people here live in Peabody -- that's Pea-body, as in Sherman and Mr. Peabody, if you're old enough to remember the Way-Back Machine -- but they think they live in PiBiDee. Or PeBeDe. Or something. Say the word as fast as you humanly can, and you have the basic idea. It's as though they regret so much their decision to live there that they feel they have to expel the name like a sneeze or something, just to get it the hell out of their mouths. PiBDee. PBD. P. Poor bastards.
But the one instance of this that I simply can't get over, no matter how lofty the prize I set for myself, is the mysterious case of the often -- but not always! -- silent consonants. Follow along; I'll show you. C'mon, it'll be fun. Hold my hand; I'll take you there. Here goes:
So we've got Worcester, which becomes (you steak fans out there will get this one), of course, 'Wooster'. Except that's not really true. Not even close. I'm simplifying for the sake of clarity, but now let me complicatify for the sake of showing how ridiculous this whole thing really is... you need a frickin' book on tape to ask for directions in this place, 'cause God help you if you get it wrong around here. They'll look at you like you just sprouted out of the ground with flippers for arms and big testicle ears. It's that important, like saying 'Wooster' -- or heaven forbid, 'War Chester', would rip the very fabric of space-time around them.
So, anyway, obviously, it's not 'Wooster'. R's have a very tough time making a living in New England, and this city's name is no exception. The first 'r' gets ignored completely, as we've already seen, along with a 'c', and an 'e' that they dragged screaming along with them. There's only half the word left, for the love of peanuts, but still they kick that last 'r' out. And then, just for laughs, they mangle the 'o' into some other kind of whispery vowel sound, much like they bully the ones in PBD. (See? See all those vowels not in there? There aren't really vowels per se in New England place names, just the empty spaces between consonants. It's all very Zen, I'm sure.) Anyway, this 'o' gets off easy compared to some. Ever heard of Leominster? Nope? Me, either, but I sure get 'Le Minster' a lot. That poor, sorry 'o', just singled out and booted right from the pronunciation. Like so much punctuation. What a waste.
All right, where the hell was I? Ah, Worcester, or thereabouts.
So, anyway, it's not 'Wooster'. It ends up being a lot like 'Wistah', again at 78 rpm speeds or better. But fine. I can cope with 'Wistah', as long as there's some sort of pattern. Show me the way, and I'm there. So I find that there's precedence for this letter-wasting chicanery: We've also got a Gloucester. And what does it become? 'Glostah'. Fine. We're on a roll. Whee-frickin'-hee. Next up: Dorchester. So of course it's: 'Dorchester'. (Mommy.) Not 'Distah' or 'Dooster' or 'Dstr', like they had me convinced it oughta be. No. 'Door. Chester.' That's where they lose me, and I huddle in a corner until it's safe to come out. So I gave up (again) a long time ago. Now, I just have this local guy that I've hired to do all my pronouncing for me when it comes to places, or people's names, or Hahvahd Yahd. It's easier that way, and now people don't look at me like I'm retahded.
(Yes, that last line is a shameless lift of a punchline from an old Steve Sweeney bit. Nothing in the world would work better there, so that's the hash I'm slingin'. So sue me. Unless your name is Steve Sweeney, or you are affiliated with the non-plantiff -- read that again, non-plaintiff -- in any way. And if you are Steve Sweeney -- ALL HAIL STEVE SWEENEY!!! (Hee -- look, everybody! Steve frickin' Sweeney is readin' my stuff! Dudes!))

CRAP ("Hey, was that '30 Seconds to Fame' just now?"):
Actually, it's good that we're kept on our toes by our loved ones (or our lived-with ones, at the very least). These checks and balances are necessary to keep us sane, and whole, and good. (Stay good! Stay good!) Man, if we were left to our own devices, free to wallow unfettered in the filth of the seedy underbelly of cable television, I can't even begin to think what would become of us. We'd be unshaven, unkempt, illiterate boobs, balancing popcorn kernels on our noses while oohing and aahing at The Osbournes. Or Anna Nicole. Hell, we'd be Anna Nicole -- you don't think she got that way listening to NPR, do you?

CRAP (A Wall to Save Us All):
Don't forget 'boinkable' vs. 'sleeping', 'boinkable' vs. 'Jell-o' and 'boinkable' vs. 'Phyllis Diller'. And great Poseidon save you if you can't figure out that a sleeping Phyllis Diller is off-limits. Even if she is wearing a Jell-o bikini. *shiver*

CRAP (Boston Bears a Blog):
Of course, my other choice of name for the site, 'Funnier Than Yo Mamma', was absolutely crawling with problems. For one thing, it seems a little unwieldy. Which is sometimes okay -- the thing that SCUBA stands for is a mouthful ('Suffocation Caused by Unreasonable Breathing Anxiety', I think it is), but they made it work. Scrunch this title down, and what do you have? FTYM. Fat yam. Who the hell would read 'FatYam'? Sounds like some chubby Korean kid no one wants to play with in kindergarten. Besides, what if it turns out that this isn't funnier than yo mamma? Or my mamma? Or Mama Cass? Urg. Best to just get offa mommas.... (I'll leave that one for you to finish. Consider it a gift. I set, you spike. Enjoy.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2003
The Dream Job Giveth, and the Dream Job Taketh Away

First I write it on the walls in crayon; then I take my meds and type it in for you!

So, I had a plan in mind for this entry, and I may even get to it at the end, but I have to share something with you. ('Look, Martha; he's changin' the subject before he even starts now! Back in the old country, we'd call him a mo-ron.' 'Shut up, Grandpa.')

No, that's not what I want to share. Frankly, I wish I could take that part back, but the electrons have already been zapped into place, and there it is. Deal. No, this is what I want to share. I got it yesterday from a friend of mine:

Now these are the kinds of emails I appreciate, folks. Sweet, simple, and to the point. And what a point! 'Please let us give you $90 to talk about beer.' I mean, I'm gonna be hanging around talking about beer, anyway -- bending the ear of any coworker or passerby or fire hydrant that will take the time to listen. And now I can get paid for it? Shweet! A whole new world has opened to me -- like the majestic Monarch butterfly, I emerge from my cocoon and spread my wings to the winds of opportunity. Fly! Fly to the beer panel! O fly away!

And it's downtown, too. (Sorry, this is Boston -- it's dahn tahhhhhn, for any locals needing translation.) So after getting all squinchy talking about beer for two hours, you can just walk out the door and practically fall into a Irish pub. That's downtown Boston after 5pm, basically -- dozens of people falling into -- and later, out of -- pubs. It looks like banana peel day at the clown college. It's beautiful.

But of course, much like Pamela Anderson, it's a little more complicated and annoying than it seems at first. (So you've seen the latest on her, right? Besides being a cartoonish caricature of a booby blonde, as usual, now she's got her own... cartoon. Where she plays a booby blonde. Who's an exotic dancer. Named Striperella. I couldn't make this shit up if I had Robin Williams and Hugh Hefner on acid, working overtime and weekends to concoct ridiculous crap. Oh, but my favorite part -- Pammy demanded that there be absolutely no anima-nudity in the show. She's got standards, you see -- nay, a vision. This has to be a family show... about a super-hero snatch-flasher with lie detector jubblies whose chief crime-fighting weapon involves some sort of thighs-around-the-perp's-head move she calls the scissor-ella. (D'ya think she came up with that one all my her iddle self?) So, anyway, Pam's willing to unleash her own plastic protuberences at the drop of a hat, or to sign an autograph, or tip a waiter, or accept an award, etc., but her 'anime alter ego' has to keep her slingshot on at all times. Fine. On one condition: if Tommy shows up in that damned cartoon, and starts swingin' it around all over the place, I'm going back to Scooby Doo. (Mmmmm... Velma....))

Okay, where the hell was I? Oh, yeah -- the beer doohickey.

So, there are a couple of issues with this beer summit thing. First, the 'few questions' concern me a bit. I mean, I can answer all the easy beer questions -- I know which end of the bottle to open, and which hole of mine to stick it in for best effect (learned that the hard way, let me tell you). Anyway, I think I've got the basics covered. But their questions seem somehow more sinister -- 'Unfortunately, the questions cannot be e-mailed.' What the hell is that? I can't think of a question that can't be emailed, or even 'e-mailed'. Can you? Are they dirty, steamery questions, maybe? ('So if you needed to get a donkey drunk, for... some... reason... which brand would you choose?') Or questions of national import, perhaps, that must'nt fall into enemy hands? ('We're thinking of getting al-Qaida hammered, so we can sneak up on them. Which beer do you think goes best with desert lizard and three-year old hummus?') Anyway, that's not the worst part -- if I can't fake my way through a beer test, then what the hell did my nine years of college get me? No, the absolute worst part is this:

I am ineligible to participate.

It pains me to write that, of course. But I'm afraid I have a disease -- a horrible, incurable disease -- and its effects exclude me from the target group for this study. That disease, my friends, is the debilitating horror known as: oldness. Damn this infernal monster! See, I'm just a couple of planet rotations past the cutoff date of twenty-nine. So no matter how much I like beer, and how eloquently I can wax on about dewy hops and sun-kiss'd malted barley, the Guinness cascade and the perfect pour, the frogs and the High Life and the Swedish Bikini Team... they don't want me. I'm too old to care about. I should go back and crawl under my shawl and gum my applesauce while the young bucks get to dictate the hot new trends in the brewing industry. (And is that really what we want? 'D00dz! How about... pepperoni beer? Or no, no -- make little holes in the bottom of the b0ttlez and plug 'em up, so we can sh0tgun right off the six-pack. D00d -- that would r0x0r!')

Anyway, I think I've still got something to contribute to the discussion. And I think someone needs to be there to represent my 'generation' -- someone to offset the script weenies and frat jocks sure to be in attendance. So there's only one thing left to do -- I gotta get a fake ID. One that says I'm 25 or so. Hey, if it worked at 16, it oughta work at 32, right? I just have to go about it a little differently than I did then -- I'll shave right before I go, and wear a baseball cap (backwards, natch) to cover my gray hairs, and I'll make sure I've got my teeth Polydent-ed in tight. And I'll have to find a dirty old T-shirt to wear. I guess the 'REM World Tour '88' isn't gonna cut it, huh? Well, I'll just go buy something and age it... at Lazarus, or Chess King or somewhere, whereever the cool kids are shopping these days.

So, if you're over 30 and still enjoy beer, even if it's through a straw or an IV -- wish me luck. The fate of our beer-swilling experience depends on it. And to the rest of you out there -- stay the hell out of Boston on the 30th, dammit. I've got a great idea for a pepperoni beer, and I don't want any of you stealin' it...

"Hey, Where Is Everybody Today? Did I Miss a Memo?"

Oh, yeah? Well, my blog can kick your blog's ass!

So today I got laid off, and it wasn't quite what I expected. First of all, the terminology's all wrong -- in the end, I neither got laid, nor did I get off. Which was pretty disappointing, of course. I even went into my exit interview with a big peacock feather and a bottle of baby oil, but I got nothin'. Bupkis. (Which is probably for the best -- the guy processing me looked pretty stubbly, when you got right down to it. So I'm kinda glad we didn't, um, you know, 'get right down to it'.)

Anyway, it was all cool. Certainly, I wasn't afforded the luxury of a golden parachute, but neither did the process feel like a big golden shower. (Couldn't talk 'em into that, either. Tough crowd this afternoon.) Okay. Running screaming away from that image...

So, anyway, no golden parachute. Probably not a silver parachute, either. More like a plaid tablecloth that I can hold by the corners, and try not to look down. More than a firm handshake and a bag of doughnuts, certainly, but I'm not gonna be buying the Elephant Man's bones or anything to celebrate, either. A fair deal for a fair job. (As opposed to others I know who've gotten fairly jobbed and just had to deal.) But the main thing, as it usually is on these occasions, is that most of us getting boot applied to ass today could see it looming before it actually connected. Our company -- well, now, their company, those bastiges! -- actually handled it fairly well, if you ask me. And you didn't. No one did. Everyone knows better by know. But I'm gonna tell you anyway, so -- nyah!

As I was saying, the higher-up muckety-mucks did a pretty decent job of making the situation pretty obvious, and easing us lower-down lackey-lacks into enlightenment. If you're familiar with the old joke, then you'll understand when I say that they essentially told us that the dog was on the roof, and then sick, and then dead before they broke the news about Mother to us. And if you're not familiar with the joke, then none of that made any damned sense to you, you poor, pitiful soul. Oh, and I also just ruined a joke for you that you'll probably hear sometime in the future. You can thank me later, really.

Of course, the one thing that we weren't told by the powers-that-boot was the actual date on which our desks would be emptied out the window. (I kid, I kid. This particular multinational concern has a bit of class. We weren't even summarily escorted from the building. Well, okay, I was, but only after I got a little overzealous with the baby oil while the outplacement services girl was trying to give me her business card.)
(Hey, while we're here -- is there any other word in the English vernacular that becomes incoherent monkey babble when you remove its '-ment'? How in the rosy Hell do you 'outplace' something? I mean, who uses that word? Outplace. 'So sorry, old chap, but we have to outplace you now.' Or, 'If this keeps up, there's going to be some serious outplacery around here!' 'Mildred's been very upset about all of the outplacitatious behavior around the office lately.' Who makes this shit up? And can I have the job? (No, really -- I could kinda use the cash right now to patch up this tablecloth I'm dangling from...))

Now, where was I? Ah, yes -- keeping the big You Ain't Got to Go Home, But You Got to Get On Up Outta Here date a secret.

So, from what I'm told, this is common practice. And 'Why is that?', you may be asking. (Of course, for all I know, you're asking, 'What makes you think I care?' Or, 'Just where is Funkytown, anyway?' Or even, 'Who the hell is Mildred?' These are good questions, important questions all... but I'm not answering those questions now. Those questions will have to take a number and sit among the lepers and screaming children a la at the DMV, and wait their turns. Right now, I'm answering this question:)

'Why is that?' (As if any of us even remembers by now what that is anymore...)

Anyway, the reason -- so these giants of business and industry tell me -- the reason that you cannot tell people the date on which they're to be fired is that if you tell them exactly when they're going to be canned, then they will simply render themselves scarce at the given time, making it much, much harder to actually perform the scheduled canning. It seems a bit daft to me, frankly -- sort of an 'if I can't see you, you can't fire me' proposition that, in the final analysis, turns out to be horribly misguided and non-truthy. But it does smack a bit of Darwinism, doesn't it?

<David Attenborough voiceover>
Behold. These noble, majestic beasts are employee birds. They're seen here relaxing in their natural habitat, known locally as the cubicle farm. They seem contented enough, pecking here at a keyboard, there at a coffee mug. Gentle creatures of the great Office Plains.
But danger is lurking. A fearsome predator is approaching the flock, and these defenseless, flightless creatures will have to call upon all of their wits and instincts for survival. Look -- just there! An elevator opens and belches forth an employee hawk, the scourge of the humble employee bird. They've not yet picked up his scent -- wait! Now! Yes -- all activity stops as they sense the hawk's presence. The lookout sounds the alert, shrill and panicked: 'Boss!! Bossss!! BOSSSS!!!'
The employee birds scatter, this way and that, abandoning cubes and desks for the safety of the nearest fire escape. Fascinating! Pens and papers fly as the birds skitter to and fro, with a single chance for survival -- escape the boss-bird without locking eyes with this most dangerous of foes. And just that quickly, the office is emptied. It appears as though the flock has been fortunate this time -- hold on! No! Here's a straggler, just stepping out of the rest room!
Oh, rotten luck for this poor creature as he turns the corner and runs right into the clutches of the enemy. He's struggling, of course, but it's all over now. Yes, the hawk has his prey in his hypnotizing gaze, and the death throes have begun. Now the pink slip is finally delivered, and it's off to see the HR representative, as the circle of life marches on...
</David Attenborough voiceover>

So maybe today's way is better, I don't know. I'm still not sure that most rational people would consider the attendance equivalent of 'La la la la la. La la la la la...' to be an effective path to job security, but then this whole sentence really depends on 'most rational people' and 'most people' being fairly similar in scope, doesn't it? Disprove that notion (with, say, a trip to your friendly local shopping mall), and the whole thing crumbles like a house of Toll House cookies. Which leaves us with the alternative -- do your best to let folks know that something wicked this way comes. (Or don't, if you think you'll still be able to sleep at night, you spineless weenie.... yep, redundant, I know. Weenies have no spines; let it go.) But under no circumstances should you tell them when the evil will arrive, or from what direction. Which will leave them jumpy and irritable, which is exactly the state you want someone to be in as you're trying to dropkick them past the front gates, of course.

So you lose the element of surprise ('Boo! You're fired!'), which will likely prevent the downsizee from going postal on that day; but you're then running the risk that s/he is going to lose a lugnut and let loose with a Luger on pretty much any day leading up to the big one. I suppose it's a wash. It's Chinese water torture versus taking a Band-Aid right off(!) in one motion. Matter of taste, really, though neither is exactly Beluga, if you catch my drifticles.

Anyway, I guess that about wraps it up for that. I had a good run, some good fun, and a cinnamon bun.
(Which wasn't good, so I'm not sure why I mentioned it. Why do people still insist on frosting perfectly good cinnamon buns with that pale, pasty orange Jello-flavored icing, anyway? It looks a lot like regular, old-fashioned good old American white icing (which is just unadulterated sugar, the way Nature intended), but then it's just vile. Viiiiiile. Heinous, even. It tastes more like cheese than orange, for one thing. No, not even cheese -- it tastes like cardboard that was once rubbed against cheese, maybe, but real cheese-taste is way too good to describe this dreck.)

I'm sorry. I don't know where the hell that came from. I can't even remember the last time I had a cinnamon bun. (Which is that damned icing's fault, but I don't know why that got all de-repressed and wiggly now. I'll try to control myself in future...)

So. In conclusion (oh, for the love of Hilda, please let that be true...), life goes on. My number was up, and I got jobbed. Or rather, de-jobbed. Obviously. But I did have a good run. I survived as many euphemisms as I could -- reshaping, restructuring, even the ever-popular downsizing. Just to be felled by desperate massive layoff measures. What are ya gonna do? Move on. Onward and upward. Buy a suit, and find another flock to hang with. Hey, I think I'll take my baby oil to the entry interviews. And this time, I'm not taking 'Ewwwww!!!' for an answer!

Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Whacking Myself Has Never Been This Much Fun!

If you can't find this blog in the dark, then you've got no business looking for it in the first place.

Just a quick note this time (hopefully) to commemorate this blog's first Googling. (If you co-memorate something by yourself, by the way, will you really remember it? And do you really want to get together with folks to co-miserate? It sounds dreadful. When you co-mend someone, are they really fixed? And why isn't it called the co-missionary position, if you can't get into it by yourself? Enquiring minds are mildly curious!)

Yeeeees, well. Charging forward, then.

Anyway, I checked this morning and 'wherethehellwasi' now returns a site -- this site! -- in Google searches. (It didn't last night, nor yesterday afternoon, or morning, or the day before, or the day before that. I'm tellin' ya, I tried. Over and over, like some demented kid goin' to DisneyLand -- 'Is it there yet? Is it there yet? Is it there yet?' I walked around for four friggin' days muttering 'Google me, Google me, Google me...' under my breath. My wife gave me aspirin; the dog started running away from me. It was awful. The guys at the office rented a stripper to try and help out, but she told them that 'Googling' would be two hundred extra, so they cleaned her up and walked her home.)

So now, I've got the double whammy. Not only can I make myself giggle till I pee writing this crap (and I seem to be the only one doing so, at this point), but now I can spend what free time I have left over trying to Googlewhack myself. Which, oddly enough, involves neither a tub of Vaseline nor 'Juggies' of any kind. No. Though maybe it should, just a little. But... no. No, for those of you unfamiliar with Googlewhacking, here's a whole site dedicated to the practice. (Aw, my first embedded link-out. *sniff* My blog is growing up so fast! It's my special blog!)

What was I saying? Oh, right, Googlewhacking myself. Of course.

So, in a nutshell, Googlewhacking is trying to find two words that return exactly one result (One shall be the number of pages returned, and the number of pages returned shall be one!) when fed through the Googlehopper into the search bin. So the words should be largely -- nay, nearly completely -- incompatible, and to be a really successful Googlewhacker, you actually need to think like the poor sods who have actually managed to plop both words on the same web page. Alcohol helps the thought process along, though I think a couple of shots of antifreeze would better approximate the scrambled brains responsible for some of these combos. I'd give you some examples, but that would defeat the purpose, of course. If I write them here, and Google re-indexes me, then bam -- now the combo isn't a Googlewhack anymore, and the person who found it comes and gives me a big flaming noogie. And frankly, I don't want that. My eyebrows still haven't grown back from the last time. So you'll just have to go see for yourself.

In the meantime, though, I can try it with this page, and that makes me Happy™. There's some weird shit happenin' on this page, and I'm determined to find a Googlewhack here -- after the fact, of course, without meaning to write one as I go along. (Try it yourself -- play along at home. Left foot on red, right hand on blue; sink my Battleships, baby.) I've tried a few combos, but I haven't found that magical Googlebusting pair yet. Of course, bringing back other sites with the same brain-jacked word pairings is also a good way to prove to myself that I'm not the most fucked-up puppy out there in the kennel. Not quite, anyway. Some of these guys are just creepy. Here, check it out yourself -- here's a list of some things I've tried so far:

  • spork and cadavers (#6 of 15 on the list)
  • kibosh and comptrollers (#2 of 2 on the list -- so close!)
  • accoster and Sasquatch (#2 of 2 on the list -- dammit!)
  • snootful and politico (#2 of 2 on the list -- bitches!)

Google's only indexed through June 20th entries, so there's plenty more nonsense for me to sift through for goodies as soon as the site goes back through the Googlethresher. (And if there's one thing that gets me all slicked up and watery, it's siftin' for goodies. How's that for a Big Wall moment, for those of you who've been following from the start?) In the meantime, I've got to find a way to 'accidentally' get words like sanctimonious and patisserie in here. (Hey, that was easy!)

"Honey, Did You Remember the Ho-Ho's?"

A blog like dyslexic lite beer -- it tastes filling, but it's less great!

I'm no fan of grocery stores.
(Actually, I typo'd that the first time and wrote 'grovery stores', which would've made the sentence a lie, a damned lie, and perhaps even a statistic. I've honestly never been to a Grover-y Store, but I imagine it'd be pretty cool as long as that damned Strangle-Me-Elmo bitch wasn't there, too. Shouldn't Oscar have been all up in his bidness by now? Somebody needs to stick their hand wayyyy up in that little red pecker's neck and turn him inside out already. He's like a little sunburned Pillsbury Dough Boy -- all 'Hoo hoo!' and 'Ha hah!' But I digress...)

Anyhoo -- grovery grocery stores. My typing is not what it used to be (three hours ago, even). As much as I hate to harp on a theme twice in one day, what with the foody thing I wrote earlier, grocery stores are on my mind, so that's where we're shovin' off from, mateys. We'll see what patch of jagged rocks we crash on when we get there.
(So, back to 'foody' for a tick. If I've got this right -- and I'm not botherin' to look it up, so presume that I do -- then 'foody' is the quality of being food, or food-like. But 'foodie', on the other hand, is some flamboyant character who wears ruffles and scarves and affects some sort of quasi-European accent, if s/he doesn't own one already. Oh, and likes food, yes. Definitely the food thing; that's part of the whole package. Very important, no doubt.
But I like the pattern -- '-y' means you are like something, but '-ie' means you are a fan of it. Foody. Foodie. Cool! But I think we should get more words in on this. There are lots of words out there that aren't quite doing it right. Like crappy and crappie. Okay, so crappie's a fish, and I suppose fish do like to poop, and eat it, and spend their lives swimming in the stuff, so maybe that's not the best example. But how about 'sleepie'? How long do we have to wait to get that approved? Or 'beerie'? Now there's a word that needs a good home. Where are the wordsmiths when we need 'em, huh? 'Beefie'. I'm just pullin' 'em outta the air here; how hard can it be? Or 'sexie'. Do I have to do everybody's job around here?)

So. Where the hell was I? Grocery stores. All righty.

Yeah, so grocery stores and I have never really gotten along. I'm not sure why; all it has is food, and I like food. I eat it almost every day, sometimes two or three times. (Is that wrong?) But it's just such a hassle to go to the store, and then find a cart, and walk down the aisles, and kick that old lady's ass who also wants the last gallon of skim milk. And Jehovah help me if I've been given a list of some sort as a guide. Now, if I wrote the list myself, then it's cool -- I know what the hell I meant when I wrote it, and there's only one kind of Chee-tos to begin with, so I'm on top of it.
But if my wife (or any other sane person) actually hands me a pre-made list? Well, these days I just save time and start bleeding from the ears right there on the spot. No need to go through the whole process again. It's impossible to shop from someone else's list -- absolutely non-doable. Like a nun, it can't be done. Take spinach, for instance. (No, really, take it far away to some Fourth World country and burn it. And then bury it, piss on the grave, dig it up, yell at it, and throw it back in.) Anyway -- let's say I'm sent to the store for the usual suspects -- pomegranates, cod liver oil, utility shears, unagi... you know, the staples of everyday living. So, now let's say I see spinach on the list, down there between the ostrich eggs and the Gold Bond. Well, what the hell do I do then? There's fresh spinach, and leafy spinach, and frozen spinach, and spinach dips, and cans of spinach and spinach soup and spinach ice cream and spinach juice and spinach pasta and spinach waffles, and how am I supposed to know what 'spinach' means? Or 'navel oranges', for that matter? Or '12 oz. can of Campbell's tomato soup'? I'm just one man, for cryin' out loud! So I play it safe -- I just buy one of any product that could conceivably be referred to as the item that's on my list. Or rhymes with it, or starts with the same letter. Or has a clown on the box. So I come home with three thousand dollars' worth of crap that nobody wants, and suddenly Saturday afternoon is gone, and sometimes Sunday morning, too. Where's the fun in that?
(I mean, if I'm gonna spend my whole weekend in a place where I'm expected to squeeze the occasional melon, then there at least ought to be some music and dancing and fireman's poles around. Is that really asking for too much?)

What I really miss is this whole free-delivery Internet grocer thingamabob. That shit was cool! You sit at your computer -- where you're gonna end up, anyway -- and click on your colas (or sodas, or pops, or Cokes, or fizzies, or whatever the hell you happen to call it in your neck of the planet), and your frozen microwave burritos, and your Ho-Ho's, and then you hit send, and a few hours later some friendly dude who won't let you tip him shows up at your door with a bunch of someone else's groceries. It was like the Christmas present you always get from that senile aunt you have that lives far away somewhere -- you never quite knew what you were gonna get, but it sure as hell wasn't gonna be what you asked for. But it'd be delivered right to your door, you'd at least get it in the month or so after you expected it, and you could probably eat it if you got desperate enough. So we ended up with a lot of other people's Brussels sprouts, and pickle relish, and Secret roll-on antiperspirant deodorant (which, incidentally, ended up being the best tasting of the three. It's strong enough for a man, but shaved into a butter sauce, it makes a nice couscous alternative.) But sadly, all of the online grocers around here started charging a fee for the privilege of having your menu scrambled into a state of higgledy-piggledy by their parsimonious produce packers, so we moved on.

I suppose we're better off, in the end. Now we get just the little packets of carcinogens and acrylamide that we want, not some batch of tofu crap ordered by the health goobers next door. Of course, now we have to look the cashier in the eye as Twinkie after Twinkie slides across the pricer and down the chute, like some hedonistic wet-dream waterslide. But my wife tends to take care of that. She makes the lists, you see -- well, she has to. I'm not allowed near the kitchen anymore, since the... unpleasantness. (I still say that dogs can regrow toenails, but we'll find out for sure in a couple more weeks. Maybe if they come back, the dog will stop looking at me like that all the time.) So I'm allowed to get my sippy cup out of the fridge, but for anything else, I need oven mitts and adult supervision.
(The former of which make it much harder to unroll my Ho-Ho's as I eat them, I have to admit... and no, 'unrolling my Ho-Ho's' is not a euphemism. Well, it will be now, but it wasn't when I wrote it. Fun!)

So that's that. Actually, my wife's at the store tonight, and I think I hear her coming back now, with her grocery bags full of yummy goodness (again, not a euphemism). I'd better go find my wallet (unlike the lackeys from the store who used to deliver, she happily accepts tips, and happily kicks me in the shins if I don't pony up). Then I'll strap on my oven mitts and head downstairs to help. I just hope she didn't get spinach waffles again...

Monday, June 23, 2003
Call for Two of These, and Take One in the Morning

More changed subjects than a schizophrenics' pep rally!

It's almost dinner time, so I've decided to torture myself by looking at restaurant takeout menus. I won't actually be able to order anything on the menus, you understand -- I'll be in the office for another hour or more, and then I'll drive home, and then I'll be able to sit down and really give food a good thinking over. In the meantime, any consideration of food is purely theoretical, and serves only to make me hungrier, which distracts me from what I'm actually doing. (Which is writing this entry, which itself is distracting me from what I'm really supposed to be doing. It's all circles within circles, folks, circles within circles...)

So, anyway, I've got these takeout menus, and they all look the same after a while. Or more accurately, they all look like one of two things -- greasy pizza menus, or greasy Chinese food menus. Around here, at least, that's about all we can get delivered to the office. Or maybe it's just all I ever eat. Eight of one, half dozen the other. Whatever.
(How is it, by the way, that these two niches of cuisine have become the de facto takeout/delivery choices? I mean, I understand that as Americans, we all want to exercise our inalienable right to make other people prepare food and bring it to our doorsteps. And by cracky, if we're gonna pay for that food, then it damned well better be swimming in some sort of grease, preferably squeezed from some sort of dead animal, and ideally with a separate cup of the stuff that we can drink for dessert. And if it takes more than twenty minutes or so to get said food to us, then we'll have no choice but to follow the 31st Amendment of these United States and call the restaurant every two minutes, belligerent and profane, until the food arrives. No, really -- it's in the Constitution. Look it up.
But given all of that, I'm still not sure how Signorina Pizza and Lady Fried Rice ended up winning the pageant to represent all of cholesterol-dom in the food delivery industry. Certainly, I would think that Senorita Burrito and Frau Bratwurst, for instance, would have scored just as highly in the artery clogging competition, and they don't take nearly as long to get into their dresses as their fellow foodstuffs. I can really only see pizza and (American-bastardized) Chinese food having one advantage over other fatso foods, but I suppose it's a big one: the morning-after test.
See, it's pretty much a given that if you're going to actually call someone up on a regular basis to bring you these piping hot boxes of premature death, then you're also unlikely to be able to pull yourself together the next morning to figure out toast. Or cereal. Or even how to get out of bed. So you want -- no, you need -- a food that can be carried from the front door directly to your nightstand, withstand the first barrage of flying forks and fingers, and then sit quietly overnight getting ready for round number two.
And of course, pizza is the Grand Poobah master world champion in this process, hands down. I mean, Chinese food is fine -- the grease congeals a little bit, and gets the rice all crispy and sticky, and the chicken or beef or whatever tends to mush up and disintegrate after a few hours... this is well and good, of course, and all very appetizing, but nothing compared to the culinary crescendo that is day-old pizza. Slightly-used pizza is a delicacy worthy of royalty, and yet available to all. You don't even have to be the one who starts the pizza on day one; you can swoop in hours, even days, later and partake of the true feast that is cold, stale pizza pie.
See, there are even two classes of pizza, if you ask the true connoisseur. There are 'eating' pizzas, and then there are 'aging' pizzas. It's like white vs. red wine. Some pizzas, you really don't want to think about eating until they're at least twelve hours old. At least. Many can be profitably enjoyed into their third or fourth days (though at that point, you need to pick and choose a bit about what started out a mushroom, and what turned into a mushroom along the way). Still, a good aging pizza is a sight, and a taste -- and often a smell -- to behold. The crust is the first to change, becoming rock-hard on the bottom and chewier as it nestles into the toppings. Pepperoni and other meat-like items will become somewhat rubbery at first, then gradually harder and finally dense and shrivelly. (But then again, don't we all?) Onions and peppers will wrinkle as well, and regale the eagle-eyed watcher with a stunning progression of browns and grays before settling into a thick, crunchy black. The tomato sauce, oddly, is relatively inert throughout the process -- it thickens a bit, and serves to glue everything together, but it doesn't really do anything. Just like a damned vegetable...
But the cheese -- the cheese is the real star of the show. If you order a pizza while you watch your Saturday cartoons, by dinnertime you'll be able to caulk your tub with the cheese. (Not that I'm suggesting any actual housework or physical activity, mind you. It's just a figure of speech. Don't get your knickers in a twist over it.) By midnight, the cheese is cement. Don't be tempted to gobble it up then, though! A truly spectacular pizza needs to gel overnight. Rock yourself to sleep with the lullaby sounds of the cheese gurgling and churning, working its greases deep into the pizza. Sleep well, and long, and when you wake, your new best friend will be there waiting. Don't bother with cleaning, or washing, or brushing anything at that point. Don't even get out of bed. Just reach over, open the box, and grab a little slice of Heaven, all for yourself. It just doesn't get any better than that.)

Nice. One paragraph of topic, six pages of parenthetical aside. Just what I get for writing hungry. Well, on the good side, I diddled all my time here away, so I can go home and actually get some food now. Of course, on the bad end of things, I did eat three packets of hot sauce while I wrote it out of desperation. Plus a plastic spoon. Oh, and my left sock.

So anyway, things didn't quite go where I planned, but hopefully we all got something out of it. Now you know that a Little Caesar's 'Pizza Pizza' deal isn't just dinner for four anymore. Now it can be a psychedelic three-day tour through the wonders of pseudo-Italian cuisine, the effects of atmospheric moisture on baked bread dough, and an exploration of what hungry little things are hiding within the walls of your house this very moment, waiting to stamp their hairy little feet in anything tasty you might leave lying around. (Which reminds me: do be sure to finish the pie before the anchovies start to walk off by themselves, hmm?) So clearly, this has been of service to you today. Ooh, and I learned how to spell connoisseur.

So it's yet another win-win blog entry. And since my work seems to be done here, I'm off to order some dinner. And tomorrow's breakfast, and lunch as well, all in one handy square box. I can hardly wait to clean off my nightstand and get started. Bon appetit!

The Accidental Exhibitionist

Spanning the globe to unearth silly, ridiculous crap -- so you don't have to!

My wife has a webcam.
(That's number fourteen on my list of Things I Never Thought I'd Say in Public. And I'm not sure my wife would even immediately realize the stir that such a simple sentence could cause. But she'd figure it out pretty damned quickly, and then kick my ass, so I think I'd better elaborate.)

It's not that kind of webcam. At the moment, it's not much of any kind of webcam at all. She got it a while back -- for Christmas, I think.
(And from her mother, if I recall correctly. Now she really didn't realize how itchy and throbby some people start to get these days when they think of 'woman' and 'webcam' in the same sentence. But to be fair, she lives pretty far away, and just wanted to see her daughter a bit more often. It's perfectly innocent, of course. Plus, the same people that would get all oiled up and bothered over 'woman' and 'webcam' usually do the same over 'woman' and just about anything else -- 'goldfish', 'elevator', 'pennywhistle', you name it. There are some sick puppies out there, just scannin' the airwaves for 'woman' and <something>, so they can get all lathery.)

Anyway, it creeps me out a little. It's just -- sitting there, looking at me. Oh, it's not turned on, mind you. And there's a little cyclops-sunglasses thingy that covers the lens. On top of that, I don't remember the software ever being installed, and I'm not sure the thing's even plugged into the computer... but I'm not entirely sure that it's not, either. And that's creepy. I mean, it's not like I'm planning on doing anything that I wouldn't want broadcast all over the planet -- it's just me and the dog in the house right now, and she's really not that kind of dog.
(Of course, how you can call a beast that spends that much time being naked and smelling crotches 'not that kind' of anything is a bit of a mystery to me. I mean, when Aunt Ellen started doing that, they bundled her up and carted her away to a place for 'that kind' of people. New Jersey, I think it's called.)

So it's not that I feel particularly inhibited or constricted by having this thing watching me. I'm trying to act as naturally as I ever do, which is usually not all that close to 'natural' in the first place. But things happen, right? Not major, webcam-broadcast-worthy events, of course.
(Like 'Gee, my dog can suddenly talk, and she's channeling the ghost of Chevy Chase's career', or 'Hey, what are all you small-nosed sorority girls doing with that tub of Cheese Whiz in my back yard?' (Apologies to Mr. Breathed, btw, but kudos to the rest of you if you recognized the Steve Dallas ref.))

Damn, lost my train of thought. Cheese Whiz always does that to me. Oh, right, the webcam.

Okay, so just at the moment, this little one-eyed monster (yes, dearies, we're still talking about the webcam...) isn't causing me too much grief. I'm a bit wary, and uneasy, and I keep popping my neck up to look at it like a lemur being goosed, but for now, I can deal. I'm just typing, and I'm not naked or anything, so there's really nothing to be seen here, even in the worst case scenario. But things do happen, even to the best of us. I mean, what if I had an itch? You know, down there somewhere. Maybe not even there there, but just close to there there. Maybe somewhere completely innocent and uninvolved, but just close enough to the action that you can't touch it without thinking of... you know, there. Or what if I want to find out whether I can touch my nose with my tongue (this time)? Or what my mouse smells like? These things happen, you know. And I think that they're perfectly reasonable things to, in order, scratch, lick, and sniff, sitting all alone as I am in the privacy of my own house.

But then there's this thing, this cam, sitting here and pretending not to watch me. Sleeping, maybe even dead, but with the technical capability to transform any moderately embarrassing moment into the one thing that prevents me from ever holding an elected office. (Okay, fine, the latest thing that prevents me from holding office. I'm still banned from Baskin-Robbins stores for the last, ah, incident. But it's not like I need another reason, now is it?) And I know -- I just know -- that as soon as I bend fingers toward groinal region, or lift tongue or mouse nostrilward, that this vengeful little bastard is going to pop open with an 'A-HAH!!' and simulcast my shame into every office and den around the globe. Really -- it's going to make that noise, and a little red light will come on, and there I'll be, with a hand up my pant leg, or quarters up my nose, or putting lipstick on the dog, something (again, perfectly reasonable things, as long as no one ever has to know...) -- and Mom and Dad and my boss and my Grandma and every teacher or friend I've ever had will see it, and say one of two things:

Oh -- oh, Charlie... (with head shaking sadly), or:
Oh, yeah, that guy. Well, it was only a matter of time... (with head nodding sagely)

And so, I refrain. When I want to post here, or check email, or surf, I prepare myself. I wear my Sunday-best suit, sit up straight at my desk, and banish evil and lecherous thoughts from my mind (insofar as that's possible, of course). I don't touch myself, or make funny faces, or eat or drink at my chair, lest I dribble or gag or snort something out my nose. I even (mainly) stop talking to myself. Mainly.

So that's it, I suppose. That's what I have to go through to bring you this nonsense, and I thought you should know. I've considered fixing the problem once and for all, telling my wife that it's either the webcam or me, and one of us has to go. But I really don't know what my odds are there, so I deal, and the webcam and I continue our rocky relationship. C'est la vie. And now, of course, I have an itch. Not exactly there, but not terribly far away, either. It's one of those places that's hard to scratch without making faces of some kind, which certainly puts it in the danger zone. So I guess I'll wrap up here, and head down to the basement to take care of the situation. It's the one place left where I can actually get a little privacy. Maybe I'll take my mouse down there, too. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right?

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