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  #65: Pissing in the Middle
  #78: Losing My Faith
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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:
http://www.wherethehellwasi.com

I'll be glad you did!

Saturday, July 05, 2003
 
The End of an Era of Ersatz Erotica

Blog. It's what's for dinner.

Well, I'm not entirely sure what to regale you with today. I've got a couple of things brewing up there in the old noggin -- some thoughts on advertising, and a story about how I discovered I'd become old, plus some other assorted and aforementioned stuff. (Well, I'm not gonna tell you what it is; if you've been paying attention, you already know, then, don'cha?) But I don't think I have time at the moment to do any of those topics the justice they so richly deserve, so I'm gonna talk about something else.

I know -- I'll give you a State of the Blog report. That'll be fun. Or it'll take up space, at least. And I'll take what I can get at this point.

So, I'm happy to report that my little experiment to inappropriately attract horny pervs was a raging -- or should I say throbbing? -- success. (For the backstory on this one, see this post, where I rather inadvertantly created the problem, and this one, where I decided to milk the hell out of it. And yes, that's a transparent self-promoting ploy to get you to root around in the archives. Don't hate me because I'm shameless.) Anyway, I figure that Google picked up the latter of those entries sometime on Monday, June 30th, just as the hubbub that the post describes (said hubbub having been caused by the first post) was dying down. So, after never having even 30 hits in a single day, I then was the oh-so-thrilled recipient of approximately 40 on Monday, then 145, 85, 175, and 35 hits, ending on Friday, July 4th, when Google appears to have re-indexed at just after 5 am local time. The offending (and offensive!) article had by then been shelved into the archives, and it appears that Google doesn't get around to indexing those. Bastards! Since the post has fallen off of Google's radar, I've had all of six visitors -- well, seven, now that you're here, or eight, maybe -- but you folks seem to have been genuinely looking for this site (God help ya), so the six-pack of happy-to-be-here miscreants is much more valuable to me than the gaggle of wank-spankers that was running around here all week.

So, really, I suppose I'm happier to report that the experiment is over, and I don't see myself repeating it in future. As much as I like jerking around the jack-off crowd... um, so to speak, that is -- their constant fevered clickings makes it pretty tough to figure out who's really reading this crap, and which crap they're reading. Or to put it another way, the 'signal to nookie' ratio becomes vanishingly low. I suppose I'd hoped that a few of the winkie-whackers might appreciate what's here... you know, wrap up their searches, and clean off, and then come back to see what this place is all about. (Or, as J-Lo likes to put it: 'Come for the ass, but stay for the sass!') And maybe that's happened -- we'll see. If you fit into that category yourself, then welcome! Look around, make yourself at home. Glad to have you! Just keep your pants on and your hands on the mouse while you're here, and we'll be fine. I have to wash the slip covers on the couches often enough as it is, thank you very much.

Let's see... what else? Oh, I did come up with the title I wish I'd called the blog in the first place. I'm too lazy to change it now, and of course wouldn't want to confuse all of my loyal fans... they'd both be very upset, I'm certain. Anyway, if I'd been thinking clearly on the morning I started this thing, I'd have called it 'Verbal Obscenities'. Back in college, we had the following sign posted just inside the basketball gym:

No Food or Drinks Allowed
No Access to Court During Games
No Shouting of Verbal Obscenities


So, of course, our small group of friends was inclined -- nay, compelled -- to attend as many games as possible, and to scream 'Verbal obscenities! Booooo! Verbal obscenities!' when we felt our team had been slighted. Or during free throws, or timeouts, or tipoffs -- constantly, really. It was fun for the first two or three years; really, it was. Ooh, that and taunting the DIII zebras that worked the games. That made us giggle, too. ('Hey, ref, we know you! You won't ref Division Two!') Good times. So, anyway, in retrospect, 'The Verbal Obscenity Blog' would've been perfect. It's descriptive, accurate (goddamn it!), and there's a mildly amusing and highly aggravating backstory. Just like the blog itself! But I missed my chance, I suppose. It'll just have to find a place on the Pile of Thoroughly Tragic Disappointments with the Menudo autographs I never got, and Fletch 2, and that boob job I've been wanting since puberty. (I know, 'Just like a man'.) Oh, and that, um, cream I bought over the Internet. (I should've known that wasn't gonna work. As Robert Schimmel once said, 'Wouldn't it make your hands bigger, too?')

That's pretty much it, I suppose. I'll still keep bringing you this crap, and if the three of you who read it keep tuning in, then we'll keep this thing rolling. Oh, but one favor to ask, if you don't mind: could you check in a couple of times a day apiece? Just for a while... I'd just hate to dip below that six-hit-a-day mark. You know, it's an ego thing.

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411):
I had every intention of writing a post-Fourth of July report today all about my experience at the downtown fireworks gala. I even wrote and deleted a couple of paragraphs, but in the end I decided just to let it go. Just take a deep breath (Ahhhhhh!) and let it go. Trust me, you're not missing much. I started by talking about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir -- you know, making fun of Mormons, and wondering how they cornered the market on 'tabernacles', and whether 'tabernacles' are somehow related to 'tallywhackers'; really, it wasn't all that entertaining, so I just scrapped it. Here's the only part that I thought about salvaging, about the horde of Bostonians gathered around us for the festivities:

<deleted post snippet>
I haven't seen so many fat, sweaty people in one place since... well, since... okay, look, I've thought of a couple of marginally clever ways to end that sentence, but I don't want to lie to you. I have never seen so many fat, sweaty people in all my life. Here it is twelve hours later, and the cellulite afterimage is still there every time I blink.

(You think I'm bluffing, don't you? A'ite, Skippy, I'll represent. Peep this:
"I haven't seen so many fat, sweaty people in one place since:"

  1. a big rig loaded with pork rinds was left unlocked at a Lynn truck stop last August.
  2. Tom Arnold's Very Special Family Reunion Christmas Extravaganza. On the WB, of course.
  3. that strip joint in Texas we hit on our way to Mexico one year. *shudder*
  4. the Two Fat Ladies' book signing / pig roast at the local Barnes and Noble.
  5. my gym offered half-off memberships to 'Oprah Book Club' members.
  6. Jimmy Buffett played the Daytona Beach Bike Week.
  7. I happened to walk past Mickey D's on the day they retired the McRib.
  8. Richard Simmons' picket line when his studio tried to force him to stop wearing those damned crotch-hugger shorts.
  9. the last time the cops interrogated the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line about their night out with Randy Moss.
  10. Weight Watchers mixed up the dates for the chili cookoff and the 5K 'Fun Run' in their newsletter.

There, ya happy now, punkly?)
</deleted post snippet>

See, now, if that was the best I could come up with for the post, did you really want to read the rest? Nah, I didn't think so.
(You each owe me a beer now, for not putting you through that, by the way. Self-censorship don't come free, you know.)




Friday, July 04, 2003
 
Happy Birthday! Or War Day! Or Bank Holiday! ...You Go, Girl!

How many blogs would a blog dog log if a blog dog did log blogs?

So, it's the Fourth of July here in the States, which is where most of you are tuning in from.
(Actually, I've always assumed that 'The States' was a global reference to this country, but it's always been Americans who've used the term when I've heard it. Maybe it's just one of those arrogant US-isms that we foist onto the rest of the world, and expect them to understand, adopt, and use, even if it means casting aside other words that have served the same purpose for decades or longer. Like 'apartment' for 'flat', or 'chips' for 'crisps', for example.
(Or 'French fries' for 'chips', for that matter, not to mention 'freedom - instead - of - French - because - we're - having - a - screaming - hissy - pissing - contest - with - them - right - now - and - this - makes - us - feel - especially - clever fries' for 'French fries'. I mean, who are we jerking around with all of these changes, anyway? The French don't even call greasy fried potatoes 'French fries' to begin with. They've got their own, original, name for the things, and as I understand it, most everyone in the world already calls them 'American Fries', thanks to McDonalds and BK and Wendy's (oh my!). So I think we can let it go, folks... we've already won the Battle to Claim the Greasiest Possible Food Made with Potatoes. Rejoice. And with the wealth of resources and ingenuity available to us, we'll soon take the entire War to Kill Everyone in Your Country with Massive Coronaries. It's only a matter of time, and we're already way ahead.
Meanwhile, we've got the rest of the English-speaking world eating fries when we mean chips, and cookies when we mean biscuits, and so on. Did we get pissed off at them -- after the Revolutionary War, maybe -- and decide to change all of their food names, too? I thought the recent thing with the French was pretty silly, frankly, but it seems that there may be precedent in our foreign policy history for exactly this sort of unilateral foodstuff nomenclature dictum. How's that for a way to instill fear and respect into your opponents during a heated debate on matters of global security or economic stability? 'Ambassador, we may agree to disagree if you wish, but I must warn you -- if you do not vote with us on this matter, I'm afraid we're going to make you use the term 'goobers' to refer to peanuts for the rest of eternity. I think you know what to do.' Actually, that one would probably work. I wonder if Jimmy Carter tried that during the Iran hostage crisis...)

Okay. Where the hell was I? Ah, the Fourth.

So, I've always thought the Fourth of July a bit odd. Certainly, I can understand it in terms of a birthday celebration for the country; that makes perfect sense.
(Though it is a bit of pressure, isn't it? What do you buy a country that has everything? I mean, let's face it -- America's been a bit spoiled through the years. She was still in diapers when France just handed her the Louisiana Purchase. And a couple of years later, what does she get? Jacks? A jump rope, perhaps? I don't think so. Florida, that's what she got. Now, would you trust your child with Florida at that age? My word. Personally, I'd have had a good long talk with Spain, and asked to have it put in a trust or something. You know, until she was ready. Some parents just don't know how to say no, I suppose.
But that's not all, not by a longshot. At her debutante ball, she gets Texas, from the next-door neighbors. (And then she had the gall to demand California, Nevada, and a handful of other states from those same neighbors as a graduation present. And they gave it to her! Pushovers.) Well, by that point, she knew how to get what she wanted. She could charm, or threaten, or pout, or throw a tantrum, all to great effect. And she could cry on demand, if she wasn't getting her way. She was a manipulative tour de force; no one could resist her. She got lavish presents from suitors -- Oregon and Idaho from Britain ('Ewww... that's incest!'), bits and baubles from Mexico, and a rather large, mysterious present from that brooding Russia fellow. Even little Hawaii danced with the American mistress, but by the time she was done with him, there wasn't much left to speak of.
In the end, though, America's turned out to be a bit of a tease, always flirting with one country or another, or stamping her little feet when she feels she's been slighted, but never content to find a nice country to settle down with and have some islands of her own. Which is too bad, really -- she's a beautiful lady, and actually quite enchanting if you can get past her little head games and charades. I always thought that she and Australia might make a nice couple, or perhaps Greece. But I'm afraid it's not likely to happen. America's getting on in years now, and I don't know whether the other countries are as interested as they used to be. It looks as though she may grow into a spinster, with a few close friends (and closer enemies), but at the end of the day, only her Louisianas and Alaskas and such to keep her company.)

All right, what was I saying?

So, as a birthday celebration, the Fourth of July makes some sense to me (unlike the last three paragraphs... hoo boy). On the other hand, July 4, 1776 isn't really the important date, if you think about it. That's the day that the Declaration of Independence was signed, sure, but the war with the British didn't end for seven more years, and the treaty recognizing America as a country wasn't signed until September 3, 1783. That, to me, is the real date that we should celebrate -- that's when the world knew that we'd won, and we could get down to the business of telling the rest of them how they ought to be running their countries. July 4th is like the day when you tell your parents, 'I hate it here, and I'm eighteen now, and I can do whatever I want! I'm outta here!'. But September 3 is the day -- years later, of course -- when you actually score that job flipping burgers at Mickey D's and scrape together enough cash to move your shit into some creepy old guy's moldy basement. That's when you've won, not on the day that you 'declare' yourself independent. Really, think about it. If Texas had a damned holiday for every time they told the rest of us they were moving out, the banks would never be open in that friggin' state. Please.
(I can think of a couple of explanations as to why we picked July 4th as the holiday instead, but I'm not sure any of them are good enough to overcome the pretty much irrefutable logic that the 4th really didn't mean anything until we got out there with our posse and walked the walk. But what the hell -- here goes.
It could be that folks don't want a holiday to distract them from the truly important things going on in September -- namely, the start of football season and the baseball pennant races. I can see the logic in that, certainly. Also, it's entirely possible that once we introduced all of those tittilating mini-explosives into the celebration, someone decided (quite rightly, methinks) that Delbert and Elmo and Andy Joe and Paw wouldn't be able to contain themselves and not set the damn things off until the fall, so we'd better find a way to get rid of 'em earlier in the summer. And again, that seems perfectly reasonable, but perhaps not enough so to overcome the inertia of actually tryin' to have a frickin' holiday in this country on the date that the important thing happened (for once).
No, now that I think about it, there's only one thing that presents an obvious, open-and-shut case for not celebrating the birth of the country on its actual birthdate, and that's this -- or this is that, whatever: if we plunked a holiday right at the beginning of September, then those of you (poor buggers) with children would suffer through an entire summer with the kids at home, only to send 'em off to school... and get 'em thrown back in your face for a day right away. As if we don't have enough mental illness in this country already. You'd be there on the couch, thanking your preferred deity that you don't have to lunch at Chuck E Cheese or wake up to Twenty Thousand Questions for the next nine months. You'd just start to relax, knowing that the problem of shaping your children's minds is in the hands of underpaid, underappreciated, underequipped and overharried professional educators until June -- and then there they'd be, your children, on a Tuesday, maybe, or a Friday, eating paste and sticking gum in each other's hair, and shaving the alphabet into the dog's back. At which point someone would have to die, of course. Not the kids, maybe, but somebody, no question. So I suppose I see the wisdom in the date change after all...)

Did I have a point back there somewhere? Oh, yeah -- got it.

So, it's fairly clear to me that we're not exactly celebrating the birth of the country. Based on what I gather from what was happening in 1776, we're pretty much celebrating the Revolutionary War, as far as I can figure. And when you get right down to it, setting off small explosive devices seems like a pretty odd way to celebrate anything that involves a war, doesn't it? I mean, we don't go shooting Patriot missiles into the sky willy-nilly to commemorate the Gulf War, or build little mushroom cloud bomb replicas to help us cheer about World War II. People are sensitive about those sorts of things, and rightly so. I suppose with the Revolutionary War, it's okay, because anyone who was involved in it is dead now. (Well, now that Strom Thurmond has passed, anyway.) So we're allowed to fire off what are essentially tiny bombs, and make loud thunderous noises, and shower fiery sparks all over our cities. Think that would go over big with the PTSD-prone Viet Nam crowd to recognize their contributions? Um, no. No? No. Decidedly not.

Maybe in a hundred years or so -- once we're safely sure that we're not startling anyone who actually participated -- we'll have the same sorts of rip-roarin' festivals for our recent military forays -- the Korean War, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, etc. On the other hand, maybe not. Though we seem to allow ourselves more liberties with our celebratory antics as time goes on, we also seem to give less and less of a rat's ass with each passing year. And there are only so many ways you can slice a rat's ass until it's just a bunch of fur and skin. (My personal record is thirty-eight slices, by the way, though I was using a rusty old razor blade, so your mileage may vary.)

To illustrate my point (not the slicing thing; the 'not giving a rat's ass' thing... stay with me, here), just look at the most recognizable homage we've paid to wars gone by, and how the tributes get crappier the further back you go. The Viet Nam War, for instance. When things there started to settle down, what did we do? We built a Wall. Tres cool! Pretty unique idea, great sentiment, and now everyone can go by it and see. Nicely done. So, WWII, then. Okay, they got that Iwo Jima statue. Not bad, I suppose, though you have to know the story to realize that it's not depicting some sort of Olypmic synchronized pole vaulting team or something. But fine. Now go way back -- what's the first momument you think of for the Civil War? And mind you, all of those guys are dead now, too, so we can do whatever the hell we want for it. So, what do we have -- giant holographic panoramas of the Monitor and Merrimac, locked in mortal battle? Nope. Huge somber pyres burning over steel and concrete sculptures to depict Atlanta torn asunder in Sherman's wake? Not even. What do we get? Eleven frickin' hours worth of documentary by Ken 'Snoo-oooze' Burns. Yip. Pee. With emphasis on 'pee'. I can only imagine what'll be done for the more recent military campaigns in a hundred years or so. Maybe Bazooka Joe will print a special Korean War wrapper every year, or Ticonderoga will stamp 'Desert Storm' on special-edition number two pencils. Or worse. Just pray that Ken Burns is long gone before anyone gets around to thinking about it.

Well, that was certainly festive, no? No? It wasn't? Well, shit, I suppose you're right. I apologize. I suppose it's just a little hard to wrap my mind around this particular holiday, what with all of the confusing history involved. Wait, how about this? Maybe I'll just use today to celebrate the great American traditions of barbecues, beer, and sunburn. I mean, we really didn't invent any of those things, but I think it's clear that we've perfected them. (The secret was to get them all together at once, of course, and each in massive, nausea-inducing quantities.)

So, now I'm feeling pretty festive after all. I think I'll even go get started with a beer, and maybe a hot dog, and we'll see where that takes me. As for the rest of you -- I'm not going to tell you not to hurt yourselves with firecrackers today, as I've seen a lot of other bloggers doing. No, I believe that whatever you decide you want to do involving your fragile little fingers, open flames, and unstable gunpowder is entirely your business. I don't want to know about it, even in the obituary. But I will say this -- as you light your sparklers, and your Roman candles (what are we gonna call those when Italy pisses us off one of these years?), and your Tijuana Toilet Crackers, do this for me: don't use them all. Put a couple aside, and stash 'em away until early September. When you fire 'em off then, you'll not only get more attention, but you'll also be able to impress all of your friends when you explain exactly why you held a few back.

Plus, if the kids get wind of it and want to join you, you'll have leftover cherry bombs to slip into their lunchboxes to dissuade them. And that's something truly worth celebrating.




Thursday, July 03, 2003
 
Grampa's Gonna Hop on the Good Foot and Do the Bad Thing. Yeah, Baby!

That blog you keep reading... I do not think it means what you think it means.

Seen while driving in Brookline at around noon today:
One of those enormous, hulking, has-its-own-zip-code Oldsmobile sedans, piloted by an elderly gentlemen in a dapper tweed jacket, and sporting the license plate:

RANDY-4

Now, of course, I'm guessing that there's nothing shagadelic going on here. After all, the guy at the wheel looked more likely to be hangin' with folks who put the Grrr in dowager rather than swinger, baby. I'm inclined to believe that the chap's name is 'Randy', and that the vehicle in question was his fourth. Pretty vanilla stuff.

Still, I can't help wondering if there's something else afoot. (Or acrotch, if you prefer -- and who wouldn't?) I mean, the chronologically challenged need love, too, right? As they like to say in Budapest, 'Nothin' says lovin' like some gummin' while you're hummin'.' Or words to that effect. It loses a bit in the translation, I'm afraid.

So maybe the guy's name is really Joe, or Fred, or something, and he wants you to come up and ask, 'So what exactly are you randy for, anyway?' Maybe it's the dirty old man version of those vapid 'Ask me about my grandkids' bumper stickers. A come-on line for the canes-and-walkers crowd. Perhaps he's really an octagenarian Austin Powers of sorts, only he didn't get frozen, and just sat around aging all those years. Well, aging and banging, of course, banging and aging, and now here he is, with his mojo intact and a trunkload of Viagra.

He's the Polydent Pimp, the Don Juan of Depends, a Ben Gay bitch magnet. He's workin' Old Folks' Homes up and down New England, shagging spinsters and wagglin' his wrinkly walleye at every widow from Windham to Woonsocket. Yes. Yes, I'm sure of it now. And I say, more power to him. He may have some miles on his tires and a hitch in his giddy-up, but if he can still find the bat, then he deserves a turn at the plate, just like everyone else. I for one salute you, old horny dude! Rock on!

So if you see my new hero, give a holla. Beep your horn, wave to the old guy. Ladies, blow him a kiss. We should be so lucky to be in his condition at that age. But don't go overboard, unless you've got a soft spot for... well, soft spots, I imagine, and liver spots, as well. See, my man's a playah, and if you open the door too wide, you might just discover the answer to the question posed earlier: our crotchedy Cassanova is RANDY-4U.



 
Magical Moments, or The Day I Came of Age

Dude! You're gettin' a Blog!

If you're anything like me, you're a bit of a smart-ass.
(Okay, if you're everything like me, you're an incurable smart-ass on the wrong side of thirty with a manic pet pit bull, a spouse who's smarter than you (not to mention a lawyer), a newly-minted mortgage on a hundred-year-old house, and looming unemployment. (Try not to hurl.) Oh, and right now, your ass is kinda sweaty. But not from anything interesting, mind you -- you're just a little warm this morning. Sounds perfectly dreamy, doesn't it?)

Moving on... let's assume for the moment that you're inclined, as I am, to drink deep from the murky pools of smart-assery. I think that's a pretty safe bet, given that you've managed to get this far without flinging your monitor away in disgust and horror. Plus, if you're not a smart-ass, too, then we've really not got a lot to talk about. So let's go with it, shall we?

So, we've extablished that we're smart-asses.
(Why, oh why, did I decide that word had a hyphen? Dammit, now I'm just annoyed. I can ramble this stuff out at breakneck speed, with the letters and commas and periods... but then I hit a stupid hyphen, and it's way up there on the keyboard, and if I don't actually look, then I end up with a '=' or a ']'. (Or a ']{p_]=', if I'm having one of my little spells.) Screw this; from now on, it's 'smartass', okay? Please. You'll be saving me about three hours of therapy. Agreed? Good. S'all right? S'all right.)

Anyway, as a fellow member of the 'Piss 'em Off and Make 'em Cry' club, I want to ask you this: Have you had your Moment yet? That is to say, your 'Smartass Achievement Award Moment'? The one that proclaims proudly to the world and the pantheon of deities that you are, indeed, a full-time, full-fledged, fine-feathered, don't-fuck-with-me, card-carrying gen-u-ine Smartass™, with the pedigree papers and restraining orders to prove it.

'Cause I've had mine. And I'm gonna tell you about it. Right now. (Well, okay, in a few minutes, really -- I tend to get distracted by random thoughts (and pointless tangents, and shiny objects, and people named Renaldo, or Jasmine, or April...))
(Hey, speaking of 'April', who did 'July' piss off way back when, as they were deciding which months would be good for naming little girls after? I mean, I understand how the long ones got left out, and March is still shitty and cold in much of the Western hemisphere, so March is out -- but what the hell's wrong with July? We've got all sorts of snot-nosed little Aprils, and Mays, and Junes, and even Augusts, running around and jumping rope and leading cheers and joining sororities, but no Julys. It's not right! And then, to make it worse, there are millions upon millions of Julies. Are they deliberately teasing July, by getting as close as they possibly can without using it? Not to mention the Jills, and Jillys. And Julis with no 'e', but a star, or a heart, or a pentagram of some kind, dotting their i's. (Which is criminal. Girls, if you're out there, and you have an 'i' in your name, please -- use the damned dot that you were born with. Please. You didn't come into this world with a cute little heart, or a smilie, or even a damned circle. Just dot your friggin' 'i' and get it over with, 'k? 'Cause if you don't, I'm afraid that someone's eventually gonna tie your widdle pigtails over your eyes, and boot you down a flight of stairs. I'm just looking out for your best interests. Really.))

Now, where was I? Ah, the smartass Moment of Glory. Of course.

So, the story of the Moment is handed down from one smartass to another, generation through generation. I had a guide, of course -- my 'peevish professor', my 'comeback coach', my 'dean of disparagement', a veritable 'sensei of sassiness'.(Why yes, I did just buy stock in Reference.com, and thanks oodles for asking!) And now I'll pass the story of the Moment on to you.

I don't want you to misunderstand the Moment, however. The Moment is not necessarily your best effort, your shining example of how deliciously acerbic you can be if you stay up all night working on witty repartee. No. That sort of effort shows great commitment, certainly, and dedication to your craft... and frankly, that you have no life whatsoever, and really need to find a friend or a hobby or an inflatable doll or something. (And put on some pants, would you?) Anyway, burning the midnight oil in this manner won't get you any closer to your Moment. You may go blind, or grow hair on your palms, perhaps, but your Moment will be as elusive as ever. It's just the nature of the beasticle.

You see, the Moment is that one opportunity -- that one opening -- where you find that you've blurted out the perfect line for the situation, even before you realized what you were saying. Somewhere deep in your mind, something clicked, and you took just the right angle, with the right delivery, and just the right tone, and bam, without even knowing what you were doing, there it is. Pure reflex. Every single person within the sound of your voice is staring at you, gaping in wonder and shock, rendered utterly speechless, and with a single thought running through their collective minds:

'What a dickhead.'

And that, my lords and ladies, is when you've arrived. You've graduated into full smartass-hood, with your own parking spot and a key to the executive bidet. You are now more highly evolved than the rest of your neighbors -- you have the 'fight or flight or put that bitch in its place' instinct. You pimpin', baby. And you'll be able to die a happy man or woman (whichever way you decide to go with the operation...).

So here's my guru's Moment, as transcribed from the official log. It's not exactly Abbott and Costello, but that's not the point, remember. The reason that he earned his wings with what you're about to read is that he took a situation in which no tomfoolery was expected or encouraged, and he went and tomfooled all over the floor and halfway up the walls. (And if you've ever had tomfool stains, you know how hard it is to get the smell out of shag carpet.) Anyway, here's his proudest moment, culled from a phone conversation to his dentist's office:

Receptionist (via phone): Hello, Dr. Payne's office.
(No, I don't know the dentist's real name; let it go. Dr. Payne was my old dentist growing up, and let me tell you -- never in the history of our species has a moniker better suited a man. He drilled, he pulled, he poked and prodded... I think he's got parts of my lung somewhere in that infernal office of his, he probed so deeply. And then, he started working on my teeth! My teeth, ladies and germs! Teeth! Thank you, I'll be here all week.)

All right, I'm starting over. From the top, everyone. Places! And.... action!

Receptionist: Hello, Dr. Payne's office.
Mark: Hi, I need to make an appointment. One of my teeth has been giving me some trouble.
Receptionist: Okay. (pause) Would next Tuesday be okay?
Mark: Sure.
Receptionist: And would morning or afternoon be better?
Mark: Um, afternoons are usually better.
Receptionist: Okay. (pause) Two thirty?
Mark (with mock anger, without missing a beat): Two thirty?! Tooth hurty?! Well, of course my tooth hurty; why the hell do you think I'm calling?!
Receptionist (thinking to herself): 'What a dickhead.'

And that's it. The shining pinnacle of Mark's life; his fifteen seconds of fame. (His mother is sooo proud, let me assure you.)

And the best part is, the receptionist didn't call the cops. Or sue him, or even hang up. As a matter of fact, when Marky showed up for his appointment the next week, he even scored a date with said appointment-taker. Of course, Mark's kind of a runty little guy, with scruffyish, receding hair. And a bad hip, which gives him sort of a gimpy walk. Think of a thin Jason Alexander on a bad hair day with a stick up his ass, and you've pretty much got Mark. So obviously, he didn't get a second date, but I think he got to second base or thereabouts (and even further, after he dropped her off at her place), so I'd say he did all right.
(Heya, Mark, if you're out there -- you're a weener, dude. I know, I know -- 'don't care!' Jagoff...)

So that's Mark's story. Mine was a little different, and in an even less appropriate situation. My wife and I were having dinner with a group of my in-laws -- her mother, and some aunts and uncles, I think -- and it went something like this:

Aunt-in-law (to everyone, more or less): Oh, yeah, I used to have a terrible time remembering things. I'd forget my keys, or my purse, all sorts of things.
Wife: Wow, what'd you do?
Aunt-in-law: Well, I bought this book on how to improve your memory. And it was fantastic! It had all sorts of tricks you could use to help you remember, memory games to help yourself --
Wife: Oh, mnemonics?
Aunt-in-law: Gesundheit, honey. Anyway, it really helped me out. I don't have any problems with forgetting things now. My memory's like a steel trap!
Me (before I even knew I'd said it): Really? What was it called?
Aunt-in-law (surprised, because I hadn't been paying much attention): What?
Me (trying to keep a straight face as my mind caught up to my mouth): The book. What's the name of the book?
Aunt-in-law: Oh! It's... um... er, it's... uh. Hmmm. Oh. *sigh*
Everyone at table (thinking to themselves): 'What a dickhead.'

So as you might surmise, that aunt really doesn't talk to me much anymore (though I suspect it may be because she has trouble remembering my name *tee hee*). And that's the story of my most smartassedy Moment. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

And that's also all I can really tell you about Moments in general. So now you know. Or maybe you've already had your Moment; if so, lemme hear about it. You can never read too many smartass stories, ya know. And if not, well, keep tryin', kid. Eat right. Meditate. Watch a lot of those angry standup comics all the kids are raving about. And maybe one day, you'll have your time in the sun. Cherish it. Remember it always. Just don't take a bow afterwards, or laugh at the zinger you've unleashed. The very last thing you want is to ruin your own Moment.




Wednesday, July 02, 2003
 
These Are Not Your Father's OldsmoWheels

A blog for all of your 2000 parts!

How's about we try something a little different this time?
(No, really, c'mon -- it'll be fun. Okay, fine, I promise you won't have to dress up like Little Bo Peep again. And no, I won't blindfold you and make you smell things. What? No, it doesn't involve whipped cream. Or honey. Or kielbasa. (Not any more, anyway...) No, look, it's just a little good, clean fun, all right? For once. So just hear me out, and see what you think, and then you can decide whether you like it or not. Okay? There's nothing sick or kinky about it; it's just a simple party game that you can play with friends, and it doesn't involve anything more than made-up words and maybe a couple of giggling fits. Well, a little beer helps, to lube up the old brain, but that's it. There's no stripping, or licking, or grinding, or spewing of any kind involved, all right? Just a harmless little game, so get over it, okay? Good. Now go put on these nipple clamps, so we can get started...)

So here's how it works. Actually, let me first offer up the blog equivalent of 'Stop me if you've heard this one before'. See, I was introduced to this game almost ten years ago, and so I suspect that there are many others by now who've been exposed to it (or have exposed themselves to it, or even to the other people playing it -- sadly, I don't get invited to those sorts of parties any more...). Anyway, I whipped up a batch of web searches for the type of thing I'm about to describe, and came up with only one site, so maybe it's still an underground type of thing. Or maybe I don't know how to search correctly, like 98% or so of the web weenies out there. Or maybe this is just a stupid game, and it's not worth all the damned energy and attention I'm now giving it. No matter, me pretties -- we'll soldier on, regardless.

With that said, here's a cute little exercise that you can snicker about with your friends. (And really, isn't that infinitely better than being snickered at by someone and their friends while you're trying to exercise? Or do yoga? Or 'sculpt' some part of your anatomy? Sadly, I'm not allowed in those sorts of gyms anymore...) Anyway, the goal of the game is to come up with the best (read: rip-roarin' rib-ticklin'est) nonsensical name for a car that doesn't actually exist yet. Play an automotive advertising executive for a day! (Just remember to take a long, disinfecting shower afterward. Tomato sauce helps, too, if you've done a particularly realistic job of role-playing, and are having trouble purging the stench.)

So there really aren't any rules to this game, per se, at least not as I've played it. It doesn't even really have a name, come to think of it, though I'll see if I can materialize one by the time I'm done here. The only object is to formulate clever fake names, so it helps if you have four or more people to feed off each others ideas. Obviously, you're gonna want plenty of beer as well, or an alternative liver-busting libation of your choice.

Also, as far as I know, there aren't any winners or losers in this game (though as we used to tell ourselves around the campfire, 'We're all losers here'). Rather, it's mainly a way to exercise your brain while feeding your buzz on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon. Or on a Friday night, if you're the stay-at-home type. Or for that matter, at nine o'clock on Tuesday morning, if you're the raging alcoholic type, though you may find it difficult to round up fellow players at that hour. Well, players who are capable of sitting upright under their own power, or rubbing enough neurons together to be useful contributors, at least. They may be able to handle vice presidential duties at a major corporation while in their sorry sotted condition, but for this game, they're just so many useless piles of flesh. Tsk.

There's no right or wrong way to play this game-that-currently-has-no-name, of course, but I can detail a few common strategies, if you're interested. Or even if you aren't; your participation isn't really required at this stage. Anyway, the naming usually follows along one of these threads:

  • Simple manipulation of existing car name (Example: Chevy Astro => Chevy Asstro)
  • Change of existing car name to disparaging term (Example: Dodge Dart => Dodge Dirt)
  • Morph of existing car name to common term (aka Bermanism) (Example: BMW M3 => BMW MST3K)
  • Rhyming or alliteration to create new car name (Example: Dodge HodgePodge)
  • I think you pretty much get the picture -- it's not rocket science or anything...

So that's about all there is to it, really. You get yourself and a few of your closest amigos two, maybe two-and-a-half, sheets to the wind, and then start trying to come up with a funny name, or preferably with the name that will cause your compatriots to spew beer out their noses and into the pretzel bowl. (Okay, so I lied earlier -- there is a little bit of spewing involved, if you do it right. And aren't all of the best things in life that way?) So, assuming this sounds like any fun at all to you (and it does; trust me, I checked), I thought I'd get you started on your journey with a few examples. Now, frankly, I expect you -- each and every one of you bright-eyed little dearies -- to brainstorm better material than what I'm about to post, for the following reasons:

A) I haven't played this game for a few years, and so I'm not savvy to many of the newly minted jibberish names currently in play
2) I'm coming up with these examples by myself (sad, isn't it?), so I don't have anyone else's better ideas to work from
III) Most importantly, I am currently completely, regrettably, hauntingly, achingly sober. Which is never good.

So, without further ado, I bring you a small sampling of what you might expect if you too become a participant in... (*thinking, thinking*) the... um, the Fahrvegnaming game! (How's that for a name on the spur of the moment, eh? Yay, me!)

the Ford Bore-Us
the Chevy Suck-Bourbon
the Volvo Vulva
the AMC Poser (for you old-schoolers out there)
the Volkswagen Pissant (or the VW Pass Out)
the Nissan Haltima
the Yugo No-Go
the Hyundai(!) Gesundheit
the Subaru Rusty Justy

And, ending the list on a high note:
the Toyota Turdra (sometimes they're almost too easy...)

Hey, while we're at it, here's the one site that I was able to find in my search for this type of thing. Hers are at least as good as the sad sober specimens I slapped down in this post, but I did the best I could without some heavenly hoppy help. So, that's what I've got -- please, feel free to get hammered and come up with better examples, and even post 'em in the comments if you like. Just be sure that you write the best ones down before you start working on that hangover, 'k? Otherwise, you'll forget which one it was that made you pee your pants, and brother, that's just wasting good pee.

As for me, it's lunchtime now, so I'm gonna sign off, and think about some food. Hey, maybe I'll head out to grab a bite to eat in my Nissan Gluteus Maxima. (*snicker*) Ah, good times. Good times...

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411):
Update on July 5 --

Heard on Car Talk on NPR this morning:

the Mercury Mistake

Hee! Oh, what the hell, as long as I'm here:

the Mazda Why-I-Oughta
the Toyota Sell-This-Ca'
the GMC Germy
the Isuzu Shih Tzu (though you might want to spell it Shit-zu)
the Toyota Turd-cel
the Ferrari Testosterona
the Chrysler Le Boring
the Cooper Super Duper
the Honda Accordian
the Chevy Mali-Screwed

Okay, I think that'll hold me for a while. (And why the hell am I sober again while I'm doing this?!) *fume*




Tuesday, July 01, 2003
 
How the Hell Can You See the Road With Your Head Jammed Up There?

Bringing you the thrill of blogtory, and the blogony of defeat

It's a cliche around these parts, but I'll repeat it here, just in case the truism hasn't seeped into your part of the world quite yet:

Boston drivers are the worst in the world.

Now, I used to make fun of other drivers. I've lived in three (count 'em, three -- 1, 2, 3) states that border Ohio, and the taxpayers of that fair land are certainly among the most auto-piloting-challenged road retards on the planet. I give them high marks in several important areas -- the Blue-Hair Old Fart factor, the Crossing Three Lanes to Make a Left Turn contest, and the Inadvertant Turn Signal Idiocy marathon, to name just a few. Certainly, Ohioans achieve impressive scores in these activities, and frankly, in all of the Drive Like a Lobotomized Chimp Olympics events. These folks are regularly clueless, frequently senile, and often drunk -- or seemingly so -- and therefore can never be counted out of any of the various competitions sponsored by the Ted Kennedy School of Driving.

But they're not the 'Kings of Kar Abuse'. Nor the 'Apex of Automotive Asininery'. Nor are they the honorary 'Vogon Admirals of Vehicular Assault'. Nor even the 'Primo Pissant Peckers of Pedestrian Plowing'. No, my friends, all of these titles, and many more, belong to the squirrelly driving denizens of the Boston Metro area. Ohio cannot hold a candle to these enraged, ape-like creatures. New Jersey -- no chance. Manhattan? The taxis come the closest, but they're not even in the same league as Boston school buses, much less the cabbies. Los Angeles, perhaps? In terms of pure firepower and homicidal fury, certainly. But for blatant disregard for the life and property of others, as well as ever-climbing heights of incompetent boobery, the drivers of Eastern Massachusetts win, driving-gloved hands down. They even have a name, which I sadly can take no credit for -- 'Masshole drivers', or simply, 'Massholes'. So take my word for it, folks -- if you see an MA license plate behind you, or swerving wildly in front of you, or careening over the median toward you, then for spoot's sake, give 'em room! Take an exit, pull over, flip your hazards on -- whatever. Just don't risk being yet another innocent victim when one of these Masstards (okay, I came up with that one... but it's not nearly as good, is it?) tries to swerve sideways through a red light and fishtail their rusting heap of metal into the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru lane. Better men and women than we have stood in their way, and there are wreaths all along I-95 to prove it.

So why do I tell you this, especially when many of you already know such things? (Such clever boys and girls you are, too! Living proof that slack-jawed Neanderthals aren't the only ones who enjoy this site. Bravo!) Well, I mention it only to preface -- and perhaps explain -- my vein-popping frustration in trying to get to work today. You see, during my little jaunt to the office this morning, I encountered no less than five -- yes, that's five -- utter nincompoops masquerading as automobile drivers (and one pedestrian, just to show that not everyone in the city remembers to extract their head from their ass when they exit the vehicle). Please, if I may, let me give a shout out to my new-found peeps in the 'hood. So that if you happen to run into one of my new friends, you can give them a hearty kick in the balls, or lack thereof. With love, from me, through you, to them. Nifty. Let's begin, shall we? The roll call includes:

  • the asswipe -- sorry, Masswipe -- in the green Camry who hogged his lane and two-thirds of mine as we passed in the CVS parking lot. You couldn't have slipped a playing card between my passenger door and the brick wall of the pharmacy building, all because Eldred wanted to protect his shit-car shine from the vehicles parked seven feet away from his precious fender. Grrrrr.
  • the proprieter of a large white passenger van who decided, in same said parking lot, that he was simply tired of driving for the moment -- oh, the exhaustion! -- and squatted that behemoth down across two lanes of the lot, right in front of me. As though he might leave the van there as a monument of some kind, staking claim to the entire parking structure in the name of drooling ignorami everywhere. 'Ah claims this here parkin' lot fer me, an' fer Earl, and fer other-Earl. All you folks's gotta git now so's me an' the Earls can hunts 'possum!' My friend, you put the mo' in moron. Ku-dos.
  • a rather ample forty-ish woman who was apparently driving while legally blind, since she completely blocked the exit of the CVS parking lot -- and therefore, my car -- by pulling her late '70's model sedan into a line of cars stopped at a red light on the cross street. She was also evidently paralyzed on the right side of her body, as she never turned to face my car as I sat, and waited... and waited... and waited... for her to deign to move her Ford Hunk-o-Shit the hell out of my way. Poor dearie. So very, very many issues. Bitch.
  • the snowy-haired old biddy -- behind whom I found myself upon leaving the CVS facilities, or as I now thought of it, Satan's House of Mental Nipple-Twisters -- who had a few problems of her own, not the least of which was her inability to remember exactly where she'd left her car's fucking accelerator. I suppose Alzheimer's can get the best of anyone, and perhaps at her age it is rather a good idea to drive only as quickly as she'd be able to walk... but I still want to wrap her walker around her wrinkly neck and drag her behind my car. Is that wrong of me?
  • a rather dashing young corporate fellow -- with the requisite SUV, of course -- who simply couldn't decide whether to turn left or go straight at the next stop light. The poor fella didn't even have time to use his turn signal; he could only slow to a crawl for no apparent reason, and then lurch his big metal box away to the left, forcing me to stand physically upright on my brake pedal in order to avoid finding out what his rear bumper tastes like. Mother. Fucker.
  • and finally, the hep cat sans vehicle who calculated that a green light beside him and three lanes of traffic screaming towards him were clearly no concern of his, and that he should cross the street, regardless. Slowly. While bip-boppin' to the freaky tunes blarin' out of his iPod. Truly, I wanted to tell him, 'Yo mamma must be so proud!' But I just couldn't get past, 'Yo mamma.' Well, to be perfectly accurate, 'Yo mamma, needledick,' but who's counting, right?


Anyway, those are the highlights of my odyssey this morning. And lest you think that this was some unique experience, some once-in-a-lifetime gauntlet I happened to fall face-first into, let me just say: no. No, this was pretty typical of a three-mile-or-so drive around Boston, I'm afraid. It's nowhere near the record for this type of thing. Actually, local legend has it that a few years ago, some guy ran into no less than twenty-six separate and distinct Jell-o-brained jackasses on a single trip to the Boston Market in Somerville. They say that once he got there, he just snapped and went on a rampage, bludgeoning customers with drumsticks and drowning employees in the deep-fryer oil and the tubs of mashed potatoes. Not a pretty sight, to be sure. He finally ended the carmage by impaling himself on a rotisserie skewer and falling into the oven. From what I'm told, if you visit that branch late at night, and you listen really closely, you can still hear his ghost, muttering to himself as he spins his way through eternity: '...s'not a friggin' turn lane... that light was red, dickhead... pick a goddamned lane, buttmunch...' You know, if you can believe the stories.

So that's that, I suppose. There but for the grace of God go I. Who knows what any of us would do if that kind of concentrated nerve-twanging stupidity were funneled down our throat? Best not to risk it -- if you live around here, then keep your vehicular excursions as rare and as short as possible. And if you're visiting Boston, take the trains. They're cheap, easy to find, and only rarely do they run red lights or try to pass on the right. And finally, if you're one of those people -- one of those belligerent Masshole bastards in need of a good thrashing with a Cluebat -- well, Porky, you just watch your ass, and keep your bumpers the hell away from me, got it? 'Cause I'm still worked up from this morning, and I've suddenly got a craving for mashed potatoes.



 
Milking a New Idea for All It's Worth

No-Risk Guarantee: If You Don't Like This Blog, We'll Refund Your Eyeballs -- No Questions Asked!

I think I coined a phrase today.

Well, okay, that's currently only true in my demented little world, but that's simply because I haven't actually told anyone what the new phrase is, yet. But I'm about to. And you -- yes, you, Mrs. Peacock! -- can be the first on your block to hear the news and explain it to all of your friends. And other people's friends, if you want. Hell, tell my friends -- I obviously can't be bothered, or I'd have told someone before now. Clearly, I need to dust off the old priority list and juggle some things around, no?

But I'll get to that later. ('Stop procrastinating' is deliberately at the very bottom of my priority list, and as long as I can keep it there, then the rest of the list is clearly moot. Or as the manager-drones like to intone, 'non-actionable'. Weenies.)

Anyway, now I want to tell you about this new thing that I've been thinking of all day, so you can drink it up and go pee it into the meme pool. (I'd do it myself, of course, but I'm banned from entering for a while. Seems the folks running the meme facilities tend to frown on someone floating a Baby Ruth in the pool and yelling, 'Eww, look! Another Old Navy commercial! Pee--yew!' So I can still use the meme sauna, and the meme tennis courts, but I'm afraid the meme pool is strictly off limits until the hubbub runs its course.)

Now, where was I? Oh, right. My new phrase.

So, I was thinking about lose-lose situations this morning. Now normally, I'm a pretty 'up' sort of person, but somehow I stumbled into this rather grim topic of thought as I readied myself to face the world. And who can fathom how the newly wakened mind -- particularly mine -- works in the wee hours after dawn, before it's been doused with its first dose of caffeine? Anything could have triggered this sad, painful thread about how it is sometimes impossible to win, no matter what option you choose or what course you take. Sometimes you're just too deep into the muck, and no matter which way you turn, you're guaranteed to get soiled. Or soil yourself, or both. But who could possibly untangle or interpret the stimuli, and the exact thought process that brought my mind to bear on such a weighty issue? It's virtually unknowable.

Of course... if I had to guess at when I first started to ponder the vagaries of the no-win situation, I might venture out on a limb and say that it was probably while I was in the kitchen, soon after I got out of bed. With a mouthful of milk. Which came directly from the carton, which in turn was still pressed to my lips. (Honey, if you're reading this, I swear that's the first time -- and the last, no question -- that I ever, ever drank milk straight from the carton. Truly. Scout's honor. And I maybe didn't even do it this time. See, it all depends on what your definition of the word 'milk' is. I suspect this is just a communication breakdown... but we'll talk about it later, okay? I gotta get back to blogging. Kisses.)
So, anyway, I'm standing there in my Garanimals PJ's (with the footies, natch), just about to use the full payload of milk in my hopper to wash down a brownie, or whatever I'd just scarfed and called breakfast (hey, what am I, Jack La fuckin' Lanne? So I had a brownie for breakfast; don't act like you don't do it, too...), and that's when I discover that I'm in a bit of a pickle.
I should mention at this point that I'm horrendously near-sighted, and I didn't have my contact lenses in yet, which means that I couldn't really see much of anything more than, oh, maybe six inches in front of my face. But within those six inches, now, I'm the man; like an eagle, I am. Nothing gets past me -- nothing. Including, but not limited to, the date on the milk carton that I'd just finished emptying into my gullet.
It took a while for the date to register, of course, and then another chunk of time for my brain to seize onto it, and remember the current date, and manage to compare the two with any degree of accuracy. So several seconds passed with me standing there, looking for all the world like a sleepy Satchmo with his cheeks blown out, trying to play this now-empty milk carton like some back-alley trumpet. (Well, okay, except that I'm white. And he's dead, which sucks for everyone. But besides those fussy-ass little details, I looked exactly like what I described. Exactly. Ask anyone.) In any case, I now wish that I'd enjoyed those few seconds more fully, since those were the last ones I had before it finally clicked into place that I was drinking milk that had expired last Tuesday.
So. Here's where we come to the lose-lose bit. As often happens in these cases -- that is, where there's absolutely no way out -- I suddenly snapped into perfect lucidity. My senses were keen, my mind a steel trap... and my mouth suddenly a haven for millions of bacteria happily swimming in a sea of chunky green milk, where my mind couldn't reach and my senses didn't want to. So I was on my own again. In the few remaining heartbeats before instinct took over, I listed the options in my head. None of them were appetizing; I could:

  • drop my head and dump whatever was willing to spill out of my mouth onto the floor, leaving a nasty puddle to clean up
  • keep the milk carton in front of my mouth and try to shoot the milk back into it, fire-eater style, with a huge milk-spattering possibility
  • try to walk (read: lunge) to the sink and unleash the unholy broth there to save the mess, but risk a premature spewww onto the curtains
  • swallow the foul cheesy chowder and hope to keep it down, lest I be faced with options 1-3 all over again

Well, I watch Fear Factor from time to time, so I know the score. You chew little, think less, and swallow fast. You ralph, and you're out. So I sucked it up, sucked it in, and gulped it down. The brownie that preceded it seemed surprised, but it surprisingly stayed put, at least so far. I've got a sandwich and some chicken parmesan sitting on top of the stuff now, so I hope there's enough weight pressing down to keep it on the inside for a while. No matter what happens next, I'm pretty well assuming that it's gonna hurt, one way or another, and probably soon. But I think I'd prefer it to keep travelling the same direction, as opposed to making a U-turn somewhere along the old Hershey highway. I didn't get a good look at it on the way down (gee, ya think?), and I'd sleep much more soundly at night if I can keep it that way.)

So, anyway, that was my frame of mind -- and stomach, I suppose -- this morning. And the whole rancid experience got me to thinking about how these sorts of things come up in all of our lives, every single day. Horrible, no-good-choice situations, or worse -- the actual physical embodiments of no-win-ness. Places, things -- even people -- that seem to invite disaster and embarrassment at every turn. These are Things from Whence No Good Can Come. Like a Tom Arnold movie, say, or a gold lame G-string, size XXL.
(Which just coincidentally happens to be Tom's G-string size, as I understand it. In fact, if I remember my Bible correctly, the third sign of the apocalypse calls for old TA to appear in a musical of some sort, wearing only said ballsling and his patented shit-eating grin, and grinding his way through a dance number. Something from 'Annie', if I remember the passage just right, or maybe 'Annie, Get Your Gun'; the King James version is a little fuzzy on the details. Oh, but if that's the worst thing that happens in the movie, then we move on to the next sign right away. But if for some reason Norm McDonald or Pauly Shore makes a cameo appearance, then we'll apparently have six more weeks of locust plagues before we proceed. So have an umbrella handy, just in case.)

Now. Where the hell was I? Ah, yes, actually getting somewhere near the point. Tally ho, then!

So now I had a problem. Well, other than having just chugged a pint's worth of milk that could legally marry in some states. Yes, besides that, I had another nagging issue, which was this: it's fairly easy to identify the items and people that seem to be specifically designed to suck the goodness -- the winning -- out of life. And yet, one of our damnable human frailties is the inability to actually avoid these potholes and pitfalls at truly crucial times. Something deep in our collective cerebella switches off under pressure, and before you know it, pop! There you are, in a completely unforgiving, unwinnable situation. You find yourself eating blood sausage, maybe, or arguing politics with your boss. Maybe you're wearing Spandex. Or leg warmers. Or watching the Jenny Jones show. Or -- Moses help you -- you're on the Jenny Jones show.

None of these are good, folks. Not one healthy, socially acceptable situation in the lot. And worse, not one of these nightmare scenarios comes with an easily-executable escape plan. Once you're in, you're in up to your armpits, and you'll be lucky to get out without getting a faceful of muck. Or pig lips, in the case of the blood sausage. And the Jenny Jones show, come to think of it, though pig lips are really more Montel's oeuvre. (Or do I mean milieu? Je ne parle pas Francais.) Anyway, the point is this: the only way to get out of these painful straits is to not get into them in the first place. And that's where I think I can make my contribution.

See, I've decided that the biggest problem we face is that we don't have a single term to describe all of these awful people, and places, and things. Even with the warning signs and alarm bells they set off, we don't know what to call them, and so we walk right into them, over and over again. I'm convinced that the label is the key. I think bees used to be a much bigger problem, for instance, than they are now that we can say, 'Hey, look out! Bees!' Before we had a name for bees, I think people just ran around willy-nilly, trying to catch them or eat them or dance with them, and getting stung in the unholiest of places in the process. After a while, we entered the 'awarenesss' period, where we knew that these little flying needles were trouble, but we didn't have a name for them. So we had a lot of, 'Hey! Look out -- it's those flying, sting-y, um, yellow-ish -- Ow! Um, winged -- Shit! Er -- Ouch! Dammit! Hey!' And then someone saw the light, invented the name, and today you can walk into any park or garden and yell, 'Fuck! Bees!', and people will scatter like guilty children. These are truly magical times.

So I want to do my part to help, 'cause Lord knows I don't contribute in any other way to society. Anyway, here's what I'm thinking -- all of these things we've talked about, the Things from Whence No Good Can Come, the way they work is not by spewing forth bad vibes and heebie jeebies. No, from my experience, these things tend to suck you in, along with all the goodness they can find. Take Michael Jackson, for instance. Not only is he a flailing psychotic rampage just waiting to happen, but there's nothing good left for miles around him, either. His kid? Please! His palace / playground? Creepy. And his family? His dad's a known piece of work, and then you got LaToya, and Janet, and Frito, and Geranium, and whoever the hell the rest of them are... not a normal leaf on the whole damned genealogical tree. it's like the 'Crack Whore Players' production of the Addams Family. It's a swirling vortex of non-goodness, and it's exactly this phenomenon that needs a precise, concise name that we can scream to each other to get everyone running the other way.

And that name is: Evil Holes.

That's what we all see, you see, but never had a name for. It's the goodness equivalent of a black hole; a space so dense and crawling with evil that no good can escape. Once in its clutches, you'll be sucked in and hurled through the other side, and you just have to hope it's a smooth ride, and that nobody ends up puking. An Evil Hole can slurp us up three or four at a time (or in the case of a Ricki Lake Show taping, whole studio audiences in one fell swoop). We have to pass through this 'awareness' phase we've been stuck in and graduate to the 'abject fear' stage that Evil Holes properly deserve. Our only protection is a watchful eye, a strong set of lungs, and our newfound moniker for all that would belittle and humiliate us: Evil Holes. So please, folks -- the next time you find yourself or a loved one in one of these situations:

  • playing with a bear cub in the woods
  • leaving a bar with a 'woman' that's not really a woman
  • standing anywhere in Alabama

sound the alarm. 'Evil Holes! Evil Holes! Save yourselves, and run! Evil Holes!' Don't allow yourself or your friend to fall too close to the event horizon, or the next choice to make is going to be unpleasant, and squishy. And may involve donkeys.

So remember the name -- 'Evil Holes', and don't be afraid to scream it like a banshee with a beard of bees. You'll be glad you did, and you may just save a life. Or at least a curdly stomach. I only wish now that I'd thought of all this before I opened the fridge this morning. One of you might've spared me a lot of trouble, not to mention a fair amount of stomach lining. Speaking of which, I think I feel the milk calling now. And it's angry. Eep!

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411):
Can someone please explain to me why in the name of Gordon's Fish Sticks any man would ever -- ever -- agree to appear on a daytime talk show? Anyone? Hmm? Bueller? No?
I mean, c'mon, folks, I don't watch that asanine drivel -- I truly don't, and place it above only soap operas and perhaps America's Funniest Home Videos on my list of Shows Starring People Who Desperately Need Flaming Pokers Shoved Up Their Recta. Really, I feel strongly about this. I do. But even I, in my relative ignorance of these shows, know -- just instinctively, in a 'snow cold', 'stove hot', 'sex good' kind of way -- that there are only three reasons for a man to be asked to appear on one of these shows:

  • A) You're the illicit lover, and the producer wants to see you with one of his microphones jammed up your nose
  • 2) You're the original lover, and the host wants to make you cry (and then watch you grab a mic and commence with the nostril-stretching)
  • iii) You're torturing your family with your drinking, or cross-dressing, or incest, or toe-sucking, and the whole crew wants the audience to start bawling

And that's it. There are no other options, and none of these is a damned picnic, let me tell you. And yet, these gullible lemming bastards get fed a story -- 'You're up for Dad of the Year', or 'Your wife wants to renew her vows', or 'Montel wants to talk to you about fishing' -- just ridiculous, wholly implausible lies, and these slack-jawed, slope-browed cretins eat it up with fries on the side. And then they actually show up on the set, fer Chrissakes. Look, my dog has an IQ roughly equal to the number of teats she sports, but even she knows when she's within a mile of the vet's office, and that it's a Bad Thing™.
I'm sure that these guys are contractually roped in at some point, but don't they have to see their fate coming a mile away? How many brain cells could it possibly take -- 'Hmmm. Man come. Man get ridiculed, cry like baby. Next man come, fight with bearded woman, leave with concussion. Next man come in fishnet stockings, cry, get punched by biker, then cry again. Hmmm. Next man -- me! Ooh! Me excited, me excited! Gonna tell Montel about favorite bait shop! Fun fun!'
I don't know. These guys get what they deserve, I suppose. I just hate to give the women out there just one more reason to point out how goddamned stupid we are sometimes. Especially when the evidence is plopped on national television, to be watched and taped and TiVo'd and beamed to a million little green men out there somewhere. Just imagine how the Alpha Centaurians are gonna react if the first glimse they get of Earth culture is Gummy from the holler tryin' ta keep his cousin Hattie Mae from his other cousin Elbert, 'cause a whatta 'I sawed her first'. Lemme tell you, folks, those extraterrestrial bitches'll tear our ice caps off and shove 'em up our Marianas Trench so fast our Andes'll spin. They're not fuckin' around out there in space, you know.




Monday, June 30, 2003
 
I Found the Truth in a Trailer Park

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I'm not quite sure how I got the way that I am. I mean, I know how I ended up on the planet, of course. I got the 'birds and bees' talk, just the same way that most people got it -- from a gaggle of 13-year-olds who didn't know any better than I did at the time, and got most of the important bits about sex horribly, horribly wrong. (Only a small percentage of folks will want anything -- much less something wet and squirmy -- stuck into their ear, for instance.) Of course, it probably wasn't helpful that I was 24 at the time... maybe I just didn't understand all their 'kewl kid' code, and something got lost in the translation. No matter -- I've been straightened out, so to speak, and now I'm on the right path. There are very few situations left in which I'm unsure of where to put my wet, squirmy things, and I that's solid progress. Solid progress, indeed.

But I'm not sure that's really what I was talking about. Moving on...

So, I have a pretty good idea of where I started from. (And, of course, if there was ever any doubt as to the nature of my initial entry to the world -- like if I thought I'd sprouted from seeds or been dropped here by aliens or rogue Scientologists -- I only have to ask my mother how many hours of labor she endured for the privilege of having to listen to my 'smart mouth' for the rest of her life. It's somewhere on the order of thirty, though the actual number creeps slowly upward as the years go by, as though it's a tall fish tale, and I'm the marlin. Or more likely, the largemouth bass. Or crappie. (Oh, go ahead, say it, ya dildo -- 'The tuna. Charlie the tuna.' Happy now? Ha-de-fucking-ha.)

So, anyway, it's pretty clear that I was launched into this world as we all are -- with plenty of screaming and sweating and blood. You know, the way rock stars usually end up going out of it. Or like an ER episode.
(Is it just me, by the way, or are the producers of that show just trying to depress the living shit out of the entire country now? I mean, I watched the first couple of seasons, and it was 'edgy' and 'gripping' and all those other words that Hollywood made up to use in movie reviews, but have you seen this show lately? Now every show is like a frickin' Shakespearean play -- it seems to go on for-ever, it's filled with language that nobody understands, and everybody dies at the end. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Ming-Na and Maura Tierney are men just dressing up to play their roles. (For those of you unfamiliar with the customs of Shakespeare's time, and didn't at least see Shakespeare in Love, I'm not suggesting that those two lovely -- okay, fine, actually fairly hot -- ladies aren't ladies. What I mean is that way back when Shakespeare wrote -- in the '50's or '60's, I think -- they wouldn't let women actually act. On stage, anyway, though they were still allowed to put on their 'Oh!' face in the sack, even if the fish didn't happen to be fryin' that night. So don't get upset about the 'really a man' thing. They're not, and I'm not actually saying that they are, okay? Laura Innes -- well, the jury's out. But the others, no. They're not men. Let it go.))

All right, what the hell was I saying, anyway? Oh right, how I got to approxitudely where I am today.

So, I presume I had a fairly normal childhood. I don't remember too many haunting traumas... though to be fair, I don't remember all that much of my childhood at all, so I'm probably repressing a fair amount of nightmarish horror. I fully expect to run into that trigger any day now -- a wire hanger, or a hypodermic needle, or a branding iron, maybe -- that will send it all flooding back, and I'll ball up into a fetal position and desperately try to swallow my tongue. (Oh, don't look so ashen, people. I'll recover -- a couple of years of electro-therapy and a nice creamy lobotomy, and I'll be back. Straightjacketed, of course, and typing this crap with my nose from a padded room somewhere, but I'll be back. Oh, yes. I will be back.) Anyway, I can't think of much in my early past that would have made me so cynical. Well, there was the time that my father scarred me for life -- literally, and the only scar that I still have -- but that's a story for another time. And he denies actually doing it, so I'm not sure it counts. (I mean, who you gonna believe? Him, a then-thirtyish father figure, husband and breadwinner for the family? Or a four-or-so-year-old-at-the-time, drooling, snot-nosed kid who doesn't even know his multiplication tables yet? Still. Anyway, one of these days I'll let you be the judge, and determine who's fault it is that I'm so horribly disfigured, even to this day. (I needed six stitches! Six! And on a four-year-old, isn't that like half a body? I mean, that's like sewing an arm back on or something... Six! Drop that jaw, dammit -- six!))

Anyway, I don't remember being particularly smacked down by Fate in my formative years. Oh, there were bad times along with the good, of course. I never got my pony. Or later, my inflatable Tiffany doll. And that kinda sucked. (Well, the Tiffany doll would've, if you could believe the advertising on the box, but apparently we didn't do that sort of thing in my family. It just gave the neighbors 'more ammunition', from what I gathered.) Oh, and I did briefly live in a disaster magnet -- er, trailer park, when I was really, really young, maybe two or three.

I doubt that had much effect, though -- I only have one memory of being there, which is getting randomly stung by a wasp while riding down our street on a plastic green caterpillar with wheels. I even saw it coming, too, the little pecker. I was mindin' my own business, just ridin' my 'pillar through the park, when I looked to my left -- see, details! Little personal details that give the story authenticity; you don't get that kind of shit on Slashdot -- anyway, I definitely remember it was my left, and I saw this insect flying at me. Now, I'd never been stung by anything -- a bee, a wasp, gambling on cockfights, nothing -- so I didn't actually think about this little bastard having it in for me. I thought it was a fly or a beetle or something, and just sort of watched it fly towards me, blissfully unaware that it might actually zip over and stick its ass in me. I mean, who does that? What experience up to that point in my life could prepare me for something to just mosey up and stick its ass completely inside me, as though it were just saying 'hello'? Sure, Aunt Gracie used to jam her boobs in my face (or vice versa, I forget), and aptly-named Uncle Willie had his, erm, issues, but nobody ever went around trying to shove their ass physically into my body. No one.

So of course, I was completely taken aback when this wasp -- this little bitch-ass insect -- just keeps comin' full-bore towards me, bumps into me, and then just stings the shit out of my arm, without so much as an 'Excuse me' or a 'Hello old chap; it appears as though you could use an arm-assing, and I believe I can help you out.' Nothing. No warning, no provocation of any kind, just 'squeak squeak squeak' on the caterpillar one minute, and then wham!, some bug's hairy butt inside me the next. To this day, I don't know what I did to piss him off. Maybe he was aiming for the caterpillar. Maybe he woke up on the wrong side of the hive that day. Or maybe he thought I was looking at him funny. (I found out a couple of years later that I needed glasses, so in fairness, I probably was peering at him all squinty. But that's no excuse.)

Anyway, he hit me, and then buzzed off. And my arm hurt, or course. So I cried, naturally. Like a baby. I cried and ran and cried and ran, and abandoned my cater-vehicle where it stood, and ran for the safety of... trailer. (How's that for adding insult to injury? Ya get assed in the arm, and then gotta run for yo momma's and daddy's trailer... that's just wrong on so many levels...) So eventually, I was fine -- we iced down my arm, and I stopped blubbering, and even went back to get my caterpillar. With a broom, of course, in case that coward bitch came back for another piece. But he didn't -- I never saw him again. And soon the swelling eased, and we moved to a proper house, and things got pretty normal.

But you know, the more I think about it., maybe that was the turning point in my life. I mean, looking back, I just don't see how it's possible to be running, screaming and crying with a freshly-stung, still-assy arm, toward a trailer, 'cause that's the best option you've got, and not believe that the entire universe is lined up against you. There's nobody on your side in that situation, and even if there's a mommy on the other side of the double-wide door, those few minutes it takes for your pudgy little feet to pitter-pat all the way back home have got to take a toll. You're changed forever -- in that moment, with tears and snot and sweat running down your face, and the rows of trailers jiggling in your view as you careen past them, you have to see it: the world hates me. There's no other rational conclusion a two-year-old could come to. After that kind of experience, you know you're on your own. It's us versus them, and your only weapon is to ridicule them into submission before somebody comes around and asses you again.

Wow. I'd never realized. Well, thanks for reading, and for letting me pinpoint the moment when the light befell me, and I finally saw this world for the ass-or-be-assed minefield that it truly is. If you've never had the sort of life-changing experience that I've just described, then consider yourself lucky. You're still living in the Matrix -- your world may be filled with sugar and spice and gumdrop goodness. I envy you your ignorant bliss. 'Cause I know better -- in the real world, people are as likely to ass you as to give you the time of day. And Mothra help you if you squint at 'em the wrong way. But now you're armed with the knowledge to fight back, to see the true nature of the world around us. I've given you the red pill. Take two, and get pissy in the morning. It's the only defense you've got against them. Good luck, stay away from trailer parks (like that oughta be hard), and watch your ass out there. Not to mention the asses of others -- that's the real danger.

Oh, and if you happen to be that wasp that accosted me almost thirty years ago... you'd better be watching your back, bitch. I haven't forgotten, and I know what you look like. You'd better lay low, or I'll rip you a new one and break you in half, ya little peckernose. There's some payback coming, 'cause I finally have someone to blame -- you did this to me!

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411):
So I can't be sure exactly how long it took me to 'shoot through the poop chute' and into the world (okay, fine, so that's not entirely anatomically correct...still, you'd have a hard time convincing me that a lot of people out there weren't born via assholes, given that they've grown up to be such impressive representations of the species). Suffice to say that it was long enough to discourage my parents (read: mother) from ever wanting to give the experience another try. Which is just how I wanted it, of course.
See, I was a crafty little fetus, and I knew even then that I didn't want to have to share my Lincoln Logs with another snotty little brat or brat-ette. I wanted to fly solo, baby. So I dug my stubby little fingers in, and held on for dear pre-life. I lasted more than a day, too, if you can believe the hospital records and the police reports. I think they eventually squirted some WD-40 in there and charged in with a plunger to pry me loose, but I accomplished my mission. And to this day, I haven't had to share my Lincoln Logs (or Legos, or Etch-a-Sketch) with anyone. Well, okay, truth be told, my wife does Bogart the Silly Putty every once in a while... but after thirty-plus years on the planet, I suppose I have to compromise a little now and then, right?




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