Monday, August 28, 2006
The last public school systems are going back in the next week or so, and in the next several months you will face the bugaboo known as "required reading". The teacher will tell you that it's good for you in the long term, but hey, you're sixteen, you know better! Today's benediction is from somebody was older than sixteen and really did know better:
"I haven't any right to criticise books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone." -- Mark Twain, Letter to Joseph Twichell, 9/13/1898
You might think the point of this quote is "You are not alone," but Twain's been dead for a hundred years and not available to take your case to the school board. As for Pride and Prejudice, I already read the damn book, so you won't be getting any sympathy from me. You want to be treated like an adult, you gotta take your lumps like one. Cliff's Notes are for cowards.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
I make no bones about my disdain for the current administration. Their proclivity for using national security and propaganda is mind boggling. Whenever they sense the publics support for their actions waning, they trot out their Emmanuel Goldstein, Osama Bin Laden. I mean c'mon folks. Bin Laden was in Afghanistan. He masterminded the 911 attack and it has been nearly 5 years and we can't find his tall skinny behind? We found Saddam didn't we. Can't we find this guy?
And call me a jaded paleocon if you must, but can someone explain to me why the heck we are in Iraq to begin with? Were any of the 911 terrorists from Iraq? NO. Most were from Saudi Arabia. Why aren't we spreading democracy there? Oh wait, they told us to get lost. And forget about using the bases they let us use in Gulf 1. Nothing makes much sense anymore. But a pox on both parties for their ineffectualness in dealing with any crisis over the last 30 years.
Thats enough for everyone.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I'm calling shenanigans on this overinflated controversy. We'll get to that part in a moment, but first, a few paragraphs of me attempting to be a superior dick about why none of this should matter to me. Remember, I usually tell you up front.
I have little patience with fake news, and Survivor-related fake news would normally be a non-issue for me since I refuse to watch the bulk of so-called "reality" television. People question me about this decision, dismissing a genre out of hand like that. After all, there are several different types of reality show. They don't all have the dreaded game show element like Survivor does. But really, you could say the same thing about porn. Some people don't like the concept of porn, won't watch it, won't go near it, and on most days refuse to even think about it. If you walk up to these people, you could say, "Well, it's not all the same, man...if you like butt sex, you can find all-butt tapes, and if you like regular people who don't fake it, there are amateur tapes, and if you don't want to keep that erection...hey, there's always Ron Jeremy!"
The definitive answer, the one that stops the argument before it starts: "I don't like watching people screw." If they reject the basic concept, it doesn't matter what you decorate it with.
In a similar vein, I reject reality television as a rule because I'm distrustful of the unpleasant types of people who tend to be featured on those shows. There are always exceptions, of course, but that first hurdle is always the biggest one to get over. When I was coaxed into submitting myself to watching Unan1mous this spring, the most outstanding facet of the show was the universally repellent nature of the participants. Everybody turned out to be a punk and a manipulative jerk at one point or another, and really, how the hell can you care about something like that?
(Sidebar: the Blogger spellchecker wanted to replace Unan1mous with "inane". I enjoy small touches like that.)
In the interest of full disclosure, what helped me come to this decision was watching the first season of the Real World--first of the breed--in its entirety before deciding that life was too short to subject myself to that attention-whoring tripe year after year. That was 1992, and there's still no end in sight. This is a trend that's way overdue to run its course.
Having said all that, let's return to the fake issue at hand for a moment. The segregation situation is a calculatedly "edgy" angle to the new season, a cheap stunt designed solely to get people making all kinds of noise about Survivor again. And it's working! It was on every channel this morning! Hell, even I took the bait, and I don't get paid for this, so I can afford to be choosy...
My advice: this fall, watch The Office instead. You'll thank me for it.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The HBO special from which I took my model was last year's Life Is Worth Losing, and the first thing that struck me when I saw it was how tired and (gasp) old Carlin looked as he came on stage. "Well, he was in his 30s when Occupation: Foole came out, so it's about to be expected..."
Then he started in on a 20-30 minute riff on The Suicide Channel, and the years just fell away.
Monday, August 21, 2006
An American bard at last! One of the roughs, large, proud, affectionate, eating, drinking, and breeding, his costume manly and free, his face sunburnt and bearded, his posture strong and erect, his voice bringing hope and prophecy to the generous races of young and old. We shall cease shamming and be what we really are. We shall start an athletic and defiant literature. We realize now how it is, and what was most lacking. The interior American republic shall also be declared free and independent. <...>
Self-reliant, with haughty eyes, assuming to himself all the attributes of his country, steps Walt Whitman into literature, talking like a man unaware that there was ever hitherto such a production as a book, or such a being as a writer. Every move of him has the free play of the muscle of one who never knew what it was to feel that he stood in the presence of a superior. Every wood that falls from his mouth shows silent disdain and defiance of the old theories and forms. Every phrase announces new laws; not once do his lips unclose except in conformity with them.
And it goes on like that for quite some time. If all that sounds a little partisan, it's because the review was penned by Walt Whitman himself. There's nothing wrong with self-promotion if you can deliver. And if you can't deliver...well, at least it gives you a hobby.
Friday, August 18, 2006
If you're familiar at all with the House of Dorcus, you'll be able to spot the one major faux pas in Mr. Karr's fashion decision: sure, the collar of the shirt is buttoned to the top, giving him that ominously creepy vibe that says "men's fashion lives here", but those sleeves are unbecomingly loose. In the classic Dorcus style, the sleeve cuffs are supposed to be blood-deprivingly tight, eventually making the arms nothing more than vestigial appendages that flail Muppet-like in a stiff breeze. Lose the loose shirts, you bloody hippie. If your skin was supposed to breathe, it'd have a row of tiny mouths running down the arms...mouths that whisper secrets in your quiet moments to haunt your nightmares.
But I digress...
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The easy route when you read someone's resume about why they're priced out of your social market is to bag on the type of ego (or, more likely, the quality of boredom) that would cause a sane woman to whip up something like that. However, I refuse to do things the easy way (edit: and anyway, that's what everybody else did already), so instead, with tongue firmly in cheek, let's run a PMI analysis on moving to an impoverished nation just to expand your social horizons:
THE PLUS COLUMN:
- You can definitely stretch that $20 your grandma gave you for your birthday in a country in a country where the minimum wage is 12 cents an hour.
- There's a lot to be said for making a first date out of heckling the college kids who didn't realize the Peace Corps would put your ass to work.
- You remember that gift sampler of Spam that you just can't get rid of? Panty peeler, son.
- You always wanted to meet Sally Struthers, right? There she is! And her camera crew! You're gonna be on TV!
- She won't care if that's a Pacer you're driving, as long as it runs. And you can hook a plow to it.
- You'll find out that "being tidy" is a relative concept.
- Unwanted "surprises"? Meet "infant mortality rate"!
THE MINUS COLUMN:
- Tell them you're an American. Go on. I dare you. (This may also go for the British. Canadians don't have this problem as much, but people will make fun of your concept of bacon for some reason.)
- If the Catholic missionaries got there before you, don't even think about birth control.
- You think being chased out of the house by a crazy dad with a kitchen knife is bad? Try a machete.
- You just got held up by a group of hungry looking men. They even took your shoes, bubba. Call the cops? Don't be ridiculous, those were the cops!
- Doctors Without Borders will not do tit jobs no matter how hard you beg.
- Your car gets blown up by angry rebels in the jungle? Yeah, Allstate isn't covering that.
- The nearest "ATM" is a guy living at the foot of a mountain with a pack of vicious dogs and a fully-stocked armory. His service charge? It ain't gonna be $2, buddy.
- Love is a universal language...potable water, less so.
THE INTERESTING COLUMN:
- It will be interesting for you to find out what different cultures do to guys who like to screw without repsonsibility.
- It will be interesting to see how you run your XBox without electricity.
- It will be interesting to see how long it takes your new sweetheart to roll your stupid Yankee/Limey/whatever ass for your wallet. And if she takes the credit card, too.
- Many cultures marry off their girls at 14-15 years. It will definitely be interesting to see you explain that to the folks back home.
- I can't wait to see what your blog entries will look like: "Current mood: being eaten alive by malaria-infested insects."
- And finally, when that Jacqueline woman tells you she only said that to shut you up after you brag about how well her advice worked, it will be absolutely fascinating to see the blood drain from your face.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Keeping all the above in mind, here's a poem by Jeffrey Ross, another stranger, but one who's a stand-up comedian. I figure he's probably used to being ripped off by now--just not with full attribution. It's called "Why I Love My Gangsta Bitch Girlfriend":
I knelt on one knee
and took her hand in mine.
I said "I want you to be my lover,
my wife, my bride."
She looked at me and said, "NIGGA PLEASE!"
And then she stabbed me in the face.
And that's why I love my gangsta bitch girlfriend.
Tip your wait staff, everybody...
Sunday, August 13, 2006
(Edit @ 6pm: Another search tool, AOL Naked, gives you clickable keywords in the results themselves, which is a nifty trick. Get those advanced search options going and you've got my vote, Naked Guy. It's a testament to the wigged out supply-and-demand cycle of the Internet that we have dueling links on this type of thing barely a week after the initial file came out. Anyone else on the market?)
Friday, August 11, 2006
The man in the safety vest is still shouting over the din. "And we've just received word that flights to the UK are under code red, so absolutely no liquids are allowed on board."
The young man twitches, looks around nervously, and darts for the entrance. Safety vest man grabs his radio. "Aw crap, we've got a runner at gate 25!"
The man never drops the bag hanging from his shoulder, and papers fly out of the open side pocket. He has the speed, but security has the numbers. They're within a few yards of the man when he puts on an extra burst of speed, almost outmaneuvering the squad behind him, but looking back to gauge his progress is a mistake since he doesn't see the huge officer that clocks him with a forearm. He was barely five feet from the entrance to the parking garage when he found out how the floor tasted.
There is a struggle and blows are thrown. Sympathetic stares and mumbles of "excessive force" are heard from bystanders a few feet away. Finally, the security detail begin to drag the limp and beaten runner past you in handcuffs. The head of the security detail, red faced, grabs the prisoner and shakes him. "That was an unbelievably stupid stunt. What the hell is your problem, son?"
He's still struggling for his breath. "Buh...buh..."
"What's that again?"
And then it dawns on you what you're trapped inside. Dear God, don't let him say it...
He lifts his head, speaking loud enough to be heard down the corridor. "But what's going to happen to my icy cold Sierra Mist?" Your worst fears have been realized. It's the bruised face of Michael Ian Black.
The suddenly coy head security officer pockets the unopened bottle from the backpack. "Well, you know, we have to taste these things...to be sure they're what you say they are." At that moment, all the monitors flash those soon-to-be-infamous words: SIERRA MIST--DON'T LET THE TERRORISTS WIN YOUR THIRST.
Applause and laughter ripple down the line, but you just scowl at the quickly retreating group in disgust. "Goddamn product placement."
I haven't even read or actually even seen anything about this on the telly. But maybe this wouldn't be happening if we didn't have such a meddling foreign policy towards the middle east. Like the president likes to talk about spreading democracy throughout the region. Iraq, maybe it's a quagmire. I don't know. But the Sunni's and Shia's and Kurds sure seem to be on a course towards civil war. Lebanon, Hezbollah became a political force and got folks elected to the government. Sure seems to be spreading democracy. Afghanistan, how many provinces are under the governments control? Has the Taliban really came back?
Maybe we should leave folks alone. Cause the War on Terror sounds alot more like a war on islam. Killing folks is gonna do nothing but make more of those left behind want to kill us. It doesn't matter how much money or how many bodies we throw at this. It seems pretty unwinnable. There are a billion followers of Islam. How many of us are there?
This is gonna end badly for us. They have control of alot of the world's oil supplies. The also have friends like Chavez, who is also threatening to turn off the spigots if we invade Iran. How many SUV drivers really want to pay 5 dollars a gallon?
Just some thoughts and questions. Have a pleasant night.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Never mind the fact that the next time I fly, it's going to require even more of a wait than it normally does, although I do have the benefit of operating out of a relatively small airport and any of the hubs that I have to go through, I'm already on the other side of the terminal gate, so I've never had to deal with waiting in line at the checkpoint in a place like Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, which at a busy time (read: always) is the 8 th circle of hell. For that, I'm fortunate. Also, I take solace in the fact that I don't depart from what could be considered a primary target. Or a secondary target. No, Tallahassee Regional is the airport that would be under siege if in fact all of the other airports in North America prove too hard to crack. This includes London, Ontario, where there's only two sitting room terminals, one baggage claim belt and a whole lotta DeHavelands flying in and out. But yet that's the city I happened to be in on 9/11 and even we didn't know if something was going to fall out of the sky.
It's actually presumptuous to say this was Al Queda, since we don't know exactly who was trying to gum up the works at Heathrow this morning. I feel bad for any other terrorist cell in the world sometimes, since AQ's existence for everyone else has gotta be like being John Mayer and every time one of his songs is played someone goes, "hey, is this Dave Matthews?". But it was HOW they planned on doing it. If 9/11 was a plan hatched by S.P.E.C.T.R.E., than this was more of a terrorist plot by way of The Joker, with it being an attempted attack by way of liquid explosives which were to be combined like some sort of mecha molitov cocktail and then detonated with a fake electronic device.
And now, finally, after 5 years, terrorism has found a way to affect me. Because the first two things TSA edicted was the following: no water/liquids of any kind and no electronic devices. In other words, there went the two main staples of my life in air travel.
The terrorists lose, yet the terrorists win. And now for me after all this time, this shit is now personal.
One of my little pre-flight rituals is the Aquafina. Not because I wish to be difficult, but because I wish NOT to be difficult. Dry, pressurized areas such as airplanes? For me, they're dehydrating and can cause cotton mouth right quick. Which is why I'd rather be self-reliant and bring my own on rather than cough up a dustball in waiting for the stewardess to bring any, that they only come around with so many times anyway. And while my iPod is my favorite toy on Earth, that I can live without. Until of course someone stuffs a sliver of C-4 into the binding of a J.K. Rowling hardcover and that's the next thing that gets taken away.
TSA is claiming it's only temporary, but knowing how policies like this work, once they're gone they're gone and they ain't coming back. Because the minute they do, it's practically an invite to try this same stunt again, and for all my bitching, I prefer them going one way or another, right or wrong, without playing Red Light Green Light 1-2-3 with this.
It used to be even 10 years ago that the airport was a place you went to travel expediently, and something like the bus or train station was where you were ordered around like cattle, treated like other crap as a paying customer and were at the mercy of the drivers/engineers as to when you ever got anywhere. The latter hasn't improved, but the gap has closed simply because flying conditions have worsened, and for the worst reason: we are playing a totally reactive game. Yes, this was snuffed out before it could be implemented and hundreds of lives were saved because of it, and the ones who caught it before it became another disaster are genuine heroes. But part of security measures means constantly having to be on defense, and only the would-be terrorist know where the ball is heading.
But how do they win even though they technically lost? By reminding us that they're there. By making us restrict ourselves because of them. And the more they do, the closer we get to being the woman who won't leave the house because we fear our jealous ex-boyfriend is out there watching. Besides, they bolted the cockpit doors, we have a Passenger 57 on major flights and now it's this, and it's going to be something else next time.
Maybe it's something petty like how I hate that my right not to have cotton mouth on an airplane has now been taken away from me, but don't our little compromises of freedom START with little things that snowball? As it is now, this means more tanking up in Tallahassee or Hartsfield or wherever to make sure I'm properly hydrated before flying. This is another thing I know I'll learn to hate about this whole situation: the fact that it'll now make me think that a seat by the bathroom isn't a bad thing., and that's just wrong.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Monday, August 07, 2006
It is a very old, very universal fable that tells of the mountain which, having frightened all the countryside by its outcry that it was in labour, was hissed by all present when it brought into the world a mere mouse. The people in the pit were not philosophers. Those who hissed should have admired. It was as fine for the mountain to give birth to a mouse, as for the mouse to give birth to a mountain. A rock which produces a rat is a very prodigious thing; and never has the world seen anything approaching this miracle. All the globes of the universe could not call a fly into existence. Where the vulgar laugh, the philosopher admires; and he laughs where the vulgar open their big, stupid eyes in astonishment.
Food for thought? A toot and a snore to get your ass out the door? Or a pretentious justification for that Bart the General link from Saturday afternoon? You decide...just close your mouth when you do. Your tongue is hanging out all pink and naked.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Oh, and because I make notes of these things, Blogger's spellchecker asked if I meant "whitewash" instead of White House. Chew on that for a moment.
(* Not work safe? Try not MIND safe...)
Friday, August 04, 2006
The man from the network scowled at the idea. "We've got too much wrapped up in this boy."
The pilot of the police helicopter looked at his passenger like they were from different planets. "Even if you can't snap him back?"
"Oh, we can snap him back."
They were chasing O'Brien across an open field, helicopters with ground support herding him towards a predecided spot. So far he hadn't made any unpredictable moves, but after the preceding weekend the police department wasn't taking any chances, a half dozen sharpshooters planted along the perimeter as a contingency plan.
Conan cocked his head to one side when he heard the rumble, so strange yet so familiar. Over the rise he a Harley Davidson of gleaming chrome and roaring engines, a rider clad in black leather. When the helmet came off, O'Brien stopped cold.
Looking through a set of field glasses, the network man nodded to nobody in particular, then spoke into his cellphone. "Leno's in position."
The pilot scowled. "Please tell me that's not your ace in the hole."
"Jay's a company man, dammit. Just you wait."
For a second, the battered feral late night host looked at his large chinned comrade as if he was almost ready to say something. That stopped when Jay whipped out the tranquilizer gun.
Leno gestured at his weapon. "Ya see this? Ya hear about this?" Then he fired the dart into O'Brien's neck.
The man at the head of the network entourage looked like he hadn't slept for "All these crazy showbiz people. It's a nightmare, I tell you. We had to bring Joey back! Do you know how painful that was?"
A yes man from the back of the group piped in. "Did you hear they caught Gwynneth Paltrow in some guy's chicken coop?"
"Really? I thought she was a vegetarian..."
"Heh. Not any more."
Billy Bush from Access Hollywood, a tagalong pal looking for an exclusive, tried vainly to make himself heard. "Cool it...she's good people."
A young woman from the legal department chose this moment to pipe in. "They're all good people, Billy--well, some of them. But the point is that quack's 'herbal supplements' have driven half of the primetime lineup insane." She paused to collect herself. "And I blame Aaron Sorkin. But that's strictly off the record."
The doctor silenced the group. "Here we are, people. Now keep in mind we're only here to observe. Mr. O'Brien is not ready for visitors yet."
They stood in front of a two-way mirror as the lights in the cell came up gradually; a few of them gasped. Conan sat in a corner staring at the ceiling, tousled, circles under his eyes, torn hospital gown. At no provocation whatsoever, he leapt to his feet and pounced on what looked like a tattered rag.
The legal assistant recognized it first. "That's a Triumph puppet. And it's missing the eyes."
One of the older men chose this moment to announce he was going to be sick.
"Well," the head of the network expedition noted to an assistant, "I think that makes our decision for us."
"Late Night With Patton Oswalt?" The head man was already making the necessary phone calls.
The legal assistant paused for a moment. Conan had moved on to some form of the String Dance, but he was too shaky on his feet; when he cut the invisible string to the right hip he crumpled to the floor like a rag doll. Then he started sniffing things.
She scowled. Patton Oswalt. It would've been Louis C.K. if he hadn't made that silly growling noise at the meeting...
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
It's like politicians. Can you tell the difference between democrats and republicans anymore? I can't, except for the Honorable Ron Paul. They spend money like water. Only problem is it's our money they are spending. Did you get a nice raise? They did.
Politics drives me insane. Cause I ain't right in the head to begin with. But if you want to make a good living and live off the hard work of others, become a politician. Junkets, fat cat lobbyists, corporate donations to your very own political action committee. What could ever go wrong you ask! Ask Duke Cunningham. A pox on the lot of them.
I like music. Yes, I know, even a sociopath can like music. From the Beatles to the Byrds to Oasis and Pearl Jam. One of my favorite cd's from the 90's is Van Morrisons "Enlightenment". Ain't that what we all are looking for? Like Van the Man says in Enlightenment, "whats the sound of one hand clapping".
Don't have alot to say the moment. Maybe later. Thats all for now.
The food court at the South End Mall was sedate that day, people shopping, eating oversized cookies, dreaming their dreamy dreams. Then, a huge noise and the dust of a collapsing wall enveloped the general area. A blood-curdling scream echoed, and then the words that sent the whole day to hell: “LOOK OUT! IT'S CONAN O'BRIEN!”
The towering talk show host had burst through the back wall of the arcade like a malevolent Kool-Aid man and was now chasing the fleeing masses hither and yon, fingers held like bared claws, a feral beast in a designer suit and immaculately shined leather shoes. He leapt on a table, toppling it as he pounced on a patron eating a New York style pizza slice. Conan picked the slice up with his mouth and shook it like a dog would to make sure it was really dead. Then he ate it with startling rapidity, baying at the skylight when he was done.
The mall security was closing on his location, pushing through the panicked throng with their walkie-talkies at the ready. Sensing the danger, Conan darted for the door and vanished into the surrounding woods.
The well-coiffed television reporter stood with his camera crew in the middle of a ruined downtown cityscape, showing a perfectly proportioned mouthful of grimacing teeth. Small flames flickered from the smoldering window of the TV and radio repair shop he was facing, and a shred of a silk tie wedged in the jagged glass left in the windowpane flapped mournfully in the breeze.