Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Innocence Not So Much Lost As Thrown From A Moving Car
As a Democrat during the quadrennial (my new favorite word) Parade of Rich White Folks that is the Republican National Convention, I feel something of a hypocrite. Again.
As I may or may not have mentioned in my last post (I could check, but eh...), Mrs. Pops and I have eschewed the fine public school system here in Riverside in favor of a Catholic school.
Without getting into too much detail about the Dickensian details of my upbringing (we weren't poor, just surrounded by a bunch of oddly named characters with gross melodramatic tendencies and Victorian English accents), Big Government has been helpful here and there. Public school should be a no-brainer for my own kids.
So the decision to go parochial wasn't made out of any kind of hostility toward public education. After all, I am a product of public school. Not only am I cultured and urbane, I can use words like "cultured" and "urbane" and mostly understand what they mean. Also, I can read passingly well, I'm six feet tall and devastatingly handsome. So there are plenty of things about public school to recommend.
But I've found out through experience as a parent that things sometimes do not go the way you plan. For instance, I planned on being able to sleep in for the next fifteen years or so. Not going to happen, apparently. I swear, just as they're getting over sunrise feedings, they all of a sudden need to be driven all over the goddamn place at all ungodly hours. It's a conspiracy.
The real reason is that at five years old, our son was exhibiting all the tell-tale signs of juvenile innocence. He's trusting, credulous, friendly, and only occasionally sarcastic. So when we got the orientation packet from the school and saw we were required to sign a paper agreeing to supplement, encourage and in no way countermand the teachings of the school in particular and the Church in general, we gleefully did so.
We were worried his disillusionment and hostility toward organized religion would be partial, incomplete, so we decided to take the only step we know of that can ensure a lifetime of internal spiritual confusion and unresolvable personal guilt. By teaming up of Parents and Church and School, we can triangulate our authoritarian bearing and wear him down to the point where intellectual rebellion will be an inevitibility.
If he went to public school, he might find all kinds of ordinary, unsophisticated ways to rebel like underage drinking or promiscuity or a bloody multi-state crime spree. You know, the things that kids do.
But this way, if we all try our best, we can break him spiritually by the time he's 12. I think of all the stinging, willfully hurtful things he will direct at me and "my church" which he "never asked to join" and how I should take "my God" and "shove Him up [my] ass" and I just about weep with joy.
O, the angry, cynical man we will make of him. It will be my gift to the world.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.1
Monday, August 30, 2004
First... Monday... EVER
This morning we took the whole family out (there are five us us... six if you count my alter ego). Our mission: to rid ourselves of one of our children. The winnowing process would involve a series of increasingly difficult/disgusting stunts/ingestions. The winner(s) stay, the loser goes into the White Slavery section of e-Bay until sold.
No, seriously, we did get rid of one, but only temporarily.
My oldest boy started his first day of kindergarten today.
As we watched him walk away, oblivious to the tedium and torment of thirteen years of school--not to be confused with education--I was shocked at my failure to collapse into a nervous breakdown. You would think that handing my oldest over, this boy whose very existence has largely defined my own for the past 5+ years, would have elicited something, anything, of some potency out of me.
But no, not really. Just a general sense of relieved contentment while Mrs. Pops wiped the tears away next to me.
I was worried that this meant that secretly I was part (possibly all) automaton, that my mother had built me in her garage thirty years ago to live among you humans, to observe from a cold, detached distance without being able to feel or even completely comprehend your strange, illogical "emotion".
But then I thought, no, I do have feeling, I simply reserve them all for myself.
For instance, I woke up to an alarm for the first time since May 20, 1999, two days before my boy was born. 6:30 am, just like a person with a job, which was more than a little troubling.
Also, it struck me that now I am officially old. There are lots of things that we're supposed to take as markers to signal our passage from childhood to adulthood. Nothing will do that quite like having to write "PTA Meeting" on your calendar. Not getting your driver's license, not your first beer, your first date, voting, registering for the draft, your first Vegas trip, the first time you kill a homeless guy with your car, nothing really compares.
That's it. I've arrived. I'm now officially an adult.
In all, this is my excuse why I have yet to watch a single minute of the Republican National Convention from NYC. Lots of errand-type driving coupled with profound existential crisis. That's a full day right there.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.4
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Glistening and Quivering
It's with some bittersweetness and a few crippling withdrawl pangs that I say goodbye to the 2004 version of the Olympic Games. Judging by the size of the crowds at all of the venues, I probably was the only one watching, but it's hard to accept nonetheless.
Gone are the sports no one ever watches or even thinks about in non-Olympic years, lost to their quadrennial slumber of unjustifiable obscurity. Goodbye water polo, we hardly knew ye. Goodbye tae kwon do, table tennis, Graeco-Roman wrestling, team handball and beach volleyball. Farewell javelin, field hockey, hammer-throw, decathlon, badminton and anything to do with boats. You will all most probably be missed by someone.
Mostly I would like to acknowledge the team coverage by mom-and-pop operation NBC-Universal and their quaint global network of stations. They gave the games the down-home feel only a heartless multinational corporation could.
I was grateful to see that they cut back on the saccharine factor that swamped their coverage of the Sydney 2000 games. Their featurettes were slightly less ubiquitous and markedly less cloying and maudlin, focusing more on the sport aspect and not so much, say, the athlete's sister who lost her foot in a tragic bear mauling as a child. "So with his two good feet, he triple-jumps because his one-footed sister cannot." [Slow close-up of bear head mounted on wall backed by tinkly piano music]
One curious thing I noticed was NBC's absolute desperation to catch someone--anyone--crying during a medal award ceremony. I watched alot of these damn things and not once can I remember seeing a flag being raised. It was all tight shots on the gold medal winner as their anthem played. And they didn't care who it was. That guy who won the 5000 meters from Morocco got his own personal 5 minutes on American television (no American even placed in the event) just so NBC could show him edge as close as possible to emotional collapse on national TV.
I noticed it most pronouncedly at the ceremony for the women's gymnastics. The camera panned madly back and fourth amongst the stoic faces of starving 14 year old girls looking for the slightest glisten in the eyes or quiver of the lower lip. Then when they found one, the focus was tighter, lingering until they got the satisfaction of seeing the little Skinnner-box escapee let a tear go.
But now NBC and its family of networks has 70 hours to fill daily of programming now that their meal ticket has up and vanished on them. Working on the logical assumption that the network's penchant for things that glisten and quiver is a universal constant--like myna birds and shiny things--I've taken the liberty of working up a list of alternative things they might show to fill the olympic void.
Other things that Glisten and Quiver [editor's note: some of these things may only quiver when prodded, but they must have the potential to do so at least]:
3. First-time nudists (provided they sweat when nervous)
4. Fat guy at community pool
6. Labia majora (under the right circumstances)
7. sea lions
8. cow eyeballs from biology class, pre-dissection
If NBC can somehow figure a way to work all these elements into one show, I can guarantee ratings gold. I know I'd watch it.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.2
Saturday, August 28, 2004
All Publicity Is Good Publicity
Thanks to the good people at Sitemeter I am able to track visits by "referral".
Surprised to find that the Bucket got its first unsolicited piece of outside publicity. Something called All Consuming tracks blog mentions of books. This one popped up in reference to nasty young Michelle Malkin's proto-fascist book I had tangentially referenced a few days ago.
The page complete with a blurb from each blog post (including mine) can be found here.
It's a little distressing as the excerpt almost reads like it's anti-Hardball and pro-Malkin. Ah well. One more way to lure conservatives into my mind-warp trap.
EDIT: Erm... that last link doesn't really work like it's supposed to. Bastard technology.
Friday, August 27, 2004
Those Aren't Pillows!
I like Newsweek. I have a subscription. It comes to my house once per week (hence the name) and reaffirms all my leftist predispositions supplemented by some really great pictures of dead people. Every other week I do have to endure a column by George Will, but even though I've almost never agreed with anything he's had to say, he's always a good source of new vocabulary words (no great examples this week, but he did use the phrase "attenuated legitimacy", which was fun).
Imagine my horror then when I saw a little story in the Periscope section about this:
That's right. The Cuddle Party.
And they're organized. They even have a website.
For about $30 you can lay around in platonic, snuggly bliss with a dozen of your closest... complete and total strangers.
It's sweeping the nation, apparently if by "sweeping" I mean "exists" and "the nation" we take as "enclaves of old rotting hippies and their moondoggie scions."
This sounds great, but really, it can only perpetuate the international perception that Americans are lazy. Never mind that it's not true and that per capita Americans spend more hours at work than any other industrialized people, but I must say in our defense--check that, in the exact opposite of whatever "our defense" is--we do tend to take alot of shortcuts. Fast food, drive-through (sorry, drive-thru) everything, ATMs, even yogurt. We can't even sit down and eat a cup of yogurt, we have to make Go-gurt, yogurt for people "on-the-go".
And now we have drive-thru intimacy. Hooray us. No more time wasted getting to know people to the point of familiarity where we might actually be able to touch them, no. Just pay your money and jump on the pile.
And by the way, I've seen enough 1970s porn to know an orgy when I see one and that's an orgy. Except with all that felt and flannel happening it's more like an orgy on Sesame Street and there, I just creeped myself out.
Sure they say "no dry humping", but how many tents are being pitched in that wretched pile of humanity? And what would they say if I show up in my "Home Of The Whopper" peek-a-boo boxers and one of those novelty t-shirts with muscles on the front?
The grossest thing about it is that this is the worst ever example of hippie capitalism I've ever seen. "Free love" apparently now costs $30 when, back around 1968 it was... well, free. There's inflation for you. And dry humping was not only OK, but encouraged. You got alot more bang for your buck, so to speak.
All in all though, this isn't really a pastime for people like me, with kids and a mortgage and lots of stuff that needs to get done. I don't have time for hours of fruitless foreplay that costs me money. If I give a hooker $30, we skip the foreplay altogether and get right to the fruit. Which is a better deal? I ask you.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 1.895
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Dick Cheney, Soldier of Love
One more reason to hate Dick Cheney: he's trying to rain on my parade. Just when I think partisanship has reached its optimum level of absurdity, when we're living in full Bizarro-World mode where John Kerry's Vietnam record is more of a point of contention than George Bush's, where Republicans call Democrats anti-American traitors and Democrats call Republicans imperialist crypto-fascists and we get some really, really good mudslinging going on, the vice president does what he always does; he drops some love on us.
At a rally, someone asks Cheney about gay marriage and Dick, father of a gay daughter, had this to say:
"Look man, all this negativity has really been bringing me down. It's like the universe is this one big, giant river, man, and we're all... we're all like just drops, drops of water sliding around against each other, separate but one all at the same time. And all together we make the river, One River, that's what we are, a river of humanity just trying to get by, man, trying to flow over rocks and around mountains and stuff trying to find our way to the Ocean. And the Ocean is like God or Buddha or Jesus or L. Ron Hubbard or whatever it is you're into, man. And they, you know, The Man is trying to dam up the river and use us to turn his turbines and power his military industrial complex man, to turn our drops into bombs to drop on babies and their mothers, man, and we are just not going to play. We just want to flow, man, just flow. Why won't they just let us flow?"
OK, I'm paraphrasing, but that's close.
What he really said was that gay marriage is a "state issue" and that he personally opposes a constitutional amendment, one of the president's favorite wedge issues.
If one wanted to be cynical (and I do for the moment) they could say that he's seen the tape from the 2000 debate and decided he should cover his ass and take away a line of attack from John Edwards and thus avoid the dreaded "flip-flopper" label.
But I'm actually going to give Dick some credit. His view on gay marriage is the same as mine is on abortion: as it relates to myself personally (and it has come up although somewhat indirectly) I can't bring myself to do anything but urge against it. But as I am a thinking individual, I don't for one second expect the country as a whole to subscribe to my worldview solely on the strength that it is mine and therefore valid. So politically, I would call myself pro-choice, choice being the operative word.
So now Dick Cheney personally relates to the gay rights issue, so he can take a "nuanced" and "sensitive" position on the subject and for that he should get some credit without having anyone suggest he a wussy little girl for it.
And this is all well and good, but from here on out, hands off my Culture War, Cheney. If everyone goes around being all reasonable and thougtful you're going to force me to start watching non-cable-news television. And what would I do without all that bug-eyed, purple-faced cross talk to lull me to sleep at night?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.1
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The Inherent Cruelty Of The Cosmos (And Everything In It)
There are plenty of things in this world we all could and/or should rail against. If there weren't, there would be no blogs and we wouldn't know that people with whom we disagree politically, for example, are most likely minions of the devil or that we are totally crushing on Timmy from Social Studies class, but he's an assface because he is totally going out with Mandy from cheer just because she developed boobs first.
These are things we need to know in order to recognize the Inherent Cruelty of the Cosmos , to identify the things we oppose and then to verbally annihilate them from a position of complete internet anonymity that is sure never to reach the intended target. Good, healthy, pointless catharsis.
For me, the issue today is the evil, evil Patriarchy and the phallocentric patronymic that is forced upon us at birth, restricting us to taking only our father's last name. There are millions of us who are thus stuck with last names (as I am) that are difficult, if not impossible to shorten into a quick, punchy nickname.
This has been a source of unending frustration and disillusion in my life and is primarily the reason why I speak to my father--bearer of the merely functional surname--in curt, clipped tones that I'm sure cut him to his core.
What I mean is, if my last name were Cooper, people could call me Coop as in "Hey Coop, how's it goin'?" to which I would respond "Right back atcha!" and give them the double finger-guns and a wink.
Or "Hey Coop, how's it hangin'?" or "Hey Coop, nice haircut!" or "Hey Coop, if you can't keep that fucking dog off my grass, I swear to God I'm gonna shoot it!"
And I would wave and smile, maybe even toss my head back and laugh a little as I pass. The sun would always shine and a little bird would land on my shoulder, whistling along with the tune I'd always be humming because I'd be in a state of perpetual bliss, like all people with shortenable last names.
And I'd turn to the bird and ask it something like "Hey bird, how is bird-life treating you?" and he wouldn't really answer because even though this is a fantasy, birds can't really speak the English language (I hear they prefer Portuguese) but if he could talk he'd say something like "Not too bad, Coop, not too bad!" just before he flew off into the cloudless 72-degree sky on his way to... wherever it is birds live.
And I'd walk by a school and all the little children would come pouring out, dancing in a crowd behind me as I walked down the middle of a street (which you really shouldn't do, especially with children). And they would dance and sing some kind of damn kids songs and we'd march along. We'd find something fun to do as a group, like maybe march to the ocean and kick around in the surf, or maybe check the internet for registered sex offenders, pick one out, find him and then stomp him to death en masse under happy, dancing children's feet.
These are just some of the things I could do if I had a last name that could be shortened into a nickname.
But alas, I do not. So I walk down my street and never once get a chance to offer the double finger-guns. Birds fly right past me as if they didn't even know me. Sex offenders go on living their lives without ever being threatened by a blood-thristy mob of singing children.
The Cosmos is indeed a cruel place and there is no justice.
But just when I'm at my lowest, just when I'm feeling my worst, just when I would be considering suicide if I were someone less vitally important to the survival of our planet, I find something like this:
Barack Obama leads Alan Keyes by over 40 points.
There is hope for all of us yet.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.0
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Mad Props to Me (Quickly)
I have hit the magic Fifty Posts Mark. The relevance of this is relative, naturally, as someone who uses this as an extension of their OCD and must post every day as I do it doesn't really mean that much. But it's a nice round number, so I acknowledge myself. Way to go, me.
Also, today is my actual anniversary. Wedding anniversary, I mean. Mrs. Pops and I have been a legally sanctioned heterosexual couple for a complete seven years now. We plan on celebrating by spending as little time as possible together tonight. Seriously, I have aikido class and she won't get home until after 5, so that puts us in the same room for about 45 minutes total today.
I'm a very lucky man.
Darrell Hammond, Please Pick Up The White Courtesy Phone
It's been quite a week for my boy Chris Matthews over at MSNBC's Hardball. The guy who parodies him over at Saturday Night Live has to be kicking himself that they're off until next month.
First Chris essentially called the President a liar or at least one who sanctions liars and their associated lying in reference to a badly edited piece from his show taken out of context--of course, otherwise it wouldn't be a political ad--for an anti-Kerry TV spot.
You would think someone who covers this crap for a living would be a little more jaded about such things, but no, any excuse to shout, which is brilliant.
Then he got all stroppy to the point of apoplexy in a bizarre, loud, disjointed, beautiful interview with author Michelle Malkin. I love Chris. And Michelle Malkin I'd seen on Bill Maher's HBO show the week before hawking her book Concentration Camps and Summer Camp Are Practically the Same Thing and being very sorority-girl snotty when the left-leaning audience would laugh at not-at-all pro-fascist Eva Braun-isms.
To sum up: love Chris, not so much the Malkin lady. But I fear I must come to the lady's defense as Chris twisted himself into full self-caricature mode, his huge Irish head purpling nicely as he latched on to a misunderstanding like a Lewinsky with tetanus and tried to beat the diminutive Ms. Malkin into bloody verbal submission.
She was talking about something in Unfit for Command (I will pretend that's actually the title in lieu of checking), the anti-Kerry screed that is, apparently, the only thing worth talking about in the whole world. Chris has obviously not bothered to burden himself with intimate knowledge of the contents of said book, though he has been centering his show around said contents since the whole Boat Guys Who Hate John Kerry's Ass or whatever they're called came out.
The book says (apparently) that one of Kerry's Purple Hearts was "self-inflicted" meaning shrapnel from a friendly grenade got him. Malkin repeated this. Chris decided it meant she was saying on her own that John Kerry shot himself in order to get a Purple Heart as part of his larger plan to get out of Vietnam early and with medals so he could run for president in 2004, hopefully against a feckless pseudo-Texas Air National Guardsman.
I know. I know! It was awesome.
I would have bought the book myself and given you a better accounting of the points of contention, but it seems Barnes & Noble accidentally ran out.
O Chris Matthews, why do I love thee so? It's probably the genuinely probing questions asked of people who are unprepared for them. It's also the anything-at-any-time comic-tragedy of Chris' lyrical intelligence crammed into something too small for it, like silly American politics. It's like watching Mozart play "Lady of Spain" on an accordian sometimes. Other times, I would guess, it's like something else entirely.
Seriously though, who needs to watch other people eating pig rectums or standing on a tree stump over a pit of scorpions in exchange for something as paltry as a big fat pile of cash when you have Hardball for reality TV?
Sadly, it's only on one hour per day.
Hey does having this blog make me part of the Liberal Media? Sweet.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.7
Monday, August 23, 2004
In My Country There Is Problem
It's been quite a day these past 24 hours. If there's a Nobel Prize for Pretzel Logic, I think I may be zeroing in on it at long last. Follow me, won't you?
From time to time I will watch HBO's Da Ali G. Show. It can be painful, excruciating even sometimes, but when it works it is some of the best satire you will find on television anywhere. I hadn't seen it in awhile. The season finale was this past weekend and I didn't see that either.
End of story. Thanks for reading, good night!
No, I found a link to a song that was performed on the show by "Borat", one of the characters portrayed by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen along with the more-famous (but less consistently funny) Ali G.
The song is called In My Country There Is Problem. The ongoing premise (for the uninitiated) is that "Borat" is a TV host from Kazakhstan presenting his Guide to America. The central part of this shtick is that Borat has a charming Old World, Former Soviet Republic worldview including good old fashioned misogyny, anti-Semitism and a guileless lack of inhibition when expressing his views in conversation with "sophisticated" Americans. Therein lies the satire.
I should point out that Sacha Baron Cohen is himself Jewish and, again, a satirist so none of this is to be taken literally.
Since I didn't see the show, I do not know the context in which the above linked song was presented, which puts me at something of a disadvantage when talking about it. End of disclaimer and on to irresponsible, gravity-defying conclusion-leaps.
As I'm listening to the song, laughing quite hard at something with the refrain "Throw the Jew down the well/so my country can be free/you must grab him by his horns/And we will have a big par-ty", the old Political Correctness starts creeping up and I catch myself questioning myself.
I realize the things presented on a show like Ali G. work on two levels: one for the people experiencing it as it happens and another for those of us in the knowing audience who see the winks and feel the nudges.
But then I started to think about the people in the audience when Borat is singing his song. At first they simply clap along while he is singing the ridiculous first-verse "Throw the transport down the well", but by the end they are enthusiastically responding "Throw the Jew down the well!"
All this tortured exposition is leading to something, I swear.
Like the Loch Ness Monster, cold fusion or Sea Monkeys, I think I have stumbled upon proof of something generally considered unprovable. I have found Politically Correct Anti-Semitism. It just has to be a) really, really old and b) foreign so it can be characterized as "cultural" and thus worthy of our quiet, unquestioning respect.
As the rules of Political Correctness, like the British Constitution, have never been formally codified, this is all guesswork (and no small amount of pseudo-intellectualist mumbo jumbo, I'm proud to report) on my part.
But think about those people listening to and responding to that song, or anyone "Borat" interviews as anti-Semitism almost always crops up, usually in a quick throwaway line. We, the unknowing targets, the big-hearted Americans he is interviewing/entertaining, accept what is said because the man with the ridiculous accent probably just doesn't know any better; political correctness as condescension, which is the absolute worst aspect of that whole movement.
But even further, PC-ness dictates that we embrace multiculturalism. Unfortunately, an antagonistic predisposition toward particular ethnicities or groups can (and should) also be defined as a cultural trait. We substitute immediately-proffered acceptance for thinking, rational understanding. This precludes us from saying "Well, wait a second, I can't agree with that" or even "That's not an idea I'm really comfortable with" and opens us up for satirization and ridicule, without which Sacha Baron Cohen has no show.
Not that I'm saying that's a bad thing.
Really, it's PC stretched to its extreme and coming right out the other side. It's Kipling's White Man's Burden all over again in some ways. I suppose I should be glad we've dropped the exhortation to "To wait, in heavy harness/On fluttered folk and wild". Now all we're expected to do is wait and nod in patient understanding at the backwardness of non-Westerners, which is a load of my mind, let me tell you. I wasn't really looking forward to "And when your goal is nearest/(The end for others sought)/Watch sloth and heathen folly/Bring all your hope to nought". That sounds like it would suck.
Don't misunderstand, there are aspects of political correctness that are admirable and even necessary. People who dismiss it out of hand are just as stupid and closed-minded as those who apply it without consideration.
Like every other intellectual proposition, though, it is rife with paradoxes and weaknesses. It's both hilarious and troubling to have them so clearly delineated by someone as abjectly silly as a fictional Kazakh television presenter.
I guess the contrast is when, playing very gay Austrian fashion reporter "Bruno", he danced with the cheerleaders at an Alabama State University football game, a PC free zone. There they had no problem whatsoever offering misguided Bruno correction.
And in mentioning Alabama, I cite an example all on its own to illustrate the necessity (if not benefit) of political correctness and the Circle of Nonsense is complete.
Tomorrow: Homer Simpson and the errors inherent in post-colonial theory.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.0
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Escape From The Planet Of The Sprogs
The strike was months in the planning. It was a stroke of luck that brought the target into range, completely out of our control and to our utter surprise. But ahead the plan went with just a few alterations to reflect our good fortune.
My mom came up, rang the bell. We let her inside. She got comfortable, played with the kids a little, made chit-chat.
She never saw the chloroform-soaked rag coming. My wife had just that morning talked me out of the two-by-four-across-the-back-of-the-head method to subdue her, so I was relieved when the chloroform worked. Within seconds she was out, we pinned a note to the oldest boy (his shirt I mean) assuring the old lady we'd be back--eventually--and then lit out like parolees.
Date Night 2004.
The Anniversary is Tuesday (seven years!), so we finagled a Saturday to get out, just me and Mrs. Pops. No kids. The air smelled sweeter. Flowers bloomed as we walked past. Almost no food was thrown during dinner. A choir of angels sang hymns, odes to love and devotion, which was a relief because then we could pretend we were listening to them and not have to think of stuff to talk about.
I call her Mrs. Pops, but if we're talking about Time Invested over the last 5+ years, I can almost say that we're not even really married. We had the ceremony seven years ago and the paperwork was all filed properly. We were married, in fact, for nearly two years when we first started out.
But then our first son was born. This is a little insight for the unattached out there amongst the swarm of loyal Bucketeers: if you are married, you are a couple; if you have children, you are parents. The two terms, sadly, are mutually exclusive.
People without kids are normally put off by observable behavior--or more to the point misbehavior--of children in proximity to themselves. This is not what you should be most concerned about when considering making little imperfect copies of yourself. No, the real, unspoken danger of children is that they are gigantic galactic drains, much like a stellar black hole, but instead of matter they suck in time. Endless amounts of your time, the time you used to spend watching TV or going to the movies or just sitting in one place not having pointy knees driven into your groin (which can come as quite a surprise, let me tell you).
But unlike actual black holes whose immense, almost infinite gravitational force distorts spacetime until time actually slows down, children simply eat it. They devour time the way they don't devour puréed peas--passionately and with no small amount of force.
Any idea you have to do something--read, eat, a home improvement project (hypothetically... remember this is "you", not me)--can and will be interrupted because one/some/all of the kids need to be fed/washed/held/medicated/entertained/disciplined humanely, etc. The next time you have a second to catch your breath it's four months later and your book is collecting dust, your food's gone bad and your home improvement project... er... well, you still could do that, but who's kidding who?
This is how my house works. In July we thought it would be fun to try and see Spider-Man 2. Finally we get a chance to see it and just realize, oh yes, that come out over a month ago... But luckily we have a thirty-screen theater at the nearby Ontario Mills giganto-mall, so they're still showing The Sound of Music--probably without their knowledge--on some little nook screen no one's visited for years. Spider-Man is thus no problem.
Dinner, movie, slink back home to the temporal vortex, slightly disappointed that I didn't scandalize more people with my choice of controversial footwear with the exception of my wife, who knew exactly what she was gettting in to and has no excuse.
The irony of the couple-parent paradox is as cruel as it is true: at the moment of your child's birth--the exact moment--you understand it and all the horrific ramifications of its realization. I am convinced there are parts of your brain fully developed but left dormant, like Jungian collective unconscious memory, wired to switch on at the appropriate moment.
Case in point (and this is a true story) story: We have new neighbors, just moved in a few weeks ago. At the end of Date Night 2004, I'm walking my mom out to her car (it sounds sweet, but I was just trying to be sure the coyotes didn't carry her off again). No car pulls up or passes in the 5+ minutes we are talking. But mom gets in her hideous Pontiac Aztek and drives off.
All of a sudden the car parked in the neighbor's driveway lights up and the doors open. The new neighbors had a kid 11 days ago. They had been out looking around their new hometown and had just come back, having left the baby with its grandmother. They had been sitting in the parked car for nearly half an hour just to avoid having to go back inside and be Parents again, or at least to put it off as long as possible. Oh how I laughed and laughed later. Not "with" them either.
So in doing the calculations, totalling up all the time Mrs. Pops and I have been alone together since the consummation of our union (legal consummation you perverts) minus children and child-related activities, I would say we've only actually been married 2 years 8 months 11 days 19 hours 40 minutes and 12 seconds out of 7 actual years.
God help us when they leave for college. We'll still be newlyweds.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.7
PS: In the footwear link above, those are my actual shoes. Not those particular ones in the linked ad (at least I don't think so... wouldn't it be funny if they were?), but you know, that style, color(s), etc.
PPS: For the Actual Marriage Number (AMN) Calculation, you can e-mail me at email@example.com or accost your local astrophysics professor.
Friday, August 20, 2004
Do Not Feed The Bear
Well, how far have we come, people? When the Pops' Bucket Editorial Staff and I got together yesterday for our bi-annual Company Picnic and Winter Carnival (bad planning... don't ask) we got to reminiscing about how different this blog has turned out to be from the way it was originally conceived.
It's like the first season of Happy Days where it was single camera, all on film and Richie had an older brother. But then from season two on, it was all Fonzie all the time, three cameras video taping on a sound stage and poor Chuck Cunningham became a Trivial Pursuit question.
The answer is that we have become somewhat ratings obsessed. Anything to draw eyeballs. That's why I included the shameless Happy Days reference in the above paragraph. I know what the kids are watching these days and it was an audacious ploy to seem hip.
(And unrelated, I like to switch between first person plural and first person singular just to keep you on your toes. You're welcome for that little surge of pronoun-induced adrenaline.)
Anyway, the purpose has changed and for that I blame Sitemeter. Being the type who maintains a culturally-irrelevant personal blog, it is obvious--and, to my everlasting credit, explicit--that I am, shall we say, invested to some extent in the subject of Me. Add something like Sitemeter to the mix and now I have one more way to think about myself, study myself and understand myself; my thoughts as a fetishized commodity. It has pretty charts too.
The danger of course is that it is just possible for one to develop an interest in what Sitemeter (or any other web counter) has to say that is perhaps a bit overly... intense. The tissue-paper-thin wall between self-adulation and self-criticism is all too easily introduced to the great destructive Sneeze of Raw Numbers when you see daily (hourly, minute-ly) interest in the things one has to say churning and undulating like last night's vegetable curry.
Objectively of course the quality of what I write has very little to do with day-to-day numbers, but God, it just looks so official over there. The problem is that the Sitemeter people just do too good a job. It's exactly the right kind of beer to feed the bear. And as the old saying goes, if you give beer to a bear...
You know, I'm just not sure how to finish that one.
Really, much more gratifying (quality over quantity here, which I've always found to be a dubious distinction) is getting the occasional public acknowledgement of your own awesomeness. My new BFF Sunny, for example, said something nice about me for which I am grateful. Of course she was also talking about 9 other people including herself (a true blogger, that one), but I'll thank you to not click the link above and let me mischaracterize her post as All In Praise Of Pops.
But I do want to assure everyone that now that I'm a growing internet (shout out to Rita) sensation, I won't forget you, the little people. Especially since I haven't figured out a way to make any money on this pile of crap yet.
I guess in the end I should say that this blog will continue to evolve. I find the whole thing fascinating, really. Instant publication of anything, from the trivial to the sublime, all over the world in a manner of seconds. But no matter how much this changes, even if I develop a powerful fixation on chinchilla farming and this thing becomes Pops' Bucket of Chinchilla Breeding Minutiae, there will always, always be one single unifying point of reference.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0 (My First Perfect Score!)
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Oprah, Princess of Darkness
First of all, Blogger is somewhat fnorked, so I hope this actually works.
This has been (and is being) done to death out there amongst my blogging compañeros, but the subject matter is too sweet to let pass without snapping my teeth at.
Read the whole story here here first if you're one of those who are way into "accuracy" and "truth" and other encumbrances.
For those of us less burdened, I will sum up: Oprah Winfrey killed a guy with her bare hands. It's true. Pops wouldn't lie to you.
Actually I would. The sooner you learn that the better. But no, in one of those instances when the Bizarro Universe intrudes upon our own, someone thought it was a good idea to pick Oprah Winfrey to be on a jury. And much to my surprise, she assented to a guilty verdict in a murder trial sending some guy up the river for life or worse.
Do they still have that death penalty moratorium in Illinois? I can't be bothered to look. Or was that even Illinois? I hope you people don't come here to be informed in any meaningful way. If you do, I apologize.
My first thought is about the prosecuting attorney. There is no way I put Oprah on a jury if I'm trying to get a conviction. I can just see her getting all Henry Fonda Juror #8 on everyone once the doors close on that jury room.
But score one for criminal justice as Oprah got spooked by the violence of the case and agreed to bury the formerly-alleged perpetrator. Further, it seems as though it was a pretty open-and-shut kind of a case.
You would think that someone with Oprah's influence and the general sense that she has a modicum of intelligence she would have been able to avoid this mess altogether. She should do what I do when I get a jury summons. Yes, it's wrong to throw them away, I admit that, but in my defense I am always careful to deposit them in the proper recycling recepticle.
So given that she's a) smart b) famous and c) smokin' hot, there has to be some other ulterior motive for her agreeing to the humiliation and shoulder-sagging tedium of jury duty. I have two theories.
1) She's plotting a future show. I can see it now: live satellite feed from Death Row, Oprah and the Man She Put There.
OPRAH: Thanks for agreeing to be on the show.
INMATE: I know where you live! I saw it in Februrary's In Style. You can't hide from me!
OPRAH: I acknowledge your frustration and your animosity, both well justified. I admire the way you own your feelings.
INMATE: Aaaaaargh! No prison can hold me! Aaaa! Aaa! AAAAAaaargh!
And the repeated Tazer zaps render the prisoner unconscious.
2) Oprah seeks a whole new direction for her show. Now she's got her first taste of blood, like a shark. Will she change now into a manhungry devourer of souls, revelling in the dark side of the human experience? Will she change from exploiting the personal triumphs and tragedies of otherwise unusual Americans in favor of a policy worshipping at the feet of the Unnamed One, exulting in an endless Bacchanalia of lust, degradation and destruction culminating in a month-long orgiastic celebration replete with bloody gristle and cracked bone as she bathes herself in the blood of a hundred virgins?
One can only hope.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.5
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
In Praise of the Lower Bar
First of all, you should be grateful that I am me and not someone else. I say this because any other stay-at-home parent would make their blog all about the trials and tribulations of being a stay-at-home parent. They would probably even use trite phrases like "trails and tribulations".
The reason why this makes me exceptional and is a boon for you, dear reader, can be seen in the post-script of my last post. I avoided talking about the disturbing incident of Potty Training Reversal that came as a great shock to me yesterday. The really bad news for me (and fantastic news for you since I won't be talking about it at length) is that the same scenario replayed itself this morning in glorious Code Brown fashion.
And that is the end of that particular report. You are welcome.
I will say by way of passing advice, if you don't have kids never ever ever have kids. They look cute from afar, but up close they're smelly, noisy and messy in ways you can't possibly imagine. Granted today is not the best day to ask for advice of this nature.
OK, moving on, my main point of discussion today is the deterioration of support of publically funded higher education in my state, referencing this particular article from my local paper. In short summary, the California State University system is now bearing the brunt of our state budget woes. The separate (and vastly superior by association with Yours Truly) University of California has already felt the pinch.
I won't get into the fact that the Cal State system is basically a glorified community college or that with 20+ campuses, a Cal State school is easier to get in to than Paris Hilton. Seriously, call the Paris Hilton right now, they'll take your reservation no problem.
It seems in time of budgetary crisis the first thing to go is education, which is tragic. Probably. It undermines the foundation of the state's future by limiting access to proper training and instruction to create specialists to fill high-paying professional jobs with natives. One imagines.
So the individual schools, including my alma mater, do drastic and not at all hilarious things like raise admissions standards in order to necessarily limit both applicants and acceptances, keeping class-sizes to budget-friendly levels.
As a proponent of higher education and recipient of far too much of it myself, this should all be quite troubling, but I must admit I feel almost giddy with relief. My two diplomas hang on the wall just above my computer monitor. I think about higher admission standards and they start to fade, like Marty McFly from that picture he had of him and his siblings in Back to the Future.
See, you should know something about Pops. I sort of forgot to apply to college out of high school. I took the SAT and everything, but with a sub-2.0 GPA, you get an idea of where my motivation level was at the time. So I had to go to the local JC for 2+ years of spirit-deflating coursework. I failed two classes my first semester. I wish I were kidding.
But the rules back then, in the heyday if Oval Office oral sex and dizzy budget surpluses, if you put in the time at JC, they had to let you in to the state school of your choice.
And they still wouldn't let me in because I "forgot" to take a bunch of goddamn useless science classes. So I called the admissions office at UCR and begged. They said OK, I could come so long as I finished my Statistics class with a satisfactory grade.
My first and last A in a math class.
But now you have to demonstrate competence in order to get accepted even at my school, the bottom rung of the nine (soon to be ten) campus University of California ladder. I should be heart-broken, really.
I know it makes me a hypocrite in alot of ways, but I feel about today's college students the same way Republicans feel about immigrants: I gots mine. Pat Buchanan (two mentions in as many days... Congratulations Pat!) hates Africans, Latinos and Asians the way WASPs used to hate his Irish immigrant forebears and he hates with the same "Too late, suckers!" all-American zeal that used to say "Irish Need Not Apply".
So what can I say for my suffering successors in the state of California...
Study harder, suckers! Ahahhahahahahaha!
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.95
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
First of all, a shout out to all my homiez out there in Blogland. Special Mention to Diana, first person ever to link this blog on her own.
But now, thanks to her, the boulder has started rolling down hill and apparently there is no stopping it. The crushing, rocky goodness that is the Bucket has started the Landslide of Pops that is sure to overwhelm the Internet as a whole. This is in direct contradiction to my stated goal when I started this thing to have no one else read it, ever. But times change and we must adapt. If we don't, we're Pat Buchanan.
So the Bucket has been acknowledged by a tiny handful of sites thus far, but I appreciate the support.
Although I must say, out of everyone involved, I still appreciate myself the most. I really should give myself more credit now and then.
In an exercise combining a) basic good manners and b) my startling ability to assimilate information with both speed and accuracy leading to almost instant mastery, I have reciprocated links to other blogs, along with a few others that I read regularly. They can be found over there to your right under Lives More Interesting Than My Own. Yes, before yesterday I'd never actually written any HTML, but now looking at that short list of properly formatted links, I must say I'm quite impressed with myself.
I know what you're thinking, "Pops, retarded people can write HTML, that's the whole point", and yes, I will concede that's true. And then you're thinking "Wow, five whole links, what, did that take you all of thirty seconds?" to which I must respond, No, I will have you know it took me the better part of two hours to get that all done.
I suddenly feel less good about myself. No, you know what, you go to hell. You can't come in here and rain on my parade. I learned something. Yes, it was something I should have learned a long time ago, something they teach to second graders... OK, white second graders in posh suburban schools with more money than they know what to do with but still second graders...
Man I just keep feeling worse and worse.
What was I talking about?
Oh yes, I was getting to how this blog is changing slightly. So there are those links, plus I put links in my little About Me blurb that take you to the homepages of the universities I went to (again, I did it all by myself... shut up).
And unrelated, the Blogger people have changed the little bar at the top of all our Blogger screens. There are some buttons up there that most likely do some wonderfully handy things. I'm almost sure of it.
So the face of the Bucket is changing, which would be a better metaphor if buckets actually had faces. You know, I wrote the title of this post before anything else and now I'm not happy with it. "Face/Off", it's just a movie title, and not even a very good movie at that because it has John Travolta in it, Worst Successful Actor Ever. And no, I don't count Madonna because she made all her money being the Worst Successful Singer Ever. It's not that I don't like any of her songs, I just happen to know she can't actually sing.
Sorry, lost again. Where was I?
Oh yeah. Some things are different. Try not to be put off.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8
PS: And on a happier note, one more reason why California is better than your state.
PPS: I spared you the graphic, troubling story of this morning's horrifying Potty Training Reversal. So when you speak of me, speak well.
Monday, August 16, 2004
Down With The Sickness
Men's Handball, Slovenia vs. Croatia, came on the MSNBC, which is apparently now a sports channel. I can understand the impulse to be known as something other than the place who employs Joe Scarborough.
But I'm howling and screaming at the television, living and dying with each... wait a second. I don't even know enough about Team Handball to describe it in even the most general terms. Why in God's name am I sitting through this. It can't be interesting to me, not really. It's not even an American team playing. Do we even have an American Team Handball team?
Wait wait wait... oh no... I should have felt it coming on. The twitchy fingers, the over-stimulated adrenal gland, the increased susceptibility to syrupy lead-in personality profiles of athletes, the overwhelming urge to watch badminton, the full-body rash of itchy, festering boils...
It's here. I have it. Again. Every four years I get it.
I've got Olympic Fever.
It explains everything except the boils. I can't really account for those. But the ointment seems to be helping.
The six headed monster of NBCTelemundoBravoUSAMSNBCCNBC is showing up to 70 hours daily (!) of Olympic coverage.
Usually I would use this space to make fun of their eager-beaver earnestness and then point out the dark, cynical underpinnings of the whole corporate broadcast culture, but how am I supposed to have time to do that when women's fours coxless rowing is about to come on? I mean it's seventy hours a day. As a solitary human being limited by the linear progression of time and the inability to occupy more than one space simultaneously, I simply don't see how I'm supposed to keep up with this.
The amplified coverage has led to an amplified outbreak, at least in terms of intensity. I'm hoping the fact that the Fever has taken such complete hold so quickly will mean it will burn out sooner so two weeks from now I won't be trying to figure out how to watch men's trap shooting and tape mixed doubles table tennis at the same time.
I was actually disappointed by the USA-Puerto Rico basketball game. "Oh God, really?" you say. Really. I'm not kidding about this. I got it bad.
I even watched the "show" portion of the three-day equestrian event. That's show. Not jump, not run, not count by stamping on the ground, just show. The horses come out, they walk around, then they stop. There is some kind of objective scoring going on, but I will go to my grave never having known what it was. But I watched it, just like I'm supposed to. I even got a little thrill when the American horse came out.
What is wrong with me? I mentioned a few posts ago how I'm susceptible to hype. That's part of it, though you'd think I'd see it coming since it's a regular quadrennial event and all. But I find the fact that these people spend all their lives training for their one moment in the Olympic spotlight very compelling. That's the most disturbing part; my personality normally dictates that I make fun of people so myopic and single-minded.
OK here, let's try that. I will mock an Olympian.
Hey, there's that Michael Phelps swimmer guy. He was supposed to win 8 gold medals and he couldn't even... God, he couldn't even...
No, sorry, can't. It's too painful to talk about still.
If anyone knows of an antibiotic I can take for this, please feel free to share.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.0
Sunday, August 15, 2004
The Last Ever Pops' Bucket Entertainment Report
I'm in the grocery store waiting in line. Completely by accident I glance at some of the trash mags on the rack huddled around the checkout. Splashed across several of them is the battered face of Paris Hilton and I wept.
Apparently she got smacked around by a Backstreet Boy. Let me say that again. Apparently she got smacked around by a Backstreet Boy.
As if the shame of publicly showing your bruises weren't enough. Now she has to live with the speculation that they were caused by a bird-chested castrato nancy boy. Or to quote Chris Rock, "If these are the guys from the backstreets, who lives on the front streets? Big Bird?"
Paris is not a big girl, but I'll take her in their rematch, if there ever is one. The guy's got highlights in his hair, for God's sake.
But you know who I really feel bad for? Nicole Richie. I mean Jesus, what does this poor girl have to do to keep up? First she tags along like baggage into Deliverance-land, humiliating herself by blandly aping her taller, less heroin-addled (but still clearly addled) companion, and now this.
I can think of only two things she can do now to match Paris profile for profile. First: get herself cut in a knife fight. Not just nicked either, I mean like a cool Inigo Montoya scar on her cheek or something. That'd be trendy. Second: marry Britney Spears. Look, it worked for that dude Britney's marrying. Ever heard of him before that? Me neither. Hell, I've hardly heard of him since, but you can't escape the news 100% if you own a television or generally have eyeballs. And look what happened when all Britney did was tongue Madonna. That was front page. Iraq? Al Qaeda? No! They can wait. Britney swapped some saliva with Madonna! Stop the presses!
Seriously, stop the presses. You can start them again when you learn to stop embarrassing yourselves (and me) with this stuff.
I have one other question: who are these people and where did they come from? And further, Nicole Richie is supposed to be Lionel Richie's daughter? Seriously?
I mean, look at Barack Obama. One parent of African descent and one of European descent. Can you tell? Me neither. That's a black dude.
Now look at Nicole Richie. Same deal parentally, but she's like... gold-colored. And her face... I look more like Lionel Richie than she does.
I know Lionel isn't exactly dark skinned, but he was a Commodore. That should count for something, genetically speaking.
I wouldn't ordinarily care, but they keep showing sailing on the Olympics, so I have nothing else to occupy my time.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.6
PS: Do I really have to say outloud that Pops does not endorse violence against women? I even condemn violence against men, especially against this particular man. That is all.
Saturday, August 14, 2004
I usually don't post on Saturdays, but I had a free second and I thought I'd throw something up. Here. Not throw up as in "vomit", but you know, to toss something off...
OK, I'll just write.
I watched part of the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympics last night. I didn't watch all of it because, well, the ADD just wouldn' t allow it.
I've come to the decision that Greece, while once being the cradle of all advanced though in the world, has become a backward country. And I mean that literally, based on the March of Nations entrances in "alphabetical" order. Only it was in Greek alphabetical order, so the USA (for example) was in the first third of the parade. The Bs were next to the Vs, the Ks, Cs and Ss were all screwy, and don't even get me started on the Ts. No, take that back, the Ts were fine. But the rest...
Come on Greece, get with the program. You and your "alphabet" are so 400 BC. Live in the now. Adopt a flashy new alphabet, like English or Swedish or American even. You're proud of your traditions, we understand that. But if you don't update that mess, people are going to stop respecting you. Like Russia and that crazy Cyrillic. Nobody can read that crap.
Also, an Iranian judoka (that's fancy martial arts talk for someone who practices Judo... yes, I am a total dork) quit the Olympics ("All on his own, we swear!" -the Iranian Government) because he drew an Israeli in his first round of competition.
They say it's because Iran does not recognize Israel and so, by logical extension, cannot recognize athletes reperesenting that nation. If they bump into Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village, Iranians are instructed to shout "You Are An Italian!" and run away.
The unofficial reason, I think, is that this Iranian was afraid of getting his ass kicked on global television by a Jew. How could he ever live that down back home? They have people lining up to blow themselves back to God so long as they take a few Jews with them and this guy might not even be able to beat one--just one!-- two out of three falls (I know nothing about Judo).
So kudos Iranian guy whose name I will not bother to learn. You've sent an Israeli one step closer to international glory by giving him a first round walkover. Excellent work. God thanks you.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.8
Friday, August 13, 2004
So I'm watching Hardball and this guy John O'Neill author of the book Unfit for Command is on trying to defend his transparent screed to Chris Matthews and a pro-Kerry veteran guy. He's not faring well. To be fair, it is two vs. one and Chris is really coming down hard on the guy, but I don't feel that bad for him.
I will admit I enjoyed watching O'Neill get ganged up on and having his "evidence" directly refuted right to his face. Look, I understand that some vets are pissed off about Kerry testifying before Congress about war crimes and whatnot in Vietnam after he got back, but you can't make a contribution to a work like this when all of the evidence from the time (circa 1969) in your own words are exactly the opposite to what you're claiming now.
Publically Bush is trying to have it both ways , saying how Kerry did "noble" service while refusing to denounce the ads and related book and blah blah blah blabbity blah...
I'm sitting there looking at Chris Matthews get all apoplectic and it struck me: we're going to have to listen to his shit for twenty more years.
The really depressing, horrifying truth is this: this is only the second All Baby Boomer Generation Presidential Election™.
Every four years now we're going to have to re-fight the Vietnam War. The degree to which we'll have to will depend on who is running.
Kennedy (1960) was the first of his generation to reach the White House. It took 32 years to get to the next one (Slick Willy in '92), so we're looking at 2024 before someone of my generation ascends (I'll be 50). Clinton ran vs. WWII guys twice (Dole and Bush Sr.) both heroes, which counted for nothing electorally because WWII stories had ceased to be personally relevant for a majority of the population as Boomer Ascendency polluted our political system for good.
So we're stuck for the forseeable future. Long, slow sigh. Then we can move on to "Generation X", people like me, who having nothing notable or even recognizable as a common point of contentious reference we all have to dance around. Body piercings maybe, but that's it.
In the mean time, the wild card, of course, will be female candidates, never eligible for the draft. Or maybe to get two draft dodgers to run against one another, that would be good. But then it won't be about just the war, oh no, then it will be about who smoked what when (and whether or not they inhaled), who roadied for what band, who was a big ol' free love whore, etc.
But I guess that won't happen. One more thing ruined by 9/11. Everyone's gotta be all butch and military all the time. No more swingin' Good Time Charlies like Bill Clinton.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.9
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Daniel Silva can bite me
On our way back from the beach a few days ago, we found ourselves mired in what the kids today call "hella bad" traffic, provided that by "today" I mean circa 1994. I got slightly panicky when the only decent music station in the entire world launched into a 20 minute block of commercials (gotta pay for the "40 minutes nonstop" somehow).
I could feel my wife stirring in the passenger seat. I saw it coming. We only have four dial presets on our factory-cheapest minivan radio. She was going to send us into Avril Lavigne/Sarah MacLachlan purgatory that is Star 98.7, the station that released Ryan Seacrest and all his cheesy lameness upon the world.
Thinking fast, I jabbed a finger out and hit a button--any button. And there we were on NPR. Normally I avoid NPR while driving as my sleep-driving skills have atrophied somewhat since I grew out of taking impromptu road trips to Vegas (OK, I never really did that, but it used to be conceivable at least).
Being NPR, they dropped this maddeningly, absurdly focused "feature" report on us: it's a series (apparently) about "Artistic Spaces" where they talk to artsy types about the spaces they work in.
My hands immediately started shaking from the involuntary rush of adrenaline that surged through my body in anticipation of this report.
I was disappointed. As I may have mentioned, Pops is a failed writer. I say "failed" because it sounds more finite and complete, like it's behind me. Truth be told, I am currently in the midst of a long, drawn-out process of writer-failure. I guess it would be appropriate to call me a Failing Writer. Yes, now I want to kill myself immediately instead of next week.
The point is they were featuring some guy called Daniel Silva (check out his website complete with the obligatory picture of the dorky writer in a leather jacket). And Danny goes on and on about how his space is sacred and it's part of his routine where he comes down every day at the same time to do his writing in private and how it's like a job and how committed he is to it and how his family all jumps out of his way in order to make it easier for him.
I shrugged off the discussion about sea-grass green carpet and off-white walls inspired by villas on the Mediterranean. But here was this guy coming on my radio in my car calling me a lazy, useless bastard. Rubbing it all in my face how he has "discipline" and "focus" and all that other stuff. And in front of my wife and kids, too.
Look, my computer has two functions: 1) Video game platform. 2) Um... there was a second one, I know it... tip of my tongue... OH YEAH! Everything else. This second category includes bill-paying, e-mailing, this ridiculous blog, porn surfing and (if there's any time left over) writing. The list is not by any means comprehensive, either.
The only hard data point you should take away from above paragraph is 1) Video game platform. This is the single greatest impediment to progress for all human beings ever in the history of time. Or at least in the history of time that includes video games. Before that... God, I don't even want to think about it.
But it occurs to me that perhaps what all those preachy, pedantic, snore-inducing, sanctimonious do-gooders on TV talking about the dangers of videogames are right. Maybe they are nothing but a unproductive timesuck turning us all slowly into isolated, insulated, carpal-tunneled morons one beautifully rendered polygon at a time. I've been playing alot of Grand Theft Auto III lately (still haven't finished it), so the proof will be if my unending string of laziness is punctuated by an otherwise unexplainable spree of carjacking and random violence. Fingers crossed.
But the good news is I watch way less TV than I used to. So score one for the Parental No-Fun League Advisory Council or whatever those groups are called.
In closing, one more thought about this Daniel Silva person: hey, if this guy is so smart and wonderful, how come I've never heard of him before? Maybe if pulled the discipline-stick out of his ass, he'd be more successful. Sure he'd never have gotten a book written, but at least I wouldn't have the impression that he was a total douchebag.
If you see him, tell him I'm looking for him.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.8
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
My oldest found an old infant's hat in his toybox. For fun he tried it on the head of my youngest, age 15 months (the oldest is 62 1/2 months). It didn't fit him. Not even close.
It struck me suddenly that there will be no more little boys to pass our clothes and toys down to. This is a problem as our entire financial solvency has relied almost exclusively in the last three-plus years on the concept of Resource Renewal.
Three years ago we had our second kid. It was then we realized that while a first child is ruinously expensive, the second (especially if the gender is the same/close enough to the first) is practically free. You already have all the crap you need to clothe it, feed it, lock it down if it's bothering you, etc.
Imagine our good fortune at getting three of a kind across the board in the Great Procreation Slot Machine. It's been a cruise, really.
But now the youngest (and steps have been taken to assure he will be the last, barring Biblical intervention) is starting to outgrow the first sets of clothes and toys set aside specifically for him.
This is causing me no end of distress. The only logical course of action I can think of to solve this potential economic disaster: Get rid of the youngest and replace him with a smaller one.
This will be no small feat. When we bought our last child on the Mexican black market (and they charge through the nose for gringo children with blue eyes) we assumed it would be the last time we would have to do that.
But now we're looking at giving away/burning piles and piles of now-obsolete clothes and toys that we paid good money for. Does this make sense to anyone else?
No, I've spent nearly 8 minutes thinking this through and getting rid of the youngest and replacing him with a much smaller child is the only viable option. The cost of procuring a new kid in the short term is easily cancelled out by the long-term savings of reusing the same clothes and equipment.
I can't wait to tell my wife. She's always worried about money, being the only one in this family who draws an income. She'll be ecstatic.
Getting a new kid is easy (been there, etc.). The sticky part is what to do with the old one. I'd rather not get all the judgmental looks and long lectures if I tried to pawn him off on a family member or a friend.
The only other option that comes to mind is eBay. Can you sell people on eBay? Well, I know you can't sell people but how strict are they in enforcing that rule? I'm sure if I explained to them my situation they'd be sympathetic, wouldn't they? And maybe I'll offer to kick in a little on their end to cover, you know, "expenses".
The other obvious downside is that you become quite attached to the little sprogs, especially when they're around all the time. The good news is that the bonding process with new children is almost instantaneous, so I'm sure we'll forget about the old one in due course.
I know it sounds harsh, but we have the rest of the family to think of. I'd try to get rid of the older one (he just keeps growing, no matter how little I feed him), but he can talk. He could probably pick me out of a mug book too.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.25
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Where I have nothing to say
Look, we got up early because the guy came to clean our carpets. That's not a euphemism, we really got our carpets clean.
Then we had to go to buy uniforms for my son who will be starting kindergarten soon at the one time only ever in your lifetime school uniform sale that was today. My son is sick with up-and-down fever, so he squirmed and cried the whole time, as did both of his brothers. They were like the three-man doo-wop act in the eighth level of hell. I swear they can whine in harmony.
Then, since my wife had taken the day off (the one time sale ever remember?), we took the kids to our once-a-year trip to the beach. Pops hates the beach. It's all sandy and... beachy. So we did that for a few hours. Then the oldest's fever starts to spike, so he wilts in the sunlight.
So we come back here (in traffic, 90+ minutes later) and it is literally triple-digit hot inside our house when we get back. We eat and just to escape, I decide to go to my aikido class.
Except there, it's triple-digit hot but now I have to move around and junk. Oy. Now it's nearly 11 and I'm home and I'm tired, so I have nothing left with which to entertain you people. Is that OK? Is Pops allowed to take it easy just once?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.9
Monday, August 09, 2004
100% Content Free!
As the politcal news calms down, I veer sharply back into the "Blogs: What's Up With That?" general theme I have yet to exhaust. At least not from my perspective. Whether you, Dear Reader, have grown tired of it frankly isn't that interesting to me.
OK, that was a little harsh. I'm sorry. It's just that it's hard to think of something new to write every single day, especially when I a) don't go anywhere and b) don't do anything. I still don't want to write a bunch of stuff about my kids mostly because if I were to suddenly die, I wouldn't want to leave this as a record and give them the mistaken impression that I actually like them.
See, that's why I haven't told my wife about this yet. She wouldn't have thought that line was funny at all. ("Ha ha, she's not the only one, Pops." Don't think I can't hear you.)
In any event, I've seen lots and lots of blogs that simply have nothing to say. I don't mean that in a critic's judgmental way, I mean that quite literally they have nothing to say.
There are three different forms the content-less blog takes, usually alternating within the same blog as to stretch out the period of posting until the well runs dry and their Blogger account goes quiet.
First and most common is the Song Lyrics post. The best ones will simply use a snippet or two to emphasize a point or a feeling. By and large, however, bloggers will post entire songs word for word (even the repetitive choruses) without comment or introduction. End of post. I guess we're supposed to figure out what this means for ourselves and we should probably thank the poster for sharing the wisdom of Slipknot or Ashlee Simpson with us. And look, I know not everyone's a writer or a poet. Given the number of people who currently write personal blogs, the odds that all... most... many of them would also be gifted writers are pretty slim, simply in terms of volume. So the song lyrics help them express something they feel they can't otherwise express. Fine. But I reserve the right to make fun of you if your heart and soul can be laid out in an Evanescence song.
The second and third are sort of related. The second is the Pre-Fab Personality Questionnaire posting, where the blogger posts a list of yes-no questions (superficially personal) with an X next to the ones that apply to them.
Have you ever...
(X)Kissed someone of the opposite sex?
( )Kissed someone of the same sex?
( )Colored your hair?
( )Colored someone else's hair?
(X)Set fire to another human being?
This is usually followed by some coy protestations about not kissing and telling that leaves the details unexplored, which is fine. But seriously, don't you want to hear the Set A Person On Fire story?
I'd tell it, but I'm not allowed to under the terms of my plea agreement.
Third and last skips the details and simply links the reader to the result of some personality test the blogger took on some other page without any explanatory context or hint of motivation. We don't even get to see the questions, let alone the answers. All we get to know is what arbitrary "type" they fit in to. Oh, and usually the very nice cheese-ball graphic the test-givers knocked out to correspond.
If I were a type of music I'd be: Grunge!
If I were a dictator I'd be: Josef Stalin!
If I were a type of cheese I'd be: Camembert!
Ironically, just like the Pre-Fab List, the personality evaluation posts actually tell us the least about the poster. At least they have to choose the song lyrics themselves.
And now as an exercise in arrogance, rhetoric and self-indulgence, I will now employ both sides of the same metaphor to describe this phenomenon. Modern America in the Atkins Diet era will be the premise. Watch.
One: It's blogging for the Atkins age: less, less, less. As we as a nation cut out essential parts of our diets in order to chase the superficial dream of thin-ness without reference to the general health of our bodies, bloggers cut out the starchy substance of themselves and leave in its place postings that exist without reference to themselves, their true selves in any recognizable way. In the end this technique eases the most basic hunger without any sense of satisfaction of fulfillment. The reckless, carbohydrate energy of self-understanding is sacrificed to the cause of narrowly-defined self-protection, meeting the absolute minimal requirement for survival in a social world.
Two: It's blogging as a Atkins backlash: all bread, all sugar, no meat. Blogging is a way for these people to fill up, to binge on the doughy, sticky, frosted pastry of self-indulgence without bothering to think about caring for the rest of their being. It's fast food for the mind and soul; those who indulge bloat their blogs with empty calories that, in the end, will provide them nothing past the momentary rush of a carbohydrate high as readers compare their own results and/or song lyrics, but have nothing else to say, no other meaty engagement beyond that. They lack the discipline, the attention, the necessary drive to consider the way they appear to others at the expense of a momentary fix of adrenalizing attention.
Wow. I haven't spun lines of bullshit like that since grad school. It's good to know I haven't lost it entirely.
And in closing, I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite bands, geek-rock heroes They Might Be Giants from a song called "I've Got A Fang". It goes like this:
I've got a fang.
I've got... a fang.
I've got a fang.
Think about it.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.0
Sunday, August 08, 2004
First a note: I don't generally post on Saturdays. Just because I blog doesn't mean I have no life. It only strongly, strongly suggests that.
So get off my back already. What, six days a week of this isn't enough for you?
Speaking of You, I don't know if You've noticed, but down the right side of this blog you will see the little logo-button thingy for something called Sitemeter. Like all the good ideas I have, I stole it from someone else.
The fact that I was able to cut-and-paste the necessary HTML into this thing is nothing short of a miracle. I'm still not sure how I did it. This is further evidence that secretly, hidden even from my own conscious mind, I am some kind of übersmart computer-science savant. Just think of it: all the technological acumen with none of the crippling social hang-ups usually associated with technological acumen. It's like being Superman. Minus the flying and invulnerability, heat vision, X-ray vision, etc. The brightly colored tights I wear by choice.
Back to Sitemeter though, It's the perfect extension of the blogger mindset. Ostensibly it's a business application, so that companies can track web traffic and learn from whence surfing eyeballs arrived at their site, which further helps them gauge the efficacy of advertising. One presumes.
But the creators have made it Free. And if it is Free on the Internet, then the purpose intended in a program's design has as much to do with its actual implementation by users as gay men have to do with... you know... uh... girl parts. Down there if you take my meaning. Don't make me say it, you know what I mean.
Again back to Sitemeter, it's the ultimate tool for obsessives and the terminally self-invovled, which is why I hopped onto the bandwagon with both feet. It tells you not only the raw numbers of who's been where and when on your site, but it also tells you where they came from and where they went, which is hilarious and only slightly creepy.
For instance, I spent a considerable amount of time in an earlier post (from July) where I went on and on about lifting weights with a certain part of my anatomy. And as I checked on where someone's "exit page" led to, there was Google with the search results for "scrotum weights".
At first I was enormously gratified (no, not in that way); I thought wow, I've really made an impression on someone. Someone's life has been made richer because of me. Granted, richness is relative and the worth of knowing the details (or even the very existence) of scrotum weights counts for very little next to, say, transcendental one-ness with the universe or knowing all the spoilers to an M. Night Shyamalan movie without having to sit through that shit, but still... Impact is impact, no matter how small.
But the other side of it was that I just felt kind of dirty. And it wasn't just because I was dwelling on the topic of scrotum weights either, though that didn't help. I thought about all the sites I went and visited before and/or after a session on a Sitemetered blog and I felt great shame. Shame from being reminded of my peculiar interest of midget necrophiliac foot fetishism and also at the thought that someone might have noticed I'd visited one of the many, many, many sites devoted exclusively to midge necrophiliac foot fetishism.
And as I thougt this, I had an epiphany. So I had something to eat and it passed, but then I had another epiphany, this one less centered around my stomach:
Damn, there really is an Internet underground for every flavor of kink, isn't there?
And now I feel better.
Happy reading, people.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.1
Friday, August 06, 2004
Wow, good news all around. It looks like non-Illinois resident Alan Keyes will accept the invitation of the dazzling, well-organized Illinois Republican Party to run against Barack Obama for the US Senate.
And I think: With such a combination of the Illinois GOP's support and low-key, highly relatable, down-to-earth Alan Keyes style, this looks like a lock. What could possibly go wrong?
But Pops, you are asking, why do you even care? You're not from Illinois.
This is true, and well spotted by you, Hypothetical Reader. But out here in California, after the trauma of the gubernatorial recall last year all we have to look forward to is a stale, tired Senate race between an incumbent sure to win in Barbara Boxer vs. a cookie-cutter California Republican by the name of Bill Jones.
White guy, lots of money, hates criminals, etc. That's really all you need to be a GOP candidate in this state. The real emphasis (besides the white and lots of money) is on the hates criminals. For most people, this is simply a given. Me personally, I would characterize myself as against crime and prefer not to associate with criminals, especially when they are in the act of committing a crime.
But if you're a California Republican, this must be the core of your existence. You must hate criminals and not be afraid to say it. The same way Clinton-era Democrats used to talk about how much they liked clean water. It seems so obvious, but if you say it enough times, it sounds so deadly serious, as though it were just possible that your opponent was pro-criminal or anti-drinking water.
A second absolute necessity for California Republicans (or fourth if you're still counting white male and wealthy... FIFTH, that makes this the fifth then) is that you must describe yourself as a rancher . Bill Jones does this twice in his autobiography page of his website. We can all blame this on Reagan. The Old Gipper on his stupid horse wearing his stupid cowboy hat, fixing stupid fences and clearing stupid brush. It's got fuck-all to do with governance, but it has become a prerequisite image. That's where I give Gov. Arnie credit as his homes are usually described as "compounds" in the Kennedy fashion.
But the beauty of California politics is that the old tired labels generally don't apply. If Bill Jones wants to criticize Boxer's record as an unabashed liberal, he's welcome to, but it won't matter. Between the nearly unassailable incumbency rates for Senators and Congressmen... Congresspersons... Congresspeople... and the fact that except for Arnie and his Special Circumstances, there are no Republicans in statewide office in this state, it's all pretty much academic. Kerry is up by double digits here.
So that's why Alan Keyes is interesting to me. Not only is a man of such moral rectitude and forthright religious certitude completely contradicting the statements he made vs. carpetbagging with regard to Hillary (see sites like Demagogue if you want to be bothered with "quotes" and "evidence"), but he's exactly what this country needs right now: a good old fashioned heap o' crazy.
He's a Catholic. I'm a Catholic. He's Harvard educated and a former ambassador. I am not and not again. In many ways Alan Keyes is a much better human being than I am. But for all his eloquence and rhetorical bluster, he's a Culture War candidate, which severely limits his appeal. I base this on his record in the presidential primaries four years ago when he spent all his time pointing out the inconsistencies in the positions taken by his opponents on social issues, followed by a lot of frothy-mouthed, sanctimonious self-beatification.
Run Alan, Run! It will give me something to watch for the next three months. You know, other than that whole president thing.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.6
Thursday, August 05, 2004
I'm probably a Communist
I like soccer.
This is something that simply should not be. I am disqualified as a soccer fan in the US as I am a) male and b) over the age of 13. Unless I can say with non-creepy sincerity that I'd like to grow up to be Mia Hamm someday, fußball ist verboten. Add this to the fact that I think NASCAR is retarded and the only conclusion most of the country could reasonably reach is that I'm most likely a homosexual as well.
But seriously, with regard to NASCAR and all other motorsports, if you need a machine to help you do it, it is not a sport. The answer invariably is "Hey son, it ain't easy drivin' them cars. It gets powerful hot in there, not to mention tirin' with all that sweatin' n' drivin' and mindin' the other drivers YEEEE-HAW!" (A curious note: Not only is the hypothetical speaker a hayseed stereotype, but he is also apparently from the 19th century and "Hee-Haw" at the same time). My only answer to that is What's harder, driving around a 1-mile track or running around it? Engines and a place to sit are cheating, that's all I'm saying.
Speaking of stereotypes, I know what the non-soccer-watching half of America thinks of those of us who partake (and by "half" I mean "wide unassailable majority). They think we're namby-pamby, effete and Eurotrashy. They would assume I drive a convertible Fiat, pull my hair into a greasy ponytail, wear garish sharkskin blazers sans shirt in the Continental (read: smelly) style, moccasins without socks, Speedo at the beach, etc.
In my defense, only several of those are true.
The fact of the matter is--another confession--I am supremely susceptible to hype. I love it. Most of the time I prefer hype to the actual product being hyped. I find it endlessly fascinating how anything about to be introduced (soap, soda, movies, presidential candidates) are invariably "THE BEST EVER!" or, if not entirely new, then "NEW AND IMPROVED!" Some things, one would imagine, after being NEW AND IMPROVED! enough over the decades should by now be approaching perfection, but alas, repackaging persists.
What was I talking about? Oh yes, hype. It was the hype for the 1994 World Cup right here in the good ole US of A that done me in. When I first heard it was coming, I thought what everyone else thought: "Soccer's for fags." That's what you think when you're 20 years old. It just happens. But those sneaky advertisers and their tricks sucked me in and next thing I know I'm watching the final (Brazil vs. Italy at the Rose Bowl), screaming at my TV and jumping up and down.
I have shame.
But it's been done and now here I am. Unamerican and emasculated. I knew who David Beckham was before he married (and turned in to) a Spice Girl. I understand the Offside rule. I got Dish Network for my TV specifically because it carries Fox Sports World which is apparently "America's Soccer Channel". God help me I love it.
Why did I bring this up? Why, you ask? Why? Well, I... er... um...
OH YEAH! Major League Soccer decided this week to add another team to Los Angeles. An offshoot of and owned by a Mexican team, Chivas of Guadalajara. The idea is to tap into the enormous Mexican fanbase that has remained frustratingly under the surface for the still-fledgling MLS. The further idea is to create a rivalry (and we all know how easy that is) with the extant LA Galaxy.
Wow, when I first decided to write about this it seemed alot more interesting. I had some really witty things to say about it, but I just realized my own hobbies are my own hobbies and blogs about one's favorite sports and/or teams are difficult to pull off. OK, they're stone dull.
So back to those Euros and their slimy inferiorness. What's with that?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.2
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Fireworks and Potato Salad; It's Party Time
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 3
We are rolling steadily toward the one-month mark for this blog. I thought it would be a good time to reflect. Of course it would be more historical relevant and neatly symmetrical if I wated for the actual one month mark, but a combination of ennui-fueled impatience and basic contrarianism won out.
And now I'm Ed Koch, former NYC mayor, walking down the streets of Manhattan accosting passers-by, shouting: "How'm I doin'? Hey there! How'm I doin'?!"
It sounds sort of funny, flippant even. Incongruous at least; politicians aren't supposed to sound like that, so unguarded and plain-spoken. But if you look at it long enough, it's kind of... OK not "kind of", it's really really needy. It's desperate. He might as well be screaming "Validate me! Oh, validate me!"
Well, that's blogging in a nutshell, isn't it? It's this one, anyway.
And since I'm being reflective, I must say I realize now that the premise of this blog has always been flawed. It seems to me as I slowly gain experience amongst other bloggers that their initial impulse is to impress their friends. First posts invariably start with "I told Tony I would never do anything as lame as blogging, but here I am. Hi Tony!" And then Tony responds along three or four other people who know this person in real life.
Of course from there, a blog can go in any one of a million directions from well-constructed, tightly themed observation to gibbberish secret code inside-joke-a-thon relevant to no one.
So even though I erred by keeping this to myself (Mrs. Pops is still none the wiser) and thus denied myself a built-in audience, I must say how pleased I am to have denied myself even the option of making this the Me And My Best Pals blog. I don't even know anyone named Tony.
This is of course not to slight my new friends, my well-earned blog-reading friends, who have flocked here in the almost-month since I started this thing. The letters and postcards from around the world I have received have been overwhelming and touching.
I am a little embarrassed by the spontaneous formation of the Pops' Bucket International Fan Club. They can be found at www.popsbucketintlfans.co.ca . Apparently I'm huge in Canada. The main issue being debated in the forums now is whether they should call themselves Bucketheads or Bucketeers. I must, for obvious reasons, remain officially neutral.
They say they've been having some server trouble, so it may be difficult to get the page to load. Keep trying.
I suppose in the interest of balance, I should include something self-critical amongst my congratulatory remarks. In rereading some of my posts, I see in hindsight that some of my words do not match my intent. I can think of several reasons why this is so. First: I spend all my time with kids under 6. My communication skills are not what they used to be. Second: I am, in fact, stupid. No, that's a little harsh. I should point out that I used to be quite smart. But go back to the first reason to understand what brought about the second. Third: I invariably bang this thing out completely on the fly, without research or editing or drafting of any kind. I would change it, but I fear I would undermine the reckless, breathless, fly-by-night tone of my posts and thus alienate by adrenaline-junky readers who come here for their daily fix of verbal bungee-jumping. Everything I do, I think of the fans first. You are who made me, people.
Plus, I'm really lazy.
This Post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9 (shattering records)
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Dear Courage Journal
Weight: up 4 pounds. I'l never make my target by the end of summer!!!
Mood: Depressed, but I feel a manic stage looming.
Today I was brave because: I saw that cheesecake in the fridge and I said "No thank you!"
Today I was not brave because: I ate 3/4 of a box of Chips Ahoy to fight the cheesecake craving. Begin shame spiral.
No, seriously people, I started writing something and I got annoyed with myself. It was very Up With People and completely unworthy of your time, unlike this which will no doubt be gripping and fantastic.
The central issue--what had initially set me off into Cheeseball Sobville--is that my nephew started kindergarten yesterday. Not that big a deal, only it drove home the point that my oldest boy will be starting kindergarten four weeks from yesterday.
It will be the end of an era at the Pops household.
Sure, there's the usual anxiety about sending my poor, helpless boy out there amongst the sharks of grade school; the general discomfort one feels in any change in behavior and routine; the sadness inherent in the passing of one era of our lives into another.
Mostly what's bothering me though--now that I've had time to think about it--is now I'll be getting much less sleep. I will probably have to go out and buy... it hurts just to think it... an alarm clock.
The last day I worked outside the house was the day before he was born in May of 1999. Since then I've been roused by the sound of baby voices, crying or otherwise, over a speaker-monitor.
Not everyone realizes this, but speaker-monitors can be turned off if you aren't ready to get up quite yet. And kids, especially small ones in cribs, will keep. It's when they're not crying that you have to worry.
And also, I don't feel quite like I'm done with him yet. These last 5+ years have been the salad days. The leafy greens of development tossed with the sliced tomato of child-like wonder, the croutons of... something. It's not much of a metaphor.
But really, these are the years where I have had a chance to really sow the seeds that will bloom eventually into teenage resentment. I'm hoping we've maximized our potential for success in this areas since I've been home with him the whole time. I've gotten lots of good, quality time in to implant within him a feeling of the general unfairness of the world and my looming, smothering, primary role in it. I'm hoping this will blossom into disdainful looks and slammed doors as he gets older, then (God willing) a period of several years where he refuses even to talk to me.
That's the sign of good parenting. Of course you don't want to go so far as to keep them away even if I were on my deathbed, but having him go through several years of therapy as an adult until he makes a "breakthrough" and realizes Daddy loves him, well, that's all a parent can ask for.
We're sending him to Catholic school. He starts on the 30th. So for now all I can do is hold him close and try not to squeeze too hard when I realize how much tuition and uniforms are going to cost me.
My kids are all just about exactly two years apart, so this is the time, were we to have a fourth--which we are most definitely not--that Mrs. Pops we get herself all knocked up and junk, hopefully by me. It would be time to start the cycle all over again.
That sound you just heard is me high-fiving myself.
Four more years and we'll ship the youngest one off to school too and I'll have this dump all to myself.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.15