Pops' Bucket
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Memorial Bucket Cheap Picture Blogging
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"As we look across these acres, we begin to tally the costs of our freedom," Bush said in speech outside Washington at the U.S. military's Arlington National Cemetery, where more than 260,000 veterans since 1864 have been interred. "We must honor them by completing the mission for which they gave their lives by defeating the terrorists, advancing the cause of liberty and building a safer world. To that end, I am announcing today that all active and reserve members of the armed forces are automatically enrolled in the new Soldier-For-Life program, where no discharges will be granted under any circumstances. This coupled with the elimination of survivor benefits and 100% base closure should save us a buck or two down the road. I know it sounds harsh, but just imagine what the terrorists will think when they hear we do stuff like this to our own people. Man, they'll be pissing in their burkas or ashrams or whatever is you call them things they wear. Don't Laura look hot, everyone? God bless America!"

Monday, May 30, 2005
Late Night, Maudlin Street
On long weekends like this one just past, it is possible--even with three kids under the age of 7--that one might find oneself alone for a moment or two of quiet solitude. Of course "quiet solitude" works on a sliding scale like everything else; in my house, it means no one is bleeding or kneeing one in one's junk.

Normally I try to avoid moments of quiet solitude and the resultant pensive reflection. It's not that I like getting kneed in the junk, it's just that whenever I stop to think about shit now I get really depressed about the passage of time.

Sure, I'm glad my kids all sleep through the night and are nearly all out of diapers, that's all good. But for myself, the milestone advancement of my children means the contemporaneous degradation of my slowly-dying mind and body. It's all superficial and meaningless, sure, the type of stuff any man creeping toward middle age worries about: a first wrinkle, a random gray hair, a little extra paunch in the haunch, sagging breasts, unprotected sex with random men I meet over the internet... standard guy stuff that could probably be fixed with a Porsche Boxster. Not owning one, I mean if one were to run me over at about 120 miles per hour and put me out of my pensive, reflective misery.

As important as it all seems in the moment, I almost always come to my senses and put the sleeping pills one by one back into the bottle. Vanity, I know, is the second least useful state of mind, right after Love, but just before Gassy.

This weekend, though, I had a slightly deeper age-related crisis. In the line at the grocery store, alone among strangers (none of them bleeding and only a few of them lining up their knees to my crotch), all pensive-d out, my mouth went dry, my face went numb and I started to sweat profusely. It was one of those moments when you realize things have changed forever and you're not sure you can ever get back to the place you were before, the place you want so desperately to be again.

It was the checkout-line tabloid rack that got me. I'm ashamed to admit this publicly, but I just don't know what to do and I'm hoping you people can help me. Courage, Pops. Here goes:

I just don't give a fuck about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

There they were, the happy couple, staring at me from the cover of every single magazine, every glossy splash-page positively glowing with flawless skin, perfect teeth and dimples.

I know I'm supposed to care. Tom and Katie wouldn't be getting this much attention if it weren't important. I stared and stared until my eyes watered and started to cross, but I just... couldn't... feel. There was nothing.

No one warns you that this is a side-effect of getting older, losing the ability to tap in to the massive public zeitgeist, to comprehend and to grasp the important newsmaking events of the day and build that comprehension into the kind of empathy and emotional sensitivity that connects us all, that makes us all human.

But for me, apparently, it's gone. I wasn't always this way. The things that mattered used to move me. I remember 9/11 I'm very happy to tell you made me weep bitter tears. Did you see when the Royal Guard at Buckingham Palace played The Star Spangled Banner a few days afterward? Man, that fucked me up but good and for days.

And now something just as earth-shatteringly media-distracting happens like Tom Cruise having regular sex with a woman half his age and... nothing. I'm a hollow shell. I'm half a man.

It was bad enough feeling old when local radio stations are mining the music of my youth as nostalgia holiday programming theme acts ('80s weekend on Star 98.7 and '90s weekend on KROQ), but now I'm feeling positively decrepit. Is there a social-empathy version of Alzheimer's? Maybe I've just discovered it. We can call it Bucket's Disease or something where in the advanced stages of early almost middle-age we lose the ability to give a shit about what kind of dress Katie might wear if in fact her hypothetical wedding to a 5' tall one-note non-actor were ever to possibly happen.

If these are the ravages of age, then I guess I have nothing to do but to accept them. The most tragic thing is that I still have my memories of when I was whole. I remember the day I cried and cried when Justin Timberlake and Britey Spears broke up or how I tried to hang myself the day Bruce and Demi announced their separation and I had to try to convince my mom it was a failed attempt at autoerotic asphyxiation so she wouldn't have me committed to a state hospital. Those were the good times. I know now that when this whole Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie thing gets sorted out or--God forbid--something crazy happens like Jennifer Aniston starts dating Billy Bob Thornton, I will watch from the outside, cut off from my fellow man, alone in my apathy.

Just promise me that when the day comes and the first telethon is organized by the Pops Foundation To Cure Bucket's Disease you'll give generously and be courteous to our friendly and professional phone staff.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.9


Sunday, May 29, 2005
Own Goal
There are lots of good things about holiday weekends, especially the ones that fall in and around the summer time (Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, complete with the fuck-you American lack of "U" after the "O"). Long warm days, some class of slaughtered animal cutlet on the grill, no school to drag the kids to, shops and beaches choked with tourists providing me with many, many targets to slake my animal thirst for human blood... lots of things.

In the Information Age (are we still in the Information Age? I keep getting the feeling we've slipped right past it into the Innuendo Age, the former epitomized by Bill Gates, the latter by Paris Hilton) we are presented with yet another reason to enjoy long holiday weekends: ample excuse to slack off and write short, crappy blogposts.

Armed with expectations I was surprised to find could be lowered further, I offer you this as a Sunday night nosh, with the proviso warning that it may have to get you through Monday as well. You may want to consider stretching out the reading experience to last you just in case, say one paragraph every 4-6 hours, to keep the sweats and the stomach cramping at bay.

Despite sickness among my children, Mrs. Pops and I ruthlessly abandoned them to the care of my sister (Friday) and my in-laws (Saturday) in order to get some serious kid-free leisuring done. We ate chain-restaurant Italian food and tolerated Revenge of the Sith Friday night (Mrs. Pops was entertained by it, but then she's always been a huge fan of dismemberment) and Saturday we escape to the little oasis of Paradise-Between-The-Freeways that is Carson, CA, at the spectacular Home Depot Center, the nation's Most Poorly Named Stadium. 27,000 seats of pure soccer wonderment, quite a change from the 100,000 seat Rose Bowl, a ravenous monster that devours all but the most spectacular events (especially pro-soccer crowds) while simultaneously cooking spectators, it's beige seats behaving inadvertently as the world's most efficient solar collector.

Like everywhere in SoCal, Carson is nowhere near Riverside. If Riverside is an outskirt, Carson is either a pleat or a ruffle, something inessential, but still situated close to the smart and shapely waist that holds this whole thing together, Los Angeles. To give you an idea of what kind of a place Carson is, directly next door can be found the lovely city of Compton, of which you may have heard. For those of you who don't know, Compton might not be the place where shooting people to death was invented, but they sure figured out a way to turn it into an art form (see: NWA).

After a jaunt up the 710 for bruschetta and cheesecake in Old Pasadena, I donned my LA Galaxy shirt for the game between co-occupants the Galaxy and MLS expansion team Chivas USA, an offshoot of the famous Guadalajaran team. Despite the fact that the Galaxy won 2-0 even without their best players, even though beer was being sold for $7.75 per cup, even though I was able to try out every Spanish swear word I knew, nobody once took a swing at me.

I don't care what anybody says, the reputation of Mexican-American soccer fans for me has been ruined forever. They were passionate but courteous, spirited but fair and above all appropriate and controlled in their enthusiasm. I never even got spit on, not even by accident. I've never been more disappointed in my life.

I've decided that it's because they're Mexican-American and that second part in their hyphenate identity has robbed them of their partisan inability to control themselves. Everywhere else in the world except among Americans soccer elicits the worst among people, evoking violent parochial tribalism whether for club or for country. And I couldn't even get cursed out. It was a dark, dark day.

At least I can be glad that in the last game between the US national team and the Mexican national team in Mexico the fans taunted the US players with chants of "Osama! Osama!" (which is absolutely true).

Not all hope is dead. Those people know. They get it. I just hope and pray some day that that kind of crass failure of human perspective can be fostered north of the border and the next time I go to a soccer game I can at least get kneed in the groin. Here's hoping.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.7


Friday, May 27, 2005
Scorched Earth
I'm typing this blogpost one-handed. Not for the usual exciting reasons either, it's because my other hand is being used to prop up the lolling, sweating, whimpering head of my disease-afflicted youngest child who is sitting on my lap. He hasn't actually puked yet, but so far he's been 101° of fun. If I'm lucky his asthma will kick in and we'll have a full-fledged medical respiratory crisis by this afternoon. Fingers crossed.

Of course this means my plans with Mrs. Pops for the evening are in peril. My sister is supposed to watch the kids so we can go out and see Star Wars and get something to eat off of a menu with no cartoon animals on it of any kind.

The sister is a paramedic, so I plan on calling her up later and offering her informed consent, which is where I warn her I have a sick kid, but guilt her into watching them all anyway. She also likes it when we give her a chance to start an IV on someone, so I think she'll still be amenable.

Trying to go out with your wife when you have kids is not unlike making the decision to have kids in the first place or buy a house or something else major like that. If you sit around waiting for absolutely ideal conditions, it will never, ever happen. You simply have to make the conscious decision to set personal guilt, anxiety, friendship, remorse and basic parental responsibility aside to make it happen. I will use every weapon at my disposal to bring this chain of events, already set in motion, to their natural, logical fulfillment: me outside the house with my wife and no kids. I've got the tunnel vision firmly in place. God help all those who oppose me.

And now, as a concession to the shortness and lack of thematic grandeur (as you've all come to love and to expect) of this post, I offer you a link to a story about boner pills making old people go blind. Turns out the nuns were right all along.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7


Thursday, May 26, 2005
The Last Picture Show
Program note: as we approach this long weekend, it is possible that posting might be a little more sporadic or light in content. Pops gots plans.

Tomorrow the missus is taking the day off. We're supposed to go out to dinner and I'm taking her to see Star Wars. Totally not against her will or anything either, she actually wants to see it.

I don't remember if I mentioned it here or not, but I saw it on Saturday with my cousin. It's possible that I'm suffering from chronically depressed expectations based on Episodes I & II, but I enjoyed it. As long as you approach it as broad melodrama and not Shakespeare or Chekov or any other Star Trek characters who write plays you'll get your money's worth. Unless you buy a medium soda for $4.25, then you won't. But then again, a medium these is (and I'm not kidding) 44 ounces, so that's less than 10¢ per ounce! What a bargain!

For some reason I go from zero movies for months and months at a time (this is not counting the ones with the words "fantasy" or "pleasure" in the title you find late at night on pay-cable) to suddenly spending all my free time there. I went out and saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all by my big-boy self last week. They had already relegated it to the tiny screen in the closet-sized theater where they burn off stuff they aren't able to replace with a new movie yet.

[Hitchhiker's by the way was... eh. The story was changed in subtle but significant ways from the books, which I don't mind since, as a Failed Writer, I understand the need to adapt but I thought it just felt sort of... unfinished. Zooey Deschanel was a non-entity as Trillian, but Sam Rockwell as Zaphod was all by himself almost worth the price of a ticket. Almost.]

What was I talking about before I interrupted myself? Oh yes. Then on Saturday I saw Star Wars and now I'm going back tomorrow. Three movies (OK, two movies, one repeated) in the space of a week. Mix in a grocery bag full of Ecstasy and a shemale hooker and it'll be like college all over again.

But then on Saturday, if that all weren't enough, Mrs. Pops and I are going (stalkers get your notebooks out) to a professional soccer game. Before you all bitch and sputter about how you hate soccer and how awful it is and how real Americans don't watch Eurotrash crap like soccer, I'd like to point out that none of you are actually invited. You're free to stay home and watch Eurotrash crap like televised singing contests or masturbate to Neil Diamond album covers or whatever it is you people do to kill time between reading blogposts in the Bucket.

Of course all of these plans are contingent upon babysitting working out and none of my kids coming down with a new case of attenuated Ebola or falling off the roof or being eaten by a giant snake or anything. There's always something. But if something like that does happen, at least I'll be available to blog more. And I'll have something interesting to blog about, especially if it's the giant snake thing. I promise to take pictures.

For now, I bid you adieu. Well, not really adieu. I'll be here tomorrow. And probably Sunday. Monday too. I'm just saying that with all the demands on my time, I can't guarantee quality. Yes yes, "when could you ever?" ha ha, you're all such very very clever little monkeys.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.0


PS- As Official Online Ambassador for Riverside County, I must encourage all of you to watch USA Network's original movie Rapid Fire. It's a true story about a bank robbery in Norco, CA, two cities over from me, in 1980. You're thinking "It's USA, so it's probably really cheesy" to which I must counter: it stars Jason Gedrick. That's right, Jason Gedrick. An otherwise ordinary ripped-from-the-25-year-old-headlines story sprinkled with a little bit of that Iron Eagle magic. I'd be all over watching that... if I weren't so busy this weekend. Anyway, check your local listings.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Yes Fine, But Which One Is The Ass-Scratcher Fork?
Yesterday we talked about morals. Since I cleared that issue all up nicely and neatly in one single blogpost, it's appropriate now that we move on to the corollary issue of etiquette.

They're rooted in different things, morality and etiquette. When I think of morality, I think of issues of basic biological necessity written as social law--don't kill me, don't take the stuff I need to survive (which has come to include food, water, shelter, wheel rims and iPods), don't pollute my procreative genetic stream by sticking your DNA in my wife... that type of stuff.

When I think of the roots of etiquette, it's more "Look, if we have to all live together to keep from being eaten by tigers, the least you could do is make a minimal effort not to be such a disgusting, insensitive prick". I guess I would say that that etiquette sits atop the base of morality, governing social interaction in finer and finer degrees from the gross basics ("Please don't show your cock to my children") to narrow abstractions ("White shoes after Labor Day?!).

If I were going to describe this in a rhetorically confusing and ultimately useless metaphor, I'd say morals are the lemon and etiquette is the meringue.

Etiquette, it seems to me, is where definition and refinement happen, where culture is largely born, where lines between peoples are drawn on a finer scale than with the broad, sloppy brush of language. It is in those breaks in acceptable manner and social contact that people are separated into societies, extending even into what is acceptable to eat, a distinction without which there would be no Fear Factor.

The rules of etiquette are as pervasive and inescapable within a society just as they are liquid and arbitrarily varied between societies.

Even in new-ish social spaces like this one--the blog subset of construct internet--derivative, medium specific etiquette rushes in to fill the space between any two people who happen to converse. Happily, since we can't see each other, this doesn't translate directly from real-life, meaning not all taboos apply, which means I can engage in friendly text-only dialogue with all you people, my imaginary friends, wearing a poncho with no pants.

Even as bloggers there are rules we are expected to follow, messily and haphazardly translated from the flesh-and-blood. We even get some new, blog-specific rules like, say, how we shouldn't devote entire blogposts to making fun of blogs of people we don't know, even if they're blog is decorated with pictures of winged fairies and is comprised mostly of a long multi-part exegesis about the origins and derivation of the blogger's Elven name.

Another thing we're supposed to do is transmit memes once we get meme-tagged.

If you haven't guessed it yet, this long-ass post about nothing is basically me trying to weasel out of fulfilling a request to meme. My new BFF Emma Goldman shoehorned me into her list of the meme-tagged as penance for something I may or may not have said (suffice it to say, more etiquette).

I have decided, in my infinite wisdom, to politely decline. I know it's bad form. I know it makes me a bad blogger. But there are two very, very good reasons: 1) the one meme I have participated in was very, very similar (passed along to me that time by the fabulous Steph, whom I owe a link for skipping over her comment a few days ago) and I don't want to tarnish the memory of that little nugget of comic gold and 2) I was able to generate content for this blogpost without having to actually complete the meme. So yay, me!

So now I'm actively writing a blogpost about not writing a different blog post. This is so meta that I feel as though I'm coming dangerously close to closing a meta-blog feedback loop, the consequences of which are unknown and unknowable. We can only hope it somehow involves pie.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.6


Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Instant Karma
I've been working on my color-coded Absolute Morality Spectrum for some time now and I just can't seem to get the damned thing calibrated properly. The idea is to produce a fixed quick-reference chart, not unlike the handy multiplication tables and weight-conversion charts you used to get as an insert with your brand new Trapper Keeper. Only instead of telling you how many pounds make up a kilogram, it would let you know the amount of sin you're committing when, say, shoplifting versus something else, like torturing prisoners-of-war.

I thought it'd be a lot easier to compile than it has turned out. I've been working on it for almost 3 days now and I haven't quite cracked it. It turns out that compiling, interpreting and codifying tens of thousands of years of evolving human history from every nation and race on the globe in order to produce a universally acceptable code of basic conduct isn't really a weekend project. It's more like a 2-week deal.

The hard thing isn't really coming up with ideas of things to do that are bad. To be safe, I'm including everything. For instance, eating beef for a Hindu is horrifying, both religiously and socially while here in America beef, my television tells me, is "what's for dinner". To leave it off the list completely would be the ultimate exercise in cultural bias, something I'm trying desperately to avoid. Right now I have it down there between laughing at the misfortune of others and not saying "excuse me" after belching.

As if dealing with a bunch of heathen foreigners weren't enough, I've got my hands full trying to sort out the moral code right here in the U. S. of A. I'm starting to think relying on the mass media to explain and rank morality for me might have been a mistake. My original thinking was that, look, if things weren't more important, more heinous, more depraved, the media wouldn't bother to spend all kinds of time and energy on it. So I broke out my trusty stop-watch and started measuring the amount of news-time spent on individual stories involving moral lapses (the human interest stories about people overcoming great personal obstacles or bunnies who can surf didn't qualify... although I've started to reconsider the surfing-bunny thing), assuming every second of air-time corresponded to the egregiousness of the moral failure in a directly mathematical way.

I'm having some doubts about the results now, though. As I collect and compile the data, though, I'm getting more and more uneasy. I'm finding that it's just possible--and please understand, this is still just a working hypothesis--that media coverage of events is more slanted toward the sensational than absolute morality.

I know, it doesn't make any sense to me either. But come on, if a horse gets stuck in a river, that's 25 minutes of live coverage while the undermining of American democracy through blatant, documented acts of bribery gets 90 seconds, tops.

The main distorting factor is celebrity, either existing (however tenuous, like Robert Blake) or media-manufactured (Scott Peterson).

Here's what's hanging me up:

What's a worse thing to (allegedly) do, ply children with alcohol and then engage them in sex acts or lure hot chicks back to your creepy bachelor pad, try to get them to sleep with you, and then shoot them through the heart if they refuse?

The hands-down winner according to the media is the first one, as in the Michael Jackson case. Meanwhile the Phil Spector murder case gets almost zero coverage. The only discernible difference between their respective biographies is that while Michael creeped people out in public with his melting face and faux-military dress sense, Phil did his creeping-out behind the scenes with people like John Lennon and the Righteous Brothers.

I just can't figure it. Yes, there's a special place in hell for child molestors (right next to the furnace in the Nixon Wing), but I guess at least the victims generally tend to survive and could possibly live full and productive lives with some therapy. People shot dead, well, their futures are somewhat less ambiguous. That whole death thing does come across sort of final-ish, doesn't it?

Maybe we'll never know for sure. I don't know. Maybe the Absolute Morality Spectrum was a bad idea. Not only can I not figure out where to put Phil Spector's crime, I can't for the life of me decide what to do about his hair.
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I know it's not in any of the great spiritual teachings like the Ten Commandments or the Vedas or Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal, but any heinously willfull act like that has to be a sin. I don't know if it's as bad as premarital fisting, but it definitely has to score higher than jaywalking or video piracy.

We may never know for sure. I'll have to let you know.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.1


PS- 300 posts.

Monday, May 23, 2005
What With All The Projectile Vomiting And Everything...
I forgot to say something about my foray into the field of superhero-dom yesterday. After the little girl was safe and clear in the Target parking lot, she walked close to her mother the rest of the way. As I continued toward the Target, I could hear the mother screaming at the little girl: "You just almost got yourself run over by a car, do you know that? Do you know that?"

And then I thought: my God, what have I done? That little girl wasn't frozen by indecision, she was contemplating ending it all. I can't say that I blame her in retrospect. It's a good thing I didn't give anyone involved my name. One day she make seek revenge.

I was going to write a little more as this is Short Monday, the post following my usual weekend-wrap-up magnum opus on Sundays. But then people showed up at my house and I got distracted. Actual people I actually know (my brother-in-law's family complete with new kid) and everything.

I suppose we should all be grateful. I was working up to something about Laura Bush's visit to the Holy Land that included a joke about goat sex, of all things. I can't remember it now for the life of me. Being in the presence of a newborn will do that to you. Those things are terrifying. I can't trust anything that disinterested in me.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8


Sunday, May 22, 2005
Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls, You Nosy Asshole
Somewhere right now, even as you're reading this, there is someone else somewhere doing the exact same thing. He or she sits at a desk in a dark room except for the glow of the computer monitor. They read and read and read blogs until they go cross-eyed, reveling in the minutiae of lives--any life--other than their own as a kind of shelter from the bleak, loveless, friendless solitude of their pathetic existence. Their blogroll and their ablility to comment--when they might summon the nerve--is a thin electronic line, the only thing tethering them to any other people anywhere ever. It's completely false. They know it's false. But the fiction is necessary, a wispy aegis against reality and the despairing seduction of self-annihilation.

For these people, the lonely and the forsaken, I have but one question:

Where the fuck do I sign up?

That self-annihilation part sounds like it sucks, but being left alone--blissfully alone--sounds pretty sweet.

Here's what I've been doing since last we spoke.

Friday: bro-in-law's wife goes into labor, so I watch their eldest girl (she's 2 1/2) in addition to my existing 3. The baby is born (a little boy) at 9 pm Friday night. What did I learn--the father of 3 boys--from watching a little girl? One thing: little girls have no penises. Like, none. I was totally shocked at how totally shocked I was. Anyway, long night.

Saturday: T-ball in the morning. It's roughly 451° (F, naturally) by 8 am and the game's at 11. But first we have to go see the new baby. Then my wife does a store run for the birthday party on Sunday, signs the oldest two up for AYSO in the fall while I dad it up at the game. Wife works our mandatory Little League snack-bar shift that afternoon, trying to figure out how and why a woman with an engineering degree is stuck in food service of anykind.* Especially without air conditioning. The shift is 4 hours. By Hour 3, she may or may not be inviting patrons to go and fuck themselves. She gets home at 5:30, I book it out the door to make the 7 pm showing of Star Wars in Anaheim Hills with my cousin. It occurs to me that I may be a douchebag. I go to the grocery store afterward, but forgot to bring the list.

Sunday: Mrs. Pops works like a dog. My boy turns 6. In celebration, he vomits up a curious mixture of Sunny D and pineapple (while I'm still sleeping). Too much party momentum to call it off now, despite the Guest Of Honor's spontaneous contraction of what I assume is slightly attenuated Ebola. Says he's magically cured when the rented Spider-Man bouncey-house shows up. I drop the dog off at the Petco groomers, hit the Target, grocery store (as penance this time), Target again after a cell-phone beratement from the missus for being such a forgetful useless human turd. I return to Target and save a little girl's life AND find what I was sent to find, then hit the bakery for the cake. Guests arrive and frivolity ensues. I sweat. A lot. I rig up house fans connected to ladders with bungee cords (patent pending) to cool off jumping children... because everyone knows there's nothing more refreshing than furnace-hot semi-desert air that's circulating. It's the same principle ovens work on. I grill until my face blisters and everyone is happy. Guests eventually wander away in a state of stunned birthday party satisfaction. Maybe it was heat stroke, but I'm going to keep saying the first one until it is true.

Before I collapse, I'd like to return very briefly to one particular part of the story for a little more in-depth analysis. And no, it won't be my home-made fire-roasted salsa, sadly for you. It's the part where I save a little girl's life in the Target parking lot.

Pops tells lies. This is an accepted truth between us, reader and readee. For instance, I'm not really married and have no children. But every once in a while something so strange and interesting happens to me that I share it, clean and unvarnished, for your reading pleasure. Usually my readers will then mock me and tell me I'm full of shit, but hey fuck you, I really did get my hair cut by a midget once. Cynics.

This is one of those actually-happened-to-me incidents.

I had left Target for the grocery store. Mrs. Pops called me up and asked did I get the flavored syrup for the little (working!) home snow-cone machine my kids had gotten from a family friend. She knows they have it at Target, she knows I fucking forgot, would I maybe please drag my sorry ass back there and rectify the fuck-up so I don't completely ruin my attenuated-Ebola-afflicted son's birthday and subsequently the rest of his natural life, how ever long the virus deems that to be.

So I go back to Target, bags of ice melting away in the car, tunnel vision intact, walking as fast as the heat will let me through the parking lot. Coming toward me is a woman. She looks kind of surly and pissed, but it's hot, so we all look like that. Plus she just came out of a Target. She's pushing a cart. Dawdling behind her is a lovely little blond girl who rushes to keep up with her mom. About 30 feet behind both of them is another little girl, a brunette, maybe 4 at the most, wandering in that drug-free baked-out stoner haze that all 4-year-olds inhabit. Her mom isn't particularly interested in the gap between them. She's got her tunnel vision on and I've got mine and we sweep past each other in the parking lot. I swear you could hear the swoop!

Anyway, I get to half way between the mom and the second brunette child. A white BMW's reverse lights turn on in the parking aisle to my right. The 4-year-old dazes forward. The BMW backs out. Her head barely clears their bumper, so I know they don't see her. Her mom keeps charging off ahead, to invade Poland I assume. The BMW edges out into the girl's path. Using flawless 4-year-old logic, when something crosses your path, you stop. She stops. The car is still edging toward her. Still half-tunnel-visioned I take two half-leaping steps toward her, hands out for the BMW driver to see, if they're checking the rear-view. My other hand is reaching for the girl.

The car sees me and stops. I would have made it, but I'm glad I don't have to. The mom at some point had turned around and saw this transpire. She says something like "Oh no! Oh my God... thank you, sir."

The girl walked clear of the BMW, so I kept going. I didn't look back, didn't say anything to the mom. I finished my stupid Target mission. About half way home I freaked the fuck out. The rest of the day progressed as I said.

This is the part where, if I were a girl, I'd say how it was fate that I was too stupid to get everything I needed from Target the first time and that I was destined to go back and save that little girl's life. OK, the car was barely moving and most likely I saved her from a scraped elbow, but would anyone's life here be better off if they'd had an extra scraped elbow? I doubt it.

But if you're on board with fate, it can't just be for the good things like saving retarded fuckwitted people's children or falling in love or winning $12 from a lottery scratcher ticket. If it's all pre-destined, then you also have to work in cancer and mudslides and tsunamis and retarded fuckwitted people procreating when perfectly lovely and sensible people have 8 kinds of trouble conceiving.

What fucks me up is that I know--I know--that at that exact same moment, somewhere in America, a lovely brunette 4-year-old girl was backed over by a car because her mom was a retarded fuckwit and there was no Pops to save her. That's not fate or destiny or symmetry, that's just some fucked-up shit to keep me awake when I should be sleeping.

Despite what my mom says, sometimes bad shit just happens.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that girl I saved will go out and redefine the world in some way. Maybe she'll build a rocket in her backyard with a revolutionary propulsion system that will take her to Mars in 3 hours, forever expanding the horizons of human knowledge and the very scope of human existence, netting herself a big fat fortune and unprecedented multi-global fame, now and forever.

And all I'll be thinking is: shit, I forgot to tell her my name.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9


*=Mrs. Pops wrote that joke herself.

Friday, May 20, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing, #7
Dominion: Prequel to 'The Exorcist'

starring: Hahahahahahaha! (and Satan)

directed by: Aaaahahahahahahaha!

Hey, did everyone see the picture of Saddam Hussein in nowt but his chonies?

[I wanted to post it directly but PhotoBucket is being a contrarian son-of-a-bitch right now, so you'll have to make do with this link.]

Now you have. I'm sure there are better images of them floating around on the internets, but I had to include the shot of the Sun (UK)'s cover complete with awesome, awesome headline. The pose and everything is absolutely classic. It's very department-store-catalogue. I think that must be why this picture stirs in me a deep, unrecognized need to buy a watch. Or perhaps a nice pair of khakis.

The main thing I'm worried about is that this could backfire. Saddam is such an obviously sexy bitch, he's sure to inspire all kinds of rage and frustration among the closeted Muslim gay male community. Think of the alternating waves of animal lust and crippling shame they'll feel after exposure to this surly hunk of man-beast drives them into an involuntary and entirely verboten sexual frenzy. They'll be lining up by the dozens to volunteer for suicide missions if only for the release--any kind of release--it promises.

From the lightness of suicide bombers we move to the easy late-spring frivolity of sexual abuse by priests. The Diocese of Orange (as in Orange County) was busted by the OC Register newspaper with evidence of a pattern of conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse by 14 priests and one choir director.

Covering up for the 14 priests I kind of get. That has a kind of fucked-up, totally inexcusable logical consistency to it. But the choir director? The diocese is going to put it's neck out there to protect a goddamn choir director? Fuck, these people can't even abuse their power properly. Trying to look inside the heads of the institution doing the covering-up, you can extrapolate the retarded reasoning they have for protecting their black-hearted child-molesting brethren, the same tired bullshit about protecting the church and blah blah blah.

But the choir director? He gets hit in the face with a brick. Actually if it's up to me, the priests get hit in the face with a brick too, but then that's the answer to all life's worries. Guy with 17 items in the 15-item-or-less express line at the grocery store? Brick in the face. Forget the barbecue sauce for my kid's Chicken McNuggets at the drive-thru? Brick in the face. Mom gets me Best O' Boingo for my birthday when I specifically asked for Boingo Alive? Brick in the face.

I suppose congratulations are in order for the Orange County Register for breaking this story. It's a testament to their dogged determination, their crack investigative reporting staff, their gruff-but-loveable editors as played by Jason Robards, their... um... their...

OK, the attorney for the plaintiff in the case against the diocese accidentally mailed the damning documents to the paper directly. Way to write it up though, Register.

In sort of local news, very briefly, 11 out of 16 from the floor, 27 points, 18 years, 1,533 games all with the same team, Riverside Poly High School's own Reggie Miller played his last NBA game last night when his team was eliminated by the Detroit Pistons from the playoffs last night. Nice. Thanks a lot, Reg. Leave us with nothing, go ahead. The only other high-profile athlete with Riverside ties left is Barry Bonds (he was born here, I believe) and he's an asshole. Fine, fine whatever. Think only of yourself.

In other local news, this might be my last post ever as I intend to die of heat stroke this weekend. It's supposed to reach 100 degrees Sunday, the day we already ordered the inflatable bouncy-house for my kid's birthday party. Guess who's gonna be standing over the burning, greasy, flaming grill cooking for everyone! So keep an eye on your news tickers, people. You're looking for "Riverside, CA man bursts into flame in backyard".

Just in case the worst comes to pass, I have loved you all in my own special way, the way a junkie loves his smack. Sure, I hate you and curse you because you ruin my life, but if I'm away from you all for too long, I throw up. That's love, people.

Oh yeah, there was that movie. I don't want to see it. Also, worst title fiasco since the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Pleh. No Shue for you.


Thursday, May 19, 2005
I Declare This Space Held
Mrs. Pops is home this morning. Not only is she hogging the desktop computer for her "work" stuff, but it's also hard for me to concentrate on post-writing with the dog collar and leash on and the electrodes attached. So this will be it for now, possibly for the day. I can't risk the electricity burns.

Must go. If she catches me, Mistress will be very cross.


UPDATE 1:10 pm: She's gone to work. Since she's gone, I've taken over torturing myself by continuing to read Nietzsche. While reading, it felt like my nose was running. It didn't feel like snot, so I tasted a little of it: turns out my brain is melting. Nietzsche is melting my brain.

Don't ask me how I know what melted brain tastes like. It's hard to explain. It's just one of those things you'll know when it happens to you.

UPDATE 4:31 pm: When you have nothing to say, you cheat by inserting a picture. Here's a picture of my middle son playing old-school Pac-Man.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
I figure if I set him on the exact same social path I took, I won't have to worry about him getting anyone pregnant in high school. Or college.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I Love Bush
Phew! Looks like we all (sort of almost literally) dodged a bullet. Turns out that grenade that was thrown at President Bush while visiting Georgia (Tblisi, not Atlanta... focus, people) was an actual grenade, not some kind of prop or toy. It landed within 100 feet of the president, knocked down by the back of some audience member's completely unwitting but (as it turns out) very brave and selfless head. The back of that woman's head has done an incalculable service to the cause of worldwide liberty. If I were President Bush, I'd pin a medal to it.

With the exception of a possible minor concussion, I'm very happy to say that no one was hurt in the grenade-throwing incident. I'm glad the commander-in-chief was spared physical injury as I wish him no personal harm of any kind whatsoever (hello to my blog-aware friends in the Secret Service!). Further I'm relieved that he wasn't killed while in office because if he were, can you imagine the outpouring of garment-rending and tooth-gnashing by the Redneck Faithful if their Beloved Leader were to be taken from them, especially by a dirty, dirty foreigner? Not that you would be able to tell as most of their garments come pre-rent (and even rented, for that matter) and on the whole I think one would need multiple teeth in order to gnash them properly. But I think you get my point.

Look what happened to Kennedy. He was president for just under three years and what did he accomplish, really? Bay of Pigs, Veitnam and Marilyn Monroe. Then just because he was cut down by a shady cabal of Cubans, Mobsters, Jews, Republicans, Johnson Democrats, oil tycoons, Protestants, Tommy Lee Jones and Larry Hagman he gets his head (pre... um... incident) on the half-dollar coin. As impressive as banging Marilyn Monroe is, I just don't know that it warrants that kind of recognition.

If we were to lose Bush, oh lordy save us. If you think this business with naming everything after Reagan was bad... every airport, bridge, tunnel, freeway, park, fountain, national forest, navy ship, government office building, street, city, military base and every single public school (and not a few private ones either, I shouldn't wonder) would be under threat of having a big fat W slapped on it. You saw it already this past election when they did it to ketchup. Poor innocent ketchup, never did anything to anyone and got W-ized. I'm not so sure that wasn't a Karl Rove product-roll-out test run. You know, just in case.

And if you thought the coverage surrounding the Pope's death was bad, I'm sure we'd end up with at least one Fox Channel off-shot station completely and entirely dedicated to GW Bush hagiography 24/7 (presented by Taco Bell).

The National Mall in DC would earn itself another giant white marble monstrosity, that's for sure. Maybe they could just dig a really deep hole and put a giant dollar sign at the bottom of it. Nah, too on-the-nose. And not enough deification.

I think under those tragic circumstances, even Mt. Rushmore wouldn't be safe. Someone would have to go. Washington and Lincoln are safe, but I can see the national reality show where people are invited to call in (or text message!) to vote to save either Teddy Roosevelt or Thomas Jefferson. Well, Roosevelt did establish the national parks system, but Jefferson, hoo-boy, he did that Declaration of Independence thing. But he was banging his slaves. And TR actually fought in a war, so that's something... it would be tough, but I trust Ryan Seacrest to keep it all straight for us when his nation calls on him.

Actually now that I think of it, Rushmore wouldn't be appropriate. GWB would need his own granite mountain somewhere, Mt. W. If it's sacred to some pre-casino Indian tribe somewhere, all the better. Maybe the work trucks can render a species or two extinct--nothing major, just a rare butterfly or maybe some subspecies of vole. And then they could strike oil right under the giant rock so when the enormous bust is finished a geyser of sweet crude would come shooting out its nose at semi-regular intervals. Yeah. Yeah, that would be awesome.

So besides the general safety and well-being of our president (which I pray for daily), there are all these reasons we should be grateful that the grenades in former Soviet republics work just as well as everything else related to the military over there: not at all. Sadly this includes the safe-guarding of nuclear weapons and materials, but that's a panic attack for a different day.

I want George Bush to live a long life, to retire to Crawford, forced to spend the rest of his days in Podunk, Texas, ridiculed, derided and eventually forgotten.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.2


[Secret Service Disclaimer: Anything that might be construed as threatening in this post should be understood as satire. I certainly and categorically wish the president no harm of any kind. Just so you know. Any midnight home-invasion, kidnapping and digital rectal exam would tell you the same thing, I swear.]

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Ears On Straight
I know by now that I really shouldn't get my hair cut at a national chain haircut store, but at this point there's no going back. Besides my gnawing, soul-destroying addiction to the blue disinfectant liquid they keep the combs in, my haircut store is like a carny midway. There's the girl with the glass eye and even a midget (or at least there used to be) for your obvious uncomfortable-staring pleasure.

But even the "normal" ones, the ones who are under 500 years old, 700 lbs. and apply their make-up with something other than a trowel, can surprise you with the freak-show nature of their personalities.

The principle reason I had kids wasn't for the companionship or responsibility or even just as a ploy to guilt my wife into procreative sex, mostly it was so I would have something to put between myself and total strangers in situations where conversation is in danger of flaring up. Before I had kids, the hair-cutters, the people in waiting rooms, my court-mandated rehab counselor, anybody who wanted to talk to me had to hear about me. I would tell them I studied history and all of them--to a person--would say "Wow, history. How do remember all those dates?", which always made me start slowly scanning the room for an opportunity to kill myself (ironically the best chances are in the salon with all the scissors and electrical cords... it's harder in some of the other places I've been where they take away your belt and your shoelaces).

Now when they ask what I do, I say I stay home with my kids. There is the outside chance that we might end up on the "Mister Mom" conversation track which always, always ends with me violating the conditions of my parole. But 9 times out of 10 we go down the "Really? How many do you have? Boys or girls? What are their names?" track which is fine. This is the reason I put in all that time going to the OB/GYN appointments with my wife and sitting through the utterly disgusting process of childbirth three times, to provide myself with a means of social deflection. If I talk slowly enough and pretend to be hard of hearing I can stretch it out to the entire length of a hair-cut without much effort.

This Saturday I even brought one--the oldest one--as a prop just in case I got the midget girl again. I needed a point of tertiary focus. His schedule was clear, so I dragged him along.

Sadly, the midget hairdresser was nowhere to be found. It's possible she was hiding since, as we all know, midgets are expert hiders. Instead I got one of the Normal Ones.

We were happily meandering along Child Conversation Track B, What Are Your Kids' Names? My kids all have very traditional names (Indigo, Hiawatha and Roger-Daltrey), so I explained a little about their history and where they come from in my family. Boiler-plate stuff, right off the little preparatory conversation index cards I've memorized.

Madame Hair-Cut, she of average stature and two non-marble eyes, just stared in slack-jawed horror at the idea that anyone might give their children "regular" names that might be shared by any other person. So she countered with Conversation Track B, Tangent Option #7, Why I Cursed My Child With A Fucked Up Made-Up Name. I got the whole thing about how she and her husband wanted to name their daughter "Payton" but couldn't agree on the spelling. I assumed it was some kind of Oxford Debating Society shake-out between Payton and Peyton, but no. She says her husband was insisting that there be an H in the girl's name, "Phayton" but still pronounced with the hard P-sound in the beginning.

Oh how Madame Hair-Cut and I laughed and laughed at the fucking rock stupidity of the moronic bastard she had the misfortune of procreating with! What a tool!

She said they solved the problem (and this is true) by coming up with a list of twelve alternate spellings of the name and having their families vote. I guess I can understand it because we did something similar in our family when we voted to send Grandpa to the nursing home at age 47. He still got around fine, we just none of us liked him much. Kinda dull. And always with the goddamn knock-knock jokes.

Anyways, with great pride and obvious creative superiority over me and my mundanely-named offspring, she announced to me that her daughter's name was spelled P-a-e-d-t-i-n.

No H anywhere to be found. You know what that tells me? Not only is her husband spelling-challenged, he's also an emasculated gimp. If 8 years of marriage has taught me anything it's that if you're going to put a stupid-ass idea out there, you fight for it until you win, no matter how retarded. That's how we ended up with the Pinocchio fountain in our front yard. And a third kid. I'm the man.

So that's it. I can't not go back to that chain haircut store. I can't imagine what's going to happen to me there next. Maybe I'll be in line behind Sasquatch or get stabbed in the eye with a hot roller. Either way I bet I get a long-ass blogpost out of it.

Stop complaining. At least it wasn't Star Wars again.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7


Monday, May 16, 2005
This Is Me Being Brief
Since I live on the West Coast, I know my Sunday night posts are usually what you see when you check here on Mondays anyway, so the Monday post in some ways is either redundant or it rolls over the Sunday posts, rendering it obsolete while generally offering nothing new as I generally write it a scant 12 hours (sometimes less) later. Also being tired tends to make my sentences run on.

Seriously, why you people keep coming back here will never stop freaking me the fuck out. I am simultaneously mortified and overjoyed.

So in gratitude for your time invested and in deference to last night's posted brilliance, I will keep this one not only short, but thematically topical. What does that mean? More Star Wars. Just for today and very, very briefly, then I'll shut up and go back to making fun of my kids for the rest of the week. Promise.

Here's a quote from George Lucas circa 1989:

"There are four or five scripts for Star Wars, and you can see as you flip through them where certain ideas germinated and how the story developed. There was never a script completed that had the entire story as it exists now. But by the time I finished the first Star Wars, the basic ideas and plots for Empire and Jedi were also done. As the stories unfolded, I would take certain ideas and save them; I'd put them aside in notebooks. As I was writing Star Wars, I kept taking out all the good parts, and I just kept telling myself I would make other movies someday. It was a mind trip I laid on myself to get me through the script. I just kept taking out stuff, and finally with Star Wars I felt I had one little incident that introduced the characters. So for the last six years [1977-1983] I've been trying to get rid of all the ideas I generated and felt so bad about throwing out in the first place."

This is just so you know what I know: the entire prequel story Lucas has undertaken with the express intent of burning off a bunch of shit that wasn't good enough to put in the first three movies.

And there you have your explanation for Jar Jar Binks.

To finish here, I would like to make two completely unrelated points:

1) The handwritten post from the other day was done because I was trying to think of something different to do, but I'm too much of a pussy to audioblog or podcast or whatever it is the kids are calling it these days when you leave incoming answering machine messages instead of written blogposts. It'd be different if I could sing or fart the Greek alphabet, but alas, I cannot. I do play the guitar, but I don't think the Narcissus Scale is calibrated to handle anything of that magnitude. It's cracking under the strain as it is.

2) After finishing a Douglas Adams book, a Terry Pratchett book and another Adams, I have set aside silly-English for scary-German. I have started to read Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. I do this for several reasons: a) I've never read Nietzsche even though I minored in philosophy as an undergrad (it required a grand total of four courses to complete, so shut up) b) the class I signed up for in college that was supposed to cover Nietzsche was interrupted by the fact that my professor was attacked by a mountain lion which is absolutely true and will be the subject of a post all on its own some day c) of all the Nietzsche books I picked up at the book store, this was the skinniest and seemed to have the shortest paragraphs d) the only way to truly counter-act the cumulative effects of bunny and ducky and cartoon character bedtime story books is to--every once in a while--clean out the pipes with some bleak, hopeless, impenetrably dark German philosophy if only to remind you that one day you're going to die and then you'll never ever have to read another ducky or bunny book ever again. And that makes me smile.

The side-effect is some short-term elevated levels of haughty pretentiousness and a propensity to smoke a pipe and wear a lot of tweed. The last two are my wife's problem. Watch out for the first one though.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5


Sunday, May 15, 2005
I Have A Bad Feeling About This
Star Wars Week, Day 1.

In the entire history of the world, we have experienced a grand total of 6 Star Wars Weeks. These are the weeks in which a new Star Wars film is released. Sorry, did that come off as condescending? I guess I should have assumed you, my precious, precocious readership, would have pieced that bit together yourselves, but the truth is I never know what is the appropriate level of Geek to speak at here. As we're all computer users, I suppose it's safe to assume a base level of Geek fluency somewhere above the national (or international) average. From now on I'll be working under the presumption that we all know the difference between a Death Star and a Star Destroyer and that Ewoks and Jar Jar suck.

I was born in 1974, so for the first three Star Wars Weeks I was (nearly) 3, 6 and 9 years old, respectively. I don't even remember asking to see any of those films in particular, I just know that I did at some point. For the most part I am a Star Wars dork created in the faint VHS echo of phenomenon (1982-1998). The damned things were always around, always available to be viewed over and over and over and over again. When you think about it, I never really had a chance to hate them.

So my first Star Wars Week as a functioning, money-earning, car-driving, decision making person was in the week leading up to Saturday May 22, 1999. The movie had come out on the 19th, but that was the day I had bought my tickets for. It was at the new-ish Kaleidoscope center, at the Edwards Theater there in Mission Viejo (Orange County, yes, once upon a time) where I was living at the time.

I know what you're thinking: Pops is probably just as physically attractive as he is witty and easy-to-read. And you're right. With regard to tonight's content, I imagine you're probably also thinking: wow, Pops is a fucking nutcase remembering all this shit in so much fine detail.

No no, no nutcase. Well, probably best not to rule it out entirely, fair enough, but that's not the reason I remember it so clearly. I remember it so clearly because at about 2 am Friday May 21st, Mrs. Pops woke me up because she was feeling poorly. She assumed all the stomach cramping had to be something she had eaten--she first assumed and later rather forcefully insisted some rashly-consumed elderly pineapple from the night before. All that day she cramped and suffered and insisted as we both stayed home from work until I finally convinced her to let me take her to the hospital that night around 10 pm. I didn't tell her, but I had to get this cleared up so it wouldn't interfere with the culmination of Star Wars Week the next day.

Then around 3:46 am Saturday May 22, 1999, our first son was born. Turns out it wasn't the pineapple that was causing the cramping. Something else I learned: never ever suggest that you want to go see Star Wars--or any other movie for that matter--to your wife less than 24 hours after your first child is born. Because even if you're willing to go when you're dead tired and emotionally spent, even when one-day-old children are the least interesting and least conversationally adept human beings in the world, even when your wife is nursing the baby and there's fuck-all for you to do, it is still considered bad form to skip out on your convalescing newly-minted family in favor of space opera, Star Wars or otherwise.

So that's my story about my first interaction with my first child. And he (and his brothers) have been ruining things for me ever since. I suppose when pushed I will grudgingly admit that the things your kids make you miss actually become vastly and forgettably secondary next to considerations for their health and well-being, but that doesn't mean I'm not keeping a fucking list. I'm waiting for just the right time to share it with them, too; I'm thinking the first time they ask me to babysit one of their kids so they can have some alone time with their wives or friends or, say, go see a movie.

[Before I get a bunch of "yeah, kids suck" responses, I feel like I should say--in their defense--they also provide fantastic cover for getting out of things ("Love to, sorry, but my kid is... um... let's say sick") or as an excuse for your own personal failure ("I would have finished writing that novel by now, but these kids, oy, who has the time?").]

This is Star Wars Week. I don't have my tickets yet, but should soon. The youngest is two now, so they should be OK alone at home for a couple hours while Daddy takes care of some business. This is Star Wars Week and for the first time ever, it's Kid Proof. I've thrown out all the pineapple. Just in case.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


PS- Don't get comfy. I can almost guarantee this will not be the last Star Wars themed post of the week. Welcome to Dork City, Population: You.

Friday, May 13, 2005
Pops Revealed
You must scroll down. Sorry, can't be helped...

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Thursday, May 12, 2005
I'm Like "Whoa!" And He's All "Woe" So I Go "Wha?" And He's Like "Yeah"
I was all ready to leave the carnage of yesterday's post behind, but I guess it's just not meant to be. It's too bad too because I have some very strong thoughts to share about the persistent existence of Manhattan Transfer. But that will have to wait.

Since this business of the murder of an entire family happened within 100 miles of me and inside the imaginary lines that make up the long, straight borders of Riverside County, the local paper is treating it with just the right amount of total lack of reserve. Four full pages with pictures and diagrams of the layout of the house, where all the bodies were found, full transcripts of the 911 call (in which the person calling never actually says anything)... The Second Coming of Jesus would get less coverage. Unless of course it happened in, say, Palm Springs or something.

Lots of gross details are coming out about the massacre. What I'm disturbed most about is the computer print-out suicide-note the shooter left behind. It's got some lyrics to a Los Lonely Boys song called "Heaven" and the following haunting couplet: "Woe is me. I'm looking forward to seeing you in the next life".

Man. As all of you have recently learned, I'm something of an expert on the subject of poetry and I have to say, as a closing remark, that just plain sucks. Not only does it not rhyme, but the lines are all disproportionate. Sure, maybe it's supposed to be free-form, but you can forget about iambic pentameter. No structure at all. It's just sort of... I don't know, on-the-nose.

Plus, "woe is me"? Who says that? Maybe 70 year old Looney Toons cartoons, but that's Elmer Fudd after being outsmarted by the rabbit he's hunting. Again. People laugh, but being out-thought by a 6' tall rodent--I don't care if it talks or not, it's still a rodent--is some heavy, heavy existential shit. Plus he's got the speech impediment and the hair-growth issues... it's an unending cycle of aggression and depression for that poor giant-headed bastard. If anyone deserves a "woe is me", it's him.

And Los Lonely Boys. OK sure, they're the biggest thing in Spanglish pop-folk-rock since Los Lobos, but we're talking about a grown white man here. Los Lonely Boys is music for... you know what, I don't even know who. Someone is buying this stuff, but I wouldn't have assumed the primary demographic was financially-strapped murder-spree-capable monoglot Anglos. Not if you gave me a million guesses and a bag full of hints.

To be fair though--the paper printed all the lyrics to the song--that "Heaven" song is some depressing shit. Not shoot-all-your-family-members-while-they-sleep depressing, but definitely in the contemplate-a-bottle-of-sleeping-pills realm.

Without a doubt the most startling and disturbing thing about the whole 4 full page story and two-panel full-color pull-out section was that I know now that there is a little girl living somewhere in Riverside County whose name is Audi.

It's so heartbreakingly shocking and completely unbelievable I'm going to repeat that entire paragraph: Without a doubt the most startling and disturbing thing about the whole 4 full page story and two-panel full-color pull-out section was that I know now that there is a little girl living somewhere in Riverside County whose name is Audi.

In the course of interviewing people at the school the murdered children attended, they talked to a lady dropping off her niece. I'm sure she said some very heartfelt things and whatnot about how sad it all is and how nice the kids were, but it all went flying out of my head when I learned her niece's name was Audi.

Like the car Audi, really? I'd like so so much to convince myself it's short for Audrey or something. It is a newspaper, so maybe it's a typo for what is really just an odd alternate spelling, like "Audri".

Hang on, I'm going to check it again just to be sure.

Fuck me, it says Audi.

I really want to give her parents some kind of credit--just so I can maybe possibly understand and this one unreconcilable fact won't drive me completely mad--like at least they didn't name her Volvo because it sounds like "Vulva" and kids can be cruel, but man, I just don't think I can make the logical leap past the brick-wall of the fact that they named their child after a Swedish automobile corporation. Are they Swedish? Maybe they're German. I guess it doesn't matter. The point is they're a) foreign and b) not a little girl's name.

OK, I'm getting too worked up. The point of this blog, as usual, is to be constructive, even in the face of the whole nasty nihilistic world. As usual, I try to leave you with a little gem, something to tuck neatly in your rectum and sneak past the overseers at the mine for you to take home and cherish after a thorough cleaning or six.

Look, if you're despondent about finances, you don't murder your kids. Is that only obvious to me? If you want to off yourself, that's fine, but your kids... Everyone knows you're supposed to sell them on the black market. You know what I can get for blue-eyed gringo children in Honduras? And I have three of them. One flight to Tegucigalpa and I own my house outright.

I bring love, people. Nothing but love.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.8


PS- I'd link you directly to the story, but the paper's site requires one of those annoying free registration things so they can track you and spam you about important shit you don't need. But if you're still determined to get your up-to-the-minute news about the greater Riverside area, the Press-Enterprise is the place for you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005
House Of Horrors
So much for my self-imposed rules. According to the volume of comments left, I'd say the public has spoken, the verdict being We Loves Poetry.

I'm not going to take a lot of time to analyze the quality of the responses in any kind of depth. Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows "content" as a priority for me ranks well below attention-generation. If I were to waste a bunch of time thinking about it I might come to the conclusion that nearly half the 30+ comments from yesterday's post were written by me and the ones that weren't fell along the lines of "Wow, I hate this, please stop." But thinking about that makes me sad and I've already taken the maximum number of Oxy-Contin my body can tolerate this morning. I simply can't swallow any more pain for the next 4-6 hours.

Let's talk about something happier, like bloody multiple murders involving shooting children while they sleep.

Exposure to the Bucket has made several of you aware of Riverside County. For that I'm not sure if I should congratulate myself or apologize. Actually whether I should apologize or not is potentially blogpost content for the future, so I'm going to put a pin in that and set it aside for now. Just think: YOU could be the recipient of a magical wellspring of contrition on a similar scale to yesterday's post! Is it too early to say "you're welcome"?

Several of you no doubt noticed yesterday's news that some guy walked through his house and murdered his entire family and then shot himself. All of the news outlets identified the place this took place as "Riverside County". The brain-wave control machine owned by the powerful secret cabal that runs the Greater Riverside County Board of Tourism and Chambers of Commerce has been activated and it commands me to spring to the defense of my community. I really would prefer to watch Jerry Springer and eat Cheetos, but what can you do? It's a brain-wave control machine operated by a powerful secret cabal.

First of all, I'd like to direct all of you to the helpful Riverside County map included in my post from a few weeks ago. This so-called community of so-called "Garner Valley" clearly falls inside the large area between I-215 and the Arizona border labeled "Tortoises". At the moment I'm at a loss as to the tortoises' involvement in this tragedy, but I assure you someone will get to the bottom of it. Right now I'm leaning more in the direction of talking-tortoise-told-crazy-bastard-to-do-it rather than the invasion-of-armed-tortoises. It's not that I'd put it past the tortoises to do people harm, but this crime was committed with a pistol. From what I understand of your typical desert tortoise, it likes its carnage of a more up-close-and-personal that you can't get from a gun. Also: no fingers.

Look, despite my relative proximity to the crimes, I have no particular insight into this thing. That's one of the things my wife likes about me, I think: no particular empathy or compatibility of thought with fucked-up family-murderers. Sometimes bad shit just happens and since we live in America, it usually happens with guns. Not always, but usually. We just got finished out here with a 20-year-old case where an escaped felon killed an entire family while they slept--including a neighbor boy over that night for a sleep over--except for one son who survived being shot several times and lay there, left for dead, unable to move, staring at his murdered mother for 11 hours until he was found. Then there was the case where a son killed his mother and then, in a panic to cover it up, cut off her head and hands because he'd seen it done to Ralphie on The Sopranos. And the guy who kidnapped, raped and killed a 5-year-old Orange County girl and dumped her body on this side of the county line...

Hang on, incoming transmission from the brain-wave control machine. I'm supposed to say our housing is relatively affordable and we're half way between the beaches and the mountains. And... what's that? Smog makes lovely sunsets? No, I'm not saying that. That's just stupid.

I guess what I'm saying is don't think ill of us out here just because we seem to have a little over our allotment of crazy homicidal fuckers. Crazy shit happens all over the country and the world all the time, every day. I mean, right now in West Virginia they're setting up a West Virginia Celebrity Walk of Fame. Don Knotts is set to be the first recipient. What's more fucked up than that?

The point is this: Come to Riverside County. Your kids probably will survive. And at least we're not West Vir-fucking-ginia.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.0


Tuesday, May 10, 2005
When I started this monstrosity 10 months ago, there were several unspoken ground-rules I set out for myself. Sure most of them have been broken one by one, but the general overall spirit still remains: my goal was to avoid writing and maintaining a blog that was so intensely personal that it would be impossible for anyone to be interested in it but me. And possibly my mom. Like I said, they were unspoken. Let me spoke them now.

1) No posts about how wonderful and precious my kids are. Everyone can just assume that's kind of a given so I commence with the public mockery.

2) No pictures of my kids/dog/etc. It's a short leap from active, vital written blog to lazy photoblog. Besides, it isn't wise to feed the army of silent stalkers out there. I give them enough to adore with the magic of my words.

3) No song-lyrics-as-blogpost. I figure if I'm going to take all the time typing a couple dozen words out, they might as well by my self-important bullshit and not somebody else's self-important bullshit for which they've already been paid and don't need my help selling.

4) No memes. They allegedly say something about you, but frankly the fact that they come as quizzes or questionnaires make them as much about the form as the person. Anything that distracts from me as the subject is suspect. Besides, what does it really tell you about me to know that a 5-question internet quiz says that If I Were A Condiment, I Would Be: Sweet Pickle Relish? Would you say "Hm, that's strange, I always thought of Pops as more of a Spicy Deli Mustard..."? No, I thought not.

5) No poetry. This one I've covered before in this ancient post. Plus I know it makes some Bucketeers sad.

Now just because I choose to follow these self-imposed guidelines does not mean that I am allowed to walk around the blogosphere casting aspersions on those who operate under their own guidelines (it's silly I know, but some people operate blogs with no reference to my preferences whatsoever, if you can believe it), leaving emotional destruction in my wake.

My curse is that I sometimes I don't understand the ruinous power of my forceful personality. I forget that the sun-like gravitational pull of my mind and body, while keeping the planets in orbit and aligned in perfect order, can also be overwhelming--if not catastrophically destructive--if randomly or thoughtlessly misapplied. That which gives heat and light, that structures the seasons and fosters growth, warmth in the cold, respite from the encroaching darkness, can also scorch and wither. Such is my burden.

When I forget myself, the consequences can be devastating. Such was the case a few days ago when, despite my lengthy assurances of good-humored ribbing, my comments in re a young lady's poetry blogpost seems to have utterly destroyed her will to live. This delicate soul, this fragile shrinking-flower of a woman, I left crippled and sobbing in the corner of a dark room somewhere because I was careless with my words. OK, it probably was more like the cabin of an airplane than a dark room as she jetted between assignments in her job as what I can only assume is International Assassin For Hire, but the point is still valid.

Let it never be said that Pops does not recognize when he is in the wrong. Let it also never be said that Pops has gonorrhea because penicillin totally cures that right up. But mostly let it never be said about the first thing.

As an act of public penance, in an effort to clear the boards, I will offer myself as a public sacrifice. Here now I will post an example of my own poetry, composed on the fly as I sit here and type, to the horror and consternation of my readers, knowing full well the mockery and disdain I will endure and deserve because of it. I do this not for myself except to say I wish to God I could think of something else to post about today.

Here goes. May Jesus forgive me for what I am about to do.


An Poem
by Pops

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

Yeah, OK, I was cheating. Caught me. Start over.

An Poem
by Pops

O camembert, horseradish, mint-mushy peas
Kidneys and sausage of black-pudding blood
I sit and I wonder, lost in desperate tortured thought
at how English people can eat that shit
I find it
to be
revolting mostly.

On Dasher! On Dancer! On Donna Brazile!
Hairspray and hooves in mortality's race
Politics is dirtier than white foster kids
what sort
of a bastard
would say
such a thing?

I sit in a booth made of self-destroyed glass
Leaking from a thousand soft razor-cuts
I'd rather then bathe in grain alcohol
Than write
more poems
for whatever reason

Thinking compassion, that's always the trick
But penance or no, I'll prob'ly still be a dick

I hope that suffices. Poetry-hating Bucketeer SJ might complain, but I would simply offer that this is in pre-emptive retaliation for her (and everyone else's) Amazing Race post tomorrow, which I am certain not to be interested in.

There, now I've offended someone else, I'm sure. It's important to keep the apology-need current. It helps if you run out of things to blog about.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5


Monday, May 09, 2005
The Good Ole Days
With the possible exception of which porn I watch, I'd say I'm a fairly particular human being.

It's not uncommon for people to cling to familiarity whenever it offers itself as a source of comfort and stability as a sconce against the rampaging chaos of sensory experience. It is the job of the intellect to mediate the wild mass of input data, to organize, to categorize, to identify--each person's own working within the limits of its ability--to impose order on the orderless, to make intelligible--even understandable--the random glut of happenings in the common course of human experience.

Around us we construct massive mnemonics to aid us in our fight against the madness outside of our own heads--square buildings assigned numbers along straight roads named after presidents or trees. The choices for naming and categorizing are severely and purposefully limited in order to ensure repetition, the cornerstone of familiarity and the basis of all habits of thought. The idea extends not only to labels but also to abstract ideas. Entire wings of academia are devoted purely to the organization of thoughts in search of recognizable symmetry, to find the peg that fits the whole, so we can sit back and smile and sigh, certain in the ludicrous idea that "history repeats itself".

Habits of thought, once established, demand constant reaffirmation to shore up a sense of permanence and surety that is not only false but utterly unsustainable because unrealizable.

When habits of thought are threatened, the result is reaction, the insistence on the preservation of one ordering or another, whether it truly ever actually existed or not.

The mildest form of this reaction is basic conservatism--politically or any other type, which all humans share in one form or another--which is normally based on the basic mistake of referring back to an idealized past that never, for lack of a better word, existed.

I don't want to get myself into trouble by drawing unwarranted parallels, but I'd be remiss if I failed to point out that the more extreme examples--where background habits of thought have been heightened to preeminence when all the rest had broken down--include racism and fascism.

On a personal level, such dogged inflexibility is often diagnosed by varying degrees as obsessive-compulsive disorder which leads to execessive tooth brushing or hand washing or blogging six times a week even when you have nothing to say but a bunch of pseudo-intellectual bullshit.

The trauma of change is what reaction seeks to avoid at all costs. Deviation is equated with deviancy, dissent with dissention and sedition, aberration with abhorrance. By these means people can equate liberals with treason (I refuse to link the book that does so) and an audience will exist that will buy it. The basic idea--again, emphasized and heightened when other basic assumptions either fail or are under real assault--is that to oppose the official line is to support those who seek to destroy it, where liberal can equal terrorist with no ground for consideration in between.

This is all slipshod, watered-down phenomenology, the basic gist of which is that change is bad and when perception is threaten, people react badly. This is why (in part) a person will occasionally shoot up their office after they get fired, unable to cope with the idea of not only financial instability, but losing the safety and structure of reporting to the same place 5 days per week. The weeks lose their structure, the days follow, shortly to be followed by minutes and seconds and the maelstrom comes crashing in. Everything loses its meaning, making extreme acts of nihilistic nullification possible.

Either that or their boss was just an asshole who really had it coming. Or maybe his head was kind of target-y shaped. It's hard to say.

This isn't meant to be a threat or anything, but all this is stuff they should have considered before they rearranged everything at the grocery store I go to. Sodas on the back wall when they used to be right in the middle just makes no fucking sense. People's mental furniture is not something you just mess with willy-nilly because you decide all of a sudden you're going to redecorate. Paint the walls, fine, but leave the goddamn hot dog buns where I can find them. I like hot dog buns, but they're not porn; I can't just pick them up wherever and be happy with them.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.3


Sunday, May 08, 2005
It's A Schmaltz, Schmaltz World
To all the mothers who read this, I'd like to say thanks. Your children don't need you as much as you think. You should spend more time here reading my interesting, interesting posts.

To Mrs. Pops I'd like to apologize for not planning Mother's Day better. In retrospect the magician was a mistake. In my defense he didn't say anything on his website about fitting his entire fist in any of his orifices, let alone... well, the less said the better. I don't know if it was magic or not, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed a little. And yes, I'm sure the donkey is going to be fine.

In addition to being Mother's Day, this weekend was also my youngest's second birthday (Saturday) and our trip to Disneyland (Friday).

At the risk of sounding obnoxious, I've been to Disneyland approximately 17 jillion times. It's just the way it works out here. Tourists go to Disney World in Florida, Anaheim Disneyland in for southern Californians. We have an insatiable appetite for overpriced pre-packaged entertainment and tepid dressed-up carny rides. Sure, we all go through our teenage Six Flags Magic Mountain rebellion--with its forest of flashy big-ass, vomit-inducin', neck-snappin', aneurysm-burstin' roller coasters--but that phase usually ends right around the time you start having to pay for your own gas. It's in Valencia, way the fuck out in the wilds of the north Valley, three freeways from everywhere. That and after the second or third race riot, the place just starts to lose its luster.

In the end we all come back to Disneyland, to Uncle Walt and his clean fake streets populated by giant fake animals cramming fake happiness up your ass at a rate of $25/lb.

Yes, it's sanitized and false, but goddammit it's clean and it's got rides for kids that go under 70 miles per hour and don't keep me and the missus up for three weeks comforting away the night-terrors. Every so often you get a kid with an unfortunate reaction to giant fiberglass inanimate flying elephants, but not in my family so far. It's good stuff.

As you know, the Bucket here is wholly dedicated to doing good in the world and helping my fellow man. Fuck you, it is too.

Keeping that in mind, I've prepared a primer for those out of state who might be thinking of visiting our humble version of the Magic Kingdom in the near (or not so near) future.

[Note: it's just possible I'm using the word "prepared" a little more loosely than you're used to.]

1) Take a second mortgage out on your house. If you're from out of state and you don't own a house, stay home. You can't afford it.

2) A case in point: lunch of three hamburger "combos" (this means +fries), one kids' meal (chicken, fries, drink), three drinks will run you $35.04. I'm not kidding.

3) If you're so excited about being in southern California and can't wait to try some Mexican food, do not eat at the Mexican place inside the park, Rancho del Zocalo. Save yourself $80 and get a microwave burrito from a gas station. Quality and service are guaranteed to be better. Plus, you can always leave the park and go to Juana Maria just down Katella Ave. (510 E Katella Ave.) in Orange. If you're going to annihilate your digestive tract anyway, you might as well enjoy it going down.

4) The adjacent Disney California Adventure park sucks balls. It's possible I'm still bitter about them building it on top of what used to be the Disneyland parking lot and making me tram in (with kids and stroller and every fucking thing else) from distant off-site satellite parking, but I don't think so. It's got like two decent rides and it costs exactly the same to get in as Disneyland. And no, your Disneyland ticket will not get you in to California Adventure.

5) Don't plan to go sightseeing outside of Disneyland. Anaheim is a shithole designed specifically to support freeway overpasses. Los Angeles is not just a shithole, it's a huge shithole no map in the world will be able to save you from getting lost in. The beaches, in point of fact, are actual, literal shitholes. The answer to "where's that smell coming from?" is always "the water".

6) You may not crash at my place. No, not even for one night.

7) I'm totally serious about #6.

8) There's no two ways about it: you will see gay people at Disneyland. If you're offended by the sight of two men hugging or two women holding hands in very serious non-sorority-sister type of ways, this is not the place for you. Disney loves them some gays. Their money spends just as well as yours does, despite what your pastor or president may have told you to the contrary. It doesn't bother me because I know it keeps people like you, Hypothetical Offended Reader, away from me and mine.

9) Stay as far from Main Street as you can when the parade is about to start (first one is around 4 pm) unless you enjoy being yelled at by light-baton wielding 19 year olds in maroon polyester uniforms or spat on by 80-year-old women trying to save precious curb space for their grandkids.

10) Never, under any circumstance, go through Adventureland. It just can't be done. They ship people in from all around the world to fill that place. It's crowded to a standstill before the park opens. The Indiana Jones ride is OK, but nothing is worth trying to maneuver through that solid mass of sweating humanity in shirts with no sleeves. For the love of Christ, just go around. That's why Jesus created Frontierland in the first place.

I could literally go on forever, but I won't. The place is lovely, despite my bitching. For the 50th anniversary, everything has been freshly repainted and given gold accents. Gold, gold everywhere. Disneyland is totally pimped out. Sell one of your kidneys and get there, ASAP.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.5


PS- if you do go, make sure you tell an employee how much you enjoyed the Disneyland Railroad passenger train. My in-laws' company designed and built the signaling system that controls the trains. Seriously. Unless one of them crashes or something, then I have no idea what you're talking about.

Friday, May 06, 2005
Friday Post! Friday Post!
Responding to the clamor of my readers, I present to you this unexpected Friday post.

Is it love or OCD? The world may never know.

It's 11:38 pm PDT, so it's actually Saturday where most of you live, but let's be honest, most of you live in middle-of-nowhere shit-hole towns, the comparison to which gives California the sparkling luster it enjoys. It's that or the lemon scented Pledge we use. We use a lot of lemon scented Pledge.

It will make many of you smile to know that I am in pain. On one day I managed to experience both torrential rainfall and a gnarly head-to-foot sunburn. No you may not touch it.

I suppose I should provide some content, so here goes.

Thanks to Sitemeter, I learned today that the Bucket is the #3 search result on Google Philippines for the string prayer for small boobs.

And with that I bid you adieu. I am off to seek fitful sleep, driven near madness from otherwise lovely cotton sheets rubbing against my sun-damaged skin. Of course I could go back to sleeping in a bathtub full of Vaseline, but ever since I forgot to lock the door that one time, the kids just won't stop with the questions.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.6


PS: Just because I can time-stamp this whenever I want to doesn't mean I will or did. Cynics.

Thursday, May 05, 2005
Land Of Make Believe That Don't Believe In Me
Buenos dias, tout le monde!

Let us all bow our heads and remember the brave men who fought and died on a battlefield near Puebla, Mexico, proud native Mexicans versus the capitalist running-dog forces of imperialist France who was bent on exerting colonial hegemony and inspiring lots of tiresome intellectual discourse amongst boring historians in the coming centuries.

But the intrepid Mexicans, armed only with coconuts and iguanas, outnumbered by a ratio of 7,000:1, destroyed the evil French army by surprising them at lunch. Amid the horror of scattered picnic baskets, foie gras and brie trampled into the mud and blood of the battlefield, the French were herded back onto their ships and shoved off to sea.

That was May 5th, 1862, a day long remembered in this part of the world, where Mexicans fought and died so that white people in California could drink tequila on a work day once per year.

And if that weren't enough of a flimsy excuse to be drunk by 10 am, today is also the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. Back in 1955 Walt Disney, a wandering transient at the time, found a way at last to realize his lifelong dream--to adequately mark the 93rd anniversary of the Battle of Puebla--by opening his theme park to the public on this date.

I don't know how many drunks you have to roll for loose change in order to start up a theme park, but Walt did it and just in time. Luckily for us in southern California he chose Anaheim as the site to realize his dream (one assumes the train he was living on broke down nearby), transforming a sleepy backwater community from this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

To this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

...practically over night.

Within 10 years the Angels were playing at a new stadium just down Katella Ave., the LA Rams moved in a few years later. Businesses and people flooded in over the next several decades, building a cultural identity in Orange County entirely separate from Los Angeles in the north, all aimed at creating an entire population whose primary reason for existence in 2005 is to make fun of me because I live in Riverside, sans theme park and with an average annual income of less than $6,000,000. Fuckers.

Thanks a heap, Uncle Walt.

Even past that momentous occasion, today just happens to be National Prayer Day. I don't know about the rest of the country, but I can guarantee that a significant portion of the population down here in SoCal will be on their knees tonight invoking God's name. Their hands will be gripping the seat and their faces will be half-way into the bowl, watching their enchiladas happen in reverse, screaming between heaves "Jesus, Jesus, make it stop, I swear I'll never drink again". These are all things you should have thought of before you stole California from Mexico, gringo. "Yeah yeah, swallow the worm. It's good luck." Dumbass.

Man, I don't even have time to get into the fact that it's election day in the UK. Sorry, I know this has become your go-to place for UK election coverage. I feel I've let you down horribly.

On top of everything else, yesterday the Golden Palace.com paid $5,001 for Britney Spears' pregnancy test. The ramifications are huge for the whole Stuff Stained With Celebrity Bodily Excretions memorobilia market. I still have that handkerchief I haven't washed since that time I lent it to Martin Landau. I'm not saying what he used it for, but I bet I could get $25 for it.

I'm covering a lot very quickly, but it can't be helped. My wife is taking tomorrow off and we're supposed to be making a journey to Disneyland (or as we call it in the 'hood, "tha Dizzle-nizzle") in honor of my youngest's 2nd birthday. The point is I probably won't be able to post tomorrow, so you get it all at once. The bad news is this means no installment of Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing, which is a shame because I have like 2,500 words of Orlando Bloom material all laid out and ready to go.

The trip could be called off, however. It's supposed to rain today and tomorrow, so who knows. Maybe you'll get lucky and the skies will open up. Or maybe tonight I'll swallow the worm and I won't be able to move in the morning. You could always pray.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.7


Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Wagons North!
The problem I have with praying is that most people do it wrong. The best thing about being Catholic is that you acknowledge God, but you don't expect shit from Him, at least not immediately. Down the road you expect a condo in one of the nicer neighborhoods in Heaven (close to the Starbucks and not too far from Muslim Paradise with all the hot virgins), but other than that you sort of accept the fact that we're stuck with this damned "free will" crap, which is a fancy theological way of saying we're on our own.

But sometimes, man, you just wish you were a fundamentalist so maybe--just maybe--you could call in a solid Jesus owes you for that time you burned all your devil music CDs and replaced them all with Debbie Boone and Marie Osmond.

Sadly for me I know it doesn't work that way. I know that no matter how I pray, the heavens will never part and the hand of God will never reach down and smite the self-proclaimed Minutemen. He wouldn't even need to smite them per se, just a collective case of genital herpes or really itchy scalp eczema would be fine.

Not satisfied with straightening out the whole border situation with Mexico after one month of work, the "Minutemen" are talking now about expanding their idiot project to the Canadian border as well.

Cynics might claim this is an obvious PR move in order to blunt the charge of racism against them. Or further, it might be claimed that they wouldn't be interested in stopping educated English speaking white people from crossing who generally would do so in a vehicle on a road or in a port with a checkpoint staffed by actual immigration officials but rather might possibly be targeting those who are using Canada to get to America from third country, one with lots more sunshine and an abundance of skin pigmentation.

If I were Canada, I'd be pissed off. Not at the "Minutemen" but at the evil foreigners who say all the right things to gain access to your country, drink Molson, pretend to like hockey and then at the first opportunity zing! They're off south, headed for places with average annual snowfall you don't have to measure in fathoms.

I guess I should give the "Minutemen" the benefit of the doubt, but it's not going to be easy. If they show up in Detroit in June and spend 30 days with their stupid binoculars looking at Lake Erie, I'll know they're full of shit. And that's saying something because I've been to Detroit in June and it's no picnic.

But if they show up in their jeeps, their chubby little accountant hands frozen to the steering wheel as they slowly patrol the wide-open spaces of the North Dakota-Saskatchewan border in December and January, then maybe I'll start to take them seriously.

So for the time being I'll keep my prayers to myself. Not that it would matter anyway, as from what I understand God is spending most of his time now speaking through Pat Robertson. That or figuring out the best and most spectacularly painful way to wipe him off the face of the earth. Either way, He's busy.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.1



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