Pops' Bucket
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Try New Vomit Pops!
Pops sick. Lots of vile things being shot from my body projectile-style. I'm never sure if it's viral or divine. Either I have the flu or Jesus is encouraging me to be bulimic. Spontaneous purgings are so confusing.

I would like to write more, but so weak... so very very weak...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Ennui Go
So yesterday I'm flipping channels, happy to be back in Pacific time, where the baseball road-games come on at 5 pm. The late afternoon is for baseball watching with my kids. That means that once again, the night belongs to Michelob. And vodka. And porn. And miniature York Peppermint Patties.

Round about 5, I check the local broadcast station to see if they're carrying the game. The Dish TV infographic says Elimidate. OK, changing station... hang on... is that... Honey, come in here! President Bush in on Elimidate!

Unfortunately as I left it on the station for a few seconds, my perfect world where the president of the United States participates in tacky, forced non-reality reality shows featuring blurred-out boobies was destroyed by the cruel intervention of the truth: Elimidate had been preempted by a presidential speech.

Immediately I thought two things: 1) there are lots of people in trailer parks and dorm rooms everywhere swearing at their televisions, achy and twitchy from Elimidate withdrawals and 2) what's that other station that carries the games? Oh yeah, four-one-seven...

A while later, I started to get that old pre-vacation feeling I used to get, where I think about concepts for blogposts in my head while life happens beyond the gauzy pale of my bleary-eyed compositional stupor. Dropping into that mode of semi-conscious disengagement was an enormous relief. I'm almost back to the point I was before I left, where I only have to pay attention enough during any given 24-hour period for one thing to either happen to me or catch my eye, however fleeting or on the far edge of perception, anything to pad a bunch of bullshit words around and vomit out as a half-digested morsel for my readers' enjoyment.

I was going to drag out the old trope about the sand in the oyster that becomes the pearl, but it really didn't seem relevant or appropriate concerning this blog. I think of myself more as the dung beetle pushing before him a (relatively) giant ball of poo to no particular end or purpose. I'm almost certain you'll agree the latter is more metaphorically fitting.

Yesterday, then, my one thing turned out to be not watching the president's speech on Iraq. That's right, I derived a supreme feeling of accomplishment, enough to justify my existence for an entire day, from the act of non-participation. Yes, I'm all the way back from vacation.

This blog has been around for nearly a year now (10 days to go until that anniversary... consider yourselves warned). As I sat there on my couch, mustering all my mighty reserves of energy to steadfastly and heroically not pay attention to a presidential speech on the life-and-death foreign policy issue of the day, I thought wow, I've come a really long way as a blogger.

There was a time not so long ago when any appearance by our Benighted Leader would be good for three days worth of blog posts: one to make fun of the content, another to make fun of his vocabulary and one more to figure out how to link him sexually with a farm animal of some kind.

But those were the heady, serious days before the election, when we were all laboring under the now-laughable misconception that the shit we thought about other shit mattered.

And now look at me. I got 750 words of blogpost in from a speech I didn't even have the patience or political conscience to watch.

Wow, hey, just like a real columnist.

Does this mean I'm progressing or regressing?

It's all so meta, I can't even handle it. All I know is I've got a lot of shit going on right now besides paying attention to politics. For instance, we bought one of those really big bags of Cheetos from Costco last weekend. That's four days' work right there.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.8


Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Today's Terror Alert Level: Blood Red
Very briefly:

Anyone else remember this magazine cover?
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The date on that one? July 30, 2001.

Anyone know what happened one month and twelve days later?

Now we have a string of stories like this running all through the news...

The conclusion is obvious. It's like the way they say dogs can detect earthquakes before they hit. Except this time it's sharks and instead of earthquakes it's an attack on American soil by foreign terrorists bent upon the destruction of our way of life.

When the sharks start to frenzy, stay out of buildings any higher than, say, seven storeys. And if you have to travel any great distance, why not drive? Even if your car gets commandeered by suicide terrorists, the worst they can do is take out a gas station mini-mart.

Oh, and probably don't go swimming in the ocean until after the inevitable catastrophic terrorist attack.

The fact that I, a lowly sub-basement-level blogger, am bringing you this information instead of the people sworn to protect us is yet another sign of the failure of the Department of Homeland Security. If they can't even put together the shark-attack/terrorism connection, I don't see how anyone could have any kind of confidence in them at all. First they missed that "Bin Laden Determined To Attack Within The United States" memo and now this.

We are so fucked.

Duck and cover, people.


Church Of Bucket, Scientist
I hate to tease you all, just getting back as I did from a long absence and then putting up posts like this one telling you how I won't be able to manufacture a proper post right away today, but this is just how it's gotta be.

The responsible thing to do, obviously, would be to convert to Christian Science and eschew all forms of modern medicine for me and my children. That way we could stay home instead of having to go to doctor appointments during prime blogging hours.

But that's no guarantee of free time. See, then every time my kid has an asthma attack, we'd all have to sit around reading scripture and praying and shit like that instead of just zapping him with the nebulizer like we do now. Who knows how long that could take? I don't even know where to find the right kind of snakes to hold during the services...

I guess the point is, once again, that having kids is a giant time suck whether you're a slave to modern corporate medicine or crazy-ass ideas of spontaneous holy-ghost panacaea. If you haven't procreated yet, don't. Go to the movies. Ones without singing animals and everything.

There may be more later, but no guarantees. Start praying now.


Monday, June 27, 2005
'Tis Of Thee
As an admitted liberal, I'll be the first one to tell you some of the crazier-sounding ideas about us floating around Red State America are true. We like hybrid cars, we wear sandals, we like Europeans and we only ever--ever--use ropes made of hemp. Even some of the more damning charges I'll admit are true, though maybe not for some of the reasons you might think. For instance, I think more people should be gay, but not because I'm all non-religious and permissive. It's just that I don't like standing in long lines at baseball games and auto parts stores.

The one thing I will argue with, though, is the idea that I as a liberal hate America. No sir, that is where I draw the line. No one can impugn my love for the country that made me, that allows me the freedom to vote, to protest and to sit on my ass all day and read blogs. My country has given me my voice, my social conscience and (indirectly) a screaming case of hemorrhoids. I'll admit, some I'm more grateful for than others.

I'll also admit that while I love America--and having just returned from seeing and experiencing distant parts of it--there are great wide swaths of it I just do not understand. My travels have left me somewhat confused and despairing for the future of my country. Some things that are simply beyond my comprehension:

-Sleeveless t-shirts. Not muscle-shirts, I mean used-to-be-sleeved t-shirts with the sleeves pulled off. Is that 4 inches of cloth really the only thing between you and total comfort?

-Fat guys with no shirts on. California gets a bad rap for being the home of really really shallow people, but maybe that's not so bad when the fatties know to keep it covered up.

-Humidity. I'm sorry, it's just not as charming as you think it is, rest-of-America. Only two of our days outside The CA were noticeably humid. Together, they more than justified the ridiculous amount I overpaid for my house.

-Eastern Daylight Time. Did you know that in certain parts of the country, things come on television at EXACTLY the same time they are advertised? While I appreciate not having to do all the math when ESPN says the Angels game comes on at 10 pm (out here, our state-issued Decoder Rings tell us that means 7 pm Pacific), who wants to watch a baseball game at 10 pm? I'm usually bombed out of my skull on alternating shooters of Old Granddad and absinthe by 9:00 EDT/6:00 PDT, latest. And I have to stay up until 1 am to finish watching the ball game? Man. You wouldn't believe the shakes.

-Snow. I didn't see any first hand, but just the thought of it is kind of absurd. Seems like a real hassle, too.

-Trees and lakes. These things are for strictly-regulated, tightly controlled environments with rangers and lifeguards and semi-annual brush fires to keep growth in check. There are places in this country where trees and lakes are allowed to breed and spawn willy-nilly, providing perfect hiding/jumping out spots for all manner of hockey-masked serial killers and amphibious water-breathing camper-eating monsters. It's like you people have never seen a Roger Corman movie.

-Smog-free air. If it doesn't fight back just a little bit when I try to suck it into my lungs, I don't want anything to do with it.

Nice as my vacation was and while I understand America is a big place, I think it's time we get it under control. One country, one culture. If I want to be confused by foreigners speaking English, I'll go to Canada.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.0


Mad wicked props to de Selby over at Diptych for anticipating my technological retardation and posting a fix for my formatting problem TWO DAYS BEFORE I KNEW IT EXISTED. That's service, people.

Of course now (as of 9:15 am in CA), HaloScan goes all wonky on me. So business as usual. More later.

I'm still reading blogs. Thank God for meth.


Sunday, June 26, 2005
Don't Call It A Comeback; I Been Here For Years
Rockin' my peers and puttin' suckas in fear, makin' the tears rain down like a monsoon... Listen to the bass go BOOM!

That's right, I posted song lyrics. Fuck the rules, I'm back, my sweet bitches. Everyone should download that LL Cool J old-school jam right now using their favorite mp3 download portal and then play it in the background when reading this. Not because it will be appropriate or in any way illuminating in conjunction with my blogpost, but just so there's something happening while you're reading. I'm trying to distract you so I can relieve some of the pressure. Coming back is hard. Expectation is a motherfucker.

As for intro music, it was down to the above from "Mama Said Knock You Out" or the following: "I bought a ticket to the world, but now I’ve come back again. Why do I find it hard to write the next line when I want the truth to be said?" It seemed so appropriate, but then I thought about it for a little bit and realized that Spandau Ballet is too pussy, even for me.

Just so everyone knows, the Dick Cheney Undisclosed Location Experience was a total fucking rip-off. Dick Cheney only showed up one time and that was via "teleconference" from a totally different undisclosed location, but I could tell it was pre-recorded. He was clearly wearing a "Go Bo!" pin.

I guess I should have known. It was just like that time I paid $1,800 for the Todd Bridges Reality Tour back in '87. Not only did I not get to bang Dana Plato, but the souvenir crack I got turned out to be some irregular-shaped rock salt. Yeah, we did get chased by a cop and I did get to smack a real live hooker, but I think the only positive life experience I can honestly say I took away from that debacle is that you should never smoke rock salt.

This Dick Cheney thing, I just don't know what I was thinking. Yeah, the two days in the duck blind with the Antonin Scalia look-alike was pretty good, but that's only because the guy playing Scalia turned out to be so cool. He didn't really look that much like Justice Scalia (mostly because of the red hair, I think), but his impersonation was dead-on. He was all "strict construction" this and "limit the power of the federal government" that... really really high-quality stuff. Just what I imagine Scalia probably might sound like. It was uncanny.

Past that... eh. Nothing worth mentioning in detail. Invade something, browbeat entire government departments into submission, usurp executive responsibility, bathe in the blood of a Peruvian virgin commingled with sweet fresh crude... all pretty predictable and cliché really.

While I was gone, though, Sitemeter tells me that while my readership has dropped slightly on a day to day basis, it hasn't disappeared completely. Considering I have had zero new content in over a week, I'd say that's pretty fucking scary. What the hell is the matter with you people? I told you I would be gone, didn't I? I'm trying to be flattered and abashed, I really am, but Jesus. There's a whole world out there not displayed on a [insert size of your monitor in inches here] inch computer screen. Go live in it. My God.

That said, I'm off to read every word of every blog linked over to the right that was posted during my absence. Let's hope that holds the demons at bay, especially once the sodium pentothal wears off. Say what you want about the people at the Dick Cheney Undisclosed Location Experience, at least they were thorough.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.998


PS-I love you all and missed you all dearly, I really did. If you tell anyone I said that, I will deny it and then track down and murder your pet(s). Do not try me on this.

PPS-I will never, ever get "True" out of my head. I blame you personally.

PPPS and UPDATE-I leave for a week and someone screws up Blogger's post formatting? Is it just me or does it refuse to post this right up under my post title, pushing the whole thing below my fabulous sidebar? I hate technology.

Friday, June 17, 2005
Goodbye, Scarecrow. I'll Miss You Most Of All
So this is it. We come to it at last, the parting of ways, if only for a little while. I think it's best if I just hurry up and go before the state of California shakes itself apart.

I am universally beloved. I realize that. I had no idea that the thought of me leaving, if only for a week, would send the earth beneath my feet into spasms of despondent grief. The epicenter of the earthquake yesterday only missed my house by 30-40 miles. It seems the state doesn't have the heart to actually kill me, but it would like to register its displeasure.

Displeasure noted, California. Mourn not overmuch, dear state of my birth. I shall return.

Some bad news: my plans to take the whole family to Gitmo for the first-hand Enemy Combatant Indefinite Holding experience has been scrapped. It turns out they're in the middle of a major expansion over there. I've been to Disneyland when they're building or working on updating some rides and I can tell you from experience that it's just not as much fun. There are temporary walls everywhere, the crowds are funnelled into tighter and tighter passages and the lines for everything else NOT closed are just plain hell.

My wife has already taken the time off work, so we're still going on vacation and I'll still be gone, but we've just had to make some drastic plan-changes. It sucks because I already bought my own copy of the Koran and everything just so I could get the full Gitmo experience, but alas... I guess instead of being urinated on or splattered with fake menstrual blood, it will have to sit idly on my bookshelf next to my never-opened Bible and fight a long, silent holy war at the molecular level where their paperback covers touch.

Luckily I was able to get a last-minute deal on a tour package. Now instead of Gitmo, we as a family are booked to take the Dick Cheney Undisclosed Location Experience. I can't tell you where we'll be going exactly because I have no idea. All I know is that sometime between midnight tonight and midnight Saturday our home will be infiltrated by Secret Service personnel, we'll all be dragged from our beds, loaded onto a black helicopter and then shuttled off to a secret, secret bunker somewhere, buried deep in the earth. For the whole week we all get to live like a Vice President, which means massages (with happy-ending) in the mornings, security briefings in the afternoons and scornful, haughty dealings with the press in the evenings. We will be fed a steady diet of fatty, expensive French--sorry, Freedom--cuisine and RNC talking points.

After it's all done, we're supposed to come out with a healthy disdain for the press, the judiciary, checks-and-balances and democracy in general. The brochure says if we're not completely satisfied with our experience, we can "go fuck [ourselves]".

I'm really looking forward to it.

It's possible that I might have some kind of encrypted and coded access to the internets while I'm away, so don't be surprised if there are mini-updates here and there. Or maybe that's a ploy to keep you coming back here and checking everyday just in case. Who can say?

Anyway, just because I'm going to be in a nuke-proof dressed-up hole in the ground beneath a mountain somewhere doesn't mean you people get off scot free, oh no. I'm assigning homework.

Your assignment is to find and then watch this film:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

There has been quite a bit of chatter over our little corner of the blogosphere about the danger of household robots, so I thought this film would be most appropriate. Tom Selleck, Kirstie Alley, Gene Simmons, murderous appliances... what else could you want? You'll never look at your toaster the same way again.

When I come back, we'll be having a round-table discussion about this film. Don't be caught unprepared. This is your final warning. No make-up work will be accepted.

All right, that's all I got. Watch this space next Sunday June 26th night at the latest (unless, like I said, surprise updates during the week... if you don't check, you won't have the instructions where to find the free candy!) for fresh Bucket.

Until then, Bucketeers, I bid you an indifferent adieu. I can't say that I will miss you, but if it makes you feel any better, my OCD will. When my fingers start air-typing at around 9 am Monday morning, I'll know it's time to medicate.

Peace out, bitches.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


Thursday, June 16, 2005
Dress Sense
I've said before that I subscribe to Newsweek. Mostly I just do it to spite William F. Buckley and the goddamn US News and World Report commercials he used to do with Tom Selleck. If there's anything in the world I'm committed to, it's stopping the Buckley-Selleck coupling from conquering the world of wonkdom one person at a time until such a time as they feel strong enough to announce their real (and obvious) intention of total world dominance. Either that or a Magnum PI movie, I'm not 100% sure. Either way, insidious and evil and must-be-stopped. I have done my part. Can you say the same?

Anyways, in the short-attention-span section of Newsweek between the front cover and the actual stories where I find out (in 350 words or less!) everything I need to know about who died and what not to wear and just what that scamp Kim Jong-Il might be up to, they have his one-sheet section called "The Technologist". Usually it's this totally boring story about the next great thing in technology that either never, ever comes to be or is about three Next Great Things late (any week now they're totally going to catch on to this iPod thing). At the bottom of this page, though, is a colorful little info-blob that always catches my mynabird eye.

It's the section called "Blogwatch". I'm interested for obvious reasons. Every week they almost totally pimp my blog, they just can't seem to get the first word of the URL right. It's ways somethinglessinterestingthanthebucket.blogspot.com. Some day it will happen, I just know it.

This week they came closest. They went out of their way to mention Go Fug Yourself. Hey, I've totally been there! Plus I read blogs that link to that one, so that's like two degrees of separation. That Kevin Bacon can suck it, I'm this much closer to world blog superstardom. It's like the time when that Hale-Bopp comet came really really close to earth, just near enough to see in all its splendor but too far to hitch a ride. I'm not really at the stage in my blog life where I'm ready for the black-Nikes-purple-shroud-cyanide-applesauce approach in the off chance that that might get me where I want to go. I'm just going to be happy in the knowledge that mainstream press acknowledgement is circling closer and closer to me specifically. And when it comes, look out. You think I'm an insufferable prick now...


OK. So I'm 31 years old now, which means I'm a little bit past the pop-culture curve. I think the last video I watched on MTV blink-182 was running through the streets of some city naked. The 18-25 demographic is something I've left thoroughly in the past by now. I'm finally reaching an age where I can drive by a high school, look at what everyone is wearing and say shit like "what the fuck is wrong with these kids?" I do that a lot, drive by high schools just as they're letting out, cruising reeeeeaaaallly slooooowly up and down the street, windows down, making loud but constructive critiques of the fashion sense of America's youth. I'd like to talk to one of them a little more in depth--preferably a young lady, because they seem so much more in tune with these sorts of things--so I might understand their influences and motivations behind the choices they make, but I haven't been able to talk one into my car yet. If I ever do, I'm sure the encounter will yield all kinds of invaluable sociological insight that I'll only be too happy to share with you all in graphic detail, complete with pictures. Tell your friends.

Here's a larger question I have, one a nubile young female high schooler in low-slung jeans and a midriff top wouldn't have the perspective to answer: isn't the Iron Cross a Nazi symbol?

I keep seeing them everywhere and I'm confused. I'm sure part of the problem is that I'm a huge dork and the association of iron crosses and Nazis comes from many hours playing Axis & Allies in sunless rooms in marathon sessions with other pasty virgins in the dark days before the existence of the History Channel.

Be that as it may, every time I see a belt buckle, a T-shirt, a nose-ring, anything with the iron-cross motif, I automatically wonder: am I morally obligated to punch this person in the face?

Here's a test. Let's see if I'm crazy. Look at every single thing on sale at this website.

Now look at this:
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Yes, I know, it's a simplistic design that could just as easily be some kind of stealth cool-kid acknowledgement of their hard-core Christianity (sorry, Xtianity) with a stylized cross, but come on. Compare again. Go ahead, I'll wait here.

See what I mean? Face-punching, right?

It's the same kind of culturally retarded non-fashion-sense that leads to disasters like this:
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It's not 100% clear, but that's a Confederate flag dress (thanks to Virtual Pus for bringing that to the attention of the world lo these many months ago). That girl didn't get punched in the face as far as I know, but she was barred from wearing that monstrosity to some damned school function or other.

I know not everyone gets that it is more than vaguely threatening to actively celebrate the ethnicity of the power-wielding majority. "But Pops, they celebrate black pride, Mexican pride, gay pride... what's wrong with showing some white pride?" Theoretically I guess nothing, but you just have to get the symbology right if you want to celebrate your lack of skin pigmentation. The Irish know this. They do it with leprechauns and green beer. Confederate battle flags, I think you'll agree Hypothetical Devil's Advocate Hillbilly, are--better or worse--a somewhat divisive reminder of a somewhat divisive historical period with some resultantly quite specific associations.

I would think that the same could be said for the iron cross, but apparenlty I'm wrong. I grant it's just possible that I'm completely out of touch. It's not just a California thing, is it? They're everywhere. I really really want to start punching faces, but I need your guys' help. If I'm going to violate my parole, I want to be sure I'm doing it for the right reasons.

In the mean time, I'm thinking of getting a tattoo finally. Something to counteract all my violent urges, something to symbolize peace and good fortune. Maybe something from really really ancient and meaningful from one of the eastern religions that nobody will really understand but me, which would make it all the more meaningful and even a conversation piece when I'm wearing my dragon muscle shirt.

I think I've finally gotten it narrowed down.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

What do you guys think? It's Hindu. Or Buddhist. I don't know, something. But it's totally original and not weighted down by any western cultural preconceptions. Juan at the tattoo parlor seems excited. He says he's got a "special needle" for jobs just like this one.

Wish me luck.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.1


PS- Tomorrow: the last fresh post for ONE WHOLE WEEK. Wake the kids, call the neighbors, set your TiVos. It's going to be one overhyped, disappointing pile of shit. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Tokyo Storm Warning
Look, let me just say up front that I am in no way hoping a tsunami hits southern California. I'm just saying it wouldn't be all negative.

First of all, I had to watch on the news this morning reporters interviewing people at beaches all up and down the coast from Santa Monica to San Clemente who had heard there was a tsunami warning and then came down to the beach to see it. How people with these types of instincts have survived a hundred thousand years of human evolution is frankly unfathomable. But consider: if a tsunami were to hit SoCal, these would be the first people to go. I'm not saying I wish them any kind of harm personally, I'm just pointing out what would be likely to happen.

Secondly, it is a well known fact that the closer your house is to breaking ocean waves, the more your house is worth. Normally for those of us in inland valleys hemmed in by mountains and smog, oceans are things we see on TV. Once a year we'll make the trek out to the coast, at least three freeways away, because after a while the primal genetic human memory longs for the earthy feeling of sand in your pants and a cleansing, healthy sinus-cavity douche with sewage-befouled salt water. But for the most part, we inlanders know to stay away, especially if we have a seagull phobia.

If a tsunami were to strike all of a sudden, pushing the shoreline in a few miles (if only temporarily), our little smog-collecting mountains might look a little different from this side. Sure we'd still have meth labs and trailer parks (quite often all at once) and miles and miles of useless desert populated by blood-hungry tortoises, but a tsunami puts us this much closer to being beach-front. Can't hurt the property values is all I'm saying. Again, not wishing it on anyone, just pointing some things out.

Of course the resultant catastrophic loss of life and property would be... well, I guess I already said "catastrophic" didn't I? So no, I guess in the end I don't want us to have a tsunami in SoCal. Mostly because then I'd have to explain it all to my kids.

My oldest boy, as most of you know, is in Catholic school. What I'm finding out is that when your kid is in Catholic school, they talk a lot more about death than they might in your average public school kindergarten. This means my apple-cheeked little innocent is being slowly turned into a trembling, brooding, black-souled existentialist by the people to whom I have committed his daily care. Their message is technically about Jesus and how much fun it would be to die. All he can think about is how being dead might cut into his kickball schedule.

So me being the stay-at-home Pops, I get all the heavy death questions from my little Kierkegaard. Because I'm a coward, this usually involves lots of sweating and stuttering on my part as I try to explain how I've never actually been dead before so I don't know for sure what happens afterward, but I'll take what the good people at his school are selling because hey, eternal bliss or whatever don't sound half bad.

The fits of existential angst come and go with my boy. Yesterday they were set off by our dog killing some kind of a rodent in our backyard.

My son's class has a pet hamster. I'm about 99% sure it's rabid and carrying scabies. I haven't examined it in any close detail, it's just an assumption I make about all rodents. Can't be too careful. Just because God hates me and knows a special kind of infinite cruelty, this common, very dead field rodent looked exactly like a hamster. Cue 6-year-old nervous breakdown.

When it comes to any sort of pest with an exoskeleton and more than 4 legs, it's all me around my house. Crickets, spiders, flies, what have you. But if it has a vascular system and any kind of fur, I'm gone. I want no part. Even the dead ones Mrs. Pops is in charge of disposal. So when Fluffy the Yard Rat turned up dead at the hands (paws?) of my dog, I was actually quite proud of the otherwise useless mongrel.

My boy, however, dropped into full brood. "She killed it, that's not nice! When I go to heaven, will I see that mouse there? I hope so."

Since I've been reading Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil (still!), I wanted very much to tell him how proud he should be that our dog has transcended the false antipodes of so-called morality rooted in the slave mentality of the human herd perpetuated by Plato, then Christianity and finally in modern ideas of egalitarian democracy.

Instead I tried out the Circle of Life approach where I explained how dogs are stupid and they have an instinct to hunt.

I was going for The Lion King but somehow, as I was listening to myself, came across all frighteningly Ted Nugent. "The big animals kill the small animals, and that's just how it goes", not adding "So stop your crying you pussy and help me skin this kill." And then we ate its heart.

Later when I was inside trying not to gag at the thought of what was going on when my wife was picking up the rodent carcass with the pooper-scooper shovel thingy, I realized something about myself: I sure as fuck ain't Ted Nugent. And no, it's not just because I don't have the hair for it.

So for the sake of my sanity and the general psychic well-being of my children, I don't want a tsunami to hit anywhere near us. I don't even want to think about how many yard-rats something like that would kill.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8


Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Crossed Up
Howard Stern will always be successful. The reason for this is because there will always be 13 year old boys, no matter how hard we try to eliminate them with a toxic mixture of TV, Mountain Dew and Taco Bell food.

I'm not going to lie, I don't understand the appeal. How a guy with Stern's horrible, toneless voice got a job in radio in the first place is beyond me (and yes, I've seen Private Parts, so technically I do actually know, I'm talking rhetorically here). I've also been confounded by the idea of listening to someone ogle strippers and porn-stars on the radio, but apparently that's the formula for success. Say things like "Oh my God, look at you" (again, to your radio audience) and "Let me see your breasts" and then repeat the word "vagina" at least once every quarter hour.

Oooh, wait. I get it all of a sudden. Never mind.

Howard had the book and then the movie, so he's had some success crossing over into other media. His television show is small, on late and relegated to E! in between True Hollywood Storys. But for the most part, Howard Stern is the exception. Crossing over is a difficult thing to pull off. Anyone who's heard William Shatner sing or Regis Philbin act knows what I'm talking about.

For a more recent and high-profile example, look at Michael Jackson's just-cancelled reality show. First of all, way over-promoted. Second, couldn't they have chosen a better topic? Child molestation is just so creepy. By the end of it, I'm sure you were all thinking what I was thinking, that Michael should stick to the genre that made him famous, being America's resident Famous Crazy Person. Sleep in your hyperbaric chamber, fondle your Elephant Man bones, groom your monkey, just leave the cameras out of it. Whoever commissioned that show should be fired.

Some crossovers are as terrible as you'd expect, but still succeed by sheer force of the performer's will (see: Jennifer Lopez's "singing" career), but most fail, as they should. My favorite example is the Fabulous Sports Babe. The Fabulous Sports Babe was one of the rare female voices in sports talk radio. She gave herself that name and I'm sure many, many men were willing to fill in the imaginitive and perverse blanks in their minds when they would picture her. So then some genius decided it was time for the Fabulous Sports Babe to cross over into television, to cash in on her vast radio popularity by putting a camera in the studio to tape her radio show and then run it on ESPN.

Turns out the Fabulous Sports Babe was a 60 year old woman who weighed (I'm not kidding) roughly 500 lbs. Cram all that into a tiny radio broadcast booth and then point a camera at it and you have probably the least telegenic sight ever committed to videotape. As far as I know, the Fabulous Sports Babe is no longer in the business.

Let that be a cautionary tale, bloggers. We all think we're J-Lo, but how many of us are actually the Fabulous Sports Babe?

The reason I ask is because I've recently learned one of my favorite bloggers, the Rude Pundit, is putting together a stage show based on his blog.

Please, Rude Pundit, I beg you. If you're going to make a run at another medium, do what Wonkette is doing and write a book, something.

I'm terrified. Why am I terrified? Because live-action versions of websites usually end up train wrecks. Don't believe me? They once tried to do a television version of dork-entertainment-news site Ain't It Cool News featuring the site's creator and managing editor, Harry Knowles. Wanna see what Harry Knowles looks like?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

It's the Fabulous Sports Babe all over again.

Don't do it, Rude Pundit. Yeah sure, maybe you'll do fine and nobody--nobody--can actually look as bad as Harry Knowles, but the potential for disaster is so high it frightens me. Unless you've got a gravity-defying J-Lo booty to bail you out and cover for any perceived lack of ability in your new medium, you've got a tough row to hoe, mister. A tough row to hoe.

The petition to Save The Rude Pundit starts here. If disaster strikes and the Rude Pundit empire crumbles, we're going to be stuck getting all our happy left-wing pre-formed thoughts and arguments from Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo. TPM is a fine site and chock full of information, but as far as I know it's never featured George Bush masturbating onto the Constitution. Not once. And we need that as a people.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.4


Monday, June 13, 2005
Master Of Delusion
Updating quickly last night's post in re my technology-related difficulties, I'd just like to add as a corollary point: fuck shit damn. From here on out, let the record thus reflect said sentiments.

Should tell you all you need to know about the state of things at present.

And now, New Business.


Every time I try to think of something that will cement my place in the public consciousness forever, that bastard fucking David Blaine comes along and steals my idea before I can get it off the ground. When I buried myself alive in a Plexiglass coffin in my backyard that one time, nobody--nobody--gave a damn because it had "already been done". Not one TV camera, not one print reporter, not one evening alone with Fiona Apple, nothing. Just a few withered internal organs from lack of food, a little bit of hypoxia-related brain-damage and freakishly enlarged eyes from the prolonged lack of sunlight. In retrospect I guess it would made more of a public impact had I told somebody about it before hand with, like, a flyer or some posterboards around the neighborhood, something. I'll tell you what, though, next time I'm at least going to tell my wife first. I can't prove it yet, but I still get the lingering suspicion that in the week I was "missing" she had at least one date.

I'm excited today though because I think I might have finally hit on the one idea that will ensure my pop-culture immortality.

I'm talking about memes.

That's right, memes. Those little thingies that get passed around from blog to blog, sometimes as little graphical tags that tell you the results of the quiz you took to answer the age-old question What Wonder Years Character Are You? (I always get Chuck, by the way).

If any of you read yesterday's post you know anything involving graphical anything is far and away beyond my meager powers. Some memes, as they are called, come in the form of these excruciating little questionnaires meant to extract something meaningful from the answering participant for the edification of their audience.

Those things fly all over the blogosphere and the internets in general, so I figure the guys who write those things must be, like, super super famous authors now. Plus as often as they get used, even if the writer only gets a penny per use, those guys must be rolling in cashola. I figure I better get in on this fancy New Media loophole gravy-train before some big-time corporation figures it out and ruins it with advertising.

Plus I figure I'm in the clear from the competition. I don't think David Blaine even has a blog.

The little bit I know about basic marketing techniques (a lifelong, intense study of the form achieved by watching commercials) and the general disposition of those who have and maintain weblogs, especially the special subset that are most prone to these type of viral questionnaires, I think I have just the right formulation to ensure maximum exposure and participation.

I'm very proud of it. Are you ready?

The Low Self-Esteem Meme

The Low Self-Estmeme

(OK, I'm still working on the title.)

Instead of "check this box" or "multiple choice" type answers, the questions are all essay-style. Take your time. Be thorough. Remember: this is all about you, even though deep down you know you don't deserve it. Wallow, saddos. Wallow.

1) Why do you have a blog when nobody gives a shit about anything you say?

2) Why doesn't anybody love you even though you're more than willing to put out on the first date?

3) Why are you so fat and stupid?

4) Why do you insist on ruining other people's blogs with your lame, useless comments?

5) Why don't you just eat the whole cheesecake? You're just going to purge it anyway.

6) Why not suicide? Seriously, what's stopping you?

7) Why can't you do anything right?

8) Why are you filling this thing out instead of interacting with actual people?

9) Congratulations, you've finished! Now you can post the results on your blog and sweat it out as you wait for people to comment. Since we're here and we're all being honest, though, come on... between us... the only reason you filled this out at all is so you could fish for "No no, I think you're great! We love you! <3" type comments, isn't it? Isn't it?

10) Why is it so easy to see right through you? And what are you doing even answering this question? I told you on #9 that we were finished. Why are you such a follower? Jesus.

11) Name three people you would like to pass this on to. It is understood that you have no actual friends, but maybe try some people who would do something for you because they feel sorry for you.

The End

Yes! Woo! Even though this is still technically in beta, I think I've struck gold with this idea, I can feel it. My primary demographic is the hormonally-imbalanced 14-year-old market, the same as Linkin Park and Red Bull. If I can keep the death-rate down, I think I might be on to something here.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome. But don't count on a cut of the proceeds, you vultures. This is my magic lamp. Go rub your own.

Don't worry, I'll post about it when my first big fat meme check rolls in.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.6


Sunday, June 12, 2005
If This Keeps Up, I'll Be Back To Huffing Industrial Glue In No Time
I had something planned to write tonight, I really really did. I imagine it was going to be lovely and easy to read and chock full of life-affirming information, just as you've come to expect from your ole pal Pops and his magical, magical Bucket.

But I can't fucking remember what it was that I was going to say because I'm having a pain in the balls time with the goddamn machine with which I had expected to say it.

The damned thing works, but it is suddenly no longer on speaking terms with my video card. And yet somehow I am still receiving pretty, pretty pictures on my desktop and basic functions, but I can't play any fancy-graphic-ed computer games.

I've tried everything I know how to do to fix it. This involves uninstalling and then reinstalling the video card. Then I tried swearing a lot (a lot, people), pulling at my hair, throwing things, yelling at my kids and punching the neighbor's dog. I realize I'm using some sophisticated technological jargon here, but suffice it to say nothing worked.

Since the only thing that has changed in my PCs performance is the fact that I can no longer play games and my scrolling speed on Internet Explorer has become all choppy and suuuuper slow (a feature that figures heavily into my blog-reading enjoyment), I can think of only two sensible reasons why this is happening to me: 1) I am the victim of a voodoo curse. I'd speculate who might have hexed me, but as we all know from watching NYPD Blue, you start with everyone who might have a motive. Knowing my family and my fanbase as I do, we might as well flip open a phone book and point to a random name. Which leads us to 2) Jesus.

That's right, Jesus is finally out to get me, personally. Just because we stopped going to church this month while Sunday school is on hiatus between sessions, I'm being punished. All those years and months of steady attendance at real Catholic churches apparently don't count for shit in Our Heavenly Savior's Naughty & Nice List. You try to spare yourself a little agony by avoiding attending Mass with three squirming, screaming devil spawn and suddenly you can't play video games or read a decent blog--some of which, I might remind You, are all about the JC--in the scant few hours you might have to yourself.

Say what you want about Jesus, he really knows how to hurt a brother. Give me a plague of boils on my skin, a cloud of locusts carrying away my dog, mononucleosis, impotence, anything but this, this is just... well, it's cruel. Deflate a man's junk if you want, but you don't fuck with his downtime, Jesus. This is clearly out of bounds.

But I bear little hope that the Wrath of God will abate any time soon. Being a good Catholic, as much as I might bitch, I know deep down that I deserve it, all of it and more.

That won't stop me from appealing to you infidels for help. I've got an e-mail out to the manufacturer of my video card to ask, in so many words, "What the fuck, bitches?" I retrospect I might have been better off wording it a little differently. I don't have much hope for an answer.

I've got a GeForce 6600 GT PCI Express card. My Device Manager recognizes it, but under Device Status it says "This device cannot start. (Code 10)". The fix for this listed online doesn't help. Reinstalling the drivers (in several forms from several sources) doesn't help. Driving office staples into your skull doesn't help at all.

Please, somebody, for the love of... well, just please. We can keep it on the DL. Who knows Who might be listening.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.997


Friday, June 10, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #8

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie... Other people too, one imagines.

directed by Doug Liman (Swingers, Go, The Bourne Identity)

It's only appropriate that we close out what has turned out to be Brad Pitt Week here in the Bucket (with one short aside into Anne Bancroft Day) with a discussion of an actual movie the man is in. After all, movies are the #2 reason why Brad Pitt exists in the public eye at all.

The #1 reason (apparently) Brad Pitt is famous is actually a tie between a) his fabulous, greased-up abs and b) whatever celebrity person is attached to the vagina he currently has regular access to.

[Math nerds take note: I realize a first place tie means the next thing down the list should technically be ranked #3, to which I reply: fuck you, math nerds. I owe you a wedgie.]

You know, yesterday during the Parent Day program I was really impressed with my son's performance as the Squirrel in the epic children's classic 3-page play called... OK, I forget it was called, but it had something to do with a bird and a helpful turtle who was kind of a dick.

Anyway, this being a kindergarten "play", basically the kids march up to the microphone and spew out their lines inonesingletonealltogetherwithnobreaksforbreathorinflectionofanykind, staring with wide, terrified eyes at their clenched-fisted parents in the audience, hoping and praying they did well enough to be allowed to eat that night.

My boy, on the other hand, gets some kind of sick charge out of performance. He was hopping around, waving his arms, mugging and generally hamming it up for all he was worth (this being kindergarten, all the time with a one-handed death-grip on the crotch of his shorts).

I stood there watching thinking, Oh Lordy-Lord, my kid's got talent! OK, talent or some kind of rare deblilitating nervous condition akin to Tourette's, but either way it translated to stage presence. Just like a parent who's undersized asthmatic Little League no-hoper accidentally cracks the baseball instead of his own head one game flashes forwards to delusions of college scholarships, Major League contracts and a retirement home in Switzerland, I had a similar sort of flash: My Boy, Movie Star.

As I've gone back and filled in the projected biography of Movie Star, I thought about high school and college drama departments, dinner theater, amusement park work, local repertory theater, etc., etc., ending eventually in tabloids and hotel rooms under assumed names. And I couldn't help but think: Man, that's a lot of sex.

I have the opposite of stage presence. In any crowd of any kind up to the age of about 19, I was actually able to spontaneously generate a little field of null space that rendered me completely invisible. My self-sustaining null-space field was so powerful, I couldn't even be seen from space.

Suffice it to say I know nothing of theater people or the drama education experience, but from the outside, it looks like there's a whole lotta bonin' goin' on. Male actors are either the ones hanging out with all the hot chicks in tune with their "passions" and susceptible to really terrible pick-up lines about art and muses or they're gay men hanging out with other like-minded gay men. Either way, I imagine a theater company has a great deal in common with a rabbit warren.

As a father it's all good. Either way I anticipate lots of high-fives and (when his mother is around) winking conversation.

He can throw a ball and often mismatches his clothes, so thus far I'd say he's leaning theater-studly, but it's too early to tell. My only hesitancy about him swinging the other direction--my only reticence about him associating with the theater queens--is that the prime example of the one is Brad Pitt and the other is Harvey Fierstein. Sexuality aside, which one would you rather your son turn out as? Yeah, me too.

It probably won't matter. It will probably just turn out to be that debilitating nervous condition thing. If that's the case, he'll probably just end up a twitchy homeless guy muttering to himself and I won't have to worry about any of this.

Oh yeah, there was that movie thing. There are people who are going to rule out seeing Mr. and Mrs. Smith because of the tabloid turmoil, à la Gigli. But while Gigli looked like it was made from a script cobbled together by the tiny, blistered fingers of retarded Taiwanese sweatshop kids and then translated by Babelfish, this one actually looks wicked and funny.

Plus I think people who write off seeing movies because of off-screen details are stupid. Or to paraphrase Bill Maher with regard to Mr. Pitt and Ms. Jolie, shouldn't the two hottest people in the world be allowed to fuck each other? Such a simple, beautiful sentiment deserves a firm, throbbing yes.

I'd be even more excited about this film, but I've already seen War of the Roses.

No critic's blurbs in the newspaper ad, which is never a positive sign. Either way, good or bad, one Angelina is worth two Shues.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comTwo (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

Happy viewing, Bucketeers. And just because I'm feeling dick-ish, I'm totally going to ruin the end for you: Anakin becomes Darth Vader!


Thursday, June 09, 2005
Parent Day Placeholder Post
It's Parent Day at my kid's school. This means cafeteria lunch for us and kid-acted morality plays about Being Nice To People and Helping Others In Need. As far as I can tell on the schedule of entertainment, though: no Jesus. Pretty remarkable for a Catholic school program.

This also means that Mrs. Pops is home and my free time to blog is somewhat curtailed. So you get this placeholder with the hope that I might be able to post something longer later about how much I'd love to nail Dianne Wiest.

Until then, know this at least: USA 3 - 0 Panama. Same score as the Costa Rica game. 12* points from 5 matches, tied for first with Mexico in the group and looking like a sure thing for World Cup Germany 2006. Book your plane tickets now.

Peace out, homiez.


*=EDIT: I had misreported the standings and for that I apologize wholeheartedly. I realize I am the one and only source for all soccer-related news for my loyal readers and I have fallen down on the job. I am ashamed. The full standings can be found here. I feel like I should do something to make up for this failure on my part, but then I've already provided links to pictures of Brad Pitt naked, so I can't conceive of anything else I could do for you, my readers, better than that. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
...Not To Be
It's always a sad day when the world gets just a little less hot. I'm not talking about the inevitable oncoming ice age, I'm talking about the fact that Anne Bancroft died yesterday.

If there's anything I've learned in my 31 years on this earth it's that you should never rub your eyes after dicing jalapeños. More related to the point of this post, I've also learned that there's a finite amount of hotness in this world, especially full grown, vine-ripened, round-hipped hotness that glows brighter and brighter with age. Anne Bancroft, I always thought, was living defiance of the stupid cliché that women don't age as well as men. Every time I saw her (the last time was on the Producers episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm) she actually looked better. By my reckoning if only she had lived to be roughly 150 years old, she would have been more hot than any human being ever born. Think about that. It's basic math, people.

But alas, now she is gone and there's one less hot older woman to admire. Now if anything happens to Blythe Danner in the short term, I may have to injure myself. She should be locked in a vacuum-sealed vault under 24 hour armed guard like the national treasure she is. We've already lost Anne Bancroft and we can't afford to take any chances.

OK, maybe Anne Bancroft was never quite a Blythe Danner and it's just possible that my opinion of Ms. Bancroft is colored by the fact that the first movie I ever saw her in centered around her being willfully sexually accessible, but that's not all. She gave us hope. She, the glamorous piece of Hollywood tail, was married for 41 years to a loudmouth short guy who made his living off dick and fart jokes. If Anne Bancroft could marry Mel Brooks, there was hope for troglodyte desk-chained writer types everywhere.

It was the mild precursor to the Ultimate Example, to the wide attractiveness gulf between Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova in the 1980s. Without the primer of Anne Bancroft-Mel Brooks, the shock of the Ocasek-Porizkova coupling, I believe, would have killed us all.

So Anne Bancroft, the world owes you a debt of gratitude. Your willingness to have regular sex with Mel Brooks may very well have saved us all. Thank you and goodbye.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.5


PS: I know the proper thing would have been to reference that Simon & Garfunkel song with which she was associated, but part of the point of this post was to butch it up a little after so many days in a row of some very very gay material here in the Bucket. I just couldn't afford to have it all ruined by allusions to pussified two-part-harmony-singing folkies. Plus, if I hear/see/read "Here's to you, Mrs. R______n" one more time, I'm going to have to shoot my TV, Elvis-style.

PPS: My favorite "No Fucking Shit, Dumbass" headline of the week = Prison would prove tough if Jackson convicted. I think the only people who really get what's coming to them in prison are child molesters.

PPPS: I found a picture. Enjoy my right-ness.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Hey... Shock Jock!
When I turn on my FM station in the morning, I expect some very specific things from my Morning Radio team of zanies. I spend a grand total of about 20 minutes in the car, so I'm on a strict entertainment schedule. What I need from them are some mocking interviews with UFO enthusiasts, a few crappy impressions, awkward moments in the van with my kindergarten-and-younger kids when the conversation turns (as it always does) to graphically inappropriate discussions of bodily functions or sex acts, all interspersed with and emphasized by a host of 2-second audio clips and wacky, wacky sound effects.

I'm generally happy with their performance thus far. They've been providing me with this service for about fifteen years with admirable consistency, if not quality. I mean, one of them is a grown man who allows himself to be referred to as "Bean". That should tell us all we need to know. Also a plus: neither of them is Howard Stern.

What I don't need from them--what I really really don't need--is to have that precious 20 minutes of my time filled with concerned talk about the State of the Union Between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Sure, I agree, it's kind of funny that there's a website out there called Free Katie.net, but come on. I got all the way to my kid's school and back without one single utterance of the word "dick".

This was not part of the deal. The deal is that I invest my time and energy (OK, maybe "energy" is the wrong word) listening to your show and in exchange you indirectly contribute to the corruption of my children so I don't have to take all the blame when my son gets busted for explaining to his friends on the playground what a hand-job is.

After this morning, what do my kids know? That Katie Holmes is starting to study Scientology? That gets me off the hook for almost nothing. My kid goes to Catholic school, so if anything that'll earn me a call from the principal at best. At worst: exorcism. We take the threat of Scientology very seriously.

I know, you're thinking "So Pops, just change the fucking station, you goddamn motherfucking bitch-ass whining baby." First of all, that kind of language is completely uncalled for. Secondly, you have no idea of the desolation that is the greater Los Angeles-area market morning radio. Let me put it this way: one of the other choices on the dial in morning drive time is Danny Bonaduce. Enough said? Yes, I think enough said.

I'm so bitterly disappointed. I mean, they're talking about Tom and Katie and I had to hear the story about the the bra that magically increases women's breast size from a goddamn sports talk station. It's dereliction of duty plain and simple. I'm considering a class-action suit. Let me know if you all want in on this action.


Since I've lowered myself to celebrity gossip today, I'd like to offer you two quotes from Brad Pitt, neither of which feature his dick (see yesterday's post if you're still interested in that old thing). Please note the dates.

"You shouldn't speak until you know what you're talking about. That's why I get uncomfortable with interviews. Reporters ask me what I feel China should do about Tibet. Who cares what I think China should do? I'm a f---ing actor! They hand me a script. I act. I'm here for entertainment, basically, when you whittle everything away. I'm a grown man who puts on makeup." - Time, October 13, 1997

"We have the potential to end poverty (in Africa) in our time. ... Man — I mean, what is more exciting than that? The potential's there. We gotta go for it." - Primetime Live, June 7, 2005

Man indeed, Brad. Man indeed.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.2


Monday, June 06, 2005
Monday Lite: Gwyneth Paltrow's Kid Is The Only One Who Will Talk To Her
I don't envy professional comedians, especially the really successful ones. I think when people meet Robin Williams out in public, say if he's looking at mangos in the supermarket, trying to find the right ones to buy (in my imagination, all famous comedians love, love, love their tropical fruits... Carrot Top, I think, probably can't get enough guava) instead of juggling them or smashing them together or pretending their talking to one another using some of those ker-razy voices he does, they'd be horrified. "What? Oh my God, look at him. He's just... he keeps feeling those mangos. Oh! And now he's going for the plastic bag. Is that all? That can't be all! One of his children must have died or something. Robin, we love you!"

The only reaction that might actually be worse would be is if people were to come up to him at the mango bin and mistake his mundane puttering for some kind of secretly hilarious comedic performance art that everyone but Mr. Williams would get. A crowd might form, everyone circling around, tittering and giggling as he squeezed the mangoes (is it mangos or mangoes? I just realized I should have said "papaya"), women would shield their children's eyes from the subtle, subversive perversion of it all while trying not to laugh themselves sick. "Look at funny Mork! He's hilarious!" And of course with an already expectant crowd, poor Robin would be obliged to juggle or smash some fruit together or make them talk in ker-razy voices. And we wonder why they all drink so much and take so so many of the drugs.

I don't want to belabor this too much, because I see where it will probably end up. And nobody wants to talk about the vile cliché of the Sad Clown, least of all me. I would just like to say how grateful I am that I have an anonymous humor blog instead of being a comedic performer, for two reasons: 1) stage-fright anxiety attacks where I choke on my own vomit and die and 2) nobody fucks with me if I want to buy a passion fruit.

All that said, there really should be some aspects of a comedian's life where his or her art should not come into play. Say, for instance, the names of your children. Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo, Whoopi Goldberg, all those famous Jewish comedians changed their names as adults and by choice as conscious decisions in hopes of furthering their careers.

But sometimes the little babies... the poor, poor defenseless little babies...

Well, I can't even talk about it, it's so upsetting. Here's the whole article if you want to read it. I present it without further commentary and I bid you good day.

Jillette Names Daughter Moxie CrimeFighter

Sat Jun 4,10:39 PM ET

NEW YORK - Comedian/magician Penn Jillette's latest stunt did not involve his usual sidekick, Teller: He became the father of a baby girl.

Jillette, 50, and his wife Emily, 39, welcomed Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette on Friday, according to publicist Glenn Schwartz. It was the first child for the couple, who married last year.
"We chose her middle name because when she's pulled over for speeding she can say, `But officer, we're on the same side,'" Jillette explained. "`My middle name is CrimeFighter.'"

The typically mute Teller had no comment on the new arrival.

Penn & Teller currently star in their own series on Showtime, and headline nightly in Las Vegas at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

Sunday, June 05, 2005
Breakfast Epiphanies
Man, what a weekend. It was our first non-birthday non-holiday non-event weekend since probably February. In these moments, when the status quo violently reasserts itself in a wave of awe-inspiring and irresistable inertial momentum, we are given the rare, rare opportunity to see our lives and our predispositions--even if only for a second--from the outside, quasi-objectively, in that flash of transition when the chaos of abnormality, no matter how long it has persisted, is swept away by the old, safe habits of the soft, flannel routine. It is in these too, too infrequent instances of breached perspective that we can learn the most about ourselves, provided we act and think appropriately in that glorious, compressed speck of abrogated time that shoots away as quickly and easily as a watermelon seed pressed between your fingertips.

For me, this weekend provided just such a moment and I was fortunate enough to recognize it. Thank God it happened during a commercial.

Principally, there were two things I learned:

1) Gay men love to masturbate while reading my blog.

I'm not vain enough to think it has anything to do with me, but if you could see the number of hits I get for "brad pitt nude gay interest" (worded just like that), you'd be as awed and humbled as I am.

OK, it's less that rare-moment-of-self-reflection lesson than a Sitemeter fluke, but I'll be honest, I'm puzzled by the attention. I mentioned and linked to a naked picture of Brad Pitt in my boring-ass end-of-the-year-list-of-shit-I-did post back in December. Why they aren't finding the picture itself directly is beyond me. Mostly, why it would or should become, all of a sudden, the #1 reason people visit the Bucket is a total, total mystery. I can only surmise that it's the subtle sensitivity and heightened social conscience I show toward homosexuality on a regular basis here.

In all, though, I'm happy to know that maybe--just maybe--the mention of masturbating gay men would chase away any creepy homophobes who might happen on to my blog.

So I say whack away, gay men. You are doing my blog--and by extension, your country--a great and necessary service.

2) A little more on par with that weekend perspective insight thing, I found out just today (and this is huge) that Mrs. Pops is suicidal. Yes, that's right. She is determined to slowly and torturously murder herself by means of working herself to death.

Not satisfied with 50+ hour work weeks and the attached 60-90 minute (one way!) commute, she has used this weekend to do... well, everything that a person can actually do so long as it involves maximum effort repayed by the least amount of fun possible. I had a full day myself which included (if it can be believed) driving the van all the way to the tire store myself. While I was fantasizing about the Home Service Medal I would receive for my efforts, Mrs. Pops was determined to do me one better by (apparently) picking up every piece of furniture in the house and then putting it down again.

Upon my return from what turned out to be an effort-free visit to the tire store where I was waited on by a very pleasant white supremacist named Nikk (I'm not kidding), I found a sweating, wheezing, bedraggled and ill-tempered Mrs. Pops hunched over our dresser, picking up each and every speck of dust with a pair of tweezers, giving it a good scrub, and then setting it carefully back in its place. I suggested she might be over-doing it. She bit me.

Luckily for me she didn't have the energy to break the skin with her teeth, but I am glad I got home when I did. My casual return from a no-work environement turned into an intervention of sorts. I actually had to hit her over the head with a tire iron to get her to stop cleaning, but I did it. The duct-tape restraints were necessary to keep her from rearranging the kids' rooms, cleaning out closets, remodeling the backyard, overhauling our finances or volunteering to bathe the neighbors.

That pretty much sums up my role in our house. I'm the Fun Patrol. I've been known to stop cleaning binges cold with well-crafted and expertly timed suggestions that we "run some errands", which usually means going to a restaurant and then browsing in the Best Buy. It ain't much, but it's that or be on constant watch lest she sneak away to scrub the shower.

Besides my wife's death wish, there was one more thing I learned about her this weekend, something disturbing and emasculating and utterly humiliating. But because she keeps the mold off the counter-tops in the bathrooms, it is incumbent upon me to offer her something in recognition for her efforts, even though it pains me to do so. Here it is:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Live it up, babycakes. You people don't need to know who it is or why it's relevant. For most of you, it should be enough to know that it pains me so very very deeply. The only solace I get is that I have provided yet one more reason for gay men to visit here. God bless.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


PS- USA 3 - 0 Costa Rica. Next round: USA vs. Panama in Panama City, Wednesday, 10pm Pacific/1 am Eastern on ESPN2. Set your VCRs, TiVos, whatever, accordingly.

Friday, June 03, 2005
There's Also Some TV I Don't Intend To Watch
Sorry I'm late. State law requires that I take kids to the doctor instead of letting the disease devour them alive, inside-out. Death's Waiting Room has been faced and survived. At least now I have some truly vile prescription cough medicine with which to torture my poor defenseless victimized son. I don't really want to, but I have to make sure he knows there are dire, dire consequences to missing school due to illness. My goal is that one day if--God forbid--he should be sitting at his desk in class and suddenly starts bleeding from the eyes and vomiting slugs, there should still just be a leeeetle hesitation about calling Dad to go home. I wish myself luck.

Also I have something I'd like to write about, so no MIHNIoS today. If you don't know what that is, I'd say you're in pretty good shape, life-wise.

There's no other way to say it, so I'll just say it. I'm a dork. I was excited about Star Wars coming out. I've seen far, far more than half the episodes of every Star Trek show ever made and every episode of at least one of the series (Deep Space Nine, which I am just dorky enough to refer to as DS9). I think Tolkien is awesome. I have a (modest, but existent) comic book collection. I play lots and lots of computer games. I built my own computer (with a little help). I have a blog.

Come on, do be offended by that last one. Blogging is still fairly dorky. It seems mainstream to dorks like us who write them and read them, but while we're blogging, there are vast segments of the population at clubs or parties or having sex with other vast segments of the population they only just met. They have no idea we exist and it doesn't bother them one bit. And not just because they're hungover either.

Like everything else, though, there are gradations of dork. I'm not a collector of anything in particular, apart from comic books which I gave up around the age of 20. I've never been to a fan convention of any kind. I own no memorabilia of any kind except for a framed original Star Wars poster my mom bought me a few years ago and is still sitting bubble-wrapped in my garage. I don't have an elf-name nor can I read Elvish. I belong to no online gaming clans (though I'm dork enough to know online gaming clans exist) and have no faux tough-guy handle I regularly go by like "Blade" or "/\/\4$+3R ßL4$+3R"... at least I didn't until now. That second one strikes me as pretty fuckin' cool. I claim it. Back away, poachers.

I'm very comfortable with my level of dork. Even though there are several levels of dork above (below?) me which I am not comfortable inhabiting myself, I am at least conversant in those levels so I can usually be amused by them instead of horrified, as someone less dorky than myself might be.

But every once in a while I'm caught off guard, taken by surprise by something so dorky that even my own dork mind was incapable of conceiving of it, or even having an inkling of it.

That's how I felt the first time I saw a commercial for G4 channel's Video Game Vixens Beauty Pageant and awards show. Hosted by Hal Sparks!

It's no secret that ever since the first Tomb Raider game (and probably before that with the old Leisure Suit Larry series) that game designers have been trying to figure out the best way to integrate their target audience's two great passions in life: gaming and masturbation.

To see that kind of creepy tacit understanding broadcast and celebrated in such a public way (Hal Sparks, people!) absolutely boggles my sad blogger mind.

Maybe it's just because I'm old. When I was in my formative years, the only female in any video game was the eminently unfuckable blob of 8-bit color Princess Toadstool in Super Mario Brothers. Well, her and Ms. Pac-Man, whom I do not count as she was obviously spoken for and possessed neither boobies nor vagina, speculatively digital or otherwise.

In the commercial I saw for the G4 show now, apparently every girl in every video game is all boobies and all vagina. And then in between those somewhere is usually a giant gun or a samurai sword with which the walking erogenous zone dispatches zombies.

I guess what you learn as you limp into early middle age as I am is exactly where your limits lie. In some cases you lament your waning youth, wondering if it's all creeping curmudgeon-ry turning you into your Dad the first time you were in the car together when a rap song came on the radio.

And in other cases, the breach of basic common sense is so obvious that you feel completely justified in saying stuff like "the stupid-ass kids with their stupid-ass ideas... and pull your pants up, for Christ's sake!"

So I'm not going to watch G4's Video Game Vixens show. Maybe I would have back before I was having regular sex with someone other than myself and female nudity was still just a theory I had. Even if I were in the mood to be artificially titillated by something other than my wife, I'm not going to waste my time and energy drooling over antiseptic digital representations of womanhood. Especially since I'm already paying good money for my monthly subscription to Pie In The Face.*

This post on Narcissus Scale: 9.9


*=in case you weren't sure, Pie In The Face is the nation's premier periodical devoted to lesbian clown porn. Go ahead, pretend you didn't know.

Thursday, June 02, 2005
I Get Sprung
It's officially June. Ah, June. It brings to mind thoughts of spring and flowers and swimmin' holes and barbecues and animals having baby animals and sunshine and happiness and love and lots and lots of other stuff that doesn't interest me. While the rest of you are having sing-alongs with cartoon birds perched on your fingers, June in Riverside is the beginning of smog season. Right up until Santa Ana season in September we're going to be stuck under the same stifling dome of stagnant polluted air shoved in slowly through the canyons from the west, from the tailpipes of Ford Excursions and Cadillac Escalades driven by 4'11" women all over LA and Orange Counties. Summer in Riverside is the season of seizing lungs, watering eyes and surrounding mountains drifting into the memory of myth and rumor behind a surrounding, obscuring wall of gray-brown haze.

Yes, my kids will grow up with a slightly reduced lung capacity compared to most others, but they will do so in a 4-bedroom house in a nice neighborhood instead of crammed into a 1-bedroom condo nearer the coast for the same price. So I say thank you, smog. Thank you. Maybe you do kill us slowly, but you--in conjunction with horrid traffic and the inability of this region to develop a competitive job base--keep housing prices down where mutts like us can afford to pretend to be upper middle class. Our impenetrable smog-shield is the only thing keeping the ridiculous ravages of the SoCal housing market at bay--and then only just. Instead of a crushing layer of death between we Mole-People and the precious, life-giving sun, I like to think of our smog layer as the warm security blanket that keeps housing prices reasonable. That's some magical, magical pollution.

Besides the start of Smog Season, this June is also going to mark a new and terrifying development. I think it's only fair that I warn you now so you all have ample time to have your meds adjusted or make final arrangements should you come to the reasonable conclusion that your lives are about to lose all structure and meaning, a rumbling chaos that can only be solved by the release of sweet death.

On June 18th, 2005, the Bucket is going dark.

For one whole week.

I can't say why I will be unavailable or where I'm going or with whom, but suffice it to say I've always wanted to see Cuba.

Oh damn it. I've already said too much. The very nice man from the Justice Department assures me the stay will be temporary (I believe his words were "on a trial basis"), but I'm not taking any chances. I've been working up my resistance to torture by having my children ritually abuse me, even more than what comes naturally to them. Every once in a while I'll have them flush one of my books down a toilet or douse me with fake menstrual blood or deprive me of sleep by shouting in my face all night (which they are going to do from time to time anyway). I feel good. I feel ready. I've been on a steady diet of bacon, alcohol and crazy gay sex in anticipation of missing out on all those things while in the company of a bunch of detained and restrained Muslims from all over the world. I can do it, I know I can.

In the meantime, we've got a little over two weeks together before the break, so let's make the most of it, shall we? We can look at old pictures and visit all the places we visited back when we first met. We can all hold hands and take long, slow walks down the streets of our blog-youths, pointing out landmarks and laughing until we cry, drowning in nostalgia and the stinging, never spoken anticipation of separation. Then we can split a brick of hash and drop off into a smokey stupor for old times' sake.

Damn. I promised myself I wouldn't cry.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.6


Wednesday, June 01, 2005
The Not-Gordian
Some days it's easier to be a blogger than others. There are days when very nearly nothing is happening, so you sit there in front of your computer staring at the blank screen and blinking cursor, feeling nauseous and constricted and sweating blood. Sure, you can take the male chastity belt and solve most of those problems, but it doesn't make the words come any easier.

On other days topics fall right out of the sky and land in your lap with a big wet slap. Maybe it's your birthday or there's a pre-election debate scheduled that night or you read an article about cuddle-parties or you save a little girl from being run over in a parking lot or you get kidnapped by aliens again or you finish reading an 800 page work of 19th century Russian literature... those are the magical days, when the blogposts write themselves and all you need do, as a pseud0-essayist humor blogger, is provide a pretentious allusion or reference to German philosophy here or a dick joke there and whammo! You're back on eBay finding the last pieces for your complete set of knit superhero-themed office-supply cozies in no time.

(By the way, if anyone has or knows of a Captain America stapler cozy for sale, I'd appreciate an e-mail. Crochet or macramé will do in a pinch, but I prefer knitted. Thanks.)

There is a third type of blogger-day and that is a day like today when there is simply too much happening. As a blogger you have to make a strong editorial decision as to which way to go, keeping in mind--always always, first and foremost--which story is most amenable to Schopenhauer references and penis-themed punning.

Today is just that type of a day. Which way to go? The revelation of Deep Throat or Paris Hilton's engagement to a guy who has the same first name as her?

I know it seems obvious, any story involving the name "Deep Throat" is right in my wheel-house, but I don't know, it just seems so... like I said, obvious. The bluntness of the name "Deep Throat" sort of undercuts any attempt to make lascivious and juvenile jokes about the whole thing. Woodward and Bernstein have kind of ruined it for me already. A good Hal Holbrook reference wouldn't go amiss, but just everyone is doing that, so I can't. Also, I just dropped Jason Robards' name in a blogpost a few days ago, so I can't go back to that well too soon.

The Paris Hilton thing, well, that sets up for me almost perfectly since we know how much Pops loves him some tabloid celebrity. And marrying someone with the same name as you, well, that's a special type of narcissism the scale has not been invented yet to measure. But you know, speaking of over-visited wells, I don't know that I have the energy to go back to the Paris Hilton matrix of pop-culture self-immolation thoughts and ideas again. We already know what beats I'd have to hit, the sex tape, that little dog, the cocaine-stupidity, all wrapped up with me comically referring to something as "hott". Does anyone want that? Nah, me neither.

In a way, I guess you could say I'm like a reporter trying to figure out which story to follow. I think I know now how Woodward and Bernstein felt in '71 or '72 when they were trying to decide whether to follow this boring, boring Washington hotel break-in story or cover something more meaningful like Jacqueline Kennedy or Burton & Taylor or (apparently) watching a bunch of tacky porn about women with clitorises (clitori?) in the backs of their throats. Say what you want about Woodward and Bernstein, but they never had to worry about where to put the dick jokes.

Luckily for ole Pops though, this isn't 1971, this is 2005 and blogging sure as fuck ain't newspaper reporting. There's no researching or phone-calling or fact-ing of any kind going on here. We are all blessed to be living in the age we live in now, and not just because of robot vacuums. Unlike Woodward and Bernstein, I--all of us--have a cop-out option: meta-blogging about how hard it is to decide what to blog about.

Free free free as a bird. Lolly lolly lolly.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.3



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