Wednesday, August 31, 2005
La Nouvelle Orléans: 1718-2005
Apparently I hit some kind of nerve yesterday. Strong feelings all around--both positive and negative--about politics and the blogging thereof. Fascinating.
Except all you goddamn self-centered bastards were so interested in letting me know how you feel about stuff, all of you missed the opportunity to praise the fact that yesterday's post included a sentence that referenced both Super Mario Kart and Burkina Faso. Brilliant, if you ask me. And what do I get from you people? Me me me me me me me.
You know, this job isn't as easy as I make it look. Do you have any idea how long it took me to pair just the right old video game and obscure country name to get exactly the right comedic effect? It could have just as easily been Tetris and Namibia. Super Monkey Ball and Tajikistan. Dig Dug and Papua New Guinea. Q*bert and Swaziland.
See? None of those have the same effect.
Except maybe that last one. Q*bert and Swaziland. That's not bad.
That's not the point. The point is, I work hard for you people. Like if I'm going to use Burkina Faso, I have to go to the the CIA World Factbook and find out if they have a king, a mullah, a president, what. I could have just said "ambassador", but come on. If I'm going to say "ambassador", I might as well say "Canada". It would be like not even trying. Which is already what it's mostly like anyway.
You know what, I've completely lost my train of thought. Wow, I've bored myself into indifference. Come on, if you're not going to give me props for Burkina Faso, you have to give it up for that. That's talent right there.
I say a lot of stupid shit in this space. It's my space, so I guess it's a) inevitable and b) not that big a deal because I don't really mind if I offend people sometimes. I try not to be panderingly (new word!) sensationalistic (that's two!), but sometimes I say things in a sort of glib and insensitive way in an effort to entertain myself and (hopefully) the occasional reader. It's what I do in lieu of having an actual personality.
So I don't apologize much. For the most part, people can bite me.
One exception: if I make light of the plight in your city and then in subsequent days your city ceases to exist I will consider retracting a thing or two. If you're going to bitch just because you got your "feelings hurt", write it in your Courage Journal, Mary. Scream it into your pillow maybe. Don't waste your time writing the e-mail I'm going to either ignore or turn into a blogpost so that I can make fun of it.*
What I'm saying is that in retrospect, my post from Monday might not have been in the best taste. In my defense, at the time news reports were that the worst of the hurricane had missed New Orleans and the death toll (while still tragic and sad) was still estimated in the mid-single-digits.
Also, my post was less about how funny it is when people die in hurricanes than how funny it is when giant concrete structures like the Louisiana Superdome fail in a hurricane.
Ha! See? Go back and read it. Hi-larious.
Even with my semi-apology, the quality of which is akin to a professional athlete caught doping or a politician caught saying something s/he actually means/believes, I did think it was pretty funny today when the governor of Texas--motivated by a sincere desire to help--offered shelter to the refugees stranded in the Louisiana Superdome in the Houston Astrodome.
There are three things that are amusing about this.
First, why for the love of God would anyone want to move from one domed stadium in a coastal Gulf of Mexico city to another domed stadium in a coastal Gulf of Mexico city when the one they would be leaving failed to protect them in the first place and is quickly turning into a sewer-scented Lord of the Flies post-apocalyptic nightmare society** even as we speak?
Second, the Astrodome. What a slap in the face. The building that wasn't good enough for the Astros or the Oilers (who were so desperate to leave, they bailed before they had a new stadium and went to Tennessee for fuck's sake) these people are supposed to be happy with just because they're refugees? Obviously a cheap ploy by the governor of Texas to get people downtown in Houston again so he can say he "revitalized" a dead area in his next campaign commercials. Cynical if you ask me.
Third: Houston? Really? My personal position is if you're going to go to all the trouble to flee the area, you should seriously flee the area. If I had to think of one thing these people might be looking for, the phrase that leaps into my head is high ground, something that cannot be found in any kind of abundance in Houston. I've never been to Houston, but I hear the only things Houston has in abundance are strip clubs and barbecue. Entertaining, but no help in a storm of Biblical proportions. Those buildings have to be, like, 20 feet tall, tops.
I would invite you all, Superdome Refugees Who Somehow Have Managed To Read My Blog, to California, but we have no domed stadium to offer you dubious shelter. Plus we have earthquakes.
OK, fine. Honestly, we're just all full here. No vacancy. My city has about 2/3 the population of New Orleans (proper) and it's a suburb 50 miles from the urb we supposedly sub from. Seriously, it's crowded.
I do have a solution for you, however: Wyoming. Talk about your high ground. And space? You wouldn't believe the space. Sure, the only black people you'll see are on TV when they show the Denver Nuggets or Broncos play, but that's OK. Casper could do with a serious infusion of New Orleans soul. And so could Laramie. And Cheyenne. And... OK, that's all the Wyoming cities I can think of. But the point is... Jackson Hole! I just remembered Jackson Hole. Han Solo lives there. And Indiana Jones too, come to think of it. My God, what are you people waiting for?
Plus the population of Wyoming is so small that a mass migration of former New Orleans residents may well tip the state from solid Red to Blue (or at least a healthy burgundy). Poor ole Wyomingite (Wyomingan? Wyominger?) Dick Cheney would throw a clot if that were to happen. And it could be all your fault!
Something to think about.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.1
*= seriously, I'm that desperate for material. email@example.com
**= I've seen enough Movies of the Week to make this speculation reasonable. They're all either about chicks with cancer or society tearing itself apart after some horrible disaster. All starring Lori Loughlin.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Brain Damage On The Mic Don't Manage Nothin' But Makin' A Sucka And You Equal... Don't Be Another Sequel
Let's say you're president of the United States. Let's say you're President of the United States and you don't mind the constant security presence making you a prisoner in your own home, the late nights working, the occasional massive international crisis, the state dinners, all the talking with foreign people you have to do, the constant phone calls, the press hounding your every move and having to pretend to be nice to douchebags like John McCain and Ted Kennedy in public. You're fine with all that because on the other side, you get a bitchin' car, a plane and a helicopter, first-rate health benefits for you and your family and a shitload of paid vacation time. Overall, it's good stuff.
But man, some weeks are better than others. First of all, there's some crazy lady outside your house who won't leave. And not outside that mausoleum in Washington they make you live in, but outside your actual house. She's just sitting there, waiting, trying to talk about all kinds of depressing shit, totally sucking the fun out of an afternoon playing Super Mario Kart with the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso.
As if that lady weren't bad enough, you've got this hurricane thing (and it's only hitting Red States, wouldn't you know it), skyrocketing fuel prices, goddamn Iraqis monkeying around with the constitution you told everyone was finished, ayatollahs with nukes and the mounting evidence of an impending space alien invasion of Earth from right here in our own solar system. On top of that, everybody hates you.
Man. Being in charge of everything is hard. Maybe you start to have some dark thoughts, like maybe you should let the terrorists win. That'll show that ungrateful fucking electorate.
In times this desperate, before something drastic happens, there's only one thing for a president to do.
Nothing clears the head like the open road. And nothing boosts the ego like a couple of hand-picked crowds of rabid supporters chanting your name in unison when cued to do so by the Crowd Coordinator.
So your caravan of black SUVs snakes across the desert southwest, stopping everywhere there are white people to shake hands with and bask in their adulation as choreographed by your Advance Team.
But wouldn't you know it, there are always a group of hippies with signs loitering about wherever you go, trying to totally harsh your mellow, even in sleepy little big-box suburbs like Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Happily, you notice that before the Free Love set can get all looped out on acid and start their bacchanal Love-In in the parking lot of the senior center where you're about to give EVERYBODY FREE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS (or something), a contingent of militant pro-President counter-protesters show up in their pressed wrinkle-free khakis and polo shirts to speak on behalf of--oooh! Look! They're fighting!
Heh heh. Take that, Moonflower!
You're all charged up with energy before you take the stage. You feel good knowing that even if your supporters are down in the low 20s percentage-wise, they're a passionate bunch.
OK, some might be a little bit TOO passionate, but that's what the Secret Service is for.
But inside, the reception is all air-conditioned rapture, just like you needed.
Sure, every once in a while you have to give the animatronic Approvo-Senior 2000 Nod-N-Smilebot a good solid whack on the back to keep it on message when it starts sizing up humans in the audience to devour for its sustenance, but it's worth it. You're just glad that some of the "missing" billions in Iraq reconstruction money was funneled into the secret project to build this "Myrtle Jones" because she--sorry, it--makes you happy. Happy President equals happy country. Everybody knows that.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.6
Monday, August 29, 2005
How's That For A Slice Of Fried Gold?
Let's say you live in New Orleans. Let's say you live in New Orleans and you don't mind the mosquitos or the swampy-ness or the nothing-else-interesting-around-for-a-thousand-miles or the annual influx of pasty fanny-pack-wearing Nebraskans flooding Bourbon St. for the thrill of throwing up in your gutters every Mardi Gras. You're cool with all that. You stay because you love the easy access to great food and great music and the... um... food and the... uh... music. It's good.
You're sitting there watching the broadcast channels and all of a sudden, they interrupt your daily back-to-back Family Matters Power Hour (it was a good one too, with the Urkelbot and everything) to tell you "Oh sweet holy Jesus, everybody run! The hurricane! The hurricane! We're doomed! Doooooomed!"
But you know those weather people, they always exaggerate. That's how they keep their jobs; all journalism is sensationalism now. Like how they've been trying to convince us we were going to all be swarmed and eaten by giant Africanized killer bees any day now and we all know that will never happen.
Besides, why would you evacuate when they're playing Shaun of the Dead on HBO? You've been meaning to get around to seeing it and here it is on a channel that doesn't get pre-empted for stupid shit like killer hurricanes. What luck!
About an hour into it, the power goes out. And hang on, why is there two feet of water in your living room? And didn't you have a roof before the movie started? Bit breezy, now that you think of it.
So now you're floating down the street in your indestructible 1974 Chevy Nova. But the car radio says all the routes out of town are either choked with evacuation traffic or undriveable because of flooding. You can't find shelter underground because you'll drown and you can't go to high ground because... because this is New Orleans, where the high ground is actually below sea level.
Hmm, what's the biggest, strongest, safest building you can think of?
A-ha! Using the bill of a baseball cap as a rudder, you float your way toward the giant Louisiana Superdome.
Oh hey, several thousand others already thought of that. No big deal. Everyone knows it's always a party inside the Superdome.
There you are surrounded by strangers, everyone wheezing and coughing, wheeling from apathy to despair to terror, praying and crying, in some cases soiling themselves. All just like the last time you came to the Superdome to watch a Saints game. You feel right at home.
The Superdome is massive, solid, one of the largest structures in the whole world. It would be hard to imagine anything massiver or solider. Thousands of tons of concrete and steel and a waterproof impermeable roof designed to withstand sustained winds of up to 200 miles per hour. Come on, Katrina! Bring it, bitch! If Osama bin Laden were smart, he'd build hisself a Superdome. Sure he'd be easy to find, but good luck getting in.
Then just when you find a nice quiet spot up around the press box, away from all the noisy whining of the people who are "scared" or "genuinely suffering"... the roof starts to peel away. You're in a dome, but you can see the sky. You know the sky, that big blue thing with the hurricane in it.
If I were you, I think right around that point I'd just give up. Once atmospheric conditions are such that they are tearing the roof off the Superdome, I'd say things are looking pretty dire. Hell, I'm in California and I'm half-convinced this hurricane's going to kill me.
That doesn't seem to be the case, though. Here's a quote:
"I could have stayed at home and watched my roof blow off," said one of the refugees, Harald Johnson, 43. "Instead, I came down here and watched the Superdome roof blow off. It's no big deal; getting wet is not like dying."
First off, props to Harald's parents for going with the traditional Scandinavian spelling of "Harald". Second, I agree with Harald, "getting wet is not like dying". You know what is like dying? When the steel roof of the largest domed structure in the world collapses on you. That's exactly like dying.
Whether you, gentle reader, live in New Orleans or not, kiss your loved ones just in case. This might be the end for all of us. Katrina is coming for you. It's even a bigger deal than the death of my beloved mismatched shoes.
No, I'm not kidding.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.5
Sunday, August 28, 2005
And Flights Of Angels Sing Thee To Thy Rest
Time is a cruel thing. It does very nasty things to otherwise interesting and lovely people. Hot chicks who used to get loaded up on mixed berry-flavored wine coolers and then jump off a roof into a pool completely naked just so they could tell the story later eventually become mommies who only want to talk about their precious little Julian's latest series of distressing bowel movements.
But hot chicks aren't the only things that time ruins, oh no. It comes for everything and everyone eventually, no matter how great or small. All we can hope is that the mark we leave is so indelible, so unmistakable that history will have no choice but to name us legend.
Such, I hope, is the fate of my beloved footwear.
BEHOLD! in wondrous silence the visage of the departed.
You gasp, I know it. You tremble and weep and claw at your faces, trying to dissuade your mind from the horrible truth as beheld by your profane, unbelieving eyes. Calm yourself and look. Is't possible? I say to you at last: You bet your ass it is't. They don't match.
Before you get started with the mocking in earnest, I would ask you to spare me as I'm sure by now, with over a year of wearing these on my feet completely on purpose I'm sure I've heard them all.
Yes, I know they don't match.
No, I didn't get dressed in the dark.
Yes, they really did come that way.
I happen to think they're quite awesome (and yes I totally mean that in the junior-high sense of the word). Not only are they dope-ass kicks in their own right, they're themed. I don't have a good picture (you can find an official one here), but on the back of the white one (left) is a "2" and the back of the black one (right) reads "3". So if I stand with my feet together, my Michael Jordan shoes totally spell out Michael Jordan's number. Like I said: awesome. The only way they could be more awesome would be if they lit up. Or ooh! If they played that song they play when they introduce the team before Chicago Bulls games. That would put them right past awesome and into the untouchable category of Bad-Ass.
I bought them as a statement of rebellion against the unyielding forces of footwear-must-match fascism. In the year since I bought them, I slowly began to realize that statements like that only make a difference (or even, say, any fucking sense) if they are understood as such by the intended audience. From my observations, I would say that the main messages people took away from close social contact with my footwear fell into two broad categories: a) let's help the retarded man cross the street or b) the circus is coming! the circus is coming!
So sorry, folks, I was unable to single-handedly pierce the cultural hegemony of the Shoe Matching Regime. Your shoes are going to have to match... for now. Don't worry, I have a Plan B. I'm totally working on stirring up some subjugated knowledges in order to foment some dissonance in the dominant majority discourse and shit. I can't get into details, but I can tell you the plan involves a heavy dose of Ted McGinley. Talk about your subjugated knowledges.
Since I have just this weekend purchased a new pair of shamefully similar shoes, this old pair is going to be retired. I'm heartbroken to a certain extent, but not completely. They actually weren't particularly well made shoes. I only had them for a little over a year and they were already starting to come apart. And when I walked, they made this horrible crunchy-squeaky noise; it was the type of noise that's difficult to describe but one could only hope to realistically recreate when one might combine three Cambodian hookers, a set of rubber sheets, $80 and only a moderate amount of lube. I'm sure everyone knows what I'm talking about. They were quite a hit at church.
So they were of inestimable social and political quality but of substandard physical quality. Kind of like Larry Flynt.
Yeah, Indonesian sweatshop labor just doesn't mean quality like it used to.
Although my mismatched shoes may be gone, they will never be forgotten. Their reputation will ring down through the ages, each generation calling their name.
Farewell Nike Air Jordan Jumpman Team Deuce-Trey Basketball shoes! We hardly knew ye.
Of course it's possible that all of this is because I couldn't think of anything to write, just happened to be fooling around with my digital camera and randomly decided to take a picture of my shoes. But come on: if I were going to build a post around a totally random picture taken from those stored on my camera, why wouldn't I use this one:
See? You can't argue with me there.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.0
Friday, August 26, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #14
The Brothers Grimm
starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger
directed by Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys... oh for fuck's sake... it's Terry Gilliam)
Hey, I have a question: what the fuck is wrong with people?
Not just the obvious ones either--your Pat Robertsons, your Martha Stewarts, that creepy little Dakota Fanning--I mean "people" in general, the nameless-faceless that are responsible for making all of our lives a constant drumbeat of petty frustration, existential ruin and godless nihilism until we all die, bitter and sad, all too willing to leave behind a life primarily characterized by unrealized potential and crushing disappointment.
You know: them. The fuckers.
OK, I'll give you an example. For our anniversary this past Wednesday, my wife and I went out. Alone. I know. I still can't believe it either.
She works late Thursdays, so she can go in later that day. That means Wednesday nights, we have some scheduling latitude since she doesn't have to get up before the sun and contend with the armies of the undead who wander, terrorize and rule while daylight is occupied elsewhere.
The plan: dinner, movie.
This is what I'm talking about. Who are the people who schedule all the exact same movies at every single theater showing at the exact same times? And why, for the love of Christ, do they all start at either 8 pm or 10 pm and nothing conveniently at 9 pm-ish, when--as a random example--two people out for once without their kids might have finished dinner, but can't stay up until tomorrow to finish a movie because it starts so goddamn late?
You see what I mean? It's a Conspiracy of Fuckers to keep me from having a full evening of not-at-home-ness. We were home by 9:30 that night because there was nothing else to do. It's wrong, I tell you. Wrong.
I had the movie all picked out and everything. You remember last Friday when I was supposed to do this crappy recurring feature and I skipped it because I had planned to actually see a movie? I know you don't care because instead I got all freaky and threw down my best post in a long, long time, but we're talking about me now.
So I didn't write a MIHNIoS post about The 40 Year Old Virgin because I had intended to see it. People I like are in it. The reviews have been remarkably good. Even if none of that were true, I'd want to see it just for the poster.
I mean, look at it.
I said look at it goddamn you!
If one single theater operator in all of Riverside County would have had a showing that started after 8:10 and before 9:55, I would have had a very pleasant post about how I saw that movie and laughed until I vomited blood, but no. Instead we have this, The Brothers Grimm, which at first I was curious about, but the more I read about it, it just makes me sad.
From the reviews I've read, apparently it looks very nice, but it's all chaotic and spazzy, but not in the good Terry Gilliam way. The full reviews are uniformly underwhlemed. The blurbs put in the newspaper ads are impressive (Time's Richard Corliss and Peter Travers from Rolling Stone), but the Travers quote is suspiciously non-committal. It says "Eye-popping fun!" That could have been wrenched out of context to seem positive. Like: "This movie was so bad, in the middle of it I tried to puncture my eyeballs with a ball-point pen. And not the pointy end either, I mean with the dull clicker end, so you know I had to stab myself pretty hard. The experience of watching The Brothers Grimm was so monumentally horrible that it was enough even to make eye-popping fun by comparison."
See? That's them at work again. You know, "people" trying to trick you into watching movies that suck. Which I would totally do if only they would show them at the right time.
Plus, I've seen the commercials. Matt Damon's English-y accent is awful. I actually like Matt Damon, but just... no. He only has a line or two in the TV ads, but it's enough to come across like a staging of The Real Inspector Hound as done by the drama club at Amelia Earhart Junior High.
And Heath Ledger... is there any more of a non-presence getting steady work as a lead in Hollywood movies as Heath Ledger? I heard he was good in Lords of Dogtown, but I'll never know. I'll watch Monster's Ball again before I watch some damn skateboard movie, and that's even knowing I'll have to sit through Billy Bob Thornton's naked ass and everything else again.
So while I heartily encourage Terry Gilliam to keep making movies--even ones that seem overwrought and boring--in the hopes that he will (almost certainly) make great ones again, I reserve the right to Not Intend To See these place-holders between masterpieces.
One (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I'm somewhat restricted in my time and access to the wonderful computing machine that gives me life and gives my life meaning today, so forgive me if I'm a little off. There are people here. Visiting people. Instead of visiting with them, I'm here with you, so I'm a little relieved to know that my complete lack of social acumen is still intact. At least to the extent that something that doesn't exist can be "intact".
See, I told you I was distracted. I had planned a long, gruesome recreation of my anniversary evening out with my wife in complete, all encompassing, almost pornographic detail, but I just don't have the time or focus to give it the effort it deserves. Besides, now that I think about it, the pornographic details of my chile verde plate with rice and beans probably wouldn't be as interesting as it seemed last night. But then, everything seems interesting four or five margaritas along. It was some good fucking chile verde, though.
Today instead I'm going to let the focus shift from my home county of Riverside and let the spotlight shine on the glory-hogging vast emptiness that is our neighbor county, San Bernardino.
Someone somewhere at some time decided that our general region, the wide-open desert and semi-desert swath between he mountains and the state-line "the Inland Empire". I don't know why. All I know is the several applications I've sent to the County Board of Supervisors for the position of Inland Emperor have gone completely unresponded-to.
Just to give you all an idea, here's a map:
That's San Bernardino county in obvious, slutty red. Just underneath it, the longish, colorless one being crushed by SB's morbidly obese geographical mass is Riverside County, home of suburban sprawl, wild thundering herds of giant tortoises and Pops' Bucket Global Headquarters. San Bernardino likes to brag that they are the largest county in the contiguous 48 United States. That is, it is physically the largest. As counties go, San Bernardino is the Canada of California counties: a vast majority of the population is huddled around the southern border. The main difference between SB and Canada is that instead of the majority of the land being a completely useless expanse of permafrost, grizzly bears and frozen prehistoric bacteria waiting to be released to kill us all in a biblical plague, San Bernardino's land is mostly a furnace-blasted hellscape peopled almost exclusively by roaming packs of semi-intelligent lizard-men who hunt and kill what humans they can find so they might drink their blood in lieu of water, a substance totally foreign to that part of the world and that they worship as a mythical god.
Of course it goes without saying that any wide-open space in this country with limited motor vehicle access for, say, police to get around on means meth labs as well. As a region, it's what we do. We used to do oranges. The rumor is that most of the citrus industry packed up and moved to Florida, but I suspect the people out this way just got bored with it. The likelihood of either a) blowing yourself up in your 15x10 all-aluminum camper while cooking up a batch of your main export product and/or b) being cut down in a hail of bullets from a police helicopter is almost impossible when you're growing limes or grapefruit. Meth is so much more exciting.
The reason I've chosen to highlight San Bernardino is that the poor bastards almost never get mentioned in the news. All the good stuff like mulitple murders or illegal immigrants cooking to death packed into a panel van or a good race riot, they almost always happen here in Riverside rather than SB.
But this seems to be their week, so I'm giving them their due. First there was this runaway teen actress nobody ever heard of from San Bernardino County who ended up, just today, found safe. That's just San Bernardino's luck. It seemed like they were on the verge of a real national news sensation: pretty white girl in trouble. Looks like Greta van Susteren is going to have to stay in Aruba.
Also this week, the rumor is that President Bush is planning a visit to Rancho Cucamonga, in that part of SB County where everyone pretends they live in Pasadena, but don't. Again, bad luck for SB. If a president's going to visit, you want a star like Clinton or Reagan or something. What do they get? They get Squinty and his horrible, droning pro-war publicity tour. Five hours in the inland heat and smog waiting for the president to give the same canned speech he gave in Salt Lake City this week about how democracy is on the march and some other crap. I hope for their sake they get some of the veiled asides suggesting that that Cindy Sheehan is actually Moqtada al Sadr's little brother in drag, bent on destroying America from within by posing as the white grieving mother of a dead soldier.
It isn't much, but it's something. When you live in San Bernardino, you take what you can get. Any time spent not worrying about the lizard-people has got to be a welcome relief.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.6
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Shiny Happy People
Let's play a game, shall we?
What is this picture of?
Because I understand my basic demographic, I'll make it multiple choice. Is it:
a) Liberace's living room
b) the surface of the sun as taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory satellite
c) the Light at the End of the Tunnel
d) Ozzfest 2005, main stage
e) Blood sacrifice ceremony to appease Huitzilopochtli, the sun-god of ancient Tenochtitlan
You have thirty minutes to complete the test. Starting... now!
Not porn surfing, just innocently waiting...
OK, enough. Let's review. Did you say B? You said B, right?
Ha! Wrong, dumb-ass! Haha! B? Seriously? I'd be disappointed if I weren't so amused.
Actually, it's a picture taken from my wedding, which was eight years ago today.
When I see pictures from the Blessed Event like this... it's hard to convey exactly what I feel and what I think. Mostly from this picture, I think: "Wow. I really, really overpaid the goddamn photographer."
See, here's a tip for those of you who are unmarried, but plan to be some day (with apologies to my gay Bucketeers... maybe in the next administration): get married someplace that is ugly and/or boring to look at. If you get married someplace beautiful, you have two problems. 1) Beautiful = ruinously expensive and 2) you run the risk (like we did) of your photographer being more interested in the architecture than in your stupid wedding. The bastard goes to weddings every single weekend of his life, so it's possible that your nuptials might not be the most intellectually stimulating thing in front of him that day. This means it's also possible that, say, throughout your entire ceremony he might play with his shutter speeds to elongate film exposure and make some fancy lighting effects in your wedding pictures.
Of course the down side is that when anybody moves at all--like that silly part at the end where the bride and groom kiss--it will be lost forever in a blur of long exposure because Snappy McCamera was going for his Wedding Photo Pulitzer.
We went with this photographer because he was relatively inexpensive as compared to some others we met. How sad we were when we were made to understand why.
Needless to say, our wedding was nowhere near that shiny. If the metal statuary were giving off that kind of light, we would have had to have a triage center set up outside the chapel to treat for radiation sickness. No, to the naked eye, the setting was less luminescently spectacular. We made our guests sick in the traditional wedding way, with cloying romanticism and food poisoning.
The moral of the story, boys and girls, is that you gets what you pays for. If you want competence, be prepared to pay for it. If you skimp on the photographer, do yourself a favor and skimp on the whole thing. If the pictures are going to be crappy, the event might as well be crappy as well, thereby minimizing the crushing disappointment later when you get the pictures back. No long churches, no arranged flowers, no towering altar-backdrops with gold statues of angels and saints,* nothing. If the chapel doesn't have an Elvis impersonator on-staff, you're overdoing it.
This is me being helpful.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.5 (minus the 0.5 for being helpful)
*= which is probably a violation of the First Commandment anyway... or is that the Second Commandment, the thing about the graven images... damn. Ever since they took the 7-ton monolith out from in front of the courthouse, I can never remember which Commandment is which.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
March Of The Highlanders
It's out! It's here! Finally, finally! The US News & World Report Rankings of America's Best Colleges has arrived!
All across America, families are taking time out from their annual Release of the US News & World Report Ranking of America's Best Colleges barbecues to peruse the long-awaited totally objective and exhaustive list that establishes--once and for all--whose school is better than whose. Whom's. Whomse. Whatever.
When the mail truck pulls up (we all subscribe, right? The commercials had Tom Selleck and William F. Buckley... there's no way you resisted that), we all drop what we're doing and run. The burgers can burn on the grill for a little bit. The piñata, wounded but not defeated, can swing there for a minute. And the dead clown at the bottom of the pool, well, it's not like he's going anywhere. We can always fish him out tomorrow. We got Rankings!
I spend a lot of time being defensive about the schools I went to (see the About Me section over on the right... I'll wait here until you're done being bemused...), especially for my undergrad. Not only is it source of pride-by-association as my alma mater, but it is also located in my hometown, which doubles my sense of ownership and protection. I mean yeah, it's a state school, on the small-ish side, but it is an actual University of California campus. It's not like I had to go to a Cal-State school. Talk about embarrassing.
Honestly, though, I couldn't be more pleased. I still really can't believe it. The good people at US News & World Report looked at my quaint little school, it's national reputation made mostly to this point by the fact that it has no national reputation, pulled a HUUUGE number.
University of California Riverside: #85.
Yes! Go Highlanders!
I don't know what criteria they used to award points, but they saw fit to give us 85 of them. I still can't believe it.
At 85 we got more points than every other UC campus. More than Santa Cruz (68), UCLA (25) and (this is a stunner) Berkeley, who only garnered 20 points. That's the least amount of points for any public school. It's a shame, because I've always thought so highly of that institution.
Everyone needs to brace themselves, because there are going to be some firings at some big-time schools. All the lowest point-totals are among well-known private schools. The entire bottom of the table (which is, for some reason, presented upside down... I guess to preserve the surprise?) is comprised of schools like Notre Dame (18), University of Chicago (15), MIT (7) and Yale (3).
Three measly points for Yale. Scandalous.
The bottom of the list, the absolute dregs, is Harvard with only one point. One. I know they've been going through some tough times like that thing that one guy said that pissed off all those chicks, but wow. How the mighty have fallen.
This kind of makes me a little skeptical about rankings like this, though. I know times are tough at Harvard, but they get 1 and my school gets 85? It's kind of hard for me to believe that UC Riverside is eighty-five times better than Harvard.
But hey... what are you gonna do? Rankings is rankings. If the US News & World Report says it, it's good enough for me.
Congratulations are in order for the schools who pulled in the highest point totals, five tied at 120 points. 120! And one of them is Washington State! I always assumed that was a crappy little party school out in the middle of a cow pasture in Pullman. Color me wrong. Something they're doing is working a treat. Kudos, Cougars. Relish it while you can. Last year my school only got 81. This year, we got 85. We're gaining on you.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.0
Monday, August 22, 2005
Goodnight, Ellicott City! We Love You!
It would be quite out of character for me to turn away freely offered attention, especially to my blog. The longer I keep at this, the more it becomes integral to my self-esteem. The more I write and the more people who read, the painful reality of my existence as a Failed Writer fades, inch by inch, into the background. The lure of the fantasy of internet raconteur and bon vivant and other French words that don't mean "total loser" is a powerful one. Plus, more time blogging means less time being tempted by the devil fire-water, which is always the beginning of a story that ends with me being pulled naked from a frat party and in violation of my parole.
I'm a little bit terrified that what I'm going to say will alienate somebody, an incredibly loyal reader who shall remain anonymous, mostly because I have no idea who they/he/she are/is/were/am. No, not "am". Sorry. The other ones, though.
What I am about to bring up I bring up not in judgment or complaint, but simply out of curiosity.
I love my Sitemeter. For those who internet stalk me, it allows me to internet stalk you right back, which is fun. In the last few weeks, Sitemeter has added (for your counter-stalking convenience) the Location of the users on the "Who's On" menu, which also includes the originating Domain Name and Visit Length.
Again, this isn't to say I find it creepy or off-putting, I just want to know.
There's someone who keeps logging on from Ellicott City, Maryland who stays on my blog for hours and hours and hours, racking up dozens of page-views per day.
I recognize that the Location information is imperfect. Sitemeter says I'm coming from Irvine, which is funny because that would be hilariously out of my housing budget.
So maybe you're not really from Ellicott City. But man, I'd sure like to know what it is you're looking for here. All I can really offer are some cheap word-subsitution jokes and penis-based humor, so if it's anything more than that, I assume you're bitterly disappointed by now.
But I'm not saying I don't want you here, no. And I don't want you to be embarrassed that I brought this up publicly, but I just have to know. I mean, you spend more time on my blog than I do. Since it isn't possible for anyone to be as enamored with me as I am, there has to be another reason besides Pops-worship that leads one to wallow in the Bucket for the larger part of days on end.
I do appreciate the attention, though. If I had any money to give out prizes for Most Time Logged, you'd win. By a lot. It's safer that I don't have a prize budget because I'm sure I'd get you something cheap like a free movie coupon (for one!) and blow the rest on hair extensions and Botox treatments for myself. Body dysmorphic disorder is one expensive hobby.
If you don't want to discuss it in comments, that's OK. I have e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Come on out of the closet, little fella. Nobody's going to hurt you.
That "closet" comment wasn't to imply that you're gay. If I am your secret big gay crush, that's cool too. Like I said, no judgments.
OK, a little judgment for picking this blog to endlessly ponder. It's not that I question your taste, but this is the internet. There is so much porn out there to get to still...
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0 (two in a row!)
Sunday, August 21, 2005
My little brother has been visiting out here from [the place he's from] for about a month and a half. Loyal Bucketeers will note that I've never mentioned having a brother in the past and that this is just one more of Pops' fancy lies used as a set-up for some hi-larious text-based hijinx, but alas, this is not the case. This is the truth. It's dull, isn't it?
Well, it's kind of the truth. Actually, he's my step-brother. I grew up with just my two sisters. Meanwhile, 1,000+ miles away in the wilds of the American Upper Midwest my dad, it seems, was wending his way through most of the female population of the Great Lakes area. Apparently, he'll settle for any chick so long as she nasalizes and flattens out her vowels in that inimitable Upper Midwest way. That just does it for him, I guess. Dude's on his third marriage.
So I actually have three brothers, one half and two step. And four sisters, my two regular sisters plus one half sister and one step sister. Christmas is fucking complicated.
Anyway, the youngest boy (he's 18) was out here visiting. He longed to see things he couldn't see in the place where he's from, like land elevation and smog.
He left this morning (Sunday). For his last full day here (Saturday), I had the excellent idea to take him someplace where he could experience gaudy SoCal recreational decadence, surround himself with hot, mostly-naked Orange County chicks and score himself some first-rate melanoma in the process.
We went to Wild Rivers. Acres and acres of giant waterslides and two massive artificial wave pools... did I mention the mostly-naked Orange County chicks? They were all their too. Most of them were accompanied by their tough-guy tattooed, pierced, spiky-haired OC Dad's-BMW-driving roughneck boyfriends, but that's OK. I had my wife there to protect me.
I'm pretty sure my little step-brother had a good time with the slides and the waves and the mostly-nakeds. Me, I was there with my three little kids. That means lots of face-time with the 2-foot deep freezing-cold urine-tastic splash pool. Wheeee! Nobody died, so I guess that's a positive. And I didn't need skin grafts to fix the sunburn this time, so we'll call that Positive #2.
But Sunday morning rolled around and we were tired. We were so tired that, even though we got up in plenty of time, we decided that God wanted us to rest and we skipped church.
It's awful I know. But you know what? We got all kinds of shit done and nobody had a stress-induced stroke because of time pressure.
I'm sure most of you won't believe me, but I like going to Mass on Sundays. I really do. It's a time to reflect on what's important in my life and reconnect with the Almighty, all to the sound of some really kick-ass hymns (I loved it when my parish replaced that fruity-ass folk guitar player and brought in DJ Pookie and his Turntables of Resurrection) . How much the absence of my kids (who are tucked away safely in the church nursery or Sunday school during the service) for that hour has to do with my likey-ness of it, I'm not saying either way. But it's good, quiet time. Plus there's a snack at the end.
The Mass is only an hour, but it takes all day. Up at 8, get kids ready, get self ready, out the door, 20 minute drive, drop kids off at respective Not-With-Me places, Mass, collect children, drive home... it's noon. Lunch, naptime... we have a window between 3pm and 7pm to get a week's worth of shit done. That's that stroke I was telling you about before. I get one every two weeks or so. Lucky for me I've got he one-hand-typing thing all worked out.
So as I was sitting there on my couch today at 1 pm, summer breeze blowing through my screen door, baseball on the TV, kids and wife napping, lawn mowed, groceries shopped, dog shaved, I had me a serious apostate moment or two.
Man, them atheists must just get by great. No Jesus chasing them down all the time to do this, do that, donate to this, contribute to that. Sure, they're going to burn in eternal hellfire, but right now they're living in Fat City.
But just before I cast out the Holy Spirit in favor of my remote control, I had an epiphany. Not so much like Paul on the road to Damascus, but more like Greg Brady when he realized that Johnny Bravo, while a cool name, just wasn't him and it wasn't groovy to try and be someone you're not.
What came to me in a 1970s sitcom flash was something I'd been struggling with for ages: I know completely understand Christian fundamentalism.
I know! Isn't it amazing?
No, look, hear me out. There's all this stuff out there, like dens of iniquity and houses of ill repute, all the way down to your common street-whore, to tempt and distract your common man. At the same time he remembers when he was a kid when his parents made him go to church when all he wanted to do was take naps and masturbate. He came to realize that going to church saved him from a life of oversleeping and friction-burns.
But the temptation is still so strong, you know, so if you only go into religion by half-steps, you're always just about to slide into a life where you spend all your time and money on high quality industrial-grade lube and sheets with insanely high thread counts. So if he's going to go, he's going to go all the way and be "born again". If "don't masturbate or be a lazy fucker" is true, then all that shit has to be true about the gays and abortion and obedient women and that evil, evil SpongeBob Squarepants. All the space in the brain that is devoted to onanism and sloth have to be driven out and filled by something else. And that's a lot of space.
So even though church-going takes a lot of time and effort, they do it because otherwise, sort of paradoxically, it gives them time to get stuff done. Because without it, you know... like I said before about the wanky-wanky and the sleepy-sleepy.
Or maybe he just doesn't want to mow the lawn on Sunday. That's a strong second-choice theory.
This is the reason why I'm pretty happy to be a non-fundamentalist practicing Catholic. Protestants like to brag about their self-reliance in matters of faith since they have no specialized priesthood to mediate between them and God and thus have no need for the lazy evil of confession.
But that means you have to be, like, a total expert on all things religious just to be religious because there's no one there to help with the heavy lifting. I like my priests (the non-pedophile ones) precisely because they tell me when to stand up and when to sit down and when I can leave. They read my Old Testament for me. And the New one too, come to think of it. I hear it's very good. Ties up all the loose ends from the Old one.
So if I happen to be alone one night watching Cinemax and one thing leads to another, I can confess it. "Hey, fix this for me, would you?" And I assume he does.
Same thing with other sins, like missing church because we are tired from all the water-park fun we had the day before. I give it to my guy, he handles it. It's all voluntary. I needn't be consumed either way, which is nice because then I have more time to blog.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0
Friday, August 19, 2005
The Blue And The Red
Some of you no doubt will be crushed to see there will be no Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing entry this week.
Please, don't be mad. Please? If you'll just let me explain.
See, it will be my eighth wedding anniversary next week, which means there is a high, high probability that I will have the opportunity to actually go and see a movie in the next 7-14 days.
You're laughing, I know. I'm tempting fate. There are a thousand potential complicating factors. One of the kids could get sick. Babysitting might become magically unavailable. An earthquake could strike us all dead. The theater could burn down. I could get caught in a crossfire when I go and visit my dealer.*
And of course I'm always living under the constant threat of being called up to go to war.
No no, not the actual war (and let me take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Pops again for talking me out of joining the Reserves back in 2000), I mean the "war" I fight every couple of months with my pals in our re-enactment unit.
I know, you're thinking a bunch of pasty white saddos running around a vacant lot waving swords or muzzle-loading blank-firing muskets (depending on the time-period of their obsession) shouting out in modern-accented archaic English ("Avaunt! Charge, dudes!") and then sitting around a campfire at night screaming obscenities at one another over whether or not someone's belt-buckle is really period-authentic.
But no, that's not for me. I live in California, a designated History-Free Zone. Unless I want to join a group re-enacting a pack of Indians sitting around and coughing to death from tuberculosis, there isn't a lot of regional history to draw from.
So what we do is we re-enact the Los Angeles Gang Wars of the late 1980s. People see me coming with my white-boy high-top fade and they wonder what it's all about. Well, now you know. Gotta stay in character. Just like the Civil War guys with their handle-bar mustaches and crazy mutton-chops, we strive for period authenticity.
We arrange ourselves into units called "hoods", which are evenly divided between Crips and Bloods. I run with the Lily Court Homeyz. I know it's not a very good name, but our comptroller lives on Lily Court in Yorba Linda and he's the only one with a full-size van.
So about once a month or so we put on our white t-shirts, our blue plaid flannel button-ups, our black jeans, Raiders hats, our gold, get strapped with our custom Glocks (my homeboy reenacter Maurice "Mo-Money" Abramowitz does the taxes for a guy who does movie props, so it's all safe) and we roll.
We do all the famous battles. Last month it was the Battle of That Time We Shot That Dude In the Alley Behind Kwan's Liquor Store. This month someone is borrowing a friend's '64 Impala and we're going to do the Battle of That Time We All Got Fucked Up On Bacardi And Shot Up The Wrong Birthday Party By Accident. Drive-by style, muthafucka. My niece is going to play the 8-year-old girl who got killed in the crossfire. She's 9, but she looks young. I can't wait. It's going to be bad-ass.
For real authenticity, the best thing is to go to the actual battle-sites for the re-eneactments, but that hasn't gone well in the past. One time we went into Compton and my homeboy Ernie "E-Ticket" Messerschmidt got shot in the hip by an actual gang member. It was kind of cool in a way, but there was a lot of blood and E-Ticket was kind of a crybaby about the whole thing. Then there was that one time we rolled through Gardena and got pulled over by the cops. At first they laughed at us, even though my Kenwood was blastin' NWA "Fuck Tha Police" at the time. It took, like, a half an hour to convince them to hit one of us in the head with a maglite, just like they would do with real gangstas, but we finally talked them into it. Larry "Killa" Artola got the honors. Homeboy ain't been right since.
The only place we draw the line is that we won't, under any circumstances, use the N-word, even in reference to each other. None of us are comfortable with it. Instead, we substitute the word "ninja". It sounds reasonably like it and still has a kind of bad-ass ring to it because ninjas are, you know, all deadly and stuff.
We've got the patois down just about right. We be all like:
"Yo, what up, ninja?"
"Just chillin'. Hey, you seen T-Bird?"
"Naw, I ain't seen that ninja around this muthafucka in ages."
"You know, a long-ass muthafuckin' time, ninja. Shit."
"Excuse the fuck out of me, ninja, that just didn't sound like you was keepin' it real. Shit."
"Yo, you seen seen T-Bird or ain't you?"
"I told you that ninja ain't been around here."
"Damn! That ninja still has my copy of Chariots of Fire on DVD too. Damn, ninja, what you smokin'?"
"Raspberry flavored tobacco. My daughter brought this shit home from college last month. You want a hit?"
Anyone interested in joining can e-mail me. But please, if it's 'hood business, you must refer to me by my street name, "Aristophanes".
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.7
*= my rare stamps and coins dealer. She's actually located in a pretty nice neighborhood, but she'll still fire the occasional warning shot as you walk in the shop. Better safe then sorry, I guess.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
It's 12:25 am as I write this, so it's officially Thursday.
I'm writing this at this ungodly hour because later on (in about 8 hours or so), we're doing Round 2 of Exterminators vs. the Ants at Pops' House. They're still around, though in smaller numbers. My theory is that the first round of exterminator spray killed off the weaklings and all we have left are the evolution-selected survivalist ants who suck in pesticide the way Rush Limbaugh ingests Oxy-Contin: in those doses, they should by all accounts be stone dead, but somehow they just keep churning on, fired by the miniature Hell's Furnace that burns at the core of their beings.
I'm also up late because my wife was able to score tickets (free!) to an Angels game. But only four, so it was me, Mrs. Pops and my two oldest boys. Sprog #3 stayed home with my mom.
I don't think I've conveyed the level of Baseball Fever that my boys have contracted, especially my oldest kid. He would watch it 24/7 if he could. He watches the same games twice, on purpose. Frankly, it's a little annoying. Now I think I understand just a little bit what a monotonous slog it must be to live with me every day. If my wife is reading this, I apologize.
At a live game, Sprog #1 was freakishly blissed out. Dancing and shouting and screaming and swearing (seriously, he was swearing at one point). It was all so adorably Tourette's-like.
Then I remembered something I hadn't thought about in a long time. When I found out I'd be having a son the first time, I built up this idea in my mind about how cool it would be for us to go to a game together, when he was old enough to understand it, and share the experience as equals in our devotion to the team and the sport.
I remembered it just in time to see it come to fruition.
I also remembered my other dream for my kids when they get old enough, for us to all collectively beat to death a random stranger in a dark alleyway at night, run away and never be caught.
I'm thinking maybe next year for that one.
I love being a dad.
More later if my house is ever safe again. If not, you'll have to live with this. Sorry.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.3
PS: You don't care, but Angels 1, Toronto fucking 4. Stupid baseball.
PPS: You really don't care, but USA 1, Trinidad & Tobago 0. Soccer. World Cup qualifying. That's right, I taped it and watched it just before I sat down to type this. That's not sad, that's devoted.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
National Network Television Agrees: It's All About Me
I read today that 40% of Mexicans would emigrate to the US if they had the chance. Out of an entire nation, 4 out of 10 people would rather be somewhere else. That's astounding.
To my wide Mexican reader fan-base, I would only say this: don't come. It's not because I'm racist or I don't want Mexicans living here. I'm from southern California. That ship has sailed, people. Mexicans live in the US and I'm kind of over it.
No, I'm saying stay away for your own good. Consider: Billy Murray is set to reprise his role as the voice of Garfield in Garfield 2. Any nation capable of something so horrific must have something terribly, tragically wrong with it. Please, think of your children. Stay out.
I hate the word "rant". It's a blog-ruined word that is chronically abused, literally almost as the word "literally". Any blog that uses the word "rant" in its description, tagline or (shudder) title automatically has a mountain of work to do in order to fix the damage done to my interest.
The problem is that most people mis-identify a "rant" as simply "the capacity to be annoyed". Being frustrated about traffic or your in-laws or the lady at work who smells like cat-food is all fine, but three lines about how you were "so pist off!!!!" and ending with a flourish-y "grrrr!!!" doesn't really necessarily constitute a good rant.
I blame Dennis Miller and his old HBO show. I'm sure in people's minds they sound like Dennis Miller be-boppin' and scattin' through a 3-minute verbal tirade about the erosion of personal responsibility in a victim-society peppered with crazy left-field allusions to Jack Kerouac, Riverdance, the Toledo Mudhens and F-Troop.
Like I said, in their minds they sound just like Dennis Miller the same way I sound just like Anne Murray when I'm in my car howling along to "Snowbird".
Green Day. I mean Green Day. And not "Snowbird", I mean... some... Green Day song. While drinking beer of some kind. And on my way to have sex. With chicks. At a football game. And... no. You know what? Fuck you people. Anne Murray. You heard me right.
OK, where was I? Right, rants.
Look, you can't rant as well as you think, but you know what? Neither can I. I recognize my limitations. It's the same reason I don't jog. I just accept that there are some things Jesus never intended for me to do when He made me.
Even when something upsets me, I know to try to keep it light. A little sarcasm, a little satire maybe (see: yesterday), but you don't get a lot of "everything sucks, man!" here in the Bucket. At least not since the election ended.
This is all my way of telling you that what follows is not/does not qualify as a "rant".
The (non-rant!) topic comes to me from SJ's post a few days ago where she mentioned this new "reality show" called "Meet Mr. Mom".
See? I mentioned the title and... still breathing easily, still regular blood-pressure, still thinking of ways to make funny out of it.
I had to look at the website to create the link and I'm still... OK, I have a slight stabbing pain behind my right eye, but that's OK. That could be anything. Allergy, sinus infection, a horribly lost wasp, brain tumor, anything. Ha ha!
I kind of have a little tingly feeling in my fingers, though. Is that weird? It feels weird.
I admit it, it's a pretty funny premise for a show. See, what happens is that the Mom, like, totally leaves the house. That way the kids and the dog and the housework and the shopping all have to be handled by bumbly ole workaday Dad. See him brush hair! See him burn food! See him reduced to a sobbing, crumpled heap of a man wallowing in a puddle of his own urine, reduced to helpless infancy when faced with the myriad mysterious complexities of the vacuum cleaner! Ha! Look at the funny retard! Hey, someone throw the monkey an egg-beater! I bet he gets his tongue caught in it! Ha ha ha!
If you click on the above link to the show's webpage, you can take a poll. This is the actual multiple choice poll question:
What "chore" do you think the dads will have the most trouble with?
After school activities
Ooh! I know! I know! It's got to be the last one. Everyone knows cooking is totally a chick thing. It's common knowledge that being born with a Y chromosome and the resultant extra genital appendage precludes the brain from being able to navigate the complexities of a Hamburger Helper. I've watched a lot of '70s sitcoms in my day and everybody knows that when it's Dad's night to cook, you leave the maid to clean up the whole bag of flour he managed to spill everywhere before he gives up and you all go get pizza. Yay, pizza!
Kudos, NBC. You've done it again. The same network that brought us the reality show about kids trying to pawn off their widowed geezer father on some poor, unsuspecting failed actress in order to defray nursing home costs in the (near) future now brings you this. Wholesome family entertainment strikes again!
I would totally watch "Meet Mr. Mom", but I have plans to attempt and fail suicide next Tuesday at 8. The cameramen should be here to film it by 7.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.1
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Ha! We're on to you, Abdul! Read the headline and weep, Habib!
Terror screening trips up infants
Everyone say it with me: U-S-A! U-S-A! Well, everyone except probably "Abdul" and "Habib". Unless you're reading this and you happen to be an American born of Arab descent and your parents named you Abdul or Habib, then you're cool. We know you'll grow up to marry white girls and have kids named "Ryder" and "Jessalyn". But to the other "Abdul" and "Habib", the crass generalizations of America-hating foreign-born terrorist Arabs that I was thinking of, to you I say no! I disinvite you specifically from joining in our patriotic chant. I chastise you in public, Hypothetical Future Terrorist. Feel the sting, motherfuckers.
I knew you sneaky devils could be devious, but I didn't think you'd stoop so low as to involve American babies in your plot to destroy our country and the freedom which you hate. But God damn, did you underestimate American ingenuity, the imagination of our law-enforcement and the kick-ass job being done every day by the brave men and women of the Transportation Security Administration. Yeah, at the airport they look like bored, surly, barely-literate wage-slaves, but the jokes on you, Ali!* The men and women at the TSA are Americans (for the most part). That means that even the most incompetent, ill-tempered and underpaid among us are enough to foil your most advanced plotting and scheming.
Honestly, trying to use babies to smuggle bombs on to planes. We were right about you all along. Is there no bottom to the bottomless depths of your depravity? I would say no considering that it is, in fact, bottomless, as I said before in the last sentence.
What really makes me sick is that I know when some people in this country read the above story about babies being denied access to airplanes because their names are "similar" to those on anti-terrorist no-fly lists, their poor, wounded naive hearts will just bleed all over the place. These are the pinheaded ACLU Ivory Tower types who use any excuse to bash and defame the country that gave them everything they have. I know it, they're out there right now going "Oh, how stupid the stupid people are not using basic common sense to make obvious decisions on a case-by-case basis". These are the kinds of people who, I think, would love nothing more than to be incinerated by a terrorist bomb while flying on an commercial flight. They must want that. That's the only thing that baby-terrorist coddling can get you. That's the only thing I can think of that makes any sense.
What those people don't understand is that these foreigner terrorist-types can and will do anything to hurt America, motivated by our freedoms for which they hate us. They get these kids from birth (maybe even before) and train them in nothing but freedom-hating and bomb making and Allah-worshipping in their evil terrorist-child-training schools (called hadassahs). So you see, baby-terrorists are not as ridiculous as they might at first sound. The fact that the kids being stopped at airports are mostly American kids, well, that's on their parents. If they would have given them some more American-sounding names (like "Kayden" or "Coopersmith"), they wouldn't be having this problem, now would they? A little inconvenience at the airport? Tough. Freedom isn't free.
We need to keep our eyes on the prize, people. It's us against them. We should all be uniters, not dividers. Above all, we should try to remember what it is we're fighting for.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 1.0
*= again, this assumes a foreign terrorist named "Ali" and not an American Arab or, say, a girl named "Alison" who shortens it to Ali. Although I think she should reconsider her nickname in these sensitive times and maybe go with "Ally". Like that nice young Ally Sheedy who does all those teenager movies.
Monday, August 15, 2005
A Demographic Of One
This afternoon, 5 pm, I'll be driving about 3/4 of a mile up the road to a nearby park. There my boys and I will set foot in uncharted territory. It's time for our first-ever soccer practice.
Me, I can't wait. Finally, I am about to become a member of the buzzword groups that get paid all sorts of unnecessary attention during election cycles because the media remembers it easily and has already paid to have the graphics made. I'm about to become a soccer dad.
Wait wait wait, hang on... that doesn't sound right. "Soccer dad"? No, that wasn't it, it was NASCAR dad. But fuck that, I hate NASCAR.
Why was I thinking "soccer dad"? Oh yeah, that's right, I'm thinking of 2000. But it wasn't soccer dad it was soccer moms.
So if I'm not a "NASCAR dad" and I'm not a "soccer mom", that means I'm... um...
What's a brutha have to do to get some politicians to kiss his ass? I'm a white middle class suburban male church-going Democrat who stays home with his kids. Statistically speaking, I don't even actually exist.
I guess I can take some solace in the fact that my son will begin today playing a sport that will bring him lots of joy and friendship and social skills; thus we will begin his introduction to soccer, a sport he will grow up playing only so that he will learn one day to not give a shit about it.
Because he's an American, dammit: we play soccer, but we watch baseball. Or basketball. Or football. Or NASCAR (the fuckers). Or poker. Or billiards. Or Strongman competitions. Or the Great Outdoor Games. Or hockey.
OK, maybe not hockey. But the rest of them, yes.
So I can't get my ass kissed by a politician. And nobody likes to watch soccer but me. Frustrating? Yes. But at least I know that while I'm on the sidelines watching my kid play AYSO this fall, I will have plenty of opportunities in a socially-acceptable setting to punch other irrational adults in the face. The frustration has to be worked out somehow. If any of those precious "soccer moms" from the other teams give me the least bit of shit, it is on.
I grew up with two sisters. I'll fight a girl.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.9
Sunday, August 14, 2005
My Name Is Pops And I Wear An Ass-hat
Before I get started, a couple of housekeeping points to make:
1) Since Technorati has gone all-but tits-up since it was "upgraded", I've been getting behind on keeping my list of mutual links up to date since I can't easily tell when I get a new link somewhere anymore. For those of you who are new around here who may have added the Bucket to your blogrolls and haven't seen the courtesy reciprocated, I apologize. I know you must be frustrated as it probably looks, as you see my list, that it's about as easy to get added to as Paris Hilton's Sidekick.
And now you're thinking with six-month old references turned into crappy jokes, you don't mind being left off so much anymore.
Alternate reasons for non-immediate-reciprocation may include the facts that a) I don't like you b) I like you, but your blog sucks c) I'm horrendously lazy. And while one or more of those things may well be true, officially I'm sticking with the Technorati excuse. Thanks for your cooperation.
2) Just to clear up some confusion with regard to something I said in Friday's post, my youngest son is not actually named "Eustace" (with or without the quotation marks). I apologize for leading you on. I know the confusion came from the fact that in the same sentence, I said my wife had tried to stab me with an ice-pick while I was sleeping. That part was totally true. She says there was a fly on my face and she was going to kill it, Miyagi-style, except instead of chopsticks, ice-pick. I have chosen to believe her.
I'm grateful for the existence of blogs. They have given me a way to express myself that utilizes and highlights my abundant and wondrous talent for the written word.
I know "wondrous and abundant" may sound conceited (not to mention rambling and over-wrought), but please understand that they are only appropriate relative to my other faculties. I can't do math, I can't dance, I'm the world's slowest runner and I throw like a girl. A girl with no arms. Yes, it's that bad.
So if the internet had been swept away by a sudden craze that involved interpretive dance to twist my body into hieroglyphics that would spell out word-problems to be solved by making an appropriate number of jump-shots, I'd be totally fucked.
Luckily for me, it's this instead. Like I said: grateful.
What I enjoy the most is the ability and freedom to make shit up. Whole words and sentences conjured out of nothing, the only requirement being intelligibility with little or no regard to proper form or usage precedents. For instance, that whole last bit may or may not actually be a sentence.
To me the most fascinating part for me is the jargon. All subcultures develop a descriptive reference vocabulary that (by and large) only makes sense inside the circle. Sometimes the motive for usage is professional exactitude (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and sometimes because it sounds funny (fucktard) and sometimes because snobby bastards have too much goddamn time on their hands and want to make the rest of us look stupid (canis lupus familiaris my ass... it's a dog, Poindexter).
I would argue (and this will be controversial) that blog-invented slang and jargon generally fall into the second category. Please, send your angry e-mails to me at email@example.com and we can discuss your disagreement in graphic detail. Wear something slinky. You know how I like it.
But since language is a liquid, living thing--a life-cycle that seems to be accelerated by the internet, though I'm not 100% sure on that--words and phrases come and go with alarming speed. One day everyone's all "Sit on it, Potsie!" and the next we're like "Sit on what? And who are you calling 'potsy'?"
A more recent example is the word "ass-hat". There was a time not so long ago when everyone and anyone with whom you disagreed was an ass-hat (or: asshat, but I prefer the hyphenated alternative). Guy cuts you off on the freeway? Ass-hat. Wage-slave puts too much froth in your Starbucks? Ass-hat. Everyone involved in Star Wars Episode I? Ass-hat. Pitcher can't catch the return throw from the catcher with a guy on third in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game between two teams tied for first place in their division? Total fucking ass-hat. Seriously, that still pisses me off.
It didn't matter that no one had ever seen or could even clearly imagine what exactly this hat made of ass involved; it was a word. It had life, it had context, it had usage.
But alas, "ass-hat" seems to have run its course. It saddens me because it had such potential. Language is a fickle bitch and not every word pleases. For every ubiquitous "cool", a word used in thousands of instances even when there is no measurable drop in temperature, there are dozens upon dozens of forgotten words like "tubular", which once again (thankfully) means simply "shaped like a tube".
Grody. Gnarly. Far out. Tripindicular. Rad. Groovy.
Hey, is it just me or has almost all the phased-out slang come from valley girls or hippie burn-outs? Maybe language knows what it's doing.
Outside the blogosphere even, language keeps moving, old words melted down, puddled together and reforged into something new within subcultures and friendship circles everywhere, even sometimes escaping into the culture at large.
Anyone else see the new Chrysler commercial with Lee Iacocca and Snoop Dogg? Loaded with the new slang that Snoop and his posse have been trying to force down our throats for a few years now. I have no idea what Snoop said in any of it, but he did refer to himself once as "tha dee-oh-double-jizzle".
Does that sound filthy to anyone else? Anyone? No? Just me?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.4
Friday, August 12, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #13
The Skeleton Key
starring Kate Hudson, John Hurt, Gena Rowlands
directed by Iain Softley (The Wings of the Dove, Hackers, Backbeat)
So I'm watching the baseball game yesterday right, Angels vs. A's, tied for first place in the division. Game tied, two out in the bottom of the ninth, the A's have a man on third. Just get the last guy and we go to extra innings, great. So the pitcher throws a pitch that's called a ball. He doesn't like the call, so he gets kind of pouty, which makes him kind of distracted. Then the catcher throws the ball back so he can make the next pitch and the pitcher misses the ball which rolls toward second base. The guy on third runs home, scores, A's win 5-4.
I mean, come on. It's, like, the most routine part of any game ever, the cather returns the ball to the pitcher after a pitch is made and the pitcher catches it. Did I mention the teams were tied for first place? And the Angels were up by like 8 games three weeks ago? Did I get to the part where the pitcher drops the return throw from the catcher and loses the game? Did I? Can you believe that shit? I can't. I can't.
Kate Hudson is in this movie about a big creepy house in the dark, swampy South. Scary old people. Scary little kids. Big fat "twist ending". This movie strikes me as something that was fed into and then shit out of the giant Genre Processing Machine, with the levers set for "Gothic Horror". The quality of the cast is supposed to make me think twice about the recycled samey-ness of the plot, set design, character types, camera work and (lack of) lighting. But if you start with the top of the bill... yeah, Kate Hudson was good in Almost Famous, but she squandered all that goodwill by making the worst romantic comedy in two generations, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. And that's saying something, because I've also seen the also-McConaughey-befouled J-Lo disaster The Wedding Planner. That 10 Days movie was way worse than that. I've forgiven my wife for a lot of stuff, including naming my youngest son "Eustace" and that time she tried to stab me with an ice-pick when I was sleeping, but making me watch that movie is something she's still trying to live down.
There are lots of things about being a gay man in America that wouldn't appeal to me. I'll be honest, it's mostly the dude-sex that puts me off. But by and large, I think if I had been born gay, I can surmise (as a generalization) that at least I wouldn't give a shit about sports. That way when I kick my poor, undeserving dog it would be out of frustration from something important like the denial of my full civil rights or something instead of the fact that some guy can't catch the return throw from the catcher. They do that, what, like 200 times per game? And 162 games per year. And every time they're warming up in the bullpen.
All he had to do was catch it. Maybe the guy at the plate would have hit the next pitch out for a home run and they would have lost anyway. Fine. Whatever. Shit happens. But to drop the throw and lose like that. Gah.
Man. I'm getting all worked up again. I'd better let the dog out before something bad happens to her.
Look, see whatever you want. Why am I in charge of planning your weekend entertainment? The guy dropped the return throw. I've got a lot of shit going on right now.
No scales today. Figure it out on your own. Jesus.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
This week I've already given blogging tips, talked (some more) about The Dukes of Hazzard and blogged the death of a guy who played too many video games. I'm obviously dry. Just look at my multi-part Sunday post where I couldn't settle on one topic and that kind of set the tone for the week. I'm scraping here, people.
But instead of running like a coward from the challenges of every-day blogging, I've decided that the best thing to do is to let you all see me struggle and flail and fail to be entertaining. I feel as though I owe it to you, Bucketeers.
Nothing to say, nothing of any interest or import happening, creativity strangled and left for dead by a murderous cocktail of mood-altering anti-anxiety/anti-depression/anti-psychotic/erectile dysfunction drugs. So what's a blogger to do?
Ah yes. It's meme time, people.
Because Jesus totally exists, He inspired somebody to inspire Steph who inspired Brent who has inspired me. By "inspire" I mean he put my name at the bottom of his list of stuff all about the wonder that is Brent. If that's not Jesus working, I don't know what is.
This thing is running through our little circle of bloggers like genital warts through a frat party, so I have decided to succumb. The last time I tried this, it was a complete unmitigated disaster as I proved singularly incapable of taking the process seriously.
Things are different now. I was a brash, flippant, ne'er-do-well whelp of a new blogger back then who thought blog topics would just fall out of the sky--usually in the shape of a burning space shuttle--in an endless rain of fiery inspiration.
I'm older now, more experienced, wiser in the ways of the world, much more terribly, terribly desperate and alone. The last space shuttle even landed without incident, leaving me with nothing. Nothing.
I hate Thursdays.
Before I start, I would like to point out that following Brent, Mr. Smarmy Super-Eclectic Music Connoisseur is a huuuge mistake. I like bouncy pop music that I hear on the radio. And not those hippie communist underground secret radio stations either, I mean regular stations where they play regular music as recorded and approved by mutual agreement of the billion-dollar multi-national corporations that own the record companies and the radio stations, often simultaneously. Because I'm an American, goddamn it. I eat what I'm fed and I like it. Love it or leave it, comrade.
Ready aim fire.
Number of records/tapes/CDs I own: Not nearly enough. Somewhere between 100 and 150. I stopped buying them in earnest after my kids were born. Most of my discretionary income was diverted to shit like baby formula and diapers and those little jars of mushed-up vegetables. Turns out none of that is actually "discretionary" according to the nice people at Child Protective Services. Art-hating fascists, all of them.
First record/tape/CD I bought: Most of the stuff from my childhood I can't remember. My sisters make fun of me for this. This, however, I remember: the self-titled debut of They Might Be Giants, 1986. Coincidentally it also happens to be the first CD I ever purchased when I got a CD player a few years later. Also my first exposure to planned obsolescence and the sneaky way corporations can make you pay for the same thing twice. Fuckers.
Last record/tape/CD I bought: The Forgotten Arm, Aimee Mann. Technically I bought this for my wife for Mother's Day. She said "What's this?" And I said "Oh, it's really good. Here, I'll hang on to it for you." And then I was sort of bored by it. I think it's time for my wife to get some new CDs.
Last record/tape/CD I listened to: I've been messing with digital music files for the last few weeks, so I have to think about this. ALL COMPLETELY LEGALLY, I'd like to add. Nothing to see here, law enforcement and/or RIAA-types. Move along. Oh yeah... um... Electric Version, New Pornographers maybe.
Recordings or songs that mean a lot to me (and/or changed my life):
Nevermind, Nirvana. I know I know, but within a few months of this thing blowing up, the Top 40 stations, which had been in the grip of shit like Poison and Whitney Houston, were playing (however briefly) guitar-based music with lyrics about how much everything sucks. Awesome. Single-handedly killed hair metal. Everyone roughly my age should include this one on any list for that reason alone.
Raising Hell, Run DMC. Anybody else remember when hip-hop was fun and funny? Remember when a rapper's biggest problem was the "sucka MCs"? Holy fuck, I'm old.
"The Other Side of Summer", Elvis Costello. Not even close to his best song from not even close to his best album. But I liked it enough to buy Mighty Like A Rose, which I liked well enough to buy the box set of (the FIRST) Rykodisc re-issue of his first three albums. The rest is obsessive-compulsive history. I've got bootlegs, I've got singles, I've got imports... it's so sad. But it's Elvis Costello. Of course since then Ryko has re-re-released everything with more bonus tracks and rarities. Remember before when I said "Fuckers"? Fuckers.
"(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea", Elvis Costello. No other reason than the fact that this was the first song I learned to play on my guitar that I was able to make sound like an actual song. The first sign of my burgeoning polymathic virtuosity. Jesus, I'm impressive.
If I had to choose a soundtrack of my life, what 5-10 songs would be on it?:
"No One Knows My Plan", They Might Be Giants. The only bossa nova song I know that references Plato's allegory of the cave. Bitchin' conga-line at live shows as well.
"Wonderwall", Oasis. It's embarrassing to put this one up here because it's such a cornball song, but it's one of those time/place reference points that I elect now not to expound upon. It's nothing dirty... or is it?
"Mama Said Knock You Out", LL Cool J. I'm gonna take this itty bitty world by storm/And I'm just gettin warm. Also: it's playing on my iTunes right now. These last two sentences are not included in the song.
"Destination Ursa Major", Superdrag. Great song, great band, totally ruined by Jesus.
"Sheila Take A Bow", The Smiths. I actually know someone named Sheila. I like her very much, but this song has nothing to do with her. I just needed to pick a Smiths song and this is still my favorite one.
How many more of these things do I need? I thought memes were supposed to be easy? OK, a couple more.
"Things Can Only Get Better", Howard Jones. Look, I told you right up front: bouncy pop music. Plus the refrain: Whoa-whoa-whooo-oo-ooh-whoa-oo-oooh-oh-oh-oh. Haunting
"Work", Jimmy Eat World. I had to put something up here that was recorded less than 15 years ago. This thing was trending in the wrong direction.
I told you people I don't buy a lot of new music.
This is the part of the meme where I tag other people and shame them into participation. As a concession to my fussy, contrarian nature, I am choosing to forego that part of the plan. Instead I'm assigning all of you to complete ASAP the meme I created myself. If this is going to be all about me, let's make it all about me.
This was more fun than I will ever again admit to.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Dead Man Blogging
I guess it had to happen eventually. Video games have finally killed somebody.
Fine, I admit it, I was wrong. I take back everything bad I ever said about the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, the Council Regarding American Families, the American Family Council on Families, the Research Foundation for Families in America, the Council-Foundation for Things in America that are Familiar, Tipper Gore, Hillary Rodham Clinton and all the other wacko right-wing save-our-culture-from-itself types. They told me and told me and told me that it would come to this, but did I listen? Nooooo. I was too busy endangering my life playing Secret Agent Barbie.
I mean football. John Madden Football. And that other game with the guns and the nudity. The female nudity.
I'm worried it's going to be just like when the vegans all became insufferable, sanctimonious, self-righteous bores on the day... well, on the day they became vegans, but it got even worse when somebody died from mad-cow disease. Now the anti-videogame people finally have a dead body to gloat over, to point at and laugh and then wallow in the blood-red glow of vindication.
I do take some solace in the fact that their triumph is somewhat incomplete. I mean, it's not like the guy's brain overloaded and he died twitching and frothing and swallowing his tongue because he couldn't process the morality-free horrible-ness of the game he was playing. And it's not like someone next to him dropped the controller he was using to play Grand Theft Auto, pulled out a gun and shot the poor bastard in his random, doomed head.
No, the guy died because he didn't know when to quit. That's the most shocking part because for me the signs are pretty obvious. Usually I figure it out when I get sleepy or hungry or I just don't have the energy to masturbate to the orgy of digitized bloodshed anymore. That's when I know it's time to step away.
This guy, he basically died from self-indulgence. A weird, self-destructive, self-denying self-indulgence where he sacrificed his whole body for the sake of that little part of his little brain that is stimulated by artfully arranged pixels responding to his commands.
What a horrible way to go. Sitting there, hour after hour after hour, completely alone, ignoring your friends, your family, your obligations, your place in society at large. And then when you think you're done, when you've filled up that unfillable space with something so inconsequential, insubstantial and evaporative, you elect finally to set it aside and then... die.
Just staring at the computer screen as the minutes pile up, one on top of the other, so desperate for distraction you dare not let yourself be distracted from it. He won't be the last one, I guarantee it. It won't have to be videogames either. The next one could be from anything from chatrooms to porn to porn chatrooms to webcam porn to webcam porn chatrooms to bl... to blo... to b-b-b-b...
Excuse me. I suddenly have to go run around the block six or seven times.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: [What's the use, we're all goners anyway]
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Although I've blogged about it already, I just can't get it out of my head: one new blog is created every second. Can you even process that? I can't. It's like there's a new one set up right now. And another one now. And... now. And... now.
Wow. Actually, that helped a lot. I guess I could process it.
Sure, I know most of the new blogs being set up either totally suck (like, say, this one) or will be quickly abandoned (like this one), but there are a few who will stick it out, who will fight through the growing pains and develop the absolutely necessary delusions of grandeur that are required to keep and maintain a blog.
From time to time, I--Pops, Master Blogger--have taken it upon myself to try and impart some of my vast knowledge that I have acquired in my long and distinguished blogging career. I know what you're thinking and you're right, it is very selfless of me to offer my time and wisdom for the benefit of a bunch of trend-jumping late-arriving parvenues who are just looking for something to do while they download music illegally.
It's simply that I feel obligated. Not just to the blogosphere--to ensure that the new blogs, the ones that stick are of a certain base-level of quality--but to humankind in general. I feel it is incumbent upon me to usher new bloggers into bloggerhood. It sounds altruistic, but in a way, I'm just repaying the debt. It's much like the way I was ushered in to manhood under the soft, guiding hand of... dang, what was her name? I don't think she had one. The guys at my high school called her "Open Sore Sally". She was an older lady who lived near the school and it was widely known that, for the right price, she would totally let you do it with her. So I gathered up courage and sallied forth, as it were. I marched up to her place--half a tarp and a bed of old newspapers under a freeway overpass--and left boyhood behind. And all she charged me was the lower half of a broken glass bottle, 18¢ in loose change and a shiny blue button. I think she might have been crazy.
That experience was so very important to me as it taught me a great many valuable lessons. 1) Sex isn't all lit candles and mood lighting and perfect bodies slowly writhing like in the movies; especially at rush hour. 2) In the presence of truly noxious odors, I can survive if I breathe through my mouth. 3) Always use a condom, kids. I guess the name "Open Sore Sally" should have been a tip off. Luckily they were all treatable with antibiotics. Except the PTSD.
The good news is that starting a new blog doesn't have to be as painful or traumatic as sex with a dirty old crazy homeless lady under a freeway.
My first entry in this Blog Instructional Series (and here, I'll post the link again) was sound advice that I stand behind 100%. But those were general points to shape and inform your basic blog philosophy.
Today I want to talk about more specific points of style. Regardless of your topic, there are ways to present your information that are effective, impressive and won't necessarily make you sound retarded.
Just to re-emphasize, New Blogger, I don't think you're actually retarded. I'm just fairly confident that you sound that way when you blog.
I blame public education.
Just stick close to Pops and ever't'ing go'n be irie. Mon.
Yes, I'm totally high right now.
So You Want To Be A Blogger
1) Capitalization and punctuation, please. I know, I know, this is your blog and you can do whatever you want without having to follow all those goddamn rules your stupid English teacher is always on your case about, man. Bad news, hippie: exercising your personal freedom from the tyranny of syntax gives me a headache, which makes me stop reading your blog. If I wanted to read something that gave me a headache, I'd pretend to read James Joyce. At least that way I could look like I was smart for my trouble and impress all the girls down at the coffee shop. Your SHIFT key is your friend. We already had one e e cummings. You are not him.
2) To compliment the first point, ALL CAPS is just as bad. In internet parlance, it means you're shouting. For me specifically, I will assume you're trying to sell me LONG ERECTION CHEEP BUY NOW VIAG.K.RA CHEEP or something similar, just like the 100 or so ALL CAPS spam e-mails I get every day. Thanks, but I already have a guy who gets that for me.
3) There is no such word as "fucken". Swearing is an essential part to any good blog, but it's important that you do it effectively and not just because--tee hee!--Mom and Dad don't know your blog exists (yet). I know, you're saying: "Shut up, asshole, I say that word all the fucken time". Actually you don't. You say "fuckin'". Just like you don't say "should of" you say "should've". Don't worry, I know... words is tricksy. That's what I'm here for.
Right now you're feeling kind of defensive, thinking I should mind my own business and let you do what you want to do. You don't care if I read your new blog or not. But just consider: I'm here every. Single. Day. I don't work, I don't talk on the phone and I don't pay particularly close attention to my kids. I couldn't tell you where two of them are if you asked me right now, honestly. Why not? Because I'm blogging. And after I'm done writing, I read. The same blogs, every day. Yours could be one of them, so long as it doesn't suck.
And if you can't bother to make it readable, a new one will come along that will. Like right now. Or now. Or... now.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.7