Pops' Bucket
Friday, September 30, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #17

Firefly: the Movie


starring A Whole Gaggle of Folks Nobody Ever Heard Of

directed by Joss Whedon

My wife and I are proud of a lot of things, and well we should be. We're impressive people.

We have a nice house in a nice neighborhood. We both graduated college. None of our children's names end with the syllables "-aden". Except for my full-chest, armpit-to-armpit full-color battleship, neither one of us has any tattoos.*

I think the thing we're most proud of is that we have a two-car garage that we actually keep two cars in. I'm not bragging about having two cars (although score for me and my American Dream life) so much as I'm bragging about the fact that my garage is not merely a place to keep shit I don't know what else to do with. Unlike all the disgusting lowlifes on my street, there are no cars parked in my driveway, by my curb or on my lawn.

Until I get a pool table.

What I'm getting at is that even I didn't realize what an advantage keeping your car in the garage was until yesterday. In the garage, it can get warm, but the whole no-direct-sunlight thing tends to keep temperatures manageable. So if your kids leave things in the car, say crayons for instance, you don't have to worry about them melting and running festively-colored wax down the interior walls of your hot-ass minivan.

In fact, you can leave crayons in your van forever and ever--completely forget about them even--until you have to take your car in for some stupid-ass recall service at the dealership. Apparently the local Ford dealer already has a pool table because they park all of their cars outside, including mine when it's waiting for service.

Add one typical triple-digit-hot SoCal October day and voila! Melty melty, streaky streaky. A waxen Jackson Pollack masterpiece all over the inside of my poor, defenseless minivan.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And this picture represents the state of things after I "cleaned" it up. Fuckers. Fucking sun. Fucking hot hot sun.

You know, I wasn't even going to do MIHNIoS today and just do like 5 single-spaced pages about garages and vans and kids and crayons and dealership motherfuckers and the fucking hotness of the bastard sun. I would have been happy with that. I really would.

But then I remembered this Serenity movie was coming out and how every single person who has ever read this blog ever is some kind of wacked-out junkie-level Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. Since this movie was written and directed by Joss Whedon, the Buffy-creating thunder-stealing bastard who can't seem to let a bad idea die, I figured I should at least mention it. For you, my loyal Bucketeers. I figure if I can take the time each and every Friday to piss on movies you've never heard of or don't care about, I can make the time today to piss on something you may actually be looking forward to. It is (almost literally) the least I can do.

Mr. Whedon, if you recall, wrote the original Kristy Swanson vehicle Buffy the Vampire Slayer film co-starring Rutger Hauer, Paul Rubens, Donald Sutherland and Luke Perry. It's hard to believe, but even with such a cast and Ms. Swanson's gigantic sweater-fighting breasts, that film failed in many, many ways.

It's a little embarrassing to say this, but I kind of liked that movie actually. If you stick your fingers in your ears and scream until your vocal chords snap every time Luke Perry appears on screen, it's very nearly watchable. I can say that the reason I kind of liked that movie had less to do with its merits than with the fact that it had a scene that acted out (accidentally I'm sure) one of my deepest, darkest celebrity-based sexual fantasies, Donald Sutherland throwing a really sharp knife at my face, ninja-style.

I don't know what it means. I'm sure it's all allegorical like the knife is sort of phallic and Donald Sutherland is probably representative of my old PE teacher or something, I don't know. It just works for me.

Anyway, Whedon took that (failed) idea and turned it into a TV show that ran like seven or eight seasons and wet the britches of eventual bloggers the world over.

Now he seems to have decided "Hey, it worked once, let's do it all again--except in exactly the opposite direction!

Joss Whedon, I hereby declare you to be a Cheeky Monkey. My mind, she is blown.

See, he's taken his failed TV series (Firefly) and turned it into a movie. Not only that, but unlike the first Buffy movie with the all-star cast, in this case he's gone with a cast where the best known person in it is the guy who played the pirate-talking dude in that Dodgeball movie. I have to give it Joss, he's got cojones. Or a raging out-of-control ego that won't allow him to admit it when he's done something wrong. One of the two. This is Hollywood, so I'm sure it's the first one.

I've never seen a minute of Firefly. I've never seen a minute of the Buffy series. Here, let me save you the trouble: "Oh Pops, you have to watch Buffy, you'll just love it!"

No I fucking don't. Because you know what? I probably would love it. And it's already off the air. I couldn't stand to have my heart broken again. Not after SeaQuest DSV. Too late. God, why did I find it too late...

So: sci-fi with hot chicks. OK, that's good for one Hot Babysitter. And I guess the popular Whedomania merits a second one just by popular Bucketeer acclamation which could very well manifest itself in Pops as curiosity. Or petulant resentment. No, the first one, the first one. OK.

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

Go if you must. I shall not be joining you.


*= that one doesn't count because I got it when I was in the Navy. Well, when I was thinking about joining the Navy. Reserves. And was drunk. For three days straight.

Thursday, September 29, 2005
Bonjour Et Adieu
While I have very little time to actually post, I would like to congratulate the sharp-witted Bucketeers who know me well enough to know I couldn't let a day go by without posting at all. Honestly, I'd have to be on vacation or dead before my OCD let me get away with it. And even the vacation thing would mean a place with no immediate internet access.

In lieu of my beautiful words today I leave you to contemplate this picture of Gerard Depardieu.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I Want Something Else To Get Me Through This Semi-Charmed Kind Of Life

NOTICE: Tomorrow may be a Day Without Bucket. Very uninteresting things are happening. I promise not to blog about it specifically. Be prepared should NOTHING appear in this space tomorrow, at least not on time. I wish you all luck.

Begin post.


Seriously. Jesus.

The guy gets all kinds of undue credit. I have to give it up, though, he looks great in a robe, although he does usually have the unfair disadvantage of being flatteringly backlit by the Descending Light of Heaven and surrounded by doves and cherubs. It just goes to show how important it is to properly accessorize.

Sure, it all ended badly for him what with the nails and the cross and all, but that turned out to be a temporary setback. The guy's enjoyed a post-death winning streak unlikely to be matched in the rest of human history. The churches (physical and denominational), the worship, the donations, the tasteful porcelain figurines, the persecution and torturous death of non-believers...

You know, nothing says "You've made it!" like a full scale war fought in your name. Let's see Donald Trump do that.

As well as things have gone for Jesus, it wouldn't be honest to say there haven't been setbacks. That Inquisition thing didn't quite work out like maybe He would have liked it to. And those people who handle the snakes, I can't imagine he returns their calls. "Jews for Jesus", well, that just doesn't make a lick of sense, does it? And the less said about Jerry Falwell the better.

All of the attention, I imagine, must at times be embarrassing--or at least a little awkward--for Jesus. I'm sure he appreciates the credit for every touchdown scored by blow-addled whore-banging NFL players, but everyone knows Jesus prefers hockey.* I know it sounds silly, but how else do you explain the fact that hockey still exists?

Being Jesus I suspect is a constant lesson in graciousness and good humor. You have to accept all those prayers, even from the people who obviously don't mean them ("Jesus, if you help me convince my mom to get me an XBox 360, I promise promise promise I'll keep my room clean forever") or simply don't understand how they're supposed to be used ("Jesus, being president is real hard as it is. No more hurricanes until '09, OK?").

Every once in a while, you know Jesus has to get fed up with the whole business. He's got to get frustrated. He's only human.

Well, half human. Half human and half divine. No wait. All human and all divine. Hang on, that makes no sense, which means it's probably right. I don't know. Something. Crap. You know, those cathechism classes are really boring when you're 8.

The point is I bet He'd like to throw one back every now and again.

Sometimes He gets lucky and a person will disqualify themselves when they are revealed to be hypocrites. Like that hostage lady who saved herself by talking to her captor about Jesus and reading from some damned self-help book.

I can't take anything away, she did (according to the book she wrote about her ordeal) use the Jesus and the self-help, but that wasn't all. There was Jesus, self-help book and her personal supply of crystal meth that she shared with the dude who took her hostage.

Hey, how come that part of the story wasn't in the original Fox News article? It just goes to show how the MainStream Media goes out of its way to slight and to marginalize the underreported Jesus-Tweaker segment of society.

For Jesus, though, I bet it's a load of His mind. I bet He's thinking that finally--finally--through this recontextualization of the story to include all the elements that both gloriously and tragically humanize the events that people will stop running to Him as some kind of resource to give them magic super-powers to escape every semi-unpleasant situation in their lives, of their own making or otherwise. That hostage lady escaped unharmed because she was lucky enough to be a stone-cold junkie with a stash on hand. Sure, she read him the Bible and some Jesus book, but everyone knows you can read to a meth-fiend all you want after they're high and it wouldn't matter because they are so not paying attention. If she had read him Horton Hears A Who, nobody would have been talking about the healing, protective and transformative powers of Dr. Seuss, but the end result may very well have been the same.

Maybe people will start to understand that Jesus is not the Magic Sky Fairy who gives you super-strength or super-endurance or super-patience or even an XBox 360 (no matter how much I pray) just because you ask for it real nice-like. Maybe people will start giving themselves credit instead of trying to hand everything over to Him. That way He can maybe get some time off and try to figure out his new fall TV watching schedule, especially now that it's all complicated since the NHL moved over to Outdoor Life Network.


Subject change in progress.

You don't know and you don't care. Nor are you required too.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Pops says: Wooooo!**

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.1


*= I have it on good authority that He's a huge New Jersey Devils fan. Even Jesus appreciates irony.

**= And no, not just for the dude-on-dude action. You people are so predictable.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
This Is A No-Judgment Zone
This is going to have to be a short post as I only have a few minutes. Today my excuse is semi-annual dental cleaning and checkup. Yesterday it was the kid being "sick". Tomorrow I've already lined up the illuminated "Check Engine" light on my kick-ass minivan as my excuse for posting quickly and poorly.

The universe is conspiring against you people, my beloved Bucketeers, by not allowing me to focus my full attention on bringing you quality product six times a week as you've come to expect. Right, so maybe "quality" isn't the right word, but I think you understand the point I'm trying to make: I'm very lazy and don't like to be busy. Plus unplanned-for stuff disrupts my schedule which makes me all shaky and disoriented, even more so than I am normally with my delirium tremens and all. Hey, is that an alligator? Oh no. That's my shoe.

I know you're all dying to know, so I'll tell you: my dentist visit went just fine. No cavities, no teeth to be pulled, no fancy bridgework and he says my veneers are holding up just great--which they should, since I paid for the top-of-the-line "Weatherman" models.

No anaesthetic was used of any kind. So no novocaine, no nitrous. That means I never lost consciousness, which means I never had a chance to wake up to find my pants un-buttoned, my naughty bits chapped and sore and the dentist and hygienist sharing furtive looks and a cigarette as I regained consciousness.

Never. Not even once.

My dentist is a nice and decent man, but come on. This is a tried-and-true urban legend. It even made its way into an episode of Seinfeld. Frankly, my dentist's unwillingness to sedate and then violate me is starting to give me a little bit of a complex. Is it just me who's not being violated? What's wrong with me? Does he not find me attractive? Am I just not his type? Or maybe it's my personality that turns him off. Is there some kind of code to the dentist-office small talk that signals, if not the outright OK (it's not really a violation if you consent, right?) then at least a hesitancy to sue should anything untoward happen?

I don't know. It's ruining my self-esteem. But at least my teeth are clean.


One more thing, completely unrelated and very briefly:

In the comments to yesterday's very disturbing post, the lovely and talented Bucketeer Yoli asked in her inimitable bilingually-foreign way:

What is up with men and green skin women? I have no idea, but I've seen men obsessed over women in green skin...what in hell?

My first thought was obviously: man! Foreigners!

My second reaction was to laugh because it sounded so ridiculous. I mean come on, men obsessed with green-skinned girls? It can't be that common. Yoli's obviously hanging out in the wrong wing at her local Fetish Club.

Past She-Hulk (see: yesterday) and your Star Trek Orion Slave girl (famously nailed by greasy ur-man bo-hunk Captain Kirk), how many opportunities are there for guys to come into contact with a green-skinned woman?

Well folks, welcome to the internet. Between the instant access to millions of others worldwide (for every freak-out fetish, there is now an e-mail-based club, such as the International Congress of Nasal Sex Enthusiasts, a group to which I do not belong) and the ready availability of Adobe PhotoShop (which, to my knowledge, no one has ever actually paid for), every sick, disgusting fantasy can be digitally manipulated reality.

To wit:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Go here if you don't believe me.

Is she really hotter because she's green? I don't think so personally, but then I've always preferred orange. Though, again, not so much as a skin-tone.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.2


Monday, September 26, 2005
Monday Lite: I Didn't Really Want To Officer, But You See, My Outerwear Has An Insatiable Thirst For Human Blood
I'm later than usual today because the school called and I had to go pick up my son, whom I've agreed to pretend is sick. I do this for him in exchange for not having to take him to soccer practice today. I scratch his back, he scratches mine.

I spent part of the morning cataloguing my old comic book collection with an eye toward appraising its value and selling it. Financial wizard that I am, I figure it is worth more exchanged for cash-money than it is sitting in the back of my closet, neglected and alone but for the family of crickets and my old black denim jacket (circa 1989) to keep it company. Although a black denim jacket might be an excellent conversation starter (e.g., "What the fuck, are you wearing a black denim jacket?"), in and of itself it is not much of a conversationalist and thus poor company.

The humane thing to do is to sell my whole collection, maybe find a nice family in the country who will take my comic book collection; some people with a nice piece of property with a field and creek and maybe a nice shade tree my comic book collection could laze away under during long, carefree summer days and catch firebugs by night. That's the ideal anyway.

That and a giant pile of cash for me.

In perusing my collection, I came up with 514 items, most from the 1989-1991 period, some individual pieces of which are worth upwards of $500 and most of which... uh... aren't.

I also found some stuff I'd forgotten I'd bought, one of which I found highly disturbing. Look at this:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

That's right, it says "Marvel Illustrated" and in the awesome black-writing inside the equally awesome classic-early-'90s-design neon blue squiggle it says "The Swimsuit Issue".

At one point in my life, apparently I thought it would be a good idea to purchase a magazine containing drawn and colored-in pictures of pretend ladies in swimsuits, some of whom had green skin, all of whom had superpowers.

The repressed memories are... well, they're rushing back and they're too horrible to speak of.

I must have been much much lonelier than even I realized.

Poor 15-year-old Pops with only a scantily-clad She-Hulk and a non-verbal black denim jacket to keep him company. Thank God I eventually found real girls to talk to, otherwise we're looking at the early-days biography of a serial killer.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.8


Sunday, September 25, 2005
Shrivel Rhymes With Drivel
I'm only 31, but I'm starting to feel much older.

All my joints make a horrible popping sound whenever I stand up. It's even worse if I'm wearing something slightly restrictive or made out of a noisy material. When I've got the full-body rubber suit on complete with the built-in restraints, just getting out of bed sounds like Chinese New Year. It's pitiful.

I've got no energy, my bones ache, I'm starting to forget things, my gums bleed, I've lost four teeth in the last two weeks and I always, always smell like Icy Hot and pipe tobacco.*

I know what you're thinking: Pops, with a body like that, how do you get anything done with all the hot young teenage gym-towel-girls and juice-bar-smoothie-blender-operators throwing themselves at you?

The honest answer is, I don't. My body is almost completely shot. I don't want to gross anybody out, but my advanced case of hemorrhoids at my relatively young age is the stuff of legend. My doctor makes appointments with me when he has a class to teach or a case study to work up or just when he's feeling kind of down and needs a good laugh to raise his spirits. For a nominal fee, we tour teaching hospitals together. Honestly, by this point my ass has had almost as much public exposure as Tara Reid's.

I can't decide if it's the body and mind degenerating that drags down the personality or if it's the change in personality that begins the degeneration of the body and mind. It's a sort of chicken-and-egg problem. Only the chicken has Alzheimer's and the egg is already convinced that its whole life is a pathetic, wasted lie.

Just don't get me started with the damned neighbor kids on my lawn and how I would prefer it if they would not so much be there.

My accelerated development is driving my own children crazy too. I've gotten to the point where I start every sentence with he phrase "Back in my day...", as in:

"Back in my day, we didn't have any fancy daytime talk shows to tell us how to live. We just had to make it up as we went, which is why we were all some combination of pregnant and high."

"Back in my day, we didn't have fancy hurricanes destroying cities. We had to wait until our local sports team won a championship and then destroy our cities ourselves."

"Back in my day, shut the fuck up already."

They find me tiresome and unworthy of their pity, which is remarkable considering my youngest is barely over 2. Seriously, you don't know malicious indifference until you've had it administered by someone who has yet to be toilet trained.

I try to apologize to them in my more lucid moments, but it's no use. There's no turning back the sands of time. I'm not even just saying you can't turn back the sands of time because it's a bad metaphor and I'm not quite sure how one would go about turning back sand in the first place, I'm just saying... old. Me. In comparison to what I used to be.

I know I'm getting old because I'm leaving more and more things behind; things that I not only used to take great joy and pride in, but things that in many ways, I feel, used to define great huge swaths of my personality.

For example just this weekend, my wife while spending a lazy Sunday afternoon "relaxing" as only Mrs. Pops knows how was scrubbing bathroom tiles, vaccuuming every semi-flat surface on our property and cleaning out/totally rearranging the closet in our bedroom. During that last part, she lovingly suggested that I get my vast old comic book collection--as she put it--"the fuck out of [her] way". It's a sad little collection, only four boxes and about 300 books in total that hasn't been added to in well over a decade. Right now the boxes are just Things I Move From Place To Place in the times we move. They have a neat side job of being one of the Things I Yell At My Kids For Touching along with knives, electrical outlets, the stove and my collection of 18th century full-size replica Phalluses of the Serengeti figurines, but past that, they mean nothing.


It's completely bizarre. These little already-finished coloring books I used to completely obsess over with weekly visits to the comic book store, gather together, carefully read and then never under any circumstances touch again in order to preserve them for the far distant future when I would sell them off and become independently wealthy... now they're just extraneous shit standing between my wife and the easy, proper storage of her shoes.

And then later I had the green-light from Mrs. Pops to go out and spend discretionary income on stuff I didn't need. I need her permission because I don't do math, which makes her the Household Accountant by default. The good news is that when all of your money is tied up in credit card debt, student loans and a big fat mortgage, it's all suddenly discretionary. There's nothing more liberating than finally admitting to yourself that you're never, ever going to catch up, financially speaking.

Anyway, I walked into Best Buy and walked out with... nothing. Nothing. Not one single new game for my PC. No peripherals, no new CDs, nothing. And then I went right over the Barnes & Noble and bought a fat armload of old-people books (The Joy of Flannel, Home Linamenting and Decrepitude for Dummies).

Man. Back in high school I used to be all about comic books and computer games. All my youthful priorities have been completely fucked up.

I know what you're thinking: "Pops, how did you get anything done in high school? With such a wide and varied range of interests, every free minute must have been occupied banging cheerleaders three at a time?"

The obvious answer is, I didn't. Junior college, bitches. Junior college.

Sadly and ironically, my juco days turned out to be the first step along the path to where I find myself now, tragically and irrevocably adult.

Well, mostly. I do blog. So I can't be all grown up.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


*= honestly, I have to find something healthier to spread on my sandwiches.

Friday, September 23, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #16

A History of Violence

starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, no Liv Tyler

directed by David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly, Dead Ringers)

Hey, does anybody else remember all the good news before Hurricane Katrina hit, that it was clearly weakening and then missed the city it was threatening?

Hey, guess what all the news regarding Hurricane Rita is about!

Does anyone else sense a pattern? Nobody? Just me?

And then today we find out that the only thing more dangerous than staying in Houston is trying to leave Houston.

I was on the fence about this for a long time, but I think my opinion has finally changed around. I don't care who knows it either. I've decided: I don't like hurricanes.

They seemed sort of cool when you would see them on TV, all organized around the "eye", the little empty spot of matter-eating null-space with the cute anthropomorphic name. And then the Discovery Channel people with their documentaries about the people who fly airplanes to track the storms and then fly into them to measure wind velocity, rain volume and the shit-bearing capacity of their pants... they made it all seem so romantic.

Hurricanes have always been the most telegenic of storms. That hypnotic turning disc of soft white destruction makes a Nor'easter, quite frankly, look like a baboon's ass by comparison. If a hurricane is this, every other meteorological event is this.*

No, the magic is gone. The love affair between me and hurricanes is over. It's like falling madly in love with what seems like the perfect woman, marrying her, and then suddenly realizing she was capable of 175-mile per hour winds, levee breaches that drowned a major city, killing thousands of people and displacing untold numbers of others. Those are qualities I just wouldn't be comfortable building a relationship on. And having children around a person like that... forget it. That kind of baggage is just going to lead to trouble down the road.

And like hurricanes aren't enough to worry about, we've got scientists cross-breeding people with mice. I warned everybody about the super-rodents, but nobody seems to give a shit. I feel like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, except less ripped and with slightly larger (and, one presumes, hairier) breasts. Nobody believes me. Nobody ever takes the man with the luscious rack seriously.

Didn't anyone in the scientific community read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? It's the white mice, man. It's the white mice.

I'm stressed to my limit, frankly. Between the hurricanes and the super-mice/men I feel like we're one step away from helpless, ruined, global dystopia.

But I can't get too down, no. I'm an American. We have ways of dealing with these things. We either a) bomb something or b) anaesthetize ourselves against the horrors of everyday existence with mass-culture consumerism.

Our bombs are all occupied elsewhere, so I guess we're going to have to go with B.

So hey, let's talk about movies! Even if we don't have babysitters to watch our kids, so we can't even see them, ever!

Hey, don't roll your eyes. If content or first-hand experience were required to talk about entertainment, there would be no Entertainment Tonight and that show's been talking about nothing for like 30 years. Don't be a hater.

This week's film, A History of Violence, is Viggo Mortensen's first non-horse, non-hair-extension role since 2000's Sandra Bullock flesh-eating zombie vehicle 28 Days. According to my wife, this should be the end of consideration. It gets maximum score, whatever you're measuring in, be it stars or thumbs or disembodied actress heads. I don't want to get into too much detail about how exactly she reacts to Mr. Mortensen, but let's just say the Aragorn mask works.

From a non-libido standpoint, the movie also has going for it the presence of Ed Harris, who is good in everything he does. Except Pollack, which was his vanity project that I found boring, boring and boring. Did I mention "boring"? It was boring. And dull. In fairness, I might have had trouble getting in to Pollack as I have no appreciable interest in the subject matter. Basically it was a movie about a guy who is famous for spilling things.

A huge negative for this film is the presence of William Hurt, who is in my estimation not only one of the worst actors ever to be inexplicably not recognized as such (you may have to read that description twice... I'll wait...), but he almost single-handedly ruins one of my top-3 favorite films of all time, Broadcast News, a sin that can never be forgiven. Luckily Holly Hunter's incandescence burns hot enough to light up everything else in that film. William Hurt is a giant charisma-hole on screen and oh yeah! a tremendously pretentious, pseudo-philosophizing prick in every interview he's ever given.

Anyway, the movie is about this guy who does some stuff which makes some other stuff happen. I don't know. The reviews have all been really good, so I'm down with it. Keeping in mind the Mrs. Pops influence, if we were to see a movie this weekend, this would almost definitely be the one. That said, I have no choice but to award it:

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

Goodbye, Houston. We hardly knew ye.


*= the difference being that Angelina Jolie actually gets slightly more press coverage than city-destroying once-in-a-millennium super-storms.

Thursday, September 22, 2005
State Of Emergency
From what I understand, there is a fair amount of good-natured rivalry between states out there.

I'm not that familiar with the phenomenon myself as I'm from California, a state for which there is no comparison. The long coastline overlooking glorious Pacific sunsets, three internationally-reknowned major urban centers (San Diego, San Francisco and the Greater Riverside area), the weather, the cosmopolitan mix of peoples and cultures, the world class public highway system... In public education, I think in terms of dollars spent per child we might rank 50th. That's right, 50th. There's no bigger number than that when you're counting states in America.

Nobody can touch us.

Some people might say "Yeah, but look at Florida. They have sunshine and a Disney theme park without the smog and the traffic and all the Mexicans. Plus they stole all your citrus industry." Well, you might have a point there, Hypothetical Argumentative Racist, but consider: Florida borders Georgia and Alabama. It even almost touches Mississippi. It's got Red State taint bleeding all over the northern half of it. California borders states that offer us something, like Oregon (ashram-grown pot), Nevada (gambling and whores) and Arizona (giant global heat-sink).

And the southern half of Florida, yeah, maybe there aren't very many Mexicans, but that place is crawling with Cubans. Everybody knows historically speaking that Mexicans have been much, much more efficiently and viciously exploited for their free-to-cheap labor doing jobs white people no longer feel they should have to do, like fruit-picking and raising their own children. So we got you there, Florida.

Plus Florida doesn't have all our citrus industry now, that all went to Chile, which as of this morning, was not yet a state.

Yeah, California puts 'em all in the shade. Well, technically I guess it's not so much "shade" a shadow cast by a layer of smog so thick that the rays of the sun are unable to penetrate, but still... if we can't see you, you're not there.

What I'm trying to say is that the rivalries between states--usually bordering each other and best expressed by which side gets drunker in the parking lot before a college football game--is odd to me, though I do recognize that it exists.

It is just possible to take this sort of thing too far.

Texas has always been the worst. Judging by every Texan I've ever met, heard of, refused to vote for or seen on reruns of Dallas, they take their state pride very seriously. You've all heard the motto "Don't Mess With Texas". Their stance is so pre-emptively belligerent that, to me anyway, it comes off as sort of defensive. The only impression that such a forwardly aggressive attitude of self-aggrandizement can give is that they're desperately overcompensating for something.

I think it's probably safe to assume that Texas, as a state, has an incredibly small penis.

That or they're trying to keep our attention focused on the state-pride argument so we won't look any deeper into what's happening in that state, especially what it is they're really doing with all those cattle. I'm not directly suggesting anything sexually untoward, but a people who wear that much leather might just be working through some kind of sublimated shame and self-loathing.

I knew Texans were capable of taking this state-rivalry thing too far, but I didn't know how far until this week.

Louisiana has a category-4 hurricane hit it?

Texas all of a sudden has to have a category-5 bearing down on it.

Tacky, Texas. Obvious and shamefully tacky.

Louisiana has to evacuate New Orleans, it's largest city?

Oh, what do you know, Texas is evacuating multiple cities, including parts of Houston, the fourth largest city in America.

Nice going, Texas. You can't let anyone have anything, can you? Isn't it enough that you have the President of the United States and you stole the crappy NFL expansion team that was supposed to belong to Los Angeles?

Go on, kick sand in the face of a little state like Louisiana. Yeah yeah, your disaster has to be bigger because "Everything Is Bigger In Texas". Please. Might as well be "No, We Just Went Swimming, You Have To Give It A Minute, Honest".

You know what, the next time there's a chlamydia outbreak among the livestock at a cattle ranch, we're not going to play along and pretend it's (wink, wink) Mad Cow Disease (wink, wink) again. You cow-fuckers are on your own.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.6


Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The Big Four-Oh-Oh
You don't have to tell me. I know it's dorky to count how many blogposts you've posted. It's time consuming, not very socially productive and ulitmately unnecessary, but then so is washing my hands 80 times daily and checking every 3-4 minutes to make sure the front door is locked. It's a disease, people. You should pity me. And send money.

When I click on the big orange button to Publish [this] Post, I will have done so for the 400th time. It's quite an auspicious occasion, an opportunity to reflect, to look back with some perspective over a lifetime of grand achievement, triumph mingled with deep human tragedy and the well-earned fawning admiration of fellow journalists, entertainment personalities, world leaders and Andy Rooney.

No, hang on. I'm thinking of the memorial service for Peter Jennings. Me, I'm just some dude who spends too much time blogging.

Some bloggers would exploit a landmark like this to phone in a cobbled-together "clip show" post using pieces of the "best" of past blogposts and whatever reader-comments s/he might find intelligible enough to qualify as highlights, if such a thing is possible.

The problem with that kind of laziness is that it is, as it turns out, a great deal of work. Lots of searching and reading and cutting and pasting and the like. Not for me, thanks. I have the capacity to be creatively bankrupt without all that fancy business.

Instead of all that I've decided just to write you all a nice, regular, long, boring blogpost which, see, I've just padded by several paragraphs with this introductory 400th post bullshit. Lord, but I am gifted.

I'm not going to leave you all empty handed, though. After you churn and sweat to pull yourselves all the way through this, I promise there will be a special little something at the end, after which you're sure to feel disappointed, a little humiliated and emotionally bankrupt.

If a more appropriate segue has ever been written to talk about porn, I've never read it.

I've considered joining the FBI (yes yes, I'll get to porn in a moment). It's one of those things people like me do when they're changing a diaper that has somehow failed to entirely do its job. It's not so much the duty and defending your country that appeals as much as the 18-week training program aaaaaallll the way out in Virginia. As far as I know, there is no day-care.

The problem is that if you look at the recruitment requirements, you can see the unfair, slightly fascistic roots of the Bureau. I mean, they actually only want people who have useful skills. I've never read anything so thoroughly un-American in my life. The closest specialty I qualify for is the Computer/IT one, but that's only if they limit the work to illegal song downloading. Not catching people doing it, I mean actually downloading illegal songs. That at least I know I can do. Catching people, well gee whiz, who fuckin' knows, right? It sounds difficult.

Now, however, I have a little bit of hope. The FBI is putting together an Anti-Porn Squad. That's right, the FBI will be diverting agents from the silly business of chasing down domestic terror cells in order to make all of us work a little bit harder when we have to (have to) masturbate.

I don't know if it's a good idea or a bad idea (although I may be leaning slightly in one direction), but I think sitting around all day looking at porn and then deciding arbitrarily what should be legal or illegal is right up my ally. It appeals both to my bloated, groaning sense of sanctimonious self-righteousness and my insatiable desire to look at images of naked chicks totally doin' it--often with other naked chicks--all day long, all at the same time.

The good news is that it apparently has no connection to the Anti-Child Porn unit, so there'd be no looking at any of that icky, depressing stuff.

Of course the downside is that you'd probably have to look at a lot of dude-on-dude porn too, but I figure there'll be at least one guy in the office who doesn't mind "specializing" in that branch of the investigation, so I can pass it all off to him in exchange for anything he comes across involving lesbians, clowns or any combination of the two.

Man. I'm excited about this. No, not in that way. Yet.

At first I was sort of down on the new Attorney-General's anti-obscenity Morality-Police crackdown, but I'm past all that now. $42,000/year to watch porn. Wow. I made less than that when I was in porn. But that's another blogpost. Maybe for my 500th.

Actually, nothing I can say about it would be funnier than the anonymous quotes from agents in the actual article. Go read it, you'll laugh.

OK, now for the grand finale. I drew this picture last night in about 4 minutes on MS Paint. First what you must do is go over to Rita's blog and look at the drawing of herself jauntily leaning against the Chicago skyline. Then consider headlines like the following: Rita strengthens and moves into Gulf. Now close your eyes for a second and visualize.

This is what you see, isn't it?
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
The actual Rita would like you to know that she is in fact "not really that fat". Yeah yeah. Tell it to the poor buggers in the tiny house you're about to go Godzilla on. But I guess that's what they get for flying the Confederate flag.

See? I told you you'd be disappointed.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5


Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Drip Drip Drip
I'm in a pretty good mood this morning. I feel like I've shed a hundred pounds. It's not just my new high-fiber diet kicking in either, it's more of an emotional weight I feel has been lifted.

All this time I've wasted sweating, wondering, worrying, hording newspaper so that I might dampen it and then cover myself with it, all in preparation for the imminent End of the World. All this consternation and perturbation because we never knew when, we just knew it was coming. Now, finally, I know. I have to tell you, it's quite a relief.

I realize every generation in human history has believed theirs would be the last to grace the face of the planet. But for the most part we're talking about pre-modern civilizations built around ridiculous superstitions. I mean, they'd freak out and throw a really great party complete with orgies and a dead virgin at the end just because they saw a comet streaking across the sky. We modern humans, who live in the age of science, know that comets streaking across the sky away from you portend the End of the World much less than a comet staying at a fixed point in the sky and steadily getting larger.

We're so advanced now that parties with orgies and dead virgins can be had by any-ole-body with a rock-n-roll band.

Now we have satellites and space-ships and the technology even to stage pretend landings on the moon. We have NyQuil and x-rays and penicillin, which is great because everyone knows it's easier to think clearly when you know your gonorrhea is only temporary.

No, we've evolved well past the days of astronomical and astrological simplicity and fear and moved on to more sophisticated modes of thought and expression that allow us to better understand the workings of the various systems that make up our precious Earth and to observe it all with a cool, detached eye.*

So I'm happy now. I'm happy now because all my worries are at an end, right along with everything else on the planet between the stratosphere and the core. I didn't think I'd be this relieved, but I am.

Everyone look at your calendars. Go on, I'll wait. Got 'em? OK. What day does Fall start? That's right! It starts on Thursday, which is two days from now.

If Fall starts Thursday, that means right now it is still technically Summer, yes? Yes. Good.

And yet somehow, it's been raining for a whole day in southern California.

Yep, you heard me right. It's raining. In the summertime. There's even lightning and thunder and everything.

We're all so obviously dead.

You thought President Bush looked bad after the hurricane wiped out New Orleans. You should see what happens to his poll numbers once the whole of reality collapses in on itself until all matter is condensed into a single, infinitely heavy point hovering in the void left by the absence of space, outside of time. He's lucky he doesn't have to run again because that kind of thing will put voters right off a candidate.

He'll probably still get around 25% approval from his strong Christian Right supporters who will blame the End of Existence on illegal immigrants or Hollywood or terrorists or gays, but still, I wouldn't want to be President right now.

Rain. In southern California. In the Summer.

Doomed, all of us.

The animals can always smell it coming first. Look at this from the front page of my local paper** right alongside Iraq and Hurricane Katrina:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com See how this tortoise is dragging a half-unconscious woman away to its lair in the deserts of eastern Riverside County so that it might ravish and then devour her. All bets are off, people. The beasts are taking the opportunity to try things they've always wanted to try. If you wake up tomorrow and your dog has eaten all the chocolate in your house, run. You're next.

That's it. Good night. I have to go squeeze every drop of the sweet nectar of life from this imperilled existence while I still can. I've got a long day of not cleaning the house ahead of me.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 0.1 (this is obviously of interest to everyone)


PS: I would be remiss if I didn't point out how funny it is that the latest hurricane bearing down on America shares its name with a prominent original Bucketeer, the lovely and talented Rita. Here's hoping this storm does for you what the last one did for Katrina vanden Heuvel.

*= By the way, that's my Halloween costume this year, the Cool Detached Eye. It doesn't see very well, but all the ladies love him.

**= that really is from the front page of my local paper. We're trying to develop an image of a more urbane, cosmopolitan setting and they put a story on the front page about a woman who lost her giant turtle. Christ.

Monday, September 19, 2005
Monday Lite: Run It Up The Flagpole
It's a good thing this is Monday and my post can be short because I'm having eight kinds of trouble with my goddamn DSL. I don't have the nerve to invest all kinds of time and energy into a post just to have my internet fail and Blogger lovingly and personally select my post for ingestion.

I hereby grant myself permission to be half-interested in what I am about to write.

Actually what I'm doing is being sort of passive-aggressively annoyed because I was going to talk about how it's National Talk Like A Pirate Day today only to find that not only is every other blog on the whole planet mentioning it, but some people have even dressed like pirates and buckled swash all over a major American metropolis.

I'm dismayed at the redundancy-rendering of my post topic and all, but at the same time I'm a little excited. Who knew there was this kind of a groundswell of support for a national day for people to annoy me by doing very poor voice-work. It's almost as bad as the few weeks after the premier of any Austin Powers movie when even the cops who bust you for possession with intent to sell do so with a flourish of "Shagadelic baby, yeeaaaah!"

Except this movement is looking more and more like the beginnings of a true national holiday. Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but I think it's got a real shot at becoming a federal holiday. So as hard as it is to hear your aunt say "Har!" and talk about how bad she wants to get her hands on some "booty", I might be looking at one extra day per year where I get to sleep in if this all breaks the right way.

Fingers crossed.

Of course we shouldn't be premature. It's very possible that this is simply one of those internet-only points of interest. I was wrong before when I predicted Everquest would overtake baseball as America's national pastime and again when I thought that the spirit of racial harmony fostered by the enterprising porn-tastic work over at hotwhitechocolate.com would one day solve America's racial divide one money-shot at a time.

I don't want to make the same mistake again.

So call me cautiously optimistic. Mateys.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.7


Sunday, September 18, 2005
Protecting The Sanctity Of Marriage
My wife likes me. It sounds sort of self-evident, but I know enough people who cannot so glibly or blithely say this about their spouse/partner that I feel a weird mix of relief and paranoia when I'm able to so easily say such things out loud. Or in text form, which is sort of like "out loud", except not actually spoken. But in this case able to carry to many more people than could be done if I were to actually say it (or anything else) literally out loud right now. In fact, the only audience I would have right now would be my dog, the only hearing thing (that I am aware of... shout out to the mouse in my house if you're reading this... oh, and PS: feel free to fuck right off, disgusting rodent) both conscious and in ear-shot at the moment. But frankly I'm positive she takes everything I say as a command sit up and look dolefully at me until I pat her on the head, so I think the gist of the sentiment would be lost on her.

I know my wife likes me. I'm not sure why, but I don't think questioning her reasoning is a particularly healthy way to spend my scant few moments of free time. Plus I'd be afraid that I'd be able to boil it down to some complicated algebraic involving (laundry done + meals cooked + kids shuttled around) X (physical restraint when angry + minimal drunkeness) all divided by (time served X the square root of social inertia). Then I'd be able to analyze my every action with mathematical precision so as to gauge the effect in terms of her affection toward me. Honestly, I don't have time for other things to paralyze me into inaction out of fear. That's what I have laziness and a generally indecisive nature for. My central nervous system just couldn't absorb another first-class neurosis like that.

I know my wife likes me because every once in a while she will do things for me that remind me that she thinks of me outside of my occupational role as Emasculated Man-Servant and Minivan Pilot.*

And no, I'm not talking about anything sexual, you pervs. Although...

No no, that's neither here nor there. Actually once it was right there, but after a few weeks of sitting on the inflatable donut, I was all healed up and ready to go again.

As a non-disgusting example, one year she bought me a laptop for my birthday. For most people this is a sign of upwardly-mobile upper-middle-class yuppie extravagance. For us it was that too, but what it also was was a sign that she was supporting my effort to make myself into a real world-class Failed Writer. She knew it was my dream--one I am still in the process of fulfilling, with your help--and had heard me bitch and bitch about creatively stifling it was to sit in the same spot every day and try to write and boy, if only I could stroll off to a library or a park, then man-o-man, would I write me something.

So because she either she clearly likes me or (and this is not to be discounted out of hand) has the sickest sense of perversely sadistic humor in the history of people, several years ago for my birthday she surprised me with a laptop. What I choose to believe is that she knew if I was to become the Failed Writer she knew I could be, I was going to have to be able to do it all the way, with no excuses about location or equipment. It wasn't enough for her to see me become a Failed Writer with so easy and so lame a cop-out; she recognized that the best chance for me to realize my dream was to be sure I became a Failed Writer who failed because of his own personal inadequacies without question and without access to an easy, unimaginative excuse like Uninspirational Workspace.

It is for these very reasons that I hate and resent my laptop. I look at it and it says work. It's also almost impossible to play a decent game of Minesweeper with that touch-sensitive finger-pad thingy instead of a proper two-button mouse (with scroll-wheel), which makes it very nearly 100% useless to me.

When my video card on my desktop died (again) and I was without its services for nearly two weeks, I was forced onto the laptop. Yes, the laptop-option is what kept the world hip-deep in fresh Bucket and thus averted several potential global crises, but for the most part I was still a very unhappy Pops. But now my desktop computer is back in action and I am broadcasting this message to you from its happy, tap-tappy, 3D-game-playing keyboard.

So Bucketeers, look forward to a week full of posts about sunshine and lollipops and rose-petals and the bloody, painful death of my enemies and other things that make me smile. Welcome to the theme of this week's Bucket; welcome to Happy Pops Land.

Hide the children.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


*= Least impressive business card ever, by the way. It's got a unicorn on it.

Friday, September 16, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #15


starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Hopkins

directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, EA Sports Football '06)

Because I'm a whimpering, spineless and insecure slave to the strongly-worded whims of my readers, who I am not-very-secretly terrified of alienating, disappointing or driving away lest they abandon me to my pre-blog-rockstar existence of Pepperidge Farms Mint Milanos and afternoons with Dr. Phil, we can all thank the lovely and talented Rita for politely requesting not only the return of this semi-regular feature (the one she killed by saying she hated it) but by requesting that I pretend to review this film in particular.

I'm sure it lessens your estimation of me, dear Bucketeers, to see me bend like a reed in the wind at the request of a single reader, but please understand that you have this very same power. She just happened to speak up first. Request it and I will probably consider doing it. Wanna see Pops write a term paper on a topic eerily similar to the one due in your class by tomorrow that you haven't started yet? All you need do is ask. Want me to write poetry? Eat paste? Perform unnatural sex acts on wild animals I capture outside my home? Ask.

I've already participated in memes at the request of readers, so dignity is obviously no impediment. How much worse could fisting a jackrabbit be?

Of course you must understand that simply agreeing to attempt to fulfill a request is no guarantee of the quality of its execution. I make no guarantee that the term paper I write will be of any objective good to anybody or that the poetry I write on request will even rhyme like all non-sucky poetry should. I only agree to make the attempt.

Now that your expectations have been sufficiently lowered, we are ready to proceed.

Honestly, if Rita hadn't requested this film specifically I would have had no idea it was coming out. I think I saw part of one commercial for it as I was fast-forwarding through the breaks of the Lifetime TV movie Terror in the Family which I had recorded. I just can't get enough Lifetime. That poor Joanna Kerns, I tell you...

The rest of our regular TV watching schedule tends not to carry adverts for films like Proof. The people at Nickelodeon are very selective. They don't carry commercials for anything unless it can be played with, eaten or both.

I have made a good-faith effort to look at some reviews. I have ascertained through careful study of the one that appeared in my local paper that this film has something to do with math.


Not just math. Can you guess what else? What else always happens in movies where people are math geniuses?

That's right: crazy. The Basic Rules of Screenwriting says (among other things) that if someone is a Math Genius they must also be Crazy. Want to know why? Because real math geniuses, besides being naturally un-telegenic and probably allergic to sunlight, sit in rooms and write complicated proofs and stuff all day. If we watched them do that we would be either a) bored or b) reminded that we are ourselves not capable of doing addition to the tens place without the aid of a calculator. So the Crazy gives them license to act in a dramatically compelling, non-stationary way and it lets us, the Average Viewer, know that sure, they're smarter than us, but they also talk to Paul Bettany who isn't really there. See? Crazy.

Anthony Hopkins plays the super-math-genius with all the crazy in this movie. He like dies or something and Gwyneth Paltrow plays his daughter who might also be a math genius and thus might also be crazy. There are a bunch of flashbacks and junk in between scenes that lead up to Gwyneth and Jake Gyllenhaal coming together at last in a very sweet and tender scene where they realize they desperately need something from one another on a deep and personal level and then totally do it.

Or something. I don't know. Jake Gyllenhaal's in this movie for some reason I can't fathom. It seems like it's mostly about Paltrow and Hopkins and Hope Davis as the sister. The only thing I can figure is that Jake is the Designated Penis in this movie.

This film was adapted from the stage play, so you know it's all Deep and Meaningful and Chock Full of Unbearable Pretension and Undecipherable Depth. If it does its job right, at the end we should all want to kill ourselves.

I'm not a huge Gwyneth Paltrow fan. She was good in Shakespeare in Love, but what has she done since, really? She was in The Royal Tenenbaums for about a minute and a half where all they asked her to do was smoke and not blink.

And Jake Gyllenhaal... I don't know. This looks a lot less compelling than his upcoming project where he plays a cowboy in the saddle, cattle-punching, cow-poking and all sorts of other euphemisms for the ass-sex he is sure to engage in while playing Heath Ledger's gay cowboy lover in Ang Lee's upcoming Brokeback Mountain.

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that in Proof, the ass-sex will be subtly implied at best. And that's no way to sell a movie.

This film sadly must rate:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com The Dreaded Zero (out of three) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

Rita says she hasn't been to a movie since The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in May. I will tell her what I would tell all of you, words I lived by, my personal motto that got me through college: hold out for the ass-sex.

Move along. There is nothing to see here.


Thursday, September 15, 2005
Bloody Thursday
I would like to apologize to all my fellow bloggers that I accused yesterday of being lazy, incompetent non-posting losers. It turns out that due to some sort of technical glitch, when I would click on the links to blogs I read, they weren't being automatically updated to the newest entry. So it looked like everyone in the whole world had stopped posting on Monday. I tried really hard not to take it personally, but I'll be honest, it was wearing on me. I've never gotten the silent treatment from a hundred total strangers all at once before. It was sort of awesome and sad all at the same time, like the scenes at the end of some crappy movie about the apocalypse where survivors walk through the streets of some deserted metropolis in quiet, tragic wonder just before the army of zombies rounds the corner and eats them.

I found out that if I hit refresh, I could see all the new postage I missed. And then I was sort of sad again, because I realized I had to read all that junk. As hard as it had been when nobody was apparently posting, it sure made getting through my blog roll a lot faster. I had more time to sit and ponder my own greatness while not porn surfing. Not.

So I welcome all of you back. Even though you never actually left.

For the record, however, I'm going to be unlike our brave and sober president and avoid personal responsibility on this one. As in all things, I blame Blogger. Every time they try to fix and/or update something, I am personally made to suffer. And if I suffer, unfortunately, the Bucketeers are the ones I take it out on. I would apologize more sincerely but, again, Blogger. Bad evil Blogger. It obviously hates you personally as well. It doesn't sound like much now, but when it develops sentience, there could be trouble.

I don't have a grand thematic treatise to lay on you today as I did yesterday. I'm somewhat distracted by the impending arrival of the exterminator guy who is going to help us catch the mouse currently living in our laundry room. I'm about 90% sure the exterminator guy left the mouse here when he came to get the ants a few weeks ago, but whatever. Apparently it's some kind of genetically engineered super-mouse that can recognize and avoid conventional consumer-brand mousetraps and is allergic to peanut butter because I can't catch the fucker by myself. So I'll play along, I'll call the man out to catch the mouse he planted here. He'll probably whistle for it or call it by name and it will scurry out, crawl up his leg onto his shoulder and laugh at me as I hand over $30 for his time and trouble. Stupid mouse.

The point is, I'm slightly distracted as the guy could show up at any second. He said "sometime after 8 am", which means somewhere between right now and tomorrow. Honestly, they're worse than the cable people.

Two news items I'd like to point out very quickly:

Gillette announces five-blade razor.

This was in the news. Not a corporate press release, this is news. A headline and an article and everything. I was completely incredulous. I couldn't help but thinking: what kind of a pussy shaves with only four blades on his razor? I've been Scotch-taping three to five extra straight-blades to my conventional two-blade disposable razors for a long time, so for me this is going to be really convenient. The savings on tape alone should justify the cost.

Aside to the people of Gillette and Schick, seriously, I'd like to say: please stop. An arms race like this is how World War I got started. If Norelco steps in and makes some kind of "blank check" defensive accord with either one, hide your Archdukes if you got 'em because we're all fucked.

The second and last thing:

Britney Spears gives birth to baby boy.

I know you all knew this, but I'd highlight a couple of passages from the article.

"...Spears was taken to the hospital early on Wednesday morning with a police escort and accompanied by her husband, dancer Kevin Federline."

and this is the best part:

"Spears, who married Federline in September last year, had been previously reported as saying she planned to have the baby by Caesarean section to avoid the pain of a natural birth."

People always ask me why I'm so bent on making myself a world-wide pop cultural phenomenon. Not only do you have the option of avoiding the everyday annoyance that plague the average non-pop-cultural-phenomenon-type people, like traffic and stoplights because you can request a police escort just like the President of the United States but you have the option of avoiding even the unpleasant part of natural occurrences like child-birth. Maybe it isn't that you're scared it will really hurt. Maybe you just think the whole process is "icky", what with the living creature and all the accompanying fluids and extraneous wobbly bits shooting out of your hoo-ha. The point is that for the pop-cultural-phenomenon, even the basic functions of the human body are optional.

I love what Britney's done with childbirth and I envy it. I really do. I can't wait to see what she does with death. After I make this blog a household name, she and I and Tom Cruise can all try it together.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.7


Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Answer Man
As a middle child myself, I've always felt specially attuned to the needs of my own middle son, who is now four. I still ignore him and prefer his brothers to him--I think it would be cruel to deny him the full Middle Child Experience--but I'm especially sensitive to his feelings when he's feeling them. Neglect and despair are very powerful. You can almost smell them.

My middle child has always been sort of strange anyway. He was born with a full head of thick hair colored a stark, deep blood-red. I do not have red hair. My wife does not have red hair. Come to think of it, my middle child no longer has red hair (I didn't shave it or dye it blonde like Michael Jackson did to his poor helpless children... it just sort of changed by itself). Maybe it's the fact that he's obviously the son of one of my wife's red-headed co-workers that makes me pay him special close attention. But I'll never know for sure, not since the judge ordered me to stay 500 feet away from my wife's place of business since that day I got caught randomly running over red-haired men in the parking lot with my car.

About a year ago, when he was three, my middle son was at that stage where he was post-verbal but still pre-articulate. He could speak, he just didn't make a whole lot of sense. If he needed something specific, I could generally make it out, mostly by following the smell. Past diaper changes however, it was all guess work.

He spent all his hours between orderly and structured sleep-times asking me questions. Constantly constantly with the questions, that kid. Not regular kid questions either like "What's that, dad?" to which I could answer "That is a bird, son." Whether or not it was a bird didn't matter because he didn't know the difference; the point is that this is an example of a question that could be definitively answered.

More often than not, what I got was something like: "Dad?" "Yes, son?" "Why is blue?"

That's 45 minutes of my life gone right there trying to figure out what the fuck he could possibly be trying to actually ask me that somehow was verbalized as "Why is blue?" Is he asking about the sky? The ocean? Something on my shirt? Is he overcome with a general feeling of depression or malaise best expressed by simple three-chord-progression guitar music?

Then I got to thinking, maybe he's asking something really fundamental and abstract, something my polluted adult brain can't quite wrap itself around, something his burgeoning, developing intellect has access to on a more epistemologically pure level. I tried calling the Temple Worship Center out in Ontario after he tweaked my brain with "Why is hot is?" just in case he was a reincarnated Buddha or something, but they only laughed at me and told me to (and this is a direct quote) "Fuck off, Round-eye!" before they hung up on me. Not very Zen. Not very Zen at all.

Eventually I simply came to accept the fact that there is such thing as an Unanswerable Question. It doesn't have to be hard or ornately constructed or conceptually dense in any way. It's enough that it just doesn't make any goddamn sense. He's older now and is better able to express himself, which is great. Now he asks me easy stuff like "Can I have a snack?" and I laugh, hand him a stick of butter and send him on his way.

He asks me other questions too, such as "Can I have a snack?" and sometimes he'll even ask me "Can I have a snack?" Usually what he asks is "Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack?" It sounds like a lot, but he asks it all in about 4 seconds and at a really pleasant high-pitched whining squeak. The great luxury is that since he's the middle child, I don't have to be receptive to his needs. Which is nice.

The point of this post isn't actually my son, though, it's about questions, specifically the Unanswerable Question type of questions.

To wit, the lovely and talented Bucketeer kbryna asked in yesterday's comments:

pops: as a fairly young married man (the only married man of my acquaintance except my dad and various uncles), can you explain to me how and why married guys cheat on their wives? ok, not so much how, but the why? i don't know anything about the married-man mindset. let's have some truth-telling! and look, i gave you a post subject. just some pops-ish discourse on the topic would be interesting. to me at least.

As any regular reader knows, asking me direct questions is usually an invitation for me to make fun of you in the next day's post. This question in general falls into the silly, unanswerable type of behavioral questions that can't really be answered except for on a case by case basis.

I say in general and do so in italics so as to emphasize those two words for later reference and clarification, as I will offer now: it just so happens that I am an absolute expert on marital infidelity.

No no, don't get the wrong idea, I've never strayed myself (everyone agrees anal doesn't count), but marital infidelity is sort of a rite of passage amongst my extended family. The way other families all experience high school graduation or the birth of their children, my family, as predictable as the changing of the seasons, likes to do it with people to whom they are not married while they are married to someone else.

In my dad's family, it's like some kind of weird personality disorder. It just happens. In my mom's family, where she has 11 siblings (that's actually true, by the way) it's a question of volume. With that money people, you're going to get a little of everything.

So I'm an expert. Observationally speaking, there are licensed sex and family therapists with less experience in this field than I have. So you've asked the Unanswerable Question to exactly the right person. Congratulations.

Of course the question is worded incorrectly as it singles out men as cheaters when in my experience cheating is a 50/50 proposition as anything else involving both genders. But since you asked about men, I'll limit my expert gaze to that half of the equation.

Why do married men cheat? There are several reasons.

1) Women are whores.

The end. The rest is superficial and irrelevant. A bunch of jargony filler to pad articles for professional journals really.

OK, perhaps I should elaborate a little.

Not all women are whores. Some women are quite modest, reserved, circumspect, possessive of their sexuality and their bodies, waiting for the exact right, socially appropriate time to share themselves, their most precious commodity which they will not have compromised under just any old condition. These women are called married women.

There are some non-married women who are attracted to married men because of the air they give off of stability and commitment and solidity. Everything about them says security. So they throw themselves at these men, who then leave their wives for these crazy, slutty whores and thus destroy their image as stable partners by the very act of being unfaithful. And then they marry their former lovers, which turns the whore-ish woman into a married woman and the cycle of hate and resentment and sexual withholding starts all over again.

So there you have it. It's so simple when you break it down scientifically. I'm glad you asked and even more glad I didn' t have to think of a blogpost topic all by myself.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7


Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Voices Carry
It's not that I don't understand the need for advertising, because I do. As counterintuitive as it is for me to think about a purely altruistic public service devoted entirely to spreading useful information to a huge amount of people exclusively for their own benefit and with no other agenda or motivation by the advertisers or the corporations who employ them past sharing something important to them with a public they love and respect, it exists. I mean, if it weren't for advertisers, how would we know that food exists, that it is in many cases "zesty" or "savory" or "creamy" or "smooth", that it is shockingly (shockingly!) inexpensive and that we would be wise to go out right now and get us some? All the people in America not starving to death right now have advertising to thank. It's the only thing between full-bellied survival and sitting paralyzed and unprompted in our recliners until we starve to death and then having our corpses dragged off by the army of super-intelligent rats who live, patiently biding their time, in the walls of all of our houses.

Besides reminding us of things we didn't know about in the first place and how consumption of said things is really in our long-term best interests, I also appreciate the way advertising makes an effort to be palatable, comprehensible and tolerable. Soft-lit images of women walking slowly along the beach with their moms, engaged in easy, intimate conversation, occasionally throwing a Frisbee for their golden retriever to... retrieve among the paw-deep remnants of broken waves. Inoffensive piano music in the background, genial, attractive, responsibly-cast lovely faces telling me things I need to know in front of a glorious Pacific sunset. Yeah. That's the kind of thing really speaks to a person at the core of who they are. Massengill has been my brand of douche ever since.

Unless that type of feel-good approach isn't appropriate to the product. Then I need to be bludgeoned to death by images cut together so fast that the human eye has no chance to process them. After thirty seconds of crunchy guitars behind footage of people falling off stuff on purpose, I have a splitting headache and maybe my eyes are bleeding a little bit, but I understand. The message has been delivered: the Dew must be done.

OK, sometimes I will admit that even some of the great ideas advertisers come up with are inexpertly executed or simply don't work as conceived. For instance they keep putting "sneak preview" DVDs in my Entertainment Weekly hoping that I'll watch Episode One of the high quality television program they would like me to see and thus become a regular viewer. Thus far I have politely declined. The reason isn't because I object to the fare being offered (and boy, who doesn't want to see the can't-miss Chris O'Donnell lawyer comedy Head Cases?) it's because inflexible DVDs stuck in the middle of my magazine make the whole thing stiff and awkward, page turning becomes difficult and it slides off my legs when I'm reading it while... um... seated. My objections are practical.

Being the week before the new TV season begins in earnest, my latest copy of EW (we insiders just use initials... it's not laziness, it's coooool) was so chock-full of inserted promotional material as to be almost completely unopenable. It was more rigid than George Bush at an NAACP convention (which is a theoretical example because he's never actually been to one). What I'm saying is, not-so-bendy.

I assumed, naturally, that it was becuase of the multiple DVDs crammed inside.

Imagine my surprise when I happened upon the cardboard pages about half way through emblazoned with the title-card for NBC's new Jason Lee show My Name Is Earl. I could tell there was something between the pages, but thought nothing of it. So I turned the page.

I feel fortunate that at the time I was in one of the very, very few positions in life where it is acceptable to shit yourself. Because it scared the fuck out me, along with several other things best left undescribed. In a tiny room with the door closed and lock, certain I was the only one in there, and of all the rooms in my house, by far the one with the best acoustic, my magazine started to talk to me.

Actually, it was Jason Lee. Some kind of goddamn speaker device that is activated by opening the page whereby Mr. Lee, in character as the raffish, porn-star-mustachioed "Earl" launches into like an 8 minute point-by-point plot description and basic philosohical underpinnings of the show all in glorious tinny mono-speakered wonder, exactly the type of quality sound you'd expect to find emanating from the middle of a magazine. And it was loud.

Once my Pacemaker kicked in a re-started my heart, everything was fine. But just so you know for the future, advertisers, it is not OK to frighten your potential consumers half to death with un-warned recordings in the middle of otherwise non-speaking magazines.

Although, now that I think about it, I bet I'll never forget the name of that show or that particular piece of advertising.

Aw, I can't stay mad at you, you magnificent bastards. Kudos, sirs. I say kudos.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.1


Monday, September 12, 2005
Monday Lite: Blue Plate Special
People tell me I'm a negative person, but I'm not. I just hate everything. Everything. Like traffic and stop lights and heat and cold and noise and silence and cats and spinach and mice and spiders and all marsupials (give birth or lay an egg for Christ's sake, pick one) and earthquakes and hurricanes and Mike Myers (who apparently has nothing to say about the plight of black people, the smug, money-raising, script-adhering-to Canadian fuck) and the Dallas Cowboys and Liechtenstein (don't think we don't fucking see you) and eggplant. Man, do I hate me some eggplant.

Mostly right now I hate cookbooks. Want to know why? Because my wife works an hour's drive away, which means I get to cook. Since my kids are now old enough to express their displeasure at the House Specialty (Nothing on White Toast) which I serve four nights per week, I have to think of new shit to slave over just in time for them to complain about and then not eat.

The problem with cookbooks is that they always assume you know shit before you even crack them open. Like they assume you already have a repertoire of several dozen basic dishes, like they don't know you made it through college on an exclusive diet of quesadillas and Hormel's Famous Canned Horsemeat Chili.

So they can't just tell you how to make Sloppy Joes, no. They assume you already know how to make regular Sloppy Joes, so all the cookbooks--every fucking one of them--gives you Sloppy Joes with a twist. There is no worse phrase in the world of daily home cooking than "with a twist". "With a twist" usually means I have to find some kind of exotic animal, kill, skin, gut and debone it and then boil it all day to make a "base stock". They assure you you can freeze your leftover stock for later, but what other recipe out there requires me to use iguana stock? None, that's which one.

Most of the directions sound OK, but there's always one thing that's either really hard to do if you have less than 8 hours to prepare or involves some kind of rare, expensive and difficult to handle ingredient that alters the recipe, rendering it "unique" and thus justifying the twenty-five goddamn dollars you paid for their stupid cookbook. I don't want to make quince-and-chick-pea-petits-fours. Really. I don't. In fact, if I ever find out definitively what a "quince" is, I may kill myself.

So you want to make Sloppy Joes but the first ingredient is "1 1/2 lbs. of ground lamb".

Grand lamb? Seriously? You know what "the twist" is when you make Sloppy Joes with ground lamb? The twist is that they're no longer Sloppy Joes. I'm pretty sure if you make it with lamb, it automatically qualifies as Greek food, which means it had better come with pitas and tzatziki.

I guess what I'm saying is if it's going to end up ground into my carpet anyway, I want to be able to tell the man with the van-mounted hot-foam machine* what it is before I pay him $80 to clean it up.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.0


*= Steady, people, steady...

Sunday, September 11, 2005
It's Not TV
While it is generally considered bad form to laugh at people because they are suffering due to circumstances beyond their control, it is only human nature to laugh at people because they are stupid. Sure, stupidity is as beyond a person's control as much as a giant hurricane wiping out an American city right after you convince an old pal of yours to appoint you Director of FEMA, but somehow basic non-lethal stupidity is still funny to see in action. It's like the handicap that's not really a handicap.

I think the main reason commonplace stupidity isn't viewed with the same empathy as actual mental retardation or blindness or the inability to walk is because it is a relative state of being. A deaf person is deaf whether they are compared to a hearing person or another deaf person. Make all the comparisons you want, they still can't hear anything. Or OK, maybe they can and you're just boring, but I'm talking about people who are medically deaf, not social-selectively.

Stupidity on the other hand, while generally diagnose-able, depends upon whom you're standing next to. I'm not going to use myself as an example because obviously the stunning level of my immense intellect defies all conceived-of methods of measure or report. If my intellect were represented by physical size, it would have to likened to... uh... something real real big. I can't really think of a good example off the top of my head. Ooh! A hippopotamus! Those are big. Heavy too and with that horn thing in the front, charging around the savannah all day jabbing other animals in the ass. That would be rad. Until the hunters came and found me so they could cut my horn off and grind it into powder to sell as an aphrodisiac. That part would suck. But as far as I know, there's nothing bigger than a hippopotamus. So that's me and my smartness.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that "stupid" is relative. Just as an example, among all the braindead mouth-breathing devil-horn waving self-whiplashing morons at a Motley Crue concert (sorry, but I refuse to purposefully abuse the diaeresis in their horrible, horrible name), one of them has to be the "smartest". Hell, some of them might even have jobs and girlfriends and cars they don't need to have back by morning so their moms can go to work. But they get off listening to thought-free subtlety-proof songs named "Dr. Feelgood" and "Girls Girls Girls", so by definition they are all of them profoundly stupid.

And then there are people like me, the graduate school types, who forego a broad-range of knowledge to become hopelessly specialized in one particular area of expertise so that when we are finished with our studies we can test other people--those who wasted their early adulthoods developing non-professional skills like social interaction, human speech and basic hygiene--knowing that they will fail, thus proving that we are smart and they are stupid, a conclusion that proves the last 2-10 years of our life in academia weren't at all wasted.

I mean, we could talk about the differences between the 1536 and 1543 Acts of "Union" annexing Wales formally to England, but I don't want to embarrass anyone with my awesome depth of narrow and functionally useless* knowledge.

If you ever had the misfortune of finding yourself in the company of several history professionals, you would understand that anyone who in any way ever mentioned history without the benefit of proper history-thought training--the dreaded "History Buff"--is by comparison the stupidest person ever created in the history of created people. History Buffs talk about shit like people and events and artifacts, a childish misunderstanding of history that completely leaves out systems and code-words and jargon all based on in-depth readings of books by history professionals for history professionals. There's also a secret handshake. And a branding on the inner thigh you have to subject yourself to. It's not just self-perpetuating job security; it's necessary lest history fall into the vulgar hands of people who like it.

The History Buff is likely to say something stupid about how they would love to live in the time they are so grossly obsessed with, like for instance the Civil War. Actual historians are able to apply their training to recognize the fact that this is a stupid idea. Gosh, wouldn't it be great not to know every day whether or not a rampaging army was going to ransack and burn down your house, murder your family, walk their muddy boots all over your heirloom rug, to live subject to an uncertain economy left up to the whims and ravages of war, get tuberculosis, dysentery, polio and scurvy all at the same time and then pray for death before it finally comes, five years after all of your children have predeceased you. Gosh, wouldn't that be just the same thing as your re-enactment weekends on your days off from your job as a systems analyst.

No, in case you were wondering, no it wouldn't. It can't be real history if you don't mention Karl Marx or hegemonic discourse or points of resistance or a bunch of other things with more syllables than sense. People who like history can't actually know about history because they like it too damned much. They are blinded by their own personal agenda of "doing stuff that interests them" and therefore have barred themselves from attaining any kind of objective knowledge. Therefore they are stupid.

So wishing you could live in some other time is stupid.

That is absolutely what I used to think until I started watching HBO's new show, Rome. I could be down with living wherever and whenever that takes place.

Yes, there's still the disease and the uncertainty and the paganism and the substandard plumbing, but is that so different from now? If New Orleans showed us anything, it's how thin the line is between shiny modernity and the sort of savagery and suffering that the lack of technology immediately exposes. Human helplessness in the face of the elements has never been made so starkly clear.

But that's not the real reason that show makes it seem OK to live in ancient Rome. Apparently back then, everyone was gettin' it on and gettin' it on a lot. As I type this, I'm recording the episode that first airs on September 11th, so I've only seen the first two episodes, but my God. That's got to be the most doin'-it-est culture in the history of the world. In the second episode alone there had to be 6 or 7 impeccably choreographed, expertly-lit, exquisitely filmed acts of totally spontaneous human carnal intimacy. I found it puerile, unnecessary, dirty, crass, base, prurient and totally totally awesome. And most of the chicks are hot too.

I figure with as much ass-lending as seems to be going on, even a non-Latin speaker like myself would have a half-way decent shot.

Of course you'd have to do it on a pre-Tempur-Pedic mattress in an un-air-conditioned room with a person born into a bathing-optional culture and subject your delicate bits to the threat of scorching in a fire-based lighting system of the day, but it doesn't seem to bother anyone in the show. None of them seem to know how to keep their body parts off of other people's body parts.

I'm ashamed that it appeals to me so. But on the up side, I think I'm starting to understand fraternity life a little better.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.6

*= not to mention horribly atrophied. I had to look up the dates. My thesis writing days are well behind me.

Friday, September 09, 2005
Irregular Feature
For the second week running, I have no Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing pseudo-review to offer you. These are the dog-days of late summer where we've switched from blockbuster releases to burning off inventory of shit that's been lying around under couches and behind stacks of old pizza boxes in studios and distribution houses all over the country. For instance, did you know that an $80 million sci-fi effects-heavy action movie called A Sound of Thunder starring Ben Kingsley and Edward Burns was released last week? No? Neither did anybody else.

From what I read, this film was shot in the Czech Republic in 2002 based on a Ray Bradbury short story. Most of the set was destroyed and shooting delayed by catastrophic floods in and around Prague that year. Then the original director walked off the film. It was finished by another director and then... the world waits with bated breath, their cranky Burns-Kingsley-dinosaur-hunter-movie jones uncomfortably unfulfilled.

This is the kind of thing that gets released late August/early September. See, in order for me to put any kind of time or effort into a proper Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing, I have to be presented with something that at least has some kind of pop cultural currency in order to make it interesting. Sure, most of the time I title something MIHNIoS and spend 8,000 words talking about my kids or Barbara Bush or celebrity genitalia, but the point is in order to warrant the actual title I have to at least be aware of what exists.

This week the only movies I'm aware of are the Sam Jackson-Eugene Levy formula craptacular The Man, something about an exorcism of Emily something and that one (which I just heard about for the first time yesterday) about the hard-luck girl finding redemption with some grizzled old dudes starring Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman and Hillary Swank Jennifer Lopez. Even my dream pairing of Redford-Lopez, the co-star billing I've been fantasizing about since I happened across the Encore channel's back-to-back double-bill of All the President's Men and The Wedding Planner a few months ago isn't enough to draw even my satiric eye. Like everything else I dream about, the realization is sure to be a bitter disappointment.

It's just like the time I ran into Richard Simmons in line at the Dairy Queen in Huntington Beach. First of all, I was kicking myself for not wearing my home-made "Sweatin' to the Oldies" tribute T-shirt so he could sign it. But there he was, just as I'd imagined him: dolphin shorts, tank top, giant orange afro, man-boobs a-blazin'. The first thing that hit me was that he just seemed so... small. You expect your heroes to be larger than life and it can be a shock when you realize that they're actually under 5' tall.

I went up to him and introduced myself. I started giving him my "I was a fat kid too" testimony. And just like I promised myself I wouldn't, I started to cry. The part of my life story when I was in fourth grade and I ate 4 pounds of straight butter because I had no friends always gets me no matter what. Hang on...

...OK, back.

I expected some words of encouragement, some empathy tears, some soft white lighting and tinkly piano music in the background, but you know what I got from Richard Simmons? Nothing. He just kind of sighed, walked up to the counter, ordered his extra large mint Oreo Blizzard and wandered away.

The little fucker didn't even try to hit on me. I got bupkes.

At that point I couldn't even eat my child-size vanilla cone. As the glass door closed behind him, I screamed--I mean screamed, Howard Dean-style--after him "Your Deal-A-Meal infomercials are a total lie!", ran home sobbing and didn't get out of bed for a week. I've never eaten so much butter in my life.

Want to know how I got better? It dawned on me: that Mr. Fitness motherfucker was gorging himself at the Dairy Queen. All my illusions were shattered and thus was I disabused of my preconceptions and began to heal.*

I imagine any viewing of An Unfinished Life would be roughly on that scale. So I refuse to consider it.

Besides all that, we've got our first soccer games this weekend, the NFL season starts (Chargers vs. Cowboys, Sunday at 1 PT), my sister is moving, we've got a mouse in the garage that is trying to get into the house AND I think my dog just ate a lizard. I just don't have time for you people right now, is that OK? Six posts per week and still with the demands. They can't all be gold, people. Pace yourselves.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.9


*= Of course a little later I reasoned that maybe he was just in there getting something for an invalid friend, like a fat person who couldn't fit out their own door anymore whom Richard would then talk out of eating his extra-large Blizzard and take the first step to a healthier, more furniture-friendly future. Try as I might, I just can't stay mad at Richard Simmons.

Thursday, September 08, 2005
They've Hit Buddy! Let's Get 'Em, Girls!
I'm not really sure what the last Arnold Schwarzenegger movie was that I paid to see in a theater. I saw Terminator 3, but that was on cable and I only watched it because it was on opposite The Shawshank Redemption on TNT. And TBS. And PAX. And FX, and American Movie Classics and Bravo and IFC, Lifetime, ESPN2, Food Network and Toon Disney. That movie really gets around. But you know what, it can still make me laugh and laugh, especially at the end when the 1950s parole board lets a black man out of jail voluntarily. It's so absurd it's hysterical.

I think the last movie that Arnie was in that I paid to see was Batman and Robin. Nobody remembers that Arnie was in that movie because he was totally upstaged by benippled bat-suits and the money-shot of George Clooney's perfectly lit foam-rubber encased ass. And all of that was overshadowed by the awesome lack of ability exhibited by Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. A blinding absence of talent like that hasn't been seen since the glory days of Andrew Shue. Sure, she was pretty good in Clueless, but she was supposed to be retarded in that one.

What I'm saying is that I don't think most people think of Batman and Robin as an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. The last top-of-the-bill Arnie movie I think I paid to see was True Lies, which IMDb tells me came out in 1994. Eleven years ago. Wow. I'm even less of an Arnie fan than I thought.

All that considered, I guess it's not that much of a loss when I commit to never seeing another Arnold Schwarzenegger movie again, but it's a position I take seriously and a stand I take on principle.

Just yesterday, Arnold, the Governor of the Great State of California, vetoed the nation's first-ever state-legislature-approved bill legalizing gay marriage.

Don't get the wrong idea, though. This isn't some hippie idealist's meaningless one-man political protest that the object of the protest will never hear about and wouldn't care about if they did.

I should point out that not only is vetoing the bill a bastard-y thing to do, but Mr. Universe's reasoning for the veto is childish and cowardly. After all, when he was elected, he was supposed to be a the Moderate Anti-Republican Republican against campaign money corruption, pro-environment, gay-friendly, pro-choice, not given to fits of idealogy. You know, a Democrat.

All that considered, it's disappointing to watch him morph from Plucky Independent Outsider to Boring Predictable Hack Politician the way everyone else ever has when elected to high office.

So there's that.

But again, while all good reasons to not see any new Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, those aren't my primary motivations.

I'm also not avoiding all hypothetical future Arnie movies because his recent spate of films have all been Stallone-quality dreadful. Junior was Arnold's Rhinestone. And then he followed that up with Jingle All The Way, The 6th Day, Eraser and Collateral Damage, movies they didn't even watch in Austria. I hear they've named huge swaths of the country after their favorite son over there including a stadium, four mountains, a province, two rivers* and every second child born after 2001, male or female. And for that he gave them End of Days. Ingratitude thy name is Schwarzenegger.

No, the reason why I refuse to see any Arnold Schwarzenegger movies from here on out is because in vetoing this bill, he has guaranteed that every movie the he is involved in for the rest of his life will look absolutely dreadful.

You do not piss of the gays in the film industry without paying a price, Arnold. I know things are different now and you've got a political base that needs appeasing, but you've cut off your nose to spite your face.

Speaking of your face, prepare for it to be perpetually shiny, blotchy and uneven on screen forever. Who does your make-up on every film set ever, Arnold? That's right, the gays.

Hair? Wardrobe? Gays and gays. After this he'll be lucky to appear on film with a page-boy haircut and a velvet drape with a head-hole cut in it.

There was a great deal of clamor and protest when former superagent/studio head/crybaby Michael Ovitz whined to the media about having to deal with the "Gay Mafia" in Hollywood to get anything done. The man was pilloried, especially by the gay community.

You know who is outraged the most when generalizations are made publicly about Italians being in the Mafia? Italians. And we know they're all "connected", they just don't want the public scrutiny so they can operate under cover of darkness and nobody will ask questions next time they need to quietly dump a body. The more they protest, the more we know it's real.

The next time someone with "product" in their hair complains about unfair generalizations about homosexuals and their roles behind the scenes in Hollywood, just nod your head and wait. Arnie's got his fancy "special election" coming up in November which I'm sure he'll do some TV press for. If he comes out with a face like George Hamilton and Phyllis Diller's Teutonic love-child and dressed like a combination of any two characters from Three's Company, you'll know it's real.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.0


*= there is no more beautiful site in the world than standing at the base of the Alps at sunset in autumn at the confluence of the Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Arnold Schwarzenegger.


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