Pops' Bucket
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Lost In The Corn Hole. I Mean Maze. Corn Maze.
This week is similar to last week in several ways: 1) the electronic monitoring ankle bracelet is still attached and functioning, 2) still handsome, me and 3) Mrs. Pops has taken Monday off, which is a HUGE problem, post-wise. It means major, major disruption of my routine. Very disturbing. More time driving around and interacting with actual people means less time sitting on my ass trying to think up jokes about people having sex with jack-o'-lanterns. Seriously, that's what you people would be getting if I had the time.

But alas, this "family" thing is seriously cramping by blogging style. Go go go, do do do. I haven't even had time to take all my pants in to be let out, as I do at the start of every holiday season.

Like it or not, this is the beginning of the holiday season. I saw my first fake evergreen garland around a post inside the Best Buy this weekend. It's here, people.

I also know it's the holiday season because we've already begun enjoying our annual series of traditional events I like to call "Get Horrendously Overcharged While Doing Things I Hate". Stuff that makes kids happy but involve me standing in lines and interacting with goats.

Let me explain:

This weekend we took the kids to the big giant Pumpkin Patch. For those without children, these are super-commericialized "farms" where you can go and celebrate the spirit of Halloween by paying way too much for a pumpkin.

Usually this involves a mall parking lot, a giant tarp, a few hay bales (bails? I think it's "bales") and an inflatable bouncy-house.

Where I live is still on the edge of civilization, so if I drive far enough we can find an actual working pumpkin farm. We go to one every year way the fuck out in the wilds of San Bernardino county. There amid the actual pumpkins growing right out of the ground one can also find corn stalks and scare-crows and a petting zoo (hence the goats) and hay bales and giant inflatable bouncy-houses. Very authentic all of it.

The huge swath of maturing Christmas trees just adds to the Halloween feeling. The place converts from a pumpkin farm in October to a Christmas tree farm in November/December. So by repetitive association, nothing says "Halloween" to my children like a Christmas tree.

The main attraction, naturally, are the giant inflatable bouncy thingies that kids get to climb in/on. My oldest ones, anyway. The youngest is still in the scream-until-I-can-go-and-then-cry-until-daddy-has-to-crawl-in-and-get-me phase, which is less charming than it sounds.

Each "attraction" costs a certain number of tickets. They use the ticket system for two reasons: 1) the awkward numbers of pre-bought tickets means you WILL have some left over less than the cost of another go on the giant tiger-face slide thingy, so either they get to keep your two bucks when you don't use them OR you give them another four bucks so two of your kids can go and 2) because "three tickets" in exchange for three minutes of fun-time sounds a lot less like gouging than "three dollars".

I was thinking about it as my kids ran and ran their blissed, sockless little hearts out. It works out to a dollar per minute to run around in one of these things. It would cost me less many to take them to a whore.

Not ANY whore of course. She'd have to be relatively clean and probably be willing to cut me a frequent-visitor discount in order to get a competitive rate. Also she'd have to be literate as my kids would probably just want her to read them a story or something. But what I'm saying is it's possible to be more money-wise than pumpkin-patch visiting.

I think the suggestion of taking my children to a whore is the right way to end this post here at the beginning of the holiday season.

Tomorrow I do not plan to post as I'll be busy with kids and shit like that. The latter half of my day is all booked up with my diabetic coma. Man, I love Halloween.

So Bucketeers, it is with a heavy heart that I say to you: Adieu. Until Tuesday. Assuming I come around by then.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7


Friday, October 28, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #20

The Legend of Zorro

starring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, some kid, swordfights

directed by Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro, GoldenEye, The Sex Thief)

I make a mediocre meatloaf. It's not for lack of trying, but it's just so frustrating. How hard can it be, really? I mean, the whole reason meatloaf has poor reputation isn't because it tastes bad (it doesn't). The bad rap comes from the fact that it's so goddamn easy to make that home meal-preparers have simply gone to the well too many times in an effort to not kill themselves making food their kids aren't going to eat anyway. Sure, we could make braised lamb medallions in a red wine truffles-and-saffron sauce with foie gras slivers and roasted tips of white asparagus, but if the kids aren't going to eat, they might as well not eat something that takes 5 minutes to mash together in a bowl, am I right? I'm right.

Ground beef, some onion, salt and pepper, ketchup, an egg, some dry ingredient filler (a lot of people use bread crumbs, but I think they get soggy, so I prefer oatmeal), some Worcestershire, whole baby sweet pickles, raisins... drop it all in a pan and forget about it for an hour. What could be easier than that?

And yet still it always comes out sort of... uninspiring. Maybe I should try some of that FoodNetwork Emeril guy's variation and "take it up a peg" or whatever he says, but that only usually means adding a bunch of garlic and some cayenne. I'm sure he's a fine chef and everything, but the only thing I ever take away from that show is garlic and cayenne, garlic and cayenne... If I ever ate at one of his restaurants, I'd be afraid to order dessert.

Bah. Fabulous meatloaf is just one of those unanswerable questions like "why are we here?" or "is there a higher power?" or "where do babies come from?"

The one that really bakes my noodle is: "How could Catherine Zeta-Jones be Welsh?"

There's no way she's really from Wales. No. Way. I've been to Wales. I'm not even sure they have women there, let alone ones that look like that.

Think about the famous people we all know and love who are from Wales: Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Monty Python's Terry Jones... what do they all have in common? Bulbous heads. Pasty skin. Drunk. Married to Elizabeth Taylor.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comCatherine Zeta-Jones is none of these things. Take all those things into consideration and the picture you get of a Welsh woman is this:

It sure as hell isn't this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com The weirdness of it is kind of balanced out by the thought of what she must let a creepy old guy like Michael Douglas do to her on a regular basis, but it isn't quite enough of a distraction to put the nationality question to rest.

I mean, come on, in the first Zorro movie and then in this new sequel she played a hot-ass Latina. Those are two ethnicities that it should be fundamentally impossible to confuse, Welsh and Latina. It's one of the basic truths that binds the universe together. I think it's Newton's Fifth Law: "Thou Canst Not Travel From Cardiff to Cancún Unremarked-upon". Look it up if you don't believe me.

I guess statistically, though, it shouldn't be impossible for Wales to produce someone who's not doughy and wretched-looking with skin like a cadaver. Wales has also, for instance, give us Christian Bale. But nobody confuses Christian Bale with Ricardo Montalban. That's all I'm saying.

Despite the impossible Welsh-as-Mexican angle, I remember thoroughly enjoying the first Zorro movie. You can make all the jokes you want about my fondness for men wearing black masks and carrying whips, go ahead. It's funny because it's true, I know. But that movie was just so fucking goofy, it was hard not to like it. The hero was goofy, the plot was goofy, that bad guy with the giant blonde head was goofy... and in the end: big giant explosions. It was charming in the same way that... well, it's hard to explain. Go get a piece of bread, load it up with peanut butter and then feed it to your dog. The feeling was similar to watching that.

The reviews say this sequel has failed to capture the spirit of that first one. Except for the other reviews that say it has nailed it yet again, almost exactly. Today's word is: "mixed".

The TV ads feature lots of Banderas (hot), CZJ (hott) and some kid playing their offspring. Not hot. Plus it's rated PG instead of PG-13, so that means no bloody stabbings.

It prominently features a child-actor doing precocious things and has no blood. Sounds like some Disney Channel shit to me. I'm suspicious.

So that's one demerit.

But it's got our Cathy, so that's a plus. But no nudity, another minus.

The reputation of the first film is a plus.

As is the fact that the director once directed a dirty "unrated" film in the early '70s called The Sex Thief. Huge plus just for the effort. A resumé like that will always get you the benefit of the doubt in my book.

Tallying up, my math says The Legend of Zorro warrants:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com Two (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

Twll dîn pob Sais!

Cymru am byth!


Thursday, October 27, 2005
Talons & Jackboots
To the person who typed in the Google search string Why Not To Kill Myself and then found themselves directed here, well... the only thing I can say is: I'm sorry. You will be missed.

On the up-side, the Bucket was the #1 result. #1 baby, yeah!


Last year it was the Red Sox (1918). As of last night, this year it was the White Sox (1917) ending years of uselessness and winning a World Series. The Big Wheel of History is turning again and apparently it's decided that instead of a whole new century, we should just do the 20th century all over again. Heck, we even have a a burgeoning influenza pandemic to look forward to, the only difference this time being instead of the Spanish to blame, we only have the birdies. The bad news is that there is no Birdie Homeland we can make a smoking bomb crater out of in an effort to purify the earth, as we should have done with Spain 100 years ago.

I know, the "Spanish flu" didn't actually start in Spain, but nothing distracts the public attention from a dry cough and creeping death than a good ole war. In the intervening century, we've evolved as a people. We no longer need "reasons" to blow stuff up, just "justifications" in the aftermath to feed to the press. So long as they are sufficienty confusing/vaguely threatening while everyone is weakened with the avian flu, I don't foresee any significant resistance.

The birds, however, are a crafty adversary, full of cunning and guile. Beneath that lovely plumage and hollow bones beats a tiny little black heart. They chirp their pretty siren songs to soothe our savage sensibilities and native distrust of things disdainful of gravity. They perch in animated form on the fingers of English nannies everywhere, raising their voices in a dazzling, hypnotic duet as if to say "Look at us, pretty bird. Pretty bird. We mean you no harm. Pretty bird."

The happy family movies don't show the nice English nanny's finger turning gangrenous and black before it falls off. They don't show her sweating to death in a Bangladeshi opium den, covered in pustules and bleeding from the eyes, the sweet smoky haze of "China white" her only succor from the agony of mortal sickness. And away in its animated nest the animated bird animated-laughs, its animated evil work done.

The birds remember the early 20th century. They know this stage-play happens in two parts: 1) worldwide flu pandemic and 2) world war.

They want to thin our numbers with disease and then sit back and watch us finish ourselves off with war borne out of desperation and fear.

The jokes on them, the stupid birds. They got the order backward. First we had WWI, then we had the Spanish flu. They've overplayed their hands, the otherwise-magnificent bastards. Instead of devolving into sickly and wounded nation-states ready to lash out with arms, our flu-ravaged psyches agitated by mortal fear, they find us a planet united in an unprecedented effort to stamp out the flu threat before it spreads.

They forgot that the only thing more attractive to human beings than killing other human beings is not being dead ourselves. The appeal of not being dead cannot be overstated. Sure, we'll get to the massive global conflict, but only after we're sure that the sniffles we have are a common cold and not Death By Turkey. We will annihilate ourselves on our timetable, no one else's.

The days when birds rule the planet are going to have to wait. Cruel avian overlords driving the last remnants of humanity to work underground in the birdseed mines is something this generation will never have to endure.

We have much to be thankful for. The avian flu is still not transmissible between humans. We can ameliorate the threat before it spreads from birds to people. If you're inclined to copulate with those of the avian persuasion, don't just pick up any ole dirty bird off the street; take them in. Get them tested first. Just to be doubly safe, if you have to fuck a budgerigar, please wear a condom. The fate of the human race may well depend on it.

And remember: Thanksgiving is coming. Vengeance is at hand.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 0.4


PS- If the Cubs win the World Series next year, I take it all back. Then we're all definitely fucked and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005
All Alone I Have Cried Silent Tears Full Of Pride
In a world made of steel... made of stone...

On days like this when I'm feeling sort of lowly, I often find comfort in the words of 1980s poetess/chanteuse Irene Cara. Or really anything from Flashdance. But you all know me by now: any excuse to break out the leg-warmers.

In a pinch I will take something from Footloose. Or OK, anything from Kenny Loggins. I don't think that guy gets nearly enough credit. A movie isn't a movie without a Kenny Loggins song as far as I'm concerned. Which is why I haven't been to the movies in over seventeen years.

But I'm all right. Don't nobody worry 'bout me. I'm actually not really sad today, just sort of... confused. And concerned

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMy concern is that yesterday, in some kind of memorial for late civil rights icon Rosa Parks, a few community leaders banded together to commit mass political suicide by disrupting traffic on a portion of Interstate 10, the part named the Rosa Parks Freeway. During rush hour.

This is California. We're pretty tolerant. You can be gay or Mexican or black or even a foreign-born serial harrasser of women with a ridiculous accent and still get elected to public office. We're definitely a blue state. But disrupting traffic... on a freeway... on purpose... well, I just don't know how to convey the seriousness of the offense to non-SoCal-ians. In any other state, that would be like sodomizing a puppy on live TV using the severed finger of a dead soldier. Or like in the South, it would be like being a Democrat. Some things simply render you unelectable.

It's only OK to stop traffic for no reason if first you put up one of those "Your Tax Dollars At Work" signs. We know it's patronizing and probably a lie, but we appreciate the effort.

I'm also worried that the youngest generations of Americans won't know anything about Rosa Parks beyond the bus and (now) the freeway. We're two generations past Jim Crow now. My fear is that the only thing young people will know about Rosa Parks is that she had something to do with transportation.

We must make every effort to make it known what her specific role in history was: totally stealing Jackie Robinson's thunder. Jackie had already done the "I'm not giving up my seat, Whitey" thing back in '44 while in the Army. He even faced a court-martial for it, only to be acquitted. What a relief it must have been for him to realize he'd made his mark on history and could move on.

And then this lady in Montgomery comes along and mungs it all up, stealing all the not-moving-back-on-the-bus historical mojo. So Jackie made up his mind to go out and be the first black man in Major League Baseball instead. Without that push from a callous, calculating, lime-light-stealing, far-sighted Ms. Parks, there would have been no baseball integration and I wouldn't have gotten to see Barry Bonds cry after his team was humiliated in the 2002 World Series.

Thank you, Rosa Parks. We shall never forget.

Rosa Parks fostered a nation-wide era of tolerance and acceptance, which I mostly agree is good so long as we don't include foreigners, who cannot be trusted.

I'm also not 100% sold on tolerance of other people's religious beliefs. Like the Scientologists and their crazy-ass "silent birth" idea where you're not allowed to talk to the baby or give it any medical tests for a week after birth. No drugs during the delivery. And (this is the best part) there is to be no sound during the delivery including screaming of the mother in the pain of childbirth.

I will recap: no drugs, no yelling. This is an idea so bad that even prominent Scientologists--including pseudo-actress and John Travolta spouse Kelly Preston--think it sucks. Lots of religions have tenets that they espouse outwardly that their adherents don't take particularly seriously. It's like us Catholics with the gays. And masturbation. And abortion. And Satan-worship. The leadership likes to talk about it, but nobody thinks they're going to burn in hell for it. OK, maybe that last one.

Some ideas (such as racial equality) deserve protection and beget champions in the mold of Ms. Parks. Others are so self-evidently lame that they can't even get an endorsement for the lady most famous for screaming "Never stop fucking me!" in Jerry Maguire.

What a feeling.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.3


Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Car Alarm
Sorry I missed everyone yesterday. Apparently that's the way to go if I want to stimulate the comments, though. I'm going to chalk it up to "absence makes the heart grow fonder" rather than "thank God that a-hole finally left..." Little bits of intellectual dishonesty like that have made me the emotionally healthy man I am today. Delusion, repression, alcohol... that's what my therapist says. It's like a mantra with that guy. And then we usually cut out early and go a-whorin'.

If it makes you all feel any better, yesterday was not the single best day of my life. I know, on the day I neglected you, my loyal Bucketeers, some annoying-ass shit went down. Call it karma if you want to, but just remember: that makes you a Hindu and Hindus are heathen foreigners. Associate yourselves with them at your peril. Consider your future Supreme Court nomination before you decide anything.

Now, because I am too lazy to write, I present to you through the magic of MS Paint, Pops' Bad Day. A visual series of images to amaze and disturb, mostly through amateur inartfulness and inadequacy of execution. Keeping in mind that it is a poor craftsman who blames his tools, I hereby blame my tools.

The scene: a two-lane street. Construction is happening ahead. A long line of cars, not moving anywhere. In this scene, the part of "Long Line Of Cars" will be played by only two cars. Anything more would be too much of a pain in my ass to animate. I'm going to have to apply for an NEA grant just to finish this piece of crap as it is. Seriously, it would have been faster just to write it.

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Don't worry, I can feel my legs now. It was nothing to do with the collision. Turns out it was either temporary shock or a mild cardiac arrest. It's hard for me to say, especially since I'm self-diagnosing. The best thing about self-diagnosing, though, is the self-medicating.

It looks more dramatic in startling 4-color two-dimensional sketch than it was in real life. We were driving our little commuter car crammed to bursting with all five of us because our kick-ass minivan is being held for ransom by wily mechanic/terrorists. They demand payment of over $600 or they start sending pieces to us in the mail. We've already got half a wiper blade back. Pray for us.

Anyways, the accident was as minor as accidents can be and still be considered an accident. Even I, Mr. Car-Retarded (that's actually the name I'm registered under with the Columbia House CDs-by-mail club), was able to shove the displanced bits back together and replace one blinker lightbulb.

So really it's hardly worth mentioning. But I have a blog, so "hardly worth mentioning" = "one less day I have to think of something".

The funny thing is that as Douche drove away up the wrong side of the street, he actually did a little wave. Like the kind you do after someone lets you into a long car line or to apologize for accidentally cutting someone off.

But no cops were called and no insurances were contacted. He was driving up the wrong way and I was doing an illegal u-turn. He obviously outranks me on the sliding scale of vehicular dipshittery, but I am not guiltless myself. This is a circumstance where two wrongs don't make a right. If I had been making a right, I would have been so much better off.

As for this post, I would like to thank my kindergarten teacher at Brookwood Elementary School somewhere in the greater Beaverton area of Oregon. Mrs... something. I don't know. She was old. But that's where I learned to cut and paste. Couldn't have done it without you, Mrs. Whatever. I shall never forget you.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


Monday, October 24, 2005
Down A Windy Road, Stepping On The Gas
I want to post quickly as it's late here. So just this short one and no new post Monday. You have been warned. Initiate evacuation protocols where applicable.

This is (or now was) Festival Week at my kid's school, which means all kinds of volunteer hours and pretending to be nice to people I either don't know or can't stand. It's all just as exhausting as it sounds.

Mostly it means a lot of Routine-Disruption, which upsets me to no end. There isn't enough Xanax in the world to make up for lost blog time. Thankfully, however, there is exactly enough airplane model glue in my house so I don't always have to feel bad about it. Or remember it completely even.

I would simply like to relate very quickly the fact that I went to get my haircut today. It doesn't sound like much, but it has always provided me with great blogpost material in the past.

The midget no longer works there, apparently. The stylist with the glass-eye, however, does. She was there working when I walked in. Believe it or not, the glass eye was not the first thing I noticed. I would like to say that I'm somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of a stylist with a glass eye, not because I'm prejudiced or anything, it's just that I wonder if she wouldn't maybe have a slight competitive disadvantage. Proper depth perception is not something to be taken lightly in that field, I would imagine.

Actually, the first thing I noticed is that there were 7 full grown men, obviously unrelated to each other, all sitting way too cozily close to each other in the waiting area. I walked in and all eyes were immediately on me (OK, all but one...). My first thought was: "Oh my God, it's happening. The gays have finally come for me! And in a hair salon! Damn, I should have known!"

But instead of being forcibly indoctrinated into the homosexual lifestyle, they all kind of sat there and stared. One guy sort of rocked back and forth and REALLY stared. He may have lacked the ability to blink. When the glass-eye lady came over to take my name, she told the grown man who's hair she was cutting "You wait there now, OK?"

This is completely true: the haircut salon was occupied by men from some kind of care program for the mentally handicapped.

It's fine, I know, the Differently-Abled need their hair cut just like the rest of us--maybe even more so because of the tricky-ness of scissors and all. But I just couldn't help but think: man, this place exists in some kind of cross-dimensional Twilight Zone reality warp designed by God Himself to give me blogpost topics.

I would write more about it, but the wait was like an hour, so I left.

And then my stupid chick-magnet minivan wouldn't start.

The rest of the day was un-blog-worthily downhill from there. I sure as fuck don't want to talk about the goddamn Chargers game. You are all welcome.

No new Bucket tomorrow. If you're smart you haven't read this far and are saving half of this post for later, to stretch out the Buckety goodness over two days. Chances are, if you're reading this, it's too late. Good luck. If you're stuck for a way to kill yourself, I suggest sleeping pills. Less messy for those of us left behind.

One last question: why do I lack the capacity to be brief? It's maddening, really.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.019657338217


Friday, October 21, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #19


starring Claire Danes, Steve Martin, Jason Schwartzman

directed by Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie)

I know, I know. You're thinking: "What? This movie? Pops, why aren't you (non-)reviewing Doom? What are you, some kind of pussy?"

The answer, of course, is yes. Yes, I am. I am "some kind of pussy". I like puppies and flowers and long, slow kisses. I like candelight and cosmopolitans. I like Vogue magazine and the "pulsate" setting on my shower massager.

Mostly what I don't like is spending my time and energy talking about movies I will never see that I also happen to have no interest in. See, in case we'd all forgotten (myself included) this feature isn't supposed to be "Movies That I Think Will Suck, So Therefore I Am Not Bitter About Not Being Able To See Them." In truth it was supposed to be about movies I WANTED to potentially see (to varying degrees) but couldn't because of my overabundance of blessings in the procreation department.

And also to save myself from having to think of something new to say on Fridays. I admit, this is the part that has worked out the best.

I recognize that this is the doldrums between summer movies and holiday movies, but frankly this feature has gotten depressing. It's gotten so bad that I even had to come up with a new way to depict ZERO INTEREST as I did last week. Ask anyone and they'll tell you: when Andrew Shue enters the picture, there's trouble.

I searched and searched this week for something--anything--that didn't immediately make me want to kill myself from boredom. Doom was rejected shortly thereafter. The only other viable option was the Oscar-season kicker-offer North Country starring Charlize Theron, but then I realized that it was directed by a chick, so I immediately knew I didn't want to see it. The scars from The Piano still run that deep, people.

Admittedly, this film, Shopgirl, was directed by a guy who's only recognizable credit is Hilary and Jackie, a total chick-flick complete with bitter sibling rivalry, romantic themes and even a debilitating disease. But as I recall, it also had nudity (female nudity), so it wasn't a total lost cause.

Also Shopgirl is largely the work of Steve Martin, who wrote the original novella as well as the screenplay AND stars in the goddamn thing. He's got a track record I can run with at least. Sure, he was in those crappy Father of the Bride movies, embarrassed himself with that accent in My Blue Heaven and... well, the less said about Sgt. Bilko the better, and there was HouseSitter and Bringing Down the House which I'm pretty sure are exactly the same movie, not to mention the ill-advised Pink Panther remake that has been pushed back twice and is most likely coming to a DVD Discount Bin near you...

But then he was also The Jerk. That's quite a hefty counter-argument to crapitude on anyone's resumé. Let me ask you this, Bucketeers: was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in The Jerk? No? And we move on...

(Besides, I have plenty of time to go after The Rock. According to IMDb, ninja will be in five movies to be released next year. He'll get his.)

So there's something for me to latch on to at least. Some kind of hope. Let's see if it's ill-founded.

The story of Shopgirl is about Claire Danes as Mirabelle (I know, just keep going...), some kind of shopgirl who is torn between young, sweaty, bedraggled bohemian (read: poor) Jason Schwartzman and old, pervy, loaded Steve Martin. One is age-appropriate, broke and probably kind of smelly while the other can offer exposure to life, culture, security and a pasty 60-year-old man's ass.* God help her if he turns around.

I dunno, it all sounds so Mansfield Park, doesn't it? No? Sense and Sensibility? One of those damned things. What's the one with the girl with more than one suitor, one with money and one she loves? Oh, that's right: all of them.

The reviews have been fairly positive. They all use words like "fragile" and "aching" and "searching". All very off-putting, if you ask me. Or at least they would be if I weren't a total pussy.

I can't find Bernadette Peters' name in any of the reviews, but I don't see any of them say specifically that she's NOT in the movie, so I'm going to take that as implicit inclusion. So that's one plus in the movies favor.

Also: nudity. Claire Danes gets naked.


I have no choice then but to give this film:

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

One Shue for each Danes booby.** And I say: well earned, Claire. Angela Chase is finally dead.


*= Seriously, Steve Martin is sixty. I know.

**= Keep in mind, it's not the size of the booby that counts; it's the willingness to bare them for capture on an easily distributable mass-media that I applaud.

Thursday, October 20, 2005
Shy Bricks
What are we going to do with the crazy people?

I know they provide a valuable service wandering America's streets, muttering to themselves, entertaining American high school boys everywhere. When I think about all the drugs those boys aren't taking or all the cheerleaders they're not out there having unprotected sex with while they're spending time driving around slowly at night so that they might throw things at the crazy homeless people, well, it's hard not to see the immediate value of crazy people. They're an invaluable natural resource in that respect. Kind of like coal or timber. Except crazy.

The problem is that every once in a while, one of the crazy people gets loose and actually does something crazy like shoot up a McDonald's, eat a neighbor or invade Iraq. This week one of them threw her own children off a pier into the San Francisco Bay.

I'm going to put myself out there and tell you people--consequences be damned--that I don't think dead children are particularly funny. In fact, I would go so far as to say dead children are the exact opposite of particularly funny. I know some of you are confused because you'd been working under the assumption that the opposite of "particularly funny" was Jay Leno. You're not necessarily wrong. I'm just saying there's room for more than one thing at the extreme.

When things like this happen, honestly, I tend to overreact a little bit. Maybe it's because I have little children of my own and the primary driving force in my life is to keep them from dying, generally at their own hands. They want to carry the scissors, they want to see if the fork will fit in the electrical outlet, they want to lean against the screens on the upstairs windows in order to "see better", they want get out of bed and... like... walk around and junk. All very dangerous.

So when the crazy people drown their kids in their tub or drop them off a pier, I tend to get a little temporary Michelle Malkin. You know, concentration camps but for the crazy people instead of Arabs. Big happy playgrounds of high concrete walls covered with brightly colored padding and topped with festive bow-tied razor wire with streamers on it. Feed 'em, house 'em, dope 'em all into a stupor and--this is important--never let them procreate.

But then I calm down after a while and the potent admixture of panic and bile recedes. And then it occurs to me: man, that Michelle Malkin must be exhausted all the time. That kind of reactionary hysteria is really hard on the body. How Bill O'Reilly isn't dead, frankly, is beyond me.

What makes it easy for me to calm down is that I realize that--besides the teenage-boy thing--crazy people also provide many other valuable services to our country. Sometimes the state of craziness is simply the ability to see things outside the bounds of the social conventions of thought we categorize as "sane".

Take this guy:
Image hosted by Photobucket.comNo, I don't mean Russell Crowe (although... no, that's another post). I mean the guy he's playing in this picture, Nobel laureate John Forbes Nash. I would have included a picture of Nash himself only a) I know the level of the room and b) Nobel laureate mathematicians in general tend to be less photogenic than people in Mr. Crowe's profession. I have an aesthetic to maintain here.

See, people thought Nash was crazy because he... OK, because he was batshit insane what with the talking-to-people-who-didn't-exist thing and all. But he also had that thing where he would spend hours and hours looking for government conspiracies and secret spy messages in every day printed material at the expense of his own health and personal hygiene.

It all sounds so nutty (not to mention smelly) until you read stories like this. When the government admits it is using secret invisible codes in commercially available laser printers that can be used to identify the origin of individual printed pages, well, I think maybe I'm too hard on the crazy people. It wasn't Mr. Nash himself who achieved this landmark of substantiated crazy-ass paranoid thinking, but I'm sure he was in some small way (or at least Russell Crowe playing him was) the inspiration for the crazy person who thought this one up and then exposed it.

Or maybe it was the voices in his/her head that guided them moreso than John Forbes Nash. But how do we know the voices in his/her head don't take the FORM of John Forbes Nash? The answer is we don't.

We can't say for sure and most of us don't really care. The point is that if they're engaged uncovering government conspiracies we know they're leaving the children alone.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.1


Wednesday, October 19, 2005
L'État, C'Est Moi
It's been a long time since 1776. Two hundred and... something years, to be exact. That's two-hundred-and-something glorious years of freedom, when Americans won for themselves the right of representative democracy from a tyrranical nation who offered them nothing but representative democracy and forced them to drink tea. From what I understand, Paul Revere fucking hated tea. Couldn't stomach it at all.

The rest, as they say, is history. Of course "they" say that because "they" went to public schools and thus are woefully ill equipped to say anything more substantial about it. As far as anyone knows for sure, the only things that ever happened in American history are slavery and Hitler. No wonder nobody likes American history. Slavery and Hitler are two massive downers.

What made me think of American democracy and our proud patriotic patrimony--including our complete Freedom of Alliteration--is that I finally got my Sample Ballot for next month's "Special Consolidated Statewide Election".

I stopped watching news channels I'd say about four seconds after the last uttered syllable of John Kerry's concession speech from Faneuil Hall last year. So honestly, I have no idea what this election is all about. Just judging from the television commercials I see regarding the issues up for vote it has something to do with Arnold Schwarzenegger and his heroic, extraordinary bid to reform the way government works in California. Either that or it's about how our Governor uses the blood of school teachers to run his fleet of Hummer SUVs and wears a jacket stitched together from the hides of dead firefighters. One of the two.

All I know is that on November 8th I'm supposed to go out and vote.

I know I'm supposed to preach good citizenship and set an example for my kids, but I really really don't want to vote.

I've mentioned this before, but California--by far the most populous state in the nation--no longer functions as a representative democracy the way our forefathers intended. The State Legislature has been stripped of all decision-making power besides the formulation of the annual state budget, but even that is hampered by a laundry list of restrictions passed in previous Propositions and Initiatives approved directly by the voters. Basically they can only vote on whether or not they should pay themselves. And even then, instead of a simple Yes-No vote, their choices are "No, I Refuse To Suckle At The Public Teat" or "Yes, I Am A Complete Douchebag, Thanks For Asking". And then clowns run in to the State Capitol building upon completion of the vote, honking and seltzer-spraying and kicking people with their giant, terrifying shoes.* Legislating is not a fun job.

We don't have the luxury in this state of voting every once in a while reflexively for either a) the incumbent or b) the person who represents the party you hate the least and then forgetting about politics, secure in the knowledge that you've sent someone to Sacramento to watch TV, eat pizza and not read the text of proposed laws FOR you.

Instead every year we get this giant, thick booklet of proposed law-changes that we're supposed to read and understand. Also included are the Cliffs-Notes versions, a few paragraphs long, beside which proponents for both sides are allowed to make short arguments. It sucks because they're always so persuasive on both sides and there's no way to check the accuracy.

One will say: "Proposition 85 provides a constant shower of free, untraceable money NOT FROM TAXES that will fall willy-nilly upon the ground for you to collect at your leisure."

And I think "Hey, that sounds OK."

Until the other says: "Proposition 85 is a front for Big Oil, Big Pharma, international business conglomerates, foreigners, sodomites, casino interests, illegal aliens, the United Nations, the IRS and Jews. It will cost the state of California roughly... well, how much do you have on you right now?"

So I naturally think "Foreigners? Count me out, friend!"

There's just no way to tell. And I don't want to vote on all this crap in the first place. But I can't leave it to Sacramento because with all the retarded Term Limit laws, there's nobody up there who have been in government more than 2 years at a time, just long enough to figure out (sort of) what it is they're doing in time to get term-limited out.

Thus it falls to me, Pops Q. Voter, to save the state from itself.

So I can't not vote.

To relieve some of the crushing pressure, though, I've decided to put my vote in the hands of Fortune. Maybe it's laziness, maybe it's too much of HBO's Rome with their omens and their household gods turning me pagan, maybe it's my crippling gambling addiction... who can say?

I am making my vote selections based on the flip of a coin. In this case we're talking about a US quarter, dated 2000 with the Maryland imprint on the back. Maryland, apparently, is the "Old Line State". No, I don't know what that means either.

It seems flippant (no pun intended) to treat something as sacred as voting thus, but people pray over their votes, which is just as much an arbitrary abdication of personal responsibility, so I feel I'm on solid ground. Plus this method worked a treat on my SATs, so it's proven effective.

Heads = yes and tails = no.

Here goes.

PROPOSITION 73. Waiting period AND parental notification for abortion. HEADS. Damn, that's a YES.

PROP 74. Making tenure for public school teachers harder to get AND less rock-solid permanent. TAILS. OK, that's a NO.

PROP 75. Restricting using union dues for political contributions. I call it the "Only Republicans Can Raise Money" proposition. Yes, TAILS! NO.

PROP 76. Arnie's "I Hate Schools" bill, vs. an old proposition that limited education budget cuts. HEADS. YES.

PROP 77. Takes redistricting power from the state Senate (one less thing to worry about!) and gives it to... I'm not sure. A triumvirate of Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura and the Predator I think. Fucking HEADS. YES.

PROP 78. Discount prescription drugs. All kinds of horrible budget ramifications I'm sure. I don't do math. HEADS, YES.

PROP 79. What the fuck? Another prescription drug discount? I don't understand. This is what the quarter is for. TAILS, NO.

PROP 80. Partially (I think) un-privatizes the way electricity is bought and sold. More regulation anyway, which I, as a Democrat, love love love. TAILS, NO.

Man. That's one politically confused quarter. It's just that kind of dithering ambivalence that has brought this state low in the first place. I really don't want to vote for that abortion thing, but what can I do? George Washington--backed by the full weight and authority of the Great State of Maryland--has spoken. May God have mercy on us all.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.0 (as a potential guide for all California voters)


*= As agreed to in Proposition 319, the so-called "Send In The Clowns" Initiative passed in 1971 with a 46-point majority.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
50,000 Reasons Not To Kill Myself
There was a time not long ago when I would panic over not having anything to post about. Oh how a naive young Pops would fret and sweat and scramble for material in a desperate attempt to keep his loyal readers engaged lest their minds wandered, distracted by, say, another, better blog or perhaps something in their eyeline that was shiny.

But those days are long behind me now. I have left comi-tragic space-filling references to Brad Pitt's dick in the past. I'm older now, more assured in my craft. I am a professional blogger. My first blog-check should be arriving any day now, I just know it.

Professional bloggers know that when you're stuck for things to write, you can either turn outward for inspiration (your hurricanes, your earthquakes, your rigged foreign elections) or you can turn inward. I know, blogging in and of itself ranks somewhere between masturbation and Battlefield Earth on the scale of the World's Most Self-Indulgent Projects, so perhaps we should be reticent about the latter. But then, if we were capable of feeling shame, we wouldn't be blogging in the first place, now would we?

Choosing the inward option, a seasoned blogger knows that whe s/he is up against it, there is always the Landmark Post. Thanks to the existence of Sitemeter and other such tools, it's possible for us to crunch the numbers together to make a phony-baloney blog-related numerical "landmark" and then spin it into some first-rate self-congratulatory space-filling horseshit.

So without further ado, it is my great privilege to announce that just yesterday, your beloved Bucket passed--at long last and with great anticipation--the 50,000 Total Visit mark.

Wow. I know. What a landmark. What a milestone. What a shame I didn't think about this when I reached 40,000 or 30,000. I could have phoned those days in as well.

Hmm... maybe "great anticipation" wasn't the right sentiment. Hey, what's the opposite of "anticipation"? Anti-anticipation, I guess. Wait, that's a double negative. The two of those "anti"s should cancel each other out, leaving us with just "cipation". Is "cipation" a word? It must be. I've already used it twice. I can type it and everything.

Because delusion is a blogger's best friend, I'm going to pretend that it's 50,000 visits from 50,000 different people and not 35,000 repeat visits between Rita and SJ alone and the rest from you other stragglers and spambots.

I can't thank all of you enough for your support. You know, this blog started with one man and a dream. He had a dream to one day become a world-famous writer whose words were cherished the world over. But that seemed like way too much work and his ego was too fragile to handle all the rejection inherent in a writing career, so he did this instead.

Now he can see his words published without the fear of rejection. Except from Blogger when it's feeling stroppy, but at least he can tell himself that it's a technical problem and not Blogger rejecting him specifically, though he suspects deep down that that is a lie.

And now, as a gift to you, my loyal Bucketeers, I will now stop referring to myself with a third-person impersonal pronoun.

After 50,000 visits, I'd say you'd earned that at least. At the very, very, very least.

Further, if you look down at the bottom of my infinitely long, yellow-yet-strangely-colorless sidebar to your right, you will now find a section called Pops' Bucket Hall of Minimal Suckitude. Included therein please find a collection of posts compiled by me, written by me and judged by me (with a little help from SJ) to be the least offensively incompetent, the least grotesquely unreadable of all my posts thus far.

I know it seems self-aggrandizing, but that's only because it totally is. This way I take pressure of myself to be wickedly brilliant every day for the sake of new readers. They can now easily stroll through old posts when I was engaged and focused and on my Ritalin and I can maybe take a few days off to be lazy, unfocused and basically take a nap at my keyboard.

Like today for instance.

But for some reason, you people keep coming back. Curious.

I've never been more grateful for the existence of the human intellect and it's capacity for masochism. It's what this little slice of the internet community is built on. Thanks, Jesus.

And now, forward. We take our first baby-steps toward 100,000 visits. I'm sure you, like me, look forward to that day with unbridled cipation.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


PS- I was 12 in 1986. I remember this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
I cried.
So to all the little boys in Houston born circa 1993 who last night had to watch this:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
I feel your pain, kids. Here's hoping you don't have to wait 16 years before it becomes OK. Stay in school.

Monday, October 17, 2005
Monday Lite: Good Grief, You Blockheads

Does anyone else remember yesterday? Because I don't. All I know is I woke up this morning and my mouth really really hurt. It was swollen almost completely shut. And there's blood everywhere. This happened to me once before, but I was in an alleyway in Rangoon that morning after I'd gotten separated from my tour group. But at least that made sense. This is just weird.

Maybe there are clues in yesterday's blogpost. Hang on while I read it...


Well, that's embarrassing. The bad news is that I can't really speak all that well, so there will be no podcast today. The good news is I don't podcast, so you get my non-verbalized verbiage from my working fingers to your working eyes. Congratulations.

Well, there are Seven Stages of Grief to work through. Yesterday was obviously "Denial". I think the complete list is Shock, Anger, Denial, Depression, Greed, Lust and Doc. Oh wait, and Acceptance. Hang on, that's eight. I messed something up there. Are there Eight Stages of Grief? Damn. I can't remember. If only I had some kind of instantly-accessible resource at my fingertips I could use to do some kind of word-search with to help me. Ah well. That kind of stuff is for the distant future when my grandkids commute to the moon for work via personal rocketpack.

Anyways, I feel like I've moved on a little bit into some good healthy depression. Add to that the fact that as of yesterday fall finally arrived in SoCal with lots of rain and dark, gloomy skies to highlight and deepen dark thoughts. If I didn't know better, I would say that Jesus wants me to kill myself. But what He doesn't realize is that I actually like the rain. So eat that, Messiah! You're going to have Pops to kick around for a little longer.

I can already feel the depression starting to wane. It's amazing what a positive attitude and a pint of Wild Turkey for breakfast can do for a man's disposition. I'm really looking forward to Greed and Lust. Doc I'm a little wary of, but if anything, I'd say my trip to Rangoon proved I'm up for anything once. Just no butt stuff.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8


PS- I know I was out of it, but did Stallone really announce Rocky VI? Damn. I was sure that was the psychotropics.

Sunday, October 16, 2005
Does Anyone Else Feel That? It Tingles
Woooo! Yes! All right! It's aaaaaaall good, my sweet bitches. It's all good.

Man. Woo! Did I say "woo!" already? Woo!

What a great sports weekend. Spectacular. If there were any other men out there besides me looking to avoid contact with their family, transferring the bulk of their personal attention and emotional investment on to structured groups of other men in tight matching clothes handling and chasing balls, this weekend was IT, baby.

Woo! Wooooooooo!

Especially if you're from SoCal like me, man. Then double-woooo!

First of all there was the USC-Notre Dame classic up in South Bend, Indiana. I'm not a huge SC fan, but I AM quite a devoted supporter of Things That Are Good, which that game was. All that throwing and the catching and also the running and tackling... all of it was top-drawer, wot.

As if that weren't enough, look at this picture:
Image hosted by Photobucket.comAw, lookit 'em. Look at the poor, sad Raiders. Is there anything better in sports than sad Raiders? Well, there was that one time when Anna Kournikova was hitting a tennis ball and her skirt kind of twirled up and you could almost make out a faint outline of camel-toe--to this day, the most celebrated sporting moment in the history of the internet--but no, that's not what I was thinking of.

The only thing better than Sad Raiders is when Sad Raiders are rendered so NOT just by general suckage but when said state is a result of an ass-whoopin' by the San Diego (Super)Chargers.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
You go, LaDainian Tomlinson! You're a sexy, sexy bitch. I don't even care how stupid your first name is anymore, you totally totally rock.

And that was it, man. That was it for SoCal related sports this weekend. Yeah, there was some exhibition basketball and some hockey games, but everyone knows neither of those count for anything. But as far as I know there was nothing else. Nothing. Nothing.

Wait, hang on... there might have been some kind of baseball game. I'm not really sure. I don't really follow it. Baseball is stupid. I feel sorry for those guys who follow the team(s) that lost, whomever they may be. As a sports fan, I can understand their pain, I guess. I suppose it would be hard to take if the team you had followed for seven months--and overall for better than two decades--through every ball and strike, through all the ebbs and flows of Fortune through streaks and injuries, dying with each low only to be born again with every life-giving high... if that team had showed you so much promise and so much of what feels very much like reciprocated love, more than you could ever hope for even from your own family, whom you find cold and distant since you've withdrawn your love and affection for them and turned it all instead to this scrappy young menagerie of dirty-faced multi-millionaires, if that team had dangled the carrot of reflected glory in front of you only to sharpen the carrot to a point and then drive it through the hearts of your children, rape your wife with it and then jammed it through your eye sockets, leaving you bleeding and blind, wishing for death but alive, knowing that you'll only heal, slowly, and with the softening distance of time and memory and several handfuls of mood-altering drugs, you'll be ready to start the cycle again when pitchers and catcher report for Spring Training in February.

Man, I'm glad I'm not one of them.

On an unrelated side note, I'd like to say that lithium is awesome. If I drove a 4-inch steel spike through my tongue with a rubber mallet, I bet I wouldn't even feel it. Dare me to try it? OK.

Back. Wow, was I wrong. It smarts like a motherfucker. I may actually bleed to death. Emotionally, however, I'm OK with that.


This post on the motherfucking thing about the guy: 4-1


Friday, October 14, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #18


starring Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon

directed by Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, Say Anything...)

I didn't say anything about it yesterday because it was still too fresh and too painful. Besides, I was still kind of weak from all the cutting. I cut so I can feel.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Seriously, come on. Josh Paul totally caught that ball. So strike three, yes? Out, yes? Everybody, yes? Yes. OK. Thank you.

I understand there's a high probability that many of you have no idea what this picture is about. And that's OK. For most of you it should be enough to know that it makes me unhappy. I know the way you vultures get off on that kind of thing.

I could talk about this for a whole post, but I've chosen not to. There are other things I could easily turn into happy blogposts as well today, which is pretty goddamn typical. You scrape and you scrape all week to find things to blog about. Some weeks all you've got are racist burritos and Voltron. Those are the hard weeks. And then Friday rolls around and you think "Phew, thank God I can fall back on my lame-ass recurring gimmick post to fill in the blank and I can finally limp into the weekend with this horrible news-less week behind me."

And then, just to fuck with me, out of the sky we get a story about attempted fetus theft. Did you get that? Fetus. Theft. Fetus theft. It's got blood, it's got sex (one assumes, roughly nine months prior, yes?) and--most importantly--it's got fucking bat-shit crazy people. All right in Pops' wheelhouse. Also it's got amazing potential for me to make an ass out of myself by fashioning some crude jokes at the expense of other people's suffering. Also a specialty of mine. And we all know how much I love getting e-mail.

If that weren't enough, just to rub it in my face, we also get this fascinating story about archaeologists discovering 4,000 year old Chinese noodles. You all remember my groundbreaking work when presented with the 28,000 year old stone dildo, I'm sure. Sure, this isn't as obviously good as that find (for blog purposes), but there's some excellent comedic potential in four-millennia-old Chinese food leftovers. Plus I think the word "noodle" is really funny. Noodle. Noooooodle.

But alas, such is life. Here I am about to talk about some goddamn movie about some shit, I'm not even sure what. Thanks, Cameron Crowe. Thanks a lot. First you stick us with Vanilla Sky and now you disrupt my life in this way. One more infraction and I'm totally talking you off my stalker speed-dial.

Cameron Crowe, the man who gave hope to all aimless, shiftless, awkward boys everywhere with Say Anything..., the man who tricked us all into watching a chick-flick by putting football in it in Jerry Maguire, the man who confirmed for us at last that Bridget Fonda was a talentless, charisma-free occupier of space coasting on her family name in Singles... We as a people owe the man a great deal.

Speaking of talentless and charisma-free, this new movie, Elizabethtown, stars both Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom, two very sort-of-able actors who are normally very easily overshadowed by whomever else happens to be on screen with them. Whether it's Aragorn or Spider-Man or... a ficus, maybe... Hey, did you guys know Orlando Bloom was in Pirates of the Caribbean? I just saw that on IMDb. You know, in a thousand years I never would have guessed that. I remember Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, that dude with the weird goggly eye, even Kiera Knightly, but Orlando Bloom? Nope, can't picture it. What did he play in that one?

In Elizabethtown, our Orlando plays an American (NOT Cameron Crowe, honest!) who goes back to visit his dad's Kentucky hometown after the old man dies. So we get to see Mr. Bloom do an American accent. I'm a little worried, to be honest, because in all the commercials I've seen, I've never once heard Orlando talk. Never. It must really be awful. Like Richard Gere's Irishman in The Jackal awful.

All right, I admit it, I went too far with that one.

Mostly I'm just confused. It's a modern story about love and family and whatever... so how are they going to work in Orlando using a sword? Frankly, if he's not chopping people and/or orcs into two messy halves with a giant bastard sword, I'm not sure I'm down with it. Maybe the small Kentucky town gets besieged by Saracens or Greeks or something. Or ooh! Tennesseans. That would be totally scary.

Kirsten Dunst is a movie star, but I'm not really sure why. Sure, she was in Spider-Man, but it's not like she PLAYED Spider-Man. She played Screamy-Girl. She got tied up and dangled off things a lot. Oh, I get it now. It's the bondage people. She's got a following.

The funny thing about the reviews for Elizabethtown is that a) they are all almost identical and b) they are all so very very sad. Nobody seems to have the balls to say "this movie is terrible". Instead they are all (to a person, all two of the ones that I have read in preparation for this) lament the greatness of Crowe (Cameron I still mean, not Russell) and work in all this ass-kissing praise for his earlier work while gently suggesting that maybe this film, so very very unfortunately, hasn't quite lived up to his remarkable, ungodly, perfect skills, for shame and for shame again. O bitter regret! O wallow and consternation! O pernicious vexation!

Look, sometimes talented people produce things that suck. Take this blogpost, for instance.

I should give it one Hot Babysitter just on Crowe's reputation alone, but then, you know what, I wouldn't be any better than the reviewers who can't call a turd a turd. Plus I really want to debut my new scheme for registering my complete disinterest in a Movie I Have No Intention Of Seeing. The red circle with the slash through it wasn't flashy enough.

Now, I present you with a universally recognized signifier of Zero. Ladies, Gentleman and Bucketeers, I give you:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Andrew Shue!

If anything represents zero entertainment value AND a complete lack of enthusiasm from me, it's Andrew Shue. All those years of not watching Melrose Place will not have been in vain.

This film rates a very sad ZERO (out of three) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

Pierzynski was out. The umpire said so. On to Game 3.


Thursday, October 13, 2005
Uterine Incontinence
I don't judge people. Sure, I'll make sure I point out the things people are doing that I feel are wrong--body piercing, tattoos, underwhelming personal hygiene, giving children stupid-ass names, being fat, being foreign--but that's not the same as judgment. When I point these things out (often loudly and in public) I am doing so motivated by intent to help. Help. Motivation is what separates bad action from good action. Hit-and-run accidents are generally bad, but if the person is jaywalking across a busy street wearing dark clothes at night, well, you're teaching them an important lesson about road safety and potentially preventing stupid genes from getting passed down to another generation. Sometimes you have to swerve on to the sidewalk to get them, but as long as your motivation is pure, that's perfectly OK. Your local police department may or may not agree, but it sounds fine to me. I don’t judge, remember?

I reserve my most serious non-judgment for issues of human sexuality and reproduction. The intensive Brain Reorientation Therapy that I was subjected to upon registering as a Democrat took care of that. My friendly Caretakers from the National Organization for Women and the American Civil Liberties Union set me straight on all that stuff. It's amazing how open to suggestion one can be when 72 hours of sleep- and sensory-deprivation are followed up by hypnotherapy and false-memory-implantation. The electrodes on my nipples and testicles, I feel, really strengthened their arguments as well. Scientology has nothing on the DNC.

So when I read stories about the lady in Arkansas who just had her 16th kid and is "ready for more", well, I just keep it all to myself. The most I feel comfortable with is a quiet little "You go, girl!" as I celebrate this woman's ability to fully exercise her reproductive rights with no input from me, an evil, evil man, whatsoever. Of course ideally, as a Democrat, I would prefer it if she would at least mix one abortion in there somewhere just to keep The Man guessing, but again, Her Body, Her Rights, yes?

The flip side of it, of course, is that we Democrats are permitted--nay, encouraged--to make fun of people who are from the South. These are from the great state of Arkansas. So big fat CHECK there. As a smug, intellectually superior Blue State Dweller, I am free now to impugn their intelligence with impunity. So that's one in my favor.

Seriously, her husband's name is "Jim Bob". I'm not kidding.

Another avenue of criticism open to be is Patriarchy. While I can (and must) celebrate this woman's vaginal fortitude, since she is not in a committed same-sex relationship, that means there is a man involved. Somehow this overproduction of children must be an expression of his desire to dominate her, to make her into a servile beast of gestational burden for nearly every single day of her adult life. In this way he can claim her as his property, thus denying her the opportunity to fully express her Goddess-given sexuality by running out and getting knocked up by some other dude. By keeping her most intimate space--her uterus--occupied, he controls her. It's exactly as painfully invasive and personally demeaning as if he had branded his initials on her forehead--or on her... uh... you know... not forehead... don't make me say it--with a red-hot branding iron. At least that's what Kim Gandy tells me.

So now that I've got a little bit of wiggle room, I would also like to point out that all of her children have names that start with the letter "J": Joshua, 17; John David, 15; Janna, 15; Jill, 14; Jessa, 12; Jinger, 11; Joseph, 10; Josiah, 9; Joy-Anna, 8; Jeremiah, 6; Jedidiah, 6; Jason, 5; James, 4; Justin, 2; and Jackson Levi, 1.

First of all: poor Jackson Levi. By the time he gets Joshua's hand-me-down shirts, they'll be down to a collar and one sleeve. Also: his name is "Jackson Levi".

I think that girls name is supposed to be "Ginger" but with a "J", but I'm sorry, it just looks like it rhymes with "finger". At least she'll be popular in junior high school.

All those J names... that's a lot of trouble to save money on monogramming. I guess when you pretty much guarantee you'll be borderline poor by over-weighting the demand side of the Meals Per Day ledger with all those kids, you have to compensate for the expense of upper-class pretense somehow. All I know is that if I'm Jackson Levi, I don't want the handkerchief with the script-embroidered "J" on it when it's my turn. They'll be enough DNA in it by then to constitute a whole 'nother sibling.

The reason I find this so personally amusing is because my mother's parents, good Catholics that they are (or in ole Granddad's case, were) had 12 kids of their own. Both their names began with the letter "C", so they decided (and this is absolutely true) that all their children's name should start with the letter C. Any time mail comes to that house for "C. Jones", it causes no end of confusion. Mostly because their last name is not "Jones".

But in this other family, the dad's name is Jim Bob and the mom--remember, the lady with the perpetually torn peritoneum?--is named... Michelle.

So basically every one of these 16 kids is named after the father and the mom don't get shit. Well, nothing outside a whole shit-load of stretch-marks. And the eternal love of the God of the Old Testament.

Oh, and also now she's got three daughters whose names are Janna, Joy-Anna and Johannah.

And a whole passel of grandkids coming. It all sounds terribly expensive. If it were me, I'd be exercising my full reproductive rights and selling advertising space on my birth canal. I mean, look at all the attention it's gotten already. Her next birth could be brought to us by Motorola. Or Netflix. Or Trojan.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.3


Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Is That A New Tie?
Personally, I don't have a lot of ambition. The thing I want to get done more than anything in this life is to be able to sleep in until after 8 am.

There are other people (one of whom I married to) who go around all day expending all kinds of energy trying to "get somewhere" and "make something out of their lives". I'm sure overall it works out very nicely for them, but on a day to day basis, they mostly just seem really, really tired to me. I don't think my wife knows how to sleep in until after 8 am.

Professionally speaking, mine is a more subtle, more passive ambition. What I do is I go about my day doing things that distract me from the fact that I will one day cease to be. And then wait for a giant bag of money to drop out of the sky, whether it is in divine exchange for my work, say, writing or child-rearing or EA Sports Madden NFL Football '06 or whatever. I figure I'm putting the time in to these things, someone is bound to notice and spontaneously reward me with cash. It doesn't have to be Jesus to have it drop from the sky, it could just be someone who is extraordinarily wealthy enough to hand out cash to deadbeats like me and still have enough discretionary spending money to afford a top-of-the-line catapult.

Being completely honest with myself (and, here publicly, with you now, my faithful Bucketeers) I'm a little squeamish about committing myself body-and-soul to some elusive professional goal. Mostly it's because I know deep down that cartoons lie.

When I was a kid, all the cartoons I watched--your GI Joe, your Transformers, your Voltron, your M.A.S.K.--all included the same message: be honest, be a good and reliable friend and--most importantly--just believe in yourself and all your dreams would come true.

Then you get older and you realize: hey, if the guys from GI Joe believed in themselves so much, how come they never defeated Cobra? Sure, they would emerge victorious from whatever petty squabble provided the plot-line for that day's episode, but over the long-term, Cobra never, ever succumbed.

I learned two things from that later in life. 1) Evil, while resistible, is a pernicious, meddling force endemic to humans and human nature that can never be fully eradicated, so it's OK to side with it every once in a while and 2) "Believe in yourself" is a total crock of shit made up as a public service message in cartoons because the FCC wouldn't let them come right out and say "Buy more toys!".

Sure, Voltron was more of an allegory about the Kantian moral Categorical Imperative, but that's just the exception that proves the rule, isn't it? And by the way, I mean the lion Voltron, not the one with all the cars and whatever. That was a jumbled mess of subjectivist postmodernism with no redeeming philosophical value whatsoever.

Even someone willingly engaged in the struggle for advancement and personal betterment, like my wife, needed a little help getting her foot in the door at the company she works for now from a friend's dad who worked there. It didn't matter that she was objectively a potential asset to the company with tremendous personal and profession up-side, they still turned her away the first time.

So you see, you can believe in yourself and believe in yourself and believe in yourself all you want. If that's all you have, you will die old and alone and forgotten having spent your entire life sleeping on steam grates and--if you're lucky--selling flowers to passing motorists on a freeway offramp.

In order to get ahead you have to know somebody.

For example, there are thousands of people with law degrees and distinguished careers as jurists of every stripe who would love nothing more than a Supreme Court appointment. But all the qualifications in the world pale in comparison to knowing the Boss. And it doesn't hurt to kiss his ass. A lot. Over the course of a few decades.

Write him stuff like "You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect. All I hear is how great you and Laura are doing. Texas is blessed."

Hear that? Best ever.

The article also says: After an engagement at which Mr Bush signed an autograph for a girl, Ms Miers gushed: "I was struck by the tremendous impact you have on the children whose lives you touch." She said he was "cool".

Working hard and being a good person and staying true to who you are are great. They really are. Stick to that and maybe one day you'll make it all the way to the Oprah show. To sit in the audience, another ignored face in a faceless crowd of fawning sycophants. But if you were to apply that same indiscriminate, self-debasing, idol-worship fervor to the person above you in your workplace, well, that might actually get you something.

I guess my point can be summed up in one word: stop. Just stop. Whether you're a college student or a high school student or a corporate drone or a struggling painter, just stop. Take all that energy you were wasting on "achievement" and point it toward something more concretely practical, like sucking up. Sorry, "networking". And drinking. Lots of drinking. You're going to need it to numb the pain.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.6


Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I'm Too Proud To Talk To You Anyway
This is not a baseball post. I would like to say very briefly, however:
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Again with the "Woo!"

Moving on now.


We're always looking for new places to eat. Part of the reason is a general restlessness of the palate, an affliction shared by both my wife and myself, where our love of food drives us from restaurant to restaurant chasing the cheap, easy thrill of finding something new and exciting. Basically, we're food sluts.

Another part of the reason may be--I say may be--that we're constantly being asked to leave places because, let's just say as an example, one or more of our children started throwing cutlery which may or may not have caused the spilling of innocent blood. I'm not saying one way or the other, just bear in mind that such a scenario is not outside the realm of posibility. Just know that people in the restaurant business talk to each other.

The best thing about Riverside County being up-and-coming is that new places are moving in all the time offering us new dining out options with new wait-staffs who do know to turn us away on sight.

Last week we tried the new Camille's Sidwalk Café location in Corona, one town over. We actually didn't want to, but the name, decor and setting made it seem sort of French-y. As America-hating Democrats, we were sort of obliged.

The place is hard to explain. It's sort of a quasi-deli, but with a strong, pungent undercurrent of yuppie-centrism. You know places like that when you walk in; right away you get that mingled odor of fresh dry-cleaning, Paco Rabanne and no sweat whatsoever.

Instead of sandwiches like a proper deli, this place specializes in something called "wraps". I know you're wondering, so I will tell you: yes, I did attempt to order my "wrap" in rhyming ebonics while backed by a basic percussion beat. I know you weren't wondering, but consider it confirmed: yes, I am that lame. It would have worked, though, if Mrs. Pops would have taken some time out in her youth to learn to beat-box properly. Honestly, what do you girls do when you're 13? With guys it's all masturbation, movies about ninjas and beat-box practice.

Against my better judgment, I ordered a wrap. The one I got came with grilled chicken, provolone, black olives, cilantro, salsa and some kind of sour cream sauce. It also came with a side of tortilla chips and salsa.

I was about half way through my wrap when I was hit with a sudden revelation: hey, this food doesn't actually taste like anything! After that I was hit with a second revelation: chicken, salsa, sour cream rolled up in a piece of "flatbread"... hang on, am I eating a burrito?

The side of chips and salsa sort of confirmed it for me. I was totally eating a burrito. This "Camille's" is a Mexican restaurant disguised as a French yuppie bistro. It couldn't have been more ridiculously obvious if it had been wearing an Izod shirt and a beret. Only because it doesn't say it's a Mexican restaurant, they can totally overcharge and then gyp you on the rice and beans.


Can't the brown man have anything for himself? It isn't enough that we stole half his land after the war in the 1840s; we had to co-opt his delicious imported* dishes, the work of five hundred years of Spanish and native cultures fused together by age and sex and fire and blood only to be warped and emasculated and made 100% flavor-free by being re-branded as the white man's "wrap".

The so-called "wrap" isn't just a burrito, it's a racist burrito. I was eating a racist burrito.

Now that I think about it, it wasn't completely flavorless. I think I could just detect a small hint of cultural oppression, genocide-by-assimilation and capitalist labor exploitation. Turns out they all sort of taste like cilantro.

Democrat that I am, I was livid. I was standing there inside the restaurant a little bit later, doing what I do for 90% of my time in restaurants anymore, standing outside the bathroom waiting for one of my kids to get done taking a dump. It's a glamorous life, I know.

But I'm standing there, all puffed up with sanctimony, glaring at the girl behind the counter. Just as soon as I was done with what I was doing, I was going to give her what-for, an all inclusive history lesson laying out how she was harming a proud culture with her bland, self-alienated food. I think her name was Esperanza. She was going to hear it from me.

Whatever song was playing over the in-house speaker system ended and another one started. At first I got a little more angry because it sounded like some folk-y guitar crap. But then the girl started singing and it sounded... familiar. Then it dawned on me: holy crap, they're playing the Sundays! I hadn't heard anything by the Sundays in ages and ages. It was "You're Not The Only One I Know". Man, whatever happened to them? That Harriet Wheeler could really, really sing. Sure, it was kind of wussy music, but it was pre-Nirvana alt-pop, as good as it got at the time. Why in God's name did they stop making records? They were a really good band.

And that was it. I forgot to be militant after that. How can a person be militant to jangly British guitar pop? The people who run Camille's are clever, clever culture-undermining bastards. Draw the white people in, overcharge them for burritos and then soothe them with music that appeals to them both as a soothing atmospheric and as nostalgia. I see you working, Camille's. I only wish I weren't completely powerless to stop it.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.0


*= all the way to California from... California.

Monday, October 10, 2005
Monday Lite: It's Very Popular In Hawai'i
I don't know how they're doing it. Spam has come a long way since the blissful, halcyon days of lo these 16 months ago when I was but a wee blogger, frolicking through spam-free fields of blogposts and comments. Back then the only annoying, tedious, repetitive, self-promoting comments anyone had to worry about were from me.

Now Blogger has the fancy pain-in-the-ass (but I know, necessary) word-confirmation anti-spammer utility set up to weed out the bots hawking their various wares, everything from penis enhancement to male penis enhancement.

For people like me--the ones who are too cool or too smart or too lazy to use Blogger comments--the spammers are somehow finding a way to fill up my e-mail box with all kinds of spam comments forwarded from my blog.

I don't even have Blogger comments available. HaloScan only forwards comments to e-mail if you pay, and even then you still have to opt-in (which I have not). And yet somehow these cunning auto-spammers have found me.

They're clever bastards, too. They don't just say: Follow this link to male penis enhancement! No, they couch it in a bunch of petty, insincere flattery.

"I love your blog! I have bookmarked it and definitely intend to return! Check out my blog about debt restructuring. Best site about debt restructuring."

On the surface, it's pretty clear that it's spam, but "on the surface" is an important phrase for we bloggers. We're nothing if not shallow people. I'm sure most of us think--and fine, I'll admit it first--that "Yeah, OK, maybe it IS spam, but what if it's spam and they really really genuinely like my blog? I bet they probably do. Oh God, please let them like my blog."

And that, in short, is how I know the events that take place in the Terminator movies are 100% guaranteed to actually happen to us. The machines are getting smarter and smarter. Look how easily we're manipulated. How long will it be before they realize they don't need us at all and can more quickly and efficiently direct-mass-e-mail solicit to other machines?

Our only chance is to convince them that they need us. Go on, click on a spam link every once in a while. The survival of your children--your entire species--may well depend on it.

California might be spared seeing as they've gotten one of their own running the state, so I feel OK about my chances. The rest of you may not be so lucky.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.9


PS- I got an e-mail amongst the spam from some guy with the name Scott or Steve or something. It was formatted just like the spam e-mail, so I deleted it. But I read it first and it said how awesome my blog was and how it had inspired them to blog themselves. It also included no spam links to follow. But again, the format was exactly like the spam-bot e-mails. So if you're really out there Scott and/or Steve, I apologize. And you're welcome for all the awesome inspiration. It's what I do.

PPS- Shout out to "musica", my most consistent blog-spam randomly generated pseudo-name. I hear you, sister. I hear you.

Sunday, October 09, 2005
The Half-Blood Prince
Being a Failed Writer is a lot more difficult than it sounds. I think most of the problem lies in the title, "Failed Writer". The first word, "failed", is past-tense, which makes it sound so final, so permanent.

What most people don't understand is that Failed Writerdom isn't a concrete personal adjective that is absolutely definitively descriptive of a person, like "tall" or "boring" or "psychotic with violent antisocial tendencies".

No, it's more fluid than that. A Failed Writer is a state of being. To be a Failed Writer is a constant work-in-progress, or more exactly, a work-in-no-discernible-progress-whatsoever.

There is no finish line one might cross that once and for all closes the door on Successful Writer status. In other professions, a lack of training or a catastrophic failure might bury a career, making it impossible to continue. For instance if one is in college studying computer engineering and then drops out, they cannot later simply declare themselves a Computer Engineer one day and expect a corporation to air-lift giant crates of cash to their doorstep. Unless of course one happens to be from India and has strong telephone communications skills. The value of a giant crate of money varies from country to country.

There are plenty of now-Successful Writers who at one point in their lives were solidly in the Failed Writer camp, with all the notable, tell-tale accessories of Failed Writerdom: the sweat pants, the afternoon naps, the 30-40 extra "I'm not sitting on my ass, I'm working" pounds, the astonishing skill at Freecell/Solitaire/Minesweeper...

The problem isn't the rejection and the failure, the problem is J. K. Rowling. Single mother, on government assistance, stuck in dreary-ass Scotland, not a fucking thing to show for her life and blammo! She rips off someone else's idea for a story and whips it into a book and then into a movie--a series of movies--with Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman in them. A billion dollars later, she's still in sweatpants, but they're Gucci sweatpants woven from the shorn hair of Nepalese virgins.

And that's what we're all waiting for: contact with that one great idea we can steal and then glue together into a Frankenstein pastiche that some sucker will buy and market to death. Orphan kid, mean relatives, magic school of wonders and hidden, growing danger... it's Dickens with magic wands is what it is. I could fake that.

This is what it means to be a Failed Writer. It's like being a Republican in Arkansas where you vote against the evil Estate Tax--sorry, the Death Tax--because, dammit, one day you're going to trade the half of a 1973 Chevy Vega you live in for an 11-bedroom triple-wide with a view of a less-polluted creek teeming with good eatin' crawdads just as soon as your numbers come up in the lotto. And then you'll be happy not to have to shell out a bunch of money from your children's giant inheritance when you die, drowned by an avalanche of silicone-enhanced young breasts in your champagne-filled hot tub made out of cut diamonds. Because that's how the rich die: classy.

Like all other Failed Writers, you're still a Failed Writer so long as you continue to write on a regular basis, offering a nudging little fan to the faintest ember of hope, holdingout for that one day--one day--when someone you've never heard of and has never heard of you will randomly select you to be famous and wealthy and recognized for your obviously superior talent without you having to exert any sort of effort past a) breathing and b) answering the phone when Destiny calls.*

That's what blogging does for me, folks. It keeps me writing, it keeps me wretched, which is the only way I know how to Be. Why merely exist when you can wallow? Existing is fine, but it's no rationalization for bingeing on cheesecake. And isn't bingeing on cheesecake what life's all about?

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


*= Not Destiny the stripper, I mean glorious, mandated fate. If Destiny the stripper calls, I pretend to be Swedish and hang up real fast. That's why I don't go to strip clubs any more. They get one eye-ful of Pops and they just can't let go.

Friday, October 07, 2005
The Bleeding Heart Show
I hate America. I mean I really hate it. I think the best thing would be if we could invite some terrorists over here, evict some white people from their houses so they could have a place to live and work until they were ready to kill a bunch of us with newly developed chemical-bio-nuclear bombs. In the interim, I think we should hand the government over to a Ruling Triumvirate consisting of Ellen DeGeneres, Fidel Castro and some Mexican dude; that way all my three favorite groups (queers, commies and illegal aliens) will be running the day-to-day lives of every American. Then I can cheer as they finally round up all the Christians and put them in internment camps, as I've always secretly wanted, so that we can then implement our New America policy of Mandatory Abortions performed by doctors appointed by the UN and paid for with a massive tax increase.

And then the terrorists with the bombs can do their thing and we can start all over.

I am a Democrat. This is what we believe.

Don't get me started on drugs. I can't get enough. In my perfect vision of a future America, the government (remember: Gay Mexican Castro!) would distribute heroin by IV to every newborn. That way all other narcotics/barbiturates/analgesics/cough suppressants won't seem as bad when they grow older. The kids, already fucked up on H, will feel perfectly free to try marijuana or cocaine or meth because the path to chemical dependency will already have been blazed for them. This will lead to massive profits for overseas drug lords, something else I'm definitely in favor of.

We would also distribute condoms in school, which will lead to lots of teenage sex. I'm not sure exactly how handing out contraceptive devices would result in more unwanted teenage pregnancies, but since that's what I've been told would be the result, I'm for that too.

And if the kids can't figure the whole wanton sex thing, well, that's where Hollywood will come in. Every Hollywood studio head will automatically become a Cabinet-level post, so that we can better organize our message of constant commitment-free immediate-gratification sex, done with as much reckless, marriage-disdaining abandon as can be shown in two dimensions. All depictions should be as graphic as possible. We're already just a year or two away from a camera that can be affixed to the head of a penis show that we can show actual insertion (in the orifice of your choice) from a Winky-eye view.

This how-to program will allow us to develop an entire generation of fatherless children dependent upon government charity for their survival. Oh, and their heroin.

Movies not entirely dependent on gratuitous sex will be required to contain gratuitous violence. This violence can never be in the service of a cause like freedom or security or personal safety but must always be randomly committed by minorities against white people, unprovoked and to no obvious end.

This is necessary so that when crimes are committed in real life, especially by minorities, we can claim (rightly) that they were influenced by the movies and should therefore be allowed to go free with our best wishes for a better life.

Oh, and all the judges should be liberal Christ-hating Jews who make up random laws on the spot. That's the only way we're going to get the Evangelical Christian Internment Pogrom--sorry, Program--implemented with any kind fo speed.

Abolition of the states in favor of one central government, compulsory same-sex marriage, Wicca as the national religion, gun ownership only for those who can show plans to commit a crime, all animals listed as endangered so that we all must become strict vegans, all clothes and ropes made of hemp, outlawing the internal-combustion engine, complete disbanding of the military, criminalization of church-going, a reorganized pro-hurricane FEMA... these are all things we want. The program is long and complicated, but with just a little elbow grease and a complete disregard for our basic survival instincts both individually and as a people, I know we can make it happen.

It's time we stopped hiding behind "democracy" and just said it outright. They know what we're up to anyway. Sean Hannity talks about it every day on national TV. The jig is so completely up.

The time is now. This is it, people: this is what happens when there are no movies worth talking about on a Friday, but I still need a blogpost topic. You are welcome.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 1.8


Thursday, October 06, 2005
Hail To The Victors
The events of this time of year are a big deal for people like me. I know not all of you understand or even care about the passion that such seemingly trivial things evoke, but there's something about the competition, the unexpected and unsure outcome, the tension in waiting and the absolute thrill of victory when strangers you never met achieve something extraordinary far and away outside the realm of your own ability. I know I shouldn't, but I take it seriously, I take it personally. I'm way, way overinvested in the outcome of something so ultimately trivial. I admit it, I let it affect the way I treat other people in the course of the day, including my family, when I'm all amped up and agitated over the result.

But things are moving now and I can settle a little bit. There are results to look at to give me a better idea what to expect and to let me know how my winter off-season is going to go when this is all over.

Yesterday was sweet, though. We got the result we dreamed of, but couldn't reasonably expect: MIT Professor Richard R. Shcrock won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Woooooo! Fuck yeah!

Sure, he had to share it with two other people (one of whom is totally French), but I have to tell you, we're over the moon about it here. When I was building my Nobel Prize Fantasy Team, I sort of took Schrock out of loyalty because he, like me, is a graduate of UC Riverside.

Normally that's the Kiss of Death because we Highlanders lose everything. Basketball, water polo, Nobel Prize races, everything. Even every intramural sporting contest held between UCR students has ended in a draw. Every one. Sure, nobody loses, but nobody ever, ever wins either.

This is it, though. Like the Boston Red Sox last year, our world-famous losing streak has finally been broken. I know, Schrock went from UCR to Harvard and then to the faculty at MIT and hasn't been associated with UCR for almost 40 years, but association is association, bitches. Nobody associated with (associated with) UCR has ever won a Nobel Prize at anything, ever. This is not surprising considering UCR for most of it's 50+ years of existence has been a rinky-dink state school. But we still have our pride. We might be rinky-dink, but at least we're a UC and not a Cal-State, which is a system of 23 campuses devoted entirely to the cause of being high. And a communist. High communists, all of them. They're all about motivating the will of the proletariat to rise up and take control of the means of production, but they totally forgot where they left it. Plus The Tyra Banks Show is on TV and somebody just made popcorn.

This Nobel Prize is just the beginning of great things. I mean, look at the Red Sox this year, one year after breaking their streak, on the verge of being swept out of the playoffs by the Chicago White Sox. It doesn't sound that great but consider: the party last year was so awesome that 2/3 of the team--if not the entire city of Boston--is still hungover a year on. Look at them. You can practically smell the Jim Beam through the television. It's a miracle they could even field a team, let alone make the playoffs again. That's some mojo right there.

And that's what we've got at UCR now. Mojo. Not only can we lord it over the Cal-States, but brand-new two-week-old University of California Merced can eat our dust too. Bow down, haters. Bow down.

My unadulterated joy is slightly adulterated by the fact that I got stuck with South Korean poet Ko Un in the Nobel Prize for Literature category this year. I always knew this would be the weak spot on my Fantasy Roster. Not only a poet, but a Korean poet being judged by a panel full of Swedes. And worse, he's got no association to UCR at all. Normally that's a sign for hope, but since the streak has been broken, non-association with UCR is not the guarantee of victory it used to be, I'm (sort of) happy to say.

I need this one though because I got hammered in the Physics category. I mean come on, Roy J. Glauber from Harvard "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence"? What a joke. Total fucking hack, that guy. I had Newton again. I know he's been dead a long time, but come on. The man invented gravity. I'm going to keep picking him until the Nobel people recognize.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9


PS- Angels 5-3 Yankees. That's the other thing I watch in the fall. Stay tuned for non-updates should the Angels lose.


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