Friday, December 30, 2005
Another Year In The Bucket
Well. Here we are. Another year gone. Where has all the time gone? If it's smart, it's gone to Malaysia or Indonesia or any of those other regions that were under tsunami water this time last year. The room rates have been drastically reduced and the hash is practically free. The pool boys have all lowered their standards and will now have sex with anyone regardless of their personal wealth. They're starving. Now's your chance, people.
That said, let's get to it. What happened this year? Lots of stuff. But only the best of the best of the stuff I happened to accidentally see was worthy to make it into the Bucket over this my first full year of operation. Immortality is a fickle, fickle bitch.
Crippling post-election, post-holiday, post-tsunami funk. I don't know if it's the depression or what, but when I go back and read my posts from that time, they're all self-important and insincere and loaded down with lame juvenile jokes. I'm sure it's just a phase.
Johnny Carson died. Condoleeza Rice was confirmed as the second female and second African-American Secretary of State. Also, sadly for her, only the second Secretary of State to be possibly sleeping with the president. Everyone knows Lincoln was boning William Seward.
I learn to integrate photos into my blogposts. You would have thought this development would have cut into my verbosity.
Post of the Month: So You Want To Be A Blogger.
Rain and stuff in SoCal causing mudslides in which everyone dies. Except the Pope, who goes back into the hospital just to fuck with us one more time. Super Bowl XXXIX is the highest numbered ever, although I don't like it's prospects for retaining that title following the 2006 version coming up. Apparently nothing else happened of any interest to anyone but me OR I was caught in some kind of self-reference cycle while thinking of blogposting. I was probably still trying to purge the politics from my system. Also: a midget cut my hair.
Post of the Month: Just A Little Off The Top
Terry Schiavo rises and falls. OK, she didn't "rise" so much, but she did seriously spike her TVQ rating. The Pope keeps dragging out his "oh, I'm so sick" act. Martha Stewart is released from prison after she promises never to kill again. From what I can tell from my posts, nothing else happened for the whole month. And yet somehow I posted 6 days per week. Coincidentally, the Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing series also debuts this month, filling up what would otherwise be criminally neglected Friday blogspace. You are welcome.
Post of the Month: Help Bucket
The Pope finally stops screwing around and dies already and is replaced by a cranky martinet in red satin slippers. Prince Rainier of Monaco also dies, managing to do it in total obscurity. I realize Matthew McConaughey sucks. I also get a link from big-time blog semi-fatcat TBogg which brings in over 850 visits in one day, nearly all of which are immediately scared off.
Post of the Month: Exit With Grace
The last Star Wars movie came out. I remember nothing else.
Post of the Month: It's A Schmaltz, Schmaltz World
Deep Throat revealed! I lose money as I had Linda Lovelace in the pool. I mean, it just seemed so obvious, like a hide-in-plain-site thing. I go on vacation and your worlds cease to spin. I shudder to think what might have happened if I had chosen never to return. Best not to contemplate.
Post of the Month: Master Of Delusion
The London Underground gets bombed by assholes. I know the PC term is "Islamofascists", but I prefer "assholes". It's sort of on-the-nose, I know, but it's so much easier to spell. The combination of my blog's first birthday and the release of Harry Potter 6 make us all forget about the horror within two or three news cycles. Who says a short attention span is a bad thing? What was I saying?
Post of the Month: Thunderdick
New Orleans kind of sort of disappears, but you'd hardly notice because I have more posts devoted to the release of the Dukes of Hazzard movie. Which I still have not seen. Something is horribly, horribly wrong with me. I did get e-mail calling me an asshole for the posts I did write about Hurricane Katrina, so it's all about quality over quantity.
Post of the Month: The Blue And The Red
The long, dark night of America's soul continues. Everyone suffers. Except Anderson Cooper, who somehow wades armpit-deep through a frothy chum made of human waste and dead bodies and comes out smelling like Edward R. Murrow. To honor me, the next major hurricane is named after one of my readers. Typically, it then fails to destroy the world, as promised.
Post of the Month: Answer Man
George Bush appoints the former head of the American Shetland Pony Exhibitors Association And Clambake to the Supreme Court. Is that right? That doesn't sound right. Anyway, she quit. The few of us who survived the mudslides back in February are all mercifully killed off by bird flu. And yet somehow I keep posting.
Post of the Month: Car Alarm
I buy my first-ever drink at a Starbucks. Readers tell me I'm gay. I insist that I am not, and then I undo all my hard work denials by spending a whole post talking about the People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive. I am my own worst enemy. Also: lots of personal sharing this month. You people have finally convinced me to let my guard down. I suspect roofies.
Post of the Month: Sting Of Retribution
Saturday Night Live finally comes after me personally. In response I flail madly, ineptly and (ultimately) to myself in the way only bloggers can. Brokeback Mountain is released and I show an inordinate amount of interest until even I am uncomfortable. Not only do I get to draw funny cartoons this month, but I also get an e-mail from someone who claims they are the offspring of a famous person whom I (sort of) offended in a comment over on SJ's Famous Blog. A banner month all around.
Post of the Month: 100 Things About Me
You thought I was going to say this one, didn't you? What kind of a raging narcissist would I have to be to claim this post I just wrote was great?
Oh yes. Point taken.
Well. Now that's all done. It's been quite a year. From my peak readership thanks to a gift link back in April, readership continues to grow... until about July. Then it starts to slowly, slowly decline as I drive readers away through what I assume must be bloody attrition.
I'm looking forward to next year when I either become the biggest blogger ever or manage to alienate the rest of you en masse, probably by the pretentious use of italicized French words. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to find out which it will be.
Either in triumph or in death, I hereby proclaim 2006 to be the Year of the Bucket. Write it down.
See y'all on the other side.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
It's late. I'm home. I'm tired. But I don't want to have to wake up tomorrow and think of a blogpost topic, so instead I'm doing this now. This counts as your Wednesday AND Thursday Bucket. No backtalk! You takes what you gets and you likes it.
We had a really great time despite the fact that we were accompanied by a 2, 4 and 6 year old. The kids are now old enough to either go on some rides or to understand me completely when I tell them to shut the hell up. They always have some goddamn thing to say and at the most socially embarrassing times, like for instance when I have my hand in some stranger-lady's purse while she's watching the lame-ass parade. Damned kids. The last thing I want to do when I'm at Disneyland is run.
I'm torn now because I really really want to share with you the wonder of our Disney trip as represented by some of the great pictures we took while at the same time I need to maintain my perfect shield of anonymity to keep you rabid stalker-types at bay (you know you who are, you invasive, invasive bastards).
As a compromise, I have decided to give you all the feeling of being there with none of the Pops. Best of both worlds in my opinion. I will do that by posting pictures of random people at Disneyland who are neither me nor my family that I found on the internet.
Here are two people who are neither me nor my wife reclining comfortably against a stone wall in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle in much the same way my wife and I would if we were old and retired and without children pulling at us and making us push them around in strollers.
This is an older picture of two other people who are also Not Us. The background is kind of non-descript, but you know it's Disneyland because of the mouse-head balloon. The question you're asking yourself is obvious: is that Pops stand-in flipping the camera off or not? It's a vague, vague mystery. It's La Gioconda for the 1970s awkward-photography set, but instead of an enigmatic smile, it's some guy maybe giving us the finger. The world may never know.
Here is what my family would look like if we were all Asian women of roughly the same age sitting in front of the Walt and Mickey statue at the plaza north of Main Street USA.
And finally, this may or may not be us in front of Main Street all lit up at night. Beautiful. Have I told any of you that I am 117 feet tall? No? Well I'm not. My wife really is 1'11" though.
I hope that captures all the splendor and the magic of corporate-designated American instant-nostalgic fun that is so very accessible to those of us in SoCal. Weep in scornful disdain at the inadequacy of your home state by comparison.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.0
PS- There are no pictures of my Not Kids because I have to protect even the idenities of those children who are in no way mine. Plus publication of children's images on the internet would violate several provisions of my bail agreement.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Windows Keeps Locking Up, But I've Got This Reach-Around... Did I Say "Reach-Around"? Work-Around.
Is this post late?
Why yes, yes it is.
But I've got a wife home from work and a kid home from school. That means going places and doing things and people generally bothering me by asking me stuff. If my family weren't such a rich source of blogpost material, I would have ditched them long ago.
I have very little time to work up anything so Byzantine and ornate as a typical Bucket post today, but I would like to share my shock and outrage at the following cover of Time Magazine's "Persons of the Year" issue:
First of all, shame on Time Magazine for going so tabloid. For them to run a cover story about how Bono has shamelessly come between Bill and Melinda Gates. It's embarrassing for a publication whose reputation was built on phone conversations with Karl Rove and shark attacks.
Also I'm not sure I want to know the details of a story that involves Bono having sex with Bill Gates.
Wow, that sentence is going to get me some interesting search-engine hits.
OK, so Bono isn't actually splitting up the marriage of Bill and Melinda Gates. My point of contention is with the composition of the cover photo in general.
First mistake: putting Bill Gates out in front, overlaying the others, so that the first thing the eye is drawn to are his full, supple, besweatered man-boobs.
Second mistake: Bono's sunglasses. Less the photographer's fault there, I admit.
Third mistake: Melinda Gates relegated to the background. She's less featured in this picture than Bono's left shoulder. I admit it, it's a magnificent left shoulder so boldly and age-inappropriately denim-clad, but come on. Melinda Gates is in there for a reason. I have no idea what that reason is (I prefer Newsweek), but she deserves better. Stupid patriarchy.
Finally, unrelated to everything else I've said thus far, it's the time of the year when we all get out our Stalker Notebooks as Pops tells you in advance where he's going to be the next day.
There will be no Bucket tomorrow as the missus, the sprogs and I will be ensconced in the warm embrace of the Happiest Place on Earth, the Dizzle-nizzle. That's "Disneyland" for the un-Snoop-ified. There my family and I will celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by spending $4 for a Coke.
Meet you there. I'll be the tourist-looking dude pushing a stroller.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.5
Monday, December 26, 2005
With Angelic Host Proclaim
Expect short posts this week as I am surrounded by family and loved ones and all sorts of other things not conducive to blogging.
I know you're all dying to know what Pops got for Christmas this year.
In terms of material things, I got bupkes. Exactly what I asked for, incidentally.
Actually, that's not completely true. My wife and I got each other the same thing we've gotten each other every year since we've had kids: massive credit-card debt. It's become so predictable, I don't even bother wrapping it anymore. It's one of those special, special gifts you have to not save up all year in order to be able to not afford it when the holidays roll around. It's the kind of thing you can only manage with lots intense and special lack-of-planning.
She doesn't know this yet, but I've already gotten her (and myself) the same thing for next year.
Beyond that, I did get one other thing.
Keep in mind that some gifts can't be measured by size or shape or debt-incurred. Some speak straight to your heart.
This story is slightly complicated, but it's worth it.
Last Wednesday, devoted first-generation Bucketeer, the lovely and talented SJ put up this post about someone called Raul Julia Levy. Not Raul Julia, but apparently (not for sure, but apparently) his offspring.
To her post I made the following comment:
I would never have sex with that man. Mostly because no tabloid would pay me for the story if I did. I'm holding out for Wilmer Valderrama.
Har har, right? Juvenile, crude, lame pop-culture reference. Predictably Popsian. Not particularly offensive, I don't think, unless he'd had his heart set on having sex with me. Anyway, I forgot about it right around the time I made the comment.
And then, as if borne on the wings of Christmas angels, yesterday I got the following e-mail:
yo se lo que puedes hacer con tus dos titulos de histotia pendeja metetelos por el CULO
And it says it's from firstname.lastname@example.org .
All of the joy and wonder of Christmas, right there in my free e-mail account (which is, to be fair, email@example.com ). The only thing dampening my joy was my lack of familiarity with Spanish. I put it through BabelFish, but apparently BabelFish doesn't like translate abuse and potty-talk.
Desperate to know what was said, I referred the matter over to the lovely and talented Kati, whose blog is the Official Pops' Bucket Department of Teen Angst and Spanish-Language Translation. She also sometimes functions as the Bucket Ambassador to Armenia, but that status was provisional and then revoked when she returned from Armenia and was not caught smuggling hash out in balloons in her stomach.
According to Kati:
It says (or at least the best approximation of it that I can give you would be): I know what you can do with your two degrees in history asshole, shove them in your ass.
Anyways, that cracks me up. A lot.
Normally I would be offended that Kati would take such pleasure in seeing me misused in a foreign language, but I must say it also cracks me up. A lot.
It's a Christmas miracle.
Thanks, SJ. Thanks, Kati. Thank you, Jesus. I am one happy blogger.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0
Friday, December 23, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #24
starring Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush, Ciarán Hinds
directed by Steven Spielberg (Amblin', Duel, Always)
Of all the genres of film there are out there for people to enjoy, I can say without reservation that my favorite is the woman-and-repairman-talk-in-double-entendres-and-then-do-it genre. Some people call this "pornography," but remember, they said the same thing about Elvis Presley. Prudes. They would remake the same film starring Pat Boone and in the end, instead of doing it, they would, like, let the repairman fix whatever was ostensibly broken or some shit. And then pray. Bo-ring. If I wanted to be bored about religion, I'd go see Narnia. But at least there I'd get talking animals.
My second favorite genre of films is the Israeli-hit-squad-exacting-bloody-revenge-on-Palestinian-terrorists genre. It's a much less prolific genre than the first one. Basically all we've got is Raid on Entebbe. Which I haven't actually seen. So my first-hand knowledge of this genre isn't all that extensive, but I'll tell you, it sounds like it would be fascinating.
This Munich is directed by Steven Spielberg, which seems great on the surface, but we have to keep in mind that there are two Steven Speilbergs. There is the one who makes exciting stuff with lots of blood, monsters and/or things blowing up (Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds). You know, stuff I could actually watch.
Then there's the other Spielberg, the "serious" Spielberg, who makes long, boring, ponderous message movies with crushingly depressing endings and little bits of horrifyingly uncomfortable bits of psychological terror sprinkled in for good effect (The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan) all washed down by a big, frothy glass of fully-aged schmaltz. They're generally hailed as modern masterpieces, but I always found them sort of disjointed and scattered and ultimately disappointing. It's like he thinks we don't need space-aliens to hold our interest. The height of Hollywood arrogance, in my opinion.
I've read several reviews of Munich and I have yet to find one single reference to space-aliens. The signs are not good.
Further, the screenplay was written by Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer prize winning (red flag!) playwright (two red flags!) responsible for gobbling up hours and hours of HBO screen-time that could have otherwise been spent re-running Sopranos episodes with his d-e-l-i-b-e-r-a-t-e talky-talky-talky Angels in America. I'm worried that Munich might drag a little bit during the 3-hour stretch in the middle where everyone sits around, completely motionless except for their mouths, jabbering about nothing, glorying in their own nauseating cleverness and then having gay sex.
Regular Bucketeers know that I am all about the gay sex movies, but somehow I don't think that's going to be the focus here.
The central character of this movie is played by Australian hunkaman Eric Bana, most famous for his roles in The Hulk and as Hector opposite Brad Pitt
But what's in it for me, the poor, downtrodden hetero white man besides the random messy deaths of foreign people who may or may not be terrorists? Even the deaths are supposed to be "meaningful" and "plot-related", which immediately dims my ardour. It's all supposed to be about the morality of revenge and crap like that.
The last thing I want to do in a movie is learn something. That's the same reason I walked out of Arachnophobia; not because I was terrified and perhaps--perhaps--had wet myself but because it kept trying to inform me about spider biology and stuff. If anything, I need to walk out of a movie theater less smart than when I walked in. That's the whole point of entertainment: to bring us all down to the same stupid, stupid level so we can be fed the same thing across the widest demographic base as possible. It's our patriotic duty. Remember after 9/11, the president didn't ask us to join the Army or volunteer for the Red Cross or anything like that. He asked us to consume. And we can't all do that if we have different tastes informed by different levels of education and interests.
So I have nothing but contempt for Mr. Spielberg and his Smart-Guy deep-feeling movie. And this is knowing that the cast includes Ciarán Hinds, HBO's Cæsar himself. I have no interest in examining the depths and nuances of the human soul. The moral ambiguity of revenge-killers against targets whose guilt or even complicity is ambiguous, well, it all just sounds so... ambiguous. Four syllables, that word. If you have to use that many syllables to describe it, count me out. You can't even put an exclamation point behind it: ambiguous! See? It just looks stupid.
No aliens, minus. No cartoony Indy Jones Nazis, minus. No genetically engineered dinosaurs, minus. Possible gay sex, plus. Talky talky talky, minus. Ambiguous... eh, either way.
Best I can do here:
One (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.
Your odds-on favorite for Best Picture then.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Pass The Tookie 'Pon The Left Hand Side
I don't know a lot about morality. I think my side business breeding and selling midgets to circuses to feed the lions is proof of that. So I'm not going to sit here in my special midget-hide blogger chair and tell you "I know this" or "I believe that." That would just be unseemly.
What I will say is that if you're Saddam Hussein, you shouldn't get to complain about being tortured. Just like if you're Paris Hilton, you shouldn't get to point out other people who are being tacky whores. And if you Donald Trump, you don't get to decry the breakdown of the traditional family.
What I'm saying is that sometimes our actions disqualify us from taking personal stands on certain issues.
Don't get me wrong, I certainly haven't turned into one of those eye-for-an-eye Republicans who thinks it's a good idea to torture Saddam Hussein. I'm more of the lily-livered Democrat type who thinks there is merit in acting and being better than your enemies by not torturing people.
That said, if somebody did knock Saddam around a little bit, well... It's a shame and all, but come on. Unless we're talking about chopping off appendages, car battery nipple clamps or us killing members his family,* there is no moral equivalency. He's going to have to try a lot harder if he wants to elicit international sympathy for his plight; his mangey, bearded, crazy-man plight.
I think Saddam could learn a lot from the example of Tookie Williams. I'm not saying founding a murderous street gang is the same as being a full-time military dictator with occasional flurries of genocide, but their fates look like they could end up being the same, so what has Saddam got to lose?
Tookie, to his credit, said all the right things about peace and turning a new leaf and non-violence. Plus he wrote a children's book warning about the dangers of gang-life.
Then look what happened: public outcry against his execution, hundreds of people at his funeral, including Snoop Dogg, who cried. That's right, the man who on the 1992 Dr. Dre album The Chronic included a piece called "Deeez Nuuuuts" cried. In public.
This can be a lesson to Saddam. At this rate, there's no way Snoop Dogg is going to cry at his funeral. If he follows his present course, the best he could hope for is Vanilla Ice looking sort of stoic. But that dude will show up anywhere.
It sounds stupid, but maybe Saddam should write a children's book warning kids about the dangers of rising through the ranks of an armed political party, seizing the reigns of a nation in a bloody coup and then reigning over said country in defiance of the international community for roughly 30 years. Sure, you get the private plane and all the rape rooms you want, but in the end they find you in a spider hole, all balled up and twitchy, looking like a dirty Moses with no teeth. And then, at the very end, you get executed by revenge-minded citizens. Total downer. If that doesn't put kids off dictatorship, nothing will.
If he's any good at pretending to be sincere, he might even get himself nominated for a Nobel peace prize. It sounds nuts, but hell, Arafat got one.
All of this will be for nothing if he doesn't take the most important step for jailhouse redemption: Saddam has to find Jesus.
OK, maybe not that exactly. I doubt that would go over too well what with all the crazy religious-based political parties over there getting elected to stuff. Is there such thing as a born-again Muslim? If there isn't, Saddam has to get busy inventing that shit. It probably sounds distasteful to him, but if born-again Muslims are anything like the more public born-again Christians in this country, it's all about marketing. You can be a hypocrite in private so long as you SAY the name of your Lord and Savior (whomever that may be) over and over again whenever the cameras are looking.
He should think about it. "I am the President of Iraq and this court holds no jurisdiction over me!" That dude is soooo easy to execute. Fun even. "I am a humble Muslim and I commit myself to the mercy of God and of his representatives on earth." Aw, man. Sure, it would still be easy to execute him (he is Saddam after all), but maybe he'd get a one or two person candle-light vigil then.
Or ooh! A Presidential Medal of Freedom.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.6
*= yeah, OK, so we did that one. But those kids were assholes.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Ah, winter. Here at last.
The air turns chill, halls bedecked with holly boughs, Sugar-Plum Fairies streaming out of the methadone clinics to spread seasonally appropriate cheer, mornings waking to new snow fallen in a soft, even layer under a wide, unbroken crust of crystalline particulate ice lit to sparkling by a low winter sun.
At least that's the impression I get from the Christmas cards I've been getting. Wintry landscapes all looks so jauntily festive, but it just seems damp to me. After all, snow is just a bunch of weaponized water you can't drink. When I see snow, I see half a street-long mud-puddle in potentia. All that snow has to melt some time. But my snow=water fixation might be somewhat skewed by the fact that the only snow I see falling happens inside those little globes with the plastic villages inside. Intellectually I know your house doesn't have to be under (to scale would be roughly) 60 feet of water and then have your entire house and its immediate environs lifted and agitated by the hand of a giant in order to get snow, but with so little personal experience with it, I just can't be 100% sure.
Plus there's all the shoveling and the associated freezing that frankly I'm happy to do without.
Winter in Riverside means we have 4 out of 7 days per week under 80°. Usually. Just not Christmas Day this year, apparently. Today, this first day of winter, we're supposed to dip waaay down to about 76°. To ward off the chill, this is the time of year where I generally start wearing underwear again beneath my shorts.
It also means that, as of today, my oldest boy is off for Christmas Vacation. It's not "Winter Vacation" because he goes to Catholic school. They want me to know very specifically that this is Christmas vacation. In the spring we get Easter vacation, not the pagan "spring break," which is fine because I think at 6 years old, my son is too young for Jello shots anyway.
While I appreciate the no-alarm-clock period of my life resuming for this oh-so-short period of time, it does mean that I have to find some way to entertain three children instead of just two during the day now. They kill a couple of hours every afternoon sewing shirts for the Kathie Lee Gifford Collection up in the attic with the pack of refugee kids who also live here, but I can't leave them up there all day. The last thing I need is another hostage situation.
How this affects you, my loyal Bucketeers, is that fresh Bucket might be delayed by an hour or so every day as I leave behind Gluttony (for now... I'm gearing up for Saturday and Sunday) and indulge in a lot more Sloth. Hopefully the overall dip in personal commitment will not be reflected in the quality of my blogposts.
Alas, it is too late to save this one.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.7
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Lex Majoris Partis
"It is the multitude which possess force, and wisdom must yield to that." -Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson said a lot of great things. Most of them after he was done banging one of his slaves. Or many just before. And some (probably) during.
You know what's sad? Whenever I hear or see Thomas Jefferson anywhere, I immediately think of slave-banging. That's wrong, isn't it? I don't think of the Declaration of Independence or two terms as president or the Louisiana Purchase or the extraordinary breadth and scope of his great gifts as a human being. It's a straight line, Jefferson-pow!-slave banging. It's gotten to the point where every time I see a nickel I sort of mutter "slave-fucker" under my breath without realizing it. Let me tell you it's gotten me into trouble more than once with the cashier at Big Dawg's Barbecue & Soul Food Joint. Just to be safe, I always pay with my debit card there now.
For all this, I blame Head of the Class. That was the show in which I first heard the name Sally Hemings. Goddamn Robin Givens. It wasn't bad enough she ruined Mike Tyson, she had to stick that in my head as well. For this I shall never forgive her. I'm going to tell her so next time I see her playing Mallory in Family Ties: The Musical at the Sir John Gielgud Wild West Steakhouse and Dinner Theater (try their famous Texas hash, made with real hash!).
The quote at the top of the post was supposed to remind me to talk about what I wanted to talk about today before I got distracted by the slave-banging thing. For that I apologize. But I think I can move past it and get to what I was getting to.
You know, it doesn't make it any easier when they make a movie about Jefferson and they get hot-ass Thandie Newton to play the exploited slave-girl. Sure, slave-banging is wrong, but come on. It's Thandie Newton. You can't blame Jefferson for betraying the principles he espoused or for exploiting his power-relationship to take a run at Thandie Newton. She's even got that English accent thing going on.
I'm sorry. It got away from me again. I was going to talk about democracies and majorities and the responsibility of the executive (such as it exists) to shape policy informed by the will of the governed when they speak in sufficient numbers. I'm just sure I was going to quote Tocqueville or something, but I can't really remember what I was going to say exactly...
US to cut troop levels
That's right. I was going to talk about the president being responsive to public opinion on this whole War On Terror thing and give him credit for recognizing the force of the multitude and fashioning it into governing wisdom. All this flak he's been getting about Iraq and finally we see some movement from the administration. It's almost too good to be true. Let's look at the headline again:
US to cut troop levels in Afghanistan
Dude, wrong country. Aren't we supposed to be crawling all over Afghanistan and the Pakistan border smoking Osama bin Laden out of his hole? Dead or alive, or am I the only one who remembers that?
And all this hullabaloo lately has been about Iraq. That's a totally different country than Afghanistan, man.
Bah. So much for wisdom.
The worst part of the article is where it says "most of the 4,000 troops from the Louisiana-based Fourth Brigade of the Army's 10th Mountain Division will not be sent to Afghanistan early next year on rotation as previously scheduled."
All those soliders looking forward to getting the fuck out of Louisiana and going someplace quiet like Afghanistan are now being told that they have to stay. That just seems cruel to me.
Of course Louisiana also makes me think of Jefferson, who also once said: "This unfortunate difference of color, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people."
And yet it was not a difference unfortunate enough to persuade him to keep it in his pants. And I've been to museums, I've seen Jefferson's pants. They can't have been easy to get it out of. Lots of strings and hooks and whatnot. But then again, he had some powerful motivation. We are, after all, talking about Thandie Newton.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.3
Monday, December 19, 2005
(No Longer) Wanted
Monday Lite usually means I spend about half or less of my regular time allotment on a blog post in the wake of what usually is a Sunday night masterpiece.
The non-masterpiece status of last nights post in conjunction with the dire and desperately needed public service I am about to provide all of you has compelled me to work nearly twice as long putting together the bulk of today's blogpost content. We're talking almost double digits in terms of minutes used. Don't thank me yet.
First, be terrified:
US freeing Saddam's "Dr Germ" and "Mrs Anthrax"
They're just letting them go. People with names like that, "Dr. Germ" and "Mrs. Anthrax". Now granted, not everyone can control what their name is. Brian and Marybeth Festering-Pustule are fine neighbors, if a little lax with where they let their dogs do their business.
But these people, this "Germ" and this "Anthrax" got their names by reputation. Now they'll be out running around on the streets germ-ing and anthrax-ing all over the place.
You, citizens, should be wary of these two. Avoid them at all costs. They are presumed armed and sickly. I have combed through the evidence and put together this composite sketch.
On the left is Dr. Germ and on the right is Mrs. Anthrax. In case you weren't sure.
Dr. Germ has no feet not because I ran out of room on my MS Paint screen but because my best information tells me he was rendered foot-less while experimenting with a killer strain of gout. Hoisted on his own petard on that one. You plays with fire, you gets burned, even if your name is Dr. Germ.
The good news is that you actually have to run directly in to him in order to risk exposure. His business is germs; less so chasing.
Mrs. Anthrax is a whole different kettle of fish. You can see she seems to be flying; this is her at her most dangerous: weaponized and airborne.
She has a ring on her left ring finger and is called "Mrs." Anthrax, but there is no mister back home. She is married only to mayhem. And the destruction of all things American. That's right, on top of everything else, she's a bigamist.
The symbol on her flowing gray angel-of-death robes looks like the "anarchy" sign, but don't be fooled. That's just to lure the Goth kids in closer.
If you should see either of these people, for God's sake take a picture and send it to me. It will mean that my blog has inspired someone to make ridiculous costumes and then wander into public view. Then I will KNOW I have made it.
You have been warned. God keep you safe. Our God I mean, not theirs. Their God wants you to get anthrax.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 0.4
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Gonna Find Out Who's Naughty And Nice
If the government can monitor Americans talking on the phone without warrants whenever they want to... my God, do you think it's possible they might also be reading blogs as well? Is nothing sacred? Have our civil liberties finally atrophied to the point where we can't publish our half-baked first-draft thoughts instantly around the world without worrying about other people reading them?
By and large I do not actually have this problem, but I could. I know I owe my readership, meager though it is relative to some others, to the overcrowding of prisons. Without that institutional breakdown, we wouldn't have so many house-arrests happening and nobody would have the time or energy to dig all the way down here to the bottom of the internets to find this thing. I have the judicial system to thank for that.
Now I have to worry about the government jackbooted thugs snooping. And just when I was about to start my in-depth 15 part series about how to successfully tamper with electronic ankle-bracelet monitoring devices.
Wow, that sentence is going to draw some interesting Google hits.
OK, I'm a little drained. This is all I have for today. I would be better spiritually centered and more informed about the world around me, but I skipped out on Jesus this morning to watch football. Football. I am still shamed. But then I figure, look, Jesus was going to totally nail me for something anyway, I might as well watch the Chargers play the undefeated--sorry, formerly undefeated--Indianapolis Colts. It's not like 31 years of taking the Lord's name in vain, creatively blasphemous masturbation and animal torture are all going to be wiped clean if I go to this one Mass on December 18th, 2005.
Sorry, Jesus. I wanted to watch the game. So I did. And it was good. I'll make it up to You next week. I'll tell my kids there's no Santa Claus and make sure they know who put the X in X-mas, Big Fella. I think it was the Greeks. But they were totally talking about Jesus.
If there's one thing I have learned from years of church-going, Jesus loves Him an underdog. The poor, the meek, the 10-point road-team 'dogs vs. an unbeaten monster from Sticksville, Nowhere.
The Chargers blow a 16-0 lead in the third quarter, then their best player goes down with an injury... Jesus likes the underdog, but he likes the underdog to work for it. It's like how he lets us keep Pat Robertson as the guy in charge of using His name the most on TV even though the philosophy he espouses directly contradicts just about everything Jesus is purported to have said. Jesus has a crazy, demented sense of humor. And I love that about Him. The hair is kind of gay, though.
See, but in the end I know everything will be OK because then He gives us this:
Oh, I think Michael Turner may still be running...
I know it was a miracle because all the football players thanked God for it afterward. Clearly He was on our side.
But then He was the one who got us beat by the crappy Dolphins last week. Like I said, sick.
Final note: before you complain that this was a football post, it WASN'T. It was clearly about Jesus. Feel free to complain about that.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.75
PS- Right after I first wrote that line about Jesus having gay hair, my browser TOTALLY CRASHED. Not kidding. But then my crafty devil-built Blogger Creat Post window's built-in "Recover Post" button saved this load of wank in all it's heretical glory for all the world and agents of the US government to enjoy, warrant-free. This just proves what I always suspected: Blogger is stronger than Jesus. I certainly blog more than I go to church. And so do each and every one of you. Jesus might not be able to do anything about it, but don't think he isn't watching. You people are on notice.
PPS- If you didn't like this, please re-read Friday's post. You're SURE to hate that. Plus it took me a LOT longer to write. I need to feel like I got my words-per-minutes worth.
Friday, December 16, 2005
War On Christmas: Letters Home
11 October 2005
Dearest Becky Sue,
My soul is darkened by the space between us since we are now us both together apart from one another. When will my face and the eyes in that face look again on your face and your eyes as well as the rest of your body, which is totally hot? I do not know.
However much my heart longs for you until nearly breaking, this separation is necessary. I so believe in what I am doing here that I will not rest until the world is Christmas-free. I am, simply put, a soldier. A soldier in the War on Christmas.
We had our first
All the major groups involved gave presentations. The gays, the ACLU, the DNC, Jews, atheists, Sikhs, everybody. The highlights, of course, were the speeches by Osama bin Laden and Michael Moore thanking us for our service and then performing sex acts on one another.
We were supposed to end with a blood sacrifice, but there were no volunteers. Instead all the women promised to get abortions should they become pregnant. That soundeed OK to us.
I've never been so energized.
I miss you.
I should be home by 10 tonight.
Korvath G. M. Horrington III
3 November 2005
Dearest Becky Sue,
Hey girl. What up?
I've been assigned to my unit, at last! There's me, a black guy named Sonny, an Italian guy from New York we call "Brooklyn", a big tall white dude from Mississippi we call "Hayseed", an illegal immigrant we call "Frijole" and (this was a surprise) a Bumble.
We were all astounded because we assumed Bumbles all loved Christmas, but it turns out that once they were tamed by dental work, Santa sent them all down to do forced labor down in his fruit-packing interest in Costa Rica. Apparently Santa likes to be diversified. This one escaped and is out for revenge.
The guys have given me a nickname, too. They call me "Narrator". I'm not sure why but I suspect it has something to do with the way I always speak in the third-person omniscient.
Anwyway we should get our marching orders soon, Becky Sue.
Wait for me, please. It will be hard when I'm away, but know that what I'm doing I'm doing to pester and mildly annoy Christians everywhere. Our cause is righteous and just.
28 November 2005
I haven't heard from Becky Sue in a while. Is everything OK? I was hoping you could check on her for me. Thanks.
We've been slogging it in the trenches for the last few weeks. We're the dogface mutts of the War on Christmas, mom. All we do is wander the streets and enter retail establishments waiting for someone to say "Merry Christmas" to us so we can respond with "Happy Holidays". It's been extra-hard for us since Frijole doesn't speak English, Bumble doesn't speak much at all and Sonny and Hayseed won't say anything in each other's presence. That leaves all the scut work for me and Brooklyn, but we get by OK.
I'm getting used to the work. I can piss on a door wreath with almost no public embarrassment anymore and my tolerance for mistletoe poisoning has greatly increased. I can almost see out of my left eye again.
Love to Dad. Let me know if you hear from Becky Sue.
8 December 2005
Dear Becky Sue,
I hope this letter finds you well. I wish you luck in your new relationship. Donnie the Weird Janitor seems like a very nice man. I wish I could be there with you, but war waits for no man. It has that in common with slutty girlfriends, I guess.
Just so you know, my unit has been upgraded to commando status. We're working deep behind enemy lines at a mall. We've all got costumes, except for Bumble. There are limits to how high sizes will go. Me, I got a penguin suit. Best I could do on short notice.
We needed codenames, so Frijole named us all "Pen-day-ho". I don't know what it means, but he calls us all that all the time, so it will be easy to remember.
The next letter I write I will probably be dead. Please do not weep for me.
Korvath G. M. Horrington III
15 December 2005
I'm coming home.
My unit has been deactivated. Once we got inside the mall, Bumble saw the mall Santa and went berserk. He ate four people before mall security put him down with a hail of orthopedic shoes from the second-floor medical supply outlet.
Poor Bumble. I watched his eyes as he died. There was only rage there. I like to think he's in a better place now. That mall was super tacky.
I wish I could say Sonny and Hayseed developed a grudging respect for one another, but that went out the window after Hayseed blindsided Sonny with a rock shovel from the hardware store. Never saw it coming, poor bastard.
Parting with Brooklyn was the hardest part. We did some good work together. You really bond with a guy when you eat a whole string of escalator garland together.
Know what's funny? Turns out he's from Queens. This makes me sad because "Queeny" is a much funnier nickname.
I don't want it to be over, but the squad is broken. I don't even know when Frijole left. Those illegals are sneaky that way.
I do feel like we did some good work, though. If there was at least one person who feels like their Christmas was ruined because of me, that's enough. Bumble's sacrifice will almost have been worth it.
Though I leave the service of my shadow-country, I shall never stop fighting until Christmas is dead, the Bible is banned and all non-gay fetuses are aborted.
The good news is that now I can kick Becky Sue's ass and blame it on PTSD.
Korvath Ganymede Macleish "Narrator" Horrington III
Thursday, December 15, 2005
If you were wondering when you should start panicking, I now have a definitive timetable for you.
China will start a manned moon-landing program in 2017.
If there is any shopping you need done, any Broadway shows you want to see, any person you have been silently pining for from afar but have been too much of a spineless social retard to approach, well, I'd say you'd better get a move on. You've only got 11 years before the End of the World is upon us.
The flip side of this is now you can put off cleaning out the garage or re-sealing the shower indefinitely because none of it will matter in the long run.
As to how or why Chinese taikonauts landing on the moon means the end of our civilization as we know it... come on. Don't ask stupid questions. It's obvious, isn't it?
It's because... uh... I... um...
You know what, I'm not sure. All I know is that it was all life-and-death when the Russians were trying to do it before us, so it must be life-and-death now for the same whatever secret reason. Only this time it's not the Russians it's China, which is worse somehow I'm sure. Also (and this is vitally important) this time I'm alive to see it. I find that I have much stronger reactions to things that happen right now while I'm a walking, talking person versus how I felt about stuff back when I was still five years away from being born. I just sort of took more things in stride back then, man. But that was 1969, so it was probably just all the drugs I was on.
Don't judge. It was a different time. You wouldn't understand if you weren't nearly born then like I was. Don't get me started on the flashbacks. Even though they are of a time when I had no sensory organs of any kind, they're still crazy, crazy intense. The colors, man; the total lack of colors.
The thing that gives me most pause is that at first I just wasn't sure what China's motivation for sending men to the moon could be. When we did it, it was for the noble cause of one-upping the Godless Russkies as part of an international pissing match of which the "Space Race" was only one part. There were other facets of course like the fate of all of Europe, the inevitable mutually assured nuclear destruction and the ballet dancer/circus performer thing. I don't know exactly how that last part fit in to all of it, but I remember the 1980s Cold War being all about defecting Russian ballet dancers and circus performers.
Before you ask, yes, I'm thinking of Moscow on the Hudson and White Nights but the way I see it, they wouldn't have bothered to make movies about them if they weren't reflective of the truth. Just like that one out now about the giant monkey coming to America to kill us all. One more thing to worry about, but that's a whole different post. Movies don't lie. That's what the news is for.
Anyway, China doesn't have all that "race" pressure because the race is over. We won. We were able to put together the money and the talent to stage a fake moon landing in the Arizona desert before the Russians could. Of course we had the incalculable advantage of having direct access to Arizona, which is I'm sure what tripped the Russians up, but that was 36+ years ago now. We've turned the page.
Now China wants to actually go to the moon after 2017. All that expense and effort and risk, for what? Celestial sloppy seconds? It doesn't make sense until you think about it this way: the article doesn't say how many people will be included in the manned mission after 2017.
So I figured it out. They're not doing for the international prestige or any lasting scientific significance.
They just need the space.
China has a billion people. A buh-ill-yun. That's a lot of take-out, people.
We sent three-man crews. My estimate for the first Chinese manned mission to space will be a crew of nearly 800,000.
Think about it. They're spending all this time and money right now in preparation for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. That means all kinds of new stadia and venues that are kind of saucer-shaped, perhaps even domed, to hold all together several hundred thousand people at once. Figure the games end in August of '08, give another 9 years or so to fund and execute an operation to secretly fit each stadium venue with booster rockets underground. From there it's a simple process of luring a bunch of unsuspecting rurals into the stadiums with a promise of a free concert or livestock exhibition and then pow! Doors go closed, 3-2-1 ignition, gone.
Goodnight, God bless. Well, not "God" since they're atheist heathen reds, but whatever the equivalent. Jackie Chan I guess.
No tedious selection process, no super-expensive specialized training. Just a bunch of bumpkins they didn't jobs or housing for in the cities anyway on their way to a whole planetoid all to themselves. Plus they would get rid of their Olympic Stadium, which nobody ever seems to know what to do with after the games are over anyway, so double-bonus there.
The moon solution would have everything the new unsuspecting immigrants could ever want up there. Wide open spaces, plenty of work to do building a society from scratch and fighting off the packs of giant man-eating space lizards up there. The lack of a breathable atmosphere does kind of stick out like something of a minus, that's true. But seriously, by 2017 I don't know how breathable Beijing air is going to be anyway, so we'll call that a wash.
It sounds cruel and inhumane and ruinously expensive, but just wait. Those Chinese are a hard-working, adaptable, industrious people. I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see a majority of the world's crappy tourist gift-store plastic tchotchkes coming from the moon shortly thereafter. That is, after all, the genius of their people. I for one look forward to it.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 1.8
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
To Do The Dishes, To Clean Up My Room, To Do The Laundry, And In The Bathroom...
Chicks, man. Why do they have to ruin everything?
Everything guys try, all of a sudden girls have to run out and do the exact same thing. But they never do it quite the same way, which ruins it for us guys who want things the way we want them, all butched up and hug-free. It doesn't matter where you go now or what you do, there's always going to be some "equal" chick there watering down the testosterone rush: at sports events, voting, playing cards, sex... you can't even hide from them at work any more. All we can do is take an infinitessimal amount of pleasure from the fact that we know they're only making 75¢ on the dollar compared to us. It sounds unfair, but that's called reparations. If we can't hire unqualified secretaries anymore based purely on breast size and have to cancel Circle Jerk Thursday, we deserve a few extra bucks per week to compensate for the degradation of Penis-American* culture.
Manliness is in full retreat. The very existence of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is evidence enough of that. There's no way I should know anything about textured wall coverings or to look for face moisturizer with sunblock in it. But I do. How am I supposed to unlearn that? The answer is, I can't. My manhood has been permanently and irrevocably compromised.
I don't really care that much about the War on Christmas (although I will defend myself to the death if necessary when the bloodthirsty secularists come for my porcelain Mickey and Minnie nativity scene with the Goofy baby Jesus) but I'm all about the War on Dude-ness. Because it's not going well.
For years now, ever since that dark day of 26 August 1920 (or as it is known among dudes, "Black August 26th" because we can't remember what day of the week it was) when we let them have a say in how stuff works, we've been in retreat. Sure, the skirts came off, which sounds great, until we realized they'd only been set aside in favor of pant-suits.
The more chicks push, the more ground we give. They want to "talk", we retreat to the TV. They want to watch TV with us, we turn on sports. They want to watch sports all of sudden, we fall back to the position we are in now, to fantasy sports.
Thus far it has been an impregnable fortress of dude-dom. Girls no likey fantasy football. I don't know if it's all the details that their little heads just can't handle or if it's just that they as a gender just aren't any good at math... I don't know. But up until now, I haven't been asking. All I know is they stay outside the bubble. Finally, something a group of guys can do together, sitting around a table, smoking cigars, drinking scotch, completely naked. You have to be careful where you drop your cigar ashes in that case of course, but we're being manly. Like men. Like Vikings. I like to think Erik the Red played fantasy football in exactly the same way.
The guard has to go up now, though, because once again the ladies are coming for us. It isn't fantasy football that's threatened directly quite yet, but look at this: Fantasy Fashion League.
Look familiar? It has a "season" in which "teams" accumulate "points" during several "weeks" of "play".
I know what you're thinking guys: "Haha, isn't that adorable. Let the girlies have their thing and we'll have ours and never the twain shall meet."
Just remember they said the same thing when we started letting them go to college. They're not playing. They're practicing. This is the first step. Once they learn how to master and manipulate bullshit statistical arcana on a spreadsheet for fun, they're coming for us.
Watch. You'll see I'm right. It will be subtle when it begins. When your wife, your sister, your mom (hopefully not all the same person) casually ask "Oh, so who are you starting at running back this week?" at first you're going to be 1) amused and 2) thrilled that they asked because you're a boring-ass fantasy football player who can't wait to talk about this shit for hours on end to anyone who even remotely feigns any kind of vague interest.
This is what they want. They need our guards to be down. This is how we got office birthday parties. Do you want something like that in your house? Do you? Do you want to have your big fantasy league draft day with crab puff hors-d'oeuvres and fresh-baked sugar cookies and people crying with joy when they get the player they really, really wanted?
Goddammit. That all sounds really really good. Except for the crying, but I'm not going to lie and say that doesn't happen anyway. You women are insidious with your baking and your compatible sexual organs. How do you fight something you want so very badly?
Try to remember, men: there are more of them than there are of us. And they live longer.
What I'm saying is give up. Forget the rest of that crap I said. Surrender. There are worse things than being pussy-whipped. And all of them were invented by chicks. Like co-ed baby showers. Think about that.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.1
*= if you haven't heard that term before, I honestly wish I could say I invented it, but I didn't. You know what, fuck it, I did invent it. I take full credit. Send money.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I don't have a lot of trouble motivating myself when it comes to hating foreigners. I'm an American. Our geographic position isolated from the whole rest of the world leads to a general suspicion of outsiders. If any other country besides Mexico and Canada want a piece of this, they're going to have to travel across an ocean to try and kick our asses. I said try. These colors don't run. Love it or leave it. Don't tread on me. E pluribus unum. Pimps up, hos down.
What I'm saying is when it comes to irrational fearing of the Other, I'm something of a self-starter. I don't need any help from anybody else to tell me that everyone from every other country is jealous of us and wants to take what we have, probably by immigrating here illegally and then not speaking English. Or by an unprovoked massive nuclear strike. They're all sneaky that way.
I certainly don't need any help from global sport governing organizations to tell me who to hate and why. Not even FIFA and their World Cup. They had the team group draw this past Friday, slotting countries into eight four-nation groups for the group qualifying stage to start next June in Germany. The USA was one of those countries.
First of all, I'm a little suspicious of this whole enterprise. I like soccer, but an international tournament? I'm not really comfortable risking America's international reputation to compete against other countries in a sport we didn't invent. I would prefer it if--internationally speaking--we stick to sports that only we play and thus guarantee victory, like in
Secondly, this "FIFA" outfit? Foreign. So you know it's already fixed with crazed anti-American non-English-speaking jealous people.
That's why we got stuck in the hardest group in the whole tournament with Italy, Czech Republic and Ghana. Italy is a perennial power, the Czech Republic is currently the #2 ranked team in the world and Ghana is... in Africa, I think.
Now I'm supposed to--on the orders of these FIFA people--hate these countries for soccer-specific reasons, each on their day when we play them during the group stage in June.
Thanks FIFA, but I don't need your flimsy soccer excuse to hate the foreign man. I can find plenty to despise about each of them without prompting.
Italy: Charter member, first Axis of Evil. Inventors of fascism, only to get kicked out of the band by Germany, which makes them the Pete Best of totalitarianism. One of only three countries shaped like footwear (along with Clogistan and Sandalvania). Did not invent pasta. Chief exports: Olive Garden, the Mafia.
Czech Republic: Cannot spell their own first name. Even though they've been broken up for like 10 years, won't shut up about goddamn Slovakia. World's Least Interesting Flag Competition Winner, six years running. Prague is a attention-hungry publicity whore that has stood in for every European city in every movie made since the fall of the Iron Curtain; the city appears on more total feet of film than Jenna Jameson's labia. Chief exports: oppression, James Bond villains.
Ghana: Is... um... in Africa. Ah! Has a city called "Tamale". Used to be called "Gold Coast", but changed it's name, presumably because they were uncomfortable having their country share its name with so many gay bars. Sort of rhymes with "Goner". Chief exports: hunger, Freddy Adu.
So there you have it, FIFA, you pushy foreign bastards. I hate who I want, when I want, how I want. I'll watch your "World Cup", but on my terms. Like an American.
Well, not exactly like an American because, like I said, I'll be watching it.
By the way, does anyone know a derogatory word that rhymes with "Italy"? The best I can come up with so far is "bitterly", but that's not very good. Let me know.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.7
Monday, December 12, 2005
I can't imagine it's easy to be a newspaper reporter everyday. Sure, most days the news sort of writes itself. Car chase, multiple homicide, government-written dispatches from Iraq, car dealership opening, city-council meetings... a lot of it is boring-ass stuff, but at least it's something to do between Maury and Montel.
There are days when somebody chains 30 Guatemalans into a panel van, panics at the sight of a CHP car and then leaves them to bake to death in the desert somewhere within your newspaper's circulation radius. On those days I bet local Riverside reporters are all smiles and high-fives and prank calls to the Orange County Register taunting them for their efficient law enforcement and temperate weather.
I really feel for newspaper reporters on the slow days, when there are only the regular ole boring single-death crimes to report. Then they have to go to their Filler Story file. You know, the file of "great story ideas" they had in their first week on the job before they realized a) reporters worked for a living and b) there's not quite as much of an old-school Italian mafia element in Riverside County to "blow the lid off" as they had hoped.
Yesterday must have been one of those days at the local paper. Somebody covered Tookie, the AP had this Iraq vote thing covered and everyone else was on this story:
Desert-area high school with the mascot "Arabs". The picture is from inside the gym. The title of the story is EMBATTLED EMBLEMS. Very daunting. Political correctness gone crazy, yes?
Here's the one quote (the only quote) from an Arab man with regard to Coachella Valley High School's nearly-hundred-year-old choice of mascot:
"I look at it as they're honoring Arab people, not mocking them. I'm happy they see the contributions of Arabs besides what we see on the news."
By the way, that guy in the picture shooting the ball is Coachella Valley junior small forward Chucky "Suicide Bomber" Grant. He missed that shot. He's no good from long range, but he kills up close, especially in a crowd. Blue chip recruit, that one.
So I'm not really sure what the story is. I guess it's "Local 90-year-old mascot not really that big of a deal. To anybody."
I can see how the giant picture of a glowering, hook-nosed Arab caricature on gym wall might look menacing in all its emphasize Semitism. But like I said--and apparently everyone out here also realizes, with the exception of some bored, bored reporters--it's old.
The origins of it are simple enough: a high school started in a little area in the middle of a desert known for growing dates. Hmm, desert, dates... let's call 'em the Arabs! Except I'm sure back in the day they said "A-rabs".
See, it's just an emphasis of some basic regional and agricultural similarities. It's like the way people in northern Indiana drink themselves stupid on daily basis when they're not starving to death on a diet of blighted potatoes and cabbage. Out of that we got "Fighting Irish" and nobody complains about that.
As far as I know, that's the extent of the Arab-Coachella Valley connection. There are no Koran passages written on the school walls, no Death to Israel rallies of any kind on campus during school hours, the football team doesn't yell Allahu akbar! every time it breaks huddle. Well, OK, they sometimes do the last one, but only once a year in their annual rival game against the Palm Springs High School Crafty Jews.
That's not editorialized anti-Semitism on my part, that's really their school mascot, "Crafty Jews." Crafty is a compliment. It means "smart and devious, like the devil."
Just as a point of reference and context, the Inland Southern California area is also home of Lake Arrowhead's Rim of the World High School Fighting Scots. See, there the name of the high school is more stupid than the potentially ethnically offensive mascot name, so you don't notice so much. But see, again, there was probably a community devoted to cross dressing, caber tossing, Mars Bar consumption, consumption (as in the wasting-away disease brought on by prolonged exposure to the damp) and bar fighting. Hence "Fighting Scots."
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say. I was trying to make fun of a non-issue newspaper article. I suppose that means I just wrote 500+ words of nothing based on an article about nothing. My goodness, I am a gifted human being.
Perhaps I still feel guilty for skipping out on writing a decent post last night. I would apologize more profusely, but some times shit just happens that needs to be dealt with. Plus, I gave you people the Lamas. As far as I see it, we're square.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5
*= Unless we're talking about the War on Terror. Then Go Us.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
When things get busy, I have in the past
On this busy, busy Sunday, I offer you:
After Paris Hilton, he is our country's most prominent Eurotrash-American. Look deep past the yellow tinted I've-completely-given-up specs. Do you see what I see?
I think that you must.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #23
starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway
directed by Ang Lee (The Hulk, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Ice Storm, Sense & Sensibility)
I know exactly what you're thinking. You're thinking "Oh God, I've never been so hungover in my life. I'm never drinking again. Where did all this blood come from?"
Don't panic. It's probably just from the dog.
What you're probably also thinking, more specifically relevant to this post, is "Oh man, here we go, Pops is going to talk about the gay cowboy movie. We're never going to get past the ass-sex are we?"
The answer to that question is: probably not.
I don't know what the juvenile giggly appeal of the phrase "ass-sex" is exactly, I just know it works. There are entire websites devoted solely to its utterance. Whole schools of philosophical homophobic thought are developed to the ins and outs of its practice.
I don't know much about it personally past the fact that you can't get away with it by claiming to have "bad aim".
It's the last of the socially acknowledged taboos, I suppose. There are much freakier things people are doing to each other right now, but those get no voice whatsoever. We leave those out on the fetish fringe and somehow they seem less deeply personal than ass sex. I don't know if it's just the mental image or the idea in general, but I know that even if we are relaxed enough to let the concept penetrate us, to really let it sink in, we're still slightly uncomfortable with it. Any conversation involving ass sex is going to touch on a lot of nerve endings we're not used to having stimulated.
Some slightly bad news, though: this pre-review is going to be less gleefully adolescent than it might have been. I've been reading a lot about this movie and I'm starting to think it might not be all that was promised us when the first trickles of hype starting leaking out lo these many months ago.
We were specifically promised a "gay cowboy movie". This is the film's unofficial title, "That Gay Cowboy Movie". As titles go, that's still (surprisingly) less gay-sounding than Brokeback Mountain, but it promises something that I now know it cannot deliver.
First of all, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal aren't sent out on the lonely prairie with only each other for company while tending to a herd of cattle. They are sent out into the high country with just their horses, each other and a herd of... sheep.
That's right, I said sheep.
How can it be a gay cowboy movie when there are no cows? This is actually a gay shepherd movie, which is the most redundant redundancy in the history of redundantness. When you hear "man" and "sheep", don't you automatically think of buggery? I know I do. Sheep-herding is the gayest profession that doesn't include swatches. Hell, the most constant analogy for Catholic priests is the shepherd with his flock. Enough said on that score, I think.
Secondly, this movie covers a span of 20 years from 1963 to the early 1980s.
THERE WERE NO COWBOYS IN 1983!
When someone tells you "gay cowboy movie", you immediately think 1880s, dirt streets, little town, maybe a sheriff with a very dangerous mustache, whiskey, whores, gunfights and ass sex. That's a gay cowboy movie. A gay cowboy movie has a hero who wears a ten-gallon hat made out of silk. Maybe with a feather in it or some sequins to give it some sass. Ascot instead of a bandana. Tailored, carefully distressed cowboy duds coordinated as an ensemble and for the season. Assless chaps. Drinks his white wine spritzer from a dirty shot glass.
You know... this guy:
If we're going to break some serious cultural ground here by looking at some pop cultural icons in a different way, then lets do that. Let's have the rugged macho Civil War veteran guy out on the range under wide-open skies paired with a limp-wristed lisping sissy who rides side saddle. At first he despises him, but he comes to appreciate his partner's gentle, caretaker nature. By the time they reach the end of the Laramie trail, they're holding hands and skipping through fields of flowers, stopping only occasionally for rip-snorting sessions of cowboy ass sex.
Goddamn it, I want John Wayne cornholing Randolph Scott.
THAT is a "gay cowboy movie". This Brokeback Mountain is about two guys having gay sex in the 1960s and 1970s. Oooh, how transgressive.
This whole experience of examining this film is depressing, frankly. If you would have asked me before the reviews came out if I wanted to have ass sex with Jake Gyllenhaal and/or Heath Ledger, I know what my answer would have been. Now I'm just not sure.
I haven't been this confused since puberty.
For all these reasons, I must give Brokeback Mountain a sadly non-committal
One (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
It's The Mind
Brains. People think with them. Zombies eat them. Drugs, apparently, fry them exactly like eggs. Brains are complicated things with a complicated host of uses. I would lay them all out for you, but I don't want to get too sciency.
The best thing about the brain is that, when operating within certain acceptable social parameters, we are free as people to use them in whatever way we see fit. Mine, for instance, has 74% of its capacity devoted to Freecell. The remaining 26% is divided more or less evenly between basic cognition, speech, motor functions, regulation of the autonomic nervous system, Minesweeper and porn.
I will leave it to you to guess which part I devote to this little endeavor every day.
I've read two news stories this morning, however, that has made me question just how much freedom we actually have in using our minds. Is my devotion to Freecell more a question of nature or nurture? Personally I am convinced that my absolute committment to wasting time shuffling electronic representations of playing cards around has to be genetic. As I sit here in my swivel chair, I can see all around me dishes that need cleaning, floors that need vacuuming, a dog that needs letting out, children that need... I don't know, something probably. And still I just shrug my shoulders and go back to trying to figure out how I can dig out the 3 of clubs I need from under four cards with only two spaces free. A dereliction of duty that powerfully irresponsible can only be hardwired into the human subconscious.
One great thing about brains is that we, as humans, have employed our superior brains and worked out that in order to find things out about ourselves, the best methodology involves experimentation. On other species. They still have brains and eyes and feet and nipples for electrode-attachement analogous to our own.
It's very common to experiment with monkeys in this fashion since, as primates, the man-subsitution analogy is very strong. Let's say you have a cattle prod. You are desperate to find out what happens if you were to shove it 2 feet deep into someone's colon and set it off. But not your colon specifically, no. Basic personal survival instincts urge you to try it on someone else first. You could try it on a couple of guys in the lab. Hell, ole Roger the Beaker-cleaning Intern might even be up for it. But if Roger gets cold feet half way through, it's your word against his when the cops start asking questions.
Hey! What about monkeys!? They look like people! They have colons and everything. And they're infinitely less likely to sue. One giant grant from the Department of Defense later and you're in business.
What's weird is when we move past the helpful, straightforward research of cattle-prods-in-colons and make-up-applied-directly-to-eyeballs and start making dubious corrollaries between monkeys and humans in the brain department.
This study came out just today talking about how boy monkeys like boy-human toys and girl monkeys like girl-human toys. The boy monkeys played cars and the girl monkeys played with the dolls. Oh, this means that gender preference is hardwired in humans, too! Except at the end of the experiment, the monkeys ate the toys and took turns shitting on each other.
So maybe the analogies aren't perfect.
What this suggests, though, is sort of awesome, if the stupid scientists would take the time to look at the data correctly. It's not that the monkeys act like that out of biological necessity; it's simply definitive proof that the patriarchal hegemony has finally penetrated the animal kingdom.
I'm a huge fan of patriarchy. This is because I am a male. A woman-hating, dominating, oppressive male. I don't actually act in any of those ways, but it's what society needs me to be, so I guess I must be.
Not only am I male, but I am almost a patriarch, of sorts. I've got kids and everything. King of the castle. Lord of the manor. It seems kind of backward because I stay home while my wife goes out to work, but in point of fact that is the ultimate expression of patriarchal dominance. I send her out to slave away and bring me home wages I can then wantonly spend on things like computer upgrades so I can play faster and faster versions of Freecell.
I would like to congratulate the monkeys for finally getting clued in to this big fat gravy train. If the girl monkeys start asking questions, just remember: you can't help it. It's just the way things are. That's the lesson I take away from this study at least. It's the biggest human/primate achievement since the discovery in 1998 that a macaque could operate a Barcalounger.
Fascinating as the brain is, it can also get you into trouble, especially when it malfunctions. It turns out the guy who got shot by air marshals in Orlando yesterday was bipolar and off his meds. Tragic.
One teenager quoted in the story said: "Officers told him to stop and he said no," the teen said. "He was running like a crazy man."
Yes, teenager. He was running exactly like a crazy man. He would have also talked, walked, eaten, breathed and sat perfectly still like a crazy man. This is because he was a crazy man.
I just hope that when my fragile mind finally betrays me, I hope I don't go the kind of crazy that makes me make bomb threats on planes and then run away. I want to go the kind of crazy where you're barely awake, mostly catatonic, your body betraying you but your mind frantically working as normal on the inside, like being caught in a flesh prison of my own tragic device. Just so long as I can still move just enough to point and click with the mouse.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.8
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
100 Things About Me
No more hiding. No more lies. It's about bloody time.
1. I was adopted from my native Uganda when I was 4.
2. I had already killed seven people by that time.
3. Self-defense, honest.
4. My powerful physical attractiveness makes people uncomfortable.
5. I have never kissed a man in a romantic/sexual way.
6. I'm not much for foreplay.
7. Uncooked beef can contain dangerous e coli and other bacteria.
8. Turkey comparatively has a very high fat content.
9. No, sorry, those last two are part of my 100 Things About Meat list. Please disregard.
10. I always got my best grades in English.
12. But not so much in math.
13. I wear a size 12 shoe.
14. I own every album Elvis Costello ever made.
15. Elvis Costello owns every album I ever made. He says they're good, but I suspect he's just being polite.
16. I have two eyes.
17. With the right medication, my OCD is finally under control.
18. Did I leave the stove on? Hang on.
19. Back. Everything's fine. I think. Let me check again.
20. Pill time.
21. I know where to find the HTML hex codes for color.
22. Like this
23. And this
24. And this
25. I am easily amused.
26. Chicks dig me because I rarely wear underwear.
27. And when I do, it's usually something unusual.
28. I have seen the movie Stripes in excess of 40 times.
29. I once built a time machine out of common household items, including a vacuum cleaner, old CDs, a poncho and a spice rack.
30. My time-traveling days ended when my grandfather came back from the future and killed me.
31. I have had sex with seven women.
32. At the same time.
33. While blogging.
34. Right now.
35. Out of high school, I was drafted by the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball and the Southwestern Conference of Semi-Professional Bowlers.
36. I turned them all down to stay home to raise my kids.
37. And because the pro athlete life would have been too high profile, potentially compromising my mission as part of an elite covert US-based death squad/sleeper cell for the Ugandan government.
38. I've said too much.
39. Did I say "100 things about me"? I could have sworn I said 40. Are you sure? Check, because I swear I said 40.
41. Listy list list.
42. Typity typey type type.
43. qwertyuiop44. asdfghjkl;'
46. Now with the SHIFT key.
50. Hang on, I forgot the numbers row.
53. That made a "mail to" link. Weird.
54. The weirdest thing is that now I'm glad I did that. I just learned something.
55. Since 1974, the year I was born, roundhouse kick related deaths have increased 13,000%
56. No, that's actually not about me, that's from the list of stuff about Chuck Norris.
57. And he wasn't born in 1974. The list gives "1940" as his birth year, but that doesn't seem right. His beard is so healthily gray-free.
58. I can't get away from that goddamn Chuck Norris list. It's everywhere right now.
59. I was born in 1974.
60. I wear a size 10 shoe.
61. I don't care what other people think about me.
62. Except you. Your opinion means everything to me.
63. So uh... you like me, right?
64. You know what, don't even answer that. It was stupid and needy and just... I'm embarrassed I even asked.
65. But if you were going to answer, you would have said "yes", right?
66. No, no. Sorry again. Can we just pretend that didn't happen? Thanks.
67. I have never put "product" in my hair.
68. By "product", I mean another man's semen.
69. That's what those Queer Eye guys mean when they say it, right? Because they're all... you know... queer.
70.Holy shit, am I only at #70?
71. This is like running a goddamn marathon.
72. I assume it's like a marathon because I don't run.
73. Even when chased.
74. If pursued, I turn, face and destroy.
75. I've never been chased twice by the same person.
76. I have never lost a game of "tag".
77. I have been to England and to France.
78. In both instances, I never left the airport(s).
79. I stepped off the ramp, took one look and said "Nope, too foreign," and went immediately back to the US of A.
80. America is awesome.
81. I know #80 is not technically about me, but America is awesome and I am an American, which means by association that I too am awesome.
82. I am Catholic.
83. I was an altar-boy very briefly in my youth.
84. I've never had any kind of sexual contact with a priest.
85. The old man never even made a pass at me.
86. I am still bitter about this. I mean, at least give me a chance to say no.
87. Sure, like Timmy was so much more attractive than me. I was the poor one with no father at home. I was the obvious choice, but noooo.
88. I was a poor kid.
89. I had no father at home.
90. Neither #88 nor #89 are as big a deal as you'd think. Except when working the sympathy angle with the ladies.
91. I moved somewhere in the range of 15 times between kindergarten and high school graduation.
92. I developed agoraphobia as a defense mechanism.
93. That in conjunction with my newly developed vertigo, I not only don't have to leave the house, I can't even stand up from this chair.
94. I weigh 475 pounds.
95. I have not seen the sun since 2003.
96. My skin is a sickly, nearly translucent yellow color.
97. It really grosses out my albino neighbor.
98. Oh my God, finally, 98!
99. Do I really have to think of one more? I don't think I can think of one more. Nobody has one-hundred-things-worth of personality.
100. Entries #3, 16, 21, 31, 38, 45, 61, 62, 67, 90, 94 and 98 are all lies.
[The Narcissus Scale refuses to compute numbers larger than 10]
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
We Don't Need No Education
I have three kids. This means there are things I cannot do anymore, like go places. Or buy things for myself. Or experience hope or joy. Sometimes I can't feel the warmth of the sun, as though I am bathed in a constant shade of my own making, severed from the world and it's most basic sensory experience by the self-inflicted guillotine sentence of parenthood.
I do know all the words to every song by the Wiggles ever, though. So there are some benefits.
I also can't stay up as late as I used to all the time. Sometimes it's just a result of exhaustion. If you don't have kids, try this: wake up in the morning and start screaming. I mean really, really loud, ugly, Linkin Park screaming. Do that nonstop every hour that you're awake. You will pass out once or twice from the outgoing oxygen as you shout, but that's normal. Just make sure that when you recover, you immediately resume screaming.
Remember: all day. Now let's see how chipper you are around 10 pm.
I'm not complaining necessarily because parenthood is voluntary. Well, in our case the first one was. Mrs. Pops and I haven't been alone in a room together since our wedding night, so I'm not even clear how she got pregnant the second or third time. She says I had sperm samples harvested and that she was artificially inseminated. Funny I don't really remember that, but she assures me that the doctor--whom I also don't remember--says that's a normal after-effect of the anaesthesia. That doesn't explain why my second and third kids are half Chinese, though.
So let's recap: a) cut off from grown-up human society and b) oh so very sleepy.
These are the reasons I don't get to watch Saturday Night Live anymore.
I also don't watch it because that show is designed to entertain people between the ages of 14 and 22. Period. They turn the entire cast over every 6-8 years, they say for creative reasons, but really it's to purposely alienate older viewers and allow teenagers at co-ed slumber parties all over America to learn about politics and what a Frank Sinatra impression looks like from a whole new cast. And that will be their cast and the rest of us can go fuck ourselves.
As if I didn't already have enough motivation to hate hate hate SNL, I found out today via a local newspaper column that on last week's "Weekend Update" segment, Riverside got mentioned.
Wow, how exciting! What could they possibly have said about us?! If they mentioned us by name on "Weekend Update", a segment devoted to celebrating things with dignity and sincerity, why, it must only be a boon, a blessing, a bailiwick.
Actually I'm not really sure what a "bailiwick" is. Is that even a word? It sounds like a word. It makes me think of "bulwark", but I don't think it's the same thing. You know what? Pretend I didn't say that.
Here's the joke taken from the official show transcript:
POEHLER -- "A new survey reveals that Seattle is the nation's most literate city, followed by Minneapolis and Washington. While once again, the least literate city is Reevarsyde, Kaleefermia."
Ahahahahaha! So very very funny.
A couple of points:
1) Amy Poehler must die. I know odds are she probably didn't actually write that particular joke. It could just have easily been Tina Fey who was assigned that one. Just so you know it's nothing personal against Ms. Poehler, I would have marked Tina Fey for death had she been the one to read it. True justice would require me to determine who did write that joke and kill them, but I don't really have that kind of time. Plus, remember: I tire easily.
The joke was built around the results of this particular study. As you can see, Riverside is clearly not last.
At the top of the list of "most literate" (a dubious category for quantification) are cities like Seattle and Minneapolis, places where there's nothing to do BUT sit around and read books. Entire populations driven indoors by the weather and the fact that there is a better than 50/50 chance that should they go outside, they will be eaten by a bear.
I'll have you all know we killed off all our bears about 100 years ago, not to mention a thousand other species of various animals now extinct. It's called civilization. The freeway had to go somewhere. We put our bears in natural history museums and on our flags where they belong.
What intrigues me is that the SNL people went out of their way to belittle my community when the reference to us wasn't even warranted. On the rankings of 69 cities, Riverside actually finished 59th. Ten spaces up from the bottom, bitches! That's higher than local brethren cities (and this is true) Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Ana (the Orange County seat, ranked 62nd) and Anaheim.
So the punchline isn't that people in Riverside can't read. It's that people in Southern California can't read. Eat that, SNL! Do your homework!
The fact that they chose us to single out is curious, though. Being 100% honest with you people, I'm a little... well, "proud" isn't the right word. Not by a longshot. More like... pleased. We aren't just a regional joke anymore; we're a national punchline.
Our little town is growing up.
OK, Amy Poehler can live.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.1
Monday, December 05, 2005
Monday Lite: Pops Music
A couple of things I was taught today via my reader-stalking services provided by the good people at Sitemeter.
::The Bucket is the #1 search result via Google for arsenio monologue hamburger. I don't think it has anything to do with hamburgers and more with the fact that I'm the only person since the invention of the internet who has bothered to mention Arsenio Hall.
::We now have a theme-song. Apparently in 1980 there was some musical act associated with some damned foreign British TV show. Their song: "The Bucket of Water Song". The Group: The Four Bucketeers.
That's right. 24 years before this blog's birth, a children's-show band existed that presaged it's creation. Like John the Baptist before Jesus. They even doused people with water (hence the buckets, yes?). Some might think it was to do with religous purity, a physical cleansing to go along with the metaphorical spiritual one. Me, I just think it's funny to throw stuff at people. If you haven't sat in the first three rows of a Gallagher show, don't come to me with your "religion" because you don't know what you're talking about.
This is bad news for people like Rita and MPH and Steph and SJ who were laboring under the misconception (unbeknownst to me, even) that they were amongst the original Bucketeers.
Sorry kids. Second generation at best, as it turns out. I will have to ask you all to mail back your "I'm An Original Bucketeer" solid copper commemorative tongue-studs. There are four aging British men who were in line ahead of you, alas.
The song, apparently, went Top 30 in England in 1980. A testament to my nascent power of pop-cultural persuasion, no doubt. It sounds like bragging, but after you hear the song, you'll know it doesn't have a whole lot else going for it.
Listen in horrified wonder, if you dare.
Remember: this is England. The current #1 song there is by the Pussycat Dolls.
Once you get past the first 15 seconds or so of the song, you've pretty much heard the whole thing, so you can stop.
It does include a lady saying "We take it in the face" about 3/4 of the way through, however. So it's not like there's nothing to look forward to.
Enjoy, if such a thing can be done.
EDIT: Oh dear. Damn me and my curiosity! Check out the best damn All-Japanese Old Time Country-Western Cover Band working.