Pops' Bucket
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Lowbrow, But I Rock A Little Know-How
I don't really have anything to say, but I know you all want the scary, scary clown pictures to get bumped down, so here I am posting again.

Also, to make up for causing some of you to soil yourselves with yesterday's image, I present this one by way of penance:
Awww... Yes, I've used it once before, but look at the baby puppy baby doggie! Who's a wittle muppy-wumpkins? Who is? You are. That's right. You are my wittle bitty buppy-wuppy. Who's a good boy? Who is? Who's a good boy? That's right, you are. Unless you're a girl. That's right. Unless you're a wittle girly muppy-wumpkins. I can't really see your genitals in this picture, can I? No I can't. No I can't. Who's got genitals? Who does? That's right! You do!

Now, hey! Puppy! Get the stick! Do you want to get the stick? Wanna get it? Wanna get it? Ready? Ready? Aaaaaaaaannnd... go fetch it!

Hahahaha! There was no stick. And you totally ran after nothing. Stupid fucking dog.

And that's why dogs will never rule the earth. Because of the no-stick fake-throw fetch trick. You could train a whole army of super-dog soldiers and it won't matter because you can distract all of them with idiotic shit like that. Also, if you put a bunch of dogs together to march in ranks, the ass-sniffing alone would be enough to disrupt any kind of disciplined formation-keeping. That and the lack of opposable thumbs--or hands of any kind really--would make it hard for them to operate common fire-arms or, say, drive a tank. We'd have them there as well.

Come get us, dogs. You might be able to take out the odd unsuspecting grandmother, but you'll never take us all. Only we know how to operate the machinery that makes the dog snacks that look like bacon but aren't. You need us. You will always be our bitches.

Wow. That one kind of got away from me. I was going to talk about how it's another Fat Tuesday and how I planned to celebrate it by eating another human being, but I guess that will have to wait. But then now that I'm not going to blog the experience, there's no point in even doing it. Yes, that's how my life operates now: it's either blogworthy or it doesn't happen. Ah well... my heart wasn't really into it anyway. I can mark the occasion in other ways. "Carnality" can mean a great many things. Wish me luck.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.3


PS- Bad dog! No! Down!

Monday, February 27, 2006
Monday Lite: Arrivederci, Coma
The usually-reliable HaloScan commenting system is in something of a mood right now. Blogger comments are back on for the time being, but I still find them somewhat annoying.

The lack of comment activity means that I have to single-handedly supply all of you with entertainment with the expectation of nothing in return. I give and I give and I give and what do I get? Mostly feelings of deep satisfaction and high personal worth. So it's all good.

The only thing I'd like to say on this Lite Monday is that I watched a little bit of the closing ceremonies from the Olympics in Turino.* The theme was "Carneval" inspired by the fact that tomorrow is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival in the Catholic world. Usually (in, say, South America or New Orleans) this means plastic beads and drunken nudity. I'm good with that. I was interested to see how they would handle that in both a) the staid, composed Olympic setting and b) the freezing-ass cold.

Instead I saw this:

Clowns? Nobody said anything about clowns. What's worse, I don't think that clown even has boobies to show me were I to produce the requisite amount of bead necklaces.

The main problem is that anytime I see something like THAT (our clown, above), my brain immediately always goes to THIS:

So I switched the TV off ASAP, ran up stairs and went straight to bed, where I would lay, fully clothes, lights on, screaming at the top of my lungs for the next nine hours.

Mrs. Pops was not happy, but a phobia is a phobia. I don't judge her when she gets all irrational just because the kids found the rat poison again. Talk about your ridiculous fears. It says rat poison right on the package. My kids aren't rats, hence no problem.

Ah well. Marriage is about learning to live with one another's idiosyncracies. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to check the air vents for creeping murderous clowns, perhaps traveling in gaseous form. They can do that, you know.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.8


* = if a giant corporation like GE-NBC-Unverisal doesn't have to decide how to spell it, neither do I. It's "Turino" and I dare you to defy me.

EDIT: Of course as soon as I finish, HaloScan fixes itself. What a lot of work for a bunch of people just to make me look stupid. Nice work, HaloScan.

Sunday, February 26, 2006
Most Awkward Social Interaction Ever, Finalist
My neighbor has the last house on the street. His is right next to a hillside, which is home to dozens if not hundreds of personal-space-insensitive wild rabbits. They hop through his yard digging holes and eating plants, leading him to adopt all sorts of weird and drastic measures to discourage them, the naughty, naughty lagomorphs.

This dull-ass information is the context for the following conversation he and I actually had just yesterday. I know I tell a lot of lies, but this ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

HIM: Yeah, I'm putting up all this chicken-wire along my fence here to try to keep them out. They're really driving me crazy.

ME: They don't bother me. I think it's because of my dog. Have you considered getting a dog?

HIM: [pauses] Well... I love dogs. I do. But we've... uh...

ME: What?

HIM: I've had some problems with dogs in the past.

ME: Oh, OK. That's--

HIM: A dog killed my grandmother.

ME: ...

(the break here seemed like roughly 861 years of silence and blinking. Excruciating as it was, I managed to make it a little bit worse. In my defense, what the fuck do you say to that?)

ME: Well, I guess a dog's out then.

That's what I said to him. After all the effort he made to drop completely unnecessarily heart-felt and personal information on me like that. He said it all in bold that way, too. I don't know how to explain it, but that's how it came across in my head.

As if I weren't shamed enough, here I am blogging about it, making it all worse. Good lord, but I am an asshole.

And look at you all... reading this... enabling me.

I don't say "thanks" often enough.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9


Friday, February 24, 2006
The Luckiest People In The World
A few months ago I made the cogent-yet-hilarious observation that January was a total wasteland for movies where studios burn off the films they don't care about after Oscar eligibility runs out.

It sounded sort of "funny-because-it's-true!" at the time, but I'm starting to re-think it. It's possible that February dwarfs January entirely in the realm of total movie suckdom. I'm thinking January was just the thin edge of the Zero Entertainment Wedge, lulling us into a false sense of benign apathy with crap like Big Momma's House 2 so that they could BLAM! hit us with truly shocking, personally offensive knock-off shit-sculptures like Madea's Family Reunion. I mean come on, that's just Big Momma's House without the appeal of Martin Lawrence. It's got the most ironical tagline ever, too: "Learn Dignity. Demand Respect." This from a movie about a guy in drag who sings NO SHOWTUNES. If you're a gender-stable man and you don't even TRY to do Streisand singing "People," you have no business in a dress. Drag is a serious business and I won't have people disrespecting our their art in this manner.

Also this week: Ultraviolet, Running Scared, Doogal. How are we not all dead? Or maybe we are and this is hell. I don't know.

I do know that it's awesome to be an American; my version of hell is nothing good on at the movies. Because I understand suffering.

So since I'm too disgusted to discuss movies, I want to mention something only slightly less disturbing, this United Arab Emirates/port control scandal/crisis/news-cycle-feeder thing. The president has decided to amuse himself by listening to what someone else thinks for once. You know, just to try it out, maybe for a giggle or two before he unilaterally does whatever he wants (again).

Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. Arabs in charge of American points of entry. Big deal. Did you hear what the Saudis do to people who threaten them? Shot AND blown up. That's what I call efficient. Just because somebody's an Arab doesn't mean that they a) can't fuck people up when they need fucking up and b) don't like money. They're just as prone to reactive, obliteratory violence in order to keep the cash cow alive as any other subset of humanity. So they could handle this port thing so long as the income stream remains constant; or so long as they aren't suddenly overcome with self-immalatory religious zeal (you gotta watch Arabs for that); or so long as they don't get sort of bored. Port work is just, like, watching a bunch of boxes come on. Sometimes you might want to see one of them explode just to break up the monotony.

I'm less worried about Arab port people than I am with the people in this country in charge of figuring out how much stuff should cost. See, after those guys tried to blow up that refinery in Saudi Arabia, stocks slipped and the price of oil shot up. And this is after (according to all current reports) the facility was completely undamaged and production was unaffected. Look, I have a degree in a humanities discipline. I wouldn't even use the word "discipline" to describe it; it's just some stuff I did in between naps when I was in college. What I'm saying is I don't do basic math, let alone economic theory or market analysis. But this kind of seems like (and forgive the technical jargon) complete and utter horse-shit. The enemy isn't Arabs, at least not on a day-to-day basis. The enemy are these big fucking babies who trade in oil futures. What's the point of having security if when it WORKS and everything flows normally, you still get price hikes?

The only conclusion I can reach is that they hate me personally.

That's all I have for today. I'm having a "nothing makes any sense anymore" days. I haven't been this confused about life since Friends went off the air. I've got a long afternoon ahead of me curling up in a ball in my fall-out shelter and sobbing myself to sleep.

You're all invited, by the way.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8


Thursday, February 23, 2006
Hello, Sioux Falls! Are You Ready To Rock?!
I like being alive. I like breathing and seeing the sun and sleeping and waking up and (some) people and talking and the feel of lacy things against my skin, under my clothes where no one but me knows.

I especially like being alive when I consider the alternative.

So when you hear about the "culture of life" that the president promotes, it doesn't sound so bad. It sounds even better when you consider the reflex opposite, the "culture of death." Not only is it depressing, but it sounds like the name of a crappy '80s hair-metal band that plays pop music under the guise of "rock" and 30 pounds of AquaNet. So basically what I'm saying is that I support the idea of a "culture of life" because I think no man should ever--ever--wear foundation.

I also roll with the the "culture of life" since I'm a Catholic and there's a certain pride of association with the fact that the phrase came directly from the Pope (not the weird current one, I mean the one before, the good one who killed all those communists with his bare hands). And as you know, we Catholics unquestioningly go along with whatever the church tells us. Except child molestation. I'm not down with that, although in our defense the Church has officially upgraded the severity of that offense within the Church to "Very Seriously Most Probably A Bad Thing" from it's previous designation in the "Eh... Shit Happens... Whattyagonnado?"

I'm a little queasy about the current state of the "culture of life" because the phrase has been co-opted by non-Catholics in American politics, particularly the president. And like everything else the Protestants stole from us, they've gone and fucked it all up (see also: Jesus, the Bible, God, Christianity, etc.) too.

The GOP talking-points "culture of life" looks sort of strange. See, you get stuff like this business in South Dakota that I mentioned very briefly yesterday. There they've gone ahead to actively challenge Roe v. Wade (and just after the confirmation of Justice Alito! Fortuitous!) by passing a comprehensive ban on abortions. From the article, there is a grand total of one clinic in South Dakota that provides abortions, so basically, if you work at that clinic, this law is for YOU specifically.

The final vote in the South Dakota State Senate was 23-12. When I first saw that I thought: Holy crap, there are only 35 people in the whole South Dakota State Senate? And then I remembered, that works out to roughly 60% of the total state population, so that's, like, representative as all hell.

35 South Dakota Senators. And not even all of them voted for it. Then the Supreme Court potentially overturns Roe when someone challenges the constitutionality of the law. Because of what 23 people in South Dakota want right now.

Just to give you an idea of the political climate, here's an excerpt:

"In my opinion, it is the time for the South Dakota Legislature to deal with this issue and protect the lives and rights of unborn children," said Sen. Julie Bartling, a Democrat and the bill's main sponsor.

In South Dakota, this is how the Democrat women talk. Anyone who explodes my demographic preconceptions like that, I have to call bullshit. Maybe she's positioning herself to run for a more prestigious office than South Dakota State Senate like governor or US Senator or... really any other elective or appointed office in the whole entire world.

But overall, I guess, "Yay, culture of life!" right?

Then we have an ipso facto death penalty moratorium here in Cali while we wait until the state can find a doctor who is OK assisting with executions (in compliance with a judge's order to ensure the executed do not suffer) in defiance of that Hippocratic Oath thingy.

You'd figure the "culture of life" people would be happy with this (execution = death which does NOT = life), but nooooo. We have a president whose only discernible political accomplishment prior to his ascendancy to his present office was that he executed a lot of people and a vice president who hunts human beings for sport. So we KNOW they're not down with this namby-pamby bleeding-heart activist-judge bullshit.

Also, this is the administration that directly and indirectly brings you daily reports of death and mayhem the world over. Say what you want about it, but it saves me from having to read cover stories about the tax code in my Newsweek.

What puzzles me most about the "culture of life" crowd is how down they are on doin' it. You know what I mean. Doin' It. The act of creating life. Or at least simulating it only to ultimately frustrate it by means of physical or pharmaceutical barriers to conception. Still, come on... it's not like people don't need practice. Would you take someone who's never hammered a nail* and immediately assign them to build you a house... and then require them to move into that house for 18 years and then save a bunch of money to send that ungrateful house to college? No. No, you wouldn't.

If we're going to have a "culture of life," I think we should have a culture of ALL the aspects of life, especially the business of making it.

When we get down to the bottom of it, I guess my basic argument is as follows: more porn.

How's that for Catholic?

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.1


* = that is meant to be taken literally, by the way, you pervs.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
You'll Shoot Your Eye Out
My mom has just run off with my two at-home kids, so I'm blogging as fast as I possibly can. I have a few rare moments of nobody-all-up-in-my-face and I don't want to waste them trying to squeeze life-giving blog-blood from my brain-stone, especially when I could be downloading porn, listening to music WAY too loudly, sleeping or downloading porn.

First of all, before I bail on all of you and leave you all high and dry, I was VERY disappointed to see that nobody--not one of you--made it to my house by 2:00 yesterday afternoon. I had the minivan all fueled up and ready to go with the plastic slip-covers on the seats and everything. I had a couple of leads on some charter buses, bulk alcohol wholesale and even a donkey rental (you never know what people are going to want to do/see). When nobody showed up, well, I had to get creative just to keep myself out of trouble with the home-owners' association. I'm not even allowed to plant a tree without written permission in triplicate. Housing a bus, a recalcitrant donkey and a whole pallet of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill in one's driveway tends to raise some eyebrows. Just to avoid a fine, I'm probably going to have to sleep with the HOA president... again. Sure, it's worth it in the end, but just the thought of that scratchy beard against my neck creeps me out. But come on, we're talking about upwards of $40 here.

Secondly, and very quickly, a woman is suing thesmokinggun.com because they included her in a "Foxy Felons" mugshot gallery. Part of her claim is that she objects to the fact that she knows--knows--that some patrons of thesmokinggun.com are using her photo "for their own private sexual gratification."

Seriously, what is the matter with kids today? Downloading actual porn isn't good enough for them anymore? In my day we waited until our parents fell asleep so we could locate and distribute movies of women doing unspeakable things to each other, to themselves, to midgets, to Coke bottles, what have you. Good, clean, honest porn. Now people are abusing themselves to mug-shots of ladies from the neck up, alone and clearly wearing clothing? What ever happened to depravity? Where's the perversion? Have we gotten that square as a country? Next thing you know somebody's going to try to outlaw abortion and THEN where will we be? Before long people will probably just stop masturbating altogether, leading to rising incidences of road rage, first-date anxiety and the collapse of the American hand-lotion industry. It all seems so nice and wholesome until they start closing the lotion mines, people. THEN where will your high morality be when you're all out of work?

For the lady in the picture who is suing, though, I will say that I have learned from her plight two important things:

1) Don't commit crimes
2) If you must fail at #1, do not be hot while doing so

Remember, hot people don't commit crimes. Hot people sleep with ugly people and then sexually and emotionally manipulate them into committing crimes FOR them. Was I the only one who saw The Last Seduction? Cinemax can save you, people. It saved me. And it almost single-handedly keeps the lotion-mines open. Call your cable or satellite provider today.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.2


Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Flounder, I Am Appointing You Pledge Representative To The Social Committee; It Means You Have To Drive Us To The Food King
Man, I'm bored. Is anyone else bored? I'm totally bored.

Booooored. Bo-red. Be-ored. Bjøred.

I am typing I am typing I am typing I am tying I am typing I am typing I am typing I am typing I am typing

Damn. I just can't seem to...

You know what, fuck this. Anyone else want to get out of here and do something crazy? Just break the fuck out and just go buck wild. OK, maybe not totally "buck wild" as some of us are a) not 21 (or younger) anymore and b) not characters from a early/mid-1990s sketch comedy show oriented toward an African-American audience, but you know what I mean, man. Come on, you HAVE to come with me. No jail-time this time, I swear.

Look, we could all drive down to TJ. Not all day, just for a couple of hours or something, you know. I know there are a lot of us, but we could pass the hat around until we pool enough money to rent a bus. Anyone know how much one of those things cost? Whatever, I'm sure we could swing it. If not we can all carpool. I have a minivan.

We don't have to do anything weird like go see one of those donkey shows. We can just hit some bars, make some awkward conversation with some drunk underage gringas, drink some of those fancy drinks that they light on fire first, maybe get in a bar-fight with some Marines down from Pendleton. On the way back we can hit the street vendors and pay too much for a cheap-ass "Indian blanket." If we park in San Ysidro and walk across, we can roll some beggars on the way out. There's not much to take from a panhandler, but this isn't about practicality; this is about entertaining me because I'm bored.

Maybe you're not down with border crossing because you don't like to be around foreigners or you don't like to be hassled just because you carry fresh fruit with you or maybe there's a description closely matching yours with the Tijuana police in connection with a string of unsolved prostitute murders. Whatever, man. We don't have to do that. I'm not married to the idea.

Hey, this is California. There are lots of things we could do.

We could always hit the beach. You could even go into the water for a while if you want to. Nah, it's OK, I'll just hang back and watch. I have sensitive skin; it's part of my allergy to raw-sewage-tainted-seawater. Yeah, I know, it's freaky and kind of a bummer, but I live with it. Some people have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, I have this. It's my burden.

Maybe after you get out of the water we can get some of those fresh fish tacos from one of those beachfront little places, like Del Taco. I know it looks like a school-cafeteria fish stick inside tortilla, but come on, it's down by the beach, man. It has to be ocean-fresh. It comes with a lime wedge. You can't get more Mexican authentic than that.

After that we could just hang out. You know, kick it on the sand for a while, check out the sunset, watch the gay couples in spandex hold hands while they roller-blade past us. Dude, don't get all uncomfortable, they're in love. Look at you getting all squeamish. Don't be such a homophobe, you fag.

OK, fine. We don't have to go to the beach either. But I'm still bored. You know what? Vegas.

Roadie to Vegas. We don't even have to stop in Baker to see the World's Largest Thermometer if you don't want to. Straight up the 15, bitch. I can get you there, feet on Strip in 3 hours. We don't have to do anything weird like go see one of those donkey shows. We can just hit some bars, make some awkward conversation with some drunk underage whores, drink some of those fancy drinks that they light on fire first, maybe get in a bar-fight with some Marines up from Twentynine Palms.

And dude, the best thing is, if you don't like Vegas, you can always pretend you're in Paris or New York.

OK, you know what, fine, we can do the goddamn Star Trek Experience if you want to, but there better be some hot Klingon bitches there at least and you TOTALLY have to wait until I'm half-way loaded at least. There's no fucking way I'm watching "Borg Invasion 4D" sober.

Come on. That's a lot of options. You can't say no. If you want to beat traffic, you have to be here by 2:00. You let me know. I gotta make some calls.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.1


Monday, February 20, 2006
Monday (Not So) Lite: Deck The Halls
I don't really remember being six years old. Or four. Or eight. Two is out of the question. This is a never-ending source of amusement to my sisters as they are always asking me stuff like "do you remember when..." and I say "Remember WHAT?! No! Why do you always stop on the goddamn ellipses?" after which they will usually fill in the dramatic pause with some account of something I did pre-1997 and I will stare at them blankly until they laugh at me. Because they are related to me and are therefore cruel, they have also taken to INVENTING memories just to see if I'll pretend I remember so they will leave me alone, which is (apparently) hysterical.

Of course this just confuses things more as now I have to try to untangle actual memory fragments from implanted ones. For instance, I'm pretty sure that I once was sent to school wearing one shoe, but was I really ever part of a touring all-boy disco revue? I doubt it, but how can I be completely sure?

One way to check is to compare my own supposed experience with the age-appropriate example of my children. The only problem there is that my kids are only HALF me. The other half of their DNA comes from their mother, whose family is... weird. Not weird like we-keep-grandma's-mummified-remains-propped-up-in-front-of-the-TV weird, but really more experience-not-EXACTLY-like-my-own weird. You know... they're other people. Still, I think my kids are a good control against which to discern what is plausible.

A wall in my oldest boy's room is decorated thus:

Ooh, Jedi. I imagine if we had a) money for posters or b) walls when I was 6, I would have had something similar up in my bedroom. But alas, we can't all have the cushy food-and-shelter upbringing like my spoiled kids are enjoying.

I know, you're thinking "What the hell... is that money on the wall next to it?"

The answer is:

Why yes. Yes it is.
I mentioned this in a comment over at Rita's blog because I thought she could identify with what is happening here: this is my son's decoration for President's Day. To my horror, she could.

See, there are pictures of Washington and Lincoln on pieces of currency! Are six-year-olds supposed to be excited about this sort of thing? It's hard for me to say as I can't really remember being six.

I guess YOUR competency to answer the question depends on what you see in the second picture. Do you see:

a) patriotism
b) civic-mindedness
c) Scotch tape and the problem of removing it from paper currency
d) President-themed serial killer, age 6
e) adorable precociousness
f) $6.26

Me, I don't know what to make of it. Either he worships money, has no concept of money or is well on his way to becoming an interior decorator. I mean seriously, who decorates the house for President's Day?

As I said on Rita's blog, I hope to God it isn't a) patriotism or b) civic mindedness as those things can lead down the dangerous path to the humanities. Then he'll NEVER move out of the house. At least if he's an interior designer, he'll probably make some money (and then, hopefully, not just tape it to the wall). I won't have any natural grandchildren, but that's a small price to pay for being able to turn his room into a gym I never use after he moves the hell out.

Any thoughts or suggestions greatly appreciated.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9


Sunday, February 19, 2006
Falling Apart To Half-Time
For whatever reason, the part of my post last Friday that got the most interest in the comments section was my mention of the band Fall Out Boy. Once again you people astound me. I mean, here I went out of my way to implicitly equate Michelle Malkin with cancer and the only thing you want to know about is the latest Tiger Beat cover band. I guess I found the level of the room. And the depth of the (non-)appeal of Michelle Malkin. For that I applaud you.

Because my first and best gift is Beating Ideas/Objects Of Minor Interest To Rhetorical Death In The Desperate Search For Comedy,* I offer you, my beloved Bucketeers, some further information so that you might expand your knowledge of the band. Here, I found this picture:

Image hosting by PhotobucketNow, since I know nothing more about this band than the fact that they have this song I like, I can't actually offer you any more information to put this picture into any knowable context. I don't know any of the band members' names or what it is they do. Look, I've only got time to maintain one gushy fansite.

Looking at the picture, though, I can make some educated guesses. First of all, I'd say 3/4 of these men made the right choice going in to rock-n'-roll because they were going to have SERIOUS trouble getting laid if they worked, say, in retail or as office temps. Mutton-chop chin-strap facial hair is only going to get you so far and even then only in a very limited set of social circumstances (for instance with girls who are both excited to be backstage AND all fucked up on X).

Second of all, when trying to identify who the Lead Singer is, I find it's always a safe bet to go with the guy who's wearing the most eye-liner. I mean, why even bother wearing eye-liner if you're, say, the bass player? Nobody looks at the goddamn bass player anyway. Unless you're Bootsy Collins. But you know what? None of these boys is Bootsy Collins. That's not a shot at them really because who else is Bootsy but Bootsy, am I right? I'm right.

The problem with guessing the eye-liner Captain Raccoon in this picture as the lead singer is that he also happens to be wearing a shirt emblazoned with an airbrushed picture of a unicorn on it. Lead singers don't wear t-shirts with airbrushed unicorns on them. You know who wears t-shirts with airbrushed unicorns on them? Pedophiles.

Don't act all shocked; you were thinking it too. Of course I'm not saying that the categories of "singer" and "pedophile" are mutually exclusive as we know that this is not always the case.

For the most part, though, a lead singer will usually wear a worn-out tour shirt from some obscure band nobody ever heard of OR a worn-out t-shirt advertising alcohol. Of course REAL artists might wear something more sophisticated, but this is something a musician earns after they've nailed all the groupies they're going to nail and now just want something that camouflages the growing paunch hard-earned by a life of licentiousness, gluttony and hard living.

Of course Fall Out Boy can't say they're there yet. Having just the one song out that I like does not make a career. If that were the case, Morris Day & the Time would be in much better shape today.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.3


* = my second best gift? Découpage.

Friday, February 17, 2006
Movies I Have No Blah De Blah De Blah Blah Blah, #1
Well, I could just do the predictable thing and write up some old junk about a new movie out, probably Freedomland. Look, it's got Samuel L. Jackson AND Julianne Moore! Except (first of all) the marketing for this movie makes it sound just like Flightplan and Julianne Moore's own The Forgotten. Ambiguous Missing Children And Their Mentally Suspect Mothers has become a sub-genre in and of itself. But then you read the reviews and it sounds like some kind of meditation on race and justice mainly pitting Sam Jackson against whitey Ron Eldard. I'm not particularly moved by this pairing. If I want to watch an awkward mismatch of charisma, I can stay home and watch "Beauty and the Geek" for free.

And secondly (you forgot there was a "first", didn't you?) I'm not watching any goddamn supposedly deep socially-conscious movie by a guy who directed Christmas With The Cranks. Sorry. If you direct Christmas With The Cranks, the modern problem of race in America is OFF LIMITS TO YOU FOREVER. If you're looking for something more your speed, might I suggest Christmas With The Cranks II: Cranks In Paradise or Cheaper by the Dozen 3: Cheaperer by the Dozener. Those seem more your speed. I might even watch the last one, but that's only because I'm unnaturally attracted to Bonnie Hunt.

Or I guess I could instead talk about Valley of the Wolves, the highest-grossing film in the history of Turkey. It stars Billy Zane and Gary Busey as evil, evil Americans in Iraq who kill and torture people for fun. But if I talked about that at length, I'm afraid I might end up sounding all Republican and I don't want to give people the wrong idea.

Basically when it comes to popular culture right now, I'm just confused. Maybe I'm in some sort of border-region in terms of age where I'm transitioning out of cultural currency and into a soft form of proto-curmudgeonry. I spend a lot of time watching TV, shaking my head and saying stuff like "Kids these days..." and "Holy shit, was that a boob? They just showed a boob!"*

In the interest of catharsis and as a nod to the culturo-personal ultra-superficial blog aesthetic wherein people like me spout inanity in the form of easy-to-read lists in lieu of presenting developed thoughts, I give you all:

Things That Are Popular That I Just Can't Seem To Get In To
by Pops

  • "Desperate Housewives"

  • Mariah Carey

  • tattoos > 50% of total body skin surface

  • John Mayer and/or Jason Mraz (can't really tell them apart)

  • that Matisyahu song... "Hasidic reggae" is only funny if you're JOKING

  • bulimia

  • Patrick Dempsey, who will always only be the Can't By Me Love kid

  • "Dancing with the Stars"

  • precipitation

  • body piercing

  • coffee

  • skateboards

  • artery blockage (totally opting out of that one)

  • Olympic pairs ice-dancing

  • metrosexuality (a dude should NEVER smell like vanilla)

  • shooting your friends in the face with a shotgun

  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu

  • those boxy little Scion cars

  • kids which are always on my lawn

  • cowboys who are NOT gay

  • My Chemical Romance

  • Michelle Malkin

  • cancer

  • That's it. If anyone can explain the mass appeal of any of these things, I'd be grateful. Especially that last one. It sounds like it would suck, but THOUSANDS of people are doing it RIGHT NOW. There's no explaining taste.

    In the interest of balance, I will admit to being in to something that is entirely age-inappropriate. I seem to have fallen in like with the band Fall Out Boy. It's embarrassing because they're about 2-3 albums away from being able to write lyrics that aren't retarded, but have you heard "Dance Dance"? That song just plain ole rocks ass. Very appropriate for cruising to get the $2 lunch-break special at McDonald's with my friends in my mom's '86 Chevy Sprint before I have to get back for fifth period algebra. Not so much for the minivan set.

    There, now I'm embarrassed. That's a sure-fire sign that my blogwork is done for the day.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.0


    * = OK, so that might have only been during the Janet Jackson Superbowl thing a ways back. But I did really say that.

    Thursday, February 16, 2006
    Thursday. Thursday! THUUURS-DAAAAY!
    Back just a little over a year or so ago, this blog was largely politically motivated. You remember the election of 2004, don't you? I don't. Know why I don't? Drugs. They're brilliant and magical and make you forget things that hurt you. They also make you forget things that you want to remember, but memory-deletion is an inexact art and you have to expect things like that. For instance: did you know I have three kids? Turns out that I do. I think. Unless I agreed to babysit someone else's kid(s) recently and then forgot to return them. I don't know, they all look kind of similar, so either they're all mine or they're all someone else's. It's hard to say for sure. All I know for sure right now is that they are less fun than heroin.

    Anyway, it's remarkable the way this blog has become a repository for anything but politics. If you're looking about information about peaches or Steve Martin or Cap'n Crunch or even Bumbles, this is the place for you. One stop shopping for all things lame-pop-culture and/or fruit related. If I could only get a celebrity to do something heinous with a piece of fruit I could give up the drugs altogether. Something crazy like Robert Blake killing someone with a pomegranate or Tommy Lee performing a sex act on a honeydew or Sheryl Crow eating... well, anything. Seriously, have you seen her lately? I haven't. Know why? Because she's invisible. She's no longer of large enough size to register in the visual spectrum of humans. She's emaciated herself right into ultraviolet. In concerts now the lighting has to be 100% black-light just so people can see her, but then tragically nobody does because they're too busy giggling at how their white socks are all glowy. People are like that around black-light.

    What was I saying? Oh yeah, politics. See, in late 2004 (roughly the first six months of this blog's life) I would have been all over the Dick Cheney interview on Fox News, his first since he shot that guy in the face. Then I would have come back here and written a pithy and astute deconstruction of said interview ending with a mock recreation where I have Cheney endorsing shooting-people-in-the-face as a patriotic act of pre-emptive self-defense ("It's not like the other guy didn't also have a gun. Let's not be pussies about this"). It occurs to me that I also would have probably found a completely inappropriate way to reference bukkake, now that I think about it. Which is why it's better that I don't.

    Good times.

    This blog has fallen and hard. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved. Who wants to spend all kinds of time watching Fox News and "knowing" stuff when I can just make up scenarios about famous people and fruit. Come on, Tommy Lee and a honeydew. That's gold, people. Gold.

    Plus, if I spend too much time flirting with current-events relevance, I wouldn't have room to bring you the REALLY momentous news, like the unveiling of the US Men's Soccer team's uniforms for the 2006 World Cup!

    Woo! Yes! Four more months until this blog temporarily leaves behind both politics AND celebrities with fruit to become ALL SOCCER ALL THE TIME for the duration of the World Cup. Start making plans to avert your eyes now.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5


    Wednesday, February 15, 2006
    Liberté. Egalité. Fraternité.
    I've always kind of wanted to buy a banjo. I say "kind of" because there is something of a white-trash stigma associated with the banjo; there's a certain je ne sais quoi about it that smells faintly of hay bales and chicken guano. But Steve Martin is an accomplished banjo player and everything he does (with the exception of most of his last several movies) is high class, so it can't be all bad.

    But then Steve Martin is rich. The rich can afford to be associated with banjos and not worry about the social implications. That sort of a thing can be chalked up to an affectation, a charming eccentricity not unlike wearing a monocle or adopting Romanian babies so you can then eat them.

    While Steve and I don't share ungodly wealth in common, we do share something else: a penis.

    OK, that came out wrong. I don't want people going around saying that either a) Steve Martin and I are in some sort of time-share arrangement with a single detachable set of male genitalia that we split custody of or b) Steve Martin and I both have access to a third-party male member attached to somebody else like, say for instance, Christian Slater.

    What I was trying to say is that Steve Martin and I are both dudes. Both XYs. We both were born with outie genitalia. I assume. Again, I don't want anyone inferring that I know which direction Steve Martin's junk swings on a first-hand basis. Or even on a second-hand basis. I know where both my hands are at all times and neither of them have ever been anywhere near Steve Martin's package.


    The point I'm trying to make is about money. Steve Martin is a guy and I'm a guy so we have a certain earning potential without being limited by gender. If we were both chicks, our income projections would be retarded by our chromosomal make-up. Plenty of people have been retarded by the presence of an extra chromosome, it's just that we know now (more definitively anyway) that the retardation can also be financial and that the extra chromosome is the second X in the XX gender formulary.

    What brings all this talk about banjos and Steve Martin's penis* and retardation is this, the latest in a long line of studies that shows women make less than men for doing the same jobs.

    I've talked about this before on this blog a little bit, but I'm going to do it again. Why? Because it's my fucking blog, you pushy bastards. And also because it's sort of important to me as a Very Happily Kept Man. I rely on my Sugar Mama to provide me with everything I need whether it be food, shelter, clothing, children, computer games, electronics, jewelry, perfume or stringed instruments of any kind. In exchange I provide her... you know, I'm not really sure what. It's best not to dwell on it too long. She might be reading this and subsequently start asking herself some hard questions.

    Ha! I'm kidding. There's no way she's reading this. I happen to know she's too busy killing herself a thousand hours per week for 76 1/2 cents on the dollar of what the deadbeat 9-to-5 man-brother in the next cubicle over makes as punishment for the fact that she doesn't have to shave her face. She doesn't have the free time to sit around reading blogs. Plus she finds my writing style tedious and long-winded, so if she were reading blogs, she'd probably be over at Tbogg or something.

    While I would like to raise my voice in protest with all my sister feminists out there who protest this kind of brazen inequality, I will admit that I find it kind of reassuring to know that if I dropped this stay-at-home nonsense and launched myself back into the workforce, I could immediately start making the same salary as my new female colleagues even though they had been at the job for 5-6 years. I know it sounds petty and grasping, but when you haven't drawn a paycheck in nearly 7 years and you feel too guilty to unilaterally approve $6 for a new paperback book, you learn to seek any respite from emasculation you can find. Which is also why I spend so much time at strip clubs.

    I don't go to the strip clubs to ogle the naked girls or to have them grind on me in the Champagne Room or whatever; that's all incidental. I go there because the strip club is the social laboratory for gender equity in pay. I go to strip clubs as a patriot and as a devoted feminist to see, if only briefly, a world inside those walls where men are lined up to hand women money for almost no work; to see a world where a woman can make 10x that of what a man in the same profession can make.

    And the boobies. I also go there to see the boobies. But mostly it's for the social... whatever I said. Yeah. Absolutely.

    So no banjo for me. I could get one, I suppose, but I'd have to answer the questions from my wife when I ran the idea past her and she'd no doubt point out that I already have a ceramic jug and an old washboard-and-thimble rig and a one-string bass guitar, none of which I ever use. Maybe it's time I stopped watching Hee Haw reruns and let that dream die.

    But I will never let the dream of equal pay for equal work die. Never.**

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.7


    * = Welcome, Googlers!

    ** = Or until I get a job, in which case ladies, the gravy train is over.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006
    It is Valentine's Day. Is everyone ecstatically happy about it just like me? Or did I just stab you in the intestines with a dagger made of fear because you had completely forgotten about it until just now? Or perhaps now you would like to stab me with a dagger made out of pointy metal because I brought it up again, thus disturbing your daily meal of bitter resentment (try it with the Gravy of Loneliness, it's suicidally good) at your table for one.

    It's hard to say for sure, not knowing you all as personally as I'd like. Or not like, as the case(s) may be (you know who you are... yes I mean you). Whatever your position on Valentine's Day, this holiday is all about the heart, whether we mean feeling with it or reaching into the chest cavity of our disgustingly happy enemies, tearing theirs out and showing to them--still beating--before they die.

    When we talk about hearts on Valentine's Day, we usually mean this one:
    Image hosting by Photobucket
    Aww, look at it. It's all symmetrical and pink. It's sort of cloying and ridiculous, isn't it? It makes most of us wish it had a throat so we could punch it in it. This is the kind of heart that holds hands and walks on beaches and likes to eat meals by candlelight even though you can't see your food to cut or spear it with utensils. It's the kind of heart that has the magical power to keep you from being electrocuted when you hold your boombox over your head in the rain underneath your ex-girlfriend's window. That kind of behavior is NOT stalker-y harassment, no! It's from the heart, man. It's feeling.

    Coincidentally, this is also the kind of heart that boxers always assign to their opponents in the interview after they have just beaten him almost completely to death. "I give him credit, he had a lot of heart" means "I'd like to thank my promoter for arranging this fight with someone who thinks effective punch-defense is to catch it with his face." Heart is what competitors have who have no business competing. Like Rudy. Sure, that midget had heart by the boatload. But realistically, we all know if he'd been allowed to play more than one down, he'd be dead and the story would have had to be posthumous. And then who would have played Sam in Lord of the Rings?

    See, that kind of heart is giddy and empowering, but it's also dangerous. And not just because when you open it up, there are usually chocolates inside.

    Much more dangerous, however, is this kind of heart:

    Image hosting by PhotobucketFirst of all: gross. Not only is it asymmetrically displeasing, the Quasimodo or organs, but it's all lumpy and saggy and all kinds of disgusting colors like purple and dark blood red and yellow and green. It's revolting to look at compared to some of the other, more attractive internal organs; it can't touch the graceful, arcing, cylindrical flow of the large intestine, for example, or the perky, charming uselessness of the appendix. Sure, what it does is important and all, but it's not going to win any prizes for aesthetics.

    Of course it makes you wonder why there is such an effort to represent the heart culturally as a card-friendly cartoon version of itself. We're being lured into a false sense of complacent security against the #1 killer of human beings in the world. It's a precarious, duplicitous organ, drunk on it's own power because it knows--it knows--you can't live without it. Hell, even if you have too much of it it will kill you.

    But we're fighting back. We're making strides. The days of coronary tyranny may be numbered. Just this week a boy in northern California lived for eight months with no heart whatsoever.

    When the news gets out, maybe the heart will begin to understand that we are human beings, the apex and triumph of evolution and/or created in God's own image (depending on who you ask). Science or theology, that's some pretty serious, well-deserved anthrocentric hubris we're talking about. We're not going to be held down by some puny piece of anatomy just because it makes life possible. We can't live without kidneys either, but you don't see them killing nearly as many people for sport or insisting on being cut out of construction paper in kindergarten classrooms or forcing people to marry ugly people just because they happen to be compatible in every other way.

    The heart has a lot to answer for. And once we all get ours replaced by machines, we can take it out and question it at length. It is my fondest wish that when the heart realizes that we are no longer its slaves, it will learn some humility, some deference, some perspective about its place within hierarchy of the human system of disgusting things best covered up by skin. I believe it will because the heart is human after all.

    Unless you splice it together with a pig's heart, like the president said in the State of the Union. But that's a different war and a different blogpost.

    Happy Valentine's Day.

    Now rise up! People of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your angina.

    I said angina. Gutter-minds, all of you.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 1.9


    Monday, February 13, 2006
    Monday Lite: Sign Of The Beast
    Horrible news for a large portion of our great, kick-ass nation what with all the record snow fall and all the resultant travel difficulties. I wish my fellow Americans continued health, safety and patience in these difficult times.

    I also wish them to know the following: today in Riverside, CA = 86°. That's Celsius, bitches. We don't sweat, we sublimate. What I'm saying is it's warm.

    It's February, so that means spring has arrived in SoCal. Last night I heard the frogs croaking their mating song outside for the first time. It was all I could do to resist. That's some sexy, sexy croaking. I don't know if all frogs have the same effect on me or if I just happen to have the Barry White of frog species native to the area around my house, but daaaaamn. I don't want to belabor this too much, but let me just say that not all our common amphibian DNA seems to be entirely vestigial. Some things are just primal and can't be un-learned entirely. It's the same way I always think of snakes whenever I'll eat a live mouse. There was only one pool of primordial ooze, people. It's our heritage. It's in the Bible. Look it up.

    I would stay and develop this idea further (I have some arguably fascinating theories to rationalize my very natural tendency urinate on and around the places, objects and people who "belong" to me) but there's a new podcast of the Ricky Gervais show to listen to before my kids wake up. I'm not telling what I fed them to knock them out, just know that it isn't permanent...

    ...I don't think.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.6


    Sunday, February 12, 2006
    Keith Olbermann Not Included In This Post
    You know, days and weeks and months can go by without anything interesting happening worth blogging about. Sure, every so often I have to get new shoes or a haircut, but not every day.

    And then there are days where the skies part and the angels with gossamer wings hand-deliver a new and more marketable gospel in the form of, say, Dick Cheney shooting someone in the face with a shotgun. Today is just such a day.

    The official explanation is that the VP shot the man "on accident." Plausible I guess, but knowing Dick like I do (few people are better acquainted with Dick than I am), I don't completely buy it. Some other likely explanations as to why and how Mr. Cheney shot this man:

    a) refused to sign loyalty oath
    b) mentioned Iraq without first citing 9/11
    c) to show definitively that someone can survive a gunshot without expensive body-armor
    d) as a demonstration for critics who often cite Cheney's lack of "combat experience"
    e) standard operating procedure toward those who ask too many questions about the "undisclosed location"
    f) to demonstrate the "full power of the Dark Side" after finger-lightning failed
    g) just to watch him die

    Now I know I kind of built this news-item up in terms of its blog-inspiration quotient and the above was, sadly, the best I could do with it. But then I would refer you all to the little tagline below my banner blog-title picture and then invite those who are dissatisfied to bite me. And I mean that in the most collegial way possible.


    Lovely and talented Bucketeer Rita said in comments on Friday's post: "I have seen A Fish Called Wanda, and did not think it worthy of a top-5 list, and I therefore have reason to doubt all your previous and future film analyses."

    With my bona fides thus established, I would like to now take a moment to offer you all some acual reviews of films I have actually seen over the last several months.

    I would also like to point out that Rita cited Father of the Bride with Steve Martin (the first one) as one of the best films she's ever seen. I leave it to the rest of you to decide which one of us likes movies that are stupid.

    Anyway, on with my reviews. These past three months have been the most prolific movie-going period of my life in nearly 7 years, so I feel compelled to share. Plus I didn't get nearly as much as I wanted to out of that Cheney thing, so I need to fill space. Please feel free to substitute my judgment for your own when deciding whether or not to see any of these films in the future.

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: It scores 100% on my list of Movie Quality Necessities as it includes both wizards and dragons. A little bit of a downgrade for my uncomfortableness with the burgeoning hotness of Emma Watson. If you like films with broomsticks and murder, this is the movie for you. One word review: Wizardy!

    Munich: Just thinking about it makes me sleepy. Bunch of Israelis killing people in cold blood, but at least they feel bad about it; I know because they WON'T STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW BAD THEY FEEL ABOUT IT. Plus points for Daniel Craig's South African accent, which--no matter how accurately depicted--has consistently made me laugh inappropriately since Cry Freedom. A little bit of a downgrade for my uncomfortableness with the very ripe hotness of Eric Bana. If you like intolerable hand-wringing, explosions and the un-hottest sex scene ever, this is the movie for you. One word review: Jewy!

    The New World: If you cut out all the scenes that included NO DIALOGUE, this movie would be about 8 minutes long. All the rest of it is monologue voice-overs, lingering nature-shots, snippets of impressionistic montages weirdly edited and Colin Farrell looking very sad. But you know what? Somehow it fucking works. I don't say this word very often, but this film? Lovely. A little bit of a downgrade for the distractingly suggestive (though I would like to emphasize the word suggestive and point out that it is not actually anywhere near explicit) cuddly tender love scenes between Colin Farrell's John Smith and Q'Orianka Kilcher who a) was NOT named Pocahontas, apparently and b) was FOURTEEN YEARS OLD WHEN IT WAS FILMED. If you like historical pederasty and long, still shots of swamp reeds, this is the movie for you. One word review: Naturey!

    Good Night, and Good Luck: George Clooney hearts Edward R. Murrow. Look, he even made a movie all about Murrow where 95% of Murrow's dialogue is actor David Strathairn reading DIRECTLY from transcripts of broadcasts; thus, only slightly more original dialogue in it than The New World. But David Strathairn is really really good as Murrow in this one. It's all black-and-white and kind of draggy in parts, which means if you're in college, you can take a date to it and they will think you're all arty and intellectual. Or they may think you're 70 years old. One or the other. If you like people who like commies, this is the movie for you. One word review: Clooney!

    So that's it. I don't know when the next time I will be able to sneak out will be. Odds are that I'm going to have to drag one or more of my kids with me and the movie I see will feature a computer-rendered teapot telling me to respect other people and that it's OK just to be myself. Which isn't all bad, because sometimes you just need to hear that.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.9


    Friday, February 10, 2006
    Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #27

    The Pink Panther

    starring Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Beyoncé Knowles, Jean Reno

    directed by Shawn Levy (Cheaper by the Dozen, Just Married, Big Fat Liar)

    I've stated it many times before, but the MIHNIoS series is less about actual movies than it is about advertising. Actually, more directly, it's about one man's expression of rage and frustration at his inability to leave his home because of demands of both his wife (who insists on not being left alone to raise our children) and the state in which he lives (which insists that he and his wife not skip out and leave three children under seven alone for two measly hours so they can go see a goddamn movie), which leaves him with nothing but the work of the Heroes of Madison Avenue to show him what he is or isn't missing when the new stuff comes out each and every Friday.

    But then, strangely, this most recent period has been an unnaturally generous one. In the last three months, I have seen three different movies, all at movie theaters and everything. None of these films had any talking animals whose mother is brutally murdered and who later learns important lessons about responsibility and citizenship. Since November, I've gotten to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (OK, so there were talking animals and a murdered mother in that one, but they were TOTALLY SEPARATE plot points), Munich (ugh) and Terence Malick's The New World.

    And if all that gluttony of pretend, fleeting grown-up-ness weren't enough, I get to go to ANOTHER movie THIS VERY NIGHT! Whee!

    I know, you're probably thinking "My God, can't you people think of anything else to do with your free nights than go see movies?" And the answer is, No. No, we can't. A) We're boring. No fun to be had since we both gave up crank and B) movies are a reminder of our wasted post-adolescence. Before we were married Mrs. Pops and I would see a movie every single week. Sometimes more than one. Part of it was because we love movies. The other part was that when you're loaded up on crank and can't sleep, sometimes the movies are the only thing that's open. Plus the drive-in is a great place to meet people with other crank-related interests.

    Because of the immediacy of the circumstances, this week's MIHNIoS is especially relevant and somewhat more pointed as I will be specifically rejecting an opportunity to see this film.

    Based on what I know of it (back to advertising), I couldn't have picked a better candidate for Non-Viewership than this re-make of The Pink Panther.

    Just on the surface of it, before I know anything about it, it just seems like a terrible idea. Any time you take something iconic and try to repackage it, you run the risk of looking ridiculous by comparison. Failure is sort of built in. But paradoxically there's a sort of weird leeway that one might expect when people go "Well, there's no way it can be as good as the original." It's easy to surprise people when they assume what you're doing will suck even before you're going to do it. It's like George Bush in a presidential debate. Or really the reason why this blog was conceived of as a remake of the collected works of Leo Tolstoy.

    That being said, I have some serious reservations about this movie. First of all, it's about French people. Unlike many Americans, I don't have a particular problem with the French. I've been to the Paris casino in Vegas several times and most of the people there seem fairly cool. Most of the people who work there even speak English.

    The problem isn't the French per se. It's the French as played by Americans.

    I know Kevin Kline can do a passable Frenchy accent because he was in the awful, awful French Kiss with Meg Ryan. Plus: he can act and everything.

    The problem I have is with Steve Martin. I know he can do physical comedy (go rent All of Me if you don't believe me because all you can remember is Sgt. Bilko), but his accent work... I mean, just based on the New Yawk Italian he was supposed to be doing in My Blue Heaven gives me pause. It gives me a lot of pause, to be honest. I've got pause coming out of my ass.

    Now, I like Steve. Steve's a local guy from Garden Grove. That's in Orange County and one town over from Westminster, where my mom is from (and my grandmother still lives). Sure, it's kind of a shithole now, but I'm from Riverside. I've got lots of shithole sympathy to pass around.

    But Steve normally talks like a guy who was from Garden Grove and then went to college. Which is great. He should just never, ever change it.

    Some actors can change their voice from role to role. I don't think I've ever seen Giovanni Ribisi do the same voice in two different movies. They make you go "Wow, that is some different, different shit. Them are some talented vocal chords." Then there are others (your Steve Martins, your Leonardo DiCaprios) who should NEVER EVER TRY to alter the way they speak unless it is their stated goal to make me hate a movie and for it to lose money.

    Past Steve and Mr. Kline, we get to the two token roles: Beyoncé (the girl) and Jean Reno (the French guy).

    Are there no other French actors who can speak English? Why is it that in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE that involves French people, the French people are all played by Jean Reno? I don't have a problem with Mr. Reno. He was The Professional after all. But really, is Gerard Depardieu that bad?

    You know what, I think I just answered my own question.

    I don't know if Beyoncé can act or not. My inclination is to say probably not, but it's hard to decide definitively. She's just too goddamn attractive to be objective about it. As long as she sticks to playing hot girls who sing, I have no objection to seeing her image projected on to 40 foot high screens. If she tries to go all Madonna Shanghai Surprise on us, I might have some issues.

    Look, this movie seems like it must be terrible. I like most of the people in it, but that doesn't mean they SHOULD be in it.

    To give you an idea of how I'm scoring this, everyone in it who is not French who is playing a French person gets a -2. And that's pretty harsh considering Kevin Kline and Steve Martin each get automatic +1s just for being them. I also give a pre-emptive minus to Jean Reno for playing the French guy in The Da Vinci Code in May. Bad Reno! Bad!

    The only net plus is the presence of Beyoncé and the hotness. That's not nothing, but it sure as hell ain't enough.

    I have no choice but to break out the Zero. And around here, Zero means:
    Image hosting by Photobucket

    Oh, the shame. But then, it's directed by the guy who directed Cheaper by the Dozen, so I don't think shame is much of a problem for the creative team here.


    Thursday, February 09, 2006
    In The Wind
    I have some very brief remarks and then I will take questions.

    Actually I won't be "taking questions" but I figure I'll probably never be president so I'll never have the opportunity to say the above line, so this is my only shot, here in this forum. So the "questions" thing was a lie. Neither my first nor my last here. The part about the brief remarks is right on the money, though.


    First, some pictures I found to highlight some of yesterday's post.

    The only good thing people can ever think to say about smog is that it makes lovely sunsets. These people are unimaginative and defeatist in my opinion. Smog also does a great deal for the economy by retroactively spurring automobile sales (see, if we didn't buy all these cars and then drive them around, there wouldn't be all this smog and Ford and GM would go out of business and all of America would starve to death. So the only thing between us and gnawing, miserable death is smog). But even though these people are lame, they are also (for the most part) right. All the brown and gray dinge becomes a lovely orangey-red as the sun is setting.

    The same thing can be said about the smoke from a raging, out-of-control brush fire. See?


    The problem is that eventually the sun goes down, after which the fire looks more like this:

    Somewhat less reassuring, metaphysically speaking. It looks more like there should be a crowd of people running away from it shrieking in mortal terror, doesn't it? Without all the twilight optics it all just so definitely screams fire, which is fine in its proper place (inside my oven, confined to a burner that can then be switched off as soon as my salisbury steak TV dinner is warmed to perfection) but less so when all loom-y and menace-y creeping over hills and inching towards buildings like that. Very undisciplined, I think. I intend to bring it up at the next Home Owner's Association meeting.


    As of yesterday's events, I am now celebrating 15 consecutive years of not watching the Grammy awards. Congratulations, me!

    I don't watch not because it's a vapid self-congratulatory industry circle-jerk. I mean, I blog. That kind of thing is right up my alley, philosophically speaking. I don't watch because I don't understand the Grammys. Green Day and U2 won this year for albums that are (I'm pretty sure) at least 2 years old, right? Who is even eligible for that? I'm glad it's Green Day and U2 instead of who usually wins Grammys--"comeback" records for people whose bands include a banjo player and a mouth-harp--but relevance is no substitute for clarity. And I don't even know how much relevance they have because from what I understand, that U2 album was very, very mediocre. And TWO YEARS OLD. Did I mention it was two years old? I think it was two years old. I might be wrong about that, but it sure FEELS like it was two years old.

    I also avoid watching the Grammys because there's an outside chance I might catch a glimpse of Mariah Carey. Not only would I then risk a serious case of the Skeevy Tremors but I don't want to expose myself to catching some kind of TV-borne case of the Monumentally Stupids. Can't be too careful.

    Plus I object to the whole thing because of the very-famous case of the Starland Vocal Band beating out Elvis Costello for Best New Act. This year marks the 30th anniversary of that atrocity. I know it's been covered elsewhere, but so has the Spanish Inquisition. That doesn't mean we forget.


    Last: Qaeda Planned Plane Attack On LA

    For the record, as a resident of the (fringe of the) Greater Los Angeles area, I would like to add a retrospective: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaAGGHGH!


    I know it was 2002, but I'm happy not to be dead all the same. I never go to the building (or even the specific city or county) targeted, but Riverside to LA is only about a minute by jet-liner. With my luck, we would have had some kind of heroic Flight 93 action that thwarted the attack away from the heavily populated center and dropped the thing right on my house. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to do my part, but it's all so Donnie Darko I just can't stand it.

    Thanks, George Bush! Way to execute the minimum requirements of your job. I salute you in a totally non-sarcastic way using all five of my fingers.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.1


    Wednesday, February 08, 2006
    Man, This Traffic Is Unholy
    I know it isn't really fair that I am already better than most of you, my beloved Bucketeers, simply by the fact that I live in California and you (for the most part) don't. I don't take a whole lot of pride in this fact. If I were going to do that, I might as well take credit for obvious, self-evident things like gravity or water or the deliciousness of cake.

    I can't take credit because I didn't choose California. I was raised here... for the most part. We spent some time out of state in the late 1970s, but apparently the fit just wasn't right. We came back here around 1980 and it's been all butter and cream ever since. In a way, I guess you could say I didn't choose California, California chose me. And that's the best basis for rationalized elitism there is: the anthropomorphization and assigned causality of random happenstance. If you reverse-engineer any situation long enough, logically the present conditions must happen. You can't argue with it. If you could argue with it, I wouldn't be here to argue against you, would I?

    I know it sounds like nonsensical pseudo-logic of the worst kind, but it's the oldest human tradition we have. Just ask your priest/minister/rabbi. Which reminds me of a joke...

    No time for jokes today, however. Deadly serious here in the Bucket today. While I love love love me some California and rarely miss an opportunity to point out that it is the middle of winter and 85-degrees today, I would like to say in a slightly more annoyed/bordering on panicky voice it is the middle of winter and 85-degrees today.

    The pride I feel has been suffocated by ash and flame. Here, let me show you what Mrs. Pops' normal commute looks like:

    Wow. Impressive, right? And apparently we live right downtown, which sounds uncomfortable considering there's no housing down there. Anyway, she's a trooper. Now let me show you what her trip has looked like over the last two days:

    Oh my God... is that... Satan?! Right there in the middle of the conflagration, that's Satan! Man. It's not that I'm surprised to see that the Lord of Darkness is behind the recent lack of rain and resulting out-of-control brush-fires so close to major transportation arteries--that's really the sort of thing you expect from an antisocial sub-deity--I'm just amazed to see him show up on MapQuest. I always had him pegged for a Yahoo! Maps kind of a being.

    If we were looking at the small picture, we could see that Satan clearly has it in for commuters. See how he craftily started his brush-fire so it strategically closes off SR-241 and 261, both of which lead DIRECTLY to my wife's work. And would it be too obvious to note that he hates the community of Anaheim Hills which is directly threatened and has been partially evacuated?

    What really bothers me is that Satan has seen fit to hold his little hellfire orgy on land that has been designated as National Forest. I think the message is clear: the only thing Satan hates more than commuters and Anaheim Hills is... America. Specifically the Department of the Interior. I don't know what you did to wake the wrath of the Prince of Lies, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, but there is only one thing that can slake his unGodly thirst: the blood of virgins.

    Start with Jonah Goldberg if you want to, I don't care. Just get it done. I know the president might not like it initially as he doesn't care for people extorting the United States through threats of violence and mayhem, but this is the Devil we're talking about. We know the president believes in the Dark One. You can't go around saying Jesus this and Jesus that every time something good happens without blaming Ole Scratch for the bad stuff. Otherwise it's Jesus' fault too.

    Get cracking, Gale. And do it quick-like before the wind turns around and that smoke starts heading my way. You don't have to have a head-dress or ceremonial robes or even a stone altar (although I find stone-altars are the easiest for post-sacrifice cleaning). Just make sure that before the knife goes in, you say an inverted Our Father so that soul gets sent off in the right direction. We don't have to speak about it again. When the fire stops and the rain comes, we'll just know you did it all for us.

    Thanks in advance.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.7


    Tuesday, February 07, 2006
    Six Or Seven Fairly Large Pieces
    I've been waiting a few days before I got into this because I really really wanted to think long and hard about what I should say about it.

    I'm talking about this thing with Oprah and James Frey, the guy who got her to recommend his "memoir" to millions of her readers which turned out to be a pack of lies.

    Lies lies lies!

    This is something, obviously, that hits very close to home for me as I too am a writer who quite often peddles lies to his adoring reading public. So I've been following the story very closely, although I haven't gone so far as to actually read the man's book. Remember, I'm a writer not a reader. Real writers never, ever read. If we do, we run the risk of having our own genius polluted by the small ideas and poor execution of lesser beings. It's the same way the great actors never take acting classes for fear that the "instruction" by someone who isn't good enough to be a working actor and instead is forced to teach will cramp and retard their obvious natural brilliance which can currently be seen on display as Lieutenant Brannigan in Guys and Dolls at the Orkney Falls Community Theater and Steakhouse. Try the potato cakes, they're out of this world.

    Although I admit that I will sometimes embellish some of the details of my life in order to make this crap readable, I have on occasion given you all glimpses into the reality of what it is to be the real me, the man behind the Pops, Korvath Ganymede Macleish Horrington III. Inspired by Mr. Frey's difficulty, I feel it is time for me to come clean about some of the details of my past. I'm just going to lay it all out for you people here and let you be the judge(s).

    I was born on a little beet farm in the hills around San Jose, Costa Rica. My father was one of the many Americans who had come south of the border looking for menial labor jobs, chasing the opportunity to nearly starve to death doing jobs most Costa Ricans wouldn't dream of doing, yet still needed to be done. My mom made her money as a surrogate mother for wealthy Costa Rica society matrons who wanted kids but not the accompanying stretch marks. She gave birth nearly 30 times at about 80,000 Costa Rican colones a shot. This works out to roughly $11 US.

    I was imprisoned at the age of three for the attempted murder of the visiting President of Panama with an exploding teddy bear. Nothing will make you grow up faster than 20 years in a Costa Rican prison. Inside I learned the hard way about what was important in life: decoupage, macrame, leather tooling, bead work... they had a very extensive crafts program on the inside. It came back to haunt them when I knitted myself a parachute and leapt from the roof.

    My months in the jungle were eased by my companions, other fugitives from justice, men I happened upon as I fled. I will never forget my blood brothers Manuel Noriega, Oliver North and Donald Trump. I don't want to get into too much detail (my Non-Disclosure Agreement prevents me even if I wanted to), but I will say sharing a meal of raw boa constrictor bonds men together.

    I melted into Central American society for a while, making my fortune with my prison-gifted skill at flower arrangement. Eventually I found my way back to America where I sowed my wild oats for a while. You can only go through so many starlets and pro football cheerleaders before eventually you wake up next to Anna Nicole Smith; this is what's known in Hollywood circles as "rock bottom." Seriously, her ass is that hard. You wouldn't know it to look at it, but it is.

    At some point in a man's life he's got his Nobel Prizes for Physics, Medicine and Peace and he wants to settle down. Then he turns down proposals of marriage from Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman and opts for someone of substance. If my wife reads this, she will think that means I'm saying she's fat, which I'm not. And now I'm going to let this part of the story be so as not to get myself in more trouble.

    What does a world-conqueror do when his life enters the raising-children phase? He blogs. And he does some international assassination work on the side. Old habits die hard; they're quite unlike world leaders in that respect.

    There it is. It's all out there. What have I learned from the James Frey debacle? The lesson is: if you lie, Oprah will be mean to you. But only after you've made millions of dollars in book royalties. Balance that against what happens to you if you go on Oprah's show intent on telling the "truth" from the outset: you end up looking like crazy-ass Dave Chappelle, who famously does not have $50 million.

    I know which one I'm choosing.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.0


    Monday, February 06, 2006
    Hail To The Victors
    I had sort of moved on from all this Super Bowl business, but as one of my readers is a Pittsburgh resident AND I have no new ideas of my own, I will take up her challenge to show "a little Pittsburgh love" this day in recognition of their boring-ass triumph yesterday. Seriously, I've seen better football games.

    If any of my lurking Seattle-area readers (and I know you're out there) wish to complain about my lack of Pacific Northwest equal time, well, consider these two things: a) you didn't ask and b) you suckers lost. As this blog is entirely driven by blind ego and a desperate need to be all things to all people, the weight of A far, far supercedes that of B. Just for future reference.

    And now:

    An Ode

    by Pops


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    O Pittsburgh! O Pittsburgh!
    Town to which I have never been!

    Visitors come from far and wide to marvel
    At the Once-great town
    whose name makes it sound
    as though it were named
    for Holes in the earth!

    Seriously, it's got the word "pits" right in the name
    I'm sure that's never come up amongst native teenagers
    Or by people in neighbouring municipalities
    Who have less than Favourable views
    Of this fair city

    O Pittsburgh, Great Pittsburgh!
    Athens of the...
    I was going to say "Midwest" but is it really?
    Honestly, where is Pittsburgh anyway?
    It's obviously not a Great Lakes city
    And it certainly isn't on the East Coast
    It's sort of in between Mid-Atlantic and Appalachia

    O Pittsburgh, Great Pittsburgh!
    I'm sure you lead the industrialized world
    In some other category
    Besides unemployment figures
    And early-afternoon Drunkenness
    Only I can't think
    Of what that might be
    Off the top of my head

    O Pittsburgh, Great Pittsburgh!
    People say You are the second largest city in Pennsylvania
    but to me
    you'll always be
    the Biggest City in West Virginia

    Way to go on that football thing, too!

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.6


    Sunday, February 05, 2006
    A Tale Of One City
    I don't know about you guys, but I'm exhausted. All the swearing and shouting and jumping around while being weighed down by the socially-acceptable gluttony in celebration of this, the greatest and most widely beloved public spectacles. It's an event that transcends that traditional lines that divide enthusiasts from everyone else (or as they are otherwise known, "women") as we all find common ground around which to come together and drink ourselves into oblivion and eat until we threaten to tear out the stitches holding together our gastric bypass surgeries.

    That's right, it was that time of the year again.

    Of course I'm talking about the weekend of the annual Riverside Dickens Festival downtown. A rite of mid-winter long beloved in these parts and around the globe (allowing that by "around the globe" I mean people from Riverside who have since moved elsewhere AND who were aware of the festival's existence before they left).

    For those of you strange, benighted few who don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, it's a weekend every year in Riverside where some street performers get all gussied up in period dress, put on their best Cockney accents and beg passers-by to take their pictures and/or listen to their scripted stories. Yes, it's the one place every year where Riversiders who possess both a staggering Anglophilia and a world-class tolerance for the utter disinterest of other people can really shine. It's got all the hoary charm of a Renaissance festival, minus the whores. This being a celebration of Victorian England, we get neck-to-ankle dresses with our dropped haitches and Gs and none of the swelling flower-decorated décolletage you would find at a Ren-fest. If anyone is going to notice and then point out a surfeit of wenches, it's going to be me.

    As I spent my time down amongst the revelers this weekend in the long, long walk between the deli I ate lunch at and my car, I couldn't help but be swept up into the fantasy of it all. Nothing to me says Dickens like pony rides and flat $3 Sprite out of Styrofoam cups. I kept waiting for Tiny Tim Cratchit to limp around a corner and bless all of us with a squeaky, urchin-y "Why the hell is there a Thai food stand at the Dickens festival, for Christ's sake? Oh, and Gor blezzus."

    I know it sounds like I'm being sarcastic or complaining, but I'm not. People take this very seriously and work very hard to put it all together. That's why I didn't mention to ANY of them the odor problem arising from 150 reenactors congregating together in heavy wool clothing on an 80-degree February day in SoCal. Because I respect them.

    It wasn't all bad. I think they were largely successful in conveying the words and spirit of Mr. Dickens' stories. Now whenever I see a street blocked off that I need to go down and no immediately obvious alternate routes, whenever I'm walking the 6 extra blocks I'm forced to walk by any sort of event like that, I immediately think of Charles Dickens, the crowded streets of 19th century London and how it probably pissed him off when the goddamn Molière Festival was going on and all the twats in giant wigs were Tartuffe-ing all over Regent Street when all he wanted to do was to get to the Physick for a good leeching or whatever.

    So there was that. And no, in case you were wondering, I didn't try the meat pies.

    And then on Sunday we watched some football game. It was OK, I guess.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.0


    Friday, February 03, 2006
    Not Very XL
    For those of you disappointed not to see my sort-of regular Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing feature here again, I would like to remind you all the the MIHNIoS series is less about movies (seeing as I don't actually SEE these movies) than it is about marketing. How am I supposed to react to movies I don't see if they aren't being crammed down my throat during the commercials I fast-forward through on my digital video recorder?

    The only film I'm even aware of this week is Something New which is about interracial romance. I'm not interested in doing to legwork to find out about that one because the subject is so passé to me. I know all about interracial romance. See, I am Catholic and my wife when we got married was... something else, I don't even know what. Suffice it to say she was damned. So I'm all up on the intricacies and challenges of people from wildly diverse backgrounds making their way together. It was easier once I taught her English and she did eventually convert to Catholicism, so I would say that the message of Something New is probably pretty similar: if you marry someone from outside your race, you can turn them white if you just wait long enough. I think that's pretty clear.

    But if your story is less cosmpolitan than mine, maybe you could learn something by seeing it, I don't know. One interesting fact is that it stars the crazy, crazy hot Sanaa Lathan and is directed by someone named Sanaa Hamri. That's two people named Sanaa in one place. Two Sanaa for the price of one. You aren't likely to see that again. Unless they make another movie together, I guess.

    This being Super Bowl weekend and a minimum day at my kid's school (how many goddamn minimum days do they need? This is clearly a conspiracy to keep me from writing decently long blogposts), I have to go. In preparation for the game, I'm starting a regimen of all kinds of illegal steroids to get me in the right frame of mind. I'm not working out or anything, I'm just injecting myself over and over again with anabolic steroids. I don't imagine I'll make much headway on the freakishly-large-muscle front, but I'll keep you all graphically posted on the back acne, the enlarged cranium, the shriveled testicles and the 'roid rage. If you hear about a doughy, pasty white guy in SoCal who beat a man to death in a grocery store over the last bag of Fritos Scoops over the weekend, that was probably me. Keep your eye on the news!

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8


    Thursday, February 02, 2006
    No Wonder
    For the most part, I regret having seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It had it's moments here and there I guess, but when I think of all the other ways I could have spent that 90+ minutes of my life, I weep a little.

    What I do remember is one line in the movie where the main character lady says (shockingly!) that she has 27 first cousins. And the crowd gasps and giggles! What an absurd idea!

    Gasps and giggles from everyone except me. I have 27 first cousins. On my mother's side alone. I'm not kidding.

    It sounds great, like in that movie where everyone was gruff-yet-loveable. Mostly it's just awkward. You know all the names, but sometimes you forget to whom they belong. You can have a 15 minute conversation with Matt only to realize after you walk away that you had been talking to Nick. But God bless Matt/Nick for not saying anything, probably because he couldn't remember which one you are either.

    The good thing about it is that, as we all grow to adult-hood and spread out across this great land of ours, we all have a ready-made national data-collecting organization all just a phone call or an e-mail away.

    I benefited from this arrangement yesterday when one of my cousins (who shall remain nameless to protect her identity, something crucial for her to maintain her career as a killer for hire) found something on the internet and e-mailed it to me for my enjoyment.

    I now pass it along to you all to enjoy in turn, in all it's shocking, shocking glory.

    This is an excerpt from a sermon given by Rev. Willie Wilson, Union Temple Baptist Church in D.C.

    The original page for links can be found here.

    Any emphasis has been added by me.

    “… We live in a time when our brothers have been so put down, can’t get a job, lot of the sisters making more money than brothers. And it’s creating problems in families. That’s one of the reasons our families’ breaking up. And that’s one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians. You got to be careful when you say you don’t need no man. I can make it by myself. Well, if you don’t need a man, what’s left? Lesbianism is about to take over our community. I’m talking about young girls. My son in high school last year, trying to go to the prom, he said, ‘Dad, I ain’t got nobody to take to the prom because all the girls in my class are gay. There ain’t but two of them straight and both of them are ugly. I ain’t got nobody to take to the prom.’ Now, can I talk here? I ain’t homophobic, because everybody in here got something wrong with him. Whoever you point at, you can point at your own self. You got something wrong with your life. But when you get down to this thing, women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain’t real. That thing ain’t got no feeling in it. It ain’t natural. Any time somebody got to slap some grease on your behind, and stick something in you, it’s something wrong with that. Your butt ain’t made for that. You got blood vessels and membranes in your behind. And if you put something unnatural in there, it breaks them all up. No wonder your behind is bleeding. It’s destroying us. Can’t make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female. The Hebrew word "neged," which means complementary nature — there is something unique to man and unique to woman and it takes those two things to complement each other. You can’t make a connection with two screws. It takes a screw and a nut!

    First of all, is anyone else totally turned on? No? Just me?

    Second of all, his son is obviously SO GAY.

    Third, I'm sorry to my gay readers. I know that as a straight person and a committed non-Baptist I have the luxury of not finding any of this personally threatening. I do admit that I find it very, very funny because of the unintentional irony ("I ain't homophobic") and the awesome, awesome inappropriateness of the frank language in a church setting. People without shame just happen to fascinate me, while at the same time I resent the fact that I seem to be carrying some of their shame for them. I curse my filthy carnal form.

    The funniest thing is that I haven't listened to the actual audio file of the sermon yet (a sermon from a church) because my kids are always around and I'd hate for their innocent minds to be corrupted by that kind of language. If anyone's going to destroy my children's sense of situational social appropriateness, it's going to be me.

    My oldest boy actually said to me just yesterday (and again, this is true--two true things in one post!) that a kid in his class had called him "gay" and that it meant both "happy" and "dumb." I probably scarred him for life when I laughed, but what's a guy gonna do?

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.1


    Wednesday, February 01, 2006
    State Of The Thingy
    Look, I've had to endure all kinds of speeches this time of year from the State of the City address by our mayor, the State of the State by that guy who was in Twins, the State of the Franchise address from the president of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey team (it was in the paper, I swear) and now last night with this "State of the Union" thing. Imagine how disappointed I was when it wasn't about a secret agent played by Ice Cube. I didn't actually SEE the president's speech, but I can guarantee you it needed--needed--a sequence where a motorized rubber dinghy jumps over a suspension bridge while exploding.

    Since I've had to put up with all of theirs, they have to put up with mine. Seeing as I am the inernets' pre-eminent voice among bloggers, I hereby nominate myself to give the first ever State of the Blogosphere address.

    Any objections? None? OK, let's start.

    If you feel the need to stand up and applaud at any point while reading this, I encourage you to feel free. I may even prompt you.

    My fellow Americans, foreigners, bloggers, eBay addicts, porn freaks, spammers, Nigerian e-mail scammers, desktop publishers, fellow housewives, college students, professional drunks, shut-ins, fantasy football dorks and skeevy fetishists of every disgusting bacterial stripe, I thank you.

    We gather here this (morning/afternoon/evening/night) to report on the state of our beloved blogosphere. I am here to tell you that never have we been so many. A new blog is created roughly every second. Because of this, I'm happy to tell you that the state of the blogosphere has never been quite so diffuse, unfocused, compartmentalized and ridiculously confusing.


    We live in remarkable times, but it is not without its dangers. A dark cloud looms over the blogosphere, lurking in its very midst, threatening to undermine and destroy the entire enterprise. Right now, without even knowing, there are elements plotting the destruction of the blogosphere. Who are the people who constitute such a dire threat to all our means of self-entertainment?

    Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest threat to the blogosphere today is other bloggers. And they must be stopped.


    Not you guys, of course. Or me. We're all good. It's the other ones. You know who they are. All they ever want to talk about is them, them, them. What about us? It's as though they don't realize that the main reason we got into this whole blogging thing was so we could read more stuff about ourselves, mostly as written by us, but occasionally--hopefully--recognized by others even though there's no earthly way any of us could warrant it.


    I mean... uh... deserve. We all deserve it.


    Like most State of the _____ speeches, now that I've identified a phony-baloney problem and couched it in the silliest, most unnecessarily hyperbolic of terms, now is where traditionally I should lay out a plan of action to defeat my manufactured threat and browbeat you all into going along with it.


    Keeping the blogosphere competitive against other forms of self-referential media--our e-mails, our written letters, our collages of magazine pictures of cute guys, our Hello Kitty diaries--requires discipline and a new way of thinking.

    The blogosphere is addicted to popular culture, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world, like Hollywood. Each and every day there are thousands of blogposts all about the exact same thing, whether it's Lindsay Lohan cutting her leg open with a teacup in the least plausible celebrity injury story since Richard Gere denied that gerbil thing or talking about Lucy Liu walking around quake-ravaged Pakistan instead of talking about the actual earthquake or who got nominated for what award or who is getting fat or who is too skinny or who retained the services of whatever lawfirm to defend them against new charges of child molestation.

    What we need to realize is that popular culture is a finite, non-renewable resource; not in the long term because we'll always have people to build up and then knock down. I mean in the short term. There's only so much to draw from in a 24 hour period. We can't count on one of the Olsen twins going in for some kind of rehab every single day. There's only so much we can draw from when we're posting daily, if not more often.

    Take Britney Spears, for example. What else is left to say about Britney Spears? Yeah, maybe she's getting fat, maybe she can't really sing or act, maybe she's married to a wigga himbo man-whore. Fine. Now she's guest-starring on Will & Grace. Let's not all lose our heads now. First of all, is there anyone left who hasn't guest starred on Will & Grace? And second of all, does anyone still watch that show? Along with John Mayer and Barbecue Flavored Potato Chips, Will & Grace is something I've never understood the appeal of. It's not that I object to the gay content, I think I've made that clear here by now. As far as minorities of any kind go, you know me, I say "The more stereotype-y the better." It's just that the whole tone of that show has always been so shrill and self-congratulatory, well, it's practically a blog.

    Which brings me back to my point. We run the risk of dropping into cultural irrelevancy if we can't find ways of distinguishing ourselves from one another. It may seem like your blog is relevant because it's all about you, but trust me, you aren't the first one to feel angsty and alienated because your parents suck or the boy you like doesn't like you back. That's the whole reason myspace exists.

    Once that realization hits or we start to bore even ourselves, the plan of first resort is popular culture. We've all been there as well. Sloppy seconds is one thing. Sloppy 4,664,890ths is something else entirely.

    I foresee a future where blogs are about totally random non sequiturs fed by people engaging their imaginations so we don't get a bunch of lame, gimmicky posts based on and limited entirely by things that happened to happen the day before. Like this one, for instance.

    Really good blogs are about random crap other people aren't talking about like, for instance, breakfast cereal boxes or what kind of fruit we might like or whether or not it's windy where you are.

    That's the good stuff.

    Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like bloggers before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom's advance, mostly with puns and pictures of monkeys wearing people-clothes. We will compete and excel in the global infotainment techno-highway. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this movement by sleeping late and reading other people's blogs instead of working. And so we move forward -- optimistic about ourselves, faithful to our cause, and confident of the victories to come.

    May God bless the blogosphere.


    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.5



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