Pops' Bucket
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
All Our Yesterdays Have Lighted Fools The Way To Dusty Death
Every year around election time, people are always all up in my face. "Hey, what do we think about this issue? What do we think about that issue?"

Look, first of all, if you're going to step to me with a bunch of questions, you're going to have to be WAY more specific.

Secondly, I don't really have time for the now. As far as I'm concerned, there is no present for I am a visionary. Visionaries only see the time in two modes, the Awesome/Suckful That Will Be (you know, depending) and everything else is just a bunch of shit that already happened that I can't do fuck about anyway, so, like, fuck it.

I know, they're long-winded categories. That's why visionaries don't have T-shirts. Besides, slogans are faddish and fads are so right now, which is, like, over.

Honestly, do you care what I think about Proposition 84, the bond measure meant to improve water infrastructure and preserve land? Holy God, I don't even care what I think about that. "Preserve land"? What does that even mean? It sounds like some kind of hippie nonsense and I have no time for hippie nonsense.

And that's what ballot initiatives are anyway, either a) hippie nonsense or b) pharmaceutical companies trying to make it OK for them to cut Viagra with heroin. One side is just bitching and moaning about "breathable air" and "potable water" and the other just wants to make sure they're getting paid for giving you boners you're too stoned to know what to do with.

So that's why I decided to become a visionary: none of the issues in the present are worth my time; an attitude that really clears up a schedule, let me tell you.

Even though it's a week before the midterm election, I'm already looking ahead to the next election. That's right, bitches, 2008. The Big One. Presidential politics again. Since we all know how sweet the last go-round went in terms of blogging material (see: the first six months of my Archives), I'm ready to gear up again. It's like childbirth; it's such an inhuman amount of pain, your brain is actually capable of fogging that sense memory just enough to convince you to do it again. I don't know about you, but I never vote without an epidural.

2008 is two years away, and I've already got my guy. He just announced yesterday: San Diego-area Congressman Duncan Hunter is officially a Republican candidate for president in 2008.

That's right. The San Diego-area Congressman Duncan Hunter. You know, the one who made his name... uh... who's famous for... um... running for president?

Sure, you're probably thinking that Dunc-Hunt (I have a nickname for him already, using just first-syllables like the bad-ass gangsta he is) is my candidate because he's officially the only person running. Maybe that's true. Maybe when someone else comes along I'll re-evaluate. But I'm kind of stuck with this visionary thing. If I want to get on the 2008 train ahead of all y'all, this is the only engine running at the moment.

With Dunc-Hunt, I'm finding though, there is a lot to recommend. First of all, you have to admire his innate political instincts; announcing his candidacy for the next election before the election cycle we're in finishes. That's smart, because the way to run is as a stealth candidate, as an outsider who thumbs his nose at the Washington politics-as-usual. Anyone can get out there and let people know who they are in a rational and efficient manner. It takes a real maverick to throw your hat into the ring before there's even a ring. It's just that kind of outside-the-beltway thinking you can only get from a 13-term member of Congress.

Plus, he's almost a shoo-in to win since he's a Member of Congress. Congressmen have quite a record in presidential elections. Voters are usually eager to help someone make that leap from a constituency of 900,000--sometimes made up of up to four different municipalities!--straight into the Oval Office. It's a natural, logical step voters are very comfortable with. We know that once you've faced down the Chula Vista Rotary Club, Kim Jong Il looks like an effeminate midget in high heels and a bouffant hairdo.

Sure, Kim looks like that to everyone, but on top of actual real visual perception, Dunc-Hunt will also have an added layer of over-the-top compensatory machismo through which to filter the self-comparison. After all, he's an American. A Republican. And he will be president. I have seen it.

And I will continue to see it. So long as as he continues to run officially unopposed.

The only real problem I foresee is, after he's elected president, he should keep as far away from this dude as possible. Duncans and Macbeths don't mix. And I don't want to be reliant on the hippies and their pet projects. You never know when we might need a Birnam Wood handy and on-call.

Only 730-something days until Election Day!

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.8


Sunday, October 29, 2006
Aaron Sorkin Theater

A Tribute, by Pops.

STARRING the cast and crew of Mr. Sorkin's current show Studio 60, primarily BRADLEY WHITFORD as late-night sketch comedy show executive producer DANNY and MATTHEW PERRY as show head-writer MATT.



MATT and DANNY walk side by side TOWARD CAMERA down a long a twisty hallway. Behind them all sorts of things happen in an active, busy background. The hallway has many obstacles in it for no obvious reasons of spatial logic including CORNERS, DEAD ENDS, INTERSECTIONS, STAIRS (going both up and down) and, at one point, A BEAR.

Hey, Danny.


I wanted to talk to you about something.


No, I mean, when you get a chance.

You want to talk to me about something?


When I get a chance?

That's right.

I'm not really busy now as we walk.

Can we do that?

Can we do what?

Walk and talk at the same time.

I guess so.

I mean it seems kind of...


Exactly. Like the kind of thing you would think of that would never, ever get old.

You mean walking and talking?

Yes, walking.

And talking.


So you wanted to talk?

Yeah, here's the thing, I think I have accidentally developed the capacity to travel through time.

You can travel through time.

I think I can travel through time.

How so?

I don't know, it's just today, ever since I woke up, I just feel like I've been able to slow things down.

You can slow things down?

Yeah, kind of... at will.

Ah. You feel like you've lived this whole day and it's like there's always an extra hour or so you don't know what to do with.

Exactly! Wow, hey, can you do it to?


Sure? What do you mean, 'sure'?

I mean we can all do it.

We can all do it?

We can all do it. You're thinking about the end of Daylight Savings Time.

Daylight Savings Time?

Yeah, Daylight Savings Time.

I forgot to set my clock back, didn't I?

I think maybe you did.

So that was today.

That was today.


So was that it?

Was what what?

That was it, the thing?

What the hell are you talking about?

The thing. You wanted to talk to me about a thing. Was that the thing?

Oh. Yeah, that was one thing. But there are others.

There are others?

Yeah, there are others. Have you ever seen a scene in an Aaron Sorkin show where there is no talking?

That's an excellent point.

Man, this is hard.

What is hard?

Thinking of things to say all the time. The pace of the conversation is brutal.

You could do what I do.

What do you do?

I repeat everything you say.

You repeat everything I say?

Nice work.


Also, sometimes I make up words.

You make up words?

Yeah. The point of the conversation is less what you say than keeping the rhythm going.





At this point, the wandering duo are joined by SIMON STYLES played by D.L. HUGHLEY.

Hey guys.

Hey Simon.

I just wanted to remind you guys that I am black.

Yeah, we remembered.

I know, but you need to have me wander in every once in a while and beat you over the head with the obvious. Also, I have a lot of dignity.

He does have a lot of dignity.

So we're cool?

We're way cool, Sim.

We even call you 'Sim'.

I'm not the first black guy in a Sorkin show though, you know.

Yeah, Robert Guillaume was in Sports Night.

Really, Benson was in Sports Night?

Benson was in Sports Night.

Weird. How'd that go?

He had a stroke about half way through the first season.

Wow. What do you think caused that.

The dialogue.

I can see that.

OK, I've exceeded my allotted time here, I can see. Look out for the bear.

SIMON wanders off, leaving DANNY and MATT alone again to continue their epic journey through the eighty miles of hallway inside Studio 60.

Hey Danny.

Yeah Matt.

Why is there always a Danny?

I don't know what you mean.

In Sports Night one of the main characters is a Danny. Then in The West Wing there was another Danny.

There was?

Yeah. The reporter guy, remember? Same actor we have here except here he's called 'Cal'.

The thirtysomething guy?


Wow. You know, I don't know. Probably the same reason there's always a pair of dudes at the center of the show in a deep nonsexual codependent relationship.

Oh, and a character whose job is to put a human face on alcoholism and/or drug addiction.

Is that me or you in this one?

I think it's you.

Even though you were the one who had a drug problem in real life?

I know, it's weird.

It's OK, I can stretch.

So basically we're just Sorkin talking to himself, aren't we?

I expect so.

And he has a at least one multiple personality named Danny.

I'd say that's pretty clear.

Hey, did you know the first recorded steam device, the aeolipile, was invented by Hero of Alexandria, a Greek, in the 1st century AD, but used only as a toy. In 1663, Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester published designs for, and may have installed, a steam-powered engine for pumping water at Vauxhall House. In about 1680 the French physicist Denis Papin, with the help of Gottfried Leibniz, built a steam digester for softening bones, i.e. he invented the world's first-ever pressure cooker. Later designs implemented a steam-release valve to keep the device from exploding. By watching the valve rhythmically move up and down Papin conceived of the idea of a piston and cylinder engine. Papin wrote up the designs for such a device (as pictured adjacent), however he never built an actual steam engine. The English engineer Thomas Savery later used Papin's designs to build the world's first operational steam engine.

Wow. That's interesting, but pretty inartfully shoehorned into a conversation.

I know, but I did the research and so I figured I had to get it in somehow.

Ah. It's OK, I'm sure nobody will notice.

Because we're charming?

Because we're charming.


What now?

It's just with all this dialogue and all this walking, I'd hate to mess up a line and have to start over.

I think I see what you mean.

The blocking for these scenes has got to be a real bitch. I'd hate to have to reset.


Yeah, blocking. Come on, it's the precise movement and positioning of actors on a stage in order to facilitate the performance of a play, ballet, or opera. By extension, the term is sometimes used in the context of cinema to speak of the arrangement of actors in the frame. In this context, there is also a need to consider the movement of the camera as part of the blocking process (see Cinematography).

Oh, yeah. Can't be easy on a show like this.


Where'd you get all that?



Yeah, it's hard enough for us to get our walking path and all our lines right, but it's got to be doubly hard for the bear.

The bear?

Yeah, the bear.

What bear.

Enter BEAR




The BEAR eats both MATT and DANNY.

The End.

Friday, October 27, 2006
Can I Get A "Amen"?
A lot of frivolity and insincerity gets thrown around here in the Bucket, and for good reason. The world is a pretty fucked up place. I like to provide, if only briefly-yet-over-verbosely, a little respite from the world's fucked-up-edness and give you all something a little bit totally useless and forgettable to wrap your heads around. It's what I do.

But even in a space like this, it's important to get serious every once in a while, to stop and take stock, to say something that needs to be said. The motivation is selfish--it's just something that I feel like I need to share--but the effect, even accidentally, could be profound for someone. If it helps or changes just one of you, it will have been worth it to waste every single other reader's time, I think. Before you get mad about having your time wasted, just think of it as status quo. Remember, you read a whole post about Willie Ames here once.

Today I want to give you my testimony. I want to tell you all about how I found and accepted Jesus.

They say that if you have any kind of substance abuse problem, you have to hit rock bottom before you can start recovery. I found out that that was true one day back in February. After a full night of two-fisted bingeing on my favorite drink, something I call a Cherry FUUUUUCK! (grenadine, absinthe, splash of club soda, lime twist), I woke up, flat on my back, at the bottom of a quarry. I don't remember how I got there. I don't remember taking off my clothes and I certainly don't remember the fire that cost me both eyebrows and 70% of my total bodyhair, but there I was, naked, mostly hairless, hungover to the point of death, as vulnerable as I ever had been in my life.

I remember lying there, squinting up at the damnable, judging late-morning sun as it bore down on me, stinging my fire-softened skin to an even deeper shade of pink, when all of a sudden, the sun went out. A total, immediate eclipse.

I nearly swallowed my tongue. Mostly it was because of the loss of voluntary muscle control caused by near-fatal alcohol poisoning, but the other part of it was surprise. There he was. I saw him. It was Jesus.

In fairness, he insisted on spelling it "Jesús" and saying it all funny and Spanish-y. But those are just details. All I know is there I was, in my time of need, naked and alone, and he found me.

I'll never forget the first words he said to me either. He was leaning over me, like I said, blocking out the sun. His head was enormous and it was backlit, obscuring his face. I couldn't even see his mouth moving when he said: "Eh, chingado, I didn't plan on seeing anybody's balls this soon after breakfast. Get your ass up before I call the cops or one of the bulldozers grinds your drunk ass up."

My Lord and Savior had spoken. He had even given me a new name, as He had once called Simon "Peter." I was now and forever after "Chingado."

I staggered to my feet, wavered a little bit, and clutched at him for support. That's when he took a step back and kicked me full in the sternum. I knew right then he was the Messiah. He was telling me: I must learn to stand on my own.

Message received, O Lord.

Since I couldn't remember how I'd gotten there, I had to follow him out of the quarry. Like a good shepherd, he showed me the way. He even gave me his jacket as we walked out. He said he it was because he was suffering from "visual pinga fatigue" but I know it was to protect me from the elements.

When we got to the top rim of the quarry pit, I tried to followed him into the office-trailer. That's when he stopped me.

"Eh, what the fuck, ese?"

I was confused. "I follow you," I said, smiling.

"Fuck off, loco, before I call a cop."

Ah! My first test of loyalty! I just nodded and smiled, waiting for further instruction.

"You heard me?" he said, taking a step toward me. "You can keep the fucking jacket, but you need to get lost, bitch, before you get hurt."

Get lost. The message rang in my ears. Be careful lest you come to harm. The words were all so clear. He was calling me to wander, to spread the message among the non-believers, but to be cautious because the world is filled with treachery and Judas-ness.

"OK, I'll do it. In your name," I said.

He pretended to be confused. Before I left, I wanted to touch him one last time, to make a memory to carry me through the long, hard road before me. And plus maybe steal some of that sweet miracle mojo I'd heard Jesus had. Chicks would dig it if I could bring their brothers back to life or turn water into wine or whatever.

Before I could reach him, he raised his hand to me.

"Back up. You heard me? Back up, bitch," he said.

Another test. I remembered Sunday school. I offered him my cheek.

He fractured my cheekbone in three places, I found out later. The Son of Man can really thrown a punch if he wants to.

I must have been experiencing some kind of religous ecstacy because I swooned and fell, with stars and sparks dancing in front of my eyes.

And then I saw an angel. She came out of the office trailer right behind my Lord. She looked at me and then back at the Messiah.

"Chuy, what the fuck?" she said with a voice like God's own bagpipe. "Dad said no more beating up dirty-ass vagrants, stupid. One of these days one of these crazy fuckers is going to have a knife or an AIDS needle or something. You want that?"

Wow, I thought. Jesus had a sister. I immediately tried to reconcile the idea in my head: if he's the Messiah, what does that make her? And what does it mean for my salvation that I would totally bang the Messiah's sister?

The signals were all so confusing. Internally, at least. Since I was still naked from the waist down, some of the signals were probably sort of externally apparent.

I did take some comfort in the fact that Jesus had chosen to come back to the world as a Mexican in America. A member of the downtrodden, the forgotten, the poorest among us. He was here to show the world an example of suffering and dignity from an ignored and oppressed segment of the world's most affluent society.

Without saying another word, He walked away from his sister, the office-trailer, stepped over me and got into a silver Audi Q7 SUV and drive away in a spray of gravel.

The Messiah's sister slipped back behind the office door. I heard it lock.

As I wandered away, down the long, lonely road back toward civilization and my old life, I was filled with a new purpose and perspective. I had wasted my days drinking and blacking out, missing whole weeks at a time from my memory, neglecting my friends and family, my personal hygiene and what had it gotten me?

A personal audience with Jesus.

I had been doing the right thing all along.

The world made sense and I was at peace.

I tried to get close to him in my few lucid (and some not-so) moments. I learned a lot about him, about how his "dad" owned that quarry and how his sister didn't always close the blinds in her room when she changed her clothes. I took the court-ordered thousand-foot no-contact radius as a further sign that I should make my own way in His name. And I took the arrest after several violations of the thousand-foot limit as a sign that my minsitry was to be inside lock-ups and drunk-tanks, which I dutifully visited with regularity.

I hope this helps some of you.

I love you all.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 0.0


Thursday, October 26, 2006
Tough Love
Hey, Fatty. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Mister and/or Miss Typical American. Let me ask you a question: what the fuck happened to you? I remember what you used to look like not 20 years ago. Skin-tight leotard, headband, leg-warmers, sweating your tight little ass off as instructed by Jane Fonda.

Yeah, sure, OK, so her workout tapes turned out to be pro-communist mind-body-conditioning propaganda. Big deal. We were secretly and against our will subverting the very fabric of the United States by embracing yuppie-dom, widening the gulf between rich and poor, squeezing the middle class dry in between, setting the stage for a bloody and inevitable class war, buying Foreigner records... all sorts of unforgiveable atrocities. But holy shit, did you see our fucking abs? It's like they were carved out of marble. All kinds of acts of socio-political self-annihilation behavior can be forgiven if they happen over perfectly sculpted quads and glutes.

Have you seen Jane Fonda these days? She's still in pretty good shape. Sure, she looks like a movie-of-the-week about the evils of too much plastic surgery, but my God, at least she's trying.

But you... I mean... holy Christ, just look at you, Average American. You are by far the fattest person/people in the whole of recorded human history. How can we expect you to do the responsible thing--following the Fonda example--and spend thousands of dollars on corrective elective cosmetic surgery when you spend every single spare dime you have on donuts and McNuggets? Two great tastes that taste great together, sure, I get that, but come on.

I know, you want me to stop. I should just leave you in peace, dammit, because this is America and we are allowed to do whatever it is we want to do. If we want to make a billionaire out of Rudy of Rudy's Big & Tall fame, well, that's our fucking business, isn't it? We're supporting industry as we outgrow the things that used to be able to support us. Clothing, furniture, things like that.

Hey, you know what else used to be able to support us? Regular sized cars. And you know what else besides that, lard-ass? Go ahead and guess.

The whole planet earth.

That's right, tubby. I have to draw the line somewhere. OK, fine, maybe I went with you on a couple of late-night Taco Bell runs and yeah, OK, I was there that time we closed down Dairy Queens on four consecutive nights, but that was only because I thought it was funny to watch you eat, wide-load. I was making fun of you.

But this isn't funny any more. Fat Americans are causing cars to consume more fuel than ever. You hear that? Your one-ton car with the power of 200 horses is laboring to cart your flabby ass around. All those millions of years to convert fat, lazy dinosaurs into useful flammable, refineable liquid form and you go and squander all that work because you can't drive by a Krispy Kreme without reacting like Rush Limbaugh in a hospital meds locker. Or a Krispy Kreme.

Poor mileage means more fuel consumption and more pollutants in the air. Is your fat ass large enough to plug the hole in the ozone layer? Is it? I would bet it's probably a close run fucking thing, but probably just a little short, Weighty McHeavyset.

And if that weren't enough, it turns out that you, Average American, would feel a lot better if only you'd exercise every once in a while. And no, just watching Richard Simmons sweat to the oldies isn't going to cut it. Actually, I'm pretty sure you can catch something doing that.

I'm not prepared to keep watching health care costs in this country soar because you can't mix in a leg lift every once in a while, pudge.

We need you, doughboy. We need you alive, fit, lean, like a puma. Like a puma with the opposable thumbs and mental acuity to fire a bird gun. Because they are coming. The birds, I mean. A flock of menace raining shit and death all over this country, probably in the service of North Korea.

And where will you be? Idling in the drive-thru waiting for your super-size extra value meal to come up? Taxing your engine to the max as your means of transport lists comically to the side you're sitting on? Trying to fight off that tickle in your throat with the soothing scratchy feel of bite size Pepperidge Farms Nantucket chocolate chips cookies you swallow whole, four at a time?

No. Fuck that. It's time, Average American. No more coddling, no more co-dependence, no more driving the State Fair people to push the fried-food envelope.

Pops is in charge now. Let's get to it: on your back. Let's go, you disgusting tub of goo, we don't have all day! Do you have any idea how fast a determined flock of swallows can get here from Pyongyang? I said ON YOUR BACK. OK now, legs in the air. No not like that! Feet together you whore! We're doing crunches here. Your penchant for sexual immorality is a whole 'nother complex of issues that I will have to fix in another post.

You got big dreams? You want assured long-lasting survival of the species? Well, long-lasting survival of the species costs. And right here is where you start paying: in sweat.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 0.5


Wednesday, October 25, 2006
...And Now I Will Take Your Questions
There is a lot to be proud of being American. We have gender equality, racial equality, freedom of religion and we are all of us within easy driving distance of a cheeseburger (probably made that day!) even in the darkest hours of the night. Crown thy good with brotherhood, y'all. The BK way.

My favorite part about being American? Probably the cultural pressure for women to be thin AND have giant boobs. As an added economic bonus, those have also driven the very lucrative porn, plastic surgery and eating-disorder industries, the backbones of our financial well-being. Seriously, you can see their backbones. And their ribs.

My second favorite part? Freedom of speech. I can say whatever I want whenever I want to. Watch: FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER! See? No reprisals. I defy you, Supreme Court. Yes, I enjoy just that much freedom. I am grateful to whatever country it was that invaded us back in 1776 to free us from the tyranny of English rule to establish a foothold for democracy in North America, stabilizing the region and allowing for the better exploitation of our natural resources. Probably France, I guess. Or maybe Canada. I don't know. I studied European history.

We know from the Iraq example, though, this is how democracies are made: forcibly imposed by an overwhelming military external force. It is, alas, the nature of things, regrettable though it may be.

But since I have freedom of speech, I can do things like watch President Bush's press conference on Iraq and make uncomplimentary comments and observations as I go.

First, a brief summation:

  • Man, presidenting is still hard. How many times does he have to tell you people his job is hard? It's like you don't listen. All you want to talk about is details and more details about invasion this and occupy that and improvised explosive device this other thing... Don't you people realize he has to talk directly to Donald Rumsfeld every single day? How about some love for Bush?

  • "Adjusting our tactics" is not a lot of ad hoc flailing because we have no comprehensive plan in place for events past, say, Thursday. Again: it's not that. It's us actually being crafty. The terrorists never know where we're going to go. If we know what we're going to do, they'll just figure it out. Best to keep everyone guessing. Complete abdication of strategic thinking = total operational secrecy.

  • According to the commanders in the field, thus far in Iraq, we've never lost a battle. Dang, there's a saying I can remember about winning battles but losing the... something. Tip of my tongue... bah, it'll come to me.

  • In World War II, we fought against anywhere from two to three other nations.

  • Benchmarks vs. timetables. It's not semantics. Let me explain how it's not semantics by laying out overly complicated, excruciatingly detailed definitions of the words and then give examples to show how they are different even though the things I'm saying are the same. Semantics is... something else. I don't know. Sounds like some kind of cross between cement and plastic. Probably wicked hard. Just like presidenting.

  • Democrats aren't unpatriotic, they just don't understand. We should feel bad for them because they are so very stupid. Also: will raise your taxes and hand your daughters over to terrorists. Again, not unpatriotic though.

  • President Bush believes very strongly that what he is doing is right. That's the same as actually being right.

    Listen, I'm not one of those people who just snipe from the sidelines and make no positive contributions. Well, OK, I mostly am, but this post isn't excruciatingly long enough to meet the Popsian standard of splitting headaches amongst the readership, so I'm going to keep typing until my fingers are sleepy.

    The main gist of the President's statements were as follows: basically if we don't win in Iraq (stable government, integrity of current borders, no total civil war, terrorists gone, secular state... you know, the little things) the terrorists will sweep in and make Iraq a terrorist utopia of sharia law floating on a deep reservoir of sweet, delicious oil they will pump out of the ground and have carried in barrels across the desert on the backs of burkha-ed, saddled women.

    The problem as I see is that the Iraqis are lazy. It's not an ethnic observation, it's just that they have gotten so used to living under Saddam, the busy-body uncle who made sure there was funding for government work and a healthy flow of dead neighbors to keep you just motivated enough to get the job done, they have sort of forgotten how to be self-starters. I mean, come on, it's been 3 1/2 years since we invaded. Bush has said from the beginning that we will stand down when the Iraqis stand up. I used to think that that was some kind of metaphor for their ability to self-police and self-govern. Now I'm not sure he wasn't being completely literal. Iraqis seem to be the laying-down-ingest people ever.

    I mean heck, we even had to invade and forcibly topple his government FOR them.

    The threat of instability and the potential for the existence of an extremist state in the region is clearly Saddam's fault. If only he had not allowed himself to be defeated and removed from power, we would have a stable enemy of extremism in the region. But he let himself get his ass beat and now look where we are. Now it's all our problem to fix his mess. And he didn't even have any good WMDs. We could use us some crude WMDs right about now, I'm telling you. Fucking Saddam, man.

    What I'm proposing is that, with the ethno-religious schisms seeming to be intractable, we need a new strongman, a single locus of power to focus authority, fear and to get the trains running on time.

    I suggest we send Rush Limbaugh.

    I used to sort of just ignore the guy, but now he's coming out saying Michael J. Fox is pretending to have Parkinson's Disease. You know, for the Parkinson's groupies, I guess. That's just plain ole dickish.

    And what else do you need to be a dictator than a good healthy heap o' dickishness? Total disregard for the suffering of others is, I think, a paramount quality you need for someone who may or may not need to own and operate a rape room.

    We know he loves America, but isn't too keen on stuff like dialogue or people who disagree with him on anything ever. Plus we know if we just keep him supplied with a steady suppy of opioids and he's right in our pocket for life. Free oil for everybody!

    The more I think about it, the more I like it.

    ...WAR! That's the word I was trying to remember. That was lucky. That was going to bother me all day.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.5


  • |
    Tuesday, October 24, 2006
    It Hurts When I Do This
    I do a lot already. I spend my days providing care and comfort and direction to three human beings not myself so that I might shape them into healthy, productive, overpaid, unmotivated, self-righteous American men. That's a full day for most people right there. Me, I can get all that shaping done in about an hour, between waking up and shoving them off to school. I'm wicked accurate with a thrown shoe.

    Right after that, I set aside some time to entertain America--no, the entire internet-having world--with this little digital dog and virtual pony show* you are enjoying right now. And I do it all for free. The same thing they pay Jon Stewart and David Letterman and Regis Philbin millions of dollars for, I provide gratis. Why? Because I give. And I know the world needs me. There has to be some counterbalance to the super-serious dick-joke-averse George Wills of the world, lest we all be swayed to self-mutilation and the sweet release of death.

    What I'm saying is that I know I'm the only thing between many of you and suicide. It's quite a burden to carry, but I figure if all it takes is throwing together a few words to keep the world liveable for the type of people who would read this blog, well, it's the least I can do. Until I get bored and quit. I bet that self-offing spree makes the news. But I'll be OK. They'll just blame heavy metal music again.

    It was with some consternation and resigned weariness yesterday that I realized I had accidentally come up with another answer for all of you; yet another bit of information to impart that will make the world an incalculably better place. I know, as if my Heather Thomas post wasn't already enough, right?

    I now have the answer to cure all the world's diseases.

    I usually dick around with three or four paragraphs before getting to the point, but it's too important, so I'll just tell you: the cure for nearly all the world's diseases is to visit the doctor.

    I know. It so simple yet elegant. And it seems so obvious, "No shit, the doctor you say? Never would have thought of that on my own, fuck-knuckle." But no, it's not their doctoring skills or fancy machine-that-goes-PING! medical technology that will save us. It is the drive to the doctor's office itself that has miraculous medical properties.

    See, I had been feeling kind of bad lately. I had this kind of knotty constricting feeling in my chest that made it hard to swallow (steady...) over the last two days. It didn't go away by itself and I wasn't dead from a heart attack, so I immediately made the obvious conclusion: breast cancer. Or maybe lung cancer, I'm not sure. If it was breast cancer, I would have just told you lung cancer because even though I know guys can get breast cancer, it's just not the manliest sounding disease to get. I went through enough awkwardness when I had to explain that time I got ovarian cysts.

    Finally last night I was tired of feeling bad, so I got in my car and made the drive to the doctor's office. And then, as I traversed the distance in my independent internal combustion-driven vehicle, the symptoms magically--do the Kevin Spacey Keyser Söze puff thing with the fingers--were gone.

    This is not the first time this has happened and I know it hasn't only happened to me. Plenty of us have had that awkward visit to the doctor where we're trying to explain our debilitating symptoms in the past tense, pointing to the places it used to hurt. We get a nice door prize in the form of an unnecessary antibiotic prescription, but we're out one office-visit co-pay and a goodly chunk of dignity, especially if your doctor likes a vigorous revenge digital rectal exam like mine does. I don't even know what I'm feeling for most of the time, but it seems to calm him.

    The point is that every time we're feeling a little under the weather, a drive to the doctor's office is a pretty good fix. Only have to intend to actually go in. That's the trick. You have to be like Abraham with his knife over Isaac, ready to sacrifice him, his only and long-awaited son, at God's command. You can't have that inkling in the back of your mind that this is all a show and everything will work out OK. You have to know you're going to sit in that waiting room for upwards of three hours and risk an encounter with the jellyfinger. Without commitment, there's no way this will work. You have to believe.

    Of course I reserve the possiblity that this approach won't work on every malady. I mean, if you are one of the increasing numbers of people coming down with leprosy, any driving anywhere is risking the steering wheel torque snapping off a couple of fingers. In that instance I would suggest public transport.

    Just so you know, though, I have no intention of turning this into one of those hypochondriac blogs about the biological minutiae of my day. You know how those look:

    6:30 am: Woke up. A little lethargic at first. 85% turgidity.** Possible afflictions: bad Cialis reaction.

    7:00 am: Ate breakfast (Mini-Wheats, orange juice). Some difficulty swallowing. Possible afflictions: anemia, paraplegia.

    7:21 am: Moved bowels. Sinker, 3 ounces by weight. Possible afflictions: Hirschsprung's disease, colorectal cancer (the silent killer).

    You get the idea. I could never be one of THOSE people. Being that self-involved is a full time job, which leaves almost no time for world-betterment-via-dick-jokes. You are welcome.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


    *= in case you were wondering, the digital dog's name? Fidobyte. And the virtual pony is called Shankley Smithers Muffinbottom.

    **= the percentage is a tricky thing, but it's something I worked out right around puberty. It's based on how much turgidity is required to lift certain objects. For example, 90% would be a wet bath towel while 40% would be a single sock. Anything below 30% is hardly worth noting for scientific hoisting purposes, but it will still get you noticed doing math problems on the blackboard in junior high.

    Monday, October 23, 2006
    Monday Lite: Flying Petrelli Brothers
    So again, porn star Mary Carey is running for governor of California. Great, I think, perfect. Someone on the ballot has to represent the segment of the California population that knows what a "dirty sanchez" is, I feel.

    I welcome Ms. Carey because I enjoy finding ways to waste my God-given right to vote. Usually I do it by bingeing on Halloween candy and blacking out for much of the first half of November thus forgetting to actually vote, but occasionally I will find someone just funny enough to consider supporting. Like Gary Coleman or Charo or Gray Davis. But now Mary Carey has suddenly withdrawn from the race, just before the Election Day money-shot.

    She says it's because her mother unexpectedly threw herself off a four-story building. Mmm, convincing. Best acting job ever.

    Anyone else here seen the new show Heroes? In that one, this guy running for Congress has his campaign interrupted by his kid brother being injured after jumping off a roof. But the kid brother doesn't die. Know why? Because his wanna-be Congressman big brother saved him. Because he can fly.

    The fall was covered up as a... anyone? Anyone? That's right: suicide attempt. Because nobody votes for the guy who can fly. Who can relate to that? Not only is the Flying-American community not what it once was, but they are almost completely politically disengaged. You would be too if you could spontaneously lift off with a thought. The problems of the world look so very small from 15,000 feet, suspended by nothing but an unexplainable inborn ability to generate a personal anti-gravity field. You know the chicks dig it. Who's got time to vote when there are flight groupies to bang?

    And now this Mary Carey thing and I think it's only reasonable that we reach one conclusion: Mary Carey is secretly a superhero.

    I don't know that her power is necessarily flight. I'm also fairly certain it isn't hyper-smart-ness, although I do reserve the possibility that this stupid-porn-star thing is a Clark-Kent-like act so she can ply her superhero hyper-smart trade in secrecy and peace.

    No, I think most likely her power is to induce teenage boys to masturbate. All she needs to do is engage in a sex act either with another man, a woman, multiple partners or just the right cylindrical inanimate object, have the act filmed and distributed widely via a well-financed, fast moving network of both digital and traditional media.

    These heroes toil in silence. They swoop into our lives leaving behind only friction burns, shame and that piquant misused lotion smell. There's an analogy in there somewhere with the Lone Ranger and silver bullets, but I've never been that in to anal play.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.3


    Sunday, October 22, 2006
    No Experience Necessary. Must Be Satellite-Visible, Relatively Combustible. Generic Foreign-ness A Plus.
    It's late October, it's election year and things aren't looking good for for the party in power. We've been here before. We know what to expect. This time of the year has some very specific associations. You know what I'm talking about: goat urine and salmonella.

    No no, wait. That's just associations I make with this time of year because I am required by law to take my kids to a ridiculously overpriced pumpkin patch every single year. The centerpiece is the petting zoo, complete with bunnies and a pony and incontinent goats (hence the wafting uriney tang) and not-at-all-well-looking fowl of various stripes. Seriously, the ducks and chickens have stripes. They're black and painted on and they used to say QUARANTINE. If a chicken isn't even good for McNuggeting, you know something is horribly wrong with it.

    No, seriously, as it's an election year, I can say for certain what we should expect: the imminent death of al Qaeda's #3 man.

    We get them a lot, the #3 guy. You may not know his name yet, but you know him. He's the one who will be introduced in very short order along with some very glower-y pictures in one of those Arab head-dresses and a patchy beard and a name with all kinds of randomly strung jaggly letters in it. Very threatening, all those consonants.

    And then, just when the 24 hour news networks have convinced us that this latest al Qaeda #3 man is living in every single one of our homes, in the crawl-spaces and basements or even just in the dusty corners where the light don't quite reach all the way at night. He sits there, waiting for the signal, audible only to himself with his crazy terrorist dog-like hearing. Waiting, just waiting, with a Jeopardy!-like trigger-buzzer in one hand (attached to the non-nuclear "dirty bomb" strapped to his back) and a whole Costco-size family value portion of KY jelly in the other, forcing us to decide to pray for which one we'd prefer him to use first.

    And then, lo! The al Qaeda #3 will suddenly be squished by a giant US non-nuclear weapon at the last possible second, smoked out of his hole and annihilated with the help of an heretofore anonymous US patriot agent/soldier who looks remarkably like Kiefer Sutherland. We'll all be relieved, but deep down we'll know that the terrorist guy was only doing his job because it is the job of the al Qaeda #3 man to be killed by the United States on a regular basis when it suits our needs.

    Sources deep within my gut tell me that the Bush administration is busy concocting the phoney-baloney backstory for the latest al Qaeda #3 as we speak. But it can't be just any random Arab anymore, no. The stakes are too high. We're talking about potential loss of the House of Representatives or even the Senate here. National security issues if there ever were any. There won't be enough of an approval rating bounce from a announcing we've killed yet another from the stock list of Scary Semites.

    This time the enemy will be revealed at the last moment. And it will be someone we know. There is a short list of candidates.

    1) All Democrats. Not as likely a choice because it's already self-evident that terrorists and Democrats have the same goal: less Republicans in power. So the electorate will see it coming. Plus it would take FOREVER to get all the Democrats in the #3 slot one by one and take them out.

    2) State Department official Alberto Fernandez, a Bush guy who says we've acted with "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq. TRAITOR! Plus, his name kind of sounds like Alberto Gonzalez, the Attorney General, whom is generally despised by both Democrats (for being a pro-torture anti-Constitution lap-dog) and Republicans (for being Mexican). With the right amount of confusion on the Monday before election day, this one could really have some legs. You know, once we find them after the smoke clears.

    Two decent options, but I really think it's going to be:

    3) Former president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush. He's already come out and pissed his boy off by butting in to this whole election business. And what would make a better news story than the son betrayed by the father he... well, not "loved" since they're WASPs, but whatever it is that WASP sons do to show non-hostility toward their fathers. Accept money from them and allow them to use their names to get into Ivy League schools. Whatever. The point is, it has great potential as a storyline. If only we could get one of W's uncles to start sleeping with his mom, we'd have a modern day Hamlet in the making. Maureen Dowd would plotz. You know, to the extent Irish-Catholic girls can do that.

    It sounds far-fetched, but I'm starting to wonder. Bush 41 lives in Houston. When Bush 43 whipped up that hurricane to destroy New Orleans, where did all the refugees go? And then allegedly sparked a giant crime spree?

    Clever, W. Clever. But a bit indirect. If I were Bush 41, I'd be cozying up the mile-deep bunker all presidents are given as a retirement gift once leaving office. Out go the storage items--ping pong table, Jeb's school awards, jars of grandma's old preserves and Bar's old penis, Brent Scowcroft--and move in some old Navy hammocks and a modern compturized command-and-control center. Once they come for al Qaeda's #3, they always get their man. Usually retroactively.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.0


    Friday, October 20, 2006
    Open Thread
    Circumstances--by which I mean the requirements laid on me by the private school that I PAY FOR, whose orders I am somehow compelled to obey--dictate that I do not have the requisite time (usually 4 to 6 hours on average) to put together a top-flight Bucket post.

    I will be attending a recitation and song program put on by kindergartners. I should be back to regular posting strength Sunday night barring some kind of nasty hyperglycemic reaction to the giant piles of Cute I will be forced to endure.

    In the meantime, you can feel free to discuss any of the decidedly non-cute topics in the news in the comment section below. Or just take turns comparing "Pops is a douchebag" stories. You know you got 'em.

    You could try talking about:

    1) The first-stage plans to eventually totally fuck up Eritrea. Iraq doesn't have the traction it once did, politically speaking. Eritrea is African (a boon to geography teachers everywhere) and small enough to totally occupy with a squad of junior high school flag girls.

    2) President Bush finally says: "Iraq and Vietnam? Yeah, I guess I can understand how you'd see that." Oh, and also that the terrorists want Democrats to win in November. One step forward, two steps back.

    3) A priest in Malta says, yes, he probably did sexually molest Mark Foley when Foley was 13. But the priest would like you to know that it wasn't that big a deal. "It's not something you call, I mean, rape or penetration or anything like that, you know," he told the TV station in a telephone interview. "It was just fondling." I thought pedophiles were supposed to be charming? I mean, I still don't feel bad for Mark Foley at all, but if you're going to be molested, it's bad luck to be molested by a guy who's such a dick. Can't be good for the self-esteem.

    OK, discuss away. I have an insulin shot to get to. Have a Buckety good day!


    Thursday, October 19, 2006
    Some parts of human behavior, I think, can probably be traced back to the earliest days of man, traits and behaviors selected out by evolution because they have been effective in increasing the human chance for survival, thus increasing the likelihood of their perpetuation through procreation. That means "doin' it."

    I'm thinking of simple things like the flinch-and-swipe response to any light touching of the face or neck while sleeping. That's not something you learn, it's something we just do. Those among us who lacked that response in the shady days of long prehistory missed out on swatting away the ancient face-lizards who would climb on people's faces while sleeping and lay eggs in their throats. The people who (briefly) woke to find their necks exploding with mature face-lizard hatchlings tended not to get the chance to pass those numb-face genes down to another generation. All to our benefit, I'd day.

    And that's how evolution works.

    Of course it's not a perfect process. The ability to tolerate some contact with the face while sleeping is necessary so that we might be able to sleep and disregard things like wind or dust or whatever. It's also one of the two founding evolutionary gene-marker exceptions around which collegehumor.com was founded. What's the point of survival as a species if we can't write VAGINA across the foreheads of our passed-out drunk friends with permanent marker?

    The other founding exception is obviously the willingness of fertile young women to expose their breasts in exchange for some brief faceless notoriety. I think we're all grateful for that. Collegehumor does God's work.

    Of all the basic hard-wired responses we carry with us from the bad ole days of cave dwelling and 17-year life expectancies (fear of spiders, sleeping covered up, general suspicion of the motives of face-lizards, internet porn), the most most basic is the ability to run away.

    Is it cowardly? Sure. But as responses to threats go, I'd say it's hard to argue with. Mostly because of the rapidly increasing distance between yourself and those who might wish to engage in said argument.

    I run from lots of stuff. Oncoming traffic, mice, snakes, anyone wearing a hockey mask, dogs I don't know, strangers, Burmese pythons, Burmese people, the po-po, committment, responsibility and an honest days' work.

    The only thing I can think of that is a danger to me or my own sense of self that I don't run from? Bears. They'll just run you down from behind, knock you over with one paw, slice your belly open with the other and before you know it, they're muzzle-deep in your guts, chewing on your delicious fatty liver. They're kind of blocky and large, but don't be fooled. Bears are built for speed. If you see one, you're supposed to play dead. As a secondary defense, I've had a cyanide pill surgically strapped to my liver. The bears might kill me, but I'm taking one with me if I go.

    It's a dangerous world out there. We need to make sure we keep our instincts honed. And a notebook handy so we can record the suspicious words or actions of all our friends and neighbors. Are they putting in a new patio or just cementing over the place where they buried those they kill? You don't know. Write it down, make a call and let the FBI decide.

    But mostly the instinct thing. That's why I am distraught that an elementary school in Massachusetts has banned games of tag or any kind of play chasing.

    It's outrageous. These aren't games, people. This is training. We know we're not safe. Terrorists want to blow up football games. State and County Fair vendors are trying to sell "Fried Coke". Threats we need to identify and put some space between, pronto.

    Elementary school is where we learn the basic skills of reading, writing and fight-or-flight. Fear of "cooties" might sound harmless and silly, but it's not so funny when suddenly your years of anti-cootie training kick into gear after your office is hit with an anthrax bomb. Those cooties will kill you. You'd better know what to do.

    Now kids can't play/practice the ancient art of running from shit what tries to catch you. Because it's "too dangerous."

    Hey, you know what's really dangerous? The underwater army of stingrays bent on killing us. Steve Irwin was just a warning shot. He was swimming toward it. Now they're jumping in boats to get to us. How long before they sprout legs and waddle ashore?

    And what will our kids do? Nothing. They'll just stand there, gawping at it as it plunges it's evolutionary advantage in the shape of a poison-tipped razor barb right into their chests, killing them instantly. We'll all shout out, "Run, you fucking dumbass kid, run!" but they'll just stand there, crying, terrified, completely paralyzed by a system designed to beat out of them their Darwin-given ability to be irrationally scared of shit.

    If that's nurture over nature, I'll take nature every time.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.1


    Wednesday, October 18, 2006
    Foley To Reveal Name Of Alleged Abuser
    CLEARWATER, FLORIDA-- Disgraced former US Representative Mark Foley has announced plans to publicly name the man he said sexually molested him as a teenager, setting him on the path to be a drunk with gross overtones of pedophile. The announcement will no doubt completely absolve not only him but the entire Republican party of any and all complicity in the sordid episode wherein Foley tried to convince teenagers to have sex with him and then had it all covered up by GOP House leadership.

    "It's time," Foley was probably quoted as saying in a preliminary interview conducted by AOL Instant Messenger, "to let the people know that I am sorry for what I did and--this is important--how it's not really my fault. Or failing that, that you should get back on that Catholic Church buggery thing you were all so excited about a few years ago so we can have this election already. I don't want the results there to be my fault either. My basic point: my total guiltlessness. Hey, do you work out?"

    The Archdiocese of Miami released a standard boilerplate statement in preparation for the announcement, expressing all the usual sentiments about healing and forgiveness and how it's all zero-tolerance now, hate the sinner love the sin, and LOOK! IS THAT MEL GIBSON!? HE HATES THE JEWS!

    Foley appeared briefly on a second-floor balcony at the Scientology-run rehabilitation center in Clearwater, Florida. Flanked by his new Scientology best friend on one side and his new girlfriend Kirstie Alley on the other, he offered this brief statement:

    "I know it doesn't totally excuse my actions, but I have not had an easy life. I used an episode of inappropriateness from youth define how I expressed myself toward young people as I grew older. I see now that that was wrong. I just want you to understand where this behavior came from. You see, in 1970, I was sexually molested by Bill Clinton."

    Foley was then whisked away from public view, leaving behind a gaggle of stunned reporters and a pile of neatly typed informational packets outlining the details of the encounter between Foley and the future 42nd President of the United States, an abridged copy of Dianetics and a few B12 supplements and gingko biloba pills.

    In the handout, Foley alleges that in 1970 Clinton, on his way to Yale Law, along with Vince Foster, John Kerry and a couple of Arkansas state troopers stopped off in Florida for some late summer revelry. The then-16-year-old Foley was allegedly on his knees at prayer between his summer jobs at the Florida Blind Homeless Veteran Center and at Li'l Odd Paws Cripple Puppy Care Farm when Clinton and his cohort surrounded him, pinned him to the ground and anally penetrated him with several objects including a cigar, one of the state troopers' hats, the letter (rolled up) Bill Clinton used to dodge the draft, and finally Mr. Clinton himself.

    Upon finishing the act, Clinton allegedly whispered in Foley's ear as he left: "If you don't fuck a Congressional page by the time you're 53, I will find you and I will kill you. Just like I'm going to kill Foster here."

    Asked for comment, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert said: "It's a sad, sad story, but it makes perfect sense now. Nothing is left unexplained. Now, how about these job numbers today, eh? Also: 9/11."

    The reaction by the Roman Catholic Church can only be described by a heavy sigh and slinking off into the background, making as little noise as possible.

    The news of Clinton's involvement comes as a shock, especially after the very recent revelation of Foley's ongoing homosexual relationship with Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

    No further personal comment has been made or is expected from Mr. Foley. He remains in the care of Scientology, the well-financed religious group known to have vitamin-ed the gay out of Tom Cruise and (to a lesser extent) John Travolta.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006
    It's Almost Touching, It Will Almost Do
    Woo! Yes! Man, I am awesome!

    Another blog down and I'm still standin'! And my therapist said I'd never stick with this since "I'd never stuck to anything before in my life." But the joke's on her because there's this blog AND the time in college when that weird chemistry dude who lived on my dorm hall gave me five dollars to try out the new gel-based spray-on epoxy he made in his room when the rest of us were busy drinking cough syrup and not studying. I stuck to that real good. The guy who did my skin grafts even made a point of saying so.

    On Sunday, due to unexplained and mysterious reasons, SJ's Give Me The Booger blog went out of business. I suspect it's something to do with complications from her struggle with adult onset dwarfism, but she told me not to say anything about that, so let's keep that between us. Can't be easy, though, shrinking like that. I can see how it would be harder to type a lot with those little fingers.

    Blog lifespans being what they are--especially for low to really-low range readership-volume ones like mine and those around me--it has taken me just over two years to outlive just about every other blog from my original blogroll now.

    Man, that says something AWESOME about me. I'm not sure what, but I know it's AWESOME. In all caps, just like that: AWESOME. No, not sad. No, not pathetic and needy and clinging and OCD-ravaged. Unless you think OCD-ravaged-ness is AWESOME, then OK.

    All I know is Last Man Standing usually wins a prize. I've seen enough reality TV to know that's true. All the blogs from my original blog roll have either dried up entirely now or are updated so infrequently they now qualify as books-online.

    I don't know what the prize will be, but I assume it will be something suitably AWESOME.

    The only person left between me and It (whatever It is... start pooling your funds now) is the lovely and talented Rita, whose blog actually pre-dates mine by some distance.

    I don't know what it is about Rita and myself that makes us so long-lived in this medium, but it is both odd and worth exploring, like a cave made of marshmallows. Only, you know, less nutritious or substantive.

    What is it about us that keeps us going? As far as I can tell there's nothing particularly cockroach-y about either of us. Well, I mean not past the fact that she is known to have an unusually high tolerance for radiation and I am startled by the sudden turning-on of artificial light. But neither of us eat garbage (I don't think) or could survive headless for weeks at a time.

    The only thing I can think of is that we have both studied history in college. I could go on and on about learning critical thinking skills that develop the ability to observe the world around us and fashion those observations into coherent, pithy thought-nuggets easily digested by the masses. But really, when you get down to it, history is all about filling in the space between footnotes with lots of unnecessary words. Blogging is exactly the same thing. Except without the footnotes.

    I expect to win this struggle as well. I have that much faith in my own tragic emotional imbalance. I know it will sustain me.

    Although I am on the path to victory, I will be honest and say that it doesn't come with just a tinge of melancholy. I used to like being part of my little blog circle that started in late summer/early fall of 2004. I miss those people dearly. Not really so much because of who they were, but look at what the erosion of my network of active links has done for my readership numbers:

    Doesn't that make you sad? Well, probably not you because you came here to be entertained by dick jokes and funny MS Paint pictures and instead you got THIS, so you're probably trending more in the "bored to despondency," but you know... somebody. OK, just me. But I'm somebody. I am.

    Boy. I started off so high and now I'm just kind of... I'm sort of... well, take it, Puppet Kim Jong Il.

    When I change the world, maybe they'll notice me.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


    Monday, October 16, 2006
    Monday Lite: Your One Stop California Politics Shopping Update Site!
    For those of you my age and older, I bet you're asking yourself: what ever happened to that Jerry Brown guy, the skinny guy who ran for president back in 1992 with an avuncular mix of populism and grassroots anti-estblishment fire that can only be convincingly faked by someone who grew up the son of the Governor of California?

    I know you're all wondering. It's the same way I wonder, as a non-New Englander, "Hey, what ever happened to that Paul Tsongas?"

    Jerry Brown, in case you're not clear on his bio, was (as I said) the son of a former governor of California and himself became governor in the 1970s. Weird hippie ideas (balanced budgets, environmentalism), banged Linda Ronstadt back when she was still hot, that sort of thing.

    Then he ran for the Senate a couple of times and lost. Ran for president three times and lost, the last time in 1992.

    So what's he doing now? He's the 2006 Democratic candidate for California attorney-general, that's all!

    This is after his stint as mayor of Oakland.

    It's not an uncommon progression, mayor of a major city, on to statewide office, then either governor or senator capped off by a presidential run. Pretty standard political trajectory, as things go. But man, who else do you know that gets to do it twice?

    My only question is: when he makes it all the way back to governor, does he have to bang Linda Ronstadt again or can he choose a 2000-whatever surrogate that represents the relative hotness of Ronstadt at her 1970s peak? Because if it's the former, I'd say Attorney-General is a perfectly respectable position from which to retire.

    If it's the latter, I hear that hot Dancing with the Stars chick is available. No, not Mario Lopez, the OTHER one.

    OK, I shared, now it's your turn. I'm feeling all nostalgic for the Democratic Candidate Class of 1992. What's Lloyd Bentsen up to these days?

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.0


    Sunday, October 15, 2006
    Number 665... Now Serving Number 665...
    Before we all panic, let's look at the facts, shall we?

    North Korea has nukes. A Scorsese movie is on pace to turn a hefty profit. Supreme Court Justices are on TV debating things in with ACLU members. John Kerry might run for president again in 2008. CBGB shut down. The Detroit Tigers are in the World Series.

    OK, now you may panic. Let's not be naive. The signs are unmistakable. Something is about to happen. Something bad.

    The process may have already started, which would confirm my worst fears. In Hawaii this weekend, the residents there suffered through a substantial 6.6 earthquake. Pretty scary stuff. Nobody died, electricity has been interrupted for many people, some flights have been delayed or cancelled and several unfortunate souls had the earthquake rouse them prematurely from a nearly-completed full night of sleep. I know it doesn't sound like much... but what if it is?

    What if this means we are on the brink of a worldwide Apocalypse of Inconveniences?

    I bet you've never spent one single second thinking about that, have you? Well, we'll just see where you are when it hits.

    It starts with something like lights out in Hawaii. Next thing you know, there are news reports about odd-tasting tap-water in Rio de Janeiro . Sure, maybe it's just the regular sewage taint and they only noticed because of the new all-asparagus diet craze sweeping through the general Brazilian up-river population, but it will be noticeable, it will be unwelcome and it will, I assure you, be commented on.

    All the Piggly Wigglys in the greater Memphis area will suddenly and mysteriously be out of Sara Lee Toaster-Size Cinnamon-Raisin bagels. Millions of hungry African children will go totally unadopted by American celebrities. An unexplained worldwide rash of projector breakdowns during showings of The Grudge 2. Also: a worldwide rash. Very itchy but ultimately treatable.

    Those new and unexpected phenomena alongside the usual suspects of inconvenience like construction detours, some seasonal flooding, mid-season-replacement TV shows, dentist appointments, Blogger, a cholera outbreak in Uttar Pradesh and the gnawing, inexpressible hunger for democratic freedoms of speech and action in tightly controlled, over-armed China and you've got yourself one heck of a globe-wide pandemic of mild but survivable annoyance.

    What we must ask ourselves, of course, is what does this mean? What can this kind of coordinated spiritual attack on our daily schedules force us to face up to as a race of beings or portend for the immediate future of all mankind?


    That's the answer. See, it's already an Apocalypse. Apocalypses, as a rule, don't portend or foretell or presage or anything else you can find at thesaurus.com. An apocalypse is a happening. End of the process. Hence the name, yes? So it isn't really a catalyst for reflection or deep contemplation of the nature of what it means to be human. Turns out we missed that bit already. It is, as a noted social critic and philosopher of our time once said, "just a bunch of stuff that happens."

    Except in the case of an actual Apocalypse, all the "stuff that happens" will be the wheat divided from the chaff (figuratively... or maybe literally too, I don't know... I hear God is altogether very ambitious, agriculturally minded and a wicked proficient multitasker) resulting in the Rapture-ing of the select few and the wanton slaughter and/or leaving to rot in a world completely denied the warming, life-giving light of God's attentions for the rest of you humanity.

    But clearly, judging from the Hawaii example, that is not what we're facing at the moment. No signs, no warnings left. But when you're sitting in a traffic jam that ultimately has no obvious cause or your dog suddenly develops an irresistible taste for the shoes you wear to work, you should just nod and sigh and know this is our lot now. The signs were given and were missed and now we can do nothing but take our unusually high number-ticket from the little red wheel dispenser at the Post Office and wait at the end of the unseasonably long line.

    Or maybe we're supposed to stop this Kerry for President thing. I don't know. All of a sudden I'm starting to feel a little Dead Zone-y and it's creeping me out.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.1


    Friday, October 13, 2006
    Gaffer, Foley, Grip
    Wow. This Foley thing keeps going and going. Just when you think it can't get any more lurid, it sneaks up behind you and takes you by surprise. It's only needed the slightest bit of hands-on attention from the national media for this thing to keep growing and growing, incrementally but inexorably and undeniably more pointedly insistent, more intrudingly protrudent, more achingly and unignorably demanding of our attention in its lurid, purple turgidity. You know, as a news story. Also: veiny.

    I don't know whether I should be outraged or masturbate. It's very confusing. Luckily, I can do both. I wish to God I could throw a baseball 95 miles per hour instead, but we can't choose our gifts.

    A skeevy older guy cruising underage pages online is creepy enough. We all know his M.O. by now: some introductory e-mails, some IMs to gauge interest, moving up to an exchange of pictures, then some hot-chat, some soda cans filled with wine followed by (one presumes) some rip-snorting buggery in the House cloak room.

    That in itself is not that surprising. Everyone on the Hill knows what the "cloak room" is for. It wasn't always so dark and shameful, however. Cloak room dalliances between Speaker Henry "Three At A Time" Clay and most of the British diplomatic delegation were widely known to have hammered out the final details in what became the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

    So if not for the ages of those involved in the Foley matter not elected representatives of a Congressional district, I think it would be a non-issue.

    Believe it or not, though, it's about to get worse.

    I could hardly believe it yesterday when I found out that Mark Foley was fucking Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

    I know. I know. I couldn't wrap my head around it either. The mental picture alone was enough to make me black out as though I'd been hit in the head by something heavy and forceful, like say Jeb Bush's ass on the backstroke of a particularly vigorous thrusting into some excitingly obscure part of Mark Foley's anatomy. Even now, 24-hours later the idea makes me a little woozy.

    I know you don't want to believe it, but it's true. Of course they won't come right out and say that it's true, but they might as well now because it's all so obvious.

    It became clear to me when I read this story about Foley being angry about the president "snubbing" him when GWB was in Florida.

    You'd snub him too if you knew he was cornholing your little brother.

    The tip-off was this excerpt from an e-mail to Jeb Bush from Foley in 2004:

    "Have I done something to offend the White House? ... I am always getting the shaft..."

    God, it just makes you want to throw up. You can practically see him winking with that knowing coyness when he types "Have I done something to offend the White House?" And then there are the tell-tale ellipses, which probably omit some kind of playful nickname he has for Jeb like "Pony" or "Sugar Balls."

    And then the obvious--the horribly obvious--"I'm always getting the shaft."

    Sounds like flimsy evidence, you say? Remember: it starts with e-mails gauging interest. These are code-words and signs and (in my humble opinion) not very well disguised ones either. It's shameless.

    You can clearly see the way this trajectory will arc. E-mail, hot-chat, buggery. The only part I can't really figure out is how he got Jeb into the House cloak room, but Foley has been living a life of deception for so long, small details like that are probably almost an afterthought.

    It's already been a rough year for the president and his party. Between this and the Abramoff thing and Iraq and the implication of Speaker Hastert in the Foley coverup, the polls are clearly showing the Democrats on the verge of some historic pick-ups, dangling in front of all of us the possibility of some oversight in government, some real accountability, some hard questions and the legislative heat of competing agendas to burn off some of the nonsense and hopefully leave us with some kind of balanced sense of public responsibility in Washington.

    I mean, they've got this Foley guy porking the Republican governor of Florida.

    I can hardly wait to see how the Democratic party manages to fuck this one up too.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.7


    Thursday, October 12, 2006
    My Pet Goat
    Look, it's hard enough as it us for us out here in Riverside County. Los Angeles has movie stars and TV studios and sports teams and is the world center of production for English-language pornography. It's got a lot going for it.

    Orange County is about 50% coastline, some of the most expensive premier real-estate in the world and, just to rub it in, both a television series and movie named after it. Less porn than LA, but still, quite a public (if less pubic) profile.

    Out here in Riverside, it's a struggle. We don't even have the mountains people in SoCal go to ski on in the winter. Those are in crappy neighboring San Bernardino County. They also have a nationally competitive per capita murder rate, so I don't know that I'd trade for the one if I had to take on the other as well, but come on.

    We're close enough that people who work in LA, OC or even San Diego can live here, but it's a struggle in terms of perception. You know, you lead the world in private methamphetamine production for a couple of years and all of a sudden there's a stigma. If they did that in Newport, they'd call it "entrepreneurial spirit."

    Things were getting better, though. The insane real estate market had driven a few people with money south (from LA), east (from OC) and north (from SD) to cash out and take advantage of our affordable housing.

    But the demand has been such that today, compared to national averages, Riverside housing is considerably not affordable! Ha, finally! An unreasonable and unsustainable cost of living! We are somebody!

    We've had a Nordstrom for like 15 years and they keep putting in things like PF Chang's and Cheesecake Factory that wouldn't touch us even five years ago. The potential for chain-restaurant-based snobbery have increased ten-fold. The thing about moving up, in terms of economic demographics, is that finally--finally!--we might just get the chance to look down on somebody else.

    Fuck you, Bakersfield!

    And then...

    And then... this.

    I read the article and I was sickened. It was brought to my attention yesterday by a devoted Bucketeer, the lovely and talented KZ and then reinforced by the GIANT TYPE ABOVE THE FOLD TOP HEADLINE in our local paper.

    I mean my God. We try and we try and we try, we make some progress, and all of a sudden something like this comes out and it just devastates you.

    No, not the treason. The guy is clearly an asshole. Big deal. I could open my front door right now and within about 30 seconds find five people of comparably self-deluded assholery. The guy across the street from me runs a business from his house and always parks this big-ass truck at the end of our cul-de-sac. It ain't treason, but it's close.

    What I'm upset about is this line from the story: "Raised in Southern California on a Riverside goat farm..."

    Goat farm.

    Holy fuck.

    I suppose I could point out that there aren't any actual goat farms in the city of Riverside that I'm aware of. I could also make the clarification that he's from Winchester, which is in the middle of Bumblefuck, Nowhere, but I could still get there in about a 45 minute drive from my house, so that doesn't really help.

    No, the damage is done. "Meth lab" at least has a certain cachet. Drugs at least are sort of cosmopolitan. Sure, they're mostly use by people in sleeveless flannel shirts with more fingers than teeth, but at least potentially they could be sold and used by flashy urbanites or bored rich suburban teens looking to flaunt their parents' authority, maybe lose a few pounds or just looking into the new and exciting world of open mouth sores. Who can say? Very exciting.

    But "goat farm"... my God. That's a pretty static mental picture, isn't it? I'll be surprised if they don't immediately stop building the Cheesecake Factory and declare Riverside County an upper-middle-class-retailer-quarantine zone. Again.

    But I guess this Gadahn fucker is a terrorist and that's how the terrorists work. If they can't get bombs in, well, I guess associating a region with goat farms is the next best thing. For us, today is like 9/11. Except without the planes or the fire or the collapsing buildings or all the death. And it's, you know, October.

    OK, so it's not that much like 9/11. It's still a bummer though.

    The CBS version of the story even leads with "goat farm". But they place it in Orange County by mistake! Point all your friends there!

    Past crappy journalism, all our hopes now rest entirely on the weird, weird shoulders of David Lynch. He's made a movie named after us. Except instead of a fun Jack Black romp, it's more of a three hour fever dream that is (according to early film-festival reviews) narratively incoherent and undermined by nauseating Lynchian self-indulgence. I hear a full third of the film is (and this is true) shot sitcom-style about a family of people with rabbit heads.

    I have to move.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.75


    PS- I have been informed by a super-secret agent deep inside the Department of the Interior that the DOI computers are now actively blocking the Bucket. While this makes me sad since government employees cannot Bucket-surf instead of working their phoney-baloney government jobs, I am gratified to know that, in internet terms, I've finally made it. I'm finally porn. Way to go, me.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006
    American Military Interventionism: A Handy Primer For The Political Now
    In these troubled times, everyone wants to know: what are the Bad Guys thinking?

    The good news is that we know who the Bad Guys are. Thank God we're free of that fuzzy era of the Clinton Administration, after the Cold War but before 9/11 where we were all sort of paralyzed and confused by the runny moral and geo-political relativism personified by Clinton himself. It got so bad at one point, some of us seemed to be pretty strongly convinced that the enemy was the President of the United States. All that ire and anxiety we had so carefully and lovingly set aside for the Soviet Union and their comforting, constant threat of instant nuclear annihilation re-focused on one man and his sexual peccadillos. The scales didn't quite match up, but you have to remember, we were a people adrift. World peace is a nasty inconvenience; it can really fuck with a nation's sense of purpose. It was as though we as a nation had just graduated college with a liberal arts degree and decided to take some time waiting tables at TGI Friday's until we figured out what it was we were supposed to do with ourselves.

    But in our defense, he did totally let that girl blow him.

    But then 9/11 happened and we all grew up. Time to stand up straight and get a job that didn't involve pushing mozzarella sticks on people who we know deep down really just came for the flair. We need good jobs to do our part in the American War on Terror so that we might make a decent living and buy stuff. Because there's nothing a terrorist hates more than a President's Day All-Denim Blowout Sale at the Anchor Blue. Not only are we conspicuously consuming, but it's got "President" right in the title. In your face, Osama.

    The shades of gray are gone now (I'm talking about world politics again, not so much the denim) and the world is once again in helpful black and white.

    And yet somehow, despite the clarity, things still get complicated. It's not gray so much as a lot of swirly blackwhite--or, alternately, whiteblack depending on the pigmentational leanings of those involved--that we have to shake like a wire sieve so we might sift out the pure fluffy cake-rising wonder of Democracy from the hard knobby gravity-loving granules of Dictatorofascicommuterrorism.

    Right now, somewhat embarrassingly, we're all being sort of pushed around by this guy:

    I mean, it's clearly a puppet version of Kim Jong Il, but you didn't know that immediately, did you? I didn't. Even when I noticed the strings, I still wasn't 100%.

    There are so many questions. What does he want nuclear weapons for? Does he even really have nuclear weapons? And if he does, can they only reach Japan? Because if they can only reach Japan, that's OK with us.

    I'll be honest, what this particular Bad Guy is thinking isn't immediately clear to me. I assume he's looking at the example of Pakistan and hoping his nuclear proliferation lark will land him some sweet US basing deal when we decide to invade a neighboring country (probably China).

    What we can extrapolate from the Kim Jong Il example is what the other global Bad Guys are thinking AND why we shouldn't worry so much.

    Watching Kim Jong Il is:

    Mahmoud Ahmandinejad, President of Iran. Death to America! Death to Israel! We will pursue nuclear weapons as we have every right to do so! ...and we'll get to that right after we see what happens to Jumpsuit McSpectacles. Man, people seem pissed at that guy.

    All the Bad Guys (North Korea, Iran, Osama, Ellen DeGeneres) we know are keeping a firm eye on Iraq and what is happening there. Emboldening them slightly might be the a) continued demand on US military power, potentially pre-empting any pre-emptive US force in other matters, no matter how border-sharingly close and b) our astounding inability to achieve our stated goals in anything approaching a timely or orderly fashion and c) the erosion of political will on the part of the American people to support internvention with no clear endgame.

    But then the downside are stories like 655,000 people dying as a direct result of the invasion despite (perhaps because of?) its characterization as a "failure." This of course does not apply to Kim Jong Il who has been known to build entire showcase model worker cities on foundations made of actual workers. Concrete is expensive.

    Further emboldening the Bad Guys is a look back into our recent past in Vietnam and the political, social and military debacle that ended up becoming.

    Back further is the Korean War and the stalemate action that lead to Kim Jong Il in the first place. Less our fault than that Vietnam thing entirely, but still not a clear win.

    But eventually the bad guys will get back far enough to the Big One. El Guerro Grande. The Deuce. Old Satchmo. Or as history books call it, World War II.

    They all get History Channel International. They know. We fucking kicked ass in that war. And they've read Tom Brokaw's books, they know the old guys who routed the Hun are still lingering, ready to rise up and Greatest Generation the a-bomb having midgets and cave-hiding plane-hijackers of the world right out of existence.

    From WWII, we know that sooner or later every global enemy makes the same mistake: they invade Russia. It is only a matter of time. We've already got the terrorists leaning that way with the Chechnya thing. Now all we do is sit back and wait for Kim Jong Il to do the same thing and his ass is ours.

    America. Fuck yeah.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.6


    Tuesday, October 10, 2006
    Non-Emergent Dental-Medical Intervention Placeholder Post
    A time comes in every man's life when he lets a woman not his wife stick her latex-gloved fingers in his mouth along with a series of increasingly frightening, choking, piercing, grinding torture devices. Like, say, twice a year. Roughly.

    It'd be really weird for me if my hygienist was a dude.

    The work to be done (hopefully) will be minor and I shall be back amongst you, my powers at their full capacity, tomorrow morning. Until now, a little preview of what I'm having done:

    I understand how they're going to hook me up with the iced-out grill, but how they're going to turn me into a black man younger than myself I don't know. I am going to ask for a double hit of anesthesia, though. Or, as I will soon be calling it, Crunk Gas.

    To the window, to the wall...


    Monday, October 09, 2006
    Monday Lite: Team America--World Police
    North Korea's nuclear test is a "grave threat to the United States", one that requires immediate action... by someone else because we're kind of busy with this Iraq thing.

    At the same time: in South Dakota, where a ban on abortion is up for a vote, "[e]ach side has recruited South Dakota rape victims to aid their campaigns."

    Are we 100% sure that our society is worth saving? Because sometimes, you know, I have questions about that.


    Unrelated to the above, people keep telling me I have to check out Keith Olbermann's series of "Special Comment(s)" at the end of his Countdown program from time to time. They're all over the 'Net and grist for the crazy, spittle-flecked political blogger mill on both sides, which is fine. Good clean fun.

    And please note I've been a big fan of Keith Olbermann's for a good long time, since I was a kid and he was the local sports guy on Channel 5 out here in the LA area and on the CBS affiliate before moving on to ESPN and beyond. I've always found him to be a very smart guy with a well-developed sense of humor, both rare things among broadcasters.

    But really, of all the rhetorical methods one might employ to emphasize the point they're trying to make, the least appealing to me is sanctimony. It might start from a place of truth and honesty and good intentions, but it always comes out braying and self-serving and perspective-free. The first "Special Comment" I thought was good, inspired by genuine frustration and outrage, a kind of reflex spasm of self-defense.

    Every one since then has been so heavy on the "For shame, Mister President!" that it's all lapsing into unlistenable self-parody. You can't fight unreason with unreason. You just can't. Everyone knows you fight unreason with some well-placed bon mots and some Photoshop pictures of your enemy fucking a giraffe.

    What I'm saying, people, is stop sending me the YouTube Olbermann links. As far as the "Special Comments" go, they're like that band, The Killers. Sure, the early work is OK, but now it's just trying too hard to give people what you think they want to hear. And I don't even like regular Springsteen, let alone some crappy Springsteen cover band.

    I think I might have slightly lost the point there at the end, but I think the gist of it is well and truly gisted. Look at me, I'm gisting all over the place.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.7


    Sunday, October 08, 2006
    Bolt From The Blue
    It's usually not a good idea to open up a post with a defensive statement. I learned early on that the rules of successful blogging are really almost exactly the same as the rules for surviving an encounter with a cougar: make yourself look bigger than you actually are, make as much random noise as you can, do not back up and never, ever turn your back. Running away is out of the question, unless of course the question is "Would you like to be chased down, felled with a dental bisection of your carotid artery and then slowly devoured over a period of several weeks?"

    Of course in terms of blog-readers instead of cougars, this is mostly metaphorical. But only mostly. I know long periods of time alone at the keyboard has turned at least one of you feral.

    This is all prelude to what was going to be my opening line. It sounds like I'm backing up, but just know it's not that. Really, it's just an opportunity for some of you to get out right up front (OK, just three paragraphs in) when you know what's coming. It's just me being my nice ole considerate Pops self.

    You are welcome. Here goes:

    This post is about sports.

    But only sort of. Look, I made it through a whole entire baseball season without a single mention of my mediocre-yet-torturously-marginally-competitive favorite team. So you can cut me a little slack, especially when you consider what I have to say.

    If the San Diego Chargers do not make it to the AFC Championship game this year, I will kill this puppy:

    Here's the worst part: this is not my puppy.

    If the Chargers do not at least make it to the game before the Super Bowl, I will be forced to a) identify this puppy, b) locate this puppy and c) murder this puppy in cold blood.

    I found this picture by doing an image search for "puppy" on Yahoo. I have no way of knowing how old this picture is. Is this puppy still even a puppy? If not, it will be doubly sad for the family that has housed and raised this pup into a dog and no doubt a treasured member of their family. How much more will it suck then when I show up and kick it to death right in front of their crying children?

    Or maybe this puppy is already dead. Maybe this is the last picture that was taken of it before they picked it up by it's scruff, hauled it off to the lab and tortured it to death in order to see what happens when you get Autumn Plum eyeliner in your eyeball. Or maybe it lived a long happy life on a big farm with a creek and a tire swing and chickens to chase and eat raw before dying. Probably of salmonella poisoning. Either way I'm going to have to find it's puppy grave, dig this puppy up and crush its little skull with a shovel if the Chargers don't almost go to the Big Game in February. A promise is a promise.

    It sounds a little harsh, but consider: I grew up a Rams fan. A team that sucked a tremendous amount of ass, or at least had the misfortune of being in the same division as the most successful team in the history of pro football, the 1980s and 1990s San Francisco 49ers. You don't know it, but I spit when I typed that.

    Then in 1995, the team up and leaves for... St. Louis? Yes, St. Louis. Then within like two years, it wins the fucking Super Bowl. Fuck those fucking Midwest motherfuckers.

    So I became a Chargers fan. Last team left in SoCal, you see. Oh, and mid-1990s/early 2000s Chargers? Consistently one of the worst teams in all the land. Lucky me.

    But now the team is good. It's got arguably two of the best skill position players in all of football, a first-rate defense, a talented young quarterback... No more excuses. They will deliver for me. Or I will kill a puppy.

    I figure this is just the jolt they need.

    Ha, jolt. Get it? See, because they have lightning on their helmets. Like a jolt of... you know, on their...

    OK, if you don't agree that they're awesome, at least listen to a clip of their awesome fight song. After you listen, here's a fun game: guess which era of Chargers history produced this song! Here's a hint: cocaine spoon.

    You don't even have to be interested in football to care about this. You just have to care about the life of an innocent puppy dog, whom you know will be tied in a sack with a brick and dropped into a convenient body of water of my choosing should the team in any way fail to play in the AFC title game on January 21, 2007 (on CBS, check your local listings).

    Root. Hope. Pray.

    PETA wants the Chargers to win. You listened to them when you stopped wearing fur. Listen to them now.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9



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