Pops' Bucket
Thursday, November 30, 2006
RE: To The American People
SENDTO: "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad" [deathtoisrael666@pbs.org]
FROM: "Korvath Ganymede MacLeish Horrington III" [popsbucket@hotmail.com]

Dear Mahmoud,

In the name of God and Jesus and all them others--may they bestow upon you all kinds of blessings and whatever just like you said--I say to you: 'sup, bitch?

I just wanted you to know I got your letter. I'm glad and all that you took the time to write, but goddamn, it's been like six months since I sent you that last e-mail. Way to leave a brother hanging, 'Moud. And I'll be damned if I can get you on IM anymore. I thought we were boys?

Just to get the personal stuff out of the way, everything here is fine I guess. Me and Becky Sue broke up a long time ago, so I'm pretty much done with all that. I heard she is going to have Donnie the Weird Janitor's baby any day now and that will be a little strange. I don't mean socially or emotionally, I mean I think that kid is going to be born with a snake-tongue or two assholes or something. Just like his dad. But, you know, that's what Becky Sue couldn't wait for, so good luck to them.

It's good that you eventually wrote back, but I won't lie, I was a little put off. "To all the American people"? That's a little impersonal. Just so you know, I'm sending you this in STRICTEST CONFIDENCE. If the shit I just said about Becky Sue gets out, I'll know it was from you, bitch. President of Iran or not, I will find you and I will fuck your shit up.

Sorry. That was a little aggressive. But I am kind of mad about your letter. You know, you see a lonely looking guy all alone in a hookah bar in Montmartre, the weight of the world (or at least the United Nations Security Council) on his shoulders, you strike up a conversation, do some sight-seeing, crèpes and cappuccino at the little café overlooking the Seine... maybe that doesn't mean much where you come from, but in America, that's the cornerstone of a lifelong friendship. Or maybe a gay romance, but I promised to stop asking you about that, so pretend I didn't say anything.

I expected more from you than a bunch of condescending nonsense about how we don't know what we were doing, we've all been duped by the Bush power machine, blah blah blah. And how if we would only listen to you, everything will work out OK for us.

You have to think about these things from an American perspective, 'Moud. Your words are always going to be taken with a grain of salt. That's really something you should have thought about before you went and joined the Axis of Evil. Maybe there was something lost in the translation, but man, it's got "evil" right in the name. International-credibility-wise, I'd say that was a lapse in judgment on your part.

You have to know your audience. You talk about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Sure, nobody is happy about what's going on there, but I think you overestimate the level of outrage. We're talking about people stranded on an island, in a completely hostile environment, subjected daily to all manner of personal degradation and assaults on their personal dignity in an effort to break their will. Have you never seen one episode of Survivor? What I'm saying is that it doesn't mean the same to you as it does to us. I think a significant number of Americans aren't 100% sure someone isn't going to walk out of Gitmo one day with a million dollars and a first-look production deal at CBS.

There are some things in the letter, you should know, that an outsider just shouldn't bring up. You mentioned Katrina. Look, we know Bush is a fuck up, but better or worse, he's our fuck up. If you want to criticize, do it on a comedy-talk show like everyone else. Hell, Musharraf did eight minutes on The Daily Show. You can't do twenty with Bill Maher? I know he's half Jewish, but there are rules we follow as a society.

Speaking of that, I didn't disagree with everything you said. "What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?"

I'm not going to say a lot more about that except to ask: did you hear the story about the guy who returned a lost wallet to a Jew in New York? The Jew was so grateful, he told the guy "Get out of the city before September 11th!" The guy was like, "Whatever!" and he regretted it. It's like the Zionist KNEW the President was going to be in Manhattan to exploit the five year anniversary of the attack before he got there. The guy who gave back his wallet didn't listen and totally got stuck in presidential-motorcade traffic for, like, hours. It makes you think is all I'm saying.

You offered us advice, now let me offer you some: stop with the nuclear bomb stuff. Please. Kim Jong Il wouldn't listen (he says "Hi!" by the way) and now look what happened to him. He can't get any new motorcycles or cognac or furs. None! Do you want that to be you, 'Moud? Please, be careful.

Anyway, that's about it.

Hey, have you seen that Britney beaver shot? I'm totally going to attach it. It's awesome.

I still dream of Montmartre. I'm there and you're there. And Toulouse-Latrec. He does paintings of us with his little stubby arms. Little people are funny.



Wednesday, November 29, 2006
DOWN 29. Dad's Pail
Looking back at the posts for the last couple of days, I can't help but feel a little bit of the acid sting of shame. E-mail spam, movie reviews, making fun of people's last names (although, come on, the poor bastard is stuck with Fagg) and finally yesterday Britney Spears' shaved vagina. It's all been a bit shallow lately and for that I apologize. I know most of you come here for deep, considered minings into the secret bowels of life's darkest mysteries, hoping for a little glimmer of glinty reflected gold in the cold, all-encompassing metaphysical coal-black of mortal existence. You want that and all I can give you are more Tom-Cruise-is-gay jokes. I'm not proud. To be honest, I feel something of a shaved vagina myself: exposed, shameful, but a little exhilarated at the easy thrill of shock value.

But also like a shaved vagina, I feel shorn, renewed. Periods like this are when I know I'm on the verge of some new growth. Some itchy, itchy new growth.

To make up for it, today I have decided that I will talk about something meaningful, something illuminating, something that will tell you all something about your lives by revealing something deeply, meaningfully revelatory about my own.

Let's all get our heads right. Jai guru deva ohhhm. Jai guru deva ohhhhm. Nothin's gonna change my world...

Sorry, that's the only Hindu-y mantra I know.

OK, ready? Here it goes:

I cheat at crossword puzzles.

We all go through periods in our lives when we discover something new and exciting (to us at least). There is a normal period of agitation and excitement as we work through the first blushing moments of assimilation, participation, the warming tang of new possibility ever on our tongues, leaving us craving for more, more, always more. Whatever it is, if we're not doing it, all we want is to be doing it until we're left shaking, sleepless, knotted from the torment of trying to find some way--any way--to vomit the wild burning ferret of desire out of your chest and into the world. No mode of expression is equal to the task and you are left gibbering, drooling, awash in your own stink and filth, thinking at last that maybe Van Gogh hadn't gone far wrong when he put his ear in the mail.

Holy fuck, I hated high school.

The last things I kind of mini-obsessed about were blogs, when I found them. I didn't really get past that until... well, I'll have to let you know.

I found a Flash version of a crossword puzzle over at USA Today online and then another regular daily one (with the bigger Sunday version!) at the LA Times website. You have to pay for the NY Times ones (filthy money-grubbing New York media elite!), but they do give you ONE free one per week, just like the Dorm Whore when I was in school only not quite so wordy. She was an English major, if I recall. Most shockingly precise dirty-sex-talk ever. Sometimes I'd have to stop mid-donkey-punch just to write down a new vocabulary word. Like, for instance, "donkey punch".

My wife laughs at me when I do crossword puzzles because she says I'm like an old sad man, afraid of social interaction, with no job and a receding hairline, never did anyone any good in my whole life, worth more dead than living, and hey, why don't I make it a party and have that eleventh donut?

She also laughs because, since I do these puzzles online, I have multiple windows open to look up stuff I don't know. I cheat. I admit it. But in my defense, I mostly use Wikipedia, so there's a 50-50 chance that the stuff I look up will be wrong anyway. Is there no pending Constitutional amendment to add William Shatner to Mount Rushmore? It's difficult to say for certain.

I know I'm a dork because I'm excited about all the cool stuff I learn from crossword puzzles. Like, for instance, that another name for margarine is OLEO or that the notation for reversing an editor's correction is STET or that the sequel to Herman Melville's novel Typee is called OMOO. These are things I didn't used to know.

Or when I was looking up answers to the crossword puzzle they have over at the Onion AV Club, I found out there was something called the Ig Nobel Prize which is awarded every year for crap science. Past recipients include studies including "The Effects of Unilateral Forced Nostril Breathing on Cognition" and "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces" or inventions like the alarm clock that runs away and hides or Neuticles, the prosthetic balls for your castrated dog. A full list of Ig Nobel laureates can be found here.

What I also found out was that once someone won for developing a teenager-deterrent in the UK. Apparently, as we age--even just past teendom--we lose some hearing, so there are some tones that can be heard by teens but are inaudible to grown ups. Shop owners would keep teens from loitering by playing a screeching sound only they could hear.

I've never been more disturbed. This is a hell of a way to find out that my body started to atrophy right around the time I finished puberty. And there was so much more I wanted to do to it.

Of course this magic technological and biological revelation has been adapted by the marketplace to produce cell-phone ringtones that only teenagers can hear as opposed to, say, doddering old post-pubescent teachers and parents.

Would I have known this had I not developed an unhealthy interest in word puzzles? Probably not. So my life is richer for it.

Now the larger question: What does this say about your lives? Well, you've read this far, so I guess it just means you'd rather be doing just about anything except work. As usual, I am more than happy to provide your regular useless distraction.

The horizon, she is broadened.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.99


PS- A brief shout out to Richard over there at Digital Digressions. In a general discussion of blogs, he cited the Bucket as an example of a blog. It was a frustrating non-committal mention (nowhere could I find the phrase "awash in the Awesome"), but it was a mention nonetheless. Richard is also a university English professor whom I would like to thank for not checking my grammar. Although I would like to point out the proper use of "whom" in the previous sentence.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It was the great American novelist and terrorizer of 12th grade English classes F. Scott Fitzgerald who is reported to have said "There are no second acts in American life."

It sounds like he's saying we as a people don't tolerate failure; once you are identified as a thing (by your profession, your marriage, a certain personality quirk, the pattern of moles on your face in the shape of the constellation Canis Major, whatever) you must persist in that thing. We simply lack the collective cultural attention span to assimilate any sort of course-correction. Deviation means disregard. You know, after the schadenfreude has sold enough Us Weeklys. We don't want to see you again until you're bloated, blind from diabetes and maybe shacked up with a Burmese tranny. But even then it's only to check in. We don't really want to know anything about you other than that you're paying a sufficient price for derailing the perceptions we had become accustomed to.

As a Failed Writer I know that what he was really trying to do was convince us there are no "second acts" so he woudln't have to write any more "second acts" to his novels. Every writer knows the "second act" is the hardest part. I think he must have read The Great Gatsby at some point and realized what a horribly boring piece of work it all was. Unfortunately his forward-thinking plan of a simple introduction-and-then-straight-to-resolution literary restructuring never caught on. At least not until television.

In the non-writerly sense, we know that plenty of people have "second acts." Any celebrity of long standing has had to go through at least one very public re-invention in order to keep themselves current and relevant. Madonna does it almost weekly. First she was a party girl, then... well, a whore, then she was British, then she was a Jew, then she started wearing leotards in public and now she's Angelina Jolie. Then there are people like Cher who simply have their entire bodies reconstructed from scratch every seven to ten years. Talk about re-invention. You don't know this, but Cher 8.0 can run up to seventy miles per hour. We have the technology.

When it comes to celebrities, we're a generous people. We like to be amused by all the twisting and weight changes and general consternation as they pretzel themselves to accomodate the needs of their own lives as we watch with prurient, malicious detachment.

Did you know that Kramer dude used to have all black friends? It's totally true! Not on the show, mind you, no, but in real life!

Also, Tom Cruise? Totally in love! With a girl! He's so in love that at his wedding he will kiss her for like three minutes straight (yes, I said straight!) so that people will become uncomfortable with their hetero display of affection and beg them to stop. Seriously, three minutes. Start timing right now, count up to 180 and imagine watching two people make out for that long. Maybe someone should have explained to Tom that "beard" is a figure of speech and you needn't actually attach her to your face.

The thing about second acts is that they are possible, but the transitions can be painful. Take, for instance, Britney Spears. She's finally molted her Federline skin, but instead of taking a step away from skeevy faux-manishness, she found the only person on the whole planet more of a skeevy faux-man than K-Fed, Paris Hilton. They're now quite inseperable.

The pairing has brought about predictable results. What do you get when you hang out with Paris Hilton? You get your vagina photographed and spread out all over the internet by amoral exploitative types. Like me.

The following link is decidedly NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Ogle the hoo-ha if you are so inclined.

I publicize this not because I think unintended genital photography is funny--OK, not only because of that--but as an object lesson. Skanky is as skanky does. One minute you're at home smoking with your kids, the next you're a free woman, hanging out with Paris Hilton and not bothering with the underpants.

As second acts go, this is no John Travolta-in-Pulp Fiction type of triumph. Not by a longshot. If you want to re-introduce yourself to the American public, there are better ways of doing it than getting out of cars coochie-first. What Travolta did was sit at home unemployed for fifteen years self-auditing with his e-meter and not looking at gay porn until a hot director called him up out of the blue and put him in his movie.

Take heed, Britney. Someone's bound to have seen Crossroads and want to take a chance. Take heed.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.1


Monday, November 27, 2006
Monday Lite: I'm Super, Thanks For Asking
I used to think the man I admired most was New England Patriots defensive back Randall Gay. He really exists, look:

He lives in a world of towel-snapping machismo, so soaked in heteronormative testosterone that these men regularly slap each other on the ass, hold hands and shower together in total comfort because they know they're all butch, butch woman-fucking he-men. This culture permeates football at every level, from the first days of Pop Warner to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. And through it all, this man has had to carry the name "Gay" through it. I just bet it's been pointed out to him more than once, so I'm not going to pile on. Partly because I'm not in the manliest profession here (being a housewife and all) and if I start talking about piling on Gay men, I'm in a slightly less automatically defensible position. I'm a fragile, fragile flower of a man.

But I no longer admire Randall Gay as much as I used to. No. And it's not because of anything he did either. It's because this weekend, I found out about the existence of this man:

This is Florida State University receiver De'Cody Fagg.

It was going to take a lot to find a last name that made "De'Cody" sound butch, but I praise his family for making it happen.

I bet Randall Gay's experience has been a cakewalk compared to Mr. Fagg's. Keep fighting the fight, De'Cody. Just know that when you make it to the NFL, yours will be the fastest selling jersey in the whole league, especially in certain coastal areas of the country.

I salute you, sir. Punch a dull-witted would-be punner in the face for me.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.7


Sunday, November 26, 2006
Tree Of Life
As I get older, I learn wisdom, perspective, self-awareness and some really bitchin' joint locks in my ninja classes down at the Y. What I know now that I didn't know when I was 22 is that if you wait patiently enough, life is not necessarily an unbroken parade of cruelty and disappointment that chips away at your dreams until the last spark of hope is smothered by the weight of your imploding soul and all is creeping, gray nihilism as you wait with barely maintainable disinterest for the sweet release of death. Sometimes good things happen, even unexpectedly.

Also, I learned how to kill a guy with a look. It's a difficult martial arts concept to explain, but it does involve a gun-sight.

I guess what I'm saying is that even if a lot of bad-to-indifferent things happen to you over the course of many, many years with nary a pause, it is possible to survive. In college I learned a lot about 16th century Welsh religious history. Only slightly more useful, I learned that when life gives you herpes, make herpes-ade.

So the wife and I, totally unexpectedly, found ourselves kid-free, standing outside a multiplex cinema in the greater Riverside area on Saturday night. Mind you, this is LESS THAN A FULL WEEK after we'd been out to see the latest James Bond movie. We were perplexed. We were stunned. Mostly we were confused by the raging levels of endorphins in our brains released by the ecstacy of close-spaced episodes of kid-free-itude.

We couldn't figure out what to see. We saw a movie so recently that I figured we were done for the year. I stopped reading reviews after that. Plus, strangely enough, nothing of any kind of interest had come out over the Thanksgiving weekend. With no Harry Potter this year, I was stuck with a bunch of less-than-thrilling choices. We had to be careful lest we accidentally end up watching Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito re-playing Christmas Vacation almost line for line. I could barely take it the first time, but then I am clinically proven to be allergic to Chevy Chase.

When stumped for what to do, I made the usual suggestion, that we go home and totally do it. Then she reminded me that's where the kids were, so that was a non-starter.

So we did the next best thing and chose a movie to see that co-starred people we would both like to sleep with, should the occasion arise. That's how we ended up seeing the Hugh Jackman-Rachel Weisz epic The Fountain.

I also like Hugh Jackman, despite the fact that my wife wants very badly to crawl on top of him and make kitty sounds. Mostly I appreciate the fact that he gave us all the beautiful option of referring to our genitalia as an ackman. As in: I've got huge ackman. Hahahahahaha! Man, I miss 8th grade. I remember how I could make childish dick jokes and nobody batted an eye when I ogled the 8th grade girls. Now I'm older and it's all eye-rolls and electronic tracker anklets.

I went into The Fountain cold. No idea what it was about. Just some stills I saw once of Rachel Weisz in a fancy Spanish 16th century queeny dress. Hott.

Know what it's about? Turns out it's all a 90-minute sci-fi rumination on life, spirituality and death. Also, there are monkeys. Less fun than it sounds.

I appreciate what it was Darren Aronofsky was trying to do (he wrote and directed the thing), but I can tell you that on almost every level he failed to do it. Once I saw the silhouette of Hugh Jackman doing tai-chi against a starfield backdrop, it lost me. And that was about 10 minutes into the film.

The parts that are supposed to be structurally meaningful just come across and repetitive and tiresome. The deep questions about faith and meaning are all kind of obvious and unchanged from the first frame to the last. Dude lives like a thousand years and never actually learns anything. He just kind of runs out of time. Also, no Aston-Martin or assassinations or trapped hotties inside a sinking building in Venice. So James Bond also kicked its ass in those ways.

I guess I should just say I don't really recommend The Fountain. But I do recommend highly 2 hours away from your kids. Always good for whatever ails you.

Despite my disaffection for this particular film, I am a huge Darren Aronofsky fan. I've never seen any of his other work, but I do know he is having regular sex with Rachel Weisz. Admirable in and of itself, yes, but Mr. Aronofsky is an American and Ms. Weisz is British. Finally, the first counterstrike in the long campaign. Too long have we weathered the storm of dumpy looking English dudes scooping up American hotties and whisking away to Blighty. Guy Ritchie and Madonna, Coldplay's Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani and that dude from that band Bush and--most egregious of all--yellow-haired stick-man Paul Bettany and the incomparable Jennifer Connelly. All acts of war, in my opinion.

But we've got Darren Aronofsky planting Old Glory in Rachel Weisz. We had that rich dude knocking up Elizabeth Hurley, but that didn't really count. She has like 15 years of Hugh Grant taint to work off before we dare claim her.

For that reason alone, I can slightly recommend The Fountain. If the movie bombs and he fails to find work, there's a real chance she'll get sick of supporting the unemployed loser and dump him. Trust me, the threat is real. If anyone knows about the dangers of that domestic peril, it's me.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9


Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Power To Be, Power To Give, Power To See, Yeah Yeah
I keep hearing from people--mostly the guy who lives on the side of the freeway on-ramp with the cardboard sign and no pants--that Jesus loves everybody, without exception; that His love is so complete, unconditional and based on forgiveness that it encompasses the whole world, even non-Republicans and Jews.

That's the part of faith that I've always had trouble accepting. Really, He loves everyone? Then how does anyone explain suffering, deprivation, deformity, murder, birth defects, Kevin Federline etc.?

And what about me? I'm an OK guy, but I'm far from perfect. For example, when I was in high school and college and maybe for a while after that up to and including while I am typing this I went on something of a masturbation bender. Too much sharing, I know, but all I'm saying is how can Jesus love me for that when I can't even get the Guinness World Record people on the phone about it?

Most of my wondering has been put to rest recently, however. The self-abuse thing is still a problem, but at least now I have some hard evidence that I am beloved of God. Below please find attached the annotated copy of the real and actual e-mail I very recently received.

My remarks are interspersed in easy-to-find Blood-of-Our-Savior-red.


Dear blog author:
see? I am a "blog author"! This means ME!

We recently came across your site, popsbucket.blogspot.com, while searching for fellow christian bloggers.
I'll be honest with you, I have no idea how this is possible. The only thing I can figure is that they did some kind of keyword search and found this post which included the phrase "Jesus, Mary Mother of Donkeyfucking God That Hurts". I guess any appeal to heavenly authority counts as prayer.

A small group of us have started a new site called Christian Bloggers. Our prayer and intent is to bring Christians closer together, and make a positive contribution to the Internet community. While many of us have different "theologies", we all share one true saviour.
This is where the red-flag went up. "Saviour"? We are clearly dealing with foreigners here. Best case: British. Worst case: Canadians. I want to accept Jesus as my personal sav... messiah, but my guard is up now. Any minute they're going to tell me they want to deposit $100 million in my bank account if only I can hand over my account number in the name of Christian charity. Fool me once... won't get fooled again.

Would you be interested in joining Christian Bloggers? Well, I don't really know... Please take a few minutes to have a look at what we are trying to do, and if you are interested, there is a sign up page to get the ball rolling. I guess it can't hurt to look and really I haven't been a part of any group since the Cub Scouts kicked me out for skimming the soap-box derby money and my tepidly non-committal views on sodomy We would greatly appreciate your support in this endeavour.
Ah, so close! Damn you people and your seducer's tongues! Nearly had me, but "endeavour" let me wriggle right off the hook. I don't know that I can be part of any organization that doesn't know how to close. First prize is a Cadillac. Second prize? Set of steak knives. Third prize is YOU'RE FIRED.

May God Bless you and your blogging efforts. I don't mean to be boastful, Gordon Canuck, but I think one look at the quality of my work will let you know exactly where God stands with regard to my efforts. We look forward to hearing from you.

Craig Cantin
Christian Bloggers


So that's it. The Jesus sales pitch. I think I'm going to pass on this one, but I'd be lying if I said to you that just knowing Jesus is out there inspiring people to send me fill-in-the-blanks faceless, mass-produced solicitation e-mails hadn't lifted the darkness from my heart, if only a little. The only thing that makes me kind of sad is when I think about the depths of inhuman depravity to which I will have to sink in order to get that darkness back. I am, after all, both a natural sinner (as we all are) and a creature of habit.

Getting my groove back will probably make for some good blog material, however. Yet another example of the inspirational nature of faith.

First up: gluttony. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Second: sloth. I'll see you all probably Sunday night. That is, if I'm not up to Lust by then.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.825


PS- The draft is a sure bet now. We have killed for less. Buenos noches, Buenos Aires.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
What Shall We Do With All This Useless Beauty?
Thank God we've finally got this Iraq thing all figured out. I try not to get too political here because really, what kind of a raging narcissist thinks people want to read blogpost after blogpost about his/her small political pseudo-ideology? But now that it's all over and we don't have to endure any more bad news coming out of that place, I can tell you without getting too rant-y that I was kind of concerned about that entire endeavor right from the outset.

But it hasn't been just Iraq this past day or so. As far as I can tell, just about every other running crisis narrative in the whole world has been either solved or neutralized in some way. Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Darfur, global warming, terrorism, the creeping erosion of American civil liberties, the Iranian nuclear program, North Korea, the Britney Spears divorce, TomKat... all the important news stories vital to the survival and well-being of hundreds of millions of people the world over all just sort of dried up and figured themselves out spontaneously in the space of one day. It's the damndest thing I've ever seen. It's almost as good as the day I thought I had gonorrhea but it turned out only to be a reaction to my aftershave. Face only, boys. Face only.

It really makes me happy that we live in a world so at peace with itself, so comfortable, so settled... it's like we as one race, in a spontaneous act of solidarity and self-protection decided that we were going to fit into our fat pants and be OK with that. All the angst, all the consternation, just... gone.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that there is nothing else of note going on in the world that we have to fill up all of the available broadcast media time, coast to coast, hour to hour, with the story about the racist rantings of the third male lead of a sitcom that has been off the air for the better part of five years.

What must it say about us as a people that we have the luxury to spend as much time and money and energy covering the Michael Richards v. Hecklers story? Frankly, I've never been more encouraged. World Peace at last. And this time, it isn't just the name of my pony.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 0.4


PS- This story isn't a story until we get some serious network face-time to any and all black people Michael Richards has ever come into contact with. This isn't over until we know what Tim Meadows thinks.

UPDATE: And what a boon for the career of Sinbad! I've seen his face all over talking about this today. You have a lot to answer for, Mr. Richards. A lot to answer for.

Monday, November 20, 2006
The King Is Dead... Long Live The King
Last Tuesday, there was some consternation about what would become of us as a nation following the Democratic reconquista of the United States Congress. Most of the worry was among the left-wing bloggers, along the lines of "Now we will have balanced government in the way the Constitution prescribed, with competing branches of co-equal government balancing each other with their conflicting priorities" and "There will now be a sense of perspective among our goverment leaders."

These are real fears and, I'll be honest, I shared them.

Even in its last gasps, the Republican one-party government forced upon the American people the idea of a one dollar coin. It's a good idea, really. It's more cost effective as they have to be replaced less frequently than dollar bills, works more easily in coin-operated machines and, if superheated and shot from some sort of modified firearm, can burn straight through four inches of tempered steel without even slowing down. Try that with a paper dollar.

And yet, I think the American people have spoken clearly on this issue in the past: we don't want your dollar coins. They work in Europe, sure, but that's kind of the point, isn't it? Europe is and continues to be irredeemably foreign. If we emulate them in any way, we may catch it.

Congress thought that the solution to the problem was the estrogen factor. Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea failed... but now--a ha!--this line of coins will exclusively feature Penis-Americans. All American presidents, in order, once ever three months, providing they've been dead for at least two years. Is this just a sneaky way to FINALLY get Reagan on a coin AND screw Bill Clinton? Sure it is. But if I know that wily Clinton, he'll find a way to make himself dead between now and the time his coin comes up for striking.

Those kinds of ideas--the kind that don't really fix anything and can only hope, at best, to annoy the American people--haven't been swept away by any stretch by the return of Democrats to power in Congress. Rest assured, there is a whole raft of bad ideas pent up in Democrat lawmakers' heads. For instance, Charlie Rangel wants to reinstitute the draft. Again, it's not a BAD idea as it would address the economic disparity of those who volunteer and those who merely blog in a non-conscripted armed forces AND probably deter lawmakers from entering into voluntary wars when their kids could be sent to fight.

But then, GW Bush knows that rich people find ways around these things eventually anyway. And the last time we had us a draft, well... it just led to hippies.

For me, though, the point is that even though offices and chairmanships are changing hands on Capitol Hill, we can always count on Congress, whatever its political bent, to irritate us with pet bills and projects to bother us for no apparent reason.

I feel safer.

Although I will admit not all institutional continuity of thought is good.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.2


Sunday, November 19, 2006
Halotta Fagina
It's late, but I am back from my quest to see Casino Royale with a report of unmitigated success. Viewing was sought; viewing was done.

As to whether I would recommend it to people, I guess whether or not you would like it comes down to how you react to the following phrase:

At no point does James Bond--or any other character--wind-surf on a tidal wave.

Consider, look inward, and then do what your heart tells you.

All my love,


Friday, November 17, 2006
Hail To The Victors
You couldn't possibly care, but fuck you, this is my blog:

Plan for a medical school at UC Riverside approved by Board of Regents.

To my California readers: that's $860 million of your tax dollars for start-up and operating costs over the next 10 years or so. To RIVERSIDE. Eat that, Hayward! Get stuffed, Chula Vista! And a very special "fuck off" to Merced, you fucking piece of shit! It's been 40 years since the last public medical school was funded in this state. Good luck with your plans, you half-glorified cow-town. All those hand-jobs just to get a UC up there in the first place and what did it get you? Have a good time hitting up your Liberal Arts graduates for alumni donations in the future. AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, was that not gracious? We don't win much, so I have to take what opportunities I can.

Seriously though, Chula Vista... you're not fooling anybody. I've been holding on to that for so long. The relief is amazing. Somebody needed to say something.


I plan to make every effort to get out and see the new James Bond film Casino Royale. I've met with some frustration trying to secure babysitting, but it will happen. It will. My non-sexual man-crush on Daniel Craig demands it. Worse comes to worse there are always the illegals hanging around the Home Depot. I know they need work. They put in whole new underground sprinkler systems or build block walls from scratch for a living. How hard could it be to put some kids to bed? Yeah, they don't speak English, but my kids aren't going to listen to anything they say anyway, so frankly, the language barrier will just minimize the potential conflict. I should worry about my kids' safety I guess, but you can't pay somebody (significantly!) less than minimum wage and expect full minimum-wage performance. I willing to tolerate a certain level of damage for the price break.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0


Thursday, November 16, 2006
Mama's Got A Mustache, Daddy's Got A Beard
I am not Italian, although it's not for lack of trying. Every so often me and some of my cousins will put on some oversized track suits, hijack a truck delivering TVs to the airport and then kill a guy who offended our family honor. But those are just vicarious, passing thrills. Sure, it's fun, but I will never know what it is to fit neatly into any single stereotype. You know, other than Fat Lazy American.

Being Italian to me just seems like a sweet-ass gig. First of all, the bar for social interaction is so much lower as most people are just relieved that you haven't gone upside their head with a crowbar or shaken them down for "protection money" within the first five minutes of a conversation.

Second, all Italians eat for free at the Olive Garden. It's true.

Third, you get a whole extra holiday in Columbus Day. In this respect it's not as rewarding as being Jewish. They have a different holy day ever other week it seems like. Plus Hanukkah is a whole week of dreidels and gelt and PlayStation 3. But Columbus Day is good too. It's kind of like St. Patrick's Day without the complication of food coloring in your vomit after you've overindulged.

Plus this week, if that weren't all enough, Italians all get to share in the pride of hosting the upcoming Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes wedding. Wow. Biggest thing to hit Italy since Gregory XI moved the papacy back to Rome from Avignon in 1378. Because in those days, the Pope was almost as big a star as Tom Cruise is today. He would have been bigger, but he just didn't have the Scientology technology to give him that last little push.

What the pope didn't know was that you can be a Scientologist and a Catholic. It's true. I've seen it on their website. And seen the exact same text repeated verbatim by several prominent Scientologists with eerily similar vocal emphases, cadences and inflections on TV. So it's probably true.

But we don't need to wonder because we have our Katie Holmes, a Catholic Scientologist. I bet her parents are thrilled.

They can take some solace, though, because from what I'm reading, a Scientology wedding is no different from the rite and custom celebrated by most western cultures. Dress, vows, rings, the whole shot:

"A photo of a Scientology wedding usually has a bride wearing a white dress and the groom wearing a dark suit and the party behind them. It is a joyous affair," said Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw.

Of course, the Scientologists are very careful with their words and highly PR-conscious. Ms. Pouw is describing a still photo specifically. Scientology wedding photographers--who are required to be at least OT VI in order to be equipped with the right mental technology and of sufficient commitment to the cause--are quite skilled at framing a shot in just such a way that neither the virgin nor the volcano are almost ever in frame.

If you're worried that sometimes they might on occasion confuse the sacrificial virgin with the bride, well, you know even less about Scientology than you thought.

As far as what is said at the ceremony (and I am not making this up) "...the groom is reminded that 'girls' need 'clothes and food and tender happiness and frills, a pan, a comb, perhaps a cat' -- and is asked to provide them all."

Sounds rough, frankly. Can't I just make a vague promise to love and honor and cherish and all that other shit? Pan-acquiring and cat-fetching seem awful specific and will probably cut into my football-watching time.

As for the chicks, they are given very specific marching orders as well. "The bride, in turn, is told that 'young men are free and may forget' their promises."

Less specifically scavenger-hunt-y than the groom's list, but it's quite an out-clause. And by "out" I mean gay. Really what they want Scientology brides to remember is that they shouldn't hold on too tight.

Kelly Preston says: "Caveat emptor!"

But then, I shouldn't draw conclusions. After all, Travolta is Italian. They're a passionate people. Maybe a split second after this picture was taken, he bit this guy's face off, fitted him for some cement shoes and THEN had penetrative anal sex with him.

Just for the record, my cousins and I will not be trying that.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.9


Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Pops' Digest Condensed Books: OJ Simpson's If I Did It
OJ Simpson has never murdered anyone. This is according to the system of criminal justice in the state of California as expressed by a jury of his peers. Where they found twelve pro sports Hall of Famers to sit on a jury for a year, I'll never figure out. I can only assume one of them was Bruce Jenner. He'll do anything to get on TV.

Not only has OJ Simpson never officially killed anyone, he would like you to know that he has, in fact, never killed anyone or anyone's friend who happened to be stopping by to visit anyone to return her sunglasses and/or have sex with anyone. It just didn't happen.

Any speculation to that end is entirely in the realm of fiction, the kind of indulgence that would require a malicious, obstinate, narcissistic-to-the-point-of-pscyhotic mind to foster or perpetuate.

With that in mind, I give you the new book If I Did It, by OJ Simpson wherein he describes--totally hypothetically--how he would have killed his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman if he were going to.

You are all lucky that I was able to savagely murder work some sorces and provide a POPS' BUCKET EXCLUSIVE sneak peek.

Chapter titles include:

  • "I Didn't Run For 2,000 Yards In One Season With Any Help From Any Goddamn 'Anger Management' Bullshit Either"
  • "A Little Club Soda Won't Get That Right Out If You've Been Swimming In Human Gore"
  • "Murder Etiquette: Ladies First"
  • "I'm Coming For You Next, Bob Costas"
  • "But They Look Just Like Her: 15 Reasons Why NOT To Also Murder Your Kids, No Matter How Badly You'll Want To"

    And now, with the reluctant permission of the publisher, I can offer this exclusive excerpt taken from Chapter 33: "The Hypothetical Downside Of Killing People, Even If They Deserve It"

    by OJ Simpson

    Last June, I was sitting around a table at Mezzaluna with the regular crew--Al Cowlings, Kato, Dustin "Screech" Diamond, Leslie Nielsen, the box I keep Johnnie Cochrane's head--shooting the shit, you know, just bluffin' and joshin' like a group of guys will. I come here every year at this time to commemorate the loss of my ex-wife and that dude she was probably banging. Part of it is commemoration and the other is to stake the place out. We get a table in the back, in one of the corners, to keep a low profile. My theory is that this restaurant, where that wife-fucker Goldman worked, is the thing that linked them together. So logically, it must be where they were connected to whoever it was that killed them for whatever reason. Probably a drug deal gone bad or a vigilante strike team who confused them for gang members or maybe a CIA sniper team who killed them to save them from terrorists or something. Because it's just like a CIA sniper team to stab two people somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty times each.

    Screech and Kato didn't say much. They never did. Especially when the check came. Leslie, as usual, kept trying to talk to the flowered centerpiece when he wasn't playing with that stupid electronic fart-sound machine he carries with him everywhere he goes. I mean, yeah, it was funny when he took it on Letterman, but we were trying to keep a low profile and dude's walking around sounding like the rusty trumpet section of a hobo band.

    So that just left me and AC and Johnnie to carry the evening. I put Johnnie on door duty. He's real patient these days, never misses nothing. Meanwhile AC tried to talk to me about cars or football or how we should kill more people because he can't get that feeling of power out of his head. Same old shit. I wasn't listening.

    All I could think about was how I was there, in that place again, Mezzaluna, a free man. I had friends, family, a few dollars in offshore accounts... life was perfect. Except my pasta pomodoro. How do you fucking overcook noodles in an Italian restaurant? No, I couldn't hear anything except the blood pounding in my ears. AC rattled on and on and all I could think about were the precise, precise details of how I was going to brutally and bloodily murder the entire kitchen staff with an array of kitchen tools from the obvious (knives, cleavers, pans) to the sublime (peppercorns, dessert trolleys, chicken piccata). Hypothetically.


    So that's it. You don't have to run out and buy it if you don't want to. But think of the risk you're taking if you don't.

    Next week, we are planning on having a little something from Michael Jackson's upcoming new book I Would Totally Fuck A Kid.


  • |
    Tuesday, November 14, 2006
    The Unintended Perils Of The Twenty-Second Amendment
    I'm not going to lie to you people, I don't have a lot of flaws. I will start a paragraph with a run-on sentence every so often, but past that, I have a hard time thinking of something about me that isn't the highest expression of human potential. Even my sense of self-worth is so well-honed it hovers somewhere around the thin high edge of theoretical capability, in the misty, dizzy reaches past sense and science, somewhere vaguely in the exclusive neighborhood of the intersection of Fuckin' and Awesome. There's me, there's George Clooney and that's about fucking it. It's a burden.

    All that said, I recognize I'm not perfect. No one is. For instance, I'm not insanely, independently wealthy. Yet. It's an embarrassing character flaw, but there it is. I have no problem admitting it. If you're going to be excellent in every way, that has to include humility and self-examination. I can say with confidence that I am by far the humblest motherfucker any of you know, maybe ever. Don't press me on this because you will fucking lose.

    If I had to pick one thing (besides not being insanely, independently wealthy, which I assume will be shortly remedied) about me that wasn't bordering on superhuman-levels of Kick Ass, I would have to say that I can be somewhat indecisive.

    I don't know, maybe that's a little strong. I guess I could say instead that from time to time I might exhibit some hesitation where clarity is a short-term necessity--ordering in restaurants, four-way stop signs, my part-time volunteer work with the Bomb Squad*--but I don't know that I would say for-sure, most-definitely that it is the thing about me that is the most flawed. For now I guess we can table it and come back to it later when we've all had a chance to think about it some more, maybe work up some flow-charts where we consider every possible permutation before rendering a final-ish conclusion. You know, just to be thorough.

    All of this is just meant to explain to you people why I am not happy with the immediate post-midterm rash of announcements for president-candidacy in 2008.

    It sounded like I was making fun of California Republican Duncan Hunter when he announced a few weeks ago, but honestly, I was all on board with a one-person primary season. If you want a little glimpse of the existential terror of choosing, go back to the earliest days of this blog during the '04 race. I wrote whole posts about cuddle parties and palm trees. Clearly a cry for help from an overtaxed mind.

    But now, my God, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Senator John McCain, former NYC Mayor and comic book superhero Rudy Giuliani... Jesus knows who else before it's all over. It's doing my head in. It really is.

    I guess the good news for me as a Democrat is that the only D in the race so far is Vilsack, but come on. That doesn't help THAT much. The stories say that in terms of name recognition amongst potential Democratic candidates, Vilsack placed fourth IN HIS OWN STATE after Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and popular perennial write-in leader Heywood Jablomi.

    I'm not encouraged. If I HAVE to choose from multiple candidates, I'm going to have to insist on at least one viable non-Republican. I blame Jimmy Carter for this trend of nobodies running for president. Every time someone runs with zero national profile, they immediately point to Carter as Georgia governor in '76 coming out of nowhere to win not only the nomination, but the presidency. Yeah, and look how good that turned out for everyone. Carter got a frickin' Noble Prize. We got hostages and malaise. Delicious, delicious malaise.

    All we've gotten so far is the non-participation announcement from Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia. But that's OK, because we don't need anyone with executive experience (seeing as no senator has been elected in what will be 48 years) or who could deliver one or more Southern states. Give it a miss, Mark. Leave it to Vilsack. I'm sure we'll all be inspired enough by a guy from a state with a six-figure population and whose name sounds like a particularly distressing part of a squid's anatomy.

    So I'm of two minds. Shocking, right? I want someone to run worth running, but I need to keep the list of candidates short so my skull doesn't cave in. We have open primaries in California, which means regardless of party, you get to choose from ALL candidates. Fucking statewide propositions.

    In a way, then, I'm inspired by the example of Wisconsin's Senator Russ Feingold, the target of a draft movement by "progressives", eggheads, wonks and Jews** for the last year or so. Russ has decided to sit this cycle out. I think more people should look to the Feingold precedent. We don't need everyone to run just because it will be a term-limit non-incumbent open year. Wes Clark can run, and Hillary and maybe John Edwards. But we don't need the whole Democratic caucus of the United States Senate.

    I know your new committee chairmanships will make you feel all heady and powerful, but really, don't do it, Joe Biden. Stay retired, Tom Daschle. I hear Tennessee is lovely in the fall, Bill Frist. Just let us be. Let us have President McCain. At least then we know he'll stop running and maybe I can go off my meds.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.1


    *= not the police/military explosives defusers, I mean the local hip-hop group I've been kickin' it with since junior high, Da Bomb Squad. My position in the group is Chief Minister in Charge of Rhyme. It's been slow going. Do you have any idea how many words rhyme with "poon"? It's fucking paralyzing.

    **= I have no evidence of Jewish involvement, nor am I making the connection because I assume this guy named Feingold is not of Swedish descent. I just think it's safe, when putting forward any kind of conspiracy-type movement amongst groups, to include Jews. They give any nefarious plot instant credibility with the trailer-park section of my readership.

    Sunday, November 12, 2006
    You Forgot To Hook Up The Doll
    Well, the disease seems to have run its course at last. I'm feeling fit and hale, mostly my old self again. This weekend was about re-establishing myself into the world I'd largely missed in a hazy week of virus, fever and drug-induced narcolepsy. I spent most of the last few days just trying out some of the things I'd taken for granted before all my strength and a goodly part of my will to live were sucked out of me by my superhuman bout with what must have been some kind of genetic freak-out escaped government extra-strong mega-bug designed to rot the human body from the inside out. Almost like the one Michael J. Fox pretends to have. Except without all the put-on shaky-shaky.

    Yep, this weekend I was up and walking, running errands, undermining the social confidence of my wife, fighting crime... the little things you miss when they're gone. I felt like me again. I even found some time on Sunday afternoon to neglect my children. It was as though I hadn't missed a step.

    As good as I feel now, something does seem a little... off. I'll admit it, I don't remember everything that happened from last Sunday night to about mid-day Friday. There are gaps.

    Well, not "gaps" so much. I do have some memory, but it's all sort of jumbled together; less an asbence of color than a total, confused overload of it. An amalgam of flashes and instances, faces and times and events, daylight and night swirled together in a dawn-gray miasma of reality and exhaustion and good ole Indian sweat-lodge fever-dream. I have no way of sorting out what was real and what was a product of my drug-and-disease-addled brain. That was some heightened-ass consciousness.

    For example: Did I turn into a salamander at one point? I mean, obviously it wasn't permanent. This keyboard would be far too large, for one thing. I just have bits of memory that sort of feel vaguely... salamander-y. Of course it's more likely that I touched some level of God-word understanding that my limited mortal brain cannot fully comprehend or express that simply manifests itself to me now in the visage of a salamander for obvious reasons (the complex morphological duality of the amphibian, existing at the borders of and beyond the bounds of sea and earth, wicked long tongues, etc.) to protect my fragile mind-box from overflowing with the totality of cosmic knowledge. Or maybe it's just how I post hoc justify the sneaking suspicion that along the way I think I might have eaten a bug. Who can say?

    All I know is that while the rest of you were plugged in to the Limited Now, I was off touching the face of the Transcendent Real. Most of which I forgot. But I think it was probably awesome. Not regular awesome either, I mean vomit awesome.

    So I missed a few things last week. I get that there was some kind of election, but I keep hearing in my head that it was won by Democrats. So obviously something doesn't add up.

    What I have, though, in my post-flu-enlightened mind is something remarkable; though I can't remember all the awesome stuff I learned while I was tripping on NyQuil and Gatorade, there is a residual echo of transcendent clarity that I have been able to tap in to. Seriously, I've been blowing people's minds with instant insight of a depth and complexity that surprises even me. Today's Sunday, so it was mostly about football, but still, it was deep and probably would have been better appreciated as such had I been able to share it with anyone but the irrationally anti-football Mrs. Pops.

    Today, I realized something and I feel like I should share it with everyone. My newfound courage of conviction and sharp mental acuity has given me the strength to say this. I've been slowly reading Bob Woodward's State of Denial over the last several weeks (like I said, slowly) and as I was reading my two-chapters today, it finally hit me: that Rumsfeld guy is a total dick.

    We should do something about him. I can't in good conscience sit idly by while that man is in charge of the operation of our nation's military. I've had my Johnny Smith Dead Zone moment this week. The Chris Walken Dead Zone, not the lame Anthony Michael Hall one. Mostly because my Anthony Michael Hall impression is terrible.*

    We need action and before it's too late. Like any other internet warrior, I've gotten the snowball of real-world-action rolling with the little pebble at the top of the mountain in the form of an online petition.

    Show the world you're serious.

    Join with me right here, right now.

    Sign it. Sign it. Sign it. Make a difference. Be a salamander. It sounds scary, but remember: if the CIA comes to your house and cuts off your hand, a salamander would just grow the fucker back. Like nothing.

    And if that doesn't inspire you, put Dead Zone in your Netflix queue. Martin Sheen picks up a baby to shield himself, man. What more evidence do you need?

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5


    *= this is not my fault. It's just that his voice is totally non-descript. My entire impression is based on the drunk dive-bar scene in Weird Science. Ahem: "Fats, maaan... lemme tell you my story, maaan... last year, I was insane for dis crazy little eighf grade bitch, man..." See, that's strong. But I got nothing from Sixteen Candles.

    Friday, November 10, 2006
    In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night
    Now that I am mostly well, the invading microbes dragged out behind my liver and throttled by the sheer brawn of my robust and hairy-chested immune system, I can finally spend some time on this blog doing what I do best: talking at length about what I'm going to write about instead of just writing it.

    Or we could just skip all that and I could jump right to the thing I'm second best at: astute political analysis. Anyone who has spent any time reading this blog remembers my bold, daring predictions of Kerry victory in '04, the defeat of the Gray Davis recall campaign in California and the stunning success of my petition drive to amend the Constitution to require the sterilization of Kevin Federline.

    You may notice that all these predictions were actually, technically, wrong. But remember, I didn't say "right". I said "bold". As in bold. Flaunting the conventional wisdom. Because I am a Maverick. Just like Tom Cruise's character in Top Gun or Mel Gibson's in that one he was in... what was it called... Jodie Foster was in it... oh yeah! Maverick. And I like to think that my unwillingness to conform on questions that can be mathematically measured makes me at least as publicly respected as those two men.

    Thats' why I'm with George Will when he declares conservatives the real winners of the 2006 midterm elections. The numbers say Democrats won, but you know what George says? And I agree with him, by the way: fuck numbers.

    No, I don't mean that literally. I'm not really sure how you'd do that. Unless maybe you cut one out of some thick foam, preferably a 6 or an 8, something with a closed loop in it, maybe lubed it up a little I guess... it can be done, but that's not the point. The point is that just looking at a compilation of irrefutable results and accepting them as such? Anyone could do that. It takes an exceptional person, a person of deep convictions, carefully cultivated intelligence and unfathomable courage to face down obvious defeat and react with blind, knee-jerk contrarianism. To me, that's a hero. That and Green Lantern.

    I understand where George Will and many of his fellow Republicans, legitimate and blogger, are going. There has to be a future path laid out because otherwise, a stinging defeat as Tuesday's was can lead to lots of paralyzing soul-searching, infighting, finger-pointing and name calling until as a party, they find themselves wandering aimlessly through neighborhoods in their boxers and open bathrobe, stumbling through people's yards, eating pre-made Pillsbury sugar cookie dough straight out of the wrapper, nominating John Kerry for president. I've seen it happen. It isn't pretty.

    What I think we are about to see is a return to this idea of "limited government" that used to be a conservative watchword before George W. "Spendyface" Bush became president. This means fiscal responsibility as well as (and more importantly) a strategic retreat from the interference portion of the Republican program on many of the social issues, including stem cell research and gayness.

    As far as gayness goes, backing away from that as an issue will be tough to swallow, partly because it worked so well in 2000 and 2004 and partly because, well, for most evangelicals, it's just too icky to contemplate letting people do. But there's no law against other disgusting things like Brussells sprouts or Smashing Pumpkins music, so you can't legislate people not being gross. Plus, I think they're learning that gay is only contagious if you keep rubbing up against it, even if you're ostensibly trying to fight it. It got Ted Haggard and Mark Foley that way. Any of them could be next.

    Also, with the stem cell thing, well, sure, it's a core belief, but sometimes you have to compromise those for the greater good. Stem cells could hold the cure for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The first one, if it got fixed, would keep Michael J. Fox off TV for good. The second, well... that's the important one, isn't it?

    We need stem cell research to help us understand the basic genetic code, how it functions and how to manipulate it. That will be beneficial when the Republicans also back away from resistance to human cloning.

    It sounds unlikely, but it is coming. We need the cures, we need the knowledge. The cure we need for Alzheimer's mostly. Without it, there would be almost no point in the ultimate and obvious goal: the laboratory recreation of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

    It is in this direction that the post-reprimand GOP is leaning. Why just be "inspired" by Reagan when you can actually have him back? We have the technology. We could make him better, strong, faster, conservativer. No more forgetfulness. When we do Iran-Contra II, New Reagan will say "Yeah, I fucking remember, bitches. It was all me. I don't forget anything. And I won't forget any of you," and then kick out the Special Prosecutor's windpipe with his bionic leg.

    When New Reagan trades "arms for hostages" he will send them the actual human arms of the hostage-taker's children and they will surrender, forever immobilized, curled up and weeping in lamentation and healthy respect for a man not just human: American.

    No evil shall escape his sight.

    Obama in '08.

    Reagan in '12.

    You heard it here first.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.0


    Thursday, November 09, 2006
    This Post Made Possible By The Following...

    FADE IN:


    In a surreal blue sky, the Sun hangs just over the horizon, over-lighting the field of wheat until it is glowing red-gold. A FRISBEE slides into frame, slow motion, until it is intercepted by a GOLDEN RETRIEVER, who catches it in its mouth. The dog trots through the wheat, its head barely visible, back to its owner, A WOMAN. She praises the dog and takes the Frisbee. We hear:

    Life is about small moments.

    The WOMAN prepares to throw the Frisbee. The dog bobs around amongst the luminescent stalks, anticipating.

    So why would you let a little thing like illness destroy them?

    The WOMAN'S face changes for a second, contorting in discomfort. She drops the Frisbee, clutches her stomach, a doubles over, vomiting a spray of psychadelic colors, all over the GOLDEN RETRIEVER. In a matter of seconds, the dog is reduced to a skeleton. Clouds rush in to cover the sun. The whole picture goes gray.



    She continues to vomit, now in blacks and purples, until the entire field is flattened. She finds herself stumbling down a derelict alley in a city somewhere, lined with falling-down buildings, trash and zombie-like hoboes, who rise in slow pursuit.

    Only the weak allow themselves to get sick. Frankly, we think most of them deserve death.

    The ZOMBIE HOBOES close in, an ever tightening circle, overwhelming her. She vomits on them and enough of them dissolve so she can scramble away. But there are too many. Too many.

    But there is hope.

    The tiny hole breaks in the otherwise total cloud cover above. A single point of sunlight fights its way through.

    When your body fails you--and it will fail you--you know you can turn to the great American makers of pharmaceuticals to save you from everything from mild discomfort to certain, immediate death.

    The ray of sunlight descends slowly from sky to ground. It rests on and illmuniates a little brown prescription bottle on the ground of the alley. Next to it lies a DEAD WOMAN, identical to our main character, her face stretched in a horrific rictus grin, the bottle just outside the grasp of her outstretched hand. The WOMAN (the still-living one) greedily snatches the bottle, tears off the lid and dumps an indeterminate number of pills down her throat. The clouds break immediately, reintroducing the sun. The old buildings crumble instantly to dust and green shoots grow from the barren ground until:



    The WOMAN wipes the last bits of drool and vomit from her chin with her shirt sleeve. She stands up, smiling. She holds a Frisbee in one hand.

    Thank you, Promethazine!

    She throws the Frisbee. The animated skeleton of her GOLDEN RETRIEVER races after it, past the ring of ZOMBIE HOBOES engaged in a highly choreographed circular dance of joy.

    Ask your doctor about Promethazine for treatment of mild nausea associated with flu. If he or she resists, we encourage you to file a grievance with your state medical licensing board because they are clearly trying to kill you. Side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, sensitivity to light, headache, rash, anal seepage and--just for fun--also nausea. And death.

    Pops (still medicated)

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006
    One Man, One Gastrointestinal Tract
    On the night the Democrats regained control of at least one of the Houses of Congress, I was up the whole time with crippling nausea and dry heaves.

    I'm scared. Does that make me a Republican?

    Pops (medicated)

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006
    Let Me Get Some Action From The Back Section
    Hey, have any of you ever had flu-inspired abdominal cramping so poweful that you are positive you can feel the inner walls of your intestines actually touching? Yeah, that was me this morning. Pops sick. I have had so much fluid violently leaving my body over the last 12 hours or so, I expect I'll be totally cleaned out soon. Even when there's nothing left (no appetite, see) my body still insists on trying to purge itself. Who knows what will emerge? I half expect to find some old missing car keys and maybe even Lord Lucan. Keep watching your CNN news ticker.

    I plan to spend the rest of the day futilely trying to re-hydrate.

    In lieu of content, I invite you all to enjoy the following election-day unrelated piece of Americana:


    I figured Dianne Feinstein was fine in her re-election bid, so I wrote in Pennsylvania anti-Santorum candidate Bob Casey. I know it seems wasteful, but it was cast on a Diebold machine, so it will all register Republican votes anyway.

    This post on the... the... oh God... BLEEEARRRRGH!

    Monday, November 06, 2006
    Monday Extra Lite: St. Elmo's Fire
    Today was adorable "saint report day" for the kindergarten class. I don't just cruise these things, I actually have a kid in it. Not that there's anything wrong with... no, now that I think about it, I am comfortable with making the value judgment that there is something wrong with cruising kindergarten functions. Stop it.

    It sounds weird to make five-year-olds deliver detailed oral reports in front of an audience. That's because it is. But these are reports about saints, in many cases martyrs to the One True and Catholic Church. It all makes sense when you hear a kindergartner describe in a tiny kid-voice, complete with rote-memorization drone and the W sound where the Rs should be: "...and he died aftah he was awwested by the authowities, who had him hanged and dis... dis... dis-im... disemboweled. The end."

    Nothing more precious. Or indoctrination-y.


    Sunday, November 05, 2006
    November Surprise
    Here we are two (or, OK, for most of you when you read this, one) day out from the 2006 midterm elections and it's time to evaluate. Who's going to win?

    There are lots of indicators we could look at. Fundraising, the effectiveness of ads in broadcast media, poll numbers, the size and comparative strengths of grassroots organizations, the tone and volume of partisan blog activity, the relative tactile sensitivities of my nipples, etc. All are reputable predictors of election outcomes with varying degrees of...

    What? What's the... oh, the nipple thing? Oh, that. Well, it's just that every year since 1992--the first year I was eligible to vote BY LAW--just before an election, one of my nipples will become flamingly sensitive; irritated, raw, intolerant of touch, cries easily at movies about women with terminal illnesses... just generally untweakable. Whichever side is afflicted always--ALWAYS--predicts the outcome of the election to follow. Except for some reason, right always means Democrat and left means Republican. I don't know either, it makes no sense. Makes the whole idea of nipple-predictors seem silly. But look, I was sort of shocked by it too. The only thing that makes it at all plausible is that I can't think of a single better or more likely biological purpose for my man-nipples, so there you go. One evolutionary mystery solved. What man-nipples would do in a monarchy, I have no idea. Teats for the suckling of warlock familiars, I guess.

    Nipples aside, I say the best way to predict the outcome of an election is to look at the last-minute dirty-trick "surprise" revelation rolled out by either side, judge each by their merits and make an informed decision on which is nastier, least relevant to actual policy or American well-being and then choose that side as the victor.

    Republicans: Saddam Hussein convicted, sentenced to death. Hey, and look, just a couple of days before an American election. And after months and months of wheel-spinning and judge replacing and Saddam-y speechifying and countless murders of court officers and members of their extended families, all of a magical sudden, the proceedings screech to a decisive end.

    Pros: plays into the one issue Republicans still largely control, the shoot-'em-up military-industrial umbrella of policies we now euphemistically refer to as "security". Promises death of a dictator on reality TV, something even American Idol can't provide. Gives the illusion of a "victory" in Iraq after so many months of bad news after bad news.

    Cons: Doesn't really change anything on the ground, except maybe as a potential point of demarcation past which the Sunnis and Shi'ites can FINALLY get around to killing each other in massive numbers. Also, it was kind of predictable. It's not like the CSI: Baghdad team burst into the courtroom at the last minute with some new evidence, turning an acquittal into conviction. Dude's nickname was "the Butcher of Baghdad". You don't have to parse out secret codes from the arrangement of bodies in mass graves to point you to a long chain of clues that starts with the type of dirt found on the pointy end of a shovel and ends at a gold-plated bathroom at the President's Tikrit estate. I think the mass graves themselves are pretty strong evidence when only one dude in the whole country owns a bulldozer.

    Democrats: Leader of some evangelical church and larger political organizing conglomerate admits to be a gay and a tweaker. First of all: hott. Second of all, it turns out that Mark Foley was just the tip of the... you know what, I'm not even going to finish that joke.

    Pros: Exposes hypocrisy by outing a strongly anti-"gay agenda" political advocate running around in the guise of Jesus. Beats down one of those scary-ass 14,000-member single-pastor Thought Centers. Possibly depresses faith-motivated Republican voter turn-out. Possibly depresses faith-motivated Republicans.

    Cons: Ha, take that Ted Haggard and the National Association of Evangelicals! Hey wait, hang on... who are Ted Haggard and the National Association of Evangelicals? Is Falwell still operating? And that scary-ass Robertson guy? And that creepy Bush dude? So we... win?

    It's a close-run thing, but as far as sneaky late-election bombs go, I'm going to have to give it to the Republicans here. And this is after awarding a lot of bonus points to Democrats because of a) my own personal CBS-like bias and b) the fact that the Democrats even HAD a sneaky late-election bomb to go to. I was shocked enough that they had gotten the ball rolling with that Foley thing, but I'd assumed they'd shot their wad. You know, so to speak.

    But no Christian sex scandal can beat the promise of hanging a guy on TV. Plus they get to move around a whole government and an entire foreign judicial system to get it done on time. That's impressive. It's like 2000 all over again. Al Gore and his staff must have felt so triumphant when the news of Bush's drunk driving arrest was released just before election day. Little did we now that the Bush team had that whole Supreme Court card to play just a few days later. That's the big leagues, kids.

    I know what you're wondering now: the dirty tricks lean toward the Republicans, but does that conform to what your nipples are telling you?

    The truth is, I don't feel right saying. It's the observer principle: just telling you I know who will win already risks tainting the outcome. And the very idea that I might have had to cover one of my not-hairless nipple-areas with the soothing protective comfort of a bandaid for nothing is not a thought I relish.

    Girls Gone Wild this ain't. You're going to have to wait like everyone else.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.1


    Friday, November 03, 2006
    No time for actual posting today. But here's the opening four minutes of a movie I would like very much to see but probably won't be able to. If you're at work, make sure you use headphones for the audio. Naughty naughty.

    If that doesn't do it for you, you could always sate your blog jones by checking out the return of SJ's blog. Not that she needs my help as she was regularly beating my readership numbers even without posting for a month. I don't feel bad about that AT ALL.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006
    The Feast Of All Souls
    Yesterday I was chatting with some other quasi- and former-bloggers I know (sorry, you weren't invited) and I realized that I forgot to tell everyone what my kids were for Halloween.

    My oldest boy went as the city of Portland, Maine. I know, you're immediately thinking "How could you tell he wasn't going as Portland, Oregon?" I don't mean to be harsh, but really, what a stupid fucking question. First of all, the east-facing coastline is a dead giveaway. Plus the per capita crime rate is not the national embarrassment that it is in Portland, Oregon. Also he was wearing a lobster for a hat.

    Sprog #2 went dressed as Sadness. It was not an easy costume to procure. It was an all-day process of preparation and manufacture. I made him eat sugar-less high-fiber cereal for breakfast, burned all his toys on the front lawn and when he watched TV, I made sure he only saw PBS's The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. He wasn't quite where I needed him to be, so just to be safe, I "accidentally" killed the dog with the minivan while he watched. It sounds mean, but the Cloak of Affected Sorrow and Veil of Bitter Tears were something to behold.

    The youngest boy was Batman. I don't know, he just like Batman.

    The kids are all home today for some sneaky Catholic reason I don't even understand. The wife is off tomorrow. Tomorrow's blogpost is in peril. If I don't make it, I am probably dead. Or busy.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7


    Wednesday, November 01, 2006
    Some life lessons grow out of experience. You really only need one public shower incident to really finally understand the simple genius of Soap-On-A-Rope.

    Others, luckily, we can glean from reading about the experiences of others. They say the newspaper is a dying media, being slowly but surely overtaken by the internet and its instant-gratification, constantly-updated informational now-ness, something the staid ole ink-and-paper set can never hope to compete with.

    Until I can take my internet with me into the bathroom with me (which I guess I could with a laptop and a wireless hookup) or I can do the New York Times crossword puzzle online (which I'm sure someone out there will tell me I probably can) or I can use it as an emergency mop when my kids spills Sunny D all over my kitchen floor (...what?... nothing?... that's what I thought, internet beotch), the newspaper stays. Sure, I can't porn-surf on it when the stories bore me, but there are other compensations. Like bra ads, I guess.

    The good news is that the newspaper is a static media, which is good for the ADD-addled, like myself. With all the wealth of information on the internet, I actually--and I guess sort of ironically--tend to miss a lot of actual news stories because I'm busy trying to find episodes of Thundercats to download IN A SAFE AND LEGAL MANNER between or even during news-story-reading.

    With a newspaper, the stories just kind of... sit there. Patiently waiting. No administrators are lurking behind them, waiting at any second to whisk them down the list of importance when something else of the second breaks, mess with the language or wording within or delete it altogether. Newspapers are fully realized thoughts and as such hold a lot more weight. I mean when you hold it in your hands. Very bulky and mass-y, especially when compared to a collection of phoneline digital signals. It's almost no comparison.

    The import I assign to what I read really depends somewhat on the media in which it is conveyed. Fish with two heads, Marcia Cross has naked pictures of herself in the trash, who won the World Series, totally inconsequential stuff like that I associate with the internet.

    The real stuff, the life-lesson stuff I almost always get from the newspaper.

    For instance, I already knew that duct tape was a wonder of modern science. Yes, I know, it's an old joke that men claim they can fix anything with duct tape, haha, but did you know it is scientifically proven to remove warts? It's true. It's in a weblink, but it's a NEWSPAPER web link, so it's extra-true. Duct tape is also known to be an excellent plant fertilizer, makes a great chew toy for your favorite dog or toddler, has been known to stop smoking and gum-chewing habits, cures baldness, seven types of cancer, mononucleosis, herpes, scurvy and--with a little help from a firm wooden ruler, some bailing twine and Viagra--erectile dysfunction.

    What I learned today, though--a valuable life lesson for everyone--is that duct tape will not--will not--watch your children for you. Legally I mean. It just isn't allowed to do it. Sure, it might rival some of you parents out there in the love and support department, but as far as the law is concerned, you cannot under any circumstances tape your kids together with duct tape and then leave them alone in the house for almost any length of time.

    It isn't clear yet what the rule is about duct taping your children together when you ARE in the house, but that is not the point. The point is that I have been spared a great deal of potential embarrassment simply by sticking it out with my old pal, the newspaper.

    I learned something today. More than one thing, actually. The first was the duct tape thing. The second is that the woman who did this was in the Navy at the time. So I also learned that the lowered entrance standards for military service are really starting to show tangible results. Hey, maybe someone should apologize to John Kerry.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.1



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