Pops' Bucket
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I Have Met La Raza And La Raza Is Me
Newspapers lie. They have to. If they went around just telling people stuff that was true, we'd all be well-informed people possessed of a knowledge and perspective about the world unhindered by sensationalism or paranoia or the yellow tincture of hopelessness and fear fed to us by a cynical press. And then, if that were the case, what the hell would we need newspapers for, right? Information? Fuck that. I can get information. Between the internets and the Bible and the kid I buy weed from, there really isn't a lot about the universe that gets past me.

It is from the newspaper that I learn what I should be scared of, what parts of my everyday life are going to kill me, that it's OK to linger and linger and linger over the details of Britney Spears' vagina pictures so long as I wrap it in some bullshit argument about the effect it has on the self-esteem of young girls.

So newspapers lie. It's part of the implicit contract between service and receiver of said service. They ratchet up the melodrama of what should be rather staid reportage (multilateral negotiation sessions with North Korea! Dow Jones! Dick Cheney's plane!) and boil them all down for me into nice, easily digested headlines I can skim just enough to activate my irritable bowels.

That's why I get knocked kind of sideways when I read newspaper stories like this one.

Apparently, all of a sudden, immigrants are good for us.

Like broccoli. Anyone interested in reading about broccoli? Unless it's tainted with e coli or is the father of Anna Nicole's baby, fuck you, broccoli.

Of course any rational person already knows, deep in the heart of hearts, that immigrants are good for the overall health of our country. It sort of what we're about underneath the ridiculous facade of NASCAR and AYSO. The necessary social place of modern immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Africa and Asia is the same as the one that used to be covered by Germans or Poles or Swedes or Italians or the disgusting Irish or even freed African-Americans post-Civil War: cheap, exploitable labor.

Just as old an idea is the tacit agreement that they will do the work while we will provide the necessary function of scapegoating them as the focus of all our social ills until such a time as they (or, more likely, their grandchildren) buy houses in our neighborhoods. It's just the way it's done. The transitions are awkward and painful, I know. I've seen School Ties. But in the end, we all as a group reach an understanding. Mostly about how much we hate Matt Damon.

But now I have a newspaper telling me something that is neither sexed up nor scary. And I have to live with the idea spoken openly that immigrants actually provide a necessary complex of socio-economic benefits. What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?

They cover lower-paying jobs, leaving the rest of us free to compete for higher-status ones that pay better and require at least the benefits of a US public education and a basic grasp of English. Which means I also found out: those two things are not mutually exclusive! Worst day for preconceived notions since the day that Doogie Howser guy came out as a homo.

Not only do they help fire our economy, but apparently they are by and large strongly law-abiding and make up a statistically irrelevant portion of our prison population, especially compared to American-born people of the same ethnic persuasion.

Jesus, this is depressing. I guess the only thing to be glad of is that I'm not part of that goddamn Minuteman Project. I'd have hung myself by now.

Without the Mexican immigrant bogey to blame all my troubles on, what the fuck am I, Whitey McEntitlement, supposed to irrationally villify? I mean, the article clearly shows that...

...wait... I think I... oh man, I think it's...

Oh! I got it! The problem? American-born people of Mexican descent!

Citizens? Sure. English speaking? Yes. But probably somewhat bilingual. You can never trust someone who speaks more than one language, especially if one of the other ones is some kind of gutter Not English.

Also, since they're speaking English and enjoying the benefits of our education system, they out there RIGHT NOW competing for jobs that would otherwise go to OTHER American citizens. They swell our schools and our welfare rolls and our health-care budgets all just because they were born in this country and enjoy all the freedoms and benefits all citizens should expect. Just because they're Us, they think they're Us.

And what do we get in return? The lame excuse to get shitfaced on Cinco de Mayo. Which, OK, is pretty sweet. Any excuse to show up drunk on a work day.

The same scam worked for the Irish with St. Patrick's Day. This is why Prohibition failed: too much pressure on a large immigrant population to ingratiate themselves to the country at large without the benefit of alcohol. What else were they going to charm us with? Corned beef and cabbage? My colon politely declines.

This whole episode has been pretty troubling. Some other undeserving famous person had better die within the next few days just so I can get my head right. I nominate Paris Hilton.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 1.7



Monday, February 26, 2007
Monday Nite: Funiculi, Funicula
Bringing it to you live (on tape!) late late Monday for your Tuesday pleasure. If you're actually reading this on Tuesday, while you are sitting, relaxing, not-working, bathing yourselves with the rough tongue of wet Pops-y goodness, know that I'm out there in the world being slowly annoyed to death by various members of the retail and service industries. Keep one eye on fark.com. I'm pretty sure that's where you'll find the story about the guy who went fucking bat-shit in a sporting goods store with a hatchet and a Coleman stove, pushed one fucking errand too far. I'm not saying it will be me necessarily, I'm just saying there's a little space in the corner of my soul that will wish it were.

Meanwhile, back out in the real world of things that actually matter in a material way, I hear Martin Scorcese finally got himself an Oscar. Everyone's so happy and relieved and thank God it happened otherwise... I don't know. Something. I hear Jake LaMotta was threatening to kill a guy--Cathy Moriarty I think it was--if it didn't happen this time. Maybe that had something to do with it, maybe it didn't, but Marty won and we're all of us still alive, even Cathy Moriarty. So it wasn't all good news.

Not only that, but people don't realize that when something that is perceived as should happen finally does, something else invariably breaks loose. The longer the wait, the worse the potential karmic backlash. Think about it: Mean Streets came out in '73 and since then it's been one stellar achievement after... one unparalleled success followed by... uh... OK, so New York, New York kind of sucked. But that's not his fault, I mean, it had Liza Minelli in it. Not the good Liza like from Arrested Development either. This was the bad one that sings and dances and beats up gay men.

But almost everything else he's done has been brilliant. If you can stomach Leonardo DiCaprio (which I can't), his most recent work has been nearly up to the high standard he set for himself. The must happen just kept getting pulled tighter and tighter, storing more and more tension, more and more frustrated potential energy until everyone watching was less hoping and more praying it would snap just so we could get it over with and watch the destruction the delayed imperative fulfillment would wreak. If you need a visual, it's the same way we all feel about Joan Rivers' current face.

And it's not just that he wouldn't win, but Scorsese kept getting beat by all this hack actors playing at being directors. Redford in '80, Eastwood a couple years ago and... Jesus, I hate to even bring it up... Costner in '90 for that movie he made, whatever it was called. Race Traitor I think it was.

Then, last night (depending on when you're reading this... what up, Hawai'ian readers!) WHAP! Scorsese wins and we all hold our breath.

Big deal, Pops. You're being fucking lame again. You make all this shit up just to fill blogspace. Think we don't know, but we know. Also, you are probably fat.

Uncalled for, Reader. I have a metabolism problem, OK? I can't figure out how to get it to handle 22,000 calories a day.

Past that, you want to know what the Scorsese win could destroy?

How about the first viable female presidential candidate in US history?

Hmm, next day, magically, there are some serious questions raised about her ethics with regard to personal economics.

First of all, you can write off $5 million if you only give $1.25 million to charity if you just call it a "foundation"? Sweet. That's a 4x return on investment! Charity is better than heroin.

Secondly, a lot of the country was worried that Hillary was too much of a bleeding heart liberal to be elected president. And now look what the Washington Post of all things has caught her doing: giving money away. To poor people.

That's it. Campaign over. She's back in the green-room wrestling with Tom Vilsack over the last low-fat poppyseed in what was once a full muffin basket.

Equal and opposite reaction, people. I have the horrible feeling that this Oscar-launched Newtonian karma-whip of doom is nowhere near done with us. Everything from here on out for an indeterminate period is the fault of the released energy that's been building since Levinson won for Rain Man. Come on, one joke movie. Everyone knows retarded people are only funny for the first fifteen minutes.

Everything. Earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, the Grammys, all of it stems from this.

And it will finally be true, what the Red Staters say: Hollywood will be responsible for the destruction of America.

What we can learn from this is that we must NEVER EVER EVER give Samuel L. Jackson the Oscar he so richly deserves. Not if you want to live.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.4



Sunday, February 25, 2007
Everyone Would Be In Love With Me
It's been ten years since we bought a new car. We've been enjoying the fact that not only do we not have a regular car payment, but every year our insurance goes down a little bit, registration is less costly and--because of the mutual distrust and suspicion that forms the base of my marriage--the less likely each of our respective rides is to be a dude and/or chick magnet for the other out there in the mean, nasty, adulterous world. It's all the same rationale we have for me telling Mrs. Pops she could stand to put on a few pounds and her insistence that back hair is not only sexy but should be the featured part of my anatomy. I have a fridge full of pudding and a closet full of tank tops if you doubt me.

Eventually there are practical considerations to... you know... consider. Like the typical life-span of your average modern internal combustion engine motor vehicle. Ten years is a long time. If our oldest care were a dog, we would have had to hand it over to that surly fucker Carlson a long time ago.

When we bought our last car, neither the future Mrs. Pops nor I were yet college graduates. She was interning and I was working off campus making minimum wage plus tips* at Sunshine Lucky Massage. The quality of said motor vehicle reflected that.

It has since proved to be a remarkably reliable vehicle, one I recommend to anyone buying a new car even though the company stopped making them about four years ago. Not a lot of people ask me for advice.

This time around, we were more established professional-type people, or at least one of us was and the other one was me. Practicality, sure, but we could afford to stretch ourselves a little. To get something we needed, but also with a little something extra that we maybe we just good ole fashion American wanted.

So we can't exactly fit it in the garage. Or any conventional parking space. Or under freeway overpasses and some lightpoles. But man, look at those lines!

Roomy. Comfortable. Seats eleven. We paid for the Neverending Steamer Full O' Weiners option, so there's always a handy snack at hand when you need one.

The downsides are the size and the 0.8 miles per gallon fuel efficiency rating and the constant crowd of children that materializes behind us whenever we slow down below 30 miles per hour.

If I were a pedophile, this would be the most practical vehicle in the world. But since I'm not, alas, it's mostly just a traffic hazard.

I'm not going to lie, I bought it mostly for the double-entendres.

It's a dick on a futon. With wheels.

You resist it. I earned it.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9


* = shafts were extra


Friday, February 23, 2007
No One's Heard From The Cat In Years

I think Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney is largely misunderstood.

This, I think, is largely because of his odd and utterly unique speech impediment whereby he is only capable of communicating through a series of rudimentary squeaks and growls that, on his best days, can only approximate human speech. We've seen him on TV giving interviews and it sure sounds like he's making sense, but I think if you listened really close, you'd notice that the sounds he's making have the pacing and timbre of words but are really just a guttural collection of yips and snarls that less intelligent creatures--a gazelle, for example--would immediately recognize as danger and bound away from.

For us as humans, we're complicated beings; he's our Vice President, so we like to think--hope!--he can actually talk much in the same way some people insist their dog can say "I love you" when the rest of us really know it's simply a trained rhytmic yowl that in intent is probably closer to "I don't mind if the Humane Society puts me down, just get me away from the crazy-ass dog-talker."

Because he is misunderstood, people like to fill in the blanks and suggest that Dick is an ideological nutcase or an empty-suit Big Oil apparatchik or maybe a violent sociopath with a basement wallpapered in human skin.

Sure, all those are true. But that doesn't make Dick Cheney a bad guy. That thing about hating gays while having a gay daughter kind of takes care of that. The rest is just gravy.

The thing is, people take the surface evil scariness and sometimes allow themselves to focus on that when really something much more deeply sinister is going on. It's like the talking-dog-voice again, except instead of mordant canine pathos, think more military-industrial-complex undermining of basic human liberties and assumed American social and political freedoms.

Like for instance, he says "You better fucking watch yourself, China!" The responses are obvious. Those on the right go "Yeah, go get 'em, Dick! Fuck them kung-fu chopstick motherfuckers right in their dog-eatin' mouths!" And then those on the left are supposed to go "Oh Holy Jesus, he doesn't think Iran is big and scary enough! He's going to kill us all!"

Top-of-the-fold Friday end-of-the-cycle out-with-a-bang news is what happens when Cheney clicks and wheezes his way to "Maybe next week, we invade the billion-person country, maybe we don't..."

Meanwhile, amidst all the Doomsday noise, what gets pushed way, way down into the human-interest sidebar?

Residents of Weatherford, Texas get electricity bills in excess of a billion dollars.

We sort of notice, we all kind of laugh, those of us who can hear over the China feedback.

Meanwhile, the people in Weatherford get their names in the paper, everyone else gets a quick laugh at the rubes in Texas who can't use a fucking computer properly and it all goes away.

Until a few months later, when everyone's forgotten and we're paying attention to the buildup to a reinvasion of Vietnam or Britney Spears gets her labia pierced or something. And the people down in Weatherford are down at the power company laughing about how they still haven't quite gotten this billion-dollar electric bill thing quite figured out and, haha, why don't we go ahead and take care of that right now while we're down here?

And the nice lady behind the Plexiglass partition wants to know if that will be a cashier's check or if he'd like to talk to Mr. Smith (the one with the sunglasses on indoors) about financing options.

You've heard it before, but freedom isn't free. The burden of paying for its marchin' boots falls more heavily on some than others. Some pay in time or energy or blood. Others get a bill directly from their electric company. It was just Weatherford's time. Could have been any of us, really.

Before you get too relaxed, just think: they only asked them for money. What will they ask when its your turn?

Laugh it off if you want to, but remember, these are the same people who had Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman's blood drained and replaced with Quaker State 10w30. It seems like an extreme thing to do, but it makes some kind of logical sense when you consider that his blood was just not doing the lubricating job they wanted on the inline 4-cylinder 1.8 liter engine they replaced his heart and lungs with.

These are the connections that most people miss in the course of their daily work routines. Luckily for you I have time to think about these things. And there were no good movies to review this week.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.8



Thursday, February 22, 2007
You Are Using Bonetti's Defense Against Me, Eh?!
Lots of bad things can happen to you when you're masturbating.

Having someone walk in on you when you're trying to have a nice, discreet Party For One in your place of employment is always a threat. Then there's this old chestnut, but that's only relevant if the thought of dead kittens doesn't get you hot. The range of consequences is all over the human sociological and metaphysical map from shame, guilt, ostracization, lube shortage and the associated danger of friction burns, carpal tunnel syndrome and (for some of you males out there) penile electrocution. Always be aware of your surroundings is all I have to say about that one.

Of all the potential hazards of autoerotic massage, I have to say that "attacked by a scimitar-wielding stranger" would not have immediately leapt to mind. And again, this is only a negative if the idea of a big, strong man you don't know kicking down your front door while swinging cutlass is not on your list of things that clench the ole prostate. I read Savage Love, so I know that some of you are out there and that you probably have your own usenet group.

This is what happened to a guy in Wisconsin: sitting around in his apartment enjoying some nice healthy patriarchal misogyny in the form of some good ole fashioned American porn, pants presumably at half-mast, he is startled by one of his neighbors smashing through his locked front door, pointing an antique saber at him and demanding to know where the woman is whom he heard being raped in that apartment.

There was no woman there, clearly, but I guess we can be thankful that the guy was more of a saber guy and less of a shotgun enthusiast lest this story end with a more tragic, Cheney-esque ending.

The first lesson I think I would take from this is: know your neighbors. When you're looking to rent an apartment, take a walk around the building(s), see what you can find out. The sad thing is for this poor sap is that had he taken the time, he would have known better than to move in where he was. 999 times out of 1,000 you can spot the saber-wielders straight away. Late thirties, lives with mom, handle-bar mustache, lots of curious cuts and nicks about his person. If that weren't enough, usually the scabbard is a dead give-away.

Secondly and more prudently: keep the porn volume level DOWN. Especially if you're living in an apartment. And especially especially if your thing is rape-fantasy high drama that includes dialogue of women calling for help. Most people would piece together what it was by the combination of the wocka-wocka guitar soundtrack in the background, but you never know when you'll get the attention of your average chivalrous swordsman. Or if your tastes are even more extreme, between the burnt-leather smell and the bleating sheep, you could draw the ire of PETA and find your apartment invaded by a bunch of naked chicks behind a banner (which would be a sad, ironic, total waste of nudity on a sheep-fucker). Why take the chance? Headphones are optimal, but I know, kind of a mojo killer. Sound down, people. It's safer for everyone. Especially in the public library.

Lastly now, this guy who was nearly hacked to death can now never, ever bring anyone home to his apartment for the purposes of rape. Never. Talk about living under a microscope. Captain Swashbuckle and his Epée of Death looks like a first-rate asshat and will be just waiting for an actual damsel in distress to rescue and thus save face. It's not that I condone rape or any kind of sexual malfeasance that involves the harm or coersion of another human being but man, to not even have the option...

He lives in Wisconsin though, so I guess lawbreaking isn't really on the table anyway. Remember this is the place where police arrest themselves. Can't get away with nothin' there, I tell you.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.0



Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Sever And Ambulate
I know my God is better than your God. I tell that to myself, yes, partly to get me through the day--Ash Wednesday today--where we Catholics deprive ourselves of food just about all day in order to fashion... something, I don't know what. But we're supposed to, so we do.

It sounds stupid and short-sighted and maybe more than a little masochistic, but that's how we roll. Have you seen our church services? They're all based around the idea of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of another human being. What's a little masochism and self-denial in the face of so much cannibalism? Hell, it almost seems quaint.

Not only that, but we get to do the fasting thing again six weeks from now on the ironically named "Good Friday", one of the holiest days of the Catholic liturgical year where we celebrate--celebrate--the violent torturing-to-death of our primary associative theological-foundational avatar. We are not a people to be trifled with. We do that in the name of our Lord, just think of what we'd do to our enemies. Or, well, I guess, have done, past and present. Yes, I mean the Jews.

As tough as self-deprivation makes us, I know my God is better than yours because even though he likes us to suffer a little bit, the Muslim God makes His people fast for a whole month during Ramadan. At rates like that, you have to start wondering if their God wants them to sharpen their awareness of faith and His divine presence in all things with a little delayed gratification or if He's just got some kind of anorexia voyeur fetish. You know, kind of in the same way the Greek gods were into bestiality.

Sure, my God likes a good snuff film narrative, but He knows those people are going to die anyway. It's not like HE kills them.

In addition to the two days of voluntary fasting, we now enter the long period of Lent, where we are also asked to give up something meaningful so that we may demonstrate our fidelity, breaking our routines in order to allow a bit more room for the love of Christ in our lives. For six weeks. Then it's back to the boozin' and the whorin' and we just hope God remembers that we gave it all up for Him way back in the early springtime. Or at least gave the ole college try. I tend to think it's OK as long as you set a personal record. I once gave up whorin' for a whole 11 hours! Man, I thought that vasectomy would never heal.

Some people give up alcohol or caffeine or red meat or whatever. The quality of the sacrifice depends entirely on the subjective context. I could "give up" cigarettes every year, but since I don't smoke, it wouldn't mean much. Which is why this year, I'm giving up cigarettes. Again! You are welcome, Jesus.

The gestures don't have to be entirely personal. Any collective--family, community, even a whole nation--can decide it wants to give up something as a whole, to show both their faith and their unity.

For instance, this year, apparently, the government of the United Kingdom has decided to give up freedom. And manliness. And reliability. And the trust of its partners. Basically they've decided to become French, as far as I can tell.

Look, this Lent is a personal thing and you're not supposed to judge others for what they choose to give up, but come on. One story about sending one of your horsey-faced royals to Iraq and you're suddenly out? Don't you remember that Falklands thing when you sent Prince Andrew in on a helicopter and he killed all them awful Argies all by himself? To this day all those Malvinas sheep still bleat in English. Remember how it made you all seem so butch?

I'm not going to pretend I didn't see this coming though. This is what happens to a national character when you make the collective decision to allow yourself to be ruled by chicks. It's a mistake we've yet to make. And I think the results are clear.

We Americans are a paragon of rugged individualism. What kind of a pussy knows his neighbors' names? So we don't make any collective decisions on anything, let alone delayed gratification like your typical British person might for Lent. But if we were going to give something up as a whole, I like to think it would be something kind of gay like American Idol or fondue.

But not ass sex. No. That's not actually gay. Highway rest-stops are dark at night. For all you know, it could be a chick.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.1



Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Fighters Gotta Fight!
Please, for the love of all that is holy, brace yourselves:


I apologize. It's probably even early in the morning for some of you, but the subject has to be broached and I couldn't do it without the proper context.

See, I am faced with a puzzle. A riddle. A conundrum. An unfathomable question, posed by a sphinx and spun by a publicist.

There are actually two, one direct and one implied.

The implied one is obvious: holy fuck, what happened to Sylvester Stallone?

That's not hard if we look at the picture. This is what I was talking about in terms of context: just looking at the picture, the answer to that one is clearly that he died in 1978. Since then his public appearances have been strictly a Weekend at Bernie's type of a situation. Which goes a long way toward explaining Judge Dredd. Or Avenging Angelo. Or Assassins. Or fuck, everything he's ever done really except the first Rocky and maybe Tango and Cash and that one only because it's so awful that it had to be some kind of intentional parody. A parody of what, I don't know yet. Kurt Russell movies maybe.

No, the real question to me stems from this:

Stallone's hotel, plane searched in Sydney

Now, the problem isn't that the Australian authorities detained him as soon as his plane touched down. I mean, a living corpse reanimated by the eldritch ass-magic of Jackie Stallone shows up at your doorstep, you want to know about it. Basic self-defense reflex. Like kicking hobos as you walk by them. Natural as breathing, assuming you breathe with steel-toe boots.

The problem is that the Aussie cops (I'm picturing khaki shorts, no shirts, pooka-shell necklaces, flip-flops, can of Foster's) were intrigued enough during the initial inquiries to launch a further investigation into Mr. Stallone and the shit he was into. They searched him, his luggage, his plane, his hotel room and yet nobody will say what they were looking for. Keep in mind this was something obscene and transgressive enough to trouble the Australian police. I can't even imagine what it is you have to do to distract them from their regular schedule of surfing, Aussie-rules football on the telly, kangaroo wrestling and Aborigine-oppressing. The place Dutch people look at as frivolous and licentious was troubled enough by whatever Sly was carrying to finally stop and say "Whoa, that's a step too far, mate."

Or more accurately "Whoa, thit's eh stip tayoo faaah, mite." And then probably whacked him over the head with a boomerang or a didgeridoo or possibly a wombat.

Now it's keeping me up at nights. I mean, what the fuck did Sylvester Stallone have in his luggage?

I try to let it go, but then he says shit like "To (customs) it's major, but it's really minor stuff. I just made a mistake."

Holy fuck, right? Something really bad happened.

What was in his bag? Was it...

  • non-Australia-certified drugs?
  • child porn and/or a Dakota Fanning movie?
  • peanut butter (very protective of their Vegemite monopoly down there)?
  • a new kidney for Osama bin Laden?
  • a lagomorph?
  • rushes for the new Rambo movie?
  • Burgess Meredith?

    The world may never know... but this is/are the internet(s). We are, all of us, ruled by what has become known as "Noonan's Law" which says Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to.

    The only logical answer is that the Australian police, upon cursory inspection, found in Sylvester Stallone's luggage a whole pile of perspective and a sense of age-appropriate good taste. The only assumption they could have made in that instance, judging by his body of work, is that he must have killed someone and stolen it.

    The good news is that they can be reasonably sure that they can return it to the family of the deceased completely unusued.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.2



  • |
    Sunday, February 18, 2007
    Sugar, We're Going Down Swingin'
    It's been a trying couple of weeks and it's all YouTube's fault. First of all, we've had all kinds of unprecedented violence against civilians in Iraq, coupled with a brash new emboldened-enemy push against American troops, shooting down helicopters, swarming American positions and then bragging about it all on viral video.

    And why are these terrorists so emboldened? Because we have Democrats. And for at least two years, they're going to be passing terrorist-emboldening legislation willy-nilly with no one except the entire executive and judicial branches standing between them and their pro-terror agenda.

    So that nightmare has no end in sight.

    Plus figure in the very public downfall of one of America's last real heroes and my God, there's almost nothing clearly to keep living for.

    We need something to hold on to, a rallying cry around which we can... you know... rally. Strong though the American spirit is when focused on a task, when left in the doldrums of a Carterian malaise, we can get a bit wayward, a bit lost, a bit choking to death on our own vomit at the tail end of a 20 year drug bender.

    What's a people to do?

    The question before us as a people is clear: How do we avoid going out like that Anna Nicole Smith?

    This is a rhetorical question for us to answer collectively, using the pathetic demise of a quasi-starlet awarded more attention than any human--even a worthy one--could have legitimately earned to spur a self-examination, hopefully allowing us to break--or at least interrupt--the cycle of celebrity worship that occasionally grips the United States. These intense periods are part of who we are as a nation, always ending with the death of a fake blonde with giant tits: Jayne Mansfield gets decapitated in a car crash, Marilyn Monroe strangled in her sleep by Robert Kennedy and today Anna Nicole finds out for us what can really happen if you live for four years on a diet of Worcestershire sauce and Costco-brand methadone.

    Unfortunately, some of us take these calls to self-examination a little bit literally.

    Look at Britney Spears. I think the Anna Nicole thing has pushed her to try and find out what it is exactly that will keep her specifically from ending up like Anna Nicole Smith.

    Try #1: Rehab. Detox in the hope that there is still time for your poor, poor liver. But man, they make you clean toilets in rehab. Fuck that. She was married to K-Fed and she'll be goddamned if she's going to wallow in someone else's shit. Plus, you know what they give you in rehab? Fucking methadone, man.

    Total duration: One day.

    Try #2: You know what Anna Nicole Smith totally had? Hair. A full head of it. Sure, it was as fake as her ta-tas, but it was all totally there. See, if you shave your head, the logic goes, you can't BE Anna Nicole Smith because she, like, had all this hair when her body finally threw up its hands and then asphyxiated on them.

    I don't know what Try #3 will be, but I bet it involves keeping a well-stocked fridge. It's the new "make sure you're wearing clean underwear in case you get in a car accident" among the celebrity set. At least the fridge thing Britney can do. We know how she feels about underwear.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: [I will have to let you know once Narcissus stops weeping...]



    Friday, February 16, 2007
    Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #42

    Ghost Rider

    starring Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Peter Fonda(!)

    directed by Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil, Simon Birch)

    My kids have the day off school today, which means I don't have a lot of time to do all the lengthy background work I usually put into one of these MIHNIoS dealios. That's why I chose Ghost Rider to feature, not because of any particular interest, but because, since the studio declined to have it screened by critics, I don't have to read any reviews!

    Not that I ever really do anyway, but just not having to take the time to opt not to read them is really handy on a day like today.

    See, I could have talked about the far more intriguing-looking spy movie Breach, a great premise with a cast of fantastic actors like Chris Cooper, Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert, Gary Cole, etc. But see, with a movie like that, a studio will get the stupid-ass idea in their heads that people will want to know what it's about in advance, to prime them for the machinations and complications of the plot, introduce the base elements of the dramatic tension so they come into the theater ready to take a complicated narrative journey.

    Ghost Rider you have to sort of more understand what it is on a gut level, like right around about the same level that people like Bill O'Reilly "know" things without having read, seen or heard anything about them. Information travels directly through whatever sensory organ it happens to hit first and travels straight to the gut which, when it is not processing the nutritional elements out of food, also dispenses immediately gratifying emotional conclusions without the messy and tiresome need for input and/or reason.

    Reviews? Reviews are for pussies. Everything you need to know about Ghost Rider you can learn right here.

    Go ahead, I'll wait. It'll only take you a second to decide.

    Did you see that? Fuckin' motorcycle, man. Bad-ass. And it was fuckin' on fuckin' fire, bitches. Holy fuck. And that bitch with him? Can't really see what kind of shape she's in, but just from her face, yeah, I'd fuck her. And the dude walking up in the middle? Head is on fuckin' fire too, man. And Nic Cage. Goddamn, dude from The fuckin' Rock dude. And Con fuckin' Air.

    My gut has processed. My gut fuckin' likes. Skull dude, motorcycle, devil, swings a chain. I'm in. Here's my $10. Hey, is there any way I could pay more for a ticket? My gut demands it.

    If we were to examine it any further (already a mistake!), we could see that it was directed by the same dude who directed the messy, messy and still slightly--but only slightly--underrated Daredevil movie. Yeah, it wasn't overall what you'd call "good", but it did get something of an undeserved beating for being associated with Gigli-era Affleck.

    That said, it did deserve something of a beating.

    This "Mark Steven Johnson" has clearly decided he's a comic-book adaptation director after Daredevil and now this. Apparently his initial foray into the exciting genre of midget snuff films didn't have the legs he'd hoped and he's gone conventional since, which is unfortunate. Warwick Davis needs the work.

    Everything else you need to know about Ghost Rider can be found in the IMDb trivia section for the film.

  • Nicolas Cage's hairpiece required three hours to apply every day.

  • Nicolas Cage wrote sections of the script.

  • Was originally planned for a summer 2006 release.

    The first two are kind of funny, but the last one... not available for review by critics AND moved from a central summer release to the bleak movie wasteland that is February. You expect schmaltzy pap for Valentine's Day, but anything else this time of year, when two-thirds of the country is under a collective 3,000 miles of snow, well...

    No reviews, retreat to February, the lead actor doing personal rewrites... Sony wants you to know: they know this movie sucks. They know we know they know this movie sucks.

    But did you see the fuckin' motorcycle? It's on fuckin' fire!

    One (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.



  • |
    Thursday, February 15, 2007
    Fine Corinthian Leather Placeholder Post
    I have a doctor's appointment this morning. To the couple who redeemed their coupons yesterday, I'm a little embarrassed. Should have thought of this doctor thing before hand, I know. Good luck with the burning sensation. Sorry about that. Luckily for me the waiver included keeps me out of a legally actionable position.

    Until tomorrow, for the rest of you, to keep you all in the sticky, sticky mood, I leave you in the capable hands of Mr. Ricardo Montalban.

    Try to resist humping your computer monitors. At least until I get back.



    Wednesday, February 14, 2007
    The Commerce Of Love

    All the caveats and exceptions I had to print on the back, but since this is the 20th century-invented 2D internet, I'll have to just tell you what they are since you can't simply turn it over and see for yourselves. Stupid limited technology.

    All holders are eligible for redemption and receipt of promised services regardless of ethnic or national origin PROVIDED s/he meets some basic hygiene standards as commonly held within the contiguous 48 United States. Yes, I'm talking to you, Alaska. Being snowed on is NOT the same as bathing for the purposes of this offer.

    Offer has no expiration date. However, considering the total number of people in the whole wide world, the obvious appeal of the offer and the limits of one man's physical endurance over the course of a day, you may not be able to IMMEDIATELY claim your goods/services upon presentation of the above coupon given the relative state of knackered-ness of the providee. Providee promises to get to you just as soon as he can rehydrate.

    All redeemers must be 18 or over. Or at least a convincing 16 with a valid fake ID. Please consult the local laws concerning sexual age-of-consent for further information.

    Mr. Korvath Ganymede Macleish Horrington III (hereafter referred to as "Pops") assumes no culpability, responsibility or liability for injuries or laws broken in the course of the redemption of this coupon. Given the volume of expected redeemers, it is a good bet he won't remember you anyway. This should be construed as a formal basis for his standard defense in court that he can honestly say he doesn't know if he's ever even met you, let alone buggered you with a whiffle-ball bat, for example.

    Void where prohibited. Not valid in combination with any other offer, including previous offered Coupon promotion offering "Mustache Rides, 5¢"

    * = While the services promised are themselves free, a number of expenses are implied including: travel, lodging, prophylactic(s), customs duties and fees, passports (where applicable), de-lousing, medical blood tests (MANDATORY) and lube.

    ** = Providee is willing to indulge in any kind of activity desired provided they do not violate the laws of more than seven US states regulating sexual practice between consenting adults. Also, no contact with human fecal matter outside of incidental side-effect of anal will be tolerated or entertained. That's just gross. Also, as expressly stated, no strings. They cut. If bondage is desired, leather straps (NOT INCLUDED) should be provided.

    *** = The picture at left does not necessarily represent Providee in his present condition of physical fitness or hairlessness. Or facial structure. Or body type. Or smoldery foreign hotness in general. Your results may vary.


    Tuesday, February 13, 2007
    The Scrutinies
    Sonnet #2

    an Poem

    by Pops

    I think I can understand why a nation would be angry at George Bush putting them on his "Axis of Evil". It just generates an insane amount of work. It's like making the Dean's List in college. You were humming along, eating dorm food, being ignored by sorority girls, losing the better parts of whole months with the industrial-grade Pakistani hash you were scoring from Adnan over at the International Residence Hall, not realizing that all you really had to do to score a B average in college is to show up to class on a semi-regular, semi-conscious basis and remember to ask for extensions when you inevitably forget to hand in your papers.

    But then you're on the list and mom and dad are all proud and they start paying for your cellphone again and they call grandma and she puts you back in the will and fuck, now you have to make sure you stay on the List with a conscious effort, which everyone knows is the total ruination of any college experience. It's not that you actually have to try, grade-inflation being what it is, it's just that the acknowledgement of expectation is exactly the thing you were trying to avoid when you started drinking a quart of engine-degreaser a day since you got there.

    Same thing with Iran, Iraq and North Korea. A nation goes about its business of oppressing its own people, not cooperating with international nuclear inspectors, maybe funding the occasional suicide bombing spree as nations will. And then one day, POW! Accident a the explosives lab ironically wipes out a whole fresh crop of human bomb mules. And then later, less literally, POW! George Bush puts you on his goddamn list.

    Now everyone's watching. Now there is expectation. How the hell is a nation of people supposed to live up to that? I mean, come on: evil? That's a joke in an Austin Powers movie, man. Short of a national initiative to have all people grow thick mustaches for flamboyant twirling and a program of Maniacal Cackling instituted at the elementary-school level, I don't know how they can ever really live up to the billing.

    I can see what the current trend is, though: get off the list as fast as possible. It's hard to be actually evil with everyone watching. Starve a million people to death because you diverted food-aid money to build a 90-foot tall solid-gold statue of your penis and they're all "Ooh, ooh, you can't do that! Evil, we call Evil!" Next thing you know, bing-bang-boom, nuclear exchange on your own soil. Downer.

    There are different strategies for getting off the list. Iraq went with the standard keep-pushing-this-shit-out-until-they-invade-and-all-this-mess-becomes-THEIR-goddamn-problem scenario. It turned out to be something of a miscalculation for Saddam personally, but the overall strategic effect has been pretty much what they envisioned. Iraq is now our goddamn problem and, if we're there, it can't be all Axis-y by default because we're America and God is on our side and and aren't we doing them some real good by raining on them the cluster-bomblets of goodness.

    The lessons learned from Iraq has split the last two remaining Axisers.

    North Korea has decided that while the idea of America making sure the trains to Pyongyang run on time is tempting, the whole tribunal-made-up-of-those-formerly-oppressed thing does not really appeal to Kim Jong Il, so he makes nice, or at least pretends to.

    Iran, on the other hand, is more cagey. They see we've got our hands kind of tied with this Iraq stuff, so they keep daring us and daring us to do something knowing that, between the logistical difficulties of a second invasion and the presence of homo commie pacifists in Congress now, they can go ahead and do some real pioneering Evil work without worrying too much about the scrutiny and our president will have to waste time promising not to kill them right away.

    Probably a long-term miscalculation, but look, this is not the Axis of Measured Consideration, is it?

    The scary thing is that with Iraq relegated to Auxiliary Member status, there's a slot open. Bad people in bad places like Syria or... well, basically just Syria are staring at the ground, trying not to make eye contact so they don't get picked next. They're hoping we get impatient and move along to lesser but no less worthy targets like Sudan or Barack Obama.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.3


    PS- I blew up the sonnet form. The whole thing is in iambic pentameter, though. Go back and check.


    Sunday, February 11, 2007
    Thin Line
    Because this is the season of love, this week's Bucket will feature a special surprise for all of you: poetry.

    I know what you're thinking, poetry, Valentine's Day, my God, how cliché. Why can't you just show your love for us by sodomizing us all individually?

    Truthfully, I did think about that. Over and over and over again, I thought about that. But then I figured between the plane fare and the lube, there was no way to make that cost-effective.

    And before the idea of poetry (aided by the sodomy!) makes you all retch, consider: I do not write poetry here out of any kind of love. In fact, the effort put forth is being made in specific contravention to the saccharine falseness of Valentine's Day and other pre-scripted, laborious declarations of non-love love. I realize that to subject you all to poetry is an act of malicious violence. In fact, I'm counting on it. What I do I do deliberately to spite St. Valentine and his fascism of tenderness.

    Bucketeers, I give you the hateful act of poetry in three forms. A sonnet, a limerick, a haiku.

    Sonnet #1

    an Poem

    by Pops

    My love, what shall I dare compare thee to
    that hasn't been said a thousand times so
    or more in the songs I hear coming through
    Adult Contemporary radio?

    My great fear, my love, is that if I were
    to try at all I just may be compared
    (oh just mentioning, my stomach bestir)
    to girly half-men like that John Mayer

    What sort of retard would I have to be
    to lay out the red all of what I feel
    not in reflection of what I might see
    but with some help from Captain and Tenille?

    My poesy I manage to keep part-time;
    it's too fucking hard to think up the rhyme

    Yes! Nailed it!

    You'll see I went English instead of Petrarchan, I think for obvious reasons. Mostly because I don't speak filthy Italian.

    Had enough? Still capable of feeling love? Here, feel this, you heart-having queers:


    an Poem

    by Pops

    I think homeless people are yucky
    they smell and their beards are all stucky
    with vomit and scabies
    --and that's just he ladies!--
    But oh! the toothless sucky-sucky

    Ha! Take that, Hallmark! Score one more for anti-sentiment.

    Here's where I drive the stake home, with some devastating Oriental minimalism. Hold on to your shit.


    an Poem

    by Pops

    My summer home in
    St. Barts has a swimming pool
    filled with afterbirth

    If you can still feel anything distantly warm, well, then you deserve whatever Valentine's Day can do to you. But don't worry. If this weren't enough, I plan on keeping up the poetry onslaught all week. I am but one man fighting the fight on behalf of six billion.

    Tomorrow I'm thinking maybe a sestina, an ode and a Chinese Jintishi. The theme will be Forced Penetration With A Foreign Object. I've already got the beginnings of "Ode to Razor-Wire-Wrapped Rebar" echoing around in my cranium. I know you can't wait.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0 (a must for all poetry, despite the public service)



    Friday, February 09, 2007
    Our Lady Of The Onion Rings
    Wow. Anna Nicole Smith is dead. I'm completely shocked. Mostly by the level of shock I don't feel.

    I bet we find out she died of some rare congenital heart condition she was not aware of, sparking a national debate on the issue leading to a revolutionary screening process, saving thousands of lives every year with the research funded by the charitable organization founded in her name.

    That or enough ketamine to kill a bull elephant.

    Heart thing... ketamine... LEONARD BERNSTEIN!

    Ha, I don't know why that leapt into my head. That song is wholly inappropriate here. End of the world? Only if by "the world" we mean "the current climate of fear and distrust spearheading a general geopolitical cooling wherein disparate interests resolve to settle disputes with assymetrical, non-conventional paramilitary violence and nuclear proliferation as a first resort" then yes, the death of Anna Nicole Smith appears to truly be the "end of the world as we know it."

    What did she do for us while she was alive? Very little. Past taking a few very high quality nude pictures fifteen or so years ago, it seemed like her life was dedicated to humanity the same way plantar fasciitis is dedicated to your foot.

    But get her away from the airbrush and within 150 feet of a plate of cheese-fries and, well... the rest of her life in a nutshell.

    Then she died. And since then... since... my God. Talk about learning not to judge a book by the giant fake tits on its cover.

    Anna Nicole Smith dies and what do we have?

    Agreement between Hamas and Fatah.

    A chastened, negotiating North Korea talking about total unilateral nuclear disarmament.

    Oversight of the financial abuses and war profiteering in Iraq.

    She hasn't even been dead a full day and look what she's done already. It only makes sense that the total vacuity of the life she led would result in a robust, intense period of human improvement on a grand scale when she died. It's basic Newtonian physics. Or, in this case, Popsian karmic bullshit metaphysics. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The rubber band has snapped back. That twang and sting of joy you feel is there for the whole world to enjoy.

    The hole she cut in the world, the expanding and contracting absence of usefulness, the summary human negative, has been removed. Nature abhors a vacuum, so what rushes to fill it up? Good results in things that matter.

    I admit it, I was talking out of my ass when I started typing this. But now the power of my own persuasiveness has persuasived me. When Hitler died, didn't World War II end? That can't have been a coincidence.

    I'm going to stop now because I'm scaring myself. This is how religions get started.

    Well, that and soliciting funds.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go set up a dedicated PayPal account.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.4



    Thursday, February 08, 2007
    I have tried to be an honest man, but now it appears to be all for naught. A man can only do so much to make up for his lifetime of treachery and deceit. It's time for me to be honest, to come clean, to perform the public enema of confession using the sweet honeysuckle-scented water of clarity thrust forward by the mighty bulb syringe of that is this blog-space.

    Yes, there was a time in my youth, before you knew me, when I went by a different name. I remember in that time I was walking along a street, without a home, without a family, with no place to go... for that next hour or so during my lunch break between classes at the boarding school my parents had sent me to. I remember standing there, looking through a window, with nothing but a thin pane of glass between myself and survival. So I smashed it. It took me another minute or so to get the thing hotwired, but you can be sure I drove out of there like a bat out of hell. By that I mean whoever it was had a Meatloaf CD in the stereo. They didn't deserve that car. It was more a liberation than theft.

    I've spent all my time since then running, taking what work I could: street mime, Tilt-a-Whirl operator, phone-sex-line worker. My high-pitched woman's voice was finally put to some use. And once, at my lowest, in my street-mime days, a kindly old bishop walked up to me and offered me $50 so that he might "ransom my soul from fear and hatred and give it back to God, right after the handjob."

    That was the turning point for me. No, not into full-time prostitution. To this. Where I am now. With this blog, meant to be an outlet for me to be truthful on a massive public stage for potentially the whole world to see.

    But I've been neglectful. I have fallen into old habits. This whole blog, as I've said in the past, is all lies. Upwards of 90% at least. I don't even know which parts of it are true anymore.

    And now my inability to reform--to truly reform--has come back to haunt me at last. The jig is up, my lovelies. The hounds have been re-unleashed.

    The Police are getting back together.

    Did you think that name was some kind of ironic joke? Gordon Sumner, Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland... terriers, all of them. And they tolerate criminality the way my digestive system tolerates lactic acid. Which is to say: not bloody well.

    I had it free and clear over the last twenty years when Sumner took that little hiatus to go off and make elevator jazz. In the interim, they passed the job on to the Texas Rangers, which... I mean, come on. Let's just say I haven't been too worried what with their most high profile guy not exactly Sherlock Holmes when it comes to finding things he's charged with finding and the other complication of the whole organization locked in the cellar of the American League Western Division for the better part of... forever.

    The free ride is over. I don't have to put on the red light. The red light is coming for me. The only thing I can hope is to appeal to their sense of mercy. But I've seen what they do to whole audiences full of people: they rock without pity. Therefore I am doomed.


    Wednesday, February 07, 2007
    Faced With The Dodo's Conundrum
    Responsibility is a real problem. Not that any of you would know because instead of doing the jobs for which you are being paid or watching the children you are charged with caring for or completing assignments given to you in the furtherance of your education, you--yes, you--are sitting around, staring at the computer screen, waiting for Clown Boy over here to tickle your funny-sphincters with the soft point of the Feather of Obvious Jokes.

    Your dad was right about you. You'll never amount to anything.

    There are people out there right now experiencing, doing, leading, putting themselves out there for the betterment of mankind.

    Are you? You could be doing something. Anything. You can't, say, find out how to make regular human urine into a viable source of hydration in places where water is scarce? What, you don't have pots, a stove, maybe about four cups of sugar and a sieve in your house? Too busy waiting around for your political overlords at Daily Kos to give you your YouTube-watching marching orders to save all the people of Africa with the magical rejuvenating power of their own whizz?

    Look, you don't have to take me literally. It doesn't have to be that exactly. And really, once I get the patent paperwork all squared away, you legally can't do that anyway. My lawyers will be in touch.

    Even the normal bullshit reasons people give for being idle, like novel-writing or music or art; nobody thinks your sci-fi story about the invasion of "aliens" led by the evil space-overlord Beorge G. Wush will ever go anywhere and putting a drumbeat behind "Your Body Is A Wonderland", well, people just laugh at that, Timbaland. But bullshit effort is still effort.

    Some people are out there making real sacrifices, doing real things to help real people in real ways.

    What have you done, for instance, to help find a cure for the gay?

    Nothing, right? Some odd pictures on the internet here and there, maybe making out with Timmy Barnes behind the handball wall during 7th grade gym class, but we've all done that. Normal part of growing up. What have you done to understand the gayness, to really lube it up so you can get as deep inside it as you can and release the seed of healing within?

    We know, for instance, that methamphetamine is NOT the cure for homosexuality. We know it. People like Ted Haggard have gone the extra mile to prove it. He felt some gay coming on and decided, hey, I can fix this. I wonder if some meth will help?

    Turns out not so much. But he was trying.

    Then he decided that maybe the best way to cure gayness would be to actually participate in homosexual sex acts. Over and over and over again. Not in a personal way, like in a relationship, but in a clinical, scientific way with a man-whore, someone with the requisite experience to give gay sex in all its deliriously pleasurable forms without the complications of emotional attachments. Plus he totally knew where to score the meth.

    But alas, that didn't work to cure the gay out of him either.

    So he tried something else: public humiliation followed by secluded Jesus counseling. Turns out that that's EXACTLY the combination to cure the gay. Which is just in time for him because the next step was Scientology. And not everyone comes back from that.

    Now that he's put himself out there, now that he knows the Path to Straightness, he is planning on moving out of Colorado to spread the gay-free message of Christ to new communities, possibly in Iowa or Missouri. Because ideally what you want is to go directly to the places where the meth is produced. You know, to warn the people cooking it up in their trailers in that vast empty space between St. Louis and Kansas City that it isn't going to cure gayness like they thought. And then maybe take some samples to a few of the neighborhoods in the larger cities, show the meth around, make sure the gays there know what to avoid. And then maybe start to work some of the gay out of them with a nice backrub.

    Ted's working. He's contributing.

    What will you do? What would Jesus do? You know, if he were gay. And a tweaker.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.6



    Tuesday, February 06, 2007
    In Vino, Veritaserum
    The character flaw of moderation has held me back a lot more than I'd like to admit. I remember in high school, all the cool guys were out there having loads and loads of unprotected sex with scads of slutty girls, which means they got all the really awesome STDs first. Monday mornings were the worst. While all the guys were giving each other the gonorrhea high-fives, the genital warts head-nods, the knowing chlamydia winks, the slower-moving social tortoises were left with slim pickings at the end, at home alone with our silent shame of friction burns and a yeast infection.

    I survived in that social wasteland with the help of my good friends Cinemax and Vagisil, but I learned a lesson that I swore never to forget: overindulge.

    The philosophy seemed to work for me in college. I recognized it was a problem once I hit 400 lbs. for the first time, but in the interim, I made a lot of friends on the fraternity row freak-show circuit. There's always a market for a guy who can eat eight whole chickens in one sitting. I had to quit when my heart stopped that one time, but I miss my comrades-in-arms: Ping-Pong Ball Debbie, Fire-Butt Ron, that guy who would eat sand and a special shout-out to my boy/girl Shortie the Hermaphrodite Dwarf. Man, for the life of me I can't remember Sand Eater's name. There was some tension there as our specialties kind of overlapped, but my God, you have to respect a guy who will eat sand. He claimed he could shit glass, but I never really felt like my stomach could withstand the verification process there.

    Now that I'm older, wiser, I see things with the perspective of a grown-person and I realize how foolish I had been in the past. Overindulgence in any form is harmful and sinful and selfish, and looking back I realize: yeah, still should do more of it.

    I'm especially thinking about drinking more. I really really should.

    I feel so limited by the bounds of my actual personality. Reckless and compulsive consumption of alcohol, I think, would really let me chip free and polish up the facets of myself that have been hidden under the cloudy, hard-edged layers of reasonability and self-awareness.

    Plus, my God! Think of the shit I could get away with!

    Just a couple of drinks and I could be a Mel Gibson anti-Semite or an Michael Richards racist or a Mark Foley predator or an Isaiah Washington homophobe or a Lindsay Lohan... well, a Lindsay Lohan or even--and this might be most helpful to me in the short term--a Gavin Newsom other-person's-wife fucker. To finally catch up on my STDs, well... a high school dream come true.

    Drinking makes everything better. You can be the person you really are underneath--the ugly, ugly person you are--once you are free of the fetters of inhibition, embarrassment, tact, conscience, social awareness, any awareness, urinary continence and (in the most specialest of circumstances) control of the esophageal sphincters that keep chewed and partially digested food from backing out the way it came in.

    The magic, though is the Rehab. This is all Martin Luther's fault. Used to be that if a person, say, accidentally ordered some of his people to go kill the Archbishop of Canterbury who would then become a saint, since we were all Catholic, you'd have to go to Church and confess. The Church, then, would mete out a reasonable penance, in this case poor Peter O'Toole got flogged in front of people. And he was the king!

    Protestantism ruined all of that. "No, no!" they said, "Don't go to confession! Confess directly to God in the privacy of your own soul!"

    Yeah... problem with that approach? Not at all telegenic. Unless you can get a voice-over to speak out the internal monologue for you, but in order to get anyone to pay attention to it, you'd have to get a Zach Braff or at least the guy who does all those movie trailers to help you out and, trust me, you can't afford that.

    In order for the Get Out Of Jail Free aspect of wanton consumption of alcohol to work, you need the power of a stay in a double-blind, completely discreet, totally anonymous detox resort tastefully announced by your newly-hired army of publicists.

    A guest shot on Leno wouldn't hurt either.

    I'm going to be working on this. Not sure how I get on the Tonight Show, but first thing's first. To the box of wine!

    If I don't have an englarged liver, a scorching case of herpes and a press release by the end of the week, you will know I have failed.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.1



    Sunday, February 04, 2007
    Post-Game Show
    I guess my reflections on yet another passing of another Super Bowl, our annual mid-winter rites to Bacchus, can be reduced to two simple points:

    1) If you are invited to a Super Bowl party that is advertised as "BYOB", it would behoove you to find out in advance whether or not the last B actually stands for "ball-gag". Let me tell you that once you arrive, it is already too late. They will, of course, be very happy to see the bottle, but you don't want to know what they end up doing with it. That's why I always prefer containers made of safety plastic. Glass is like asking for a lacerated colon.

    2) With the win this year, Indianapolis has now vaulted to the top of the list of Least Interesting Cities To Win Major American Sports Championships, shockingly dethroning the long-reigning 1977 Portland Trail Blazers. If we expand it to include hockey champions, this list includes Edmonton, so this achievement is not to be sneezed at.

    And now there is nothing left to say except to remind any readers who might be Portlanders, Edmontonians or Indianapolis... ites? I don't know. Anyway, I want them all to direct their hate-mail to popsbucket@hotmail.com . Go on, you know you want to. Help me fight the lonely.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: IV.IX



    Friday, February 02, 2007
    1 vs. 100
    The weekend is upon us. Finally, we can put aside all the hype and nonsense we've had to endure in these last few weeks of posturing and wheel-spinning and finally get down to settling things where they should be settled, down on the ground, in the trenches, nose to nose, man on man.

    Some of you won't care. Some of you will indulge your inner communist and eschew the Big Game altogether, nimbly sidestepping the colossal battle for world supremacy in your penny loafers and lace-fringed socks so you can go to see a movie about the triumph of the goddamn human spirit, probably starring Diane Keaton or possibly Drew Barrymore.

    You enjoy that, Nancy. Meanwhile, I've been assured that a few of you who don't care will be tuning if only for the commercials. That I don't understand at all. I mean, it's C-SPAN2. What kind of commercials do they run? Supplementary life insurance and those ones with Wilford Brimley about "diabeetis"? I don't understand the attraction.

    Come this Sunday, I will be planted in front of my TV to watch the Showdown. It's been six years in the making: Executive vs. Legislative. And this time it's personal.

    One lone (former puppet figurehead owner of the Texas professional baseball team nicknamed the) Ranger(s) against one hundred men with designs on tearing him to shreds in order to buck up reputations ravaged by what has been now the better part of the decade kissing his ass so that they can run away from him, giving them a sliver of credibility when they try to replace him in his job in '08. Never have the lines of battle been drawn more clearly.

    Well, most of them are men. White men, in point of fact. But there are a few non-white faces, more than I ever thought I'd see in one Senate. Hell, there is even a smattering of prominent Vagina-Americans in the mix. And they're SPEAKING! This is the kind of lawlessness your local Daughters of the American Revolution auxilliary warned us about.

    We've officially entered Bizarro World. Not three months ago the entire Legislative Branch of the United States was heading down the path so artfully blazed for it by the sober and now-self-abnegated legislature of the great nation of Venezuela. You know. Venezuela? Come on, they have the drug cartels and the... wait, that's Colombia. They had that Japanese dude for president back in the... no, that was Peru. OK, it's the one that sometimes sends us baseball players, but is NEITHER Cuba nor Mexico. That one. Ah, fuck it, CNN will clue you in after we invade.

    Now, out of the blue, someone has collectively tapped the entire Congress on the shoulder and slipped them a copy of the US Constitution that hasn't had Article I, Section 8 Sharpie'd over by military censors.

    Seriously, read it. It will blow your mind. They actually can do something besides fuck pages or call emergency sessions to save individual people in vegetative states or vote themselves pay raises. Turns out all we had to do was get rid of both Tom Daschle and Bill Frist and, what do you know, the gears start spinning. Dissent is so faddishly catchy, even Republicans are doing it, and you know they're the last ones to latch on to a trend, much to the delight of your local wingtip retailer.

    I don't know what will actually happen, but I do know I'm tired of the build-up and I'm ready to go. No more pre-game show--and that means you, Wolf Blitzer. There are no more Cheneys left to bait with your subtle challenges to Supreme Executive Power in your sneaky pinko questions. The pump, she is primed. Somebody cue Hank Williams, Jr. I am ready for some strongly-worded non-binding resolution(s)!


    Thursday, February 01, 2007
    Soap Flakes
    I don't know a lot about advertising. The only thing I know for sure is that if the logo on your soft drink or dish soap or whatever suddenly steps off the label and becomes a fully realized three-dimensional sentient thing, you fucking do what it fucking tells you. Buy more syrup? Yes, yes, please, just don't hurt my family, Mrs. Butterworth. May the voodoo hand that wakened you show us all mercy as well. You could try to fight back, but how do you kill something that was never actually alive?

    I don't need to know a lot about advertising to know I should take my cues from it in all aspects of my life, personal, professional... OK, just personal in my case, but if I did have a job and I needed something vaguely to do with work done, you know I'd totally go with that company with the "Easy Button" ads... Office Depot? Or was that one Staples? I don't know, but now I'm nervous again. They have a magic button that can accomplish any task the presser wishes done. And yet still we have an Iraq war and Larry the Cable Guy roams free, unpunished. You know they're saving that shit for something serious, something personal. I'm not waiting around for that "something personal" to be me personally. I'm running out right now to buy some brads and tacks to appease them.

    What I do know about advertising is that it's OK to scare the motherfucking piss out of your target audience. Nothing builds name recognition as being the company that makes people wet themselves. If you're a grown person and not currently Tara Reid, the loss of urinary continence moments tend to stand out. That's some strong brand identity right there.

    There are limits, apparently. For instance, it is best to freak people the fuck out about things they have already done to harm themselves. Like smoke or drink or shop or eat or breathe. These are the kinds of things I'm being warned about as of today--it's February sweeps, everybody!--in promos for my local news. It's Something-You're-Doing-Right-Now-Could-Kill-You season again. People seem to tolerate this OK. There's something comfortable about the feeling of retroactive outrage that makes people capable of sitting through a half-hour of god-awful local evening news. They might make an angry phone call or write a sternly worded letter, but in the end, they go back to that now-quite-affordable rat-infested restaurant or the grocery store with the cockroaches in the Cocoa Puffs because, well, it's just so close to my house! Plus, in the end, if you live in California, you just get to blame the Mexicans anyway, so everyone wins. Except the Mexicans.

    What you can't do in any circumstance is terrify people in the present tense apparently. Turner Broadcasting's promotional push for their Cartoon Network's Aqua Teen Hunger Force program did just that yesterday in Boston. And now Bostonians are wicked pissed.

    On the upside, the visibility of Turner Broadcasting and their product is the through the roof. I, for instance, have now heard of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The downside is the whole blinking-boxes-left-randomly-along-major-transportation-arteries in retrospect might have been a slight miscalculation in a post 9/11 world.

    First of all, Boston didn't get hit on 9/11. But New York did. You know what that means? That Bostonians are positive that they must be top of the list to get hit next. Because, from their perspective, why would a terrorist target New York and not have designs on Boston as well, seeing as the two cities are totally equal in every way in terms of prominence and stature? So they're a little on edge, because logically, they know--they know--it has to be coming soon. Also: fuck the Yankees.

    Secondly, you can push someone to the point of wetting themselves in the comfort of their own homes in order to advertise a product or program (through which products can be sold). But what you don't do, what is absolutely never, ever, ever done is fucking with people's commute times. Corporate suicide.

    No one is immune. We all remember how mighty Coca-Cola almost went out of business after their ill-conceived laser-engraved "Drink Coke!" Li'l Caltrops On The Highways Of America campaign went predictably wrong. Between that and the New Coke fiasco, it's a miracle we're not all stuck drinking Pepsi.

    If you want to know how to market something, I suggest looking at the people who put out those Harry Potter books.

    1) Have a global phenomenon.
    2) Mention it.

    Works like a charm. The frenzy has already begun. And nobody is late for work because of it. There's your lesson.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.5


    PS- One of you naughty monkeys went out and nominated ole Pops for some kind of goddamn award. I am humbled as I do not seek these sort of things out. But now if I don't win, it will be hell to pay for you. For all of you. Mark my fucking words.



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