Pops' Bucket
Sunday, April 29, 2007
And For My Next Trick, I Shall Attempt To Put My Head Into The Mouth Of A Living Ant-Lion
Well. Here we are, all Sunday-night-like, ready to go back to our regularly scheduled nonsense. Only, you know what? Even though I now possess the means by which to amuse and entertain you, I don't know that I really feel like it. Without my blog to keep up, I've had some time to think about things. Want to know what I figured out?

I'm not your tap-dancing monkey.

Oh, do your little routine, tap-dancing monkey. Confound and amaze us with your controlled and seemingly-considered actions so out of character with the bestial disorder of conduct so usually associated with your species.

And then I figured out something else: you know what would be really cool? A tap-dancing monkey.

And then I thought the tap-dancing monkey thing wasn't really fair to me because really all I have is a bunch of words in which to try and engage your mind's eye or perhaps develop ideas that are absurdly paradoxical or widely contradictory to the extreme point of comical reconciliation by sheer insistence on the consistency of the premises.

Compare that to a tap-dancing monkey. All that monkey really has to do is tap-dance and you're in, right?

Not fair to me. Not by a long shot. So then I felt a lot better because, you know what, I don't have to be as good as a tap-dancing monkey. Because nothing in the whole world could be.

It sounds like a useless academic argument, like that time I tried to prove in that one blogpost the existence of God by updating Descartes' onotlogical proof of Him with references to Henry Weinhard's Root Beer. OK, that was stretching a little bit, but this is not all theory. I base my argument here in the realm of strict reality that can only be justified by undeniable material evidence from an irreproachable source.

Of course I mean YouTube.

Happy Monday, most of you.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.999


PS- I started this uselessness with no earthly idea that I could find the video I found anywhere on the interwebs. God bless YouTube.


Friday, April 27, 2007
Not Front
I'm going to be completely straight with you people: once my interwebs started working again, this was not the first place I went. I only have a minute or two to post, but I wanted you to know that upon the glorious news this morning that I was back up and living, I immediately went on a five-hour porn and personality-quiz binge that's been itching to happen since the world went dark on me lo this past week.

It's not that I don't love you, my incomparable, faultless, loyal Bucketeers, but sometimes the fleshly desires of man... um... hello? Anyone?

Great, you all fucked off to Fark.com or something, didn't you? A dude can't turn his back for three or four days... you interweb people are a fickle bunch. Where is the Ally McBeal dancing baby right now, I ask you? You don't even know. On to the dancing banana with the song about the peanut butter, like the dancing baby never existed.

It's a good thing I've only got 80 or 90% of my total self worth wrapped up in this thing. Otherwise I think I'd be in big big trouble.

I love you. Come back.



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Due to unforseen motherfucking technical goddamn difficulties, the Bucket will not be cocksucking seen at its regularly horseshitting assface bunghole scheduled balls time. It has taken me 11 turdburgling attempts to felching publish this assreaming colostomy-bagging prison-shower-raping post. Please stand santorum by for more monkeyfucking dingleberry blumpkin information as events meat wallet warrant. Wank vagina gonad Nickleback prostate. Thank fucking you.


Monday, April 23, 2007
Welcome To The Working Wiik
If any of you were wondering: Who do I have to fuck to get my hands on a Nintendo Wii?

The answer? Me. I got one. You all can touch it for the low, low price of my total sexual gratification. Sound too steep? I got propositioned at least three times on my way out of the Toys R Us. I don't want to ask you people to prostitute yourselves, but it's what the market is apparently demanding. Those Toys R Us employees can be really aggressive.

That's right, I am now of the member of the exclusive club of American owners of a Nintendo Wii gaming system, a cozy little group of only 2 million. I haven't run in these kinds of rarified circles since my membership in the Peter Cetera Unofficial Fan Club expired. I don't know what happened; they just stopped cashing my checks. It might have had something to do with the fact that right at the end, the only ones left in were me and Peter Cetera.

The lure of pretty electronic Wii pictures and a whole new way to get carpal tunnel isn't what put me off my regularly scheduled Sunday night post, however. While I am no longer ensconced in Internet Hell, I have only managed to work my way up to Internet Purgatory. The service is erratic and sketchy and will continue to be so until we get some things sorted out. If/When this post goes out, it will have happened in a brief but glorious window of time wherein the floodgates of basic Information Age data transmission were thrown open by the rapturous intermittent functioning of twenty-year-old technology.

Little series of blinking lights, deliver us.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0



Friday, April 20, 2007
Fiber Optic Uber Alles
Oh, Hitler. Why must your birthday always be such a chore?

Bastard DSL-in-the-process-of-changeover is making this the longest blogpost in the history of the Bucket, which is saying something. And magically, that is the case even though this one is merely two lines long.

I was going to punt today's post by diverting your attention to something else interesting, but it takes like half an hour for me to get any URL to fucking load up, so that's out.

Instead what you get is me bitching and then leaving you all hanging for the weekend. And "hanging" is exactly what I'm going to be doing, the silk ascot I got signed by DeForest Kelley fastened to my neck on one end and the rafters at the other, blink 182's "Adam's Song" on a continuous loop on my CD player if this shit doesn't get resolved.

It's going to be a bitch to acquire and install rafters, but you know, I'm going to need something to keep my hands busy while I have clogged up internet tubes. And don't suggest masturbation either because, I mean, come on. Masturbation without the internet? What am I, a caveman? Totally unnatural. I might as well try to do it using my feet.


I suddenly gotta go.



Thursday, April 19, 2007
Hulk Out
My wife's second favorite thing about me is the fact that I rarely get angry. I mean really really angry. Mostly what happens when I get all charged up about something is that I just get kind of... dizzy. I know it sounds very Scarlett O'Hara, but there is a medical reason for it. I found out several years ago that I am allergic to my own adrenaline. It's totally true. I have a violent auto-immune reaction whenever I am stimulated to a fear, anger or any other kind of intense response. There's a great deal of falling down, some compromise of the excretory function control, maybe even the occasional seizure. I'm not sure about the last one, but I've been trying to pre-emptively swallow my tongue while awake and lucid for safety's sake. No luck yet.

Even though I am uncommonly gifted in the coordination and athletic departments, I never succeeded in high school sports. In game-time situations of any kind of pressure, the adrenaline would hit and down I'd go, all spastic and flailing, which got tricky while pitching a baseball game. I'm pretty sure my record for Batters Hospitalized will never be approached, let alone broken.

Like anyone with any kind of health-issue to navigate, I've learned to cope. I my case, I do it by being a generally serene, together, with it dude. Sometimes my laid-back attitude other people mistake for disdain or pompousness. The fact that they are right about both those things more than half the time are just handy coincidences. Other times people will mistake my Zen-like impermeability to perturb as some kind of latent post-dirty hippie-ism, which I profoundly (but calmly) protest. Love of peace does not make one a hippie. I have never and will never wear moccasins nor have I listened to a Joan Baez record. The last place you are going to find me is in some goddamn field having sex. That's just asking for Lyme disease, in my opinion. At least for me, I can claim my passivity on a medical condition.

So while I should be angry that a) Crazy McShooty made a video tape of himself and b) had time to make a video of himself, drive it to the local post office, mail it out, maybe stop at the liquor store for some smokes and lotto scratchers, get bantered at by Jay and Silent Bob after he had already killed two people and c) that NBC has released any of this shit over public airwaves, setting a really awesome precedent for the next fucking kicked-dog whose inability to get laid drives him (and it will be a "him") to bloodshed.

Ha, but the jokes on him, the dickhead. Nobody fucking watches NBC.

See? Still not angry. I can express myself colorfully with a certain level of detached bemusement other people find both inspiring and intolerable.

But now I have to go because I am having all kinds of DSL issues this morning and I'm not sure this will even go out. I'm in the process of transitioning carriers, so I don't know if that's the issue or what, but man, all I want is to get my weather report, maybe check some e-mail and download a little bit of the lesbian clown porn that I find so soothing. But for fuck's sake, it just sits there and is loading, loading, loading... You know, I paid good money for "Ringmaster"-level access to pieintheface.com and I can't even get onto it when I need--I mean NEED--to. You know, this fucking blank white screen doesn't really do for me what I need done for me and if it doesn't fucking start fucking working right fucaollllijweffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff


Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Where Is Charlie Murphy When You Need Him?
We all deal with national tragedies in different ways. We have our methods of easing the burden by sharing the experience in common with our fellow mourners, but for each individual, the manner in which grief manifests itself and is coped with is as varied as a fingerprint. Which is appropriate because all fingerprints look like little frowny-faces.

After 9/11 I remember with some fondness and a little sheepish self-consciousness how I dealt with that: by wandering around, randomly attacking Sikhs. Not Arabs, not Muslims, but Sikhs specifically. I would see Arabs and they just looked too much like regular dudes for me to really get that visceral boost I needed from mindlessly assaulting someone who represented the Alien Other. Sikhs with their beardy faces and their turbans, well, they are straight out of the Conflated Racial Type handbook. Aziz who owns the car stereo store near me, he wears cowboy boots for fuck's sake. Granted, in California that's reason enough to kick someone's ass, but not when I'm looking to sate by irrational bloodlust against nameless foreigners. Plus he gave me 15% off the LED effects lights for under my hooptie. And I'm saving up for this dope-ass Kenwood amp. You do not shit where you eat.

After the Virginia Tech thing, my response has been a little different. It's more of the immolation-by-chocolate response. It's far less extreme socially speaking and the only danger it poses is to the seams of my clothes. So if my grief is a fingerprint, it would be only half-frowning and smeared with a layer of cake frosting directly from the can.

Other people cope in different ways, most private, some much more public. For instance, comedian Dave Chappelle made himself feel better by being on stage for over six hours straight at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

I don't know for certain that it had anything to do with the VATech thing or not, but I'm kind of hoping. If it's just Dave staying on stage and refusing to leave, that just means that Dave is fucking crazy and I'm not ready to accept that. My system can't take two such tragic shocks in the space of a week.

The article makes it clear that the audience was stunned by Mr. Chappelle's achievement. They said they "tried everything" from exaggerated yawning to asking each other loudly what time it was and then being mock-surprised that it was in fact "that late" to raising the house lights, cleaning up around him, casually mentioning what a "big day" they all had tomorrow and finally just wandering out, leaving Dave talking and talking and talking to one game audience member who was found out later to have been dead since Hour #2.

What I think this tells us most about humans and how we operate is clear: Dave Chappelle needs a job. Because a) he's clearly got no place else to go and b) he needs the money. He passed up $50 million from Comedy Central. That's not an easy thing to make up to your wife.

Luckily, the Laugh Factory pays its comics hourly.

Dave Chappelle would also like you to know that he's available to work for you. He will emcee your corporate event, speak at your church retreat weekend, do ten minutes of ethincally appropriate material at your family reunion/bar mitzvah/quinceañera or even--for about $80 and a half-pound bag of weed--just come over and, you know, hang out.

I read that the previous record at the Laugh Factory was set by Dane Cook at somewhere over 3 hours, a record Dave shattered with his marathon set. I think that's how I'm going to start really healing: by having people take things away from Dane Cook. If someone could just undo his millions of album sales, I think I'd be totally healed. Get on that, would you, Bucketeers?

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.9



Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Angry Little Man
Dear Potential Campus/Workplace Rampage Shooters,


If you're reading this, that's already a good sign. It means you're not already at the cross-eyed, teeth-clenched, no-going-back stage. Sure, you're probably loading magazines or oiling disassembled gun components as you read this, but you're here which means you're either looking for some light entertainment or were merely misdirected here by Google while looking for (judging by common results) candy in bulk (a "bucket" of "Blow Pops" for example) or perhaps Brad Pitt's dick. Or maybe both, although if you are looking for both simultaneously, maybe it's something you should have your therapist help you parse out.

Oh and also? Please get a therapist.

Before you walk out and put into motion your final plan of revenge against people you don't know but you hate anyway because they aren't a fucked-up sinkhole of shame and inadequacy like you are, consider the results of yesterday's action. What conclusions will people reach about you?

Thirty-three people dead is too many. Too many, that is, by exactly 32. The news blurbs (always charmingly rote) all contain some variation of the phrase "...murdered [x number] of people and injured [x number more] before turning the gun on himself." The conclusion inferred is obvious: all these rampage shooting types are clearly dyslexic.

They always get the order of operations backward. If you're feeling low, the proper sequence is to shoot yourself in the face first, then go out and try to shoot a bunch more people. Not only is it more socially conscientious, but think of the challenge! It's not hard to shoot randomly into a phalanx of unarmed, unsuspecting people, you pussy. Try doing that with most of the back of your own head missing! Sure, you'll get your name in the newspaper either way, but if you shoot the innocent people first, you're risking a markedly disproportionate number of Disfavorables underneath your Name Recognition poll numbers.

And yes, OK, being honest, if you still kill people after shooting yourself, you'll still be reviled. But at least there will be a sense within the news-consuming audience of "well, OK, fair play at least, he took the first bullet." Or, best case, the MSNBC people will play up the potential zombie angle with all kinds of baseless conjecture and Chyron-graphic-supported hysteria and then Robert Rodriguez will make a movie about you.

And also, just in case you were wondering, shooting up a school doesn't make you patriotic. I know al Qaeda says that Iraq is now a "university of terror", which is stupid. But the proper response is not to say "no thanks, Habib, this is how you make a University of Terror!" and then terrorize a university.

First of all, just a touch literal.

Secondly, if you want to help, join the Army. They'll let you shoot all the people you want. You might even get a medal for it if you shoot the right ones! Plus the guns are free and you get paid. If you're worried your little mental condition might disqualify you, I'd say you'd have been right to worry about four years ago, but now...

Sure, if you're a raging sociopath, it will be just as tough socially for you in the Army as whatever school it is you go to now, but at least if you get ideas about shooting at your colleagues there, they're also armed. Again, it all comes back to fair play.

Just something to think about.

Also: the medication is not optional. Take it. Or if it's really getting to you, take two dozen. More helps.

God bless.



Sunday, April 15, 2007
The Ball Jar

I'm sorry it's so small,* but it was the only digital copy of the cover I could find.

I would like to point out that I first became aware of this book in the book-section at the front of my local grocery store, where I was doing the grocery shopping today, as I do every Sunday and have done for the past decade or so. See, I do the shopping so as to obtain the food-items I will require later in the week when I start with the cooking that I do for each and every meal for the five people who live in my house.

I had more to say, but then I noticed that the $22.95 hardback was priced at around six bucks and well, it occurred to me that not a whole lot more needed to be said.

Except that the cover makes no sense. I mean come on, it's about "lazy husbands" but the guy is totally going out of his way to lift his feet so his wife can vacuum under them. That doesn't constitute "housework"? Every man reading this knows that that kind of capitulation is only one step away from being wrist-deep in a slurry of toilet-water, Comet and trace amounts of your own excrement. Like most PhDs, this Joshua Coleman clearly understands nothing about the practical, day-to-day exigencies confronting the subjects he studies. It's all "theory" and "research" mashed together into a "synthesis" and a series of "well-thought-out and rational conclusions". Fucking eggheads.

This book is clearly marketed to chicks. I hear the alternate title in the paperback version for men is called How To Be Pussy-Whipped, with a special foreward by Ashton Kutcher.

I'd read that book. Demi Moore is still hot.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.0


*= that's what she said.


Friday, April 13, 2007
I don't really understand the motivations behind suicide bombings. But then I'm an American. We believe that human life is an inalienable right, something to be respected and defended. Our core tenet about the indivisible sanctity of the individual's right to exist is what defines us in opposition to the more corporatist social structures and tendencies of what are seen as even our closest cultural neighbors in Western Europe. The idea of suicide bombing is absurd to us as it is a voluntary abnegation of the most basic building block of a human society in a democratic meritocracy: the voluntary erasure of a person and all his or her associated potential to one day develop into something socially meaningful, like a telemarketer or a night-shift assistant manager at a Del Taco.

These basic differences of self-realization come to the fore in those moments of most extreme pressure, like in whatever it is that drives a suicide bomber to suicide-bomb. That's how that society does things, I guess. It's weird to us to think of blowing yourself up in a crowd and taking random people with us when we go. When checked against our cultural mores and practices, it just seems so pointless and wasteful.

In America, we know that when we are disgruntled, the proper thing to do is to go to somewhere you know while wielding a shotgun, shoot some people you mean to shoot because they have displeased you in some way and then kill yourself after the police arrive and all hope of escape is lost.

Why would I kill some random mother or son in a marketplace when I can specifically rid the world of that douchebag Chad in Accounts Receivable? I mean, he has his teeth capped AND he gets them laser-whitened. Plus he knows I saw Mindy from Payroll first and still I heard he finger-banged her at the office St. Patrick's Day party in the TGIFriday's. Shotgun shotgun shotgun, right? All logical and meaningful.

This is why the suicide bomber phenomenon troubles me. It's just so... foreign to me, in every conceivable way.

When a high-profile suicide bombing occurs, I do try to find out what the message is behind it. I'm not going to lie to you; it's not easy. I admit that sometimes when I'm feeling kind of low or just plain lazy, I usually just fall back on the standard "Death to Israel/America" which is obvious, I know, but man, the sheer volume is enough to tax any imagination, even the one that just came up with the Mindy from Payroll thing a couple paragraphs ago.

This one that happened yesterday, though, for the first time, I was kind of excited about it. No, not the loss of life or the chaos caused or what it means for the security of the fledgling Iraqi state or whatever. That stuff is obviously a bummer.

But the other thing--the meaning--my God, it was so apparent to me what this particular suicide bomber was trying to tell us:

RUDY IN '08!

Poor, poor John McCain. What a personal slap in the face this must have been for him. 2000 seems like forever ago, doesn't it? I think the time is coming very soon when Senator StraightTalk has a very serious press conference where he announces he is dropping out to spend more time with his illegitimate black child.

Man, that's gotta still sting a little.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.4



Thursday, April 12, 2007
Sky Father, Heap Big Trouble
War is complicated. You have all the logistical nightmares of moving a huge amount of people with all the necessary supply and materiel, the morass of practical details involved in knowing whom to blow up and when, the mental and spiritual grind of deciphering intelligence data and then deciding which parts of that data to selectively ignore if it in any way countermands your publicly stated goals... it's a lot of work.

Taking a page from their own book, the Bush people have decided that the best way to fix an already complicated problem? Invent a whole new level of bureaucracy in the form of a new office which will need to be staffed and then shoe-horned into the chain of command.

Dear Easter Bunny,

Please send us a War Czar. And some of those marshmallow Peeps. And some of those Peanut Butter M&Ms. Those are really good. Oh, and Osama bin Laden. You know, if you see him.

The thing about war is that once you get going, it's not like playing Risk. It's not all about pushing some pieces from Kamchatka to Yakutsk and then rolling some dice until you have one piece left and your enemy has none. You've got commanders in the field who need all kinds of different things--personnel! body armor! orders!--and just won't get off your back about it. I swear, people start getting shot at and all of a sudden they get all insistent about stuff.

It makes sense that in that complicated situation, with all those commanders in two theaters clamoring for stuff like "supply" and "direction" you would need to invent a position within the government that was kind of a catch-all, someone to whom those individual commanders could turn for guidance... like if the commanders were represented by a tribe of Native Americans, they would have someone to turn to, like for instance a medicine man. Or no! A chief. Someone to be the Chief of the Commanders maybe, yeah. That would work. The last resort of decision-making responsibility. A commander, but the Chief-Commander.

Yeah, "War Czar". This is what you have to think of when modern circumstances demand it. I blame the Framers of the Constitution. If only they had thought of this originally. But I guess they were too busy being slave-owners and poncey book-readers to know that one day someone would fly planes into our buildings because they hate us for our freedom.

So not only is it their fault for giving us the freedom for which we are hated, but they didn't give us the necessary Chief-Commander either. One more reason I say take Jefferson off the nickel and replace him with Reagan. Not only is Reagan a real patriot whose contributions we can concretely measure by his total non-inclusion in any damning governing documents of note, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't fathering children with his or anyone else's slaves. He was too busy giving all the power of his lucid mind to the fight against Communism.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.2


PS- Oh, about yesterday. Yeah, kind of embarrassing... I forgot, I don't have any railing on my stairs. Or, to be more specific, any stairs. Man, was my face red when the FD got here. So no pictures.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Ulysses And The Siren (Glazed)
Today I'm going to have to be brief as I'm planning on having one of my kids (who are, I remind you again, HERE WITH ME ON VACATION FOR A WHOLE WEEK) get his head stuck in the stair railing later. It seems cruel, I know, but I can call the fire department to come save him and then I can have some adult human contact, if only for the brief amount of time it takes them to grease up his head (or however they resolve situations like that) and rescue him.

Before you go calling the cops (my God, please, maybe they'll come out and investigate!) remember that a) this is not a life-threatening condition and b) I promise to post pictures!

You can try to talk me out of it if you want to, but I've already got the donut tied to the end of a string, so there's no going back now. He's going to go wherever that pendulum of pastry goodness leads him. The Involuntary Response toothpaste is already out of the tube. I can't put it back. That's why it would be irresponsible of me NOT to use it for my own benefit. I'm thinking of him.

Just know that I am being careful. For instance, I only bought one donut.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0



Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Cornwallis At Yorktown
This blog thing is much harder to do when my kids are on vacation. The obvious reason is the distraction of having three children of various ages around me asking for/jumping off off/trying to talk each other into eating stuff all the time. Don't worry, I haven't abandoned my basic parental approach of Salutary Neglect; I still harbor the long-term goal of having them violently declare their independence from me, followed by a protracted and ruinously expensive war that will end in my total humiliation after the intervention of the French navy. Such is the cycle of the relationships between fathers and sons.

I want to ignore them--desperately, desperately--so I can knock this thing out, but it's the shrieking that makes it hard. They're boys, I know, but they're all under 10 still, so I'm dealing with a fair amount of shrieking on a regular basis. It's a hard thing to ignore. Part of it is an involuntary response to that sound. Then factor in my ultimate legal responsibility for their safety and it almost requires a response, if only for the look of it. Shrieking tends to get the neighbors' attention.

The situation presents its own set of particular problems--possibly Child Protective Services intervention not least of them--but the main problem for me as a blogger is the threat of being locked in a Bushian bubble.

I'm on total information lockdown. I get my news from having a spare minute here or there to peruse a newspaper, from the radio as I drive to and from taking my eldest two to school or from Maggie Trinh, the nice Vietnamese lady who does my cuticles for me. Not only can I not give you the latest in current events, but until my kids go back to school, the goings-on among the former Boat People in Garden Grove are off the table as well. Not like I went there particularly often, but it was nice at least to have the option.

But alas, not only am I completely out of the loop (is her son Danny still dating that awful white girl?!) but my cuticles are completely out of control. It's like my nail-beds are the borders of Germany as established by the Treaty of Versailles and my nails themselves are Poland, 1939. This aggression must not be allowed to stand.

The best I can do for you people is occasionally glance at the internet headlines before I rush this thing out between shrieks.

As I was doing that today, guess what picture got my attention?

Lawks. And it goes with this headline: Severely obese fastest-growing U.S. overweight group.

Yes yes, very serious, fat people in America. Not only is it a direct threat to their health with all kinds of spun-out ancillary impacts on health care in this country in general, but my God, the poor camera people, both still photographers and the TV ones who have to go out and film them all from the neck down. It just isn't right.

And then I read the caption from the picture itself: it's a Reuters picture of a person waiting for a flight at Heathrow, which last time I checked was in London. As in foreign.

What the fuck kind of discrimination is this? American fat people aren't even good enough to film in a totally humiliating, dehumanized manner to illustrate a point about our own culture? We're even outsourcing the pictographical representations of our own failure as a people now?

This is the slippery slope they warned us about when Dell started staffing their Tech Support from Mumbai. Americans can't even get a job as faceless lard-asses anymore. And by God, we practically invented faceless lard-assness. Or at least we perfected it on a grand scale.

We lost the steel makers, the car factories and now this.

I'm going back into the bubble. At least there I can have false hope, just like the president.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.2



Sunday, April 08, 2007
You Got To Burn To Shine
Lent is officially over and once again I've celebrated by eating an entire life-size solid chocolate Baby Jesus. The troubling racial ramifications of a cocoa-colored Jesus who is then consumed by a white dude (me) were (as traditionally) overwhelmed by deliciousness and sort of forgotten when I passed out from the hyperglycemia.

But I'll be damned if I celebrate with any heathen holdover rabbits.

I mean that literally. I will be damned.

This way, still, as ordered by Jesus on Easter: Gluttony? Achieved!

All in celebration of our Lord and Savior's Resurrection.

Past the license to over-indulge, where are the benefits? Sure, Gates of Heaven opened, God and sinners reconciled, but you know what, at least President's Day I can expect a significant discount when I want to buy either linens or a mattress. Is capitalism saying to me that dead Lincoln is worth more to me financially in the form of reasonably priced bedding than our Risen Lord? Where are my Easter sales? It makes no sense.

But in some ways, I guess it's smart for retailers to not even try to match the grandeur of the defeat of death and the rescue of every human's eternal soul with some kind of cheap gimmick. I think that's why they're all mostly closed on Easter. They can't help but fall short.

And they hate the Jews.

Yes, I'm talking to you, Bed Bath & Beyond.

But mostly it's the fear of falling short in the face of so much build-up. That's also the reason I am going into the last six episodes of The Sopranos with measured ambivalence. How can they possibly match episode-to-episode what they represent in the history of television? They can't.

But you know what, I'm going to watch anyway. Just so I can have the right to bitch about it later.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.8



Thursday, April 05, 2007
A Hunger Artist
Let's get the horrible, awful, no-good, very-bad news out of the way right up front: Sanjaya advanced on American Idol! Can you believe it?! I have no idea who this is and have still never seen the show, but apparently, this incident has National Tragedy written all over it. I haven't been this exercised about something I don't give a shit about since Twin Peaks.

The other, REAL bad news is this: no fresh Bucket tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, what we in Catholic-land call a "Holy Day of Obligation". In practice, not so much on the "holy", real heavy on the "obligation".

I bitch about it, but you know, Muslims have to fast for a whole month during Ramadan. We only have two days per year that we're asked to fast (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) and even then, it's really only for half a day until dinner, which we usually eat at about 11 am on fast-days. See, because then the fast is broken and it's right back to my regular diet of jalapeño poppers and cuba libres. But on Good Friday, they're jalapeño poppers and cuba libres for Jesus. An important distinction spiritually, but one that is lost on my gastrointestinal system. Most of my innards are agnostic at best.

My kids have a half day of school today and NO school tomorrow, which is, for those of us who value the luxury of waking without the aid of an alarm clock above diamonds or reputation, the best reason I can think of in favor of allowing just a little bit of Jesus into the public school classroom. Sure, the Shinto kids won't be taking the day off for the same reason, but I bet they'd still lay around and play PSP games all day anyway.

Lay around and play PSP games all day for Jesus. Without even realizing it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and gorge myself in preparation for tomorrow's privation. I'm like a camel, except instead of a hump on my back I have a certified American Male Dicky Doo and instead of life-sustaining water in it, I carry jalapeño poppers and...

...aw, you remember.

Easter is Sunday, so I'm thinking I'll be back here Tuesday at the latest. But CHECK EVERY DAY, AT LEAST SEVEN TIMES! It might pay off. Just think what would have happened if on the third day nobody thought to check Jesus' tomb. He would have risen from the dead and nobody would have noticed at all, there would be no Christianity and my kids would have to go to school tomorrow. It's an awesome responsibility, but I know you're up to it.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.5



Wednesday, April 04, 2007
At Delphi
I am a man. I don't think there's any question about that. My potent musk of masculine virility permeates everything I do, so I think it's safe to assume that you all get a digitized textual whiff of it every time you read this blog. I also assume that for all of you lady Bucketeers and about 10% of you dudes, that's the main thing that brings you back here again and again and again. I've read most of my posts, so I'm sure it can't be the writing.

As a man, I feel the need on occasion to roast meat over a fire. I don't particularly enjoy it, but there's a primal instinct that activates deep within my brain, set off by some unknowable trigger. OK, if I had to guess, it's probably to counteract a momentary lapse of manliness, like for instance if I catch myself noticing a woman's poor fashion choice instead of the woman herself ("Oh my God, she's trying to pull off an A-line dress with shoulders like that! Look everyone, it's Wladimir Klitschko!").

Errors like that require me to act in the manner of my prehistoric, pre-metrosexual forebears, but dropping some pre-cut frozen hamburger patties on my natural gas grill. Just like the caveman.

So anyway, I'm out there last night cooking (I think I had accidentally been too excited about a preview for American Idol the night before) and my middle son was watching, standing by, passively absorbing a Man Lesson, all of which I offer for free, silently, like Gary Cooper with no poncey lecturing or gay hugging at the end. Meat goes on red, comes off brown. He either fucking gets it or he don't.

I'm seasoning up the patties as they cook--just like the Caveman!--with my special, very manly personal concoction of grill spices. Just your standard stuff like seasoned salt, cracked black pepper, a touch of garlic poweder, some ground ginger, oregano, barley, saffron, vanilla bean pods and a radish cut into a rose for garnish.

As this mixture passes through the air in a cascade of applied flavorosity, my boy hits me with another unanswerable question.

"Ooh, Dad! Dad!" He's very exercised. True to form, I ignore him completely. It sounds mean, but generally speaking the conversations I have with any of my children do not require participation on my part.

"Dad! What if meat were made of powder?!"

I love all my sons, Saladin, Tar-MacAdam and little Pfaegynn, all in their own way and for who they are. Originally, yes, I loved the middle one the least out of a combination of learned social response and--a middle child myself--as a form of sublimated self-loathing I then healthily transferred on another target.

But now that he's older, more able to express himself, to show what kind of a personality he has and will have as he grows, I can honestly say I'm past all that now and I can love him less on his own merits. And I do.

It's because of the questions. Still with the questions. They come at me in impossible "What if...?!" form now. What if our hands were pudding? What if birds ate people? What if books had mouths? What if I pointed this at you and it was loaded?

I like to think it's just the seed-root of an active imagination that can see beyond the obvious and empirical to a universe of possibility bounded only by the limitless combinations his young and supple mind can conjure.

But mostly it just pisses me off because I can't think of an answer.

As I was grilling, this time it was easy. I just told him "What if you didn't ask so many fucking questions? 'What if meat were made out of powder?' What are you, retarded? Go shit in a bag, you little freak" and then I hit him with the grill spatula.

I know it was wrong. I shouldn't have done it. What's the right answer to a question like that? In retrospect, it's obvious:

"If meat were made of powder, Keith Richards would have snorted it."

And then I should have hit him with the grill spatula.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9


It's happening. Two down, 160 to go. I've got all my personal happiness riding on the Perfect Season, but I feel OK about it. I can't see any way it goes wrong.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I don't know about the rest of you, but I am relieved. Here we are in April of the year before a presidential election--a good 9 months before New Hampshire '08--and the issue of who is going to win has already been decided for us. Think of all the free time we're going to have during what would otherwise be a long, tedious, drawn-out primary season next year! All that time and energy spent concentrating on all the meaningful races that will occur in the period from the beginning of January to about the second week of February... I don't know about you, but I'm already making vacation plans. I've got two tickets on the Creme-de-Menthe train to La-Z-Boy City where I will occasionally nap when not loudly bemoaning the inferior quality of the second season of Heroes.

It is a grim, clear, triumphantly American truth that elections in this country are about money. The proponents of Campaign Finance Reform would have gotten farther with their reform movement if only they had been able to sustain a three-month-long television blitz, hire banks of hundreds of cold-calling telemarketers and maybe flown a few key Senate committee members to crucial Campaign Finance Fact-Finding Mission to places where the real economic abuses take place, like for instance Aruba.

The failure of the Campaign Finance Reform movement means we have to accept the unsavory reality of money's determining factors in elections. That in mind, it is with some great relief that I can tell you that the next president of the United States will be Willard Mitt Romney, the Man from Michigan/Massachusetts/Utah.

Also he is from three states. Another advantage.

Or if it isn't Mitt, it may be Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, the Woman from Illinois/Arkansas/New York. Another three-stater. I'll be honest with you, that didn't occur to me until I just typed it out. I hate it when I blindside myself.

Anyway, those are the two whom we know have raised the most money.

Sure, there's a little problem of Mitt Romney not actually registering above the margin of error in a lot of polls, but he is a Republican! And a conservative (now)! And deadly handsome! And he believes in Jesus...

...sort of. He's a Mormon. It's Jesus, yeah, but it's the sort of "talked to the Native Americans" flavor of Jesus who makes believers into the God of other planets if they're good. Yeah, I know. I'm a Catholic, so I know about being part of a weird-minority-but-powerfully-influential subgroup of Christianity. You might say that one thing that Mr. Romney and myself have in common is sects appeal.

Did you catch that? Sects appeal. Because it sounds like... you know what, forget it.

The Romney camp, naturally, takes his lead in fundraising as some kind of evidence of enthusiasm for his candidacy that has somehow not found its way into the polling as yet.

And yet in the details we see that most of his impressive influx has come from his contacts amongst other venture capitalists and (wait for it...) the Mormon Church. It's sort of grassroots if the grass was made of green-painted gold, hand-planted one blade at a time and then allowed to marry as many other female blades of precious-metal grass it wanted.

And we know all of Hillary's money is from China and aborted fetuses. Much sexier, but can any of those make a God of some other planet if I vote for them? China maybe, but not until they get their space program a little further along.

It's only April of '07, so I'm reserving judgment. It's the only responsible thing a voter can do. Especially since Obama hasn't disclosed his totals yet. Only when I have all the information can I know for sure who the money wants me to vote for.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.5


Opening Day was yesterday. Day One of what will be a magical, historic 162-0 undefeated 2007 season for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Yorba Linda, Seal Beach and (parts of) Fresno. You saw the streak start here. Prepare for certain bliss.


Sunday, April 01, 2007
Cousin Oliver
Help me out here.

When you see the headline Family Ties' Youngest Busted for Assault, what do you immediately think?

"Oh shit, Tina Yothers finally broke out and fucked someone up!"

Not just me, right?

But I click on the link and it's a picture of... some dude. I look at it and I'm all "Who the fuck is that dude? Oh shit, Tina Yothers finally broke out and underwent total gender reassignment surgery!"

So I was, like, totally sold on that story as a blog premise. This was clearly the most mind-boggling Family Ties-related news since Mallory was the headliner--the headliner--in that movie she was in that also starred Julia Roberts and Liam Neeson.

But no, it turns out that there was some goddamn kid who was added to the show right at the end of the run, the way shows will do when they're running out of steam. Same thing they did on The Cosby Show after Rudy got old and ugly and on Growing Pains when little Ben got old and ugly. Nothing ruins cherubic adorability like some puberty. It's a short step from sassy precociousness to a throbbing, angular, transluscent horror-show virtually indistinguishable from Spock when he was on the Genesis planet. You remember.

So a show either has to add a new cute kid and/or Ted McGinley. As far as I know, only Happy Days and Married... with Children ever attempted both. The resulting 1980s Ethiopian famine should be enough to dissuade others from trying.

The reality is: someone I never heard of got arrested for some sadly unremarkable act of predictable despicability. I guess I could say that I learned the lesson that dousing your significant other in alcohol while they sleep and then applying a "choke hold" to them subsequently are bad things to do, but you know what, I kind of had an inkling already.

I am surprised to find out that this kid is, in fact, NOT Marilyn Manson. There were no accusations of blood-drinking, put-on androgyny or contact-lens mishaps in this story. So Bonsall is clear. That means I'm back to square one trying to figure out if he's Paul from Wonder Years, Wesley from Mr. Belvedere or my own personal dark-horse, Soleil Moon Frye.

Tell me I'm wrong:

A skosh more lipstick, maybe a little heavier with the pancake, punch her in the eye once to get that Petey from The Little Rascals look... Yes? No? Just me?

OK, not even me. I should be more careful. This is how internet rumors get started. But only if you readers tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.7




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