Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Sunday, October 31, 2004
I'm going nuts here. I really am. I just wrote this long, unfunny shpiel about the loss of civility between Republicans and Democrats this election that was as sad and humorless as Carrot Top. Here's why:
I went to Democratic Headquarters on 44th today to buy a new anti-Bush button. I chose the simple design with "Bush" in a circle with a line through it. Fairly straightforward, right? I then had fucking idiots all over Manhattan giving me shit because they lacked the synaptic dexterity to compute the fact that it was, in point of fact, saying I don't want Bush to win.
This pissed me off on so many levels. First off, I just spent three bucks on this damn thing and you steaming piles of monkey dung can't even tell which side it puts me on? And then, you know what? Even if it was pro-Bush, in what way does that give anyone the right to hassle me on the street? Did I attempt to solicit money for Bush? Did I get in people's faces and demand they support Bush? Did I dress my penis in a Bush outfit and put on a puppet show on 5th Avenue? No. I simply wore a button. And it wasn't even fucking pro-Bush!
The country needs to take a goddamn vicodin and chill out.
I fully admit the ridiculousness of me saying that people are going too far when I wrote just last week that Bush would burn books and send homosexuals to internment camps. (Those are both in the Republican platform, by the way.) I've realized this weekend, though, that this election is not going to be over Tuesday night. Whoever loses is going to drag the other side into court in Ohio and Florida and wherever election fuck-ups happen and, no matter the outcome, we're going to be as bitter and divided as David Lee Roth and the rest of Van Halen. Just with a little less hairspray.
I'm not saying we have to agree with each other or even like each other all that much. God knows I'm not going to invite John Ashcroft over for tea--although it would be really funny to piss in his cup when he wasn't looking. No, no, forget I said that, that's uncivil. The point is that we're going to have to live with each other after this no matter what happens. We don't have to join hands and sing "Michael Row the Boat Ashore", but it would be nice if each side didn't have to act like the other side were retarded lepers.
I was watching Bill Maher's show on HBO last night and growing disgusted with his studio audience, who applauded and hissed like trained seals trying to earn a fish. Kevin Costner was on--and let me just say I'm not a fan--alongside Wesley Clark and Richard Belzer. Clark was, of course, sticking to Kerry's talking points in the hopes of being made Secretary of Handsomeness in the new cabinet. Belzer was positioning himself so firmly on the left that he'd built a house there and raised a family. Normally, Maher would have a token Republican like Dennis Miller, who could be counted on to espouse the right-wing point of view and jerk himself off over his own cleverness as he makes references that only he and three other people in the world get. Instead, there was poor Kevin Costner, who actually had a slightly nuanced point of view. Instead of choosing shirts or skins and trying to run up the score on the other side, Costner was on different sides of different issues. And the audience was booing him when he said anything they regarded as not anti-Bush/pro-Kerry. I'm not saying I agreed with him on everything, especially his dippy goatee, but I had to admire him for not towing one party's line.
Of course, then Ann Coulter came on and spewed forth her lies and venom like the she-wolf from hell that she is. Man, wouldn't you just love to toss a bag of dogshit in her face? I wish I--oh, wait. I'm singing the praises of civility, aren't I? Okay, well, I guess that I...respect Ann Coulter's perogative to see things how she does and, uh, I concede that her views don't make her an evil person. She has a right to exist and to express her opinions.
Oh, who am I kidding? If I had the chance, I'd rub her with steak and drop her in a piranha tank. Filled with Democratic piranhas. But I'd be polite as I did it.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
The Ghost of Headlines to Come
As The Day draws nearer, I'm trying to find more and more ways of dealing with the anxiety of waiting. I'm steeling myself for the distinct possibility of another month-long wait for recounts and court decisions, 'cause you know both sides are going to cry foul if it's close. And it'll be close. I've decided not to hide from the fear in excessive masturbation or reality television, but rather to face it head on by imagining what the country might be like at the end of another Bush Administration. Rather than keep all that in my head, though, I figured I'd share. So here's some headlines from autumn 2008, in a world where Bush wins the election. If that actually happens, and I haven't killed myself, we can all take a look back and see how many of these came true. Won't that be fun? No, you're right, it would suck.
"Cheney Calls Halloween Book Burning 'Best Attended Ever'"
"Constitutional Amendment Banning Constitution Sails Through House"
"Three Men Shot Resisting Move to 'Fag Relocation Camp'"
"Two Years Later, Does Anyone Miss the NEA?"
"Abstinence Only Sex-Ed a Smashing Success, Says Bush"
"Percentage of Pregnant Teens with Genital Warts Reaches 50%"
"Last Non-Reality Television Show Canceled
According to Jim Had Long, Successful Run"
"Canada and Mexico Added to 'Hostile Nations' List"
"Kenneth Cole Rolls Out New 2009 Burka Line"
"CNN/USA Today Poll Finds 8 in 10 Americans Stay Drunk Most of the Time"
"Janeane Garafalo and Bruce Springsteen Execution Day Draws Near"
"Yankees Win World Series"
"Christ Returns; Tells World That Bush is 'Seriously Fucked Up'"
Sounds like a fun, fun world, no?
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Hairshirt Horoscope (Now Every Wednesday)
Aries: People love your bright, sunny smile. Maybe not so much when you've got a lip full of cold sores. Or when you're drooling. Then there's the times you've got lipstick on your teeth. Actually, you should probably wear a mask of some sort.
Taurus: You're feeling on top of the world. You're suddenly possessed of an energy you never realized you could feel. Yeah, cocaine'll do that for you.
Gemini: For some reason, you can't get Let's Hear it for the Boy out of your head. Maddening, isn't it? Damn you Deniece Williams!
Cancer: You're about to lose the presidential election. Try not to cry, it's only the nation telling you how much they hate you.
Leo: That guy you keep seeing on the corner is not the ghost of Frank Sinatra, come to wreak his vengeance upon you. It's just a homeless guy looking for recyclables. Frank Sinatra's ghost is in your medicine cabinet, behind the Midol.
Virgo: Virgin, my ass.
Libra: Try not to be so stupid today. If you're approached by any "wallet inspectors" on the subway, make sure you ask to see their badge before handing anything over.
Scorpio: Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Slowly stir in the egg mixture until everything is just moist. Drop by spoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are a golden brown.
Sagittarius: You really should have thought this whole sex-change thing through a little more thoroughly before the operation. Once it's off, chief, it's off.
Capricorn: Speak not to me of your puny "God." I am Zargo the all-powerful. You should kneel. Kneel before the might of Zargo and be glad I suffer you to live, fool! Now get out of my sight. Begone!
Aquarius: The phone brings you fantastic news today! Unfortunately, it's a wrong number and the news is for someone else. Still, it's nice to know there's good news out there, huh?
Pisces: For the hundredth time, no, Charlize Theron is not going to fall in love with you. The stars are really goddamn sick of that question so stop fucking asking it.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I don't know about you, but I'm going nuts here. One week to go, the absentee ballots are coming in, the polls are showing a dead heat, the celebrities are pulling out all stops on both sides, getting out there to stump for their candidate. You got Springsteen, Bon Jovi, P. Diddy, both Clintons, Michael J. Fox for Kerry. And for Bush, they have...uh...isn't that one dipshit from the View a Republican? The whole country feels like it's desperately waiting for the laxatives to kick in.
I'm trying to get my mind off of things. At first, I figured maybe drinking myself into a stupor for a week might be a good idea, but the tight-asses who run the New York City Department of Education have these idiotic fucking "rules" about showing up to work drunk. Lemme tell you: the kids don't mind. You come into class drunk, it helps humanize you in their eyes. They think, "Hey! Mr. Wack is just like Dad! Hope he doesn't steal Mom's vacation fund." I like to think that a little vomit in class isn't an embarrassment, but rather an opportunity. It's like Instant Science Lab.
"Who can tell what Mr. Wack had for breakfast? Yes, Oscar?"
"Eggs and Demerol?"
So if booze isn't the answer, what is? I'd distract myself with exciting television, but I have just enough brain cells left that I can't make it through an average evening of network TV without putting a boot through the screen. I caught a little of Entertainment Tonight this evening and was absolutely appalled not only by the fact that Mary Hart is still alive and speaking on camera for a living, but that she seems to have been given a thousand milligrams of speed. The show would appear to be going for the younger, hipper, attention-spanally challenged audience with in-depth stories that last three seconds. I grant you, this is the same amount of content they used to pack into a four minute piece, but I get a little dizzy when Mary's moving in hyperspace like that.
And I won't get started on reality shows, except for one little gripe about the fact that they feel they have to do a recap after every fucking commercial break. Does their audience suffer from some nightmarish short-term amnesia wherein they have to be constantly reminded of things that happened four minutes ago? TNT's doing the same goddamn thing with their non-stop fucking Law & Order reruns. Mid-way through the show, they pause to go through "The Investigation So Far," which shows us a highlight reel from the first half of the show, in case any of us just got our heads unstuck after thirty harrowing minutes trapped in a crockpot. I haven't looked too closely, but I suppose it's possible they just show the exact same "Investigation So Far" every night. I know I wouldn't be able to tell the goddamn difference.
It's clear, then, that television is not the answer here, but rather part of the problem. You might, of course, be saying, "Joe, why not try meditation? Assume the lotus position and concentrate on Ohm for a good six days, emerging refreshed and ready to cast your ballot." To which I would reply that I used to attempt meditation and was a horrible failure. I invariably--but subconsciously--turned the Ohm into "Ooma mow mow papa oo mow mow," which did very little to relax me.
All of which leads me to the conclusion that I should shut off all electronic media and just find a good book to read. Maybe something by Sean Hannity. Bill O'Reilly? Ann Coulter? One of Newt Gingrich's exciting "alternate history" novels? Perhaps some Dr. Seuss instead.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Straight from the Horse's Ass
George W. Bush spoke on Good Morning America this morning to his old pal Charlie Gibson. You may remember the congenial way the president yelled at Charlie during the debate he moderated. It was the second one, the one where he only looked smug, stupid and evasive, not marrow-chillingly incompetent. Anyway, one of the many wonderful things he told Charlie this morning was that he's unveiling this week a brand new stump speech. Apparently, either people are getting sick and fucking tired of his old one or it's getting harder and harder for him to sling his ridiculous bullshit with a straight face. Whatever the reason, Hairshirt has obtained a copy of the Bush's new speech and we now present it to you, unedited.
"Thank yew! Thank yew [sic]! Mah thanks to the guv'nor and to all the fine people at Friendly Earth Petrochemicals and Waffles for their hospitality. It's funny. I've known Friendly Earth's C.E.O., Cubby Dawson, since we were kids. We served in the same unit in the mighty Texas Air National Guard. Cubby, do you remember the time we were drinking champagne out of the hooker's diaphragm and--oh, right. Folks, sometimes I have to stop myself and tell myself to get back on track. It may look like somebody's telling me what to say from some control room somewhere, but it's really just me trying to get myself back on track. Unlike some Ivy League types on the democratic ticket, I don't have those fancy debate skills like coherency. I'm just a reg'lar guy like y'all.
"Anyway, I wanted to welcome everybody in this handpicked and loyalty-oath-signin' crowd. I've had some problems once or twice since we been on the road here where we've had some what you might wanna call unfriendly folks in the crowd, so we like to root 'em out early here. So allow me to say, you're all a bunch of horse-fucking dipshit retards!"
[Cheers from crowd.]
"Good. You all seem properly friendly. So now, my opponent's been talking all day about some missing nucular material over there in Iraq. He wants you to believe that there's some kind of non-braininess goin' on in my adnimistration that caused all that stuff to go missing. That's just fucking stupid. He wants you to be scared. My friends, you don't got to be afraid of anything, because we're showing the terrorists how resolved we are. I'm'a go on Fox News tomorrow night and jest stare at the camera for twenty minutes, just sort of stare all them sumbitches down. They'll see my resolve. So while Senator Kerry plays the Politics of Fear, I'll be playing the Politics of Bein' a Righteous, Firm Strong-Standing Guy.
"Now, if my opponent should happen to win, which is just what the terrorists want, by the way, so you'd be helping the terrorists if you vote for him, anyway, if my opponent should happen to win, Dick Cheney feels pretty certain that the terrorists will blow up Pittsburgh. You'll notice it ain't me that 's sayin' it, it's Dick Cheney, don't go layin' that on me. So don't give in to the Politics of Fear.
"Also today, you may've heard that one of them judgey guys has cancer. You know what that means, right? It means I'm'a get to name me a Supreme Court guy. Now, don't you worry. I'm gonna look at as many of them coloreds and Messicans as I can and if we c'n find one that don't like fags and abortions, we're going to get him on that bench. 'Cause I don't think activist judges should tell you who you can and can't deny rights to. And the liberal media will trot out example after example of men gays and women gays who've been together for twenty-plus years and tell you that they deserve the same rights as real couples. All I got to say to that is that God says he don't like faggots and so if they're allowed to get married, God will call his mighty arm down and destroy us. So resist my opponent's Politics of Fear and put me back in the White House.
"One last thing. People been asking me how we're going to follow up on the war in Iraq. There's all kinds of people sayin' this sort of pre-emptive unilateral war is going to lead to invasions of all other sorts of random places. Folks, there ain't nothing random about it. I've been thinking day and night (or at least until I get a headache from all that thinking) about this problem and I've made a decision. It's hard work making decisions. It's also hard work spelling unilateral, but we'll keep that on the QT. Anyways, here's the plan: I'm going to open this decision up to the American public, the greatest public in the world. I want you to write down on a 3' x 5' index card what country you think we should invade next and why. We'll select the best answer and that's where we'll be heading next. So send your entries to "Where We Going, Mr. President?" c/o 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C., 00982. Winning entry gets the complete Boxed set of Pat Boone's Greatest Recordings. Good luck, America. And God Bless the United States of...what's that again?...oh, shit, right, America.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Keep Them Writers Writin' Rawhide!
I took a teaching job, in part, because I thought it'd be good to have summers off. I figured I could have all that concentrated time to write. I could write stand-up and screenplays and sketch shows and any other type of writing that starts with an S. It would be like I was a professional writer. I'd be getting a paycheck and writing full-time. The summer didn't quite live up to my expectations. In my plan, I would have time and energy to finish at least two screenplays, maybe a spec script (also starting with S, thank you) and complete a sketch show. In reality, I got not quite that far. I had two graduate classes this summer which, while only taking place once a week each, ate up a decent chunk of my time with reading and papers and such. Then we went to Europe. Now, let me make clear, I'm not bitching about our trip. I wouldn't trade it for anything (except maybe a couple million dollars, which would allow me to quit my job and...nevermind. Let's just leave it that I wouldn't trade it for anything.) It did, though, eat up the entire last month of my summer and meant that I got to do basically zero writing in August.
Now, though, I'm trying to get back into a disciplined writing routine. I'm trying to make sure I do at least some writing every day. I taped a list of the things I'm supposed to be working on onto my computer. I'm exceptionally poor right now, which means, at least in theory, I should be able to take all the time I might otherwise have spent going out or taking trips to other cool East Coast cities or watching movies and channel all of that into my writing. Couple problems, though.
My biggest problem is that I'm a lazy, undisciplined fuck. We have this thing called the internet. I like to use it. I will sit down to write and then decide to check my e-mail really quickly. This leads, of course, to a quick session of surfing all of the sites I visit every single day. Or it leads to me playing "one quick game" of euchre on Yahoo games, which truly should win the Pulitzer Prize for Timesucking.
The other problem also has to do with my being lazy and undisciplined. I've got about ten screenplay ideas, all of which are on low simmer in the back of my head. I'll work on something, get it to a certain point, then smack into a wall. I'll have two thirds of a script done, then lose interest. I'll sit down to write the next scene ten times, always ending up hating what I've written and erasing it. I'll suddenly get an idea for a new piece and be unable to get that one out of my head long enough to wrap up the one I'm almost finished with. I have very little control over my mind. (A good example of this just occurred: I mistyped "very" and my brain went off on a tangent for a good three minutes about how that annoying cartoon character/piece of merchandised crap Strawberry Shortcake used to say shit like, "I love you berry much," substituting berry for very in every sentence. Worse than the fucking Smurfs and their bizarre "Oh my Smurf! I've got to take a huge Smurf!" patois.)
So what movies are fighting for space in my leaky cauldron of a brain? Here's the short list. (And these have all been registered already with the Writers Guild as well as having their own IMDB entries.)
I'm working on a script about two robots who fall in love, immediately after which they are both rendered obsolete by a new style of android. They are melted down and parts of both of them are used in a new robot, who then, because a large part of it is in love with another part, masturbates constantly. I've got two working titles: We, Robot or Herbie the Wankmachine, both of which I think could be used to great effect.
I also have a rough draft started for a politically-charged thriller about this anarchistic prankster--who I see being played by either Angels in America's Geoffrey Wright or Punk'd's Ashton Kutcher--who wages a war against the government. I see him egging congress, maybe putting a flaming bag of dog poo on the front porch of the White House. Then the administration lets him out of jail to help fight an Iraqi practical joker who's come to town. It's whoopie cushion versus fake vomit, with the fate of the free world at stake.
There's one that I see as an old-style hand-drawn cartoon in which a young boy and his dog get lost in a magical corn bread. They have to eat their way out and also help the tiny race of corn nugget-people who live in the bread. They're being chased by this Jabba-esque bowl of chili who wants the cornbread all to himself.
I like documentaries a lot. I have ever since seeing Brother's Keeper in'93. The documentary I'd like to see would follow a ragtag group of nail technicians as they struggle to open and maintain their nail salon on the mean streets of Bangor, Maine. I'm thinking of calling it Tooth and Nail. Or maybe Nailsafe. Or something along those lines.
I've always been a fan of the comics, so it's a natural that I would dream about adapting one for the big screen. Toward that end, I've been in touch with the creators of Mary Worth. I think a three-hour flick about an old woman giving advice has Crowd-Pleasing Oscar Bait written all over it. I'm picturing Angela Lansbury or Beyonce Knowles for Mary, with a special guest appearance by Aidan Quinn as Ennui.
Biopics are always big business, which is why I've been working on a movie about George W. Bush, to be cast entirely with monkeys in diapers. They will make the Iraqi invasion scenes so cute!
The one I'm most excited about, though, is the story of twin brothers who share a psychic link. One of them goes to clown college and the other one joins the FBI. Then, the brother in the FBI turns up missing and his bosses have to bring in the clown brother so he can use their psychic link to track the FBI brother down. I can picture the climactic scene in my head: the clown brother breaks into the villain's hide-out and uses a seltzer bottle and a rubber chicken to fend off an army of ninjas.
My question, then, is which one of these is the most compelling? Which one of these will be my calling card to the major studios. I'm not getting any younger. If I want to be the one writing movies for Jimmy Fallon, I need to get cracking. So I should go get to work right now. Right after I play one quick game of hearts.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
So Halloween is coming up and I'm scrambling, like I do every year, to come up with a really killer costume idea. I know that so many people are going to dress like Napoleon Dynamite or the hilarious "Can you hear me now?" guy from the Verizon commercials--God, that just never gets old--and I just want something truly original. I've narrowed it down to a handful of choices and I thought I'd run it by you.
I don't know if any of these will make the final cut. But whatever costume I end up in, I'm sure that it'll be half assed. That's just how I tend to do things.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Aries: If it looks like a duck, moves like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. But just because it looks like a female prostitute, walks like a female prostitute and has the same rates as a female prostitute, it may not be a chick. Just something to keep in mind as you organize your social calendar this week.
Taurus: When you were ten, putting on the cape and tights and running around saying you were Superman was cute. At age 42, it's very, very worrisome.
Gemini: You are bothered in the coming days by the nagging suspicion that you may have left an internal organ at a friend's house.
Cancer: Your husband is not cheating on you with that whore, Stacey, who lives down the block. He is not screwing her on your bed when you're still at work on Tuesday afternoons. He is most definitely not having her wear that lingerie he bought you last year that you don't like but that he's always trying to get you to wear. So rest easy. And don't come home unexpectedly on Tuesdays.
Leo: You should seek comfort this month in that old saying, "Money isn't everything." Also that old phrase, "They might someday find a cure for Herpes."
Virgo: Childless couples will find that this is a great week to conceive! Congratulations! Couples who don't want to have children will find that this is a lousy week for dependable condoms. Congratulations!
Libra: Try something new and exciting this week. Just don't be surprised if you throw it up twenty minutes later.
Scorpio: The mail brings you unexpected and wonderful news. Giant Eagle has a special on Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk, three for $2.00! You lucky son of a bitch!
Sagittarius: Today might be a good day for you to just kind of lay low and not go anywhere or do anything. In fact, just reading this is probably not advisable. Just sort of lay in bed and pray.
Capricorn: Love. Exciting and new. Come aboard, we're expecting you. And love, life's sweetest reward, let it float, it floats back to you. The Love Boat, soon we'll be making another run. The Love Boat promises something for everyone. Set a course for adventure, your mind on a new romance. And love, won't hurt anymore. It's an open smile on a friendly shore. It's love. Welcome aboard, it's love.
Aquarius: Oh man, you are just so fucked. I, oh man, I can't even, oooh. It's, wow, it's just really bad. Dude.
Pisces: You've got something in your teeth. No, you just moved it. Right there at the gum line. Nope, still there. Oh, just get a fucking mirror.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Def Political Slamma Jamma
With two weeks to go until the election, I thought, "What better way to celebrate our electoral process than through the magic of poetry?" So, I put out the call to poets from around the country to see if they could coalesce their feelings about George Bush, John Kerry and the whole thing into verse. Here then, are the winners of the First Annual Hairshirt FestPo.
Allanna Elwes, Grand Rapids, MI
"O Mighty Bush, Thou Art Wondrous"
Bush, thou art so powerful
And thine wisdom is so true
Protect us from the evildoers
And from the lib'rals too.
Thine fiscal policies do impress
You've might'ly cut our tax
You've done this with Christ as your guide
An undeniable fact
You've shored our borders up so they
Are far more better guarded
At least that's what they tell me, cause
I'm mentally retarded
Rock Da Vote, Yo
Rock it, Rock the Vote
Rock it, Rock the Vote
Take that vote and rock it
Motherfuckin' clock it
Vote, vote, rock
Rock, rock, vote
Look at me!
Hey, look at me, guys!
"A Patriot's Prayer"
Skyward, I look. Inward
To my God and my Heart
I turn and
The question burns through
brain and my soul
How the fuck could anyone
vote for the mental midget
Lo, I am gazing into the abyss.
Berlin Center, OH
"The Song of Kerry"
Come gather 'round ye children and make still your noises merry.
'Tis time to hear the tale of that most wondrous man, John Kerry.
For twenty years, this senator has toiled on the hill
He's done his best to legislate and draft both act and bill.
He proudly served as altar boy inside a Catholic church
And served in Vietnam, did he, this man who looks like Lurch.
When he returned from Asia he had turned from Hawk to Dove
And up the ass of Nixon he did bid his medals shoved.
We've watched him now in three debates; it's been a sort of tonic
To listen to a candidate who doesn't sound moronic.
The first one he won handily, there's nobody denying.
He kicked some ass both up and down til Bush was nearly crying.
The second time? Not quite as great; he scored no knockout punch.
He held his own as Bush's smirk did make us lose our lunch.
His time in conflict number three was not as wisely spent.
And what the fuck was up with that dumb lesbian comment?
Despite his flaws, his boring voice, his stiffness on the stump,
We have within our hearts a certain fondness for this shlump.
And so November second, I will go and cast my vote.
'Cause if Bush is re-elected, I will slit my fucking throat.
Truly a group of talented, beautiful poets. All of our "winners" will receive a free can of Alaska King Salmon and a scented candle from "Lights-n-Smells", the Cloyingest Store in the Mall. Additionally, our first place poet will be invited to address the 2005 graduating class at Mercy College. "Mercy College: Striving to Suck Less."
Two weeks left, people. Vote, vote, vote, goddammit!
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Rules Is Rules
I use my computer a lot. I spend a lot of time on-line, I do a lot of writing, I play a lot of lame-ass, came-with-the-computer Microsoft Office games. But I don't really know all that much about computers. I do what I have to do and let the tiny elves whose magic makes everything happen do their work without much inquiry. I assume my computer has bells and whistles, but I generally turn a deaf ear to them. For all I know, my computer could have a setting on which it walks the dogs, fixes dinner and changes my underwear, but I've never looked deep enough in it to find out. I'm one of those people to whom arrogant I.T. assholes feel justifiably superior.
Today, I'm looking around at the truly awe-inspiring amount of spam (gushing-teenage-whore-related and otherwise) that I receive on a daily basis and wishing there was something I could do aside from changing my e-mail address. I like my e-mail address. I've had it for years and, for the same reason I inexplicably feel sorry for paper bags that get run over repeatedly on the freeway, I'm kind of fond of it. So I'm feeling my way around Microsoft Outlook and I notice a thing about "rules." I'm expecting some sort of "Leaves of three, let it be" kind of stuff. Turns out, I can set up my e-mail to automatically delete e-mails with certain words in the subject heading; I can automatically forward e-mail from certain people; I can automatically reply to every e-mail with a hearty "Fuck Bush." All of this at my discretion. I set the rules.
I thought, then, that it might be a good idea to inform everybody of the rules to which any correspondence you send me will be expected to adhere.
In these ways, I hope to make my on-line experience much more pleasant.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Just the Good Ol' Boys
So I watched the final debate last night. I'll be honest, I've had enough debating to last me through Easter at this point and there were one or two times when I retired to the other room for a little Microsoft Hearts TM. But I did watch the great majority of it. It was either that or watch the fershluggener Yankees beat the living shit out of Pedro Martinez, the very thought of which makes me ill.
I'll give this much to Bush, last night was his least moronic outing in this debate season. I would go so far as to say he almost pulled off the whole "not retarded" thing. Almost.
He was a little less angry this time. A little less like he wanted to whip out his dick and use it to smack anybody who disagreed with him in their face. Take a moment to picture that. I'll wait.
Anyway, this time, he was in his cute lil' playful frat boy mode. He told "joke" after "joke" and then laughed at how "funny" he was. The man has the dumbest goddamn laugh this side of Roscoe P. Coltrane from The Dukes of Hazard. Say, there's an idea. For the big-screen version with Sean William Scott and Jessica Simpson, they oughtta sign up ol' George to play the dipshit sheriff. Can't you see him stomping around with cowshit on his shoes lamenting, "Oh, them Dukes, them Dukes." I gotta say, Bin Laden's been about as effective at thwarting Bush as Bo and Luke were at puttin' one over on ol' Boss Hogg.
Bush kept on coming back and coming back to his No Child Left Behind policies. He was bragging about them. When they asked him what he thought could be done about manufacturing jobs disappearing, he steered the subject to No Child Left Behind. When asked an economic question, he brought it back to No Child Left Behind. Folks, No Child Left Behind is a miserable goddamn failure.
I'm a teacher. I don't really want to be, but I am, so I have seen what his policies are doing. First off, remember that this is the man who was all for vouchers in 2000, which lets you know right away that he doesn't give a fuck about public education. Secondly, if you were unaware, you need to know that, even if he had found a million gallons of pixie dust that would make everything in public education function like clockwork--which he hasn't--he has not gotten the funding for 1/100,000 of those pixie particles to be distributed to the kids.
What he has done is to forced standardized tests down the throats of schools all across the country. He hasn't put any steak sauce on it to entice us to eat it, he hasn't given us a nice pint of beer to wash it down. He has made sure that schools are so freaked out about standardized test scores that they spend a huge chunk of their time teaching test-taking skills instead of teaching the subject matter. Standardized tests, at their best, don't accurately measure what someone has learned. People do not all think alike. There are students who just don't do well on these tests, for whatever reason; they get nervous and freaked out; the bubble sheets for their answers confuse them; they take too long in the beginning and then have to cut corners to even finish. A kid who gets solid grades in their school work can fail one of these even when their teacher knows that they know the material.
I had two students in my class last year who worked very hard. They were not the number one and two students in my class, mind you, but they were definitely in the top ten. For whatever reason, they didn't do well on the standardized tests and they had to go to summer school, along with the worst student in my class. This is not fair.
Beyond that, beyond holding schools financially accountable for how well their students score on standardized tests, Bush, or, as I'll be referring to him for the rest of this post, Fucko Bazoo, has done squat for schools. I suppose there may be schools in districts with incredibly high tax bases who are very much fine, thank you, with what Bush has done. Not in the Bronx, though.
So the fact that he kept bringing it up last night didn't exactly sit well with me. Nor did his smirking, nor did his distortions of Kerry's Senate votes, nor did his use, almost verbatim of the Drug Companies' stated reasoning about importing cheaper drugs from Canada. Two weeks ago, in Newsweek, I saw an ad put out by, I think, Glaxo-Kline-Smith. It might have been another one of those huge evil fuckers, but you get the drift. They were saying that drugs that come from Canada are unsafe because they might actually be from some third world hellhole that makes 90% of its gross national product by exporting shoddy pharmaceuticals. Y'see, that's why drug companies don't want cheaper alternatives to their disgustingly overpriced products. Because they care about us. Doesn't that just warm the cockles of your fucking heart? And Bush has used this exact shpiel! You see? Not only do his campaign staff feed him words to say, so do huge corporations.
Once again, I've written something not all that funny. Mostly, I guess, because right now, Bush isn't making me laugh. He's making me want to puke. I pray to fucking God we can serve our country some Syrup of Ippicac next month and vomit George W. right the fuck out of the White House.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Radio Free Bush
There have been a lot of scurrilous rumors flying around the internet--and, subsequently, the mainstream press--over the last few days about a supposed "bulge" on President Bush's back during the first debate nearly two weeks ago. Bush-bashing liberals would have you believe that the President is incapable of stringing together a coherent sentence, and so gets lines whispered into his ear via a tiny receiver that gets a signal from this "electronic box" on his back. These same bleeding-heart lefties want you to believe that this system of prompts explains any number of things, from the President's noticeable slouch in that first debate (they say he slouched in an attempt to hide the bulge) to the fact that he has had, for years during press conferences, a tendency to stammer out "uhs" and "ers" for up to a good thirty seconds before suddenly bringing forth a line that might pass for eloquence if it wasn't for the ridiculous accent. These pinko commies have no shame. And don't even get me started on how they're trying to plant doubts about the intelligence of our Commander-in-Chief in the middle of a goddamn war! Don't even!
There are, thank you very much, Mr. Liberal, a myriad of possible explanations for why that bulge was there, one of which, I'm certain, will be forthcoming from the White House staff any minute now.
Any one of these are perfectly plausible explanations which the Kerry-blowing press doesn't want you to think about. No, they prefer to spread vicious lies. Well, I'll take the candidate who's never lied, thank you very much. The candidate who may be a recovering coke-head moron bible-thumper, but who always lets you know exactly where he stands. Even if somebody occasionally has to tell him where that is through a small wireless receiver deep in his ear.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Who's the Beige Private Dick Who's a Sex Machine with All the Chicks?
Jose sat behind his desk, looking at the day's race card. Like almost every other P.I. he knew, the man had a weakness for the ponies. Not just the really pretty ones with the spots, either. He took a drag off his Chesterfield and blew the smoke out in Morse code. That's just the kind of guy he was.
A fifteen year old in the third with the catchy name of "Fuckin' Old Pony" caught his eye. They were giving him three thousand to one. Jose liked those odds. His standard two-bits bet would yield him a cool two grand. Or something like that. Math was never Jose's strong suit, so go to hell. He circled the pony and reached for the phone, dialing a series of numbers that he figured would connect him to his bookie. They did.
"Hey, Mom," he rasped into the phone. (He was a little phlegmy.)
"What the hell do you want?" the lady returned. Jose sighed inwardly. It was his favorite way to sigh. His mother'd been a little difficult to deal with since he helped the cops bust her last year. Money was money, though, and she loved the stuff, so he was pretty sure she wouldn't turn him down.
"I wanna put fifty cents on Fuckin' Old Pony in the third. Will you do that for me?" He tipped the last of the morning's bourbon down his throat, wishing he had a cleaner mug to drink it out of. He almost spit it back out when he heard his mother's reply.
"Get bent. You still owe me a sawbuck from last week." The old lady was playing hardball. And Jose only had a softball mitt.
"Listen, Mom. I'm good for it. I've got a number of irons in the fire right now and I'm pretty sure one of them will get hot enough to do whatever you're supposed to do with hot irons." He said it with his suavest voice, which sounded like pure velvet stapled onto a really soft pillow. No woman could resist it, unless they were gay. His mom was bi, so he figured he could pull it off.
"All right, all right," she relented. "But if you don't get me what you owe me by next week, I'm sending your sister over to break your fuckin' legs." With that, she slammed down the phone.
Jose poured himself some eggnog and turned his attention to his gun, which he'd dropped in the toilet last night after he'd come home a little drunk. He wiped the vomit off of it and began cleaning the spinny part where the bullets go. He used his finest Q-tips.
That's when she came in. Jose didn't know who she was, but he could see that she was built for speed.
"Mr. Amador? I'm Louise Argle." This dame was tall and willowy, like the tree, only without all those leaves that make annoying noise in the slightest goddamn breeze. She slid her fur to the ground, which Jose should have told her not to do, because there was some gum on the floor just there. Her dress clung to her like a drowning man clings to his booze, highlighting her curves and a half-intriguing, half-disturbing lump on her hip that might have been a pair of panties that got stuck in there in the dryer or might have been a goiter. It didn't ruin her beauty, though. Only something like an open wound or finding out she had a penis would have done that.
Jose put down the gun. "What can I do for you, Miss Argle?"
"Actually, it's Mrs." She drooled a bit on her chin.
Jose gestured for her to sit down. "Mrs., then. If you're here in my office, you've got some sort of trouble. The kind only I can solve. So what say we cut to the chase, lady. Let's cut right to it. Just hack away everything else except the chase. I'm saying we should take a pair of scissors or a scalpel, maybe, and remove everything that's not the chase, then what we'll have left will be pure chase. And that's the only kind of chase I like outside of the lounge kind."
"Fine, Mr. Amador. I don't like to waste time, either. My husband is cheating on me."
"Not with me, if that's what you're thinking." Jose wasn't about to be branded a hussy.
"No, Mr. Amador. He's cheating with a singer at his club. They meet in the afternoons at a clown college near our apartment. I began to suspect something last week when I noticed he was wearing another woman's panties, so I, I followed him. I saw them. I saw them together. It was horrible."
Jose knocked back the last of his nog. "What do you want me to do, Mrs. Argle?"
She fixed Jose with a look he'd only seen from wolves in the zoo and from Martin Landau. This dame appeared to have ice cubes floating through her blood stream. Really tiny ones that wouldn't damage the arterial walls.
"I want you to kill him."
Happy Birthday, Beigey!
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Wife Appreciation Day
This will not be funny. This will not contain any even marginal insight into the goings on of the greater part of the world. This might even make a few people nauseous. You do not have to read it. You've been warned.
I love my wife. I think she is lovely, smart, friendly, loyal, stubborn and funny. She is a wonderful poet. She makes my favorite cookies in the world. She is one of the best photographers I have ever seen, capturing fantastic moments and bringing forth personalities without any ostentation or broadcasting, "Hey this is art! Did you notice that this is art?" She has a huge heart.
My wife taught me to ski, to drive a stick-shift, to ride a bicycle, to eat with chopsticks, to enjoy travel, to overcome my neuroses and to stand a little better on my own. She constantly pushes me to do more than I think I can. I would not be half of the man I am without her.
She moved all the way across the country, leaving her family and friends behind, to put herself through three years of school that I wouldn't have been able to take for one. She had the discipline to stay in studying night after night. In New York City! One of the most exciting places on the planet and she's barricading herself indoors with goddamn law books.
She did this for the same reason I'm teaching. She did it to make our lives better. To give us a bit more financial security, now that we're no longer in our twenties, when it was okay to have bookshelves made of bricks and boards and to eat frigging raman noodles. This was not an easy thing. I am so filled with admiration for her.
I am writing this because it's something I don't say often enough.
Tomorrow, I will go back to the fart jokes and the non-stop cursing. Thank you.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Round Goddamn Two
A petulant, whiny frat boy. A sixth-grade rich kid who believes he won the spelling bee despite having misspelled "the" because his mom bought him a nicer suit than the scholarship student who spelled "tachycardia." The kindergartner who thinks he can convince you that you broke Aunt Gertie's lamp if he believes it hard enough himself. This is the person who some people are actually trying to argue won the debate last night.
(Allow me to take just a moment here to express a bit of self-knowledge. I am such a geek that I dragged my wife home from an evening in New York City, a lovely autumn evening which we could have spent doing any one of a million fun, fantastic things, to watch fucking Bush and Kerry on TV. Back to bitching about Bush.)
I will concede a few points. His handlers made sure he kept his mind on his facial expressions. He had significantly fewer ten second blank drooling stares. He didn't look quite as actively stupid during some of last night's debate as he did for the entirety of the first one.
Not that he looked smart. He trotted out the same fucking "You can run, but you can't hide" wannabe sound bite that he used about the fucking terrorists. Is Karl Rove actually attempting to subliminally equate John Kerry with Al-Qaida in the voters' minds? That's so fucking retarded. Then there were the bald face lies about everything from his administration's record on the environment to the reasons behind the invasion of Iraq to his heroism in giving Science a handful of old shitty stem cell lines while simultaneously tossing the collective salad of the religious right.
Mostly, though, what got to me was the arrogance. My fucking god, this is the most arrogant man to ever exist outside of cautionary tales primitive people used to make up to teach people not to be arrogant. If Bush was a character in myth, he would definitely be having his wax wings melt or falling in love with his own reflection or having his hair turn to snakes.
Did you see the miserable prick? How he practically screamed at the audience when they deigned to question his judgment in going after Saddam Hussein? His self-loving smirk when he was trying to get off a charming laugh line? His twenty-per-second blinking when Kerry got him really mad? This is the kind of fuckbag who would rape a passed-out girl at a frat party, then flick cigarette butts at her as she was trying to leave the next morning. This is the best example you will ever see of someone whose parents should have, at least one goddamn time while they were raising him, said "No."
I mean, for the love of weeping Jesus, the man refused to admit that he has made one single goddamn mistake since he was "elected." That he wouldn't name the three that the lady asked for, I can understand. I might not be able to come up with three things I was willing to eat a little crow for on national and international television myself. But not one? To instead say that some of the people you'd appointed weren't the greatest? What kind of douchebaggery is that? The buck, apparently, does not stop here. The buck never comes anywhere near here.
I am not unbiased. I freely admit that. But you cannot tell me that this was a draw. This man is stupid and dangerous. We can and should remove him from power. Please, please let us do this on November 2.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Choose Your Own Adventure
Just wanted to share some of my new fan fiction or "fanature", as some of the guys down at the gaming store call it. I started writing fanature over a decade ago when they canceled Quantum Leap and I had serious Lackula of Scott Bacula. I found, to my surprise, that, as someone who'd watched the show since it first came on the air--even taping it once a day on USA and once a day on the Sci-Fi channel--I was pretty adept at writing in the characters' voices. I soon had requests from the other members of my Starship to write some, shall we say, steamy little Deep Space Nine stories for them, sort of "put them in the 'action'", if you know what I'm saying. I cooked up all sorts of scenarios which depicted my fellow Trekkers entwined in a three-way with Nerys and Dax or coyly deflowering a ready and willing Jake Sisko. I was in pret-ty high demand, let me tell you.
Then came the net. With the proliferation of fan sites devoted to sci-fi and comic book characters of every shape and size, I greatly expanded my ouevre. I now had the power to be my favorite characters and share my adventures--erotic or otherwise--with like-minded individuals all over the world. Today, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite passages. I hope you find them as inspiring as my compadres on the message boards do. I must say, many a young novice has met with me in a private chat room to plumb the depths of my talent and take what bits of advice I was willing to dole out. They now toil in the same labor of love as I. Now, without further l'k'chok (as my Klingon brethren might say) here is the best of the best of my best. FANature of the first degree.
First we have a piece I wrote for my then-girlfriend, who is a huge Catwoman fan. We were both so incredibly disappointed in the movie.
Batman pulled Catwoman closer to him. He could smell the figs on her breath, which came heaving out from under her mask. He found it intoxicating. He thought about how he'd just returned The Scarecrow to Arkham after he'd attempted to poison Gotham's water supply and about the upcoming Justice League meeting to discuss the threat of Vandal Savage. For now, though, the only adventure on his mind was the adventure he might have when Catwoman took off her bodysuit.
"Put down the cat-o-nine-tails, Selina," he said. She complied. He looked at her breasts and could make out the outline of an erect nipple beneath her costume.
"I've been a naughty kitty," she purred.
The FANature surrounding the television show Sliders is particularly rich, as the show had such a short initial run that fans had no alternative but to create their own stories. I'm particularly proud of my use of Wade in this story. The writers on the show never gave her half as much to do as they should have .
Wade cast her mind back through the dozens upon dozens of dimensions she'd been on since she and the others got lost in this crazy multi-verse. Always so close to their home, yet always so very far away. From the version of earth on which the polar ice caps had melted and created a race of mer-people to the version where humans had evolved into telepathic god-like beings with no genuine feeling, she had felt lost, frightened. Now, on this world where she and Quinn had admitted their feelings for one another, only to see that version of Wade die, she was feeling passion like she'd never imagined. Who knew that, within the body of the man who constantly took her for granted, there lay a heart which longed so achingly for her touch. She now gave that touch. She touched Quinn57, as she thought of him to avoid confusion. She ran her fingers through his hair, over his chest. She reached for his manhood and found it alert.
Growing up, The Six-Million Dollar Man was my absolute favorite. Now, I can pretend that I am Steve Austin, a man barely alive.
I awoke to find myself chained in Sasquatch's lair. How had I come here? What day was it? Where was the furry beast? And most importantly, what had he done with Jaimie? More than once had I tangled with this meta-terrestrial missing link. I knew what the monster was capable of. Or at least, what he was capable of now that he'd been driven to these extremes by the unfeeling businessmen who'd driven him from this adopted habitat. I flexed my bionic muscles, testing the strength of the chains that bound me. I found them solid. I looked around the room with my enhanced Bionovision, evaluating the place for weaknesses I might exploit. I found none. Just then, I heard the unmistakeable shuffle of giant feet dragging themselves down the hallway. Bigfoot was coming.
One of the greatest aspects of FANature is that you aren't restricted to characters from just one universe. You can bring in characters from comics, from videogames, from movies. You can have them interact. Such was my mission when I wrote this last story, about what might happen if Captain Kirk found himself suddenly face to face with New York's favorite web-slinger.
Kirk looked around, desperately trying to get his bearings. From the architecture and the pollution level, he guessed himself to be in the early 21st century. From the landmarks, he supposed he must be in New York, some time before The Vortex changed the city forever. Only moments before, he'd been on the bridge of the Romulan cruiser, a phaser pointed at his heart. Now he had to figure out not only how to save the lives of the 437 crewmen for whom he was responsible, but also what had caused this rip in the space-time continuum in the first place. As he was preparing to look for a way off of this roof, he saw a figure in Red and Blue swinging toward him. Was this friend or foe? How much could he interact with these locals without causing a collosal feedback in the timestream, possibly preventing his reality from ever happening? He did not know. The figure landed.
"Ahoy there, chief," the figure said. Kirk noticed the mask now, as well as the fact that the man wore a black spider on his chest. "Who are you and what are you doing on this rooftop?"
"My name is Kirk. But that's not important right now."
"No, what's important is that I'm right in the middle of a battle with the Hobgoblin and I can't have civilians hanging out on the rooftops. Just then, an orange figure came roaring around the roof on a flying platform of some sort. Kirk figured this to be the Hobgoblin of which his new friend had spoken. He took out his phaser, cooly leveled it at the fiend's flying platform and stepped aside as the wreckage came tumbling out of the sky.
"Nice shootin' Pard," said the red and blue-dressed guy. Kirk thought he rather like him.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Death Guide 2004
Three more famous people kicked it in the last day or so. Gordon Cooper, one of the Mercury Seven astronauts caught that rocket to the sky. Rodney Dangerfield is getting an eternity of respect. And Nancy Reagan's old astrologer Joyce Jillson is dealing three-card monte in purgatory. In celebration of Jillson, and of death, I thought I'd consult the stars, reach into the near future and pull out of the ether some Upcoming Obituaries for the rest of 2004.
October 8: George Steinbrenner. Mr. Steinbrenner died of a ruptured ego upon the Yankees' Game 5 loss to the Twins in the AL Divisional Series, complicated by gastrointestinal bleeding brought on by a bad Yankee Stadium hot dog. No mourners are expected at the funeral.
October 17: Adam West. Beloved star of 60s television staple Batman, West passed away quietly in his Malibu apartment. In accordance with his will, his former co-star Burt Ward will be killed and buried with him.
October 22: David Blaine. The daredevil magician suffocated to death today, after spending his 6th day out of a scheduled 20 living in the womb of a yak in the Bronx Zoo. Blaine had hoped the stunt would amaze audiences and garner him the world record for stupid fucking shit.
October 27: Doris Day. The singing star of such romantic comedies as The Pajama Game and Pillow Talk shocked millions of people around the world today who hadn't realized she'd still been alive.
October 31: Richard Simmons. Mr. Simmons' halloween costume, a beautiful, slender fairy princess, was apparently not flame resistant.
November 3rd: George W. Bush. After a landslide loss in the 2004 presidential election, Bush climbed to the top of the White House with a semi-automatic rifle, taking shots at a group of Shriners on a tour of the White House grounds. Mr. Bush killed two Shriners and knocked the fezes off of two more before the Secret Service took him down.
November 14: Keith Richards. During a concert at Wembley Stadium, Mr. Richards stopped moving. Concert producers had him rushed to a nearby hospital, where an autopsy revealed that he had, in fact, been dead since 1988.
November 19: Ann Coulter. Ms. Coulter melted today when a young woman in gingham threw a bucket of water on her. Coulter is survived by a pack of flying monkeys.
November 27: Lara Flynn Boyle. Former Twin Peaks actress Lara Flynn Boyle imploded today.
December 7: Rupert Murdoch. The president of NewsCorp was tragically run down early this morning when he attempted to cross the street and accidentally got in the path of a Daily News truck making its morning rounds.
December 20: Horatio Sands. Sketch comedian Horatio Sands was murdered today by his employer Lorne Michaels. Witnesses say Michaels repeatedly stabbed Sands while shouting, "Are you cracking up now, Funny Boy?" NBC officials expressed their shock and said they blame the SNL Fat Man Curse.
December 31: Ralph Reed. Conservative Christian Ralph Reed was found dead tonight in a hotel room, apparently the victim of an overdose of bourbon, cocaine, amyl nitrate, ecstasy, anal lubricant and cough syrup. Reached for comment, God said, "Who?"
Mark your calendars, folks. We've got a lot of to dead celebrities over whom we can mawkishly obsess. Let's get cranking.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
To Veep, Perchance to Dream
(We join the Vice-Presidential Debate already in progress.)
MODERATOR: Mr. Vice-President, I have to remind you that guns are not permitted in this venue and are against debate rules.
CHENEY: (Waving his Uzi around) That's the kind of pussy logic that's gonna hand this country over to the Soviets.
EDWARDS: Mr. Cheney, the Soviet Union dissolved years ago.
CHENEY: Go fuck yourself, hairdo. (He flips the safety on and tosses the gun to a secret service agent offstage.) Next question.
MODERATOR: Senator Edwards, during the Democratic primary, you expressed some ideas about healthcare that didn't seem to jibe with the position of your now-running mate. Which of those ideas have you brought to the campaign?
EDWARDS: Let me tell you something, I have spent enough time over the years in hospital waiting rooms, trolling for clients, that I've gotten to know the American health care system pretty darn well. You've got a bunch of huge corporations out there afraid to give their clients the services they need and deserve because it has a negative impact on their own bottom line. That's no way to treat someone who's ill. It's a symptom of the Two Americas we have out there. It needs to change. Also, I've got to say that medical supply companies charge way, way too much for foam neck braces. Even if you buy 'em in bulk.
MODERATOR: Mr. Vice-President?
CHENEY: This candy-assed little pretty boy talks like there's something wrong with huge corporations. Listen, you piss-ant prairie punk, without huge corporations, there would be no U.S.A., you got me? So instead of whining and suing them and taking their money, why don't you get down on your calloused fucking knees and thank them for allowing you to exist.
MODERATOR: Mr. Cheney, I really don't want to have to remind you again that this debate is being aired live on network television and you should censor your language.
CHENEY: Sensor my fucking colon, dipshit. This is how a real man talks. I think the nation needs to know the difference between a real man and a shiny suit full of quivering bitch.
EDWARDS: Okay, that's enough, old man. (He throws his jacket to the floor and loosens his tie.) You're about to eat more carpet than your daughter.
CHENEY: (Throwing over his chair) I'm going to take you down like a Kennedy in the sixties!
(They grapple and fight. Cheney rips chunks of Edwards' hair out. At one point, Cheney has a small heart attack, then continues fighting. Finally, the moderator steps around his table and brandishes a taser.)
MODERATOR: Gentlemen, if you don't return to your places, you will be finishing this debate as quivering heaps of jelly..
(Cheney and Edwards limp back to their corners.)
MODERATOR: Let's have your closing remarks.
EDWARDS: Haliburton. NeoCon. Liar.
CHENEY: Insubstantial. Pussy. Trial lawyer.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We're done now. Go home. (To himself) I can't fucking wait for November 3rd.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Stop Me Before I Kill Again
They're all dead or dying. My window sills are littered with pots of empty dirt with a few random, scrubby pieces of sub-kindling, suitable for nothing except perhaps grinding into powder and sprinkling on the floor to demonstrate the strength of a new vacuum. Maybe three or four of them have hung in there through the last three years and are under the intensive care of my wife, now without law school papers to write and so with enough time to tend to their poor dessicated husks. What happened to me?
When we lived in Seattle, I had a house full of plants. I took care of every single one of them. I watered and fed them. I repotted them when they'd grown too large for the container they were in. I gave them fucking names. I left all of them in the care of my mother-in-law and the students in her library when we moved across country, bringing none but the offspring of our very healthy spider plant. I'd given all of our friends other repotted cuttings from the same plant for presents our last Christmas on the West Coast, saving only this one to bring with us to New York.
While we lived in Yonkers, this new plant, Junior I called it, was essentially on a ventilator. I was constantly bringing it back from the edge of the abyss, moving it from place to place in search of the patch of sunlight that would be the most nourishing. Maybe it was just a West Coast plant unable to make it in the big city. Maybe I tried too hard. For whatever reason, Junior was our own little chlorophyll-filled Jerry's Kid. It was always weak and scrawny. At two and a half years old, it was still in the same pot in which we'd brought it here. It was never strong enough to sprout any offspring of its own. I'd go visit friends in Seattle and feel shame when I saw how the spider plant babies I'd given them had grown into huge monsters, just dripping sproutlings.
Last month, after our trip to Europe, Junior died. It's my fault. I guess I knew it would happen. I left no specific instructions for anyone to water the plants. A few of the others were hearty enough to live through a month of neglect. Not Junior, though. When we dropped the luggage we'd shlepped around for the last four weeks down on our threshold, there Junior sat, her dehydrated shell pointing at me accusingly. Had I just grown tired of the constant worrying about her? Did I reach the point where I decided that it would be an act of kindness to just let her go? I can't say.
All I know is that she's gone, several of her leafy compatriots with her. And I have their deaths on my conscience. I wear a black shroud on my green thumb. Lo, I am become plant death.
Sunday, October 03, 2004
I May Not Have Already Won
I just got the call from Stockholm. I did not win a Nobel Prize this year. I'm pissed. This is the thirty-fourth year in a row I've been shut out. I was up for two of 'em this year, too. I figured I was probably a long shot for the Nobel in Physics, because theories on inertia and spicy corn chowder have not yet found widespread support in the international scientific community. Still, I figured I was a lock for the Peace Prize, what with my tireless efforts at halting Icelandic aggression toward Micronesia. Now I've got to face the annual call from Desmond Tutu, rubbing it in. What a prick. He actually bet Carter a case of bourbon that I'd lose out again.
I was so fucking sure it was a done deal. I already sent my tux for an emergency dry-cleaning. I picked up some discount carrier tickets to Sweden, which I'll probably be stuck with now because Der Plaane doesn't give goddamn refunds. I wrote my acceptance speech Wednesday night. There was nothing on TV, so I figured I'd get it out of the way. It was a great speech, too. Thanks to those Nobel jackasses, it's completely useless. Here it is, so at least someone can appreciate it.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Nobel Committee, I thank you. I stand here tonight not alone, although it looks like I am because there's nobody behind the dais with me and I came without a date. No, in fact, I am standing here with the entire nation of Micronesia. This statement is not meant to suggest that Micronesia is a sub-atomic civilization with advanced technology but a barbaric, war-like demeanor that a man could actually have in his pocket. No, I learned the mistake of that logic the hard way. When I say that Micronesia is with me, I mean it is here in spirit. It is here in the same kind of spirit it takes a tiny, but not subatomic, country to withstand the imperial might of Iceland.
I first learned of the conflict between Iceland and Micronesia the same way many of you did, from a prostitute I'd hired for the night. She read the paper as I went about my business, commenting on articles she found interesting in lieu of feigning sexual excitement. (I enjoy honesty in these sorts of relationships, don't you?) She said, "Wow, look at this: Iceland is sending it's entire fleet to blockade Micronesia. Hey, any time, there, chief. There's a line outside."
I went to the Icelandic embassy to speak with their ambassador to America. By some strange coincidence, it turned out that my old college roommate Scott Hickerson had been appointed to the post, which was strange, because the last time I'd talked to him, he was doing a three year stretch in Wisconsin for selling blotter acid to an undercover cop outside a Disney on Ice show. Apparently, his fortunes had improved somewhat.
I explained to Scott that I was not there in any sort of official capacity. I was representing neither the United States nor Micronesia. In fact, I wasn't even really representing myself, especially since I'd disguised myself in drag as Estelle Getty from TV's The Golden Girls to gain entrance to the embassy.
I pointed out to Scott that the United States would see this blockade as an act of aggression with no provocation, something the U.S. government finds completely abhorrent. The very notion of moving against a sovereign nation with no justifiable cause is anathema to what America stands for. Scott realized the truth of these words and knew that the United States would never stand for this sort of precedent being set. Additionally, I showed him pictures of the Micronesian orphan I'd sponsored for only one dollar a day, for whom my generous, tax-fee donation had supplied food, clothing and a four-day ski trip to Whistler, B.C.
The picture of Jumblatt's smiling face was more than Scott could stand. He picked up the phone and called the prime minister of Iceland, who called Bjork, who called off the blockade. Apparently, all military decisions in Iceland now have to be cleared by Bjork. Which makes sense to me, because she's got such a distinctive sound.
Anyway, the blockade never happened, thanks to my timely intervention and so whatever they ship to and from Micronesia was allowed to be shipped. I got a thank you note from the Micronesian people. It's pretty cool. It's got Garfield stretching his arms real wide and it says, "I thank you thi-i-i-is much." Then everyone signed the inside, even Jumblatt. I've got to go to Micronesia one of these days. I saw a picture of Jumblatt's mom and she's a hottie. Maybe I'll take this Prize money and go there this spring.
Once again, I thank the Nobel Committee for this honor. Oh, one last thing: In your face, Tutu! Peace, out.
What a waste of a perfectly good speech. They probably gave the goddamn prize to some lame-ass crusader who's been locked in her house under martial law for five years or something. God, those people so only do that for publicity. Whatever.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
After fifteen years of listening to their music, last night I finally went to a They Might Be Giants concert. It took me fifteen years for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I'm just not a huge concert person. Being jammed nose-to-armpit with a bunch of dancing drunkards is not my ideal situ-hap. Neither am I particularly fond of hearing loss. This could have something to do with the fact that my very first concert was the AC/DC "Lose Your Television" tour, which included indoor cannon fire. Maybe I still equate concert venues with heavy artillery.
Mostly, though, I haven't seen They Might Be Giants because of timing issues. Several times, they were coming to town when I was heading out of town. Or they were coming to town when I was heading to bankruptcy. There's also the fact that I stopped buying their albums for a long while when they added a full band on John Henry. It just didn't seem right to me, like they were outsourcing their jobs under NAFTA or something.
I started listening to them again when they came out with Mink Car in 2001 and I found that they still sounded like themselves. I discovered that I still really like them. This puts me in a relatively small group. I've read a number of articles about them which mention that, although John and John get older, their fans stay pretty much the same age. It's like the Musical Picture of Dorian Grey. Or it's completely not like that. Anyway, their fans tend to be high school and college kids who enjoy bouncy pop music and incredibly clever lyrics. These college kids generally move on to other forms of music and leave the Giants behind like an old teddy bear. If you're still in your thirties and listening to them, there's a reason.
The reason is that you're a geek. They Might Be Giants (and I'll go ahead and use the nerdly abbreviation TMBG from here on out for the sake of brevity) are a geek-rock band. I say this as someone who loves them. They are geeks who make music for geeks. Think of it this way: They're very intelligent. They don't really fit into any of the normal categories. You wouldn't equate them with sex. If they were a high school student, you can be certain their yearbook would list A/V club in their activities.
I have their albums. I listen to them and enjoy them. I can sing Lincoln from start to finish acapella during long car drives. But I sure as hell wouldn't play them at a party. Any more than I'd initiate Justice League discussion groups. Not because I'm ashamed of the fact that I enjoy them. But I definitely don't feel the need to foist them on others who may not have an appreciation for that sort of thing. I think, generally, when you put music on at a party, you put it on because you think it's cool and think other people will feel likewise and be moved to dance or drink or convey sexual favors upon you. Playing TMBG at a party--and I'm not including in this category Star Trek fan club meetings, where I'm sure they put Apollo 13 and Miscellaneous T in the player and hit shuffle--is akin to serving tuna s'mores. It's just not gonna set the right tone.
Having firmly established that my full awareness that my enjoyment of The Johns tattoos a pocket protector on my chest, allow me to say that it was great to be in a huge room stuffed with people who also love them. It's truly an awe-inspiring sight to see eight hundred people start pogoing spastically at the first bars of "Birdhouse inYour Soul". This is the only dance move that most of us have, but that doesn't lessen the awe.
We were about ten feet from the stage, which meant we had to suffer constant interruption from chowderheads pushing their way to the front, attempting the physics-defying feet of standing where there is absolutely no space for a body. We also saw what might be termed a fight. At a geek-rock concert, this was about the last thing I expected. In fact, I think I made a remark to Megan about the unlikelihood of violence before the show. Apparently, a woman who had previously elbowed and douschebagged her way in front of me was accosted by a drunken guy. Megan paid more attention to this than I did and assured me that the guy was making all sorts of rude gestures and that sort of thing. Whatever he did, he received a knee to the balls for it, which seemed extreme to me, especially given the shrewish nature of the knee's owner, but I defer to my wife's judgment.
The nice thing is that the young geeks around us were so happy and friendly that we were able to smile at each other and laugh despite obnoxious behavior and knees to the groin. And when I say the geeks were young, I mean young. A quick survey of the endearingly pathetic attempts at facial hair around us lead me to believe that there were few people in the venue born before the Reagan administration. These kids were too small to see over the bars of their cribs when "Don't Let's Start" was in heavy rotation on MTV.
What I'm trying to say here is that, not only am I a fucking geek, I'm fucking old. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to fix myself a tall Metamucil and read some Superman.