Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
The al-Zarqawi Tape (Hairshirt has uncovered a copy of the tape sent from Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Osama Bin Laden)
Deep Throat (Not the Porn One, Though)
One of the most intriguing mysteries of the 20th century was solved today, at least according to an article in Vanity Fair. 91-year-old W. Mark Felt, former second-in-command of the FBI has come forward to say that he was Deep Throat, the government official who leaked information to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, fueling Woodward and partner Carl Bernstein's investigation into the Watergate break-in and helping to bring down the administration of Richard Nixon. So far, neither Woodward nor Bernstein have verified Felt's claim, holding to their long-stated promise that they would not reveal the identity of Deep Throat until after he had died, although they have also not denied Felt's claim.
Can it truly be this easy, though? Are we to simply accept the word of this doddering old guy who maybe just wants a little attention? What if he's simply trying to become a big shot so that he can get creamed corn whenever he wants it while the nobodies in his nursing home have to make do with pureed broccoli? I, for one, am not going to just bend over and take this old guy's assertion up the ass.
Not that that's where he's trying to put it, but I'm just saying...
Anyway, what about all the other perfectly viable contenders for the role of the real Deep Throat? Before we take Mr. Felt at his word, why don't we take another quick look at some of the other people who might have stood in that parking garage?
Alexander Haig--Chief of Staff under Nixon and subsequent control-freak Secretary of State for Reagan. Haig's name has been at the top of a lot of people's list for a long time. Not only did he have access to the top levels of the administration, but he's a huge, huge asshole. Asshole? Deep Throat? Both places where penises are put, hello?
Fred Fielding--Aide in the Nixon White House and subsequent counsel to Reagan. A journalism class at the University of Illinois, after an intense investigation, came to the conclusion that Fielding was the most likely candidate. Personally, I'm betting that the kids in the class were "intensely investigating" a bong, so I don't lend this one too much credibility.
Linda Lovelace--Actress. Now, I know that Lovelace didn't have strong ties to the Nixon White House, but she did star in the movie Deep Throat, right? There's got to be a reason that Woodward called his source Deep Throat and I'd hate to think that it's because he face-raped Al Haig.
Jesus Christ--Messiah. Think about it: who else would have complete knowledge of the scandal and the morality to want to see the wrong-doers brought to justice?
Rich Little--Master impressionist. Little could have ducked out of a taping of Match Game, done one of his flawless Nixon impressions to sneak past White House security, gotten ahold of all of the incriminating documents he'd need and then used yet another voice to make sure that Woodward didn't know who it was he was dealing with. This would explain why Woodward refuses to confirm or deny Felt: he simply doesn't know if his source is Johnny Carson or Jack Benny.
Bob Woodward's Hand in a Handpuppet--Hand. Perhaps Woodward was so desperate for a source that he slapped some felt on his fist and answered his own questions. If you take a really good look at the guy, you kind of see that he's just crazy enough to do it.
Jaime Farr--Actor. Sure, Klinger looks harmless. The truth is, Farr was up to his neck in government secrets.
Richard Nixon--President. Maybe he changed his mind after the election and decided that he'd done all that he wanted to do in his first term. He would've felt like he couldn't just quit, so he had to give himself an excuse. Sounds like Nixonian logic, doesn't it?
But whoever the real Deep Throat is, I hope we don't get all smug because we think we finally know the answer to a question that's been haunting us for over thirty years. Just remember: Mark Felt could be delusional. The real Deep Throat could still be out there. It could even be...
Friday, May 27, 2005
The Force Gives You Power Over Weak Minds...Like Mine
I saw the latest Star Wars flick last night and I guess my advice to any who are waffling about whether or not to see it would be that, if you can catch it with a friend who's a rabid, rabid fan, then by all means go. I went with a friend of mine from college whose love of the series far outstrips my own. My friend literally shook with excitement when the opening theme kicked in. He was the only one in the theater to cheer on the informational yellow paragraph crawl. This was in a theater full of I-can-wait-until-the-second-week types like me, so I really had to admire my friend's enthusiasm, which made me enjoy the movie more than I would have if I'd gone with, say, my wife, who would have gotten up and walked out during any of a half-dozen truly awful scenes sprinkled throughout.
I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like this movie, because I did. I merely had to make the adjustment of letting myself laugh at every single scene wherein Natalie Portman interacted with Hayden Christensen. These are scenes which are approximately as smooth and graceful as an epileptic tap-dancing in moon boots. These are scenes that contain lines like the oft-quoted, "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo, when all we had was our love!" That's not even the worst of them. We were also treated to "I don't even know you anymore, Anakin!" Then there was the puke-into-your-popcorn exchange that went something along the lines of "I'm only beautiful because I'm so in love with you!" "No, you're beautiful because of how much I love you!" During scenes like these, I truly longed for someone to just run me through with a light saber and end my fucking misery.
Wow. I can't believe I started that last paragraph talking about how much I like the film and then segued into how much it sucked.
Anyway, there were a number of highlights. The special effects this time were phenomenal. There were some truly awe-inspiring action sequences, including some of the best light saber battles yet. As I'm a big fan of any really well-choreographed dueling scene, I loved these. I also loved Ewan McGregor, who seemed to have gotten over the tremendous embarrassment he seemed to feel in the last two movies and just had a good time. Also, I was actually moved by the fall of both the Jedi and of Anakin. Okay, I was moved by a couple of minutes of the fall of Anakin, as a great deal of it was communicated by Hayden Christensen looking like was trying to pass a really painful kidney stone.
But Darth Vader is truly one of the iconic screen villains. Even if George Lucas and Hayden Christensen didn't make you truly love Anakin, just seeing the circumstances that formed Vader makes for compelling viewing. People in the theater actually cheered when the mask first went on. I did not. I did get some minor goose bumps which were dispelled seconds later when, upon being informed of his wife's death, Vader raised head and arms to the gods and let out with a horribly cliched "No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!" Good god. Please, lord, keep George Lucas away from word processing programs forever.
I will say, Lucas didn't let down longtime fans, who I'm sure got a charge out of seeing all the details that we remember from the beginning of the very first movie falling into place at the end of this one. Artoo and Threepio are in the employ of Captain Antilles; Leia has been adopted by Senator Organa; Luke and Obi-Wan are both living on Tattoine. All tied up in a nice little package.
So I will say that I can recommend this movie. I just wish so much of it didn't suck so very, very hard.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
The Name Game
So two of my very good friends are about to have a baby. They're actually the first of my friends to do this, which makes it doubly exciting (this does not count people who I knew for a semester in college and haven't spoken with for twelve years.)
They're trying to come up with a name for the little guy and have gone to desperate lengths to aid this effort. They've settled on the middle name Wolfgang. Now, I'm not going to say anything about that, because, hey, any name that's used by both Mozart and the child of Valerie Bertenelli and Eddie Van Halen has to be great, right? Yeah.
But for the first name, they've come to an impasse. They've got eight names and they're asking they're friends to vote on them, tourny style, pitting two names against each other to see who makes it to the next round until it's name vs name, mano a mano. I won't get into what names they've chosen, which are all lovely (with the exception of Leif--sorry guys, Leif is a guy with feathered hair from 1978.)
But this got me thinking about what would be the worst combination of boy's names ever. I never do call outs like this, because it always seems a little like I'm desperately trolling for comments. But today, in honor of my friends, I'd like to see what people who read this blog can come up with. I'll start things off with my Top Five Worst Male Baby Name Combos:
Although, Roderigo Bjorn is actually starting to grow on me. Roderigo Bjorn Wack. Hmm.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Don't Read This If You Haven't Watched Jeopardy Tonight
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
It happened again. I've been let down. My universe has been rocked. Mighty Ken has struck out.
And this Brad cocksucker who won? What an asshole! So unlikeable! So pretentious! Good god, I don't like this guy.
You've got Ken, who came off as his usual nice guy self, self-effacing, funny, etc. You had the shmo in the middle, who didn't seem to feel he had much of a chance and came off as a trifle pathetic, but nice. And then you had Brad, who, apparently, hosts a local gameshow someplace because he did well on Jeopardy a while back. I feel very sorry for whoever has to watch his show.
I'm very close to shaving off my beard because I don't want to have anything in common with a guy this unlikeable. Ah, Ken. Why? Why?
Hairshirt Graduation Horoscope
Seeing as how I'm graduating today, I thought it might be nice to use my zodialogical wizardry to forecast what's ahead for other graduates. Here ya go!
Aries: There's no stopping you now, Aries. You've got your Bachelor's in Art History and you're on the path to a glorious future. As a night shift supervisor at Hardee's.
Taurus: As Graduation Day approaches, you find yourself overwhelmed with doubt and concern over whether or not you and the boy you've been with all through high school will stay boyfriend/girlfriend even though you'll be going to two different schools. I'm happy to tell you that the two of you will stay completely committed to each other. You'll just be fucking other people is all.
Gemini: Some people doubted you, but you've proved them wrong. As the first person in your family to graduate, you're filled with the pride of accomplishment, but also a certain amount of apprehension. After all, fourth grade might be even harder.
Cancer: You're about to be very disappointed when you don't get nearly as much money for graduation as you thought you would and you get twice as many copies of Oh! The Places You'll Go as you thought you would.
Leo: Leo, you've made it all the way through college and kept your virginity. Congratulations on being a huge idiot.
Virgo: As soon as you turn in your thesis, you're all set to have your Master's degree conferred upon you. Hopefully, the people reviewing your thesis won't realize you've basically pasted together a bunch of old articles from National Geographic. They don't tend to look at these things really close, so you should be okay.
Libra: The last four years of sheer hell you've gone through at your high school are behind you now. You're pretty certain that college is going to be a completely different experience, where you'll be surrounded by people who "get" you. Nope. Sorry. High school or college, you're a geek loser.
Scorpio: A nagging uncertainty that's been plaguing you for years will be settled when you look at your degree and find out that what you've been majoring in was physiology, not psychology.
Sagittarius: All the fun of the last four years has come to an end and now you're uncertain whether what you've done has had a purpose. Don't worry. The skills you develop as a yearbook editor will prove invaluable to you throughout your life.
Capricorn: Despite what your teachers are telling you, successfully completing eighth grade is not really a graduation. The dance you'll be going to is not truly a prom. Everyone just thinks that you and everyone in your class are such losers that this is as close to a real graduation and prom as you're going to get. So congratulations! Woo-hoo!
Aquarius: The post-college trip your parents gave you for graduation is going to be awesome! You will eat the best cheap cheese sandwiches in Europe! You will catch fascinating rashes at Europe's finest youth hostels! You will fail to get laid in some of the most beautiful cities on earth! And you'll create mediocre memories to last a lifetime!
Pisces: Congratulations, Pisces! You've proven the viability of the eight-year undergrad plan. All of your wimpy friends felt the need to graduate in four or five years, but fuck them, 'cause you've gotten all you could out of the college experience. Now bring on grad school and six more years!
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I'm going through a bit of a funk. Have been for a couple of days now. I'm not sure why this is. I was thinking maybe it had something to do with my not passing my CAP. However, I resolved that situation very handily yesterday--I'll be receiving my degree a couple of months later, but, the woman I spoke with reassured me, I will be receiving it--and I'm still not feeling sunshiney.
It could have to do with our car, which has some battery issues, either a dying battery or a loose wire or something that requires me to jump it pretty goddamn much every time I start it. I don't like having that dread hanging over my head, nor do I like shelling out $5 to a taxi driver when I can't find a friendly soul to jump it for free. But I don't think that's necessarily the problem either.
Maybe it's my perennial lack of money. Maybe that's it. Maybe I'm wishing that I'd gone into something more lucrative than teaching-while-trying-to-get-started-as-a-writer. Maybe I'm sick of being poor. But I've been poor for a long, long time and I'm pretty sure I've gotten used to it. I've been poor and happy, so I can't chalk this malaise up to monetary issues.
I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that Ken Jennings didn't come out on top in the first of the three-game series in the finals of the Jeopardy Ultimate Tournament of Champions. That was disappointing, especially when some snarky bearded dipshit came in first. What an unlikable goat-humper. But I have faith that Ken will come back. He's Ken. So I can't lay my despair at his feet either.
What it is, I'm starting to think, is the state of our country. I got a phone call a couple of nights ago that started with the question "Do you think our country is on the right track or headed in the wrong direction?" I got excited. Someone was going to ask my opinions about politics! Yay! A chance to mouth off and have it recorded and shown to politicians! Then the guy started asking me about Wal-Mart. My enthusiasm waned. Who fucking cares about Wal-Mart? They're huge and evil, case closed, next subject. He went on for about ten minutes with the Wal-Mart questions, along the line of "Does Wal-Mart make you feel like a smart shopper?" I "strongly disagreed" with that one. I was very disappointed that I hadn't had a chance to vent my spleen on our country's leaders.
I was watching John Sayles' wonderful Lonestar last night and a scene came on wherein a group of Mexicans run into trouble while wading across the Rio Grande to enter the U.S. illegally. I started to tear up. I thought, "Go back! Why the fuck do you want to come here?"
It makes me fucking sad. I love this country. Love it. I love the idea that we've all come here from someplace else and come together. I love the idea that we put such high value on individual freedoms. I love the thought that, for so long, when people around the world thought of America, they thought of a place where you could pursue your dreams; where there was freedom of opportunity; where there was the promise of a better life. I'm not seeing that so much anymore.
I have so many problems with what our leaders are doing. I hate--hate--the fact that people acted like it was some huge fucking victory that the Senate avoided "the nuclear option". Bullshit! The G.O.P. got three of Bush's judges to the floor for a vote and democrats also had to make a promise that they'd only go to the fillibuster in cases of extreme emergency. Hey republicans! The opposition objected to a handful of your guy's nominees! Deal with it and shut the fuck up! Again--and I don't hear this being brought up anywhere nearly enough--Clinton had a whole boatload more of his judges shot down, so in what way are these hypocritical buttplugs justified in their response?
Retirees from U.S. Airways got fucked out of their pensions because the airline was so desperate to cut costs to get out of bankruptcy. G.M. is in serious trouble as well. I'm in no way business-savvy, but I've heard repeatedly that one major expense large corporations in this country are facing is the rising cost of paying for health care for employees and retirees. Is it possible that if, twelve years ago, when Hilary Clinton was trying to come up with a plan for universal health care, instead of torpedoing her efforts as political payback for her husband's victory over Bush Sr., if instead of that the republicans had worked with her and found some way to make sure that all Americans are covered, our large corporations might not be having some of the problems they're having? I'm not saying her ideas were perfect, or even plausible. But what if the other side had allowed her efforts to be the catalyst for a real dialogue on universal coverage?
But no. That's not the way this country works. How it works is, apparently, you get in office and try to do as much for the people that put you there as you possibly can and then, when your side is not in office, you try to do as much to fuck up the people who are in office as you possibly can. And nothing gets done. And education continues to suffer. And our economy continues to tank. And we continue to lose our standing in the world community.
A pox on both your houses!
I really fucking hate this. I really fucking hate feeling this way. Calgon, take me away!
Saturday, May 21, 2005
A Picture's Worth a Couple of Words
I have got to say that I'm shocked--shocked--that a paper of such normally high standards as the New York Post would print a picture of Saddam Hussein in his underwear. The fact that the picture was also run in The Sun leads me to believe that Rupert Murdoch, who owns both papers, is trying to tell us something. I believe that Rupert Murdoch is in love with Saddam. Why else would he be so eager to show the world a scantily-clad ex-dictator? He thinks Hussein is S-E-X-X-Y! (to appropriate a They Might Be Giants lyric.)
Well all I can say to that is that Mr. Murdoch shouldn't be abusing his position as a media mogul to inflict his erotic tastes on the rest of us. Sure, Americans are sexually liberal enough to discuss sexuality with our teenagers (as long as it's only to tell them to keep their pee-pees in their trousers) and to put up with the presence of homosexuals on prime-time television (as long as they don't do any of that icky kissing stuff), but most of us don't have a high tolerance for the kind of perversion that Rupert Murdoch apparently enjoys.
This is why I'm urging him to not publish any of these other pictures that I've heard he's considering splashing on the front page of his papers in order to give him the cheap thrills he so enjoys:
Friday, May 20, 2005
All Politics Is Loco
What in the name of merciful Jane Curtain is going on in the fucking senate? I'm not one to normally be surprised at the chutzpah of the G.O.P., but right now they're going, to use their own words, "beyond the pale." The fact that these pricks can stand there on the senate floor and bitch about how the Democrats are holding up Bush's judicial nominees; the fact that they can make these statements even when the Democrats have passed the overwhelming majority of what the president has sent them; the fact that they can say all this when they waged such a blatantly partisan campaign when Bill Clinton was president and they were the opposition just blows my fucking mind.
Is there anybody on the face of the planet who doesn't see clearly that these gerbil-cramming assbags are trying to make sure that they'll be able to ram through a conservative nominee to the Supreme Court? My god, you can hear the steady thump-thump-thump of right-wing activists across the country whacking off at the thought of being able to reverse Roe vs Wade.
Rick Santorum is the absolute worst at this. This unbelievable prolapsed rectum of a human being is beyond self-righteous. The man actually seems to believe now that he's God. I would not be surprised if it came out that he'd kidnapped two young children and was raising them in a hydroponic garden in his basement in an attempt to re-enact the Adam & Eve myth from Genesis with a less sinful ending.
I guess all of these colostomy-bag-brained jaggoffs are taking their cue from the Commander-in-chief, figuring that they have an absolute mandate to do whatever the hell they want when they're in office. But when they can do all of this and then have the gall to turn around and accuse Democrats of playing partisan politics, I just don't understand how they can all resist throwing themselves in front of a bus in shame.
All of this talk, all of this speculation about who's going to run for the White House in 2008? We need to shut the hell up about that. We need to concentrate every ounce of our efforts on getting the G.O.P. out of control of congress. If the Democrats can retake the majority in one or both houses, then we won't have to worry about a Friend of Falwell landing on the Supreme Court. So start your engines, we've got a lot of work to do in the next year and a half. I'll be doing my part by finding innovative new ways to insult Republicans. Those miserable sacks of yak scabs.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Aries: Now that you're done waiting in line for the final Star Wars film, you find your mind once again drifting to the sad thought that you're a 38-year-old virgin. If only Princess Leia would take you in her sweet, sweet arms.
Taurus: Having passed the Bar, you should spend some time in a bar of another kind.
Gemini: Your Carol Channing impression is growing less and less amusing at work. Largely because you're working at a coffee shop with people ten years younger than you who haven't the slightest fucking clue who Carol Channing is and simply think you're a freak.
Cancer: The sun does not, as you seem to believe, shine out of your ass. That's just a flashlight from that party you went to on Monday.
Leo: Health issues are on your mind this week, Leo. Specifically, you're wondering what exactly your daily allotment of pork rinds should be under the new food pyramid.
Virgo: Yes, your testicles are lovely. Now put them away, please.
Libra: Today is a great day to cozy up with a good book. If only you weren't completely illiterate.
Scorpio: Despite what some people say, there is absolutely nothing hypocritical about demanding that the judicial nominees you want voted in be given an up or down vote when your party torpedoed a good third of the nominees of the last administration. Also, the world is flat and Ben Affleck is America's greatest actor.
Sagittarius: Resist the urge to give your new Yorkshire Terrier an ironic name like Bruiser or Gigantor. He'll only resent you later.
Capricorn: Spicing up your love-life is a great idea, Capricorn. May I suggest, though, that you try something besides your home-made edible body paint?
Aquarius: If the shoe fits, Aquarius, wear it. If it doesn't fit, cram your big honkin' clodhopper in there any damn way because you paid way too much for these shoes to let them sit in your closet and, dammit, they're too cute to waste.
Pisces: Salad dressing is not a good substitute for shaving cream, Pisces. Even Extra Creamy Ranch.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Oh, What a Relief It Is
It's been quite a week so far in the Hairshirt household. My wife, whose birthday is today for anyone looking to shower her in jewels and/or peanut butter cookies, found out on Monday that she passed the NY Bar Exam, the most notoriously difficult Bar in the country, with the exception of West Virginia, where the standards are a little higher.
We were on edge for the past couple weeks, knowing that the results were going to be coming out. We were forming back-up plans just in case something awful happened and the results came back in some unsatisfactory form. The obvious choice, of course, would have been for her to murder a practicing attorney and assume their identity, which would have been tricky, especially if that attorney knew a lot of people. We thought also, if she was forced to re-take the test, of using performance-enhancing steroids, because we'd heard that that's what Alan Dershowitz did. There was also the option of simply turning her back on the legal profession and entering the more lucrative field of chinchilla farming, which is a very popular career within the nurturing confines of New York City.
Fortunately, we didn't have to resort to any of these, as she not only passed, but received a special commendation as the Cutest Bar-Taker.
On the not-so-great news side of things, I did not successfully complete Mercy College's academically rigorous Culminating Assessment Project, which I handed in last month. The "C.A.P."--which consists of correctly spelling "nacho" on a 3" x 5" index card in crayon--proved too demanding for me. The result is that I won't be receiving my actual degree until September, meaning the New York City public school system gets to pay me slave wages for an extra three months, adding weight to my theory that it's a random budget-quota thing and that my "C.A.P." was actually just fine.
The most exciting news of all in our household, however, is that I got a brand new box of tin-foil, which means I can make improvements to my special hat, which keeps the government's satellites from reading my mind. Get out of my head, you bastards!
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
A Sweeps Week Far, Far Away
Star Wars creator George Lucas announced recently that, while he intends for there to never be another Star Wars movie, he's looking into one or two television shows featuring tertiary characters from the films. This sounds to us at Hairshirt like a great idea, especially as the Star Trek franchise seems to have run its course and Trekkies the world over are going to have to settle for pale imitations like Battlestar Gallatica to get their geek on.
The question, then, becomes, "Which characters should be used and how should they be packaged?" If not done exactly right, you wind up with The Star Wars Christmas Special or the Ewoks cartoon. *shudder*
In the hopes of answering the above question, we've put our thinking caps on and come up with a handful of pitches for potential 'Wars shows:
Sunday, May 15, 2005
You Take the Good, You Take the Bad
Now, I don't normally do this, but there's a blog starting up that I think is pretty damn cool. It's a group blog whose mission is to explore issues from many different sides and I think the members have a lot to say about the world we live in. I've added a link to it on my blogroll and, today and today only, I'm including another link right here. Enjoy.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
For a long time, I had a fixed image in my mind of the most disgusting thing ever. That thing was this: When I first moved to Phoenix after college, I shared an apartment with a friend of a friend of my uncle's. I was poor and subsisted on a diet of $.99 Whoppers from the Burger King up the road, plus the occasional near-payday trip to the grocery store for cheap-but-filling bachelor chow, usually consisting of off-brand hotdogs, generic mac-n-cheese and the versatile potato. I could buy a bag of potatoes for two bucks and make four days of dinner from it. (Those Irish were onto something, weren't they?)
One time I bought the standard potato bag and didn't use it fast enough. Generally, potatoes have a great shelf-life and you only have to maybe peel off some of those tater tumors. But if you leave a potato in a warm, dark place for a long, long time, it goes beyond the eye-growing stage and right into decomposition.
So I'm standing in the kitchen, preparing to cook a delicious ABCo Brand Pot Pie and I get a whiff of something that makes my nose want to hide in the back of my skull. I open up a cabinet and the smell increases exponentially. I reach in to feel around for the source of the smell and my hand sinks a couple of inches into a putrefied potato. I don't think I puked, but that's probably only because I hadn't yet eaten the pot-pie.
I never bought a bag of potatoes again.
Nor did I ever see/smell/feel anything quite as disgusting again. Until we moved to the neighborhood where we currently live.
New York city--or, rather, Manhattan--doesn't have alleys. There are no small streets behind the buildings where garbage cans or dumpsters can be put. So most people have to take the garbage bags out of the cans and sit them on the curb. You walk down a New York street on any given day and there's a chance you'll see mountains of garbage bags piled in front of buildings. Schools do this, too.
And this is where the disgust comes in. Because schools are places where massive amounts of kids eat lunch. They don't eat everything, so there's always lots and lots of food that goes into the garbage. Nor do they drink everything, so the garbage bags are also often filled with half-empty cartons of milk.
In the trip between the school's garbage room (or wherever the hell the stuff sits inside) to the curb, the food tidbits and the milk kind of swirl around and form a sort of paste.
New York garbage men are not delicate creatures. They do not finesse the bags into the back of the truck. So there's a lot of tearing that goes on. With the tearing comes the leakage. The end result is that the school that's across the street from us very often has, smeared across the sidewalk and curb out front, big ol' puddles of sour milk & cafeteria food. It gets worse in warm weather, when the heat cooks this vomit-substitute and sends clouds of defiled dairy up to the heavens (or to apartments across the street...like ours).
What's worse is that my dogs, when I walk them past the school, seem to find the milk/food paste enticing. They occasionally grab a quick taste before I can pull them away. I think about that sometimes when they lick my face.
Anyway, I bring all this up because tonight there was an extra-large puddle of the this stuff in front of the store and it hit me that I now officially find this stuff more disgusting than the potatoes. The gross-out is dead! Long live the gross-out!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Aries: Your plan to open a school for Geishas might be slightly more plausible if you didn't live in Salt Lake City.
Taurus: Your sex life kicks into high gear this week. If you play your cards right, it might even involve another person.
Gemini: Keep in mind this week that life is a series of ups and downs. Currently, you're going down. Way, way, way down. But eventually you have to come up again. Even if it's only when someone throws you a really cool funeral.
Cancer: Normally, any fights you have with your best friend can be erased with a funny greeting card. Unfortunately, Hallmark hasn't gotten around to making any "Sorry That I Got High on PCP and Set Fire to Your Trailer While I Was Fucking Your Wife" cards. Perhaps a candygram?
Leo: You will unexpectedly find a large sum of money this week. The fact that you find it in a purse you steal from an elderly woman on a crowded subway train makes it just that much sweeter.
Virgo: There is no medical reason for your dizzy spells. You just need to stop spinning around constantly.
Libra: Your disappointment at Rob and Amber's loss on The Amazing Race really sort of takes the shine off of the birth of your child. For the next thirty years or so, you won't be able to look at her without thinking, "I can't fucking believe they let Uchenna and Joyce on that plane. The door was closed!"
Scorpio: You might think that your mom isn't upset that you're just now calling to wish her a happy Mother's Day. In point of fact, she's jolly because she just sent you a batch of brownies in which she took a dump.
Sagittarius: While marketing a muscle-soothing ointment made of Ben-Gay and cocaine does indeed prove that you have a very inventive mind, it also proves that mind is stupid.
Capricorn: This week, failure to read a recipe close enough will lead you to kill a busload of nuns. You really ought to get glasses.
Aquarius: Don't listen to the critics. No matter how many people write that you, "...do to the part of Blanche Dubois what a baby does to a diaper," you know--know--that you've got the goods.
Pisces: You're right, nobody does now what it's like to be the bad man--to be the sad man--behind blue eyes. Neither does anybody give a shit what it's like. So take your blue eyes and fuck off, "bad man".
Monday, May 09, 2005
Hey guys & gals! Coming to you once again from glorious Tinsel Town (and, I've got to be honest, I've seen a whole lot more vomit and smog than I've seen tinsel out here) it's Hollywood Hairshirt! Bringing you the latest nooz from the place where the fake magic happens.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Mother's Day is Hell
Mom sat down in the doorway of a bombed out house. She leaned her rifle next to her, took out her canteen and swigged some water. She hadn't slept in two days and it didn't look like she'd be sawing logs any time soon; not if the boys in C company were gonna get to Le Mans by sunset. One of the grunts walked up and shook a smoke out of his pack. Mom took it, too tired to say thanks. The kid flopped down in the dirt beside the house.
"How much farther we got to go, Sarge?" The grunt said.
Mom took a drag off the smoke. "Best I can figure, we're about ten miles south of where we need to be. We keep up our pace, we oughtta hook up with the 5th Armored by around nineteen hundred hours."
The kid spat in the dust. "I gotta be honest, Sarge, I don't know if I kin make it thet long. I'm awful tahrd."
Mom looked the kid in the eye. "Listen, Hayes," she said, "this ain't been a picnic for any of us. Maloney over there is down about a pint of blood after that Kraut ambush. You got any holes in you?"
Hayes looked sheepish. "No, Sarge. I guess I ain't."
"Then suck it up and stop your griping." The kid looked like he might just start bawling. Mom switched gears. "Look, Hayes, I'm sorry. This has been a rough couple days. And I gotta be honest with you, it's not gonna get any easier for a good long while. You eaten yet?"
The kid shook his head. Mom took a chocolate bar out of her pack. She broke off a piece and handed it to the kid. "Here," she said, "eat some of this and then get on your feet. We gotta get moving." The kid took the candy bar. Mom tossed the rest of the cigarette and then went to check on Maloney. He didn't look so good. All the color had drained from his face and he was limping like a hunchback.
"How they going, Irish?" Mom asked, trying to sound as cheerful as she could.
"I'm aces, Sarge. This is like walking through the Bowery on a Sunday afternoon." Mom smiled. She loved this crazy little Mick. "We pulling out, Sarge?"
"Yeah, Irish. We've got a long hike ahead of us." She clapped him on the shoulder. "Round everyone up and let 'em know we're heading out in three."
Maloney grinned. "Hey, Sarge, Jersey and I were just talking about what we're gonna do when we get back home. I was tellin' him I'm gonna marry my girl and open up an ice cream parlor. Don't that sound great? All the ice cream I can eat. What're you gonna do, Sarge?"
Mom thought about the scene waiting for her at home. Sitting in the kitchen with some crochet work on her lap, the dogs at her feet. Then she cast it out of her mind. "Listen, Irish, right now, I'm not thinking about home. All I'm thinking about is getting to Le Mans and killing some Germans. We rendezvous with the 5th Armored, you can tell me all about your ice cream shop. Meantime, let's get moving."
Maloney shut his yap and hobbled off to spread the word. Gomez, a new kid just arrived from the States came up to Mom. "Sarge," he said, "you remember earlier I was telling you about my girl?"
"Yeah, Gomez," Mom said. In fact, he'd talked about her non-stop for about a mile this morning.
Gomez pulled his wallet out and took a picture from it. "I just remembered that I have a picture of her. Look, there she is." He showed the snapshot to Mom, who wondered if Gomez was talking about the little girl who looked like she was still in elementary school or the dress-wearing string bean with the Coke bottle glasses. She figured it wasn't a good idea to ask. "Yeah, you're a lucky man, Gomez."
Gomez shoved his wallet back in his pocket. "When I get back home, I'm gonna marry her, Sarge. That Betty Lou is about the nicest girl I've ever--"
Before he could finish, Gomez's chest exploded and he fell to the ground. Mom hadn't even heard the shot. The company was looking around, panicky, like a bunch of deer in a bunch of headlights. Mom yelled, "Sniper! C company, find cover!" She saw Jersey helping Maloney to the side of the road. Gomez lay crumpled at her feet. He sucked air as blood poured out of the wound. He was a goner. Still, Mom couldn't leave him there. She picked the wounded man up and threw him over her shoulder, then ran as fast as she could for the ditch.
She laid Gomez down in the grass and scanned the trees and houses for the gunman. As another shot rang out, hitting nobody but tearing the bark off of an oak, Mom caught a flash of light off of a scope. There he was, in a tree branch not a hundred yards away. Mom picked up her rifle and took aim. The sniper saw what she was doing and squeezed off a shot that kicked up some dirt a few feet in front of her. Mom took her time, knowing she might not get a second shot. She got him in her sights, said a prayer and pulled the trigger. The sniper fell out of the tree.
Mom turned to Gomez, who had stopped breathing and lay in the grass, dead. He'd never make it back to Betty Lou. "Sorry, Gomez," Mom said. "At least I got him. I could do that much, anyway." Mom lowered her head and thought about the ten long miles to Le Mans.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
My wife and I just went to see the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and we found it beyond disturbing. I haven't been that pissed off coming out of a movie since I found out half-way through Elektra that there would be no Affleck.
These fuckers screwed over every non-executive employee in their company, all of their investors and the entire state of California. And everyone involved--the banks, the accountants, everyone--just went along with it, asking no questions as long as they were able to put millions of dollars in their own pockets.
To paraphrase a friend of mine, the military industrial complex in this country needs to be brought low. We need absolute and complete transparency in our corporations. We need to hold these douschebags accountable for every goddamn sleazy move they make. We need to know when they're chasing profit at the expense of the public interest.
This is why I'm proposing a bold new initiative. I want to have a microscopic camera surgically implanted into the nose of every CEO of every corporation out there. I want everything these shitbuckets do recorded. If you get a job running Citibank, bam! camera in your nose. If you get a big promotion and you're now in charge of the North American operations for Exxon-Mobile, boom! camera in your nose. We need to know what these turdloafs are up to at all times.
What's that? Invasion of privacy? Why should they consent to the taping of everything from their morning lemon poppy-seed muffin to the handjob they get from their executive assistant? Because these sheep-diddlers are getting obscenely fucking wealthy off the blood of the rest of us. And apparently, they've got all the morals God gave a kumquat, so maybe they'll stay a little more in line when there's a danger that any slightly scumbuckety thing they do will be aired live on CNN.
Nosecameras: They'll keep businessmen honest.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Faces of Death
It looks like the hit movie of this weekend may turn out to be House of Wax, a remake of the old Vincent Price thriller, updated with a lot of jiggling breasts and a few thousand more gallons of fake blood. The big reason people are going to go see this may be because so many people will watch anything that's supposed to be scary. It may be because fans of 24 are hoping to see Elisha Cuthbert's breasts. But the most likely reason people will stream into theaters to catch this steaming pile will be because they want to see Paris Hilton die.
Ms. Hilton is famous for being rich, for playing up her stupidity on her reality show and for sucking off her boyfriend in grainy night-vision home video. Are any of these things actually deserving of fame? Not so much. Do any of these things justify the enjoyment people get from the thought of watching her get beheaded? Not really. I believe that, if we just close our eyes and hum for awhile, she'll go away like any one of a thousand momentarily famous idiots. Like Morton Downey, Jr. Who? Exactly.
However, if we're going to insist on fanning the fame-flames by putting non-actor celebrities in recycled movies so that people can see them pretend-killed, I guess I can think of a few people I'd like to see set sail on the cinematic River Styx.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Before getting into the zodiac forecast for this week, I'd like to take a moment to discuss other people's shoddy work at reading the stars. Yesterday, I read the horoscope that came up on my homepage. It told me that I was going to come into some unexpected money at some point during the day, which I might want to put in the bank. Now, as I am currently incredibly poor, I was overjoyed to learn that the universe would, in some way I was not expecting, provide for my needs.
It did not.
Instead, as I walked out of my class last night, I came across one lousy quarter on the floor. Now, I realize that the horoscope was not technically wrong, but the writer must have known that they were stretching the facts a bit. By making it sound like my financial woes were about to be swept away on fate's gentle breeze, this astrological flim-flam artist elevated my hopes, only to have them dashed against the rocks of despair.
That's why I make this promise to all readers of the Hairshirt Horoscope: You can be sure that, when I'm translating the position of heavenly bodies into a look ahead at your week, I have you in mind. You. Not some other Capricorn. Not someone who was born on the same day as you. I'm thinking about you and you alone. Which is why I can make the promise to all of my readers that the Hairshirt Horoscope will always be accurate and will always be a solid source of information around which you can plan your life.
And now, a special Cinco de Mayo edition of the Hairshirt Horoscope.
Aries: Sadly, your Cinco de Mayo celebration consists of humming "La Cucaracha" while cutting your toenails.
Taurus: Your joy knows no bounds as you get ready to co-opt another country's holiday as an excuse to drink, something you just never got enough of when you stuck to St. Patrick's Day and Bastille Day.
Gemini: Your efforts to promote Tio Taco, the Drunken Jumping Bean as the official mascot of the Cinco de Mayo holiday are pretty much doomed to failure.
Cancer: Kool-Aid is not an acceptable substitute for margarita mix.
Leo: Your fellow Klansmen spend the evening trying to convince you that, instead of seeing the popularity of Cinco de Mayo as yet another nail in the coffin of our Great White Nation, you should just lighten up and enjoy your chimichanga. Dude, your Klan group sucks.
Virgo: Your over-indulgence in the all-you-can-eat Cinco de Mayo Tamale Festival at Chi-Chi's and the resultant gastrointestinal difficulties you suffer lead to your roommate's droll witticism, "Man, they should call it stinko de Mayo!" You need to get your own apartment.
Libra: You might want to fork over a few extra dollars for a bottle of Patron, as Senor Thrifty's two-gallon Tequila Bucket is, in actuality, watered-down paint thinner.
Scorpio: You're doing your social life no favors by viewing Cinco de Mayo as an excellent chance to educate your friends on Mexican history instead of an excellent chance to get shitfaced.
Sagittarius: You bravely forge ahead through your career as a nursing home activities director by putting a sombrero on an eighty-five year old advanced Alzheimer's patient while an aide serves him spice-free pureed enchiladas.
Capricorn: Contrary to your instincts, Cinco de Mayo does not give you a "great opening" to hit on the hot Dominican chick at work.
Aquarius: In the middle of looking for a new set of pillowcases at Kole's Cinco de Mayo White Sale, you pause for half a second to wonder if maybe corporations are causing us to trivialize our cultural celebrations. Then you see some half-off 450-count Egyptian cotton sheets and decide to just embrace it.
Pisces: You celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the same way you celebrate most holidays: puking.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Remembrance Day (Or Something)
Today, in case you weren't aware of it, is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University in Ohio. I think the great bulk of people know very little about it outside of the lyrics from the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song, so here's a quick summary:
In the spring of 1970, with college campuses around the country housing anti-war activity, things was a mite tense in Kent, Ohio. The U.S. incursion into Cambodia caused further protests in the days leading up to May 4th. An ROTC building on campus was burned. There was a night of rioting in downtown Kent (both blocks of it), but a lot of that was do to bars closing early on a night when a basketball game the bar patrons had watched had not turned out how they wanted. The riot downtown led to students being forced back onto campus and hit with a curfew and other restrictions. The mayor of Kent called Governor James Rhodes, who sent for the National Guard. The Guard unit that was on campus on May 4th had been on duty in Cleveland for some time and was sent to Kent when they'd expected to be going home. A student rally was scheduled for May 4th and students met in an area of campus called The Commons. The guard unit came in and tried to break up the rally. They marched toward the students and chased them up Blanket Hill. Once the Guard unit reached the top of the hill, some of the protestors who had been fleeing turned and began to throw rocks, bottles, etc. I don't recall which guardsman fired the first shot, but it didn't take long until others joined in. Four students were killed and, I believe--although it's been a long time since I studied this--that seven other students were wounded. Two of the students who were killed hadn't even been at the protest, but had just been walking to class.
I went to Kent State. That's why I remember this. I had to put up with four goddamn years of people who, after having asked where I went to school and having been answered, quipped, "You're not worried about getting shot, are ya?" I had to put up with the self-righteous members of the May 4th Task Force, doofi (plural of doofus) who took the responsibility on themselves to make sure people remembered what had happened, mostly by not bathing until the stench of them made passersby think of sadness and anguish.
I should take a quick second to clarify something here: People who teach at or attend Kent State refer to the shootings simply as "May 4th". The press, when they still talked about it on the anniversaries, always called it "Kent State", but of course, that would have caused massive confusion to the students who attended the school.
"Man, Kent State was a tragedy."
"Yeah, the football team hasn't won their division in years."
In the theater department, of which I was a part, May 4th was the subject of any number of truly awful plays. I'm sure it still is. I took part in one which I like to think wasn't that awful, just very, very earnest.
What I remember most about May 4th--the event, not the date--is the memorial that was dedicated my freshman year. It's actually very nice. It sits on a hill adjacent to the place where the students were killed. It's four parallel walls, a patio and a long bench, all marble, with a placard. It was a lovely spot to go to when one needed to sit quietly and reflect. I felt a lot of need for that in college. In spring, the hill was covered in daffodils, one for each soldier killed in Vietnam.
At Kent State, the day was called Remembrance Day (or something like that, it's been a long, long time, people) and there was a candlelight vigil the night before. I don't know if they still do it every year or if it's been too long and the students don't feel the need anymore. But I usually--usually, mind you, not always--think about it when I realize, as I did today, that the fourth of May had rolled around again.
Now, the 8th of May, I've been informed by friends, is National Outdoor Intercourse Day, which is a lot less depressing to celebrate.
Anyway, in remembrance of the shootings, I think I'll move the horoscopes to tomorrow this week.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Ode to Nelly
Very odd. For a little while there, I was unable to get to my blog. When I typed in my address, I just got a blank page. I was worried that maybe I'd started to go blind, like the older sister on Little House on the Prairie.
But I'm not like Mary. No, I'll never triumph over blindness, open a school and marry the guy who will later go on to create Malcolm in the Middle. No, I'm much more like Nelly. Nelly Olson, the misunderstood monster.
Everyone thought Nelly was just a bitch. Not true. Nelly just needed the love of that nerdy little guy who came along in, I believe, season 5. Then she blossomed like the flower she'd always been meant to be.
Oh, Nelly. You were so sad, struggling to find yourself and taking it out on others when you couldn't. Your mother certainly didn't help, with her materialism and her shrewish ways. No wonder your father fantasized so often about killing her. No wonder you lived your life like a candle in the wind, never knowing who to cling to when the rain came in. I wish I could have known you, but I was just a kid. Your TV series ended long before your legend ever did.
Go to hell, Half-Pint.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
One Last Pope Bit
Okay, I promise I'll stop writing about this guy, but this morning I couldn't resist. While lying in bed, listening to Weekend Edition, I was informed that the new pontiff appeared at the window of his apartment. A little later, I was looking at the NY Times site and I found a picture with a story, confirming that, yes, the pope went to his apartment's window and looked out.
This got me thinking. What other exciting things is the new pope doing? So I reviewed the tapes from my 24/7 Pope-Cam and here's what his holiness has been up to: