Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Grey Grows My Beard
With the presidential primary racing toward its most crucial point and Turkey's invasion of northern Iraq threatening to further destabilize the region and the American economy tanking, there's really only one thing of importance in my mind:
Why the fuck do the white hairs in my beard grow at such a rapid rate in comparison to the youthful-looking hairs?
Seriously, I'll trim my beard and, two goddamn days later, I've got two dozen inch-long Granddad Specials sprouting from my chin.
Now, I'm not all that freaked out by the aging process. (Somewhat, but not extremely.) You're not going to find me running to the drugstore for a package of Just for Men. Frankly, I find beard hair that's too uniform in color to be a little creepy.
But neither am I anxious to sport a Sean Connery-esque face rug. *sigh* I guess I'm going to have to start tweezing.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Aries: For unknown reasons, your farts have become extra potent today. We're talking weaponized here.
Taurus: You wake up from a dream this week with a brilliant new candy idea: Gummi Jesus!
Gemini: This is not a good week to run outside naked from the waist down and ask strangers to evaluate your bush. But then, there's never really a good time for that, is there?
Cancer: You're frustrated this week by what you perceive to be a lack of control on your part. This is probably because you're usually drunk.
Leo: Celebrate the intergenerational connections in your life, possibly by putting up with a phone call from your senile grandma who constantly confuses you with your more successful cousin.
Virgo: Oven-ready lasagna noodles? What will they think of next?!?
Libra: Somebody needs to sit you down and explain to you just how annoying it is that you're constantly singing "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" under your breath.
Scorpio: Is drawing a mustache on your face really the best way to look more mature?
Sagittarius: You're a little nervous that next Tuesday's primaries may spell the end for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Yup. That sounds about right.
Capricorn: Let's try to get to the heart of why you're such a loser. We could start with the fact that you consider Millard Fillmore to be your greatest hero.
Aquarius: You are still absolutely mystified by the phrase "That dog won't hunt."
Pisces: Quick question: What the fuck made you think that putting a staple in your forehead was, in any way, a good idea? You're not really doing much to dispel the notion that Pisces are stupid.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Hey folks, after a brief pause, we're back this week with a very, very special episode of The Conversation.
This week: The First Annual Convy Awards!
That's right, it's an awards ceremony that's special enough to invoke the name of the man, the legend, Bert Convy.
It's pretty damned amazing. So head on over to The Conversation at Podomatic.com or subscribe to us on iTunes to get your dose of audio wit.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
And so I did it.
After five months of not running, I trudged out in the snow and ran four miles. Okay, that's a lie. I ran most of four miles, but I also pussied out and walked three or four times. Not for great distances, but long enough for my flab to stop jiggling, then I'd start running again.
And not to toot my own horn, y'all, but I knocked out 11-minute miles. That's right. I'm that fucking fast.
Still, as dispiriting as it is to get lapped by an eighty-year-old dude who's running with his colostomy bag, I felt good when I was done. At least, after I'd wiped the vomit off of my shoes.
People, a four-mile run was nothing to seven months ago. Nothing! And today, I practically crawled it! *sigh* I've got a long, painful slog back uphill to semi-fitness.
Friday, February 22, 2008
So It's Come to This
It's been months since I've run. Months. When my back problems were at their worst, I didn't run because I was scared that my fucking spine would crack in two. Since my epidural, I've figured that I probably could run, but I've gotten out of the habit and, I was sort of giving myself the next shot (scheduled for Monday, for the record) as my target date.
Fuck that. If the sidewalks weren't covered in snow and I didn't have a bowl and a half of delicious macaroni and cheese in my stomach, topped off by a little bit--by which I mean a lot--of cookies and cream, I'd be out running right fucking now.
Y'see, my wife just needed some help figuring out the weight of some photographic equipment. She's got to lug it around for a race she's shooting tomorrow morning and wanted to know how much actual poundage she'd have strapped to her back. So I grabbed it and hopped on the scale. Then I set it down and weighed myself again to measure the difference.
And I fucking weigh over two hundred pounds. I'm about to puke all that food up. Two hundred motherfucking pounds! Never, never in my life, never in my 37 pathetic, flabby years on this planet, have I ever topped out over two hundred.
But now, after months of inactivity without the least little bit of dietary restraint, I'm fatter than I've ever fucking been in my life.
Fuck this. I'm running in that race tomorrow. I'm not going to sit idly by while my body starts to resemble a well-chilled mound of jell-o salad. I've never been what you'd call "happy" with my body, but I've never been frightened of it.
So I need to hit the streets. I hereby authorize any reader of this blog to smack desert out of my hand anytime you see me shoveling it toward my porcine face. Oh, sweet smoothie-drinking Jesus, my self-hatred knows no bounds.
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to cry gravy tears until I fall into a fat fucking sleep.
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Feeling pretty damned cool this morning. I went to move my car last night to the Friday-appropriate side of the street. There was a nice big space right across from our apartment when I walked the dogs, so I threw them in the car and went to make the switch, only to realize that the people in front and behind me had wedged me in so fucking tightly that I couldn't get out.
It's just so demoralizing.
I resigned myself to taking a 45-minute drive around the neighborhood this morning to find a parking space. I cried myself to sleep.
And then, upon waking this morning, I learned that New York had been hit by a crippling winter storm! I flew to the computer, hit the NYCDOT Website and was delighted to find out that alternate side parking had been suspended today for snow removal.
So take THAT, meter maid!
I'm so damned glad I wasn't able to move my car last night. There are fewer things more irritating than moving your car, only to find out that you didn't have to.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
McCain Faces Down Press
Presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) held a heated press conference this morning to address a report in today's New York Times which alleges that McCain carried on an extra-marital affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman.
A clearly angry McCain, his voice cracking with emotion, denied any relationship with Ms. Iseman. "I understand, having been in politics for as long as I have, that no person can run for the highest office in the land without suffering through the slings and arrows that the press lobs, but this attack on my character and my marriage goes too far."
McCain's wife, Cindy, was by his side for the duration of the press conference, her face betraying no anger at the humiliation she was enduring on such a public stage. Mrs. McCain limited her comments to a brief refutation of the allegation: "My faith that John McCain is a good husband, and would be a great president, has never been stronger."
The high point of the press conference came when, in response to a question from the Washington Post's Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, the senator pulled down his pants and waved his flaccid penis in front of the crowd.
"Does this stupid fucking flap of skin look like it's been erect in the last decade? I haven't had a hard-on since fucking Cheers went off the air. Now let's drop this fucking horse shit and get back to discussing my goddamned economic policies."
This seemed to settle the matter and the subsequent questions dealt mostly with McCain's plans for further steps should the economic stimulus package passed recently by Congress prove inadequate.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Aries: You find yourself a little turned on by Barack Obama's "Houston, we've achieved lift-off here" comment after last night's Wisconsin victory. You need to get laid, Aries.
Taurus: A beautiful, glorious picture comes into your life this week. The stars are a little vague on what this picture is. So it could be a Vermeer at the museum or a snapshot of your boss fucking a goat. There's a pretty wide range, actually.
Gemini: Great. Now what are you going to do with those 100,000 "Re-elect Castro" bumper stickers you had printed up.
Cancer: Strangely enough, you really kind of miss stamps that you had to lick.
Leo: The naked Lindsay Lohan pictures have you engaged in a war with yourself. Your brain says "No!" while the hand with which you masturbate sings "Yes!"
Virgo: Yes, coffee is a good way to wake yourself up in the morning, Virgo, but for Christ's sake, you don't snort it.
Libra: Shame such as you've never known comes crashing down on your head today, Libra, when you suddenly realize that you've never listened to The Conversation. What the fuck is wrong with you, anyway?
Scorpio: Maybe the reason you haven't had sex in eleven months is that you're only comfortable getting it on to your favorite John Phillip Sousa march. Try some Barry White, man.
Sagittarius: You make a new acquaintance this week with whom you have much in common. Except that he's a convicted murderer. So, y'know, you probably don't want to go on a golfing trip with him.
Capricorn: You discover your Achilles heel today, Capricorn. It happens when you get shot in your heel.
Aquarius: Today is the perfect day to try out a new recipe, Aquarius. Maybe you could create something edgy, like a cake frosted with liver! Delicious!
Pisces: Desperate for a little human contact, you find yourself tackling strangers on the street today. Maybe you should hire an "escort."
Spent some time with my niece and nephew this weekend. Holy shit, those kids are awesome.
We also bought them the new They Might Be Giants album, Here Come the 123s. Which rocks.
We watched the DVD with them and the songs haunt me still. I may have to buy the album for myself before we even have a kid. Seriously, my kids are going to get sick of it. "Jesus, Dad, can't we listen to some fucking Supertramp or something?"
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
And Sometimes You Need a Week Off
Hey folks. Sorry about the lack of mediocre prose for the last nine days. Hopefully, people got their share of what passes for my thoughts by listening to The Conversation.
Last week was wacky. I was wrapping up a marking period at work and grading projects and quizzes until I could grade no longer.
Then, this weekend, my wife and I drove to Ohio to surprise my mother for her 60th birthday. (Again, Happy Birthday, Mom!)
We drove back yesterday, touring through beautiful Pennsylvania. When I say "beautiful", I mean, of course, dull and uninspiring. I'm sorry, those of you who reside in the Keystone State, but, after seven years of driving back and forth across your long-ass state to see my parents, I'm so fucking sick of Pennsylvania that even hearing the word Punxsutawney makes me want to puke up a groundhog-size load of vomit.
Anyway, I'm back now and I'm off this week, which should make it a bit easier for me to make with the word-forming. Hope you used your Presidents' Day to give thanks to God for George W. Bush.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Right Said, Colin
So we went to see the new movie from playwright Martin McDonagh. It's a movie starring Colin Farrell and Brendon Gleeson as two hitmen hiding out in Belgium after a London job goes wrong. It's called In Bruges.
Good movie. In it, Farrell's character seems unimpressed with the city's medieval charms. He calls it, several times, a "shithole". Ferrell himself wasn't exactly enamored of the place, apparently. He went on Letterman last week and admitted that the town bored him silly.
My wife and I laughed our asses off. Because we've been there, you see. Nice place, but goddamn is it dull. Way back when, as I was just starting this blog up, I wrote about the place. Now, I don't normally ever do this, but I thought I'd go ahead and repost that entry. Just so I could feel vindicated in my opinion because Colin Farrell agrees with me.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
The Conversation Goes Corporate
Folks, believe it or not, The Conversation is now listed on iTunes. Leaving behind our history as a scrappy little indie podcast, we've joined the ranks of The Fox News Podcast and Anne Coulter Discusses Her Anal Fissure (a personal favorite of mine.)
If you haven't checked out the podcast because you're afraid of having a site like Podomatic in your browser history, you can now find us listed on iTunes, tucked into the News & Politics section. Alternatively, you can just go to iTunes and search for us with either "The Conversation" or "Karl Baloneypants".
Additionally, we've now got a brand-spankin' new Conversation blog up. You can go there for extra content, exciting Conversation-related news or when just listening to us isn't enough.
And I promise I'll have some non-podcast posts up here soon. Just not this morning, as I have to trek up to the Bronx and spend my Saturday morning putting up a bulletin board in a hall at my school.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Without You, We're Just Blathering to Ourselves
Folks, I don't want to sound like a pimp, but where's my money, bitch?
No, sorry. That wasn't actually where I was headed with that. What I meant to say is that I need your help. I need your help to aid a struggling little podcast that just wants to make it in the big city.
So what I'm asking you to do is this: go over to Podomatic.com. Download and listen to The Conversation. If you even sort of like what you're hearing, tell a friend. If we don't get our listenership (I'm such a wordsmith) up soon, the people at Podomatic have threatened to kill us. They're mobbed up. They mean business.
Right now, we've just posted our sixth episode. It's full of the kind of insight you're not getting from all those corporate podcasters who work for The Man. We keep it real. But a slightly fictionalized version of "real". Anyway, please give it a listen. And thank you.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
The Vote of Doom!
Did my duty today. I shoved my way through crowds of campaign volunteers and pulled the lever for Barack Obama.
And when I say "pulled the lever," I am being quite literal. Here in Harlem, we've got no fancy-pantsed computer screens. We've got no dicey Diebold machines. It's the old-fashioned pull-the-lever machine like they showed in whichever School House Rock video where there was voting. Hearing that heavy-ass Ka-Thunk sound as you get ready to exit the booth really puts a nice little exclamation point on casting a ballot.
But afterwards, as I was walking my dogs and picking up their droppings, it hit me, I may have doomed Obama by voting for him.
I have never, you see, never in my twenty years of voting, picked a winner in the presidential primaries. My first time out, as I've mentioned before, in a haze of youthful enthusiasm, I voted for Jesse Jackson. Wouldn't do it today, as I now realize that he's a preacher, but it made sense to me at the time.
Four years later, as a pot-smoking college student, I did the logical thing and voted for Jerry Brown. Actually, the pot-smoking had very little to do with it. A friend of mine was a Brown-backer and laid out his policies for me, which fit very nicely with my own beliefs. I even went to see the man speak. About which I remember very little except that I wore a t-shirt with a big-ass hole in it.
Clinton ran un-opposed in '96, so the next time I was able to vote in a primary, I was huge into Bill Bradley. Poor, stretched-out, jowly Bill Bradley. I loved that guy. For a while there, he was looking like a Democratic spoiler, just as Mister McCain was looking on the Right. But then corporate money stepped in and took the decision out of our hands. This was the election that put me off our electoral system. I was so disgusted by the many, many faults in the way we do things.
Which is why I joined the Green Party and had no ballot to cast in '04. Nader ran unopposed in that primary, I believe. Or, if he had competition, it was a professional macramé artisan who was running on a platform of "Less War! More Herbal Tea!" or something along those lines. So I had fuck-all to do with John Kerry getting the nod. Actually, I don't remember if there was anybody in the Democratic candidate pool I had the least bit of interest in.
Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I have never--ever--voted for a winner in the primary. And, so, Barack, I offer you my sincere apologies.
We've got a somewhat delayed (but totally fucking worth it, y'all) edition of The Conversation up at Podomatic. If you're into jokes at Britney's expense, election chatter and the occasional spurt of fecal talk, download it right now!
And check out our snazzy goddamn new logo.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Well That Was Fun
Two weeks after my first epidural steroid shot, which was actually very, very effective and essentially turned the volume way, way down on my pain, I went back today for my second. No fuck-ups this time. I hadn't taken any Advil in ages. I cut off food and water at 6 o'clock this morning.
Left work early, missing one period of teaching, walked the dogs, grabbed my MRI films, which I've had to cart all over the goddamn place lately. Fucking MRI films don't fit into backpacks or anything. I've got nowhere to put them, so they always end up riding precariously on my lap. They're a pain in the ass. I got to the place ridiculously early and they surprised the hell out of me by shooting me right in. I disrobed, put on their friggin' gown, cap and booties, and was ushered over to a hospital bed. Just like last time, only speedier.
So I'm laying there and staff are whizzing by. I've got to pause for just a second here to say that, if you're going in for a procedure and you're expecting a hospital kind of thing and you go to one of these little out-patient surgical dealies, it's a real let-down. Perfectly nice waiting room and very personable staff, but it's, I'll be honest, a little dumpy when compared to an actual hospital.
Anyway, the anesthesiologist comes over and it's not the guy I had last time. Actually, I don't recognize any of the staff from last time, but whatever. And she starts asking me the questions as she's having me sign stuff and she's putting the IV in my hand. At one point, I tell her I have a cold and she gets a bit concerned. Seems very worried about whether I've had a fever. I assure her that I haven't. She explains that, when giving a patient anesthesia, you want to be very careful that their breathing isn't going to get fucked up, so when someone's got a cold, you need to err on the side of caution.
So she goes away and I'm lying there awhile, watching the guy across the room from me, who's apparently had some really awesome drugs pumped into him, because he's laughing his head off at a joke the nurse told five minutes ago. I'm waiting for my doc to show up and get this show on the road. I realize I showed up early, but it'd be really nice if we could get it over with.
Eventually, my doctor shows up and confers with the nursing staff. They love to confer, those doctors. He comes over and asks about my cold. I tell him I'm a bit stuffy, got a slight cough, but nothing too hideous. He tells me we're going to have to reschedule. Something about if I were to get a fever tonight, they wouldn't know if it was from my cold or the procedure and we really can't do it today.
For a few minutes, I'm a little peeved. I leave work early, schlep all the way down here, take my goddamn clothes off and get an IV shoved into my goddamn hand and now they don't want to take the extra ten minutes to actually do the fucking procedure? Then I relax a bit and remind myself that these guys were the ones that did the first procedure two weeks ago, which gave me relief from the pain that's been driving me fucking buggy for months and months. I'd be an utter douche if I was pissed.
So here I am. I came home, made some food ('cause eight whole hours without eating is torture, I tell ya, torture!) and wiped away my tears. At least, I tell myself, in a world gone crazy, I can take comfort in the fact that the Hannah Montana 3-D concert was the highest grossing movie in the country this weekend. Truly, a blessing.
Friday, February 01, 2008
The Dish Rack
We use a wooden dish rack. Sits by the sink on a frequently-changed towel which collects the run-off. (I've never been a fan of the plastic draining board. I can't put my distaste for them into words, exactly.) Wooden dish racks are, by their nature, pretty cheap things. They're not carved whole from oak trees.
So when our last dish rack popped a couple of staples, I put up with it for a few weeks, pushing the staples back into their holes, placing mugs on the cup rack with Jenga-like care. But I quickly got tired of having to treat the goddamn thing gingerly, so I went to a housewares store last weekend and picked up a new one.
I could, I suppose, have tried working some glue magic. The wood wasn't moldering or anything like that. (I've seen some moldy dish racks, people; it's not goddamn pretty.) I could have done what I'd done in years past and pounded a couple of smallish nails into the thing to hold it together. Trouble with that is, you're constantly raking your hands/arms/penis against the nails accidentally. Okay, probably not your penis, but it could happen.
But, seeing as how these frigging things run fifteen bucks or so, I decided I'd treat myself. I set the old one in the living room, awaiting Friday, when I could take it out for pick-up.
Actually, I wasn't entirely sure if it counted as recycling, in which case I'd bundle it up with the paper and cardboard and such, or if it was more like a piece of discarded furniture, which just sits on its own by the trashbags. I weighed this over in my mind for a few days and finally came to the decision that, since it couldn't be easily broken down and made into new paper products, it most likely didn't count as recycling. So I left it out of any bag. My soul felt lighter once I'd achieved certainty in this position.
So I set it outside this afternoon.
I walked the dogs about ten minutes ago. And I was highly disturbed to find that someone had taken the goddamn dish rack. Now, again, I can understand, to a degree, how someone might covet the thing. As I've previously stated, there was not mold on it. Folded up as it was, you couldn't see the loose staples.
But, leaving aside the fact that the dish rack looked awesome, we're still left with the question: Who the fuck uses a dish rack that they found on the goddamn sidewalk, where dogs poop, drunks vomit and people freely fling their boogers? I'm just shocked and appalled, folks.
And I pray to baby Jesus that I never get invited to dinner at this douche-nugget's house.
Home Sweet Harlem
Walking home from the train stop the other day and I realized something. In May, we'll have lived here--in this apartment--for six years. That's the goddamn longest I've lived anyplace since I was thirteen. And, if we live here for another year, I'll have lived here longer than I've lived anyplace my entire fucking life. That's just such a weird notion.
In college, of course, you're moving all the time. You can't live in the dorms year-round and you're an utterly spastic freak if you'd want to. When you're living off-campus, you're usually not in the most stable living arrangements. Sometimes you're only there for nine months and then leave in the summer. Sometimes you get sick of your roommates and run the fuck away. Other times the place in which you're living is rightfully condemned and you're forced to find other accommodations.
Then, post-university, you're figuring shit out. You move to a new city. It sucks, so you move someplace else. You move in with someone. In some cases, you split up and move out. In my case, you move with that person to a less roach-infested place with an attic in which you'll accumulate an awe-inspiring amount of crap in four years' time before the place catches on fire.
But, as you get older, moving becomes a bigger and bigger hassle. You've got more and nicer stuff. You don't have the same circle of young pothead friends who'll help you move in exchange for pizza and bonghits. And you're just too goddamn lazy to do it.
Now, when I say "you" throughout all this, I mostly mean "me." I'm certain there are 37-year-olds out there who change abodes like I change underwear. (That would be fortnightly, by the by.) But that's not me.
My wife and I have, over the last couple of years, discussed the fact that, when we have a kid, we're going to have to start looking for something larger. (Wanna guess what a two-bedroom place in New York costs? Do ya?) Sadly, infertility has meant that we haven't had to try. Trust me, we'd both love to have that particular reason to rent a U-Haul.
Anyway, thinking about our time here in Harlem, all I can really say is that it's fucking flown by. It's like that song from Fiddler on the Roof. What's it called? Oh, right, "To Life". Wait, that's not it.