Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

#1 at FIGHT!

No six human beings together could take me in a fight. That's any 6 human beings on the planet - the next best 6 at fighting in the whole world. I say, "the next best 6" because I, of course, am the best. I am #1 when it comes to FIGHT! So it wouldn't matter which 6 people you chose to come at me. You could pick numbers 2 through 7, wouldn't make a difference. They couldn't beat me even all coming at me together, in concert. Which just demonstrates the severe drop-off, the sheer gap in fight skill between me and the next one down. I can take all six of the next ones down. I can take them down.

But what about 7 people together, you ask? Well, let me explain a bit, let you in on the mechanics. If it were the 2nd- through seventh-best together, plus some random guy...he isn't going to make such a difference. They're still all going down. He might distract me a bit, but that's not going to help anybody out! However, if that 7th fighter was the 8th best in the world...then the seven of them together could take me out. That's why I drew the line at six in the first place. It's a safety issue.

I don't mean my safety! I mean theirs. Those seven or eight people would beat me in the end, sure. But they're not going to win unscathed. I mean, these are among the ten best fighters in the world! I know who they all are - I know them on sight. They're normally scattered all over the world, so the only reason for me to see even any four of them together at one time is that they're coming to take me down. I see four or five of them together, too many familiar faces at once - I know what's coming. I know the score instantly: it's going down. I'm neither blind nor stupid! And in a situation like that, I can only assume that it's my life in danger. In a situation like that, I will respond with ultimate force. I am perfectly justified in doing so.

That is why I say, it's their safety. Because even in that losing effort, I am going to take at least several of them out - for keeps. But it's fucking sad for it to come to that. What can I say, they should have known better. Shouldn't have come after me to take me down.

They can't stand me being so much better, is all. Can't stand me being #1! They want a #1 they can push around a bit. The current #2, heck - numbers 3 and 4 together could take her out. That's what they want. That's exactly what they don't get, with me. My margin of skill is simply too excessive. I'll bump into a couple or three of them together sometimes, every now and then. At a convention or something. I'll be smacking them each in the head, pushing them against each other. You know. B-b-b-b-b-b-ing their lips and shit. They don't even try to stop me. What can they do? They know I've got it ALL OVER them! They just say things like, "hey come on man!" and "oh, real mature!" I always get a good laugh on that!

That's the reward I get, for a lifetime of hard work and dedication to my discipline. I get to be the best.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

a thought

No paranoid is satisfied until he turns everyone against him.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A bird lies dead.

A bird lies dead
in the first frost of late autumn.
A dead sparrow, I think.
Something small, brownish,
dead at any rate. One
of the birds that hop,
not walk.

I think of the birds
that you see, turning as one
in numberless flocks, wheeling
and contracting - individual birds
beating wings so hard, you picture
tiny looks of concentration
on each birds' face.
The whole flock
appears at once, rushing up
into the air in one great shape,
as if at some sudden
invisible call.

Was it the cold
that stopped its puny heart?
Or did the cold come after -
drawing a cold blanket over.
Frost feathers frozen windows,
and no two snowflakes are alike
they say; nor any two feathers
on this little dude.
Poor guy. His head lies cocked,
as if listening.
I think that he died
waiting

waiting
for the call to take off.

Can of Worms

I bet if they sold cans of worms, a lot of people would buy one just to have a handy metaphor.

I would really love a can of worms for my desk. A realistic-looking Campbell's can, that old red-and-white label, only with the word "WORMS" on it instead of "CHICKEN NOODLE." That would be neat to have handy! Whenever the situation demanded it, I could pick it up, show it to the person bothering me and say, "do you really want to open THIS?"

No. No, you didn't. I didn't think so.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Biscotti Pt. 2

Perhaps I should have said, in the previous installment about Biscotti, that people used to like biscotti. Because, it seems like there's a little bit of low-level biscotti backlash out there. It's no longer looked at as a yummy treat, so much as a nearly-passed passing fad.

Well, I don't know why that is. I mean, people still drink their espressos and cappuccinos like they're going out of style, don't they? And what goes better with that? Give biscotti a break!

It's really just cookies.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Self-Reflection

I just spent some time looking myself in the eye, and I found the experience to be a pleasant one. Long I stood, gazing into those unguessed depths. My own depths - heretofore unguessed! At least by me.

Depths of cruelty. Depths of curiosity. Depths of despair. Depths of lust and perversity! Depths of mercy and hope. Depths of simplicity. I think that I scared myself - but then quickly I reassured myself again. Then I started making funny faces.

Taken as a whole, the experience was quite enlightening! I recommend it to all, as a spiritual exercise.

WARNING: Always consult your karmaologist before embarking on any sort of spiritual exercise regimen.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Beer Appreciator

I'm a real appreciator of fine beers and ales. You could say I'm a lager snob, I don't deny it. But I like all styles, as long as they're done well. I like lagers, ales, stouts, porters, wheats, barley wines. And that's not even counting all of these so-called fruit beers. Which, admittedly, I'm less keen on...but even there, I've tasted some exceptional examples of the craft. So I keep an open mind, always.

When I'm evaluating a beer, instead of drinking it straight from the bottle or can, I always like to pour it out into a pint glass so I can appreciate the color and all that. Give it a bit of air, you know. But you have to be careful to check the glass first! Nowadays I always check. One time, I didn't check, and after pouring out the entire contents of a truly beautiful brew, I noticed a little dead black bug floating on the foamy surface of the amber waves of ale! I was so furious at the prospect of having to dump the whole glass untasted that instead, I deliberately ate the bug!

It was okay.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Special Guest Shot #3: Benjamin Semper, Covert Government Operative pt1

dogimo: Today we are very pleased to welcome a pretty exciting guest to the program, a man whose name you probably have not heard before: mister Benjamin Semper. If you haven't heard of him, rest assured it's for a good reason: Ben Semper was a highly-placed covert government operative back in the late 80s to mid 90s.

Semper: Small correction. I was not in fact a Field Operative for the majority of my tenure. There were some occasions when I did operate in the field, in the capacity of Junior Associate Operative attached to certain of the units that I helped to bring into being.

dogimo: Ah, thank you for the correction. The amount of info that I had going into this, pretty sketchy. So you were more a shadowy power behind-the-scenes?

Semper: Yes, well, more than you might expect. Primarily, I was a grant writer.

dogimo: I see! Which...that is a skill in high demand, in many fields. I'm a bit surprised to think of espionage as one of them.

Semper: You would be correct to be surprised. I myself was surprised when I applied for a position as a grant writer in the political science department at [ CLASSIFIED ] University, only to be handed secrecy agreements to sign, and to be told by my interviewers that they were recruiting not for a university position but for the government.

dogimo: But why does the government have to write grant proposals to itself? Isn't that just more unnecessary bureaucracy? Can't you just, "Get 'er done"?

Semper: I hate that saying. Don't say that. To answer your question, in the old days we didn't have to. But then, by the late 1970s, when the brakes were being put on a lot of Intelligence programs and spending across the board, Congress was looking to find ways to institute some controls on the process. One of the things they came up with was grant proposals for any new programs requiring funding.

dogimo: And these proposals would be approved by whom?

Semper: Formally, approval or rejection was determined by a small joint committee composed of representatives from each key agency plus 2 members from each house of Congress, reporting directly to the Covert Intelligence Oversight Subcommittee, which at the time was housed within a permanent sub-joint subsection of the subcommittee on appropriations within the House Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate. But during my time, all the real decisions were made by this guy we called Blackhead. That's a code name.

dogimo: Was he black? Did he have acne?

Semper: I never met the man. I think it's just a name they came up with when they were working up the new code name list. Of names to give out. There's an alphabeticized list, you get what you get.

dogimo: Do you have a code name?

Semper: I had several, for the different missions that I was attached to. That's all classified, I can't tell you any of them.

dogimo: No cool ones, huh?

Semper: It's classified.

dogimo: So tell me, when you were writing up a grant proposal for a new project or mission, what sorts of strategies did you use to get it approved?

Semper: Well, it was a pretty difficult time for a while there. All of the pressure was in the direction of cutting back, not expanding into new operations. But after a while, I was the one to figure out that the guy making the final decisions had a real thing for acronyms. That was the breakthrough. After that - you still had to take pains to make your proposal smack of fiscal responsibility, but if you could dress it up with an impressive acronym, you had a better than even chance.

dogimo: I love acronyms. Do you have any acronyms that you came up with that you're particularly proud of?

Semper: There were a few. I guess if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Covert Operations Strike Team Expeditionary Force For Extralegal Commando Type Insertion Via Espionage.

dogimo: ... gimme a second ... say it again!

Semper: "Covert Operations Strike Team Expeditionary Force For Extralegal Commando Type Insertion Via Espionage"..."C.O.S.T. E.F.F.E.C.T.I.V.E."

dogimo: A-ha...! Nice. Covers both key areas of concern.

Semper: Fiscally responsible, yet...

dogimo: ...badass.

Semper: To put it delicately.

dogimo: Which illustrates what I've always said, a little Intelligence goes a long way!

Semper: Indeed it does.

-END OF PART 1-

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody

I was out of town. I just changed the date on it so it looks like it's not two days later.

That was some goooood sweet potatoes. She said just a little tweak of orange juice in there, a little dap of maple syrup - that's it!

They tasted like just great sweet potatoes, not at all like there was anything else put in there.

Sometimes the simplest secrets make all the difference.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Thing I Only Just Realized, That Everyone Else Probably Spotted Right Off

Pre-blended yogurt is just a scam so they can put less fruit in!

Another Great Opening Fizzles

Christianity encompasses four central mysteries. There is the Incarnation, there is the Redemption, there is the Resurrection, and there is the Final Judgment. In today's installment, we will be examining what makes a perfect burger so perfect.

A perfect burger needs to be thick - but not too thick. It should be juicy as well - but not too juicy. The bun should be soft but dense, able to stand up to the juices without getting soggy or falling apart. Seeds on the bun or a toasted bun are optional.

Toppings should consist of (top-to-bottom): one crisp leaf of fresh lettuce, one fat beefy slice of a Jersey-Fresh tomato, and one thin cross-section of an onion - with every other ring removed. Condiments should be limited to ketchup, which should be poured directly onto the onion - so that the ketchup gets into the onion gaps, and the ketchup and onion can really commingle flavors.

Underneath that goes the patty. The thing that everyone seems to forget these days is that - I don't care how rare or how well you want it on the inside - the surface of that burger must be charred. Not burnt. Charred. That's where a good 60% of your flavor comes from - those little charred bits.

Mmmmm-m. That's what I call a perfect burger! What do you mean, cheese? That wouldn't be a perfect burger! That would be a perfect cheeseburger.

NOTE: for ease of assembly, do not attempt to assemble the burger top-to-bottom as described above. Instead, put it together in reverse order - starting with the bottom bun, patty on top, onion (ketchup on top), tomato, lettuce, top bun! If you really, absolutely must employ mayonnaise, or mustard, or both - the place for those condiments is on the bottom bun. Spread the mayo on first, then the mustard. Your burger will no longer be a perfect one, but I suppose you know what you're getting into.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Subject: Fw: FW: WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT OUT OF LIFE?

I include the below as a blog post because I do not know 10 people.

> > YOU KNOW ME I NEVER FWD THESE, BUT COME ON!!
> >
> >
> > * A WOMAN IN DECATEUR BROKE THE CHAIN AND WAS
> DRAGGED BEHIND A CAR, HER KNEE GOT SCRAPED UP PRETTY
> BAD
> >
> > * A MAN IN WISCONSIN OPENED A BUSINESS ONLY TO
> WATCH IT FAIL. HE SHOULD OF KEPT THE CHAIN.
> >
> > * WHEN A POLICE DEPARTMENT COMMISSIONER BROKE THE
> CHAIN, HE WAS BOUGHT UP ON CHARGES!
> >
> > * A WOMAN WHO SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER BROKE THE
> CHAIN. NOBODY EVEN KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED TO HER.
> >
> > * WHEN RALPH OF NEBRASKA CITY KEPT THE CHAIN, HE
> FOUND HIS WALLET THAT HE LOST
> >
> > * DESIREE OF NORTH CAROLINA WAS GOING TO BREAK THE
> CHAIN. LATER SOMETHING HAPPENED TO CHANGE HER MIND!
> AND SHE SENT IT ON TO 10 OTHERS. WITH HER LUCKY
> HUNCH, SHE THEN WENT AND PURCHASED A LOTTERY TICKET.
> >
> > MEANWHILE:
> > * JOHN FROM THE HARDWARE STORE NEVER FORWARDS
> IT ON. WHY DO YOU THINK HE WORKS IN A HARDWARE STORE??
> >
> > * MICHELLE FROM DECATEUR IS THE SISTER OF THE
> WOMAN WHO GOT DRAGGED BEHIND THE CAR. YOU CAN BET
> THAT MICHELLE KEPT THE CHAIN! IN FACT, IT WAS
> MICHELLE WHO SENT IT TO HER SISTER.
> >
> > * SHE WAS ALSO THE ONE DRIVING THE CAR.
> >
> > * RICHARD FROM JONSON COUNTY SENT THE CHAIN ON TO
> 10 FRIENDS. HE WAS SELECTED FOR A NETWORK REALITY
> SHOW!
> >
> >
> > IF YOU ARE THE TYPE PERSON WHO WOULD OF FORWARD IT ON, YOU BETTER FORWARD IT! TO AS MANY PERSONS AS POSSIBLE - HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU KNOW? PROVIE IT!
>
> IF YOU ARE NOT THE TYPE PERSON TO FORWARD IT ON, THEN I WILL TELL YOU A JOKE OF A SECRET IT IT IS JUST A HOAX. I MADE UP ALL THE HAPPENINGS AS A JOKE ON THE OTHER GUY. YOU SHOULD FORWARD IT TOO MAKE FUN OF AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE! TO BE TAUGHT A VALUABLE LESSON NOT TO! .
>
> ESPECIALLY IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO FORWARDS CHAIN-STYLE E-MAILS TO YOU THEN YOU BETTER SEND THEM THIS ONE. IF YOU DON'T, MAYBE SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN TO THEM.
>
> > YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE
> IF YOU DONT

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A penny for your thought of the day

I like to think of all times and places as equally unsuitable.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

You KNOW it.

For some reason, I'm incapable of responding appropriately to the sort of light, breezy greetings that pass between people who pass each other in the halls, or on the street. You know, that sort of,
Person 1: "hey, what's up?"
Person 2: "Nothing much, yourself?"
Or,
Person 1: "How are you doing?"
Person 2: "Doing good, doing well!"

It seems so simple, but I can't seem to process in time to give back a sensible rejoinder, without an unnatural lag-time that makes it seem forced. Most of the time, I'd just guess - leading to uneven results:
Person 1: "How's it going?"
Me: "Nothing much, yourself?"
Or,
Person 1: "What's up?"
Me: "Outstanding!"
Or,
Person 1: "How have you been?"
Me: "Nothing!"

Over time, I fell into the habit of responding to all comers with something that may not necessarily fit, but it wouldn't be clearly wrong...because it wouldn't be the obvious response for any of the other common greetings, either. I've gone through several of these "designated reply phrase" standbys, but the one that's stuck with me is: "You KNOW it." It works pretty well for just about anything:
Person 1: "Hey hey! How are ya?"
Me: "You KNOW it."
Or,
Person 1: "What's up?"
Me: "You KNOW it."
Or,
Person 1: "Where have you been?"
Me: "You KNOW it."

I think that ends up being a more indicative answer than any of those cliché responses anyhow. It's indicative of me, of what's up with me, of how I'm doing, of where I've been.

That's just how I do it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Black Ops Reminiscences

I thought back to my early days with the Agency. Back then, back when I'd first transferred over from the Company, some of the others and I formed a little outfit that we liked to call "the Project." We were putting together a program known only as "the Operation." Only a few members of the Project knew that the outcome of the Operation, if it went according to program, would result in a huge shakedown at the highest levels of the Agency. At least, that was the Plan.

As the "outsider inside," having only just come over from the Company, my knowledge and insights would be crucial. Certain phases of the Operation were wickedly subtle, and my information, along with my personal knack for inscrutability, was to play a key part in the central deception involved.

But there were other phases that were not so subtle. Phases that required more direct action: intimidation, even elimination. There was one man in the Project whose Job it was to handle such Tasks. He reveled in it. To the targets he hunted for us, he was known by several names: "The Devastationer"..."The Destructicutioner"..."He Who Hunts Us." But none of us knew his real name. His whole life was a trail of blind alleys, false fronts and conflicting loyalties. And when everything went South, he was left holding the Bag.

Now it seemed likely that some of those chickens were coming home to Roost.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

LABOR DAY: A CELEBRATION

Labor Day is nigh upon us again, and we're all in the mood to enjoy so many things. The waning days of summer...the first brisk hints of autumn in the air...cookouts, school semesters, a 3-day weekend...the start of the Football Season! So many things. Yet how many of us take time out to meditate on the whole purpose and theme of Labor Day? That's right! I think a little history lesson is in order.

As we know, the modern era of the Organized Labor Movement was born in strife and struggle. The largest, strongest league of workers in the country - the AFL-CIO - was troubled by the emergence of an upstart league calling itself the NFL-CIO. The battle for superiority between the two was fought in the court of public opinion. NFL-CIO officials charged that the established league had grown complacent and boring. The AFL-CIO countered with the claim that the new league was all flash and no substance - sure, they could put points on the board, the negotiating board, but what about defense? Could they hold onto those gains? Could they prevent the opposition from making gains? What about pounding it out in the trenches, getting the job done with a smash-mouth run-first approach to labor negotiations? Eventually, the war of words died down, and the two rival organizations merged to form a stronger whole. One that catered to both styles, but was plagued by pointless strikes, salary-cap disputes, and free agency.

Such is the unavoidable story when it comes to organized labor. But I think it holds a lesson for us all: the gains made are more than worth it. It is common knowledge on a bumper sticker seen frequently enough: "The Labor Movement: The folks who brought you the weekend." It's true. Before laborers banded together to force change, employers could make you work all over the place and whenever they wanted. Then came the weekend...and finally, we could all exhale a sigh of relief, for at least a couple days (or 3 days, in this case). Over time, that weekend became a deeply-embedded, ingrained part of our culture and our society.

But consider this: walking among us, almost impossible to distinguish with the naked eye, are people who do not observe the traditional Saturday/Sunday weekend. Some of them are waiters. Others are emergency workers. Others attend gas stations, or provide security at functions. There are a whole host of businesses that remain open on Saturday and Sunday, and whose staffs must perforce toggle their schedules to cover those shifts. They end up with weekends on Monday and Tuesday, or in the middle of the week, or at random times. They go to work on Saturday and Sunday and sleep in on days you or I might be at work. Our first impulse is to let our hearts go out in sympathy for these poor folks, and it's a good impulse. But consider this: owing to their weaker ties to society at large, these people may very well be more likely to be sociopaths.

I think it's important to think about. I think it's important to meditate on the various aspects of labor, and the workplace, and the workforce, and particularly our heritage regarding these important things and ideas. And if you see any organized laborers over the next few days, take some time out to give them a big thanks on behalf of a grateful nation. Organized Labor: The Folks Who Brought You A 3-Day Weekend.

Here's to ya.

note from the management: We apologize for the delay in publication on this feature. My volunteer fact-checker went on strike. I can't be certain at this point, but I think she might be a sociopath. I have certain suspicions.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Certain Words Are Extra Hurtful pt.5

Now that we've thoroughly examined the problem, what can be done about it? Well, I have to say that current efforts as they stand are not getting the job done. It used to be, if anyone said a cussword on tv or wherever censorship held sway, a piercing *BLEEEP* would obliterate the entire word. Maybe take the tail end of the leading word and the tip of the following word with it! Depending on how zealous the censor was.

But that didn't last. After a while it became acceptable to bleep only the stressed syllable - but this made it perfectly obvious which curse was being uttered! It didn't stop there. These days, if the offending word is bleeped at all, you'll only get a meager picosecond blip of a bleep that doesn't so much as cover the vowel sound all the way. You end up hearing (sound magnified 5x to illustrate): "fffffuu*uuccccckkkkk!" - a tiny asterisk of a bleep that only serves as a decoration in the middle of the obscene vowel. The profanity is not the slightest bit obscured!

I think that if people were serious about bleeping curses, they'd bleep the consonants, not the vowel. Then you'd have some actual obscurantism going on: "Hey *o****-*u****! What the *e** are you doing over here? I just saw your *i*** over at Shelby's house, man, she was all *u***** *i**a* and putting her *i** and a** all up in Jerome's *a*e - and he's a *a**o*, man! That's just not right."

Another problem is these sound effects. At some point people began substituting random sound effects - gunshots, car horn blasts, animal noises - for the traditional *bleep*. This tends to undermine the seriousness of the underlying censorship. A favorite example from the early days of the trend is "The Humpty Dance" by the band Digital Underground. With words being "bleeped" by hi-hat cymbal and the trumpeting of an elephant, the line becomes: "Oh yes ladies - I'm really being sincere, 'cause in the [ tss-tss-tss ] my Humpty-nose will tickle your [ rrrRRRARHH!! ]." This sort of thing just makes using profanity seem even cooler. Besides which, the uncensored line is actually: "in the sixty-nine my Humpty-nose will tickle your rear." The number "sixty-nine" and the word "rear" are not profanities. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But by deliberately censoring non-offensive words, the song boosts its "outlaw" glamour quotient - it conveys the impression that it contains more profanity than it actually does. Such practices openly mock the very idea of censorship.

But then again, so do I, occasionally. So like I said, what can I say...it's a complex issue.

Poetic Interlude, almost

I have a poetry blog too! I'm not going to tell anyone where it is. It's hidden from public view.

It's really great. Some pretty sweet poems on there. I stick a poem in there whenever I hear that sweet song of the muse.

Which is ALL THE TIME.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Certain Words Are Extra Hurtful pt.4: The N-Word

And then, obviously...certain exceptions must be made. The N-Word, for instance. It's like Hitler. Even people who don't believe in Hell, generally concede that Hitler is there. It's sort of "understood." And even people who, like me, decry the very idea that certain words, just in their combination of sounds, are somehow "bad" - even people like me have to admit that the N-Word sort of rises above that. The N-Word is worse than bad. It's impossibly bad. It's irredeemably bad. How bad is it? It's so bad, it's like superbad. It's superbad TNT.

Although, I have to admit this: I am a bit confused as to why it was acceptable sitcom dialogue back the '70s. Either it's just a cyclical thing, and it will eventually calm back down again, or else...a far more frightening scenario: the N-Word is getting progressively more offensive as time goes on. It's becoming more and more bad. And it's already the baddest bad word on the books! How much worse can it get?

It could get worse. I picture it just getting more and more bad until it has become like one of those Unconscionable Curses like in one of those Harry Potter movies, so that whenever it's uttered, the Ministry of Profanity will sweep in on brooms (or something more suitable, I don't know, the "this situation" equivalent of brooms), and haul you off to Azkaban (or I don't know, some bad-word-themed equivalent. Asskablam? No, that's too potty-mouthish...not the sophisticated mark I try to aim for in here).

Anyway, it's a weird situation, there are a lot of confusing aspects as to just how and why it has grown to the status that it currently enjoys, and I'm not sure what to do with it. But I'm pretty sure I have to put it down as an exception to the rule. The N-Word is a genuinely bad set of syllables.

So don't say it!

If you're white.

You know what? I think I just realized what it is. And I think it makes sense. It's that African-Americans, as a people, have been put through so much agonizing b.s. by White America, that if they have decided as a group that they want to get excessively hysterical and sensitive about a two-syllable word...then honestly, the least that White America can do is humor them on that. And while I think that's essentially a patronizing, condescending stance for White America to take, to think it can just pat them on the head and refrain from using their special word, and that makes everything else all good...meanwhile continuing to perpetuate the same systems that keep their young men killing each other or rotting in prison, that keep their youth ensared in a street-minded pop culture that denigrates education and glorifies...

Wait. Can I say "denigrate"?

I think I can. Yeah, I can.

Anyway, that's all getting too complex. Point is: the N-Word is bad. And White America is exploiting that fact in some way, I'm sure of it. To draw attention away from...something.

It's a complex issue.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Assume. So?

You know what happens when you assume, don't you? Sure you do. When you assume, you accept a proposition as true without proof or demonstration.

It's a little bit like what happens when you suppose, or when you presume, only then it wouldn't make such a funny little explanation on Barney Miller or whatever dumbass sitcom that was, where it seemed so funny and clever, to make an "ASS" out of "U" and "ME."

But let me ask U something. If U assume...how does that make an ASS out of ME?

I'm willing to go to bat for the word "assume," and say that it doesn't even make an ASS out of U. It's pretty sad, really. We have at least a couple of generations of adults now, who profess never to assume anything, purely on those grounds. They wish not to make an "ASS" out of "U" and "ME." While I call that mighty considerate of them, they're really just making asses of themselves with the claim that they don't assume. They assume plenty. They assume all the live-long day.

Assumptions cannot be avoided. Everyone builds their daily routine almost entirely upon assumptions. We act and plan based on what we assume will happen - all sorts of things that, upon examination, are clearly beyond our direct control.

Those of us who drive down the street assume that other cars will obey traffic laws. Oh sure, we're all very alert with it. We tell ourselves that if the other guy runs a stoplight we can pull out a slick maneuver, but come on. Really. When you're driving at night, watching a row of onrushing headlights whiz past you on the other side of the road, with nothing between you but two lines of paint on the blacktop - you are dead, if one of those pairs of headlights drifts over into your lane. You assume they won't. You know such things happen, but you assume they won't.

When you go out to eat at a nice restaurant, you assume you won't end up with a case of deadly food poisoning. Such things happen, but you assume it won't happen to you. If you have a love, you assume he or she won't cheat on you. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, you assume.

There's nothing wrong with, certainly nothing stupid or asinine about making assumptions. You just have to be aware of the assumptions you make, and you have to be willing to test and examine them. You can't close your eyes to evidence that contradicts your assumptions, but neither can you function without assumptions. It would not be possible to live a normal life, without acting upon the presumed truth of a thousand little assumptions that one's life will continue normally as it has done (which generally, it does).

Everyone assumes, and it doesn't generally make an ass out of anyone. It's when you presume too much, that you make an ass out of yourself!

But I suppose you already knew that.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Certain Words Are Extra Hurtful pt.3

It's a complex issue, it's a complex issue. I just have to say, I have to clarify - I personally am all in favor of observing the proprieties. When I'm out and about amid strangers, I've got a mouth on me like a churchmouse. The whole point of the initial post was not that I advocate people using more profanity. Far from it. The point was simply that if you let someone offend you, if you let someone get to you simply on the basis of a "bad word" - that's just your own fault. And you're an idiot. There's no such thing as a "bad word." There are only arbitrary syllables that refer to objects and concepts. If you want to get offended by the object being referenced - fine. If you want to get offended by the concept being referenced - fine.

But don't get offended by the syllables! That's just childish voodoo nonsense.

So anyway, like I'm saying - I'm not talking to people who might or might not want to cuss, telling them "go ahead, dog!" I'm talking to people who might want to get offended by other peoples' cussing. I'm trying to be sympathetic. I'm trying to tell them - hey. Why on earth do you want to give people the power to upset you so easily? If you insist on being offended by any particular word, that is power that you give to every idiot in the world who would like to offend you. And hey, that's your decision - but it's also your fault. You're like the little pig who foolishly builds his house out of glass. Don't go blaming big Mr. Wolf, who comes around throwing those stones.

He don't mean nothing by it. It's just his way.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

11/11 11:11!

This should be some kind of holiday or something every year. A holiminute. It should also be observed twice that day, 11:11 AM and 11:11 PM. Or better yet! The party could commence at 11:11 AM and continue raucously until the stroke of 11:11 PM. I tell you, that would be cool. I mean, New Years? Who cares. Big deal. That's just one/one. This is ELEVEN/ELEVEN.

Certain Words Are Extra Hurtful, pt.2

Just a quick postscript, a quick addendum to the main article, I didn't want to put this in there since it would tend to dilute the argument, but obviously...I don't think I even really need to say this...but you just don't swear in front of a lady.

That ought to go without saying. I just want to be clear about that. I'm not up here, trying to abolish societal norms! Not even the antiquated ones. Those are the cutest norms in the bunch.

And take your hat off when you sit down! Holy cow, man. Were you raised in a locomotive?

Certain Words Are Extra Hurtful

subtitled, "...If You're A Moron!"

Profanities and slurs are the resort of idiots who wish they were smart enough to hurt your feelings using real words. But they're not smart enough. So why are you giving them a free pass?

We're all perfectly aware that every single "bad word" has a number of polite synonyms, words that refer to the exact same thing, yet are somehow acceptable to use...because they use a different group of sounds to refer to the exact same thing.

If you're a parent, why are you teaching your kids to perpetuate this nonsense? "Listen kids, if anyone uses this special bad word on you, that means you have to get really upset...because it's a BAD WORD." Why not a more positive message? "Listen kids, you shouldn't use that word, because there are a lot of morons who think that it's a special 'bad word,' with special powers to upset them. You know that it's just a group of sounds like any other word! But you still shouldn't use it, because it isn't very nice to be mean to the morons who don't know any better."

If you yourself are offended by profanity, then you are a fool. You deliberately and knowingly hand the whole world a magic button: "Just press this button to piss me off! Take advantage of my weakness, world! All you have to do is say one of these BAD WORDS, and I will get upset! You don't even have to trouble to put any thought into it!" Next time someone "upsets" you with profanity, take a moment to remember that it's your stupid fault, not theirs. You have the stupidity to invest a cluster of harmless consonants and vowels with special hurtful power. All they're doing is taking advantage of that power, that you freely give them.

Profanity. Sheesh. Don't be so weak-minded. Don't be such a sheep. Don't give people power over you that you don't want them to have! And if somebody wants to insult you...at least make them work for it just a little. Don't hand them a free pass and then blame them for using it.

Note that the above post contains no bad words, yet it still manages to be pretty damn insulting.

Whoops. Sorry! Slipped out.

Friday, November 10, 2006

HOLY SHIT!

Scissors were invented by Leonardo Di Vinci!

Did you guys know that? I didn't know that! Why don't they teach that in schools? How come he's not getting any props for that? Scissors!

I mean...he gets plenty of credit and acclaim in general, but, scissors, man! That's more important than any of the other crap he put together. When was the last time you snipped an important snippet out of a magazine or a newspaper using the Mona Lisa?

You go, Di Vinci! You're back on my good list. After that crappy movie of yours.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Road Safety Corner #4: WHAT A SWEET MOVE!!

That guy's my hero. I never saw such a thing. I was in the passenger lane, with a blue BMW sedanwagon in front of me. There's this mo-ron teal Honda Civic in the passing lane who is basically pacing the BMW. He's not passing, just staying a little bit ahead - keeping his rear bumper level with the front bumper of the car in the right lane. Ahead of this little rolling roadblock, a mile of pretty clear road.

Suddenly here comes my hero in the tan Camry! At first he looked just like an asshole - what's he doing? Zooming up in the passing lane with his right turn signal on! Passing me, drawing about level with blue BMW, riding Teal Civic's ass. But then the whole thing unfolded miraculously - and I think it was because of the turn signal! I'm sure Civic would have felt very smug about himself to just sit there forever resisting Camry's progress. I've seen that play out a thousand times. We all have. But something about that turn signal being on...it woke everyone else up to the realities of the situation. BMW sees what's going on, he starts slowing up. The gap is widening, Civic has the choice to either move it over or sit in his lane and get blown by on the right. He sits. Camry blows by courteously. After a few moments, Teal Civic sheepishly follows suit and moves over.

It never even occurred to me to do that! But it really does send a nice message. It fosters good communication all over the road. To the idiot in front, sitting in the passing lane but not passing, it's a little pointer, a little hint - get over! I plan to get over. You should get over! To the good drivers already in the passenger lane, it broadcasts your intention clear as day. You're not some asshole tailgater, you're the simple victim of a mo-ron who shouldn't be blocking everything up in the first place. When a good driver sees that...he's going to help you out, create an opening for you. Good drivers know it takes teamwork out there on the road, to help circumvent the morons.

One crucial point, and Camry even got this right: if you're in the passing lane, and you're not passing, get over. Everyone knows that. If you're in the passing lane, and you're not passing because of a moron ahead of you also not passing, still get over. Once you find yourself in the passenger lane with a clear road ahead of you, it's not your fault that you pass the guy on the right, just going your comfortable and safe speed. But - and this is the crucial point - once you get past him, DO NOT immediately swing back over into the passing lane! Only move back over into the passing lane if you're coming up on another car to pass.

Because if you immediately swing back into the passing lane, despite a perfectly clear road ahead, you are basically saying to the moron: hey, bud, you're doing nothing wrong. It's perfectly okay to be in the passing lane when you're not passing. It's okay to have a mentality that says, "the passing lane is my lane, by divine right!" It's okay to be an asshole.

But if you keep it in the right-hand lane as you glide down the road, then you're saying "check it out, peoples: only a real DICK hangs out in the passing lane when he's not passing." That's what I call, "Good Exampling" them. Tan Camry good exampled 'em. He taught the whole road a lesson that day.

My eyes are misting up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

INSANE-AWAY!

We here at Vision/Intelligence Ltd. feel that Marketing should be firmly in the driver's seat when it comes to Research & Development. Our sharpest Marketers come up with an idea for a product, based on where we know the demand will be in the marketplace. Then, they task the R & D folks to create that product!

Take mental illness. Big problem? You bet! Big market? Bigger every day! It's almost like the stuff is contagious. Well, the right product can be just as contagious. Take a look at the promo for our brand-new proposed forthcoming smash-hit formula, INSANE-AWAY!

(screen goes dark)

( 5 )
( 4 )
( 3 )
( * )
( * )

(scene: a robust and genial spokes-scientist in Armani lab coat, examining two bubbling test tubes which he holds at arms' length while squinting)

SCIENTIST: (noticing camera) "Hello! Are you troubled by mental illness?"

(walks forward as camera pulls back revealing a table with an orderly arrangement of scientific apparatus - deposits test tubes into a rack containing many bubbling colors)

SCIENTIST: "Hey, look at this guy!"

(disheveled MAN in striped shirt is wrestled into frame by two burly ORDERLIES holding him by both arms - MAN glares wide-eyed, grinding his teeth and spitting, struggling with all his might)

SCIENTIST: "What's wrong with him?"

ORDERLY #2: "This guy's crazy, boss!"

SCIENTIST: "Tsk. We say 'mentally ill' here." (now looks hard toward camera, concerned and sincere as camera slowly pulls in to frame his face) "But what can be done for the poor wretch? For years, medical science has resorted to ineffectual treatments such as pills, and boring therapy sessions. These remedies were hit-and-miss at best, and relied too heavily upon the crazy person's desire to stick to their course of treatment." (breaks into wide grin) "But now there's something better!"

(product shot)

SCIENTIST: (voice-over) "INSANE-AWAY foaming spray!"

SCIENTIST: (walks back into frame, shaking a rattling can of INSANE-AWAY) "Nothing could be easier! Spray directly onto the face and head!" (sprays onto face and head of MAN)

MAN: (struggling even harder)

SCIENTIST: "...wait for the foaming action..."

MAN: (slowly calming as the foam rises)

SCIENTIST: "...then wipe, with a clean lint-free rag!"

MAN: (face revealed, surprise and confusion giving way to blubbering tears) "My mind! You've given me back my mind!" (sobbing freely, straightening up and burying face in his hands as ORDERLIES release his arms)

SCIENTIST: "One spray does it! Repeat every 20 minutes for best efficacy! INSANE-AWAY!"

(screen goes dark) END CLIP

That's only one of the many exciting products that we're hard at work developing. Got an idea that's a sure-fire money-maker with proven demand? What are you waiting for! Bring your idea to us!

We'll take care of the rest.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pass It On!

I can drink milk with just about anything.

Milk is strong. It builds good bones, and teeth.

One time this guy was trying to tell me about all the pus that's in milk. He read about it in a protest magazine. I said, buddy! You and your pus. I bet the dairy industry has had standards for pus in milk for thousands of years, like acceptable bug parts in ice cream or anything else. All you alarmists do is jade people.

I mean, if he was trying to say, "oh milk was fine and healthy before, it's only bad recently" then I'd be like, well let's go put on a coalition then, and get back to the glory days! But no. He just somehow felt sincerely that milk is just an intrinsically bad thing, that needs to be stopped. I was like, I'm sorry pal, but where exactly does pus intersect with morality? I've been drinking milk laced with sweet pus my whole life, and I'm not going to stop now. I suckled pus from my dear mother's teat, and I'm here to say I'm none the worse for it.

Hell, speaking of which, have you even TASTED soy milk? If you haven't - don't. It's awful! You'll wish you had a big glass of pus to wash your mouth out with.

Still, I admit I wish there was some beer in the house. Or even Coca-Cola. Because, milk with pizza is one thing I can't abide.

I think it clashes with the cheese pus.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Favorite Word In french

It isn't merde! It's oiseau.

That means bird. Is not oiseau so much more beautiful than bird? Le oiseau, say sont day creme de la soundyness.

french is such a beautiful language. You see how I take pains to decapitalize the "f" in "french"? This is out of consideration for their own native habits. The French themselves always lower-case the name of their language. When speaking of the people, it is "les Français." But when speaking of the language, it is "le français." This is a mark of the deep humility with which the French people regard their language, which they prize dearly above all others. They take great pains to protect the language from corrupting influences such as time, and humans. They even have a governmental agency, Les Langues D'Or, loosley translated as "The Federated Alliance of Eternal Linguistic Purity."

Their government charter, the number and the identities of their operatives, the scope of their influence, and even their origin are all shrouded in mystery. But one thing I can tell you is that they take their language very seriously. These folks will not tolerate whatever the french equivalent of a split infinitive is, I can guarantee you that.

But hark! Listen to the beautiful sound of the oiseau. Can you blame them, for wanting to protect that?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Is that last post here?

It was here, now I don't see it.

Okay, it's showing on the main page but not my thing where I can mess with it.

It's a little strange if you ask me. Maybe there's a problem.

I'm going to go have some pasta.

My E-Mail Love Affair...with a GHOST!

("Reader's Digest" version)

I've always believed in a spiritual explanation of the world. Now, after the shocking turn of events, finally I know that I have been right all along. But what am I doing? The proper place for a story to start is at the beginning!

I have always been a good girl. Mother says that I have more sense than father has. So imagine my surprise, to find myself caught up in any wild doings! At the close of this past July, I had just broken up with my boyfriend Johns Stevens Phillips Matthews, and was having second thoughts. I remember that I took a walk through the graveyard to clear my head, as I often do, when things feel as if they are closing in around me. It was a foggy morning in spite of the heat, and I very nearly stumbled over a marker that had been all but obscured in the fog. It was very odd, but somehow I lost my shoe when I tripped. I couldn't find the shoe anywhere. It simply vanished! I searched and searched.

Later that day, I was in my bedroom on my computer. I was debating whether to send the angry version or the sulky version of my e-mail reply to Johns. He can be such a dear sometimes, but the way he behaves in school can make me so mad! Before I had a chance to decide, I noticed a new message in my inbox, with a subject line that said: "You lost your shoe"!

Amazingly enough, someone had found the shoe that had disappeared so thoroughly from the graveyard. It was a boy named Jeroen Wren, who had contacted me using the e-mail address that I carefully print on the label of all my belongings.

His first e-mail to me was funny and sweet. He almost seemed apologetic about finding the shoe! I felt so instantly warmly towards him that I impulsively clicked "send" on the angry version of my reply to Johns, and deleted the other version. I then replied to Jeroen introducing myself, and asking why I hadn't seen him before at school, or around. I know just all of the kids in town! I thanked him for finding my shoe, and offered to meet him so he could give it back.

I was getting up again from my computer again when his reply appeared - just that fast! He seemed so shy, and he explained that the reason I hadn't seen him at school was because he was home-schooled. "Oh, that's just awful! You poor dear!" I thought, but I didn't type it of course. He told me there was no need to arrange a meeting, that I could go and get my shoe at any time. He told me how to find it where he had hidden it, in a secret nook of the big oak at the center of the cemetery. I knew exactly which tree he meant! That was my favorite tree in the whole cemetery.

I wasn't sure whether this was some joke, but just the way he explained himself and he seemed so shy - I didn't think he had it in him to play a trick. And how could he have arranged to have my shoe come off? It didn't make any sense. I held off replying, got changed and went straight to the big lonely oak. It's such a beautiful, safe tree! I often climb it, just a little bit up, and sit where the two biggest limbs come out from the front of the trunk. I sit there when I want to think. No one ever sees me. And right there in my favorite perch - in a nook I'd never taken notice of before - was a shoebox from Kiernan's Department Store (which closed before I can even remember!). And inside it, wrapped in faded gray tissue paper, was my shoe!

There was no note or anything. I even looked inside the shoe! Puzzled, I walked home with my shoebox and returned to my computer.

Then began a long exchange of notes and letters, carried through the electronic wires between Jeroen and I - tentative at first, but we so took to each other that after only a short while it was as if I had had a friend for life and never known it! As weeks went by, I tried to draw him out. Tried to get him to agree to meet - at the ballpark, the library, anything. I began to be sure that his parents were some sort of nuts, who kept him from going out into the world at all - though he certainly never said anything of the kind to me! But something was sure weird.

Little did I know! Little did I know, up until the day when my whole world turned upside down - when the puzzle finally started making sense, but everything else stopped. It was only last week. I was walking in the graveyard again, and I came to the same fateful marker that had caused me to trip, all those months ago. I'd been feeling so hopeful about Jeroen and I. I was beginning to feel certain that the mysterious wall between us would break through, and we would meet soon! I can't describe how it is when I get one of my feelings. When I just "know" that it's right - and sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't, but it always turns out to be something very significant! I could feel how close we were to being together. I knew it was going to be right, this time.

As I walked closer to the marker, I felt that in some way, this plain flat marker was responsible for bringing Jeroen and I so close to being together. I was curious. I wanted to see who was there - and to thank them. And of course, that's when I had the shock of my life! Because the marker said: "Jeroen Wren." Same age as me, only dead in the ground for a dozen years. I couldn't believe it! All of those beautiful e-mails he crafted and sent with love, all of the secrets I confided in him, and here he had withheld the greatest secret of all: the boy I had fallen in love with...was a GHOST!

It was a bumpy adjustment at first, but my shocking discovery really did resolve a lot of the unpleasant questions I'd had! Soon, the secrets between us had been cleared away, and we were closer than ever.

I love him. We'll be married when I die. Jeroen wants to do it right away, but I told him that we should wait one year.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Diving In With Both Feet To The Dot Com Boom

I've made a decision: I'm starting a website and making a ton of money. I'm going to come up with a great website name and register the name, and then make a ton of money off how great my idea is. I'm thinking something like www.automaticsoupphone.com. Automatic Soup Phone dot com! Nobody will have thought of that.

What the website would have on it, would be all great website names that nobody would have thought of, and I could sell them. That would be my bumper crop of income.

And there's another one: www.bumpercropofincome.com

I have way too many of these.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Biscotti.

People like biscotti, because it's really just cookies!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Saints Day

November 1st. All Saints Day. A cool holiday! A lot of people don't know what it means, though. So here I am, to explain the official Catholic explanation.

As we know, all the folks up in heaven right now are basically Saints. As a human soul, if you get into Heaven before the Day of Judgment, then you're automatically a Saint by definition. Your high-profile Saints, they may have been declared and recognized as such, but that official recognition isn't what makes them a Saint! They're Saints just by virtue of the fact that their blameless lives of virtue allowed them to go straight to Heaven when they died. All the other souls are either sleeping it off until the Second Coming, or else they're cooling their heels in Purgatory, atoning for their sins; or else they went to The Other Place (that would be Hell). There used to be another Other Place called Limbo, but it proved politically unpopular and it was eventually shut down when funding was cut off.

Now, a lot of your poster-boy, poster-girl "declared" Saints, they have feast days of their own, days specifically set aside for their veneration, to celebrate their saintliness. All Saints Day is for everybody else. The Common Saint; St. Joe Average, if you will. All Saints Day celebrates those Saints whose blameless lives may not necessarily have caught the eye of the Saint-Verification Squad, perhaps due to the excessive meekness and simplicity of their nonetheless saintly lives.

Now what happens on All Saints Day is, any prayers being offered up today, instead of being routed through the usual patron Saint for whatever the problem is, every incoming prayer is declared "up for grabs." The established luminaries sort of take a step back, and let the no-name up-and-comers scramble to fill the gap, to step it up, to take their game to the next level. It's a real annual event up there in Heaven! They're planning and organizing weeks ahead of time, there are banners and scorecards and celebration rituals and all that. Last year's winner, St. Ornistheus (a Cypriot who died in 1191 - first-time winner, a real dark horse and a great human-interest story) was put in charge of Incoming Prayer Distribution and declared the unofficial Patron Saint of Receptionists. An important post!

Who will be the big story this year? We'll just have to wait to find out. It's all up in the air at this point.