Do You Feel Lucky?

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

War On Environment Nears End, Say Scientists

WASHINGTON - An upbeat tone reigned over the annual Environmental Sciences Conference at the Institute Against Matter And Energy in Washington D.C. this past week. As is usual at any such meeting of the scientific minds, disagreements thrived and opinions ranged far and wide. But all assembled seemed agreed on one key point: the environment is no match for science.

"I expect that within no more than ten years' time, we will have perfected our 'artificial forest' technology," said Dr. Lowell "Budge" Bubbage, keynote speaker and pioneer in the field. "Our facilities in Precipice Flats, Wyoming and Fort Mt. St. William, Nevada are already up and running in the test phase, converting tons of airborne carbon dioxide into pure oxygen and generating gigawatts of electric energy in the process! You have to see the acres and acres of vats of glistening green pseudochlorophyll, just sitting in the sun, doing their work for us!"

Critics have been quick to note that Bubbage's outstanding work raises no troubling questions whatsoever. "Anyone who questions the need for the rapid application of this technology is a quivering, spine-jellied Luddite," observed outspoken Bubbage critic Keanu Humphries. "Once Budge finishes tightening the bolts on this deal, we can basically take the rest of the rainforest and do whatever we want with it. Hell, pave it over! This new tech is like an artificial lung transplant for the planet."

Progress has been keen in other areas as well. "The epiphany was in realizing that humankind does in fact have a huge influence on the climate," noted noted historical science theoretician Jeddo Phepps. "At first, nobody wanted to believe that. Then nobody wanted to admit it. But once the public embraced the idea circa the mid-, late-90s, science was forced to take a look at it as well. And once the truth of it sank in, scientists were quick to jump to the obvious implications: if we can influence the climate, then we can control it! It's just a matter of understanding the mechanics. We need to fine-tune our avenues of influence, manipulating them for a desired result instead of an undesired one."

Abaerdascus McFey, Director to the Assistant of the World Sciences Coalition, put the scope of the advances in context: "It's a process in progress. Much still needs to be learned, but eventually we're looking at being able to seize full control of the weather and climate for the whole planet. It will be like the utopia envisioned by the 1980s television speculative-science drama series Buck Rogers In The 25th Century with Gil Gerard, only - one hopes - minus the evil mutants that prowl outside the protective dome!"

But the specter of the mutant problem raised by Dr. McFey did little to dim the optimism of the other researchers, engineers and scientists gathered in this bright conference hall on the outskirts of our nation's capitol. "Oh, McFey and those mutants of his!" scoffed Phepps. "He's always going on about the mutants. Nobody else is even worried about the mutants! Don't you worry about it - we're working on plenty of ways for dealing with the mutants. Just as one example, I understand Bubbage has drafted plans for quite an impressive dome."

A Look Back on the 20th Century: Some Unanswered Questions

Take a look at this. This is a list of Time Magazine's "Man Of The Year" winners for the 20th Century (they only started awarding the distinction in '27):

1927 Charles A. Lindbergh
1928 Walter P. Chrysler
1929 Owen D. Young
1930 Mohandas K. Gandhi
1931 Pierre Laval
1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt
1933 Hugh S. Johnson
1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt
1935 Haile Selassie
1936 Mrs. Wallis W. Simpson
1937 Generalissimo & Mme Chiang K. Shek
1938 Adolf Hitler
1939 Joseph Stalin
1940 Winston L. S. Churchill
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt
1942 Joseph Stalin
1943 George C. Marshall
1944 Dwight D. Eisenhower
1945 Harry Truman
1946 James F. Byrnes
1947 George C. Marshall
1948 Harry Truman
1949 Winston L. S. Churchill
1950 American Fighting-Man
1951 Mohammed Mossadegh
1952 Elizabeth II
1953 Konrad Adenauer
1954 John F. Dulles
1955 Harlow H. Curtice
1956 Hungarian Freedom Fighter
1957 Nikita Krushchev
1958 Charles D. Gaulle
1959 Dwight D. Eisenhower
1960 U.S. Scientists
1961 John F. Kennedy
1962 Pope John XXIII
1963 Martin L. King Jr.
1964 Lyndon B. Johnson
1965 General W. C. Westmoreland
1966 Twenty-Five and Under
1967 Lyndon B. Johnson
1968 Astronauts Anders, Borman and Lovell
1969 The Middle Americans
1970 Willy Brandt
1971 Richard M. Nixon
1972 Nixon and Kissinger
1973 John J. Sirica
1974 King Faisal
1975 American Women
1976 Jimmy Carter
1977 Anwar Sadat
1978 Teng H. P'ing
1979 Ayatullah Khomeini
1980 Ronald Reagan
1981 Lech Walesa
1982 The Computer
1983 Ronald Reagan & Yuri Andropov
1984 Peter Ueberroth
1985 Deng Xiaoping
1986 Corazon Aquino
1987 Mikhail S. Gorbachev
1988 Endangered Earth
1989 Mikhail S. Gorbachev
1990 The Two George Bushes
1991 Ted Turner
1992 Bill Clinton
1993 The Peacemakers
1994 Pope John Paul II
1995 Newt Gingrich
1996 Dr. David Ho
1997 Andy Grove
1998 Bill Clinton and Kenneth Starr
1999 Jeff Bezos

That's quite a list. But leave aside some of the minor peculiarities like Joseph Stalin on there twice (once following Hitler! '38 and '39 must have been lean pickings, Man-wise!). What I want to know about is the apparent inclusion of what clearly appear to be Super-Heroes. Who is American Fighting-Man? What did this mysterious costumed avenger do to win distinction in 1950, and why has his existence been so thoroughly hushed-up since? Did it come out that he was in fact gay, or something? Couldn't they have figured that out just from the costume? I mean, I'm sure it was suitably patriotically-colored and all, but come on. Tights.

Anyway, I want to hear more about this guy. What did he do? Who were his enemies? Did he battle Hungarian Freedom-Fighter (who by '56 had clearly gained the upper hand)? What were their super-powers? Why was Hungarian Freedom-Fighter so intent on fighting Freedom, and how did he eventually triumph over American Fighting-Man in so spectacular a fashion as to win a place on the same list with such arch-villains as Hitler and Stalin (twice!)? Was it by spreading rumors about American Fighting-Man's manhood and sexuality? Did the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy evolve out of a macho overreaction to the revelation that American Fighting-Man, hero to untold millions and Time Magazine's 1950 Man of the Year, may in fact have been a homosexual?

I feel like I've just discovered a whole untold secret history of our nation and the world. Stuff like this - hey, I can understand it's painful and everything, but it shouldn't be hushed up. It happened. It all really happened.

A Message of Encouragement to Those of You Who May Be Complete Assholes

And now, we here at Consider Your Ass Kicked! offer a message of encouragement to those of you who may be complete assholes:

Bear in mind that many famous artists, actors, achievers and creative types have also been complete assholes.

This has been a message of encouragement.

A Message of Encouragement to Those of You Who May Be Afflicted By Mental Illness

And now, we here at Consider Your Ass Kicked! offer a message of encouragement to those of you who may be afflicted by mental illness:

Bear in mind that many famous artists, actors, achievers and creative types have also been afflicted by mental illness.

This has been a message of encouragement.

And Another Thing: AMERICA WORKS!

And another thing: AMERICA WORKS. Quit pretending it doesn't, with your smarty-tarty observational style and your "oh, so that's what this is, then?"

The U.S.A. is the bulwark that stands right smack at the crossroads of what the modern world is and can become, if only the world could swallow its pride and follow the signpost that we leave behind. It's not too late for the rest of the world! Not too late for it to join in the wild hayride of democracy and score a sweet slice of our hot apple pie while they're at it!

Our system of thought and practice based on freedom and liberty is the ONLY system that will work in the end, and it's the only system that other nations should even be allowed to practice. Far better that we should invade now, than that they should continue to go about their misguided business in some outmoded way that we've already long since proved doesn't work for us.

America! God bless it long and hard! Sing ye, Washington! Sing ye, Jefferson! Adams, Lincoln, Polk - their names stride and strut down that fabled lane of history reserved for Presidents Only. They look down back at us from a misty vantage, stretching out their sepulchral hands in a gesture that says, "come on. I'll help show you the way."

It's time for us to stop hogging that example all to ourselves - it's time for the other nations of the world to heed that same call.

New Year's Party Plan #4

Let's just dress up sharp, head downtown and make fun of the drunks!

New Year's Party Plan Pt.3

We can wear lampshades on our heads. Where do you go to buy lampshades, anyway?

Do they come in party colors? Do they sell lampshades with maybe a padded skullcap inside, for a comfy fit? And eye-holes, perhaps. Something more adapted to the purpose.

Demons, Devils, What the Hell's the Difference?

Beezlebob would be a good name for a more mild-mannered sort of demon. Or is it devil? What's the difference between a demon and a devil, anyway? Aren't devils supposed to be locked up in hell for eternity? Devils are fallen angels, I get that. But I thought they were supposed to be being punished! If they're up here all the time, infesting people, then what does that do to the whole "eternal! Once you get in, can't get out!" nature of hell? Seems like a bit of a crock of shit, to me. If you can get out whenever you damn well please to go up infesting people on the face of the earth - some big punishment! Where's the torment, there? These dudes are evil, that shit sounds like a blast to them.

Now maybe the demons aren't in hell, and the devils are, and that's the difference. But would that mean demons are never in hell? Don't they kind of deserve it? Or maybe it just means that they're called devils when they're in hell, and they're called demons when they're not in hell. Kind of like, under the surface of the earth, it's called magma. Up here it's lava. But if so, that puts us right back on the whole "damnation: how eternal is it, really?" question. Because then it sounds like hell has a wide open door policy!

Which one would win in a fight: a demon or a devil? I mean, normally you'd think of the demon as sort of a lesser minion. But after the way the devils got their then-angelic asses handed to them in that last fracas, I really don't see smart money betting their way.

We don't really know enough about these demons. Where did they come in?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Comparative Analysis of Modern Farm Animals

The horse: what meaning can it even have in today's modern farm economy?

The cow: beef. Leather. Milk. Oh yeah! That's one powerfully persuasive trifecta! In the day and age of the modern moment, the question might well not be "why buy the cow?" but "why buy anything else?"

The chicken: its stock has taken some knocks in recent years, what with cost-effectiveness diminished by this whole free-range economy, plus the ever-present specter of salmonella, but as long as they keep laying those eggs there's nothing else you'll want on your McMuffin! Still a safe bet.

The emu: along with its exotic cousins the ostrich, the llama and the iguana, this bizarre bird-mammal-reptile hybrid is a fierce fighter with proven meat yield and a soft and lustrous coat. If current trends continue indefinitely, this could be a comer in coming years.

The pig: still the smartest, and always a threat to take over the whole works. It's hard to argue that you can get along without it, but watch carefully - and don't make mistakes anywhere where it can see you!

Argument: What's the Point?!

What is the point of argument, I'd like to know? People believe in what they are going to believe, and you're not going to convince them just by telling what you believe - are you? So what's the point in even trying? All it does is make a bad feeling!

Look: you believe what you want! Other people believe in what they want! You're not going to change your mind on it, are you? So why would they change their mind? Are you right or are they right? I don't understand what peoples' point is, trying to determine these things! Nobody is right except each individual, in their own mind - and nobody can tell anybody otherwise! It's entirely subjective who is "right"!

It's not like you could say something, and somebody else could say "that makes sense!" - not if they don't already believe it, they won't! How could they? Or else, even if they did - what sort of person's weak mind would change just because of something they heard? Pretty suspect! Why would you even want to change the mind of somebody like that? Clearly they'll only change it again, next time they hear something else that's different!

So again I ask: why bother? What's the point?

People either agree or they don't. So people who argue, they're just wasting their time. They ought to just not! They ought to stop, and do something else instead. But you can't tell them that.

They're not interested in hearing that.

New Years Eve: What's the Party Plan? Pt. 2

Better yet! Forget that crap. That's immature. How about one of those wild parties with colored lights and diaphanous curtains billowing gently from big sliding glass doors that lead out into the garden, which has been hung with paper lanterns casting their soft white glow and throwing crossed interlacing shadows from the legs of all the party-goers, who sip their refined cocktails and nibble hoity hors d'oeuvres whilst discussing the latest scandals in the art world?

That sounds fun. We could totally make fun of those people, even if they weren't naked!

New Years Eve: What's the Party Plan? Pt. 1

YEE-HAW!! I say we all go to one of those wild parties with lampshades and confetti, and an amateur teenage rock band in the corner, and a keg of heineken and people walking around with whitish plastic translucent cups filled with unidentified colored punch, and balloons and tooters and flippy-tubes (the kind you blow into), and everybody ends up naked at midnight so we can laugh at them!

And crackers with dip. Can't forget the crackers n' dip!

My Ongoing Struggle With Satan, Pt. 2

Actually, it was no contest. I kicked his bright red bony ol' ass!

I just had to beef it up for dramatic purposes. Drama must be served! Giving the devil his due and all.

More Good Things To Die For

Today's Top H List, the Top H more good things to die for:

H. What you believe in.
G. Family.
F. The love of your life.
E. The life of a true friend.
D. The life of a stranger you don't even know! (GOOD one!)
C. The principle of the thing.
B. As an alternative to when they won't give you freedom.
A. In the attempt.

Thereforeunto Shall Ye Hearken! Pt. 3

For Lo, it was decreed in righteous days that in unrighteous days down all through the ages, unto each of us to a greater or lesser extent, shall by the fences and fence-wardens find our test and accomplishment, yea though we be nearly drawn out from the sheer sense of it. Decisions and decision-makers, make now unto us this sweet sign of compliance: that a huge, enormous, burning red star shall be hung well over the firmament, to the confoundation of the nations and the consternment of the world! Whereupon it shall be shouted out: Look! What is that thing?

And in that day, many of the wise shall cast about seeking wisdom, and many children shall cast about seeking yet a better wisdom, for in those days it shall be held that the wisdom of children shall be held equal even unto the wisdom of kings and princes. Yet the wisdom of that age shall be held next to the wisdom of ancient days, and be reckoned the poorer for it. And yea in the comparison made, be reckoned far the worse for it. For who heedeth children, when the sheep have scattered before the hounds of Babylon? No one of any sense!

Then it was, at the moment of utmost darkness, when shall the prince revealed stand in the place of high places holding aloft his glimmering slim sword, and with a mighty arcane cry he shall call down the lightning, and all of the fury of the storm shall come down. And the clashing light and sizzling thunder shall come down. Upon his head shall it come. And to the wonderment of all, the lightning strike shall come upon him bringing not death, but strength, and power! And he shall be called He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe.

And in those days a mighty gloom shall come upon the lands, and stalk the lands, laying waste as it comes and goes, in an inexorable yet desultory fashion, such that men shall say unto themselves: where does it go, and why shall it come? Wherefore shall we hasten to save ourselves, and with what supplies? For indeed, throughout the land in that day there will be a great shortage of supplies, such that each will perforce go unto to his neighbor to borrow, and yet come away empty-handed.

And many shall fall before the piercing keenness of the blade of the ruler of the kingdoms of many nations of worldly men, and many more shall flee before the wrath of his beastly mount, and yea, indeed he shall flick stinging and nettlesome sparks after them, such that the skin of their hindmost parts shall never again in after days be entirely clear of blemish, and in those days they shall look upon their marked skin, look upon that legacy of their trials, and they shall moan and pass their hands over their brows, seeking not to remember. But they shall remember.

Hearken now unto these words, ye that seek not unto the wisdom of this age! For another age is waiting in the wings, panting and leering at us. Awaiting its day with an all-too-inhuman patience!!

Thereforeunto Shall Ye Hearken Pt. 2

I always picture the evangelist John giggling all through it as he set down that revelation of his. I bet that was a blast to write!

I wonder if there was an extensive editing process on his part. Did he put it through a lot of drafts as certain aspects became clearer, or was it just sort of "all in one go"? If it was me, I'd just be like "BONZAI!!!"

Or words to that effect, in Greek or Aramaic, perhaps.

Thereforeunto Shall Ye Hearken! Pt. 1

This is another of those rare cases where there is no part one.

Spitting: Not As Straightforward As It Might Seem

It's weird, you'd think with all the spitting I've been doing lately, I'd be getting good at it! But no: I suck.

Maybe it's just like riding a bike: you either can or you can't.

I guess I just have to keep on spitting.

Traveling Pants 3: Enter The Brotherhood

"Dude, can I try on your pants?"

"Dude! Those pants look as good on you as they do on me!"

"Hey, dudes - can I try on the pants?"

"Dude, no way will they fit you."

"Look, dude - they fit!"

"No way."

Don't Break Your Jaw Yawning...!

Sorry about all the erudition, literary prowess and hot-doggin' on display over the past several posts. It's just a phase I go through. I have to get it out of my system from time to time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Flannery O'Connor and the Case of the Disappearing Lighthouse

Naw, I'm just kidding. Like I said in my previous post, I'm about done with Flannery O'Connor.

For now.

The Flannery O'Connor Problem: Short and Modern Story #4: "The Crop"

Pardon the increasing jumbledness of the post titles. That's what I'm reduced to, to add some interest to this enterprise.

But MAN, I am PEE'D O!!! She stole my sweet trick! I was writing a modern novel in the experimental vein, with a sweet little literary twist towards the end where our whole convention gets picked up, turned around and played with. And she does something here that's very similar. I'm not even going to get into it. Forget this - I never saw this story before, I'm not going to publicize it now and have people later say "oh, your novel is a great and powerful novel inarguably, but with a clear debt to Flannery O'Connor for its central neat trick!"

No way. I came up with that trick myself. Hers isn't even like mine! But it's just a little too reminiscent for my tastes.

So that's all for Flannery O'Connor. She done wore her welcome out.

The Modern Problem of Flannery O'Connor and the Short Story #3: "Wildcat"

So Gabrul is an old black dude (blind) who can smell the wildcat coming. The wildcat kills cows, it kills another old dude off in another house. The men-folk keep going out hunting it, leaving Gabrul with the women-folk even though Gabrul tells them the cat's not in the woods, it's coming for the houses. Gabrul says to take him along so he can smell it out for them, but they leave him behind. Gabrul vividly imagines the cat coming after him, but after several nights it never does come. At one point he breaks a shelf trying to climb up onto it to hide - but it wasn't the wildcat scratching around, it was only bats.


The Problem of Flannery O'Connor and the Modern Short Story #2: "The Barber"

As discussed in our previous post, I aim to prove a point here by setting down in pared-down form the actual incidents that make up each of these so-called "stories" to be found in The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor.

Next up: "The Barber." This makes the last one look like a ten-act epic! Basically some guy, a college professor, goes to his usual barber each week for a shave, only to get into a political argument that gets more heated each visit until finally the professor cold-cocks the barber. The professor's wife doesn't pay much attention to him, either.

That's it. That's the whole story, I swear. Some of the dialogue is pretty amusing.

Flannery O'Connor and the Problem of the Modern Short Story

I tell you, most of these modern short stories are bullshit. Take this Flannery O'Connor, she couldn't tell you a short story if you told it to her first and all she had to do was tell it back to you! Oh, she'd tell it well enough, but dollars to donuts she'd leave out the part where anything happens, or gloss it over so you don't notice.

Here's one: "The Geranium." What happens? Some old coot from Georgia (at first I couldn't tell if he was black or white, but eventually: white, most likely, on account of him calling everybody "nigger") named Old Dudley sits in his chair six stories up an apartment building in New York City and looks out across the alley waiting for the flower they always put in the window. They're late with the flower, where is it? Meanwhile his daughter, who dragged him up from Georgia and everywhere else since, hassles him in ways general and specific - such as scolding him not to try chatting about fishing holes with the well-dressed black gentleman who is moving in next door, and whom Old Dudley had at first assumed to be a servant. Next Old Dudley is having some problems on the stairs, and who should come along chuckling and friendly enough to help him back up to his floor but the well-dressed black gentleman! Which causes Old Dudley to break out bawling in shame and humiliation (not the same thing) once he gets back in his apartment. Then he sits in his accustomed chair only to have the guy across the alley warn him not to keep looking into the guy's apartment. The flower fell off the ledge, that's why it's not there. Oh yeah, and Old Dudley's throat is always tight and hurting him, all the time, the whole damn story. It's like a motif. That and that damn flower.

I do not exaggerate. Or maybe what I mean is that I do not understate. To exaggerate might have been a good thing, but the fact is - that's all that happens! That's the story. That's the entire story. I feel like I should put "story" in quotation marks.

Now I admit, as I read through my recap of it above, it sounds pretty fraught with drama and conflict, potentially at least. But in O'Connor's hands everything unspools in a very natural and matter-of-fact way, so that you hardly notice anything out of the ordinary until well after it's done. Then if you do notice, you frown at it. Whereas how I put it, how I set out those very same events: it's pretty punchy! And it takes far less time to tell. Maybe what she needs is a translator. Someone like me who can pare it down to its essential thrust and jibe and "bring out" those elements that might otherwise go glossed over.

Okay, I'll do it. Starting with this post, I'm going to tackle each of Flannery O'Connor's short stories in order, and in short order I will cut away whatever I find to be needless and expose the beating heart of each spare tale, unadorned with ornament and unornamented with adornment. Because in each case, there really is something there, something that needs to be looked at. That's my job to bring that out, and it's my gift to be able to do it so good.

So get ready. I might need to "show off" a bit on these.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Open Letter To Canada

Hey, buddy? What's going on up there?

I heard there was some kind of constitutional crisis going on. Like, earlier this month, or something? Some deal where your Tony-Blair-figure had to put your whole Congress-equivalent in the penalty box, or something like that?

That's the picture I'm painstakingly piecing together at this point, anyhow. The details kind of passed me by at the time. Honestly, the entirety of the situation passed me by, what with the holidays so hectic and all! You know how it is. But today I've been trying to catch up on all the old news. Check in with the world, as it were; as it be, as it will be.

So anyway. I hope you're alright up there! You doing OK? Going to make it through? We sure don't want our polite and orderly northern neighbor (excuse me, "neighbour"!) to disintegrate into a fractured and fractious collapsed rabble of Province-States!

What a waste of embassies, to have to come up with new ones for every little Mini-Me Canada. And for some of those ambassadors, we'd have to find people who speak french! It's so hard to find humble civil servants who speak french. So many of them are effete assholes.

So hear me now! Here comes the U.S. Cavalry, Moral Support Division: hang in there! Hang in there O Canada Ol' buddy ol' pal! You can make it. We down here, the U.S. of F'n A, have got your back. We are eternally grateful for Bryan Adams. Plus for the way you stuck up for us via chain e-mail, after that whole bad situation back in '01. You've always been there for us, ever since we had to set cha straight on that whole old "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!" donnybrook. Sometimes we'll each make a little fun of the other, but it's all in the spirit of genuine respect and fondness. Just like the beer ad used to say it: "We love you, man!"

But just in the case of the worst-case scenario, if y'all's do go all Civil War on us, take a hard-earned tip from a nation who knows: the winner gets to write the history books, that's true. But the loser gets to produce whatever the 22nd century's Canadian version of Lynyrd Skynyrd might turn out to sound like. So weigh that in the balance.

Man. It's been a while since I checked in with Mexico.

Christmas Isn't Christmas, Without My Christmas Poem

I'm such a Christmas sucker
I love those Christmas lights
I love the decorations
in greens and reds and whites
in silvers, golds and tinsels
on garlands and on trees
I mix my famous Egg Nog Grog
from secret recipes
and eat my ham or Christmas goose
- whatever feasts may come!
I snatch up Christmas cookies,
nibble dainties by the ton
And every year I write a poem
a Christmas poem, each year
except this year, it slipped my mind
oh well.

They're usually a little on the depressing side, anyhow.

In the New Year: YOU Can Help Make This Blog More Awesome!

That's right. You can! But how?

Leave your post idea in a comment on this post. Over 2009, I will take any post suggestion ideas that meet the below criteria, and develop the best, most criteria-adherent suggestions into a full-blown POST on THIS VERY BLOG!!

1. Brevity: Your post idea suggestion must be in the form of a clause, or phrase, or something suitably brief. NO COMPLETE SENTENCES. Just the idea itself, ripplingly terse and suggestive!

2. Quotation Marks: Your post idea suggestion must be in quotes. Example: "In Quotes"

2a. Better examples: "The Decline of the Romulan Empire", "The Technology Paradox Implicit In Kirk's Toupee"

3. "Star Trek" themed post suggestion ideas will not be considered.

4. There must be NOTHING ELSE in your comment except for the in-quotes post idea suggestion! No links to a definition of the desired concept, no explanatory verbiage. I will either like the post suggestion idea on its own terse merits, or I will not. If I like it, then I'll make up a good version of what it means to me and write about that, thank you very much. I'm not going to restrict myself to staking out some new side of a long-established dead-horse debate that's already had one too many sugarcubes force-chewed in its decaying mandibles, ably assisted by the helpful hands of self-appointed controversy jockeys. I say thee nay! Bury that one out to pasture already!

4a. That's not to say your post idea suggestion can't be themed around some long mooted-about controversy that I've never heard about. I'm just pre-empting such complaints as "That's not what 'Categorical Imperative' means!", "Have you even read Kant?", and "What are you, some kind of moron?"

5. Post suggestions themed around the various old-school philosopher-vs-philosopher beefs (particularly those focusing on the East vs. West angle) will not be considered. That shit is played.

6. If your post idea suggestion is used, you will not be credited. Depending on how awesome the post itself turns out, I may even delete your comment without a trace. The fact of seeing an awesome post on an idea you yourself suggested should be satisfaction and recognition enough.


Top H List #B: The Top H Things I Actually Said To A Woman

Today's Top H List, The Top H Things I Actually Said To A Woman:

H. "I wasn't lying. It was an instance of verbal irony."
G. "Wow, look how tall you are! Good job."
F. "No, I admire women who don't wear makeup. Especially when they need it."
E. "You rock my sad, small world."
D. "You fill my life with something that I can't identify, but that I choose to call love."
C. "That's quite the tight top you have on, there."
B. "How delightfully wrong you are about all of that!"
A. "I can't make out with you unless you're a feminist."

Ok, I admit. I haven't actually said any of those to a woman. The list started out that way - actual things said to actual women. By me. But what happened was, I fell a couple items short. You can't really have a Top H List with less than H things! So I made up a couple.

And I was kind of having fun with it, making them up, so I made up a couple more. I figured, "I'll just put the best ones in." But by the time I was done, all the made-up ones were better than all the real ones, so they just sort of...crowded them out.

Anyway, big deal. Letterman's troops don't sweat the veracity on their Top Ten list, I am sure.

OK, I just called up a girl I once knew and read the whole list to her in one go, in a disguised voice, very fast. So technically, it's all legitimate now.

(she was like, "WHAT?...!!")

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I Looked Out the Window On Christmas Day

I looked out the window on Christmas Day, and the sky was pink and blue - powder pink and baby blue, like the fuzzy blankets in maternity ward cribs.

"Looks like a baby party in heaven!" I said.

They're breaking out all the baby pictures and videos of the Epiphany and stuff.

(Heaven is sort of "outside of time," so even though none of it had been invented yet, each of the invisible angels thronging in 'round that humble hutch in Bethlehem that sacred eve was clutching a camcorder, a polaroid, something to document the event. It was, after all, pretty big news.

"Oooooooo my goodness!"

"Is that God? How can that be God?"

"Look at his tiny feet! Look how at little his hands are!

All the Heavenly chorus as one: "He's just a BAAAAAAAAYBEEE!!!"

Those angels who previously had not quite made up their minds about humanity were all won over, that day.)

And today up in heaven, there's a baby party. Big ol' grown-up Jesus is up there, he's looking down at his feet, shaking his head all embarrassed. Laughing.

"Come on! That was so long ago now."

"You guys do this every year."

"My nose did not look like that."

The angels will never get over how cute that little nose was.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Found a Penny!

Well, it's true. I did.

I picked it up. Because of the poem:

Find a penny,
pick it up -
all the day you'll have good luck!

See a penny,
let it lie -
you will surely DIE, DIE, DIE.

Just like the one about being a spider who tells lies, a lot of people aren't familiar with the second part of this penny poem. The first part may or may not be true, but the second I do not doubt for a moment.

On Christmas Eve, Or Whatever You Choose To Call It

First, a very warm wish to all atheists: Merry Christmas. You have NO IDEA what that means.

Oh, you may think you do. But nuh-uh. The Grinch was WRONG. The true meaning of Christmas is not "Bah-hoo-dore-ays."

Christmas is a time for sharing hopes and dreams, with those we love or with others, a time for taking stock and looking around to count all the blessings we can find, and even some we can't find - count them anyway! A time to comfort ourselves with family, with tender moments, with gluttonous feasts, with spiced hot holiday hard alcohol beverages or whatever else we have handy. And for sharing hopes and dreams.

Hopes and dreams. I admit, this isn't where I saw myself, 30 years ago. When I was 7 or so. I didn't see myself here, where I am now, doing what I do. No way. I saw myself living the sweet dream of adulthood! Working my ASS off for the right to be LAZY AS HELL during my hard-earned off hours! Eating ice cream whenever I dang well pleased. Spaghetti night every night, if I wanted.

Wait, actually that's exactly what I am doing. Still. I guess the beard kind of took me by surprise, though. Never saw that coming.

Anyway: Christmas. Blessings. Whether they be family or sweetheart or mutton or gin, clasp your blessings to you, over and over again, lifting them to your soft, winter-chilled lips for air-kisses or big fat smackeroos, treasuring them, watching those blessings blossom into whatever, whatever they bloom into. Family into more family. Sweetheart into family, perhaps? Could happen. Mutton into fat. Gin into headache, perhaps.

And so I say, Merry Christmas To All. Especially Godless Atheists, Filthy Sinners, Living Saints, Moral Gymnasts, Martyrs Without A Cause, and Good Country People. The true meaning of Christmas is this: God loves each of us best. When your heart is infinite, you can play favorites right straight across the board.

Hey, God? Merry Christmas to you, too. And thanks.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Oh, yeah the
whole...the whole
of the whole...the
sheer Xmas of it,
they sell it to you,
to make it SHOVE
itself down your
THROAT...!! The
way they push that
dirty little
Christmastiness in
your FACE 'til you
can't TAKE any
more, 'til RIGHT
from WRONG is ALL
you KNOW, and you
don't even know
that. 'Til the
Christmas bells, that
jangling, dangling,
trangling of the
bells bells bells
makes you
just...HO! HO! HO!
And they
just...they don't
see the effect of it
all, they
don't...they don't
see the EFFECT.

It's rather a
stunning effect,

This Seems More Than A Little Wrong, Doesn't It?

OK. So what's the legality here? If you see a t-shirt, and it's clearly in bad taste, and it appropriates a well-known and MOST DEFINITELY copyrighted image to make some SICK JOKE, is there NO LEGAL RECOURSE against this type of SICK HUMOR?

This image is obviously only a representation of what I'm talking about. Obviously it is not identical to the offensive t-shirt itself:
An Abbey Road TRAVESTY

I mean - this does seem in pretty poor taste, does it not? Is it somehow protected speech? I can't see how anyone could claim it as satire! Is there no way for the Beatles to shut down this sort of thing? Does it depend on who's making the t-shirts, just from a practical standpoint? As in, a big t-shirt manufacturer would be very visible, very vulnerable to a lawsuit, whereas some bootleg small potatoes guy cranking them out in his sick little workshop on the sly can pretty much get his pathetic, sick little thrills with impunity?

I'd really like to know what my liabilities are before I go into production.


OK, so not really humor per se, but more of a deep, probing exploration of that boss-ass Hulk drawing I made - that's freehand MS Paint by the way, peoples! Pretty good, if I do say so m'self.

But I was looking at it, and suddenly I noticed how complex his face was:
And as I gazed upon that fearsomely verdant visage, that grimacingly green countenance, that expressively emerald puss, I was put in mind of those inverted/composite pictures one sees in science or fashion magazines from time to time, where a person's face has been put back together with two left sides (one flipped) or two right sides (again, one flipped). This is supposed to demonstrate some point about the profound asymmetry of most of our faces, and how, despite the fact that we think of our faces' halves as being very similar, if we made it so that the one half was a true mirror of the other, we wouldn't even recognize ourselves.

Which seems a ridiculous point on the face of it! Yet true, as it turns out - almost scientifically true. Don't believe it, true believer? Well just witness the shocking alterations wrought upon this jolly green mug shot!

Here's the original:

Now we mirror it, two left halves:
There's a friendly fellow! But now, two right halves:

Shocking. Disturbing.

Monday, December 22, 2008















Intellectually Courageous Thought of the Day

Everything smacks of intellectual cowardice when you're as intellectually foolhardy as I am.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Open Letter To A 3-Month Old

Look at you. Loook aat yoouu! What a big guy you are! What a big guy you are! Look at those chubby cheeks. LOOK at those CHUBBY CHEEKS!

I tell you tiny man, cherish these times. Savor these days. These are the best days of your life. I mean - people talk about high school, but come on! Those days are going to be fine, I guess. But THESE days - oh, man! Lawsy, lawsy! People doting all over you, changing your diapie for you...feeding you, waiting on you hand and foot...carrying you around, jostling constantly - you won't stand for being put down, will you tiny man?

Heck no, you won't. And everybody loves you for it! Aw. Such a sweet disposition! Holler as much as you like - that's just how you communicate! Nobody has the slightest problem with how you go about your business. Look at those chubby cheeks!

I tell you. These days are so sweet and easy, compared to the rest of your life, that after a year or two your brain's automatic defense mechanisms will kick in to block the memory of how sweet it all was. Because if you could remember how sweet this is - you couldn't deal with the comedown! The rest of your life, it would all seem like just a stacked platter of smacked ass by comparison.

Savor these days, little dude. You won't remember them! But savor 'em anyway.

Good while supplies last.

Krypton: An Inspiration To Us All, A Warning To Us All

So are we expected to believe that Kryptonians, living as they did under a red sun, could have evolved bodies capable of producing all of these incredible powers that only manifest when exposed to yellow sun radiation?

Not necessarily. Remember that Krypton's was a very ancient civilization. It's possible that the race (and their amazing powers) evolved under the nurturing glow of a yellow sun, becoming so dominant and so advanced that they were able to compensate with technology for the crippling and possibly unexpected loss of superness that occurred, when their sun matured into its later bloated and ruddy state.

But if so, what a species! Imagine having to cope not just with your sun's expansion into a red giant, but also with a concurrent loss of the greatest portion of your sensory ability, as well as your physical strength and speed. To say nothing of the ability to fly at will! Their whole society would take these capabilities as given. I doubt they'd even have known what a flight of stairs was for.

With its population transforming into veritable cripples (compared to their previous might), the entire civilization would have to be redesigned quite literally from the ground up. Even if their scientists had predicted the stellar expansion (probably) and the attendant loss of their super powers (possibly), what a task to deal with both catastrophes at the same time!

Well, over the billions of years that the stellar expansion process takes, anyway.

Maybe their powers would have been magnified many times over, from their sun's steady increase in power output during the billion years or so prior to its transition to a red giant? If so, that might have helped them to begin their construction of a refuge, a new home for their civilization, on a planet further out in their star system. Even if it were not engulfed by the inexorable stellar expansion, their original homeworld would be far too close to the surface of the new red giant to be habitable. The relocation would be just as well, since as we've observed, the old cities would have been unsuitable - no handicap access for the flight-impaired.

What a dismal task! To stand up as a civilization and resolve to continue on, despite such drastically changed conditions! What grit and stick-to-itiveness was then displayed, by these brave Kryptonians! And what a pity, that they were able to weather such storms, only to let their planet blow up for some jackass reason that Jor-El totally warned them about. We should all be proud to play host to the last surviving son of this once-great, but flawed, race.

And there's a lesson to be learned there, as well. We need to look forward to our own solar crisis. We need to begin now, to develop a plan to deal with it. To move on. To survive.

We might not be able to count on Superman, for this one.

As A Courtesy to Your Friendly Neighborhood Sex Offendors

This disturbs me.

According to the signs I've seen posted in various areas throughout California, the "sex offenders" registry includes adults who are caught having consensual sex with each other in various public areas, inside their cars for instance. The signs I've seen state flat-out that if you're caught doing that, your name WILL be added to the sex offenders registry!

Now, don't mistake me. I'm not advocating such KINK!!! But doesn't this policy gravely undermine the whole point of having a sex offenders registry? Don't answer that. It was a rhetorical question. And the answer is YES, IT DOES GRAVELY UNDERMINE THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SEX OFFENDERS REGISTRY.

Don't buy it? Well I ask you: what is the point of the sex offenders registry?

Is it supposed to warn us of DANGEROUS PREDATORS?

Or is it supposed to serve as a means to cow more-or-less harmless citizens with a big-stick deterrent against their mildly titillating (or disgustingly perverted, if you prefer) activities?

I put it to you that these are mutually-exclusive uses. If the amount of outdoor hanky-panky that goes on is enough to even remotely warrant the expense on signage, then the registry must be positively clogged with non-predators by now. And the inclusion of non-predators on the registry renders it worthless as a warning.

No, I have not been nabbed by the law while doing the nasty in public. I'm just a concerned citizen, here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Religion Is Politics Applied to Faith.

Religion is politics applied to faith.

I've been saying that for years. Admittedly, it's a bit of an oversimplification. But more and more I find that people like that!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Open Letter To The McDonald's Corporation And/Or Its Associated Franchisees

Nobody should EVER grab an order of McNuggets - and I'm talking now about the folks behind the counter, pulling orders - NOBODY should EVER grab an order of McNuggets without already having the sauce in hand! Everybody wants some kind of sauce, for those McNuggets. Or if they don't, those who don't are by far in the statistically insignificant minority of McDonald's customers! That sauce is IMPORTANT. You can't enjoy the McNuggets without that sweet, sour, tangy, hot, spicy, and/or delicious sauce! So grab the sauce first and then the McNuggets.

Or at the very least, grab nuggets and sauce simultaneously. If you don't know which sauce, if you forgot - FIND OUT FIRST, and then go back for the McNuggets and the sauce. None of this "oh, I forgot which sauce, let me just get the McNuggets first, I'll come back for the sauce in a second..." NO. YOU WON'T. THAT'S THE PROBLEM. You put the Nugs in, then some part of your brain is like "ok, McNuggets taken care of..." - maybe another part of your brain is like "...still gotta get that sauce at some point," but that must be the part of your brain that whispers. Its voice doesn't get heard. Then VWOOOP! that bag is out the window with no sauce in! So in reality, NO, you DIDN'T get the McNuggets "taken care of" DID you? Because...they have NO SAUCE!!

Every damn time, they give it to me with no sauce in the bag. Changes need to be instituted at the global procedural level. EVERYBODY but everybody wants some kind of damn sauce with those!

We've been over this, I'm repeating myself now.

There need to be changes instituted. I don't want to be insulting, or to put the back-of-the-counter culture of a McDonald’s on a level like a maze for rats, but maybe there could be a button they could depress - only AFTER picking up the correct sauce - and then they press that button, and the box of McNuggets is dispensed, like a reward. That could work. Or one time, if somebody really did order a McNuggets with "No Sauce!" - then the manager could come over and turn the override key, allowing the McNuggets to be dispensed even though no sauce. But in that case, the manager should really step over and have a word with the customer. "Have you tried the Honey Mustard? We've added seeds!"

How'm I supposed to get my McNuggle on without the McDippystuff!*

Little Tip!

I typically go back through each post after posting, and edit out half the exclamation points! It keeps the whole blog from looking like this!

The Top 10 Most Successful DJs Of All Time!

What if there were a poll to establish the Top 10 most successful DJs of all time? In this day and age, where would such names as Casey Kasem, Wolfman Jack, or Jazzy Jeff place on that list, relative to each other? Or would they even be on there?

I'm talking a poll of the general public - not your insular insiders of the industry. I'm talking, phone up maybe a thousand people, culled from the mass and throng of the very public itself, the people to whom DJs have meant so much over the years. Call them up, maybe give them a buzz some weekday night during dinner when you pretty much know they'll be there. Except the ones who go out to eat, weekday nights. But really - screw those bourgeois douchebags*! We want the opinion of the real people, the good bedrock bones and blood of this country people, the people for whom the music of the nation rings in their ears and makes them tap their happy feet - the salt of the earth as it were! Not your dining-out on a Tuesday night crowd. Lounging at their corner tables at Chez Français, sipping decadent cocktails, ordering a nice Côtes Du Rhône (I'm pretty sure one of those o's gets a hat!) to go with their petites filets mignons. Such people should be tried in front of a show jury and well-shot, then dumped into mass graves with a side of sauce béarnaise.

Getting back to the poll. Now of course your general public, when faced with such a question, is going to try to elicit a bit more meaning or context for the question before barking out answers. What do you mean by "successful"? Do you mean the most artistically successful DJ? Most successful from a technical standpoint? Most innovative? Most influential to other DJs? Most paid in full? Well sorry, public! I'm not filling in ZAP. You have to put yourself into the question - decide what success means to you, decide how you measure a DJ - and then give us your answer.

And none of that multiple choice bull, either. Fill in the blank. It's you tell me - not, me show you a list of names and you point to one of them. What kind of a skewed poll result would that yield?

So that's the kind of survey I'm talking about. What DJ would place tops on such a list? Would it be the one you would expect? Or more likely, would it be the one you wouldn't expect? And what about the other names - where would they fall out?

Would the public pick Casey Kasem and Wolfman Jack? If you call them during dinner...? I'm guessing that under those conditions the public would go with a more confrontational choice, a more controversial choice such as Jazzy Jeff. Sure, Wolfman Jack was a real pioneer in the field, justly-lauded for inventing and honing many techniques that are still in wide use today, such as howling. But I believe that the public today, as much as they might appreciate the contributions of a pioneer like the Wolfman, as much as they might respect the hegemonic domination that a colossus of the game like Kasem was able to achieve for what really was quite a long, respectable period of time, the public today is very much more cut from the mode of "what have you done for me lately?"

It's kind of sad, really.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tales of Back Beyond Yonder & Then & Human Ken

In the ol' days, before mankind and womenkind come along, God got bored waiting and used to roam the universe like an enormous BEAR. With a big, round, furry belly and fat, stumpy limbs! God always liked roamin' around the overgrown paths of stars and comet's orbits, nosin' into stinky sweet nebulas with a happy ol' expression on his big bear face, a-rubbin' and a-scratchin' his big ol' sides up against stars and such, rubbing the bark right off them. In fact, this is why Sirius still has no bark what so ever.

Well one time, way back in those same old days, God come up agains' a BLACK HOLE and said "I hears yous the KING OF WRASSLIN', Mista B. Holes! Aw so's you calls yo'self!! Well I's GOD! Whatchoo say 'bout THAT!! Let's WRASSLE!!"

So the black hole said "no sir, God - that's my bigger brother you're talking about - he's over there in the dark patch of that nebula yonder." God said "Thankee kind, sir Holes! I'll mosey over and have a wrassle with your brother yonder then!"

"HEY, brother yonder! This heah's GOD! I hears yous the KING OF WRASSLIN' by admission of your littler brother back thataway! What says you to that! I'm a-warnin' ya, though - I's GOD! I don'ts tolerates no braggin' wrasslers in MY domain what don't either bow down or throw down! I's had at the biggestes and the strongestes and ain't never been bested yet!!"

Well, bigger brother black hole said, "sure it'd be an honor God, to wrassle a spell with your glory hosannaness, but I believe you mean my Biggest Brother over yonder! He's the KING OF WRASSLIN' according to his own account - he takes all comers and wrassles 'em down, and he's never let go of one since!"

Well, this was sure enough for God to hear. He sets his shoulders and lumbers over infinitely in the indicated direction, until up he comes to the BIGGEST brother a Black Hole EVER had! Then God sits his self down on them hairy haunches of his and sizes up this next opponent:

"WELL!! I do believe you's the BIGGEST BROTHER Black Hole, and self-described KING OF THE WRASSLERS by your own account! Now I say BOW DOWN or THROW DOWN! I's GOD!"

No tale teller's tale records exactly what happened next, but we're all pretty sure of one thing: that was one pretty epic wrasslin' match!

Thought Of The Live-Long Day

I tend to throw a lot of shoes around, but I don't force people's feet into them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wise Quote of the Day

"Wisdom isn't worth the price you pay to get it. But at least you get something."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

To Cheer Up

When I sat there, drinking whisky past hours as the traffic piled up outside and my heart said "

but I wasn't listening to my heart, I was listening to the whisky.

and the whisky wasn't saying a DAMN THING

So I said,

"speak up whisky"

"whatchoo thinking"

"what's on your mind"

"what's the devil gonna make me do this time"

and the whisky said

"okay, shut up"

"just shut up and drink"

"I'll think of something"

and I said

(I said it a little too loud)

"WE'LL think of something!!!!!"

The bartender looked up from his want ads.

Suddenly I was aware a happy couple had entered the bar, hosing and scrubbing as best they can in skirts and suits. Well they ain't nothing like whisky and me, 'cause all I wanna do



This song is always on the juke in this damn place. Why doesn't somebody stick a fucking nickle in and play some CREEDENCE

Anyway I told the bartender "sorry man - I was, the song has got me down"

he had stopped paying attention by then. He looked up again, all


I said "can't we get the game on one of these channels? Infomercials man, come on"

"Which game" he asked

It was like a challenge to me. But I was ready

always ready for a challenge

I was like

"I don't know which game man - any game. What game is on! Infomercials man, I mean come on"

He's like "this ain't the tv guide, man"

I was like "try channel eight"

He put it on channel 8. I was like "hold on, after the commercial"

The fucking game was ON.


A whisky to celebrate. And I couldn't resist a subtle grin of triumph when that bastard poured.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Another Brand-New Neglected GEM From America's #1 Undiscovered Talent!

"Stuff I Need"

I wasn't sayin' - just sayin'!
just sayin' to you
In that way that I do
In that way that I say
When you give me my way


Hey. You got it. The STUFF I NEED.
Uh! That's right. You make me believe.
HUH!! That's right! You make me believe IN LOVE.
You make me buh-LEEVE in LOVE.

That's right.

verse 2:
yeah, that was just what I meant
yeah I meant every word
if you know what I mean
if you said what I heard
did I hear you OK?

Hey. You got it. The STUFF I NEED.
Uh! That's right. You make me believe.
HUH!! That's right! You make me believe IN LOVE.
You make me buh-LEEVE in LOVE.

That's right.

Your love is alright!
Your love! HAH!
It's alright!
Your love!

verse 3:
yeah, and just so's we're clear
and you know that we are!
but in case there's some part
well it isn't so hard
to explain or explain
or explain it again
and that point gets across
we both know what I'm sayin'

Hey. You got it. The STUFF I NEED.
Uh! That's right. You make me believe.
HUH!! That's right! You make me believe IN LOVE.
You make me buh-LEEVE in LOVE.

That's right.



Oh sorry honey
Sorry babe
I thought
No, that's OK
just a misunderstanding
it's kinda loud, I can't -
no that's cool!
alright then.

Parsimonious Thought of the Day

I was wondering the other day whether Ockham would have used an electric razor, if he had lived in modern times.

Or would it have seemed too complicated?

When I'm At Work

When I'm at work I work. I work hard. When I'm at work, they call me Big Poppa Rocka 'cuz of how much I roll. I roll hard. I work hard, it's like I work so hard I don't even have to emphasize. I'm just like, "hey, you see me here? I'm workin', ain't I? GET OUT."

It's like, when I'm at work, people watch how hard I work and then they walk the other way. They find other things to do besides bother me.

When I work, people call me Donnie Dynamite. They call me MISTER BUSINESS 'cuz of I'm all business. In that scenario, it would be, "my middle name is "ALL". But what's my first name? My first name would be "I'M". My full name in that case would be MR. I'M ALL BUSINESS.

When I work, people call me King Sucka Whoo-Dah because I have the work in front of me and I'm doing it. Actually, the connection there isn't too clear to me either, but they do. You go ask them. They do.

When I'm at work, people call me Big Mister Bitch, because all I do is complain about all this work I have, that I gotta do. But I do it - that's the thing.

I mean, not literally. That would be more than a little odd.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Alternate History Paradoxes Pt. 2: What If Jesus Fought John Wilkes Boothe And Sank The Titanic During WWII?

Would that mean Abraham Hitler would live to go on and defeat the atomic bomb using an iceberg canon?

We must all admit that science cannot disprove the possibility. At least, not without doing it in a haughty, out-of-hand manner! Which as far as I'm concerned, casts a bit of suspicion on their case.

But then again, I could be wrong about that. Just because you're good at arguing, it doesn't make you right!

What Do You DO with Someone Who Says They DON'T BELIEVE In Soup?

I say, you don't do anything with them. You just feed 'em a hot bowl of some good-ass SOUP, that's all! Then you ask them what do THEY call it. Then for the rest of the discussion, you humor them by using their term.

That's what's called semantics.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Your Humble Poet

in feet of snow
on wings of miles
by travelling
I found my ways
to be with you
in hearts and hearths
on Christmas Eve
and other days
and when the dark
comes gathered in
and spooky winds
blow candles out
I cupped my hands
about your ears
and whispered soft
to still your doubt

Man, I wrote that like, all in one go!

Not sure about the end part.

Uh, the mixed-tense shtick is deliberate. Not that that's any excuse.

Your Humble Poet

in feet of snow
on wings of miles
by travelling
I found my ways
to be with you
in hearts and hearths
on Christmas Eve
and other days
and when the dark
comes gathered in
and spooky winds
blow candles out
I cupped my hands
about your ears
and whispered:


I almost had a poem, there. Fast as I could type it, a genuine poem!


and whispered...

and whispered...

NOBODY CHIME IN! I'm not reading ANY COMMENTS on this one!

Not 'til I figure this.

I'm not looking for a rhyme, I'm trying to find a reason.


Normally, I eschew the scatological, but lately it seems like that's just what the public wants. So here it comes, folks:

Wait a sec, I'm not quite ready yet.

Sorry. False alarm.

I missed my window.

More Practical Applications

I've developed a small, soundless motor pump nozzle that, when connected to a long hose, one end of which you snake into the bowl, will draw forth and send out again a continuous stream of water that sounds like you're taking the longest whiz ever!!

Naturally, you need the privacy of the stall to pull this one off properly.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dessert Is the Most Important Meal of the Day!

They need to come out with Beef & Potatoes POP TARTS with GRAVY FLAVORED ICING.

That way dinner could be just as convenient as breakfast!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Open Dream Journal #42: The Kingdom of Horses

I dreamt I was living in the Kingdom Of Horses. There were people citizens there, too - living side-by-side with the horses, but it was the horses who were in charge. The people didn't put up too much fuss over it, because the Horse King - a white stallion magnificent to behold, slim and well-muscled, with wise eyes and a prodigious greysilver mane - was a kind and capable ruler, beloved by all. Life in his kingdom was orderly and pleasant.

There was some trouble though, because some of his subjects from mixed households were half-and-half, both horse and human. It was kind of like a werewolf situation - sometimes they were one, sometimes the other. They could turn back and forth. And what happened was, the Horse King selected one of these to be his bride: a beautiful young weremaidenmare.

This caused a certain amount of unrest in certain quarters. Now, even in human form, she was fully grown young lady - her quick maturation owing to her horse nature (horses mature much faster than we do, in both body and sense). But that didn't stop her human mother crying out "but she's only three years old!"

Which, the Horse King (together with most of his horsekindred) would be all like "that sounds fine to me!"

But that wasn't the only issue. There was a considerable faction of the populace - across both the human and the equine demographics - who while they might appreciate the benefits of everyone getting along together in a mixed sort of society, were nonetheless dead-set against that sort of mixing. It was already a very controversial social issue, just at the level of ordinary folk mixing it up. There were organizations of the so-called "Purity Movement" on each side of the species divide - now sparring with each other in the public forum, now warily sharing common cause.

But with the Horse King's surprise declaration, a potential powder keg's potential fuse was potentially lit! Could the very happy foundation of this peaceable kingdom come crashing down?

Before anyone knew quite what was happening, the bride-elect had been spirited into hiding by Horse-Purity activists, with the Horse King (nostrils aflare) vowing to pursue her 'til earth's end - and to dreadfully punish any who dared thwart his love or his will in this matter! No one had ever seen the Horse King lash out in so rash and passionate a fashion.

Anyway, it got pretty hectic. I woke up before the whole thing could be resolved.

Open Dream Journal #41: Curse of the Wolverine!!

OK, I don't normally like to talk about my dreams on here, but here's one: in the dream I was Wolverine - leader of the X-Men!

Now just to shortcut any mis-visualization here, I was not Hugh Jackman in this dream. I was Wolverine, yes - but not as played by Hugh Jackman in the recent X-Men films. It was more like I was Wolverine as played by me - me, but with that goofy hairdo/muttonchops combo, and perhaps a little less body hair. I had those same keen animal senses, the healing factor, the adamantium bones and claws.

The claws were kind of a problem. Every time I popped my claws ("SNIKT!"), it was like they were a little wobbly. Not firmly rooted between the bones, like you'd expect. In fact, they kept falling out, and I had to pick them up and try to stick the dull end back into these little pink slits between each knuckle - it was gross! They had dirt on them and stuff.

Anyway, James Marsden was giving me all kinds of shit over it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

There's Gonna Be Some Rockin'!

At the show to-nite!

Nobody better jump bad with me TAH-NITE!!! I'm telling you, if anybody jumps bad with me, in the parking lot or inside the venue, I am going to HAUL OFF and BELITTLE HIM - in my inimitably nonchalant fashion!!

I'm fierce like a TIGER right now. Fierce like a BEAR. Fierce like two bears!

Monday, December 01, 2008

How Come Stupidity Is Not Considered A Disability?

I mean, think about it! Stupid people have a much bigger obstacle in their way than a lot of your other variously disabled folks.

I guess you might have trouble establishing standards for proof of stupidity.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ask The Scientificus 2

We here at Consider Your Ass Kicked! are pleased and proud to offer "Ask The Scientificus" as a recurring feature. The Scientificus is an oblong puppet of indeterminate species, well-known for answering (with aplomb) a wide range of expert-level scientific questions from children of all ages.

Q. [Cyndia, age 44] Did angels evolve?

A. Cyndia, first of all, thank you for the very nice photographs. Now, on to your question - a controversial one, and one you are quite right to ask! I think we have but to glance at an angel to see that yes, these beings clearly evolved. The highly-specialized winglike dorsal appendages arrayed bilaterally; the novel bioluminescent organs within the scalp that, combined with a unique bone configuration of the skull, cast the distinctive aura around the head of an angel - these structures and organs are highly adaptive. They clearly did not spring into place full-formed, as if by miracle! Rather, they resulted from a link-by-link chain of mutation, followed by selection, followed again by mutation and so on. Properly understood, the angel stands revealed as one of the crowning glories of evolution by means of natural selection!

Q. [Jonathan, age 30] I found some condoms in my glove compartment. Are they still good?

A. They look OK from the photographs. Try a banana.

Q. [Stephanie, age 22] I've been holding in a lot of farts lately because I have a new boyfriend, and now my shit is starting to smell like farts! What can I do?

A. How long have you been seeing this young man? There are two schools of thought, my dear Stephanie. One says that the early days of a relationship are a golden and special time, and that you should preserve that for as long as you can, because once you've become so comfortable with the full range of each others' natural bodily processes that each of you no longer hesitates to let rip with a good one, right in each other's presence, any time the urge presses - then that golden time is over forevermore; the magic is lost. The other school of thought maintains that that's when the magic begins. Being The Scientificus, I must say posh-bosh to all this talk of magic, and counsel you not to sacrifice your alimentary health and comfort upon the altar of some noisome victorian prudery. Thank you for the photographs.

The Scientificus answers questions on all scientific disciplines except for alethiology. When submitting your question it is considered polite to include photographs of yourself. Not every question can be answered, but every photo will definitely be looked at. The Scientificus thanks you!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Let's Have A Little Compassion For The Turkey

What about peacocks? Has anybody ever eaten a peacock? Are they tasty? More like duck or more like goose? Or like turkey, I suppose - another possibility.

They're not endangered are they?

Seems like half the peacocks you see suck! They're not beautiful at all. They're all drab, they don't have that stunning array of colors going on. Darwinianism suggests that we should cull these drab birds from the flock to service our dining tables' exotic poultry needs. Then future generations of peacock flocks will feature a nothing-but top-notch, splendiferous all-colorful spectacular!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Tough Topics #1: Smoking

Smoking is the single most civilized act. No act is so vividly emblematic of the division we have placed between human and animal, between artifice and nature. What other animal could come up with such a thing? A monkey can smoke a lit cigarette, certainly. A monkey can be taught not to fear the fire, taught to enjoy taking the smoke into his lungs. But a monkey would never come up with such an idea - never arrange the herbs and paper, and then ignite it. The natural aversion to fire is far too strong.

Smoking is a symbol of our dominion over fire, and by extension, nature. It is a transgressive act, and a transformative act.

I don't smoke, by the way. I just admire it tremendously.

I suppose shouldn't say I don't smoke. I do chain smoke, very occasionally. I average about 3 packs every five years or so. I remember I smoked four or five cigarettes after the Superbowl (what you Canadiens call "Soccer").

My trick to never getting addicted is: I never buy my own. I tell you, it works!

People Who Appreciate Sarcasm Are Morons!

What - you say something you don't mean, you mean the opposite of it but you say it anyway, and then - "Oh, I was being sarcastic!" What, so I'm supposed to laugh? It's supposed to be funny that you basically LIED? Oh, that makes you real smart, huh! Smarter than the rest of us, to say what you DON'T mean, and a real big smart funny JOKE for the rest of us! And oh, it supposedly went over my head right? VWOOSH! Because I didn't think it was funny, I didn't "get it"?

WRONG! I "got it" alright - I got that it was STUPID.

Let me clue you in, Mr. or Mz. Sarcasm: your the idiot. Not us. That's right: YOUR THE IDIOT. YOU ARE the idiot. You are. You're idiocy is in the fact that you call it sarcasm and expect it to be funny, meanwhile it's just an excuse for you to say what you don't mean and to mean what you don't say.

In other words: a BIG FAT LIE.

That's sarcasm.

The Insidious Hegemony of Crayola

Crayola has a monopoly, don't they? Who is their major competitor? Who else is even in that business? I mean at least Heinz has Hunts as their ostensible competitor - even though everybody knows it's no contest!

I really think the government should step in. Crayola has gotten cocky and overstepped their bounds with anticompetitive practices such as getting rid of all the cool color names that I used to love and replacing them with ridiculous new dumb colors like "beaver."

The government needs to step in.

Neglected Terrorist Masterplans of Yesteryore

Hey, remember those awful days after the Al Queda attacks, with the anthrax circulating via mail and all those breathless theories being circulated as to what diabolical, unsuspected method would be exploited against us next?

My favorite one was the one with the supertanker - a gigantic oil tanker? - filled with biochemical weapons (or perhaps, chemical bioweapons) that would be snuck into the eye of a hurricane that was heading straight for the U.S. Eastern seaboard. The idea would be that once the hurricane got close enough, they would detonate the nuclear warhead and hit us right where we'd least expect it - and with what we'd least expect to get hit! - a superinfectious, radioactive hurricane.

Luckily, the internet shot that one down. Once the threat was made known, they'd be fools to go through with it!

However, I'm a little surprised we didn't get at least a Bruce Willis movie out of the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Self-Sacrificing Thought of the Day

Way I look at it, if I can save one person from making the same mistake I ever made, then that's worth making that same mistake.

As many times as it takes. I have to set an example.


I always picture Charlie Brown, with that particular exclamation.

Probably no one ever really was in the widespread habit of saying that out loud, as a cry of anguish - not quite like that, you know? "AAUGH!!"? ...but Schultz's strip spelled it that way (with a variable number of U's and A's). Then when the animated cartoons began coming out, the voice actors delivered the line faithfully, and it kind of caught on. It became a real exclamation, suitable for people to exclaim.

More recently we've seen the same sort of thing with Nelson's "HA-hah!" and Homer's "D'oh! from the Simpsons; and "Mmm'kay" from South Park. Although of course, a few people were legitimately saying any and all of these things before any of the respective cartoons came out. But now, they've become not only expletives, interjections - they've become pop-culture references.

I love that a cry of anguish can be a pop-culture reference!

When I was a kid, my mom had kept her original Peanuts collections from her own childhood. Something like the first six or seven years of the strip. The golden years. Collectively, those strips were some of the highest art the comic strip medium has produced, and of course we kids ended up tearing those poor little books to pieces. But before that happened, I had the chance to read them all in one go!

I don't remember how old I was. I was a little guy. Old enough to be able to read, obviously, and old enough to glean the meaning of the word *sigh* from context. Charlie Brown would say *sigh* enough times to establish a good context. But I wasn't old enough to realize that it wasn't something people actually said. "Sigh!"...I didn't connect back the printed word *sigh* with that breathy exhalation of sadness, regret, resignation. So of course, I began saying "sigh!" out loud, when the context of life demanded it. In any of those sorts of *sigh*-worthy situations.

It was years before somebody clued me in. Because by then, I was way too old for that to be cute.

Logical Thought of the Day

If you claim that logic can prove something, but you can't see it yourself, and you can't state it yourself, you are not being logical. You are simply putting blind faith in the idea of logic.

An Open Letter To Nobody

Listen. I know you think I've been ignoring you. It's not like that. I've been too busy ignoring other people to really ignore you the way you deserve to be ignored.

But I will get to it, and soon. It's on my priority list.

As A Male Feminist, I Experience A Certain Amount Of Oppression From Within The Movement

But I figure, that's cool. I'm a man, I can take it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Untitled Poem by Anonymous & P.V. Mann

the sweet bitter flavor of lament and regret
is all that you get - it's all that you get
the songs of summer's sweet salty sweat
the beat you keep, the words forget

in a cove on the beach where we first met
though we didn't know then, that's where we fell
into an abyss, caught in the net
and the surf coming over our heads as well

the sound of the surf pounding over your head
is all that you get - it's all that you get
the deep wet thrum of a drum miles wide
the beat you keep, the words forget

with your hair in the sand as the seagulls spied
though we didn't know then, that's where we fell
with the clouds burnt red as the sunset died
and the surf coming over our heads as well

the sweet bitter flavor of lament and regret
lingers long as I savour it on my tongue
the songs of summer's sweet salty sweat
sound in my head like a giant bell rung

in a cove on the beach where we first met
on the rocks and the sand, skin suntanned
into an abyss, caught in the net
we willingly lept, blindly hand in hand

the sound of the surf pounding over your head
lingers long as I savour it on my tongue
the deep wet thrum of a drum miles wide
sound in my head like a giant bell rung

with your hair in the sand as the seagulls spied
on the rocks and the sand, skin suntanned
with the clouds burnt red as the sunset died
we willingly lept, blindly hand in hand

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who Do You Say I Am?

Most people think of me as a bit of a blowhard, a bit of a showoff; a brash individual with an ever-accumulating stack of chips on his shoulder and no shortage of envious rivals too meek to work up the nerve to knock them off; a stern man, but a fair one; a shining beacon of justice wherever the powerless burrow helplessly into the sand, leery of receiving their unjust punishments; a powerful argument in favor of compassion and decency; and above all, a human man, a fragile and kind man.

That's how people see me, or at least, that's the impression I get of how most people see me. Not popular, I would say, but somewhat of a feared and tolerated figure.

I think that in the past, it was enough for me. Letting others define me in their own eyes. But now though I think maybe I need to take a bit more of an active role - in defining myself.

We'll see where that takes me. Exciting times.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CSI: Gondor

"Verily, milord - we were meant to think 'twas Orcs!"

Face To Face With Faith

I often thought my mom might secretly have wanted me to be a preacher or, as would have been more likely given the specific side of the schism we came down in, a priest. I think I would have been good at the homily part. I would be up there pounding people on the specifics. I'd throw out a lot of interesting points. I'd skewer people with truths that they never thought to contemplate prior to me coming along. And I'd be doing it all in this increasingly bizarre fake Irish accent!

But as I grow older, I begin to feel that that approach might not really play to my unique gifts. Because when it comes to my whole comfort zone, where I excel the most, I think the natural leaning of my oratory is more in the mode of a right reverend southern-fried Fire n' Gospel style haranguer! I would be 110% awesome at that. I could just keep going and going for hours as needed, freestyle, without ever having to stop and go back for a missed point. Like so:

Bretheren, today we offer up all of our selfish desires and designs of our own, which we burn on the sacred altar of our hearts to the great glory of God's name. A sacrifice of burnt offering, as was done in heathen times. All to the glory of God's name! What could be more glorious than God's name? Oh, that blessed name! We all would like to know what it is, wouldn't we? I bet it's got a couple of long-A sounding vowels in there, what do you think? In God's name, we pray that one day we too will stand righteous and justified in the sight of God and hear that beautiful name when they whisper it to us sweetly on the way into heaven. That is sure to be one knockout of a scene! The trick is, first you have to die.

Just like going to sleep, isn't it dear bretheren? Except when you wake, you wake up in the bed of the Lord! Shout hallelujah!

We need to quit our mourning - what is this mourning? With heaven in our hearts, we should throw off all our black clothes of mourning and run joyfully, naked to meet our deaths! When Paul went down to Tarsus and he shook the dust of the road off his robes, and he went in to declare himselve before the Emperor's council, he knew that he was going in to his death. He knew that he would never again emerge from that vaunted chamber. He knew it like you know your own child. Yet he set his head, flexed his arms out wide and bellowed with a mighty shout of joy before God! And this frightened the superstitious pagans so much that they let him go. Now who now would not call that the hand of God?

And in our lives and hearts too, the hand of God moves in its mysterious ways. So-called mysterious! Mysterious to some, perhaps, but not to the Lord! The Lord knows exactly what He is doing, what is hidden from men's eyes is not hidden from God's eyes. For did not God say into the empty vessel: "Go forth! And be filled again." Hearken unto the lesson in that, dear children! Let that light down into your heart. For it is just now even as it was in the parable of the two servants, which we have heard. In those days, a man had two servants. To one of them, he gave thirty sheckels. The other he had stripped to the waist and publicly whipped! For who shall question the master of the house? Therefore, go and do likewise.

You know, and so forth exactly like that.

I would have been a great preacher I bet. The problem is, I'm no good at the requisite Southern accent. I'm much better at the Irish one! I can hit that Irish accent out of the park. Yet a sermon like the one above, delivered in an Irish accent, would only come off as preposterous!

As so as you can see, that's the dilemma that's kept me out of the pulpit, all these years.

This Thanksgiving, Remember to Eat Your Own Weight

As the holiday season comes 'round, so too do the people celebrating it become round. This is the holidays! People just want to eat better - and more of it! They crave a feast. Turkey! The fixin's! Stuffing, cransauce, you name it and they will be cramming it down their bulging gullets. Teeth ripping plump juicy shreds right off the turkey bone! Fat-fingered hands sopping up gravy from the plate with hot fluffy butterflake rolls! Kids running around waving all ten fingers at you, wiggling ten fat black canned pitted olives.

So what's my point, you ask? Well I don't like the sound of your tone, buster! What do you think is this, Kiev? Precisely whom do you take America for? This great land of ours, which we took from the Indians in exchange for a series of hard lessons in American History, is EXEMPLIFIED by the hallowed traditions that keep us all stuffing our grateful faces in recognition of just exactly how important those traditions are to us, and how much they all mean. And you think you have a RIGHT to question THAT?

Well maybe you do. But I suggest you just keep chewing.

William Shatner Reappreciated

I think that William Shatner's early work - before he arguably descended into what some call self-parody - might best be viewed as a parody of method acting.

Take a look! Check out some of the faces he pulls in that Twilight Zone "Gremlin" episode. Look at some of the choice moments in the first season of Star Trek.

That's clearly what he's doing. I'm almost sure that's what he's doing!

That rogue. Way out there ahead of the curve, puncturing the pomposity of others and getting pilloried for it!

Well I'm with you, Mr. Shatner. I for one appreciate all there is of your genius.

More from the Judicial Reform Advocate

It would save a lot of time if the Supreme Court would just spell everything out for us up front, so we wouldn't have to wait for it to snail its way through the system!

Maybe they could do it as a weekly radio call-in show. Callers would call in, state the problem, say "is the Supreme Court OK with that...?!!" Then the Judgestices would banter it around a bit, to hike up the drama, before finally hitting the buzzer and yelling "UNCONSTITUTIONAL! BOO-YAH!!!"

Also I think their powers should be expanded so they can declare a person Unconstitutional. You know, like the President can issue pardons? This checks that balance.

In fact I think if they take a good look at it, they'll see that their powers don't need to be expanded, that they already have the ability to do this, enshrined in the Constitution already. It's basically in there. Stuck someplace amidst the existing penumbras and emanations.

Thought I'd Put This Here, Just In Case, Pt.2

Nahhh - it's totally a comedy piece! Forget about it.

Funny what some people consider comedy. Sick bastards.

Thought I'd Put This Here, Just In Case...

So anyway, my girlfriend broke up with me, basically because she was mad I wasn't e-mailing her enough from work. To prove my love.

Did I mention my job is HARD?

Anyway. I guess that counts as a best/worst thing. I can do better right? I can do better than ANYONE!!!

See how optimistic.


Anyone who kills himself is off my good guy list! If I kill myself, that's because of my fault not hers, right? RIGHT.

It's indisputable. Inde****ingsputable.

Luckily I have alcohol to help me through the merely emotional tremors.

Ah, the comedy of life.

So anyhow. If I'm not around, it's because of WORK. I don't kill myself for ANYONE.

This, by way of reassurance. Read my blog if you doubt it! I'm twice as resilient as the next guy.

Am I off topic? Or is this a comedy piece. I can never decide with me, that's the problem.

Anyhow. I swear: if I turn up dead, SHE DID IT! Not me. I'm simply not wired that way. But boy did the wine taste funny tonight.

We parted on amicable terms.

Monday, November 17, 2008


in ancient days
my love for you
lurched formlessly
among the wilds
in search of you - to feel about
in search of me - to feel inside
down all those days
without a form,
my love for you
grew mad and strange
'til we were born
and it found me
and I found you
and we were changed.

On Behalf Of Mad Science: A Plea For Sanity

Why is it that mad scientists are better at science than regular scientists? Just look at some of the preposterous things they are able to achieve! Things that ordinary science scoffs at. And yet - those mad scientists, they do it. They pull it off.

If normal science can't equal those kinds of spectacular results, then damn it for the good of the advancement of our species, normal science needs to bite its pride, swallow its tongue, and quit knocking down those in its midst who can! We need to put all of our mainstream scientists into some sort of sensitivity training program. We control their funding, right? Well then they need to toe our line on this one to some extent. We need the fruits of mad science, but preferably without the diabolical threat attached.

So send those tut-tutting humbug fuddy duddies to some scientific diversity appreciation classes! Teach them a little leeway and tolerance. And then the next time a mildly wild-eyed maverick stands forth grinning maniacally at the podium to announce his discovery of a new form of radiation which, if focused tightly into a beam, is capable of creating an extremely localized time-distortion field - instead of mocking the guy and booing him off the stage with catcalls and jeers (pretty unsciency behavior anyway if you ask me!), the whitecoated assemblage will listen, nod a bit, stand, politely applaud and give him a small show of gentle encouragement and glad-handing afterwards. Sure, he's probably a nut, and he can't do any of it. But maybe he's a nut and he can do all of it. Is it worth the risk?

He's already a little crazy, right? Don't push him! We can keep him on the good side of crazy. That's all these mad scientists want. Respect, acceptance, same as anybody. And if we give the poor addled genius just a token show up front, and he can actually do what he says - heck, he'll probably dedicate the resulting hot-ass tech to the good of all humankind, and donate the profits to some tangentially-related charity! These guys don't care about money.

If he pulls it off, we want him to fondly recall his moment of triumph and acceptance, as he unveiled his big find. He'll say - "I showed them all! And they recognized my worth. Now all humanity will share in its beneficial fruits."

As opposed to "They had genius before them and they SPAT UPON IT! I'll show them. I'll show the whole world!!"

I'm so sick of that sad denouement. And then they have to call me in. To thwart the sick, deluded megalomaniac. I swear, I am so sick of thwarting these poor guys.

So that's all I'm saying, Ordinary Science. Try a little tenderness, OK?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Universe Is Abundant And Open To You!

Picture your thoughts. Now - wipe that slate clean, and picture what your thoughts could be.

What if your thoughts are a beacon to the universe? Don't you want good things to flow from the universe to you? Then you must beam positivity from your mind in all directions!

The universe will respond with its customary indifference.

Again, The Music Controversialist

Hey, has anybody noticed that "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama" are the same song?

I mean, I don't want to go looking into which came first or anything, but either way somebody owes a dead guy some money.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And Then Came The Realization

Bullshit. Fucking bullshit. Why do I work so hard when I fucking hate it.

The pay, I suppose. One would probably guess the pay. But one would be wrong. Truth is, I'm in it for the glory.

Still waiting for the glory. I'm due some glory.

Faithful Thought Of The Day

For an agnostic, atheism is a leap of faith.

Quote Of The Day

"I am as strong as a bull moose, and you can use me to the limit."

- Theodore Roosevelt, 1912

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Headache Hurts!

Ow, it's right behind the eye.

Which makes me realize how much I really need to stop watching "House."

Who DOESN'T HATE Semantics??

I'll tell you, there's nothing people hate more than a semantic argument. There's nothing people hate more than investing precious time and effort to-and-froing back and forth for ages at a fevered pitch, getting more and more convinced that the other person can't possibly be right - only to find out suddenly that they were arguing over nothing the whole time. Or to be more precise, that they had no argument at all; each of them was arguing a line that did not at any point intersect with the other's. They were each basing their argument upon a different, legitimate sense of a disputed word or phrase.

That's worse than a tie, really. Nobody can stomach that. The wasted effort. It's like you're all sweaty and winded, halfway through a hard-fought football game when suddenly you notice the other guy's been playing soccer the whole time. Both people are like, "bullshit! Semantics!!"

Actually, usually, only one person can be like that. Because at the point where they both suddenly realize the whole thing was a waste of time - that they had no actual argument - one person has to take the responsibility of pointing it out, and then the other person has to level the accusation: "bullshit! Semantics!!" Both people technically lose the argument (because it was a total waste of time) but there can be different points awarded depending on how clever the "point-out-the-retroactively-obvious" guy can come across, versus how indignant the "self-righteous-and-not-weaseling-around" guy can come across.

But really, folks: let's get together on this. Semantics is not a trick, to get out of a lost argument unscathed. You want to tell me that you could spend even a couple minutes arguing with somebody, and then they could suddenly try to switch the meaning on you, claim that they've been arguing something else? Is that going to work? On you? Really?

If that works on you, wouldn't you have to be a MORON?

That would have to be pathetic. Anyone who can accuse someone of semantics - as if it's a trick - is just admitting that they're either stupid or they weren't paying attention. Because if it WAS a trick, and if you WERE paying attention, you could call them on it easily, using practically every point they tried to make! Anyone who tried that trick with me past the third rejoinder of the argument, I'd already have ample points of their own making upon which to skewer them - any one of which would be sufficient to pin them precisely down to the meaning they were trying to employ.

It's just a matter of paying attention. 90% of the time, when an argument goes on and on and then is finally exposed as merely a semantic disagreement, the participants simply were not paying attention. If it's an honest semantic disagreement, each participant should then be able to look down the other's whole line of reasoning and admit "oh, okay - yeah, that is consistent with what you were saying." It is going to be pretty butt-evident (in retrospect, at least). And to anyone who wants to claim that the semantic angle is a sham, if there's the slightest bit of basis to their claim, then the means for them to back it up are going to be just as evident.

Better to be alert, to listen, to sniff out the underlying semantic disagreement early. Don't just charge in blindly, scenting victory! Make sure you're both on the same field first. If you take a moment to make sure you understand the terms, half the time you find there's no argument left to argue. Much better to find that out at the start of the argument, don't you think? Rather than an hour later, with everybody feeling all hot and growly, hoodwinked and abused.

Semantics is the study of meaning, and without meaning, argument is as impossible as agreement. There can be no fruitful argument without shared, undisputed first principles. If two disputants don't agree on the fundamental meaning of a key term in their dispute, they won't agree on any point further down the line. It follows.

Take it from me: paying attention to semantics is more than worth the effort. People who pay attention to semantics save themselves all of those frustrating, idiotic, time wasting "only semantic" arguments. They save themselves by clearing up the semantic difficulty up-front.

Plus, if you find yourself on the losing end of a long, pitched argument, and you get the sense that the opponent hasn't really been paying attention to what you were saying, you can often use semantics as a sneaky trick to get out of it unscathed!

No, I'm kidding. That's not right. As I've already discussed!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sage Words From I Forget Who

Someone once told me: in an argument, every time the other person raises their voice, you lower yours - make your voice that much more even and reasonable.

Man, it sounds insane but it TOTALLY WORKS. They get SO PISSED OFF!! And everybody nearby is like, "hey psycho, why are you shouting when he's all reasonable?"

Sweetest trick I ever learned. I pass it on to you.

Be All

This actually sucks. When I was a kid, the military ads stank. Totally weak. I wasn't the slightest bit persuaded to go. To Serve. But now, the ads they have are much more of a quality. They inspire! The spirit soars, as we see these determined youths in their bulky camo garb and drab helmets, holding their grim weapons and gazing into the distance with just the right glint of determinedness and intrepidation and kill-the-enemy in their eyes, but also with a certain humanity - a certain vulnerability perhaps, as if to say, "hey - I'm not some kind of fighting MACHINE, just a brave soul who was willing to sign up to do the JOB."

And that kind of gets me! It puts a catch in my throat. It makes me wish they had ads like these running back in the day, back in my day, before I became all...old and useless to the effort.

I might have joined.

I might have SERVED.

And by God, if that had happened, we wouldn't be in this mess!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Should Clowns Be A Protected Minority?

First of all let me say this: I hate clowns. I hate them and everything they stand for, except for balloons. Furthermore, I personally guarantee you as a tolerant-minded, non-judgmental Christian man that in my opinion, ALL CLOWNS GO TO HELL.

However, I am able to separate these purely religious beliefs from what I know of American virtues and values, and I can step back, take a hard look at it dispassionately and say this: these pasty-faced freaks with their technicolor cheeks, mouths and noses deserve protection. Just like any minority, clowns face discrimination wherever they go. In bars. In the workplace (circuses perhaps excluded).

Even just out in public, people like me knock them down every chance we get. Cyclists cut them off whenever they try to use their unicycles in the bike lane. Cops pull their little cars over and write a ticket for every unbelted passenger - not only a clear case of profiling, but those tickets can run into the thousands of dollars! It is not the fault of clowns that automobile manufacturers do not provide ample seatbelts for up to two dozen passengers.

I believe that equal protection for clowns is implicit in several key clauses of the Constitution. Now some may say: these clowns chose their lifestyle. Therefore they deserve no protection. I dispute this. Recent research into genetics indicates that no one is to blame for anything they do, and that includes clowns.

I spit on clowns. I admit it. But maybe, just maybe, in a land like this of ours...I shouldn't be allowed to do it.