12/23/2007

A classic Christmas song..

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where the tree-tops glisten
And children listen to hear sleighbells in the snow.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write:
"May your days be merry and bright...
And may all your daughter's boyfriends...

well, you know the rest!

Merry Christmas.

Much love and regards,

LBB

12/18/2007

Bullet-ins

  • Celine Dion is retiring from her Las Vegas gig. People watch her and see a gifted singer, a marvelous performer and a remarkable rags-to-riches story. I watch her and think, Wow, she's got the smallest cans of any Las Vegas performer in history. I want my money back.
  • Why do we stereotype gay men with having limp wrists? I would think their wrists are the strongest, most rugged structure on the human body, what with all the tug jobs and hair styling.
  • I wish we could buy food and merchandise directly from the shipping trucks as they roll down the highway. I drove past a Whataburger truck today. The picture on the trailer looked appetizing. So I pulled along side him and shouted out my window, "Hey Pedro. I got a five-spot in my wallet. How about you toss me one of those chicken sandwiches and a large fries? And hurry, will you? A Sears truck just pulled up on my left and I need to buy my kid a Wii." Also, I think they should develop in-drive refueling. It would work like in-flight refueling systems for fighter jets. When you're running low on gas, you click open your fuel door and drive by a Mobile truck. He shoots the hose over...clink. Then you gas-up on the go make it to work on time. Yo, Maverick and Goose. Fill'er up with 87-octane.
  • The people who complain that Christmas is too commercial are the same people who complain when Christians return the holiday to its roots: the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Instead of parsing, why don't these people admit they hate Christmas, Jesus and America; then they can be free to be the communist buttholes they long to be.
  • Does "across the fruited plain" mean the USA, or just San Francisco?
  • Speaking of San Francisco, the mayor wants to impose a tax on sugary drinks. If San Francisco really wants to raise revenue, it ought to tax protein drinks (rimshot!).
  • I read in the news today that Iranian police have closed down 24 Internet cafes. I was shocked -- not at the encroachment on Iranian citizens' freedom, but that Iran has at least 24 working computers!

12/13/2007

A confession and leftover Xmas stew

All right, I have a confession to make. Boy, I've been hiding this secret for a long time and I can't believe I'm revealing it now.

I'm no longer a Macintosh user.

I'm going to wait for NWJR to recover consciousness and pick himself up from the floor. Then I'll explain...

A little over a year ago, I powered up my PC tower and it sounded like a UFO at liftoff -- and not one of those stealthy, X-Files UFOs; one of those big, Close Encounters motherfuckers: Doo DEE duh dun Daaaaaaaaaah. What the hell is this? Do I need to go carve a plate of mash potatoes into a bust of Bill Gates? Naw. It'll resolve. I'll just give it a minute to warm up. It's probably just a gyroscope that fell out of balance or something. So I waited. No luck. My PC box continued screeching. I rebooted without success. I unplugged/replugged it. I gave it a couple of love raps on the housing. Still no luck. Whenever it was powered on, it howled incessantly. How bad was the noise? Imagine Fran Drescher getting fucked in the can by a Clydesdale. Now strap a megaphone on the bitch. Bingo.

The intolerable howl made the computer effectively useless. The problem was the little fan inside the thing went on the fritz. Those little fellas jack-hammer your eardrums when they go bad. I had to fix it. I should mention that my computer was a cheapy eMachine. By this time, they were giving eMachines away with any 50-dollar grocery purchase at Safeway, so I hadn't much to lose when I decided to disable the fan. I popped the cover off the tower, traced a black wire to the little fan and clipped the wire with a pair of nail clippers. MacGyver ain't got shit on me. In fairness, however, MacGyver would have remembered to unplug the computer, thereby sparing himself the small electrical shock I took through the little, metallic tool.

Things worked great after my operation. The computer functioned flawlessly and silently -- for about 10 minutes. I excused myself to pour a Diet Coke. When I returned, the computer lay lifeless. The monitor, a black void. Oh my God. Chips, speak to me. But Chips didn't respond. He couldn't move, beep or flash an error message. He couldn't signal any signs of life. I tried everything. I CNTL+ALT+Del'd, I delivered CPR. I sprayed WD-40 on the motherboard (again, MacGyver would have avoided a small house fire by unplugging the computer before spraying an aerosol lubricant on electronic components). Flatline.

I killed the eMachine with my crude surgery and savage disposition. I was the Michael Vick of computer owners. Oh well, time for a new computer. I figured I may as well bury all my Microsoft Windows problems out in the backyard along with the PC and replace it with my first Macintosh. Macintosh was selling a reasonably priced Mac Mini with the Intel Duo. Now was the time to ascend into a higher lifestyle: the world of Macintosh. Everybody who owned a Mac, loved it. So I followed along.

I loved my new Mac. It was sleek and pretty and stable. It was silver and pearl. It had a remote control and a digital monitor output. It had cool shit that I didn't know what it was for like Bluetooth and Firewire and Airports and shit. Did I mention that it had no fan? Plus, it allowed me to look down my nose at PC users everywhere. There was only one problem: it was slow. It just wasn't that quick. Multitasking was dicey. Sometimes I'd wait damn near a minute to see the contents of a folder. If I liked waiting, I'd date a Catholic girl.

It got to be too much, all the waiting and slow performance and whatnot. So I threw my Mac on eBay and crawled back into bed with Microsoft. I refused to pop for a top-end Mac with the power I crave. Instead, I bought a low-end PC laptop with a dual-core Intel. It's hella fast. My performance problem is solved. Plus, now I can blog as God intended -- from a laptop at the kitchen counter.

So I'm a PC user again, just like you guys. I realize that I may have come off a bit condescending back in my Macintosh Mafia days. If memory serves, I wrote that you all should feel lucky I'm still speaking to you, what on account of me being a highly evolved, super sophisticated Mac user, while you are all still PC simpleton rubes. Sorry about that. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Now I'm stuck in a world of crappy GUI operating systems, second-rate graphics, antivirus software, firewalls and useless error messages. I'm in Macintosh exile. I've been cast down to live among the little people like a chump.

What's the point of all this? Well, the above anecdote leads me to why I don't have my new post. When I dream up a new joke, an idea for an essay or a bullet mark or whatever, I record it into my digital voice recorder. But sometimes, if my recorder is in my car, which it usually is, I'll jot down ideas on an applet called Sticky Notes. It's a widget for MS Vista. Macintosh had a Sticky Notes program, too, which stands to reason because Microsoft's "designers" are really the guys at Apple who dream all the shit up for Microsoft to steal. Anyway, I used Apple's version with great success. When I reverted to PC, I installed the Sticky Notes program. However, when I recently tried to throw away an outdated sticky note, I accidentally closed the program. Oops. I re-launched the program and found my worst fears realized: all my blog ideas were deleted. Windows didn't give so much as a warning before annihilating all my work for the week. Do you know how many fucking years I've closed down Windows programs only to have that annoying little dialogue box pop up? Are you sure you want to exit this program without saving changes? The one time that pop-up box would have been useful, it's nowhere to be found. Phew! That was a close one, Microsoft. Your software almost helped somebody out!

So, no post. My ideas have been sucked into the pandemonium of a Windows Vista hard drive. I'd have more luck looking for Jimmy Hoffa. But Christmastime is here and I refuse to send you away empty-handed. Here's an old Christmas post regaling readers with my trip to Costco. I hope you like leftovers!


Costco is the reason for the season

Having returned from Costco, I’m happy to report the Christmas Spirit thrives. It hangs thick in the air and infects all who inhale it or imbibe it mixed with an equal portion of liquor. It resonates in the horn-beeps of armed motorists who for a lack of a clean shot stew behind sluggish, wayward motorists in the left lane. It shines in the eyes of the child who gave me the finger on my drive home. Merry Christmas, little fella. I hope Mom and Dad give you the news of divorce this year. And what might that be in your stocking? Are those admission papers to military school? You’re twice blessed, young man.

Retailers hustle all year earning little or no profit merely to survive until the holiday season, where they capture the Spirit along with windfall profits which will keep them afloat until the next year. Likewise, I live for the Christmas Season. It rekindles my heart. It redeems my soul. But most importantly, it moves me to shop at Costco.

My trip began with a gridlock formation in the Costco parking lot. It was the funniest thing. An old man was trying to prove his virility by backing into an empty parking space (the empty space itself was a Christmas Miracle). Had he pulled in, it would have taken a few seconds of everybody’s time. Opting to back in, he exceeded his diminishing driving abilities. It wasn’t long before he found himself in a Christmastime quandary. Through a series of over-corrections, he had wedged himself obliquely between two parked cars. His front end protruded enough to block traffic in both directions. The stationary thoroughfare locked in those Costco patrons trying to back out of their spaces. Several motorists blared their horns in celebration of the Christmas Spirit. Fearing gunplay might accompany the Christmas Horns Medley, I resisted the temptation to join them. I eventually found available parking in the adjacent zip code. The aforementioned driver was ambulanced to St. Joseph’s Medical Center after a road rage battery. Those of you wishing to send a fruitcake can email me for his room number.

I entered the store awash in Christmas Spirit. Several patrons loitered in the entryway while talking on cell phones, rifling through their wallets or attending to other personal matters. They afforded me the opportunity to test my driving skills by maneuvering my shopping cart around a constellation of bovine discount shoppers. Naturally I had to fish my membership card out of my wallet while negotiating the dicey entryway. I had to laugh when the Costco Nazi girl in the Santa hat failed to look at my card as I conspicuously displayed it. Oh, well. It was fun just fumbling for the thing.

As I shopped I encountered several more bovine discount shoppers who in a frenzy of Christmas Spirit cut me off, blocked my forward progress and screened me from whatever merchandise might have taken my interest. They congregated around the food samples and competed for morsels of smoked salmon, potato soup and cheese spread. I can only hope some red and green glass shards found their way into the samples. What are the holidays without the hors d'oeuvres? Merry Christmas.

I finally finished my shopping and proceeded to the checkout lines. I found a short line -- another Christmas Miracle! Well, it was short when I entered it. Fearing I’d be lonely this holiday season, a Marlboro-smoking hag barreled her way in front of me. How thoughtful. But for her, I’d have zipped out of Costco without the opportunity to bask in Christmas cheer. The Marlboro lady didn’t have a cart or any merchandise. Instead she beckoned a son (I assumed after seeing the cart-toting male behind me that a man mustered the courage to copulate with her long enough to reproduce) to insert himself and his wares between me and the cashier. The son initially showed reluctance. He gestured at me. But the Marlboro lady assured him I wasn’t worthy of consideration. After all, I had the nerve to enter the line before she got there. The Christmas Spirit prompted me to yield to the son. I suspected he had enough troubles. I moved along to the next line.

It moved surprisingly fast. Before I knew it I was loading my 9-pack of Duraflame Logs on the conveyor belt along with several food items. The cashier and the bagger both seemed friendly enough. The former uttered a hello before whispering to the latter. It didn’t take long for me to learn that the whispering was about my decision to load the case of logs on the conveyor. Said the bagger “Next time, sir, you can leave the case of logs in the cart. Now Cece has to lift it.” At once I offered to lift the case myself, but it fell on deaf ears. The Christmas Spirit had infected these two like a case of gonorrhea. They wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, they struggled with the case together and placed it back in the cart, all the while flashing me contemptuous looks. I noticed that Cece was wearing a wrist brace. One has to wonder why they’d put a cripple on a warehouse register. Many large and bulky items make there way through checkout. Perhaps a job scrubbing bathroom shitters would prove more befitting an employee in her condition. I made certain to suggest that very thing to the line manager on my way out. Anyway, I wondered whether long hours of cashiering wore her wrist. Perhaps her wrist gave way to the chronic stress of furnishing her boyfriend with hand jobs. But for a possible case carpal-tunnel syndrome, I’d have encouraged her to wipe her ass with her attitude. As a healthcare professional, I couldn’t encourage her to further aggravate her ailment. Conscience got the better of me.

I spent my money and it was time to leave. Costco members know you don’t just stroll out of the building. You have to prove you’re not a shoplifter by presenting your receipt to the Costco Doorman. Usually two lines form -- one for each doorman. Today's group of bovines didn’t understand the “form-a-line” concept. The one doorman was standing there with an idle Sharpie Marker. I saw my chance. I darted past the bovines. Just then the other one -- this one a lady, so what does that make her -- a doorperson? -- shouts “people, we have to form two lines. That’s it. Two lines!” Now I started feeling pangs of guilt. Being as smart as your average kindergartner and knowing how to form a line had put me at an advantage. Consequently I zipped past several patrons who’d arrived before me. I’d be damned if I were going to lie in the moral gutter with the Marlboro lady. So I stopped and gestured several bovines to take cuts. But they didn’t get the message. They just chewed hay and stared. That didn’t stop a lady behind me from thundering past and filling the gap with her big, fat Christmas Spirit. I surmised she had a “Save Tookie” rally to get to. I figured that was more important than my thawing chicken pot pie. I waited my turn. Again.

I eventually made it to the doorman who noticed the Heat Dish in my cart. He disapproved of my purchase. In fact, he questioned my sanity. “All these people are buying these things and it hasn’t even gotten cold yet. Crazy.” He didn’t appreciate the irony that even as he spoke, he was wearing a jacket, snowcap and gloves! I saw he was chock full of Christmas Spirit. So I told him that I hoped Santa would bring him that man-sized penis he’s been hoping for so he can donate the 3rd grader one he currently has to charity.

So ended my trip to Costco and so began my Christmas Season. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am!

Merry Christmas.

12/10/2007

Bullet-ins

  • I saw a guy wearing a novelty t-shirt that read, "Genius by birth. Slacker by choice." The only thing missing was, "Douche bag by wardrobe."
  • I saw a lady shopping yesterday with a walkie-talkie. Rummaging through the discount rack, she conversed with a man on his CB radio. I eavesdropped on the conversation. Turns out the reason for the walkie-talkie was, her husband was currently co-piloting the space shuttle. No cell phone service up there. Still, Captain Blake Reynolds radioed his wife to go ahead and buy the Old Navy winter fleece pull-over in neon orange. Endeavor, all fleece is half-off. Roger that Houston, we are go for savings.
  • There's a new Fight Global Warming commercial featuring a series of kids each looking into the camera and saying, "Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop..." All right, you li'l' bastards. You want to fight global warming? Let's start by taking away your Nintendo Wiis. Those things are made from petroleum and they waste electricity. You put Mario and Luigi on the chopping block and those kids will shut the hell up. By the way, kids, if we see increased hurricane activity this season, we'll have to confiscate your Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls and bury them. Sorry.
  • The vanity mirror on my car's visor should have a message on the bottom: "Warning: boogers in nostrils are larger than they appear." Boy, that would have saved me some embarrassment at last weekend's office party.
  • I saw a bumper sticker that read "Your SUV is fueled by the blood of a dead soldier." So I pulled along side of him, rolled down my window and asked, "Hey, how many miles-to-the-corpse does your Subaru get?" Honestly, some people are too damn cynical.
  • Professional wrestling is becoming more violent. I can't wait for them to create a wrestler whose trademark move is to light his opponent on fire with lighter fluid and a TASER gun. His uniform could be an LAPD officer and a "kiss the cook" barbeque apron. Only he'd better not steal that cheesy line, "Can you smell what The Rock is cookin'?"
  • I Googled "nothing" and got 68,500,000 websites. Then I Googled "infinity" and got a mere 6.3 million sites. According to Google, "nothing" is ten times bigger than "infinity." This is chick-math. I figure the "nothing" search should have read, "Nothing matches your search criteria. Try refining your search." The "infinity" search should have imploded the universe into itself, ceased time and annihilated existence. Google sucks.
  • I digitized my Mozart CD and played it backwards. At approximately 2:34 into Piano Concerto #23 in B-flat Major, I was able to make out the words, "Beethoven takes it up the butt from Bach."
  • Parents use the Santa Claus myth to bamboozle their children into behaving: He's always watching; if you're bad, no gifts. But the hoax backfired on my parents. After I saw all the presents under the tree, I concluded that I had breathing room to behave even worse next year and still get some pretty good shit at Christmastime. One year I electrocuted my little brother and still got a remote control car and an Atari. That pretty much gave me a license to kill. Cool, Santa grades on a curve!

12/05/2007

Dying alone

Are you afraid of dying alone?

The fear of dying alone threads its way through the collective conscience. We all fear it, much like that up-skirt shot of Britney Spears...











Golly, that's one ugly cooter. Anyway, everybody fears dying alone. And this fear gives rise to romantic pursuits. Specifically, it expresses itself in an urge to marry. A spouse, we reason, guarantees us we'll have someone to comfort us at our deathbed, a comrade who can escort us to the Great Beyond. Somebody to hold us, somebody to quell our pain. Somebody who hopefully won't defile our corpse with a Sharpie Marker, some shaving cream and a box of condoms, and post a picture of the prank on Google. So we marry (some of us, 2 or 3 times) simply to preempt a lonely death. Do not underestimate how strongly this fear motivates marriage. Consider: many who've escaped the surly bonds of a dysfunctional marriage are the most anxious to remarry. When friends remind them how miserable they were while married, how desperate they were to be single, they respond with, "Yeah, being single is great. But I don't want to die alone." Such is the power the fear of dying alone has on our psyche.

But Marriage doesn't help. The painful truth is, we all die alone -- unless, of course, you enter a murder-suicide pact. Also, airline pilots and bus drivers who happen to die suddenly while on the job will enjoy the company of 100 screaming friends joining them on their final voyage. Barring these rare exceptions, you depart this universe utterly alone. But do not fret. Dying alone affords a luxury that people fail to appreciate. I'd like to highlight it lest you squander peace of mind while anguishing at the thought of dying alone. It may even dissuade you from marrying the wrong person for the wrong reason.

As death claims us, our bodies are going to do things that require a little privacy. To wit, acute lack of bowel and bladder control accompany a dying body. Whatever gas is present in the alimentary canal will whistle past your listless O-ring. Take my word on this. I work in a hospital. Dying people damn near take the lives of those around them, what with all the noxious gas and bio-hazardous waste belching from either end. It's really gross. Dude, I know you're in a lot of pain and dying and whatnot, but pop a couple Bean-o for Christ's sake.

Scientists have attempted to measure the mass of the soul. They placed dying people on scales and recorded their weights before and after passing. Behold, they detected a slight loss in body mass, post-mortem. They accounted the 21-gram discrepancy to the soul leaving the body. However, these scientists failed to compensate for flatulence and defecation. Further experimentation proved the soul is actually weightless, and that the average flatulence discharge accounted for the 21 grams, plus or minus a turd.

Most of us prefer privacy when we're doing the deed. Hell, that's the reason I never joined the Army (Sir, the Private has finished defecating. Permission to pinch off the loaf, Drill Sergeant, sir... Permission granted, Private. And don't forget to double-flush that shitter, maggot!) No stalls in Army base bathrooms. A $300-billion defense budget and Uncle Sugar can't put stalls in the head? I never understood that. Regardless, dying alone spares us what would be the most embarrassing 10 minutes of our lives. Therein lies the virtue.

I hope I've alleviated the fear of dying alone for my readers, and I hope that they will share what they've learned today with friends and family. Pass it along. We need not fear dying alone. It's a blessing. Growing old is one indignity after another. Thank Goodness that when our indignity is at its zenith, when we're gasping our last breaths, regurgitating our Ensure, soiling ourselves like a gin-soaked Kennedy, and shooting Little Debbie Snack Cakes into our adult diapers, that we're utterly, utterly alone.