7/05/2011

I'm throwing myself headlong into Twitter.

Yeah.  That's the way it has to be.  I'm dwelling in Twitter nowadays.  It's the new boy's room and I'm ditching class and smoking with the cool kids.

I don't even know how to use Twitter yet.  I have an account, but I never use it.  I created the account a year so that I could follow the wit and wisdom of Dennis Miller and few other first-rate minds.  I'll figure it out, though.

My mind manufactures tweet-sized particles -- not essays.  My blog, my dear, sweet snoop bloggy blog, feels like work.  It's never felt that way before.

Maybe our bite-sized media culture is contagious and I'm afflicted with tweetitis.  I don't know.  I've been blogging since '04 and it's time for a change.

I hope every last damn one of you will join up with me on Twitter.  I'd love to keep in touch and read your brilliant insights (distilled into 140-character blurbs, of course).  Please, please -- if you have a Twitter account, add me.  If not, create one and then meet me there.

Twitter Name:

VirtualRichV

Also: put your Twitter name in the comments, yo!

Godspeed, bloglidites.  

Rich.

6/24/2011

Everything I need to know.

Everything I need to know they taught me in kindergarten.  I borrowed that line from somewhere.  But it's true.

What better field trip could kindergarten offer the kids than a tour of the local fire station?  I remember my trip fondly.  One spring day in 1977, the teachers loaded us up in a big yellow bus with "Polish air conditioning."  That's what the bus driver called opening the windows.  I'm not making this up.  Polish air conditioning -- ah the days before political correctness.  Anyway, we rode to the fire station where we split into two groups.  Both groups got the grand tour of the fire house, one after the other.  My group entered first.  The fireman tour guide showed us all the components of a fully functional fire station.  Fascination struck the group of kids.  We ooh-ed and ah-ed as if we were watching fireworks.  I felt we could have skipped over the shower room, what account of several showing fireman winking and offering us a chance at "working the hose" and whatnot, but what would I know at the age of six?  How dirty could we kids have been anyway?

I had a great day at the firehouse.  I learned much.  I found the firemen friendly and charming.  The trucks, poles, radios and equipment together made one giant adult playground.  Heck, one day when I grew up, I might become a fireman myself.  It made that big an impression on me.  But at the end of the tour came the grand finale: a bag of candy for each tourist!  The fireman leading our group gave us kids the candy.  What a hero!  I found it a nice touch.  Classy.  Sure, the tour was entertaining.  But being able to take something away from the experience, something tangible, delighted me.  I love candy.

We dashed to the bus where we were to reconcile with the other group.  My group arrived a few minutes early and boarded the bus first.  The teacher for the absent group, Mrs. Thomas, boarded the bus and addressed us kids.  Get this load of crap:


"I understand you all received bags of candy after the tour.  Unfortunately, my kids didn't.  There was a mix-up.  So you'll all have to share your candy with the students boarding the bus in a minute.  Everybody has to share."

Come again.  Share?  Look lady, I'm sure in adult-land bags of candy fall in your lap all the time, but when you're a kid, it's a damn rare event.  I regret learning that the other group didn't get any candy, but I fail to see how that's MY problem.  The way I saw it, kindergarten was a ripe age to learn that life isn't always fair.  And I was going to teach that lesson to whichever poor bastard child sat in my seat.  There was only one problem.

I understand that nowadays the word "retarded" is offensive.  So I didn't have a retarded kid sitting next to me.  Instead, I had a "learning disabled" kid sitting next to me.  His name was Jamie.  And like me, he was lucky enough to have been in the candy group.  I'm sure you see the problem.  If a candy-less kid sits next to me and the retar...  learning disabled kid offers his bag of candy for sharing, the new kid could surmise that I, too, had a bag of candy to share.  I had to think fast.  An idea hit me.

First, my story would be that I was one of the poor children who got gipped out of a bag of candy.  Second, I had to make certain my booty was concealed.  Third, I had to get the LD to go along with the story.  This was a tall order for a kindergartner.  I had to marshall all my wits and nerve.  And I had to enlist the help of an "LD."

I was confident in my ability to hid my candy and lie convincingly to the Tiny Tim booger-eater begging me to share.  But coaching Jamie to play along would require a small miracle.  Everybody knows that the slower the kid, the more sincere he is and the more eager to please.  God bless our learning disabled.  They don't have the faculties for deception.  Just the same, Jamie was going to get a crash course in chicanery.

Talking under my breath, I explained to Jamie that our bags of candy were going to lose weight unless we stuck together and cooked up a scam par excellence.  We would have to assume the identities of children who were in the latter group, the ones who got screwed.  In fact, we were hoping he had some candy to share with us.  Of course, Jamie needed to conceal his candy on his person and keep it there until the coast was clear.  This is no time to 'tard out on me, Jamie.  Focus!

A minute later, sure as tomorrow, some Tiny Tim takes a seat in Jamie's and my booth.  The boarding group had been briefed that candy awaited them from those inside the bus.  I didn't even wait for this little douche bag to ask.  I immediately addressed him: "So, do you have any candy?  Because we didn't get any."  I turned my head to Jamie and flashed him a look of encouragement.  This is your cue, Jamie.  I could only hope my instructions remained intact in his short-term memory long enough to pull off the caper.  Come on, Jamie.  Remember all those after-school specials?  You can do it!

Whatever "learning disability" those teachers diagnosed Jamie with, they were full of crap.  Jamie delivered.  He shrugged his shoulders with all the dejection of a disappointed child and echoed my sentiments.  "No candy."  Yes!  Move over, Al Pacino!  You ain't got nothing on Jamie the LD.  I studied the new kid for signs of doubt.  If he voiced any suspicion, I'd have to snuff him out and blame Jamie.  But the little bastard bought our performance.  Not a trace of doubt crossed his disappointed face.  Who's the slow kid now?

Prologue:  Jamie did indeed keep his mouth shut for the duration of the trip.  He and I enjoyed every sweet, delicious morsel in our bags.  And I believe we both learned a valuable life lesson: if you have anything of value, keep it a secret, because there's always some asshole with a sob story who believes he's entitled to a piece of it.

6/22/2011

WWKW

  1. What is the best or worst pick up line you have ever been given?
  2. What is your most and least favorite day of the week?
  3. How many hours of sleep do you require each night?
  4. Is there a song that takes you back in time? What song is it and what memory is it attached to?
  5. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Worst pick-up line:  "Congratulations.  You've met my minimum standards for attractiveness, earning power and social status.  Let's go to my place."

Most/Least favorite days:  Fridays suck.  Mondays are sublime.  (I work weekends).  Loverboy claimed "Everybody's Working for the Weekend..."  I'm working for the weekend's end.  My favorite day of the week used to be Pizza Night -- when I was a kid.  Now that I'm a grown-up, every night is Pizza Night if I damn well please.  I often mitigate the psychological anguish of Fridays by making it Pizza Night.

How much sleep:  Eight-and-a-half.  Eight isn't enough.  That last thirty minutes have all the rejuvenating power packed inside.

Song that takes you back in time:  She's Tight, by Cheap Trick.  Man, oh man.  Does that song bring back memories.  Unfortunately the details exceed the boundaries of good taste and blogger sensibility.

Guilty Pleasure:  I have a few.  Sometimes I crank call PETA -- I pretend I'm calling a restaurant and ask whether they serve baby seal meat.  Other times I read the Finance Page of the newspaper in public and mockingly quip, "What?  I thought Obama was supposed to fix that!"  Or I'll watch C.S.I.-Whatever and try to guess which suspect the spunk belongs to.  Honestly, how many murder mysteries are solved by way of male ejaculate in real life?  TV forensic science is 90 percent spunk.  Go figure.  I don't suspect I'll ever murder somebody.  But should I someday yield to the temptation and croak some deserving a-hole, I'm not rubbing one out afterward.  That's just uncouth.  

6/15/2011

WWKW

WWKW

{1} You have been asked to give a 10 minute speech to teenage girls. What is it about?
{2} Do you have a pet? Tell us about them. No pets? Why?
{3} What is the biggest inconvenience about the place you’re currently living?
{4} What do you think is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?
{5} What are the THREE "nevers" of your life? (things you would never do or have never done)

Answers:

1)  Ten-minute speech to girls:  Ten minutes isn't a lot of time.  So I'd rattle off the following:  Don't let the fashionable but false belief that men and women are the same, seduce you.  It's bunk.  You're different.  Embrace it.  And if you want to understand how and why, read some layman evolutionary biology.  Not only is it fascinating, but it'll give you tremendous insight into women's and men's penchants, behaviors, emotions and sexuality.  Also, know that college is the most overrated and overpriced commodity.  Don't go 100 grand in debt before you discover that!  Women and minorities are particularly vulnerable because we're so damn hot and heavy to outfit them with (always expensive and often useless) college degrees.  Don't get me wrong: Education is wonderful.  But college is a racket.  Take great care when investing in your education. 

2)  My Pet:  I have an adorable puggle named Bella.  And if you want to see her, just visit IA for a facsimile.  See:  Lexi.  

3)  Inconvenience of living where I live:  It's 150-miles away from my job -- the most wonderful hospital in the world!  Luckily I only have to commute once per week!

4)  My best decision:  To be the kind of person who examines things instead of accepting things.  I don't know if I decided this or if I was just born this way.  Choosing to observe once in a damn while is a good choice.  A close second was my decision to keep a weblog.

5)  Three never's:  1)  I'll never "go green."  They might force me one day.  But I'll never volunteer.  2) Run for political office. One has to stand back in awe of the wrath the other side spits at their political opponents.  3)  Live beyond my means.  A couple things I've gleaned from 40 years on this planet: stuff doesn't make you happy; and debt is slavery.  

6/14/2011

Minds are like parachutes

I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Minds are like parachutes: they only work when they're open."  At the next red light, I rolled my window down and asked the driver whether she yanked the fucking ripcord when she cut me off a half mile back.  Based on her driving, her parachute is more like that hydrogen zeppelin that caught fire.  Whoever graded her driver's ed test must have had one big, open fucking mind and a parachute the size of Rosie O'Donnell's trousers.  Here's an idea I hope she'll meet with an open mind: learn the rules of the road and follow traffic statutes.  Then you can impart your unsolicited pearls of wisdom on fellow drivers.  I put more stock into people's advice when they're not endangering my life while they chat into their cell phones.

Minds only work when they're open.  This is poor counsel.  We have too many open-minded people and they're to blame for most of our problems.  Before you object, ask yourself whether we have too few or too many gullible people.  Remember we are a nation that spends millions on bottled water, Fen Shui consultants, palmistry, and Glade Plug-in air fresheners.  Open-mindedness gives rise to gullibility.  If you open the cognition valve too far, crap of all sizes squeezes through the pipes.  Then your brain becomes a pool of turds and debris and you develop an appetite for “reality” television programming and The Daily Show.  So much for open-mindedness.

Sometimes an open-mind is a virtue.  I try to keep an open mind whenever I'm at the Chinese buffet.  You must force yourself to sample food from this bin and that one if you're to discover new and delicious concoctions of Chinese delicacy.  Don't trust your first impression.  Much of what you see at a Chinese buffet looks about as appetizing as Chinese water torture.  I swear those people butcher food as badly as they butcher the Eeengrish language.  But it tastes great.  I owe my affinity for ethnic foods to my open mind.  But I close it back up again after I read the fortune cookie and pay the bill, because outside the Golden Dragon is an ocean of bullcrap draining into open mental manholes.

Open-mindedness is useful only for subjective matters: art, music, writing, religion, the collective work of Neil Diamond.  But many other things aren't subjective.  They're objective.  They're facts.  We don't ask anybody to keep an open mind when adding two and two.  We needn't keep an open mind when studying historical records, principles of thermodynamics, biology or the best strategy for Deal or No Deal.  Even social and political issues can be objective.  When you're watching a documentary on Hitler's Third Reich, should you keep an open mind?  Hey, maybe those poor Nazis got a bad rap.  Aren't we being awfully judgmental?  Nonsense.

The parachute metaphor is bunk, too.  Consider what happens if you open your parachute at the wrong time.  You get sucked out of the plane prematurely.  Your chute tangles in the propeller and your diced corpse plummets to earth.  If you'd kept your parachute open from the beginning, you wouldn't have even made it to the plane.  You would have suffered death by strangulation after your parachute tangled on the drinking fountain.  How's that for an epigram?

  Here lies a jumper in his chute, bound.
  He never made it off the ground.
  He left it open, like his mind.
  Propellers diced up his behind. 

The way I see it, if an idea is any good, our minds will open up despite our efforts to keep them closed.  I can still remember my first fried Twinkie, my first episode of Sex and the City, my mini-Mac, my first toke on a fatty, and my first murder by bare-handed strangulation -- I didn't want to like any of these things.  They were rubbish.  But the facts chiseled through my rock head and kicked a foot into my mind's doorway.  Hey, a mixed metaphor.  Cool.  Anyway, even if the world is chock full of close-minded people, there's no keeping a witty, sophisticated HBO sit-com featuring four New York women down.

Let me suggest a better metaphor. Minds are like strip bar doormen: They're only as good as their ability to bounce the riffraff.

6/08/2011

WWKW

I've got some dues to pay.  So I'll have LAST week's WWKW questions and answers below.  But first let me participate in this week's WWKW Q&A:


  1. Everyone seems to have a quirky family situation-- what is something unique about your family dynamic?
  2. What is the most stressful aspect to blogging (aside from the network going down)?
  3. We all end up on a blog at some point in our day, but name your top 3 favorite websites you flock to daily (non blog)!
  4. What’s your sign?  Believe in it or not, does any part ring true to you?
  5. IceCream!! ICECREAM!! We all scream for icecream! Name your favorite flavor/brand! (Its hot here, can't help it)
BONUS QUESTIONS if you dare..
            A.  Name the blog you credit for linking up with us today?
            B.  Suggest a question you want to see in future WWTK’s!

Answers:

1)  Quirky family situation:  My brother appears to be half black.  Dad's white.  Hmmm.
2)  Most stressful thing about blogging:  Word processing.  I hate formating stuff.
3)  Three most frequent sites:  Drudge Report, YouTube, Facebook.  PrematureEjaculatorsAnon.com was a close forth.  
4)  Sign:  Taurus.  And yes, it applies; most of what I say is bullcrap.
5)  Favorite ice cream:  Mint & Chip.  Nothing else compares.
A)  Blog link for WWKW:  IA, now and forever.  
B)  Future Question:  "If you were granted legal impunity and the Lord's forgiveness, which one person would you murder?"  

...And now for last week's WWKW:  

1). If the blogging world had a talent show, what would your act be?
2). What's the most likely reason you might become famous?
3). What question are you repeatedly asked that you are tired of hearing?
4.) What's the last thing you broke?
5.) Finish this sentence.  I can't believe I used to ________.

Answers:

1)  Talent show:  My one great talent is being mediocre at everything I do.  So I could showcase my talent by doing just about anything.
2)  Likely to become famous:  Either my Snoop Bloggy Blog will propel me to stardom, or if that doesn't happen, I think I hold the world record for lifetime consumption of Diet Coke. 
3)  Question I'm tired of:  "Dude, are you sure you're heterosexual?"
4)  Last thing I broke:  The Fellowship of the Ring.  This pudgy midget gave me a gold ring to hold onto for him, but it didn't fit so I pawned it Sal's Pawn Shop for 150 bucks and a PlayStation 3.  Then this old man with a beard and a pointy hat started yelling at me.  Chill out, Merlin!
5)  I can't believe I used to... be a woman.  Wow, that surgery went about as well as I could have hoped.  Great job on the plumbing, Dr. Feldstein!

6/06/2011

This MAY HELP

A big political topic nowadays is the “crisis” whereby old people can’t afford medicine.  Evidently our seniors must choose between buying food or buying drugs.  They can't afford both?  When I was a high school senior I bought drugs.  I never went hungry.  And I was only making minimum wage!

This seniors' prescription drug crisis doesn't pass the smell test.  Something isn’t up to snuff.  Snuff, incidentally, is among the finest drugs.  Sadly, the custom of sniffing snuff has snuffed out the sniffers.

Old people can't afford their medications because they take 23 different pills every day.  Who can afford 23 of anything?  If I had to eat 23 packs of Ramen Noodles every day I’d go broke -- even with coupons.  Thanks to an overambitious medical community and a very seductive pharmaceutical industry, today’s seniors have become a bunch of Charlie Sheens without the YouTube.  Not long ago, when somebody chose to buy pills instead of food, we called them “junkies.”  Now we call them the “World War II Generation.”

There’s not a problem in the world that a pill won’t fix.  Oops!  I misspoke (I’ll bet there’s a pill for that, too!)  Have you noticed these pills never fix anything.  They don’t cure any diseases.  They “help prevent” the ailment. They “may aid in the fight against” a disease.  They “can reduce the risk” of some condition -- along with a sensible diet and exercise.  There’s a reassuring claim!  “Golly, Marge. This $17 pill may reduce the risk of my 83 year-old heart exploding -- if I take it twice a day and run half-marathons.  Looks like we better put the tuna back on the shelf.  No meat this week.”

What’s with all the “may help” stuff the medical community is laying on us?  If I’m paying for pills, I want to know they work.  This angle would never work on young people.  Young fellas, would you date a girl who “may help prevent” blue balls by putting out after dinner?  It’s a cinch she’s not getting surf and turf!  And dear young ladies, would you become familiar with a man who “may reduce the risk” of premature ejaculation by imagining transmission repair?

Hell, no!  Yet we’ll pump ourselves full of pills assuring us of no more than prudes and premature ejaculators.  Hey, these pills may help.  So prescribe 37 different kinds of them and make sure you specify name-brand stuff.  I don’t want generic pills lessening my chances for success.  Thanks, Doc.

When you get old, if you ever find yourself having to choose between food and medicine, choose the food.  It’ll do exactly what it promises to do: fill you up and make you happy.  No “may” or “might” about it!

6/01/2011

Evolutionary psychology

I shoot people through the prism of evolutionary psychology and project their true colors on the wall.  It's a hobby.  We're all driven to understand others.  Social animals from our primitive beginnings, we need to understand our own species.  Life and death decisions depended on how well we understood our clan, trading partners, mates, and competitors.  Our ancestry bequeathed on us modelling software -- genetically encoded in our brains -- for explaining and predicting others' behavior.  It's a handy tool even in the modern age.  Look how easily your brain detects the motives and machinations of others, despite their ruses.  What an important piece of software!  We can even turn the app on ourselves so that we might understand our own puzzling behavior, if we're brave enough.  But know this.  The only valid model, contrary to a hundred fashionable psychological theories, is primitive man, the hominid, the hairless ape whose brain has evolved and persevered the rigors of 5 million years in the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Other models compete for explaining the human condition.  You've got your positive psychology movement, behaviorism, the ghost-in-the-machine, the noble savage, socially constructed man, etc.   All rubbish.  I predicate my model for understanding humans on this simple postulate: 6,ooo years of culture can't compete with 5,000,000 years of biology.  In fact, all culture can do -- when it succeeds at all -- is redirect evolutionary forces into civilized channels.  This is why socialism always fails and that loathsome system, capitalism, remains the best game in town; we serve our own needs.  Forget all that huminist crap.  We're just animals with  jim-dandy computers inside our heads.

Recently I was trapped in a traffic jam.  I wrote about it on my blog.  And I've been thinking about it ever since.  Driving for 24 years, I've marveled at how angry traffic makes me.  At first blush, one inclined to view people through the lens of evolutionary psychology might doubt driving could affect us at all.  Automobiles are, from a biological perspective, a brand-new novelty.  They've only been around for 100 years -- just a click on the clock in evolutionary terms.  Driving doesn't garner us food or shelter or status or sex.  It's just a means of travel.  So how could driving resonate in our primitive brains with their Serengeti Plain software?  Yet it does.  Driving taps into the deepest, most fundamental layer of our emotional core -- the lymbic system.  I wasn't joking when I described myself as temporarily insane with rage during that traffic jam.  For an hour or so, I was no different from the raging primate of my ancestry -- minus some body hair.

Here's how I explain it.  Driving isn't just novel travel.  It's the 20th century permutation of the herd.  And it indeed evokes our herding instincts (or better, our prairie instincts, as we roamed the prairies as hominids).  Our cars become our bodies -- extensions of our bodies.  Driving puts us in a trance in which our rational minds doze and our instinctive mentalities thrive.  We intuit the dangers of lagging.  Our hominid sensibilities go on alert when we slow down or grind to a halt.  Imagine life on the prairie to understand why traffic jams ping our instincts. We become tempting prey to enemies on the hunt.  We're wasting resources, too: loitering on the great plains exposes us to the elements, food scarcities and manifold mishaps.  We can't rest, eat or mate on the trail.  In the Serengeti, sluggishness spells death.  This is why we hate commuting.  This is why traffic jams rattle our cages.  What irony that within one of our most celebrated technological triumphs, the automobile, we devolve into the apes of our ancient ancestry.

It's just a theory, I guess.  Just my model for explaining my behavior.  It helps me feel less insane and more normal.

5/31/2011

The plane truth

The airlines have collectively hemorrhaged $30 billion over the last 25 years or so.  Anybody who's owned an airline stock has had their portfolio “made love to” in the pooper by a man endowed like a 747.  Airline stocks always nose-diving because airlines can't etch out profits unless Uncle Sugar sends them a check.

Consequently, airlines are constantly trying to save money.  They cut meal service.  They cut employee salaries.  They cut numbers of flights and destinations -- whatever they can trim, they trim.  Even peanuts and pillows are on the chopping block.  But they never cut the stewardesses, and I have to wonder why.  Can't they just install a soda fountain and a vending machine in front of the emergency exit?  When you board the plane, you'd stop at the soda fountain, pour yourself a cold one and grab a bag of nuts.  Maybe they could even have a slushy machine.  Who knows?  The point is, if airlines installed a soda fountain and a vending machine into the planes, they could kick the stewardesses into the jet stream.

This would save the airlines millions.  What does your average plane stooge make per year?  About as much as a teacher, plus benefits.  Carrying at least 2 stewardesses, each plane costs the airlines about $100 grand per year.  That's real savings, people.  Remember the plane that had its roof ripped off in mid-flight?  Many saw that as a tragedy.  But it saved the airlines 100 grand when the 2 stewardesses flew out of the opening.  The airlines, of course, pass those savings on to us.  Cha-ching!  Flight attendants are always striking anyway, in this case, the ground (rimshot!).

Many of you are probably thinking, But LBB, who's going to instruct us how to use the seatbelt, oxygen masks and flotation devices in the event of an emergency.  I've already thought of that.  Just put the information on a pamphlet.  Then give all the passengers the pamphlet.  Everything you need to know that's really important would be on the pamphlet.  Pamphlets are effective teachers.  I learned about puberty, pregnancy, peer pressure, STDs, drugs and alcohol, homosexuality and suicide prevention on pamphlets.  And I'm happy to report that I've avoided most of these pitfalls in my life thanks to the information on those pamphlets.  All the important lessons in life are printed on pamphlets.

Incidentally, I peeked in the cockpit on my last flight and I saw the pilot reading a pamphlet.  It was titled “How to Execute an Emergency Landing While Minimizing Casualties.”  I was delighted to see the pilot freshening up his skills during the flight.  I never slept so soundly on a plane before.

Soda fountains, vending machines and pamphlets -- an idea that can save the airline industry.

5/25/2011

You ask LBB, you get it.

Look at me!  I'm doing another blog meme.  Ordinarily I'd hate myself.  But the source of this meme is so hip and cool and whatnot that I can't resist the temptation.  Why should I?  It just makes me a member of the Cool Club.  RHOK 4-ever, yo!

Today's questions are the brainchild of Seriously Shawn.  And you should take them as seriously as Shawn, herself.  Seriously.

1.} What must you do before you go to bed at night?
2.} What is one thing you must snack on at the theater?
3.} Before going on vacation what must you do?
4.} What is one thing you must do every day?
5.} Is there something you do that must be done in a particular order?


1) Before bed:  I must inspect under bed and in closet for monsters, wraiths, apparitions, harpies, demons and other undesirables.  Also I must employ interdental brush, Oral-B plaque remover and antiseptic mouthwash to maintain healthy teeth and gums.  Also load my Droid with the latest Dennis Miller podcast so I can fall asleep while laughing and growing all the wiser.


2) Movie snack:  The wife's earlobes.  Sometimes I do that after eating a box of DOTS and make them all sticky.  


3) Before vacation:  Pack a different color Speedo for each day at the pool/beach.  Also, forward my phone calls to 800-GO-SCREW.  


4) Must do every day:  Read RHOK.  Drink Diet Coke.  Exercise.  Upload encrypted message confirming that I'm still alive so that SEAL Team Bravo doesn't execute Operation Charleston.  Don't ask questions.


5) Particular order:  I MUST use my electric shaver before using a blade.  Otherwise my shave is torture.  If I do a once-over with the electric, then reconnoiter my jaw with the blade, things work out A-OK.  Finally, I rub my chin, nod approvingly and smirk with an air of machismo like the sexy hunks in the shaving commercials do.  Gillette -- because you're all man, all the time!  Incidentally, what's with those guys in the razor commercials?  They act so high and mighty.  So you're the cock of the walk, huh?  Dude, you shaved your face.  You didn't cure cancer.  Stop looking so pleased with yourself.  Smug a-hole.  Congratulations, you did what every 13-year-old boy learns to do in about 5 minutes.  Stop admiring yourself in the mirror like you have a Porsche and a 10-inch knob under the towel.  Fag.



5/24/2011

Overdone

I’m not a man of moderation.  Admittedly, most things I do come out mediocre.  But when it comes to remedies and indulgences, I like going to the extreme.  I enjoy overdoing things.  Especially when I’m deprived for a while, I like a double portion of what I lack.  It’s so satisfying.  I figure anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Take, for example, chapped lips.  Living in the desert, I sometimes suffer from chapped lips, which often strike when lip balm isn’t handy.  I have to wait until I hit the drugstore for relief.  So once I get my hands on some lip balm, I drown my lips in it.  I want that life-giving moisture to soak in and saturate my lips.  Then I want a cake of balm plastered to my lips, at the ready, in case the first layer needs reinforcement.  When I get done applying lip balm, I look like I gave a blowjob to a candle factory.

The same thing goes with food.  I don’t eat like a normal, healthy person.  Most people respond to pangs of hunger by eating a sensible meal.  I don’t.  I continue to fast.  Occasionally I’ll exacerbate my hunger with exercise, watching the Food Network, or ganja.  I wait until I’m so hungry, the thought of a tofu hotdog served on a naked Bea Arthur is appetizing.  Then, when I can’t wait moment longer, I’ll throw together a meal worthy of Henry the VIII.  As I jackhammer food down my gullet, I imagine myself “killing” my hunger.  It feels great.  Nothing satisfies like a bout of gluttony after fasting for 16 hours.

I rummage for those foods highest in calories.  Sometimes when I’m food-deprived, I’ll fantasize about foods that don’t exist in the real world, but only in a theoretical culinary plane where foods boast the highest calorie density in the universe -- something in the way of a bacon-wrapped cheesecake, or beef brisket served between two fried Twinkies, or prosciutto ham that squirts out of a Cheeze-Whiz can.  Hunger transforms me into a culinary mad scientist.

I also like overcorrecting with climate.  Even in the desert, winters can be cold, especially when you insist on wearing shorts and sandals year-round.  I’ll spend a few minutes outdoors, in the cold, knocking back a Circle-K Thristbuster.  Once I’m frozen to the bones and my beanbag is cinched up like rawhide, I head for my gymnasium, which has a sauna.  I’m so cold, all can think about is the 170-degree closet.  I strip down, hop in, and relax for about 7 hours, until I overheat.  Sometimes I hallucinate like an Indian on the high planes.  I have visions in which I’m a half-wolf hybrid or something.  I always come to once I exit the sauna and resume normal body temperature.  But while I’m overheating, I relish in overcorrecting what ailed me -- the cold.  But now I’m hot.  My skin is red.  My heart is pounding.  I’ve sweat about 40% of my bodyweight out my pores.  When I walk out of the sauna, I look like freakin’ Ghandi, or an extra fromSchindler’s List.

The nice thing about the sauna is, I dehydrate.  This leads me to my next overcorrection – quenching thirst.  Nothing beats going into hypovolemic shock from the sauna and then cruising to Circle-K for a Thirstbuster of diet soda.  Say there, my good man.  If I by one of those gas cans, can I fill it with Dr. Pepper at the soda fountain?  Money is no object.  No joke – I typically gain 5 pounds per day from drinking so much diet soda, only to urinate it off during the night.  My kidneys appreciate the extra business.

I enjoy oversleeping, too.  Everybody’s had a string of days (or weeks!) where they’ve gone with less than enough sleep.  It’s a cumulative effect.  Eventually, you’re a zombie.  When I find myself in this state, I like to convert a day off of work into a daylong slumber.  Sure, I’ll awake after 8 or 9 hours.  And often I’m well rested.  But I’m just getting started.  I coax myself back to sleep.  While the rest of the world tackles the workaday, I’m deliriously comatose.  Sometime in the late afternoon or early evening I’ll awake.  My limbs are numb.  I can’t think.  I have a bad case of “pillow-face,” and I struggle for about 40 minutes remembering what day it is and whether I’ve missed any appointments.  Is the rent due?  Do I still have my job?  Who’s the president nowadays?  Is this a sunset or a sunrise?  I don’t know!  Where’s my compass?

After a 17-hour nap, I don’t recognize my universe or myself.  That’s how I know I’ve done it right.

Other ways in which I overcorrect:

*Racing my car after clearing a traffic accident.  I figure I’ve got the right to speed until such time that my average velocity rises to that of the posted limit on the highway.

*Taking a long, hot shower after shopping at WalMart.

*When I have a cold and I’m chronically congested, I’ll sniff a little Drain-o.  Not enough to kill me, just enough to bore through the snot.

*Double-killing insects that have been bothering me. Sometimes, after spraying the insect with poison, I’ll step on him. Sure, he’s already dead. But I want to hear a crunch.

5/18/2011

I'll dip a toe in the water


I just realized I'm a blogging snob.  I've been posting for years and I always write what I damn-well please.  I also read the work of many great bloggers.  But I never participate.  The memes and the linky things and the tag-you're-it stuff -- I've peered down my nose at it.  I'm not going to let The Man tell whitey what to write.  That, and also I lack the technical savvy to post pictures and link stuff and edit video and whatnot.

But I can hop off my high horse once in a while.  I've just read two of the most charming bloggers in da 'sphere, yo:  Shawn and IA.  They've invited their readers to join in the fun, namely, We Want to Know Wednesday.  It's a questionnaire that you post and somehow link to their Snoop Bloggy Blogs.  I'm not sure how it works just yet, but I'm going to hook my thumb on the panties and see if the ass lifts up, so to speak.  Let's see what's shaking.

Amendment:  Shout-out to Mamarazzi.  WWKW is her brainchild.

We Want to Know Wednesday (#5)

{1} If you could choose a Super Power, what would it be?
{2} What would be your first frivolous purchase if you were awarded a million dollars tomorrow?
{3} What would be the hardest current luxury for you to give up?
{4} If you were given a choice between being given great wisdom and great wealth, which would you choose?
{5} If you were to be stranded on a deserted island for 100 days what 5 THINGS would you pack?

Answers:

1)  Super power -- The power to induce common sense in those who lack it or disregard it.  Think Professor Xavier from the X-Men, only I exact telepathic influence on nitwits to be reasonable with decision-making and to behave rationally.  And also, throw in a pair of Wolverine claws so's I can gets me 'da ladies!

2)  Frivolous purchase -- I always wanted one of those robot sweeper/vacuums.  I'd also hire a bodyguard because after an electrical disturbance, the thing might malfunction an kill me in my sleep.  Spotless floors and a good night's rest.  I'm one step ahead of you, you little Roomba Robot bastard.

3)  Luxury item -- The ability to sleep as late as I please on most days.  I work weekends.  Monday through Friday, I wake up when I want to, not when I have to.  

4)  Wisdom or wealth -- Wisdom.  You can be happy without money.  But you can't be happy without being wise.  

5)  What 5 things to pack... 
  • A grooming kit
  • My life-sized cardboard cutout of Edward Cullen (Team Edward 4-ever!)
  • A bottle of Ten High
  • A manservant with wildlife survival skills and who's 100% not gay at all
  • A trunk of fireworks for pig roast banquet festivities 

5/13/2011

Thoughtprints

  • Just thought of a new accomplishment for the Dos Equis guy:  "Although he prefers beer, he can make a wonderful bathtub margarita by showering with the drain plugged."
  • Why can't you have your cake and eat it, too?  Isn't having it a prerequisite?  You have to HAVE it first before you can eat it.  Last night I ATE pizza because that's what I HAD for dinner.  I don't want to get into a semantic argument.  I just want my cliches to make sense.  And also, you don't "get what you pay for."  If that were true, nobody would get ripped off!
  • I wish eating burned more calories.  In my world, chewing would burn 80% of the food's calories, and swallowing would burn the other 20.  So by the time you burned a few more calories straining on the crapper, you'd be losing weight!  Now you're in Flavor Country!
  • Like all fathers, I want my little girl to remain virtuous now that adolescence has arrived.  But I'm not the shotgun father type.  No lectures or threats.  Instead, I've nailed 5x7 pictures of all her dead relatives on the ceiling, over her bed.  Work smarter, not harder!
  • Speaking of beers, have you tried a Navy Seal Beer?  It's just regular beer served in a mug, but you have to blow the head off, first.  Rimshot!
  • Sometimes I think "'til DEBT do us part" would be a better wedding vow.
  • Headline: "Wife sues husband for $12 million for not having sex with her."  Man, what a great pick-up line this guy has:  "Hey, the last woman I stopped having sex with needs 12 million dollars just to feel whole again."
  • Headline: "Man dressed as cow steals 26 gallons of milk..."  Bull dressed as self mounts man dressed as cow; man hospitalized in colo-rectal ward.
  • Headline: "Man caught peeing on cough drops in drug store."  Later told authorities he was confused by instructions to "moisten lozenge and inhale fumes."
  • Headline:  "Russians deny cosmonauts had sex in space."  However, they did admit to several "solo missions," if you get their drift.
  • Headline: "America's Toughest Sheriff lets public rate mugshots online"... low self-esteem sufferers getting arrested for opportunity to be vindicated with high ratings amid thugs.
  • Headline:  Jail smuggler hid cell phone, an MP3 player, marijuana, tobacco, and $140 in rectum.  Guards became suspicious when prison rape played Beyonce song and dialed local Domino's Pizza.
  • What irony that the latest technological gadget -- the Kindle -- succeeds by resurrecting that hitherto extinct species technology itself killed off, the book reader, Textus Aficionadus.  People are relying on technology to deliver them from a technological age.
  • I saw a bumper sticker that read, "I brake for snakes."  Fair enough.  I wish I had one that read, "I accelerate for a-holes."
  • Forty years in art: "Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play..." to "I used to be commander-in-chief of my pimp ship, flying high..."
  • I've seen the damage drunk-dialing, drunk-texting and drunk-Facebooking can do.  From now on when I get the urge, I'm going to go for a long drive and cool off.
  • I tend to be a victim of my own success -- a risk I side-step by being a total failure.
  • Failed pick-up line #138: "Congratulations. You've met my minimum standards for attractiveness, earning power and social status."
  • Can bouncers telecommute?  "Put that guy on the phone... Yeah, hey pal.  No more booze for you, and I need you to leave quietly.  OK, bro?  Hold on, I've got another call coming in... some dude with a fake I.D."

5/06/2011

Everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

Something puzzling you?  Ask me.  It's an LBB ex machina!  All questions answered in V-Logs next week.  Beware: I'll make you famous (to my 7 readers, anyway).

Looking forward to all your brain-busting questions, fellow bloglidites.


5/03/2011

Toy stories

I got to thinking about toys from my childhood.

My all-time favorite toy was the cap gun.  This is how far we've come in a generation.  Nowadays, you can't find a toy gun in a toy store anywhere.  But when I was a kid, the problem with toy guns was, they weren't convincing enough.  So a worker at the toy factory scratched his head and said, "You know, putting fake guns in the hands of children so they can recreate armed robberies, warfare and reenactments of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre is just swell.  The problem is, it's just not real enough.  Gunplay is noisy.  We need our guns to make a bullet-popping sound.  A little gun powder ought to do the trick." 

And so the toy factory began manufacturing caps -- little packets of TNT to prepare junior for the real thing once he hit puberty.  I remember riding my bike to the drug store for my Colombine Starter Kit -- a mock .38 snub-nose and 5 rolls of caps – all for $1.98.  I considered opening the package before I got to the register and jacking the drug store with my new toy gun: "Gimme all your jaw breakers, old man.  And throw in a roll of caps."  But self control got the better of me.  It was that clerk's lucky day.

They also made a cap hand grenade for kids.  I'm not making this up.  The hand grenade was a cast-iron ball with metal fins.  It looked like a miniature smart bomb.  You'd load the breech with a few caps.  Then, you flung it in the air toward a friend.  When the iron ball impacted on the ground, the breech would crush the caps.  Boom!  The only time it failed to detonate was when the iron ball struck kid flesh on account of it couldn't compress with enough impulse.  It did, however, leave a nice bruise and a sub-dural hematoma.

Remember the Speak-n-Spell?  They should have named it "Speak-n-Swear."  This toy could talk (revolutionary toy technology in the 1970s).  First it would ask you to spell a word.  Then it would speak what you typed, and tell you whether it was right or wrong.  For example: "I'm sorry.  F-U-C-K is not the correct spelling of ‘Graveyard.'  Please try again.  I'm sorry.  D-O-U-C-H-E is not the correct spelling of ‘Exercise.'  Please have your mother wash your mouth out with battery acid."  Whoa, watch the attitude, Speak-n-Spell.  I've got a cap grenade that just might have your name on it.

When I wasn't simulating gunplay or spelling curse words, I was usually playing catch with my Pitch-Back.  The Pitch-Back was an ingenious toy that would throw a baseball back at you.  It consisted of an upright aluminum frame and a net with three gradations.  Depending where you hit the Pitch-Back, it would ricochet the ball back at you in a line-drive, pop-fly or grounder. At least that was the theory. In reality, no matter where you hit the Pitch-Back, the evil SOB would whip the thing at your beanbag. Steeeeeeee-rike!

Later designs included the "Bowl-Back." You'd roll a bowling ball at the net.  It would return the ball in the form of a 16-lb. pop-fly-of-death.  This one was real popular with the 37 kids who lived to tell about it.

4/28/2011

Hungry Man

People tell me I fret over little things. I reply that the little things are the big things.  Think on that for a while.

I work two 16-hour shifts per week at a hospital.  I work in the X-ray department on the weekends with a skeleton crew.   The place is a dungeon.  Its lead walls seal out sunlight and radio waves.  I imagine this is what it's like inside a submarine -- minus all the seaman.  Trapped, spinning my wheels all day in my leaded hamster cage, I get hungry.  Sure, the hospital has a cafeteria.  But the food is dreadful and I refuse to waste calories on crap (if it doesn't taste good, I don't eat it).  Besides, I don't just need good food for its own sake; I need something to look forward to on my lonely stretches at work.  A morale builder.  Chalk up two reasons to stock the break room freezer with Swanson's Hungry Man dinners.

As a rule, frozen dinners suck.  The food itself is fit for prison.  And it exits the microwave like a science experiment.  Some parts are near absolute zero; others, hot as a plutonium core.  One time, after eating semi-frozen peas like crunchy ice, I dove into the apple cobbler dessert, confident it was cool.  I tasted sweet gooey lava briefly before it scalded my taste buds numb and melted my fillings.  How the hell is that possible from a thermodynamics standpoint?  It's like having Pluto and Mercury on the same cardboard plate.

Frozen dinners were worth their weight in garbage.  But then Swanson introduced their Hungry Man line.  Most of it was still crap, but a few of the meals were really good.  Not only did Swanson deliver on quantity (they came 1-pound and, get this: 1&1/2-pound sizes!), but the quality was there, too.  The meats were premium cuts that reheated well in the microwave.  The sides were tasty.   The seasonings and sauces, serviceable.  Frozen-food science had reached its zenith.  But there was one meal that reigned supreme -- a Michael Jordan of Hungry Man's, if you please.  They called it the Beer-Battered Chicken and Cheesy Fries w/Bacon Bits.  Bow in awe and cross your hearts.  This 4-dollar frozen dinner was bomb, yo.  The chicken was all-white meat, never processed -- strips of breast lightly battered in golden brown goodness.  And the fries were sublime.  The cheese and bacon bits added mellow smoothness and zing to a thick and tender French fry.  Imagine happy hour bar food at a fine local pub.  That's the caliber of meal I'm recollecting.

So I worked my weekends, ate my Hungry Man's, and all was right in the world.

The fuck, bro?  I heated up my Sunday Hungry Man dinner and bit into my first chicken strip.  Ugh!  What the Sam Hell?  Disgusting.  I examined the cross-section of chicken strip with the bite taken out and saw... dark meat chicken?  This couldn't be happening.  Squelching panic, I retrieved the empty package from the trash and read the ingredients.  The "white meat chicken" listing had changed to "chicken."  What had escaped my notice earlier at the grocer was the absence of the "all-white meat" banner on the front of the box.  The bastards at Swanson's dumbed down the recipe to save a buck!  Some bean-counter executive douche bag ruined the best frozen dinner on the planet with one stroke of the pen.  Did he think we wouldn't notice?  Let me assure the cock-knockers at Swanson's that there's a ton of difference between white meat and dark meat chicken which only amplifies under frozen food conditions.

The little things are the big things.  And so, with the dumbing down of my Swanson TV dinner, I infer the decay of civilization: scrimping, bamboozling the customer, making the good things mediocre, forgetting what's important, hoping nobody notices, and serving up second-rate product.

4/22/2011

Thoughprints

  • If three lesbians have sex, is it a menage-a-twat?
  • When I'm filling out a stack of paperwork, even though I know the date, I can't help looking at my watch every time I have to fill in today's date.  What's worse is, every time the paperwork asks me which sex I am, I look down my pants.
  • Barack Obama needs to create a new cabinet position whose title is Secretary of Blame.
  • AAA sees 18% increase in roadside callers out of gas; hookers see 1539% increase in requests for roadside hand-jobs.
  • Recession hits fast-food industry: Burger King changes slogan from "Have it your way" to "We'll take into consideration, A-hole."  McDonald's to launch "Every Pickle Costs a Nickel" policy for hamburger sales.
  • Today is Good Friday, or as the Jews refer to it, "Oops, My Bad -- Day."
  • Russians deny cosmonauts had sex in space.  However, they did admit to several "solo missions," if you get their drift.
  • Obama's popularity is so low that when he plays basketball, the team captain picks the white kid first.  
  • Suffered a blow to my ego today when I took a picture of my package and send it to my wife via cell phone.  The transaction erred out with the message:  "Insufficient Data."

4/19/2011

Dear diary

I spent 90 minutes cussing traffic and engaging in fender-fisticuffs as I scrambled off the I-10 yesterday.  Later I would learn the police fatally shot a man -- well, one can only assume the shot was fatal; the bullet nudged him off the SR-51 overpass and 30 feet below onto the I-10 -- and closed the highway for 7 hours.  Seven hours?  Really?  Hey, Phoenix PD, I count 50,000 motorists trying to pass.  What say we pretend your handiwork is a new speed bump?  You can shovel him off the pavement after rush hour.  I'll tell you.  You have to stand back in awe of the Phoenix traffic jam.  It doesn't just slow you down.  It strands you.  You can spend 2 hours exiting a freeway, at which point you have to plot your way along with thousands of displaced drivers all consulting their GPS's instead of watching the road.  You know the brain module that activates at times like this and says, "This is part of the daily commute.  Everybody has to deal with it, not just you.  Stay calm and deal with it."?  Well, I was born without that module.  I lack the gene, or my mom dropped me down the stairs, or I ate some mercury or something.  I don't have the faculty to deal with aggravations like this.  I'm not kidding.  The I-10 rendered me temporarily insane, deranged, spewing verbal filth and spittle while purple-faced, until horse and apoplectic.  With relief and pleasant surprise I write, exalting in the fact that I'm not in prison just now.  For a while yesterday, the big house was a possibility.

My computer monitor has been on the fritz.  It finally gave its farewell performance last night.  In fact, I discovered it finally died while sitting down to write this blog entry.  Off to Target to burn 200 bucks, only to recover my life before the monitor failed.  That's the worst feeling -- spending money to stand still.  When I part with money, I want to elevate my circumstances, feel a fresh breeze, own a new toy.  Nothing's worse than spending money on replacing something you already had -- no improvement.  At least upgrade!  But my last monitor was 400-dollar humdinger.  I can't afford to upgrade.  In fact, this one is smaller.  It features LED technology though, for what that's worth.  By the way, Target was out of stock.  That led me to WalMart -- which I believe is one of Dante's early levels of hell.  I drove to Target bemoaning the money I would spend.  By the time I reached WalMart, I'd have paid somebody 50 bucks just to go in and by the monitor for me.  Sometimes I suspect the lure of money is not in the luxury items, but in the option to avoid hassles.  Pay somebody else to deal with it!  

Wading my way through the WalMart, I hatched a sinister thought:  When the hell did the population become so goddamn fat?  I don't mean overweight.  I don't begrudge our aging population a few extra pounds.  What I mean is, so fat that it imposes on the rest of us.  So fat that one can neither ambulate at a reasonable pace nor allow others to safely pass.  That's when I take obesity personally -- when your girth becomes my problem.  I spent 2 hours in a traffic jam yesterday.  You're giving me flashbacks, fatty!  Man, I lack the patience I had in my youth.  Nowadays, faulty electronics, traffic jams and the obese ignite my temper.  My anger perverts my thoughts so that I fantasize sinister musings.  I hope the guy who caused the traffic jam didn't die, but writhed in pain a bit, for example.  

Blogging like this is therapeutic.  Usually I have an essay in mind or a few jokes.  But today I'm writing a digital diary.  It's cool.  Those of you who have made it this far, thank you for being my soundboards, my friends, my confidants.  What more to write?

I've been spending my free time reading my Kindle.  I love reading.  I do it while I eat out and then read some more when I return home.  Now that the weather is agreeable, I'm reading on my porch.  I love filling my brain with stuff and taking mental trips to wherever (just like the Kindle commercials suggest).  But what I like most is the quietude.  No commercials, no pop-ups, no hysterics or gimmicks or come-ons.  Nobody is trying to sell me anything.  The whole world shuts up and then an author tells me a story.  I love it.  Anymore I need it.  What irony that the latest technological gadget -- the Kindle -- succeeds by resurrecting that hitherto extinct species that technology itself killed off, the book reader, Textus Aficionadus.  People are relying on technology to deliver them from a technological age.  

I'll end here.  Hope you're all well for a spell.

LBB


4/15/2011

If I Were God

If I were God, I would crumple up hell in my Divine Hands and throw it in the cosmic trash. With all due respect to His Divinity, He's missing the point of hell: to poke fun and humiliate those who were consummate jerkoffs during their time on earth -- and have fun doing it. What fun is condemning people to hell if you're on the other side of the cosmos where you can't watch them squirm?  I'd keep the evil souls in heaven.  But I wouldn't give them a chance to enjoy it.

For example, take Goliath from the Bible.  I'd have a blast vexing him.  "Hey, Goliath.  What do you say we get stoned and then go to a rock concert?"  And then I'd hit a rimshot.  I wouldn't just say "rimshot." I'd be God, after all.  So I'd miracle a real rimshot sound effect every time I burned one of these little bastards.  Screw the fire and brimstone.  I'd burn them metaphorically, with my Divine 'Dis.  "Ah, you know I'm just kidding, Goliath.  Let me make it up to you.  Bartender, make my friend here a Singapore Sling."  Rimshot!

When people think "evil," they think Adolf Hitler.  He's currently doing an after-life sentence in hell.  Seems a waste to me.  Here's a guy ripe for a roasting, Dean Martin style.  I'd keep Adolf on a steady diet of lox and bagels.  And I'd make him be the personal manservant of some famous Jewish guy like that Borat fellow or maybe Mel Brooks -- when either finally gets around to dying.  Orthodox Christians might comment that Borat and Brooks won't gain admittance into heaven because they haven't accepted Christ as their personal savior.  But if I were God, I'd let them slide on that technicality.  But first I'd punk them at the gates and make them think they weren't getting in:  "You see?  They were right about Me after all.  You shouldn't have tossed that book aside after you finished the Old Testament, douche bag.  The ending is the best part."  Then I'd grab the golden lever with the "Hell Chute" sign above it and gesture like I was going to pull it.  Finally, I'd let them in on the gag:  "You just got punked.  I was kidding of course.  Make yourself at home, guys. But seriously, if my Kid asks, tell Him I was really hard on you guys."

The Unibomber went to hell.  Instead, why not make him the clerk in Heaven's Mailroom?  Then, every once in a while, send him a ticking package or an envelop that reads, "Boom."  Let him sweat it out, the sick bastard.  You've got to get creative with these people.

Saddam's in hell.  Remember the mustard gas he launched at those Kurds and Iranians?  From now on, everything Saddam eats gets coated in hot spicy mustard.  The gag is, I'd first give him a a gastric ulcer and a mustard allergy.  Also, I'd switch his jock-itch cream with Bengay.  Chemical Warfare.

Michael Jackson?  I'd make him have sex with beautiful adult women all day and night.  Ironic, isn't it?  One man's heaven is another man's hell.

Dear Real God:  I hope to Christ You have a sense of humor.  Yours in humility and servitude, LBB.

4/12/2011

Bowling and gobstoppers

It was so simple.  Could I be wrong?  One dollar, take away 30 cents, gives you 70 cents change.  What was I missing?

The bowling alley is the Taj Mahal for seven-year-old kids.  Just being there meant it was Saturday -- no school -- and that 4 or 5 of your closest friends were present and in league.  The fifth friend could actually be an annoyance because he was the castaway who had to rotate into the 5-man team and would displace one of us bowlers each frame.  Cause for a beating, but with punches pulled so that each blow and body shot felt as friendly as was the spirit in which it was thrown.  Fag.

The bowling alley had a pizza restaurant, arcade and candy store annexed to the west end.  Nestled in the southern suburb of Chicago, the pizza place was legendary.  But the menu exceeded our candy store budgets.  The burgers and dogs were out of reach, too, unless you were that one lucky bastard whose parents were either rich or wayward with a buck.  I could never tell which.  How could kids with parents that flush know a day's boredom?

I don't understand.  It's simple math.  One-hundred minus thirty is seventy.  If I get it, why doesn't he?

You must wear bowling shoes on the lanes.  No exceptions.  This is a business.  The lanes and the equipment cost a fortune to upkeep.  The shoes protect the hardwood lanes.  You kids need to remember that: no horseplay and always wear bowling shoes on the lanes.  None of us owned bowling shoes so we rented them at the counter, first thing.  I always wondered why the balls were free but the shoes came at a fee.  Seemed backward in my seven-year-old mind.  But so many things did.  For instance, the exchange with the shoe-rental clerk.  The shoe rental fee was 30 cents.  I gave him a dollar.  Shouldn't I get...

I never understood the scoring system in bowling.  I can add numbers.  We'd mastered that a year ago in first grade.  But the compounding effect of spares and strikes escaped me.  I gleaned from the overhead projected scorecard that they bumped your score quickly, and that it was crucial to score well in those frames immediately after the marks.  Somehow in this ethereal magic, a potential 120 pins yielded a score of 300.  I also learned that the overhead projectors could broadcast a silhouette middle finger to the entire facility if you had the nerve and stealth to flip off the scorecard while the chaperone's attention was elsewhere.  Eff you, Bruinswick!

In retrospect I had good reason to flash the finger to the bowling alley.

I couldn't be wrong.  I gave the guy a dollar.  Shoes cost 30 cents.  That should leave me with 70 cents.  Is this guy mental?

Mom gave me a dollar on bowling days just before dropping me off at the alley.  Let me assure the reader that was a king's ransom in 1978.  Sure, shoe rental came out of your end, but the remainder was yours to blow as you please.  Seventy cents, sweet lucre.  You couldn't grab a table and dispatch those college boy wastoid rejects to cook you a large sausage and pepperoni, but in terms of candy, you were Donald Trump incarnated into an obnoxious, 7-year-old body.  And let's face it.  If you're not eating pizza, you may as well reign supreme at the candy counter.  Fine by me.

The problem was, on some Saturdays my stash got me much further than others.  It depended on the Saturday.  Or maybe it was the shoe clerk:  When the girl was renting the shoes, I got a ton of change back.  I did some grievous damage at the candy counter.  But when that one dude was dealing kicks, I walked away with chump change -- barely enough to cover a couple gobstoppers.  I didn't understand.  The shoe fee wasn't fluctuating week to week.  Bowling shoes aren't pork bellies or petroleum.  They were 30 cents, period.  A dollar minus 30 cents was 70 cents.

Mom found out soon enough.  We always needed an adult chaperone to corral us kids, keep score, administrate the aforementioned substitute bowler system, and pretend to lose sight of us when we sought mischief.  My mom finally drew the short straw.  Her turn.  Actually, she didn't mind.  She enjoyed watching me bowl with my friends.  I think she even found the petty mischief wholesome insofar as she was raising a boy with the requisite social tools for hijinks.  But she did not receive the news well when I asked her about my missing change.  That it had become a pattern over the previous weeks angered her further.  She walked slowly but with all the conviction and purpose of an executioner toward the shoe counter.  The paralyzed sales clerk with the face blemished with adolescent patchy stubble and acne knew he had been made.  "How long have you been ripping these kids off?"  I couldn't follow much of the conversation, or I just can't remember it, or better I couldn't grasp it in all its perverted disputation.

I got all seventy cents the following Saturday.

Flush with change at the bowling alley, I agonized over the missed opportunities of weeks past.  Change is candy, and candy is coin of the realm at the alleys.  The bowling itself is incidental.  All I knew was, hit big on those frames after a mark.  Maybe I could break a hundred.  Who cares?  Hey, Triple Digits, can you kick my ass?  What I loved was having a cache of caramels and Dots and gum balls in my pocket.  But what ate at my guts was how I let that punk get one over on me every other Saturday.  I knew the arithmetic.  I could take away 30 from a dollar in my sleep.  But an adult (anybody with car keys is an adult in kids' eyes, and this burnout highschooler behind the shoe counter qualified) was giving me back a quarter, give or take.  The grown-up had to be right.  My mistake.  What did I know?  Even if I did ask after the missing change, he'd just bulldoze a heap of convolution and minutiae that convinced me of nothing but served its purpose of blunting the point that shoes cost 30 cents and I gave him a dollar.

And sometimes, when I'm susceptible to a bout of cynicism, I swear the whole goddamn world is chock full of adolescent bowling alley clerks trying to rent me a pair of size-13 shoes with a peculiar premium and a story at the ready.

3/25/2011

Good evening, health food and germs

I don't believe health food prevents disease and illness. Think about it.  What is illness?  It's a bunch of microorganisms -- virus or bacteria -- taking a foothold in your body and looking for a place to set up shop.  The little bastards are shopping for biological real estate.  Ideally, they want a place with with a warm climate, a nice view of the liver from the backyard, and located close to a major artery going downtown.  And just between you and me: preferably a neighborhood with no whites -- blood cells, that is.

Given the above, doesn't it make sense to make your body as inhospitable as possible?  If you were a germ, where would you rather hang out?  In a tropical paradise where fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains nourish a pristine ecosystem?  Or a wasteland composed of hardened Twinkie cream, Slim Jims, chicken wings and cheap tequila?

I don't have any scientific evidence to back this up, but common sense says the germs are going to run like hell from bodies chock full of junk food, and they won't stop running until reach the colon of a health-conscience, vegetarian yoga instructor.  Serves him right.  I hope it hits just when he’s doing is “praying dog” pose.  Whoa, 9 months of pretentious, alternative lifestyle posing down the drain in one inopportune episode of flatulence.  Sorry ladies.  Don't let the pony tail and the Prius fool you.  He's a pig just like the rest of us.  Say, do they make healing crystals for a case of the winds?

You know what food trend I'm hating on?  Energy drinks.  Are people mental?  Hey dude, do you really think you're going to counteract 12 whiskey sours and 19 minutes of sleep with a can of sugar water and ginseng?  Face it, dude.  You're worthless for the rest of the day.  You could drink jet fuel out of the spigot with a blow torch chaser.  You wouldn't have the energy to blow your nose.  You want the energy of a "rock star?"  Stay at home, jerk off and go to bed at a decent hour.  You're a 38-year-old accountant, not Axl Rose.

How about the names they slap on the side of the can to sell this overpriced Kool-Aid:  Rock Star, Monster, Overdrive, Donkey Kick, Dragon Piss, Hulk's Scrotum Sweat...

We get it.  It's loaded with "energy."  You're not getting $3.59 for a glorified soda pop.

I've digressed.  Anyway, in conclusion, screw health food and energy drinks.

3/22/2011

On traffic statute infractions and their underlying psychological causes

Every motorist knows the roadway is a chute to the primal rage and hatred of the human psyche.  Driving can turn Mother Theresa into homicidal maniac.  Nobody is immune.  Everybody drives angry.  But why?  Driving infuriates us because it has a clear, concise and comprehensive body of rules -- which we insist on breaking.  Because there's always a rule, there's always a person in the right and another in the wrong.  One feels aggrieved and the other, unfairly persecuted.  Both become angry.  Driving invokes our sense of justice and fair play, and when a fellow motorist treads on these sensibilities, we turn into bloodthirsty vehicular vigilantes who dispense justice in horn blasts, obscenities and finger gestures.  But I'd like the reader to consider that traffic infractions aren't shortcomings in moral turpitude, but rather manifestations of psychological pathology.  That is, bad drivers aren't discourteous.  They're sick.   Examples and analyses follow:


Failure to use turn indicator:  People believe those who fail to use a turn signal are inconsiderate drivers.  This is false.  The truth is, some people feel self-absorbed when signalling.  They think, "Why should others care where I'm going?"  "Why do I feel the need to broadcast every move I plan to make?  Isn't that what Twitter is for?"  Essentially, the person who fails to signal turns suffers from low self-esteem.  So stop hating them and start pitying them.

Tailgating:  You don't need Dr. Freud's help to figure this one out.  Tailgaters are revealing their unconscious, repressed desire for anal sex with another man.  Keep ridin' that bro-dozer on my Toyota's bumper.  That's as close as you're getting, gaymo. 

Disturbing the peace with a car sound system:  Your state likely has a traffic ordinance prohibiting audible music more than 75 feet away.  Two psychological conditions prompt motorists to disobey this law, and we distinguish one from the other by musical taste -- rap or country.  The former mistakenly believes his penis is abnormally large; the latter fears his penis is abnormally small.  The latter is correct.  

Unsafe lane change (cutting off):  Some drivers insist on making abrupt lane changes before establishing safe following distance from the car in the destination lane (usually while failing to signal). These drivers fear being what Spaniards refer to as cabrons  -- men whose wives are fucking the pool boy.  Compulsive lane changing and cutting off other drivers are subconscious "cock-blocks" in which the perpetrator satisfies the urge to thwart other motorists in lieu of obstructing other penises from his wife's vagina.  

Excessive speeding:  Understand this is not the 5-over speeder most of us are or with whom we sympathize.  This is the maniac who barrels down Broadway at 70 mph in a 40-zone, even as he sees the red light ahead.  While it's possible he's a dipshit who watched Fast & Furious too many times, the more likely diagnosis is an acute case of diarrhea threatening the custom leather interior.   

Fluctuating speed: likely indicates a premature ejaculator whose condition conjures cognitive dissonance with steady speed and frequency.  He has compulsions to abruptly slow or halt progress until he can recover his composure, whereupon he scrambles to make up for lost time by jolting forward.  The cycle repeats itself multiple times until everyone around him is disappointed.   

The guy who doesn't pull all the way up to the light or to the car in front of him at a red light:  You know this guy, right?  But I'll bet you didn't know the reason --- he's a compulsive masturbator trying to conceal his habit by avoiding side-to-side alignment with onlookers.

Swerving:  This driver frequently drifts to the border of his lane and straddles it for miles, prompting other drivers to take evasive action against an unsafe lane change.  This habit is the tell of a man struggling to make a major life change.  It could be whether to subscribe to that Time-Life Books of the Supernatural series, or whether to join Team Edward or Team Jacob.  Another and more likely explanation is fighting to get in touch with his gayness and/or transvestitism. 

Single passenger driving in car pool lane: indicates multiple personality disorder (alternate personalities are likely queer).

Driving too slow while in passing lane:  No psychological pathology.  This guy's just an imbecile.  Feel free to hate on him with impunity.

3/17/2011

Headline news

Headline:  Gadhafi vows to crush "Mad Max" rebels.  Mel Gibson responds, "Hey, why me?  I beat women and hate the Jews just like you do."


Headline:  At least 20 motorists hit body on L.A. freeway.  Eighteen reported recognizing body as Ryan Secreast beforehand. 


Headline:  World's sixth mass extinction underway according to scientists.  However, it won't claim as my species.  So far, only two-and-a-half men have died.

Headline:  Gang member tortures victims by placing head in bag of sliced onions.  Judge sentences assailant to jalapeƱo suppository.  You have to love that creative sentencing program!


Headline:  Judge awards homeless father custody of child.  However, court declares cardboard box he was living in "community property;"  must tear in half and share with ex-.


Headline:  Psychologists discover cure for chronically low self-esteem.  Advice to sufferers -- stop being a piece of garbage.


Headline:  89-year-old man lights self on fire inside church.  Children's chorus breaks out in rendition of This Little Light of Mine.


Headline:  Royal Caribbean rolls out all-you-can-drink cruise packages:  Ad features fine-print excluding Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and anybody whose last name begins with "Mc."


Headline:  Dan Quayle says of Obama, "I'm glad he's out there playing golfe." 


Movie Review:  Latest Shrek movie released.  It shrucked.