Saturday, October 31, 2009
Trick-or-Treat, you sexy bastard.
* Thanks to the incessant, unending media hype, I am absolutely petrified of even the prospect of driving anywhere, for any distance, at any time on October 31st, for fear of turning a local child into a speed-bump resembling a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
* I want to buy a huge caterer-sized platter of crudite and offer cucumber slices and grape tomatoes to children who ring my doorbell tonight.
* When I was in elementary school, I made every Jewish mother's nightmare come true when I asked my mother if I could dress as Hitler. I even parted my hair and put a small square of black construction paper underneath my nose to show her how much I looked like him.
* Speaking of being Jewish, when you're a Jewish kid, your parents try to convince you that Purim is just as cool as Halloween, but you soon realize that that's a bunch of cockshit.
* In fourth grade, I went to my elementary school's Halloween Parade dressed as Richard Nixon. Not resembling Richard Nixon at all, especially at age 9, I had to buy a mask from Halloween Adventure.
* There's that unsettling part of my psyche that wants to open the door to trick-or-treaters and TASE them.
* When we were in middle school, this kid in my neighborhood, Bill was his name, and his entire family would freak their whole house up for Halloween, with coffins and shit inside and they would make themselves all up like dead people and scare the fuck out of everybody who came over. They don't live there anymore. Every time I pass their house, I think about how much I miss Halloween at their house, and how I wish I'd bought Bill's sister's green 1978 Plymouth Fury when I had the chance at age 18. They're probably all in prison now.
* I wonder if there ever really was a guy putting razor blades in apples and, if there really was, where does he live, and what kind of razor blades were they? Because I use MACH-3's, and those motherfuckers are expensive. I could use some free ones, even with apple schnazz on them.
* Have you ever wanted to stick your finger down your throat and throw up into some kid's trick-or-treat pillowcase?
* I guess you won't be bringing your kids to my house, huh?
* If pre-pubescent girls show up at my door dressed as Naughty Nurses, Naughty Metermaids, Naughty X-Ray Technicians, Naughty Non-Profit Executive Directors, etc... I'm calling their parents. No joke. And then I'm going to TASE them.
* It is inherently wrong to dress as the following for Halloween:
Hitler, (thanks for the early ethics lesson, Mom!)
anybody in blackface,
a child with Asperger's Syndrome,
a crack-addicted prostitute,
a Ukranian cleft-palate baby,
an Orthodox Jew,
The Twin Towers,
Joseph Merrick (the "Elephant Man"),
an (infected) vagina/penis,
any recently-deceased relative,
Kunta Kinte, though that might fall under the aforementioned blackface category.
* A couple years ago, my wife and I attended a play on Halloween in costume. We were the only ones in the audience who had dressed up. I was a constable, and she was a prostitute (but not a crack-addicted one, and we didn't black out her face or any of her teeth.) We were, of course, handcuffed together.
* Tonight, for shits-n-gigs, when you open your door to trick-or-treaters, pretend you don't speak or understand English. Make up a language and try to communicate with the children. When they get exasperated and just thrust their baskets, bags, or pillowcases in your face, grab them and start pelting them with mini Snickers bars as they flee screaming. Proceed to eat all their candy.
* If anybody comes to your door tonight in a costume and you think they look too large to be a child, they are undoubtedly recently-graduated theatre-majors, and, thus, need to be TASED.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Jews get Yom Kippur.
Bloggers of both and other assorted affiliations get the blog.
Yes, world, welcome to my dirty little secret-smeared hut. Watch where you put your fingers.
I thought it would be fun today, Friday, a day when very few people, for some reason or another, are actually reading blogs, to air some of my filthy laundry and confess some things to the blogosphere.
And, why not? There's nothing a hardcore blogger enjoys more than slicing open his/her wrists and coating the greedy, ogling readers in their shame-juice. We just love letting you get super close to us and then unabashedly vomming all over you in an ardently penitent fashion that you can't help but find utterly charming.
So, I decided that I will confess some dirty, squirmy, vile secrets to you today-- some things I ought to keep to myself, no doubt, but simply can't.
Do I dare?
Bless me, Blogosphere, for I have sinned. It's been a while since my last confession, which I guess would have to be this post where I revealed that I took an axe to our basement wall. And now, without further ado, here's the goods:
1.) I often go three or four days in a row without changing trousers.
I know-- I'm disgusting and evil and you probably never want to actually meet me now that you know this revolting fact about me, but it's who I am. I am that guy-- walking around in the same pants he's worn since Tuesday. See, I find it a real chore to unloop my belt, flip it around to the black side, take out my wallet, my cell phone, my Burt's Bees, and any random notes or papers I've written to remind myself about things that I never look at, hang my pants up, go pick out new ones, and then reassemble all the pocket gear every morning.
So I just don't. I do always change underwear, though. Sometimes more than once a day if I found I haven't wiped properly.
2.) Oh, yeah-- sometimes I don't wipe properly. Because I have an anxiety disorder, I'm constantly afraid of a.) missing a phone call, b.) forgetting to do something, c.) being late for an appointment, errand, obligation, d.) some other unknown event rapidly approaching on the horizon that I sometimes rush through the wiping procedure, leaving an undignified reminder. Really, I'm not a bad man. I just have mental disorders, which sometimes become anal ones.
3.) When I use Q-Tips to extract ear wax while sitting on the toilet in my parent's bathroom, I still throw the Q-Tips behind the bathroom radiator, instead of rising from the toilet and taking two steps to throw them in the trashcan. If you want to talk about the power of learned behavior, I've been committing this perverted life error since 1985.
4.) I care about what you think of me. Isn't that fucked up?
5.) After people leave the room I'm in, I always talk shit about them if there's someone else in the room to listen. Always. If there's no one in the room after the person leaves, I think about doing awful, unspeakable things to them with staple-removers and used Q-Tips. I would do it about you, too, because I have no soul.
6.) My office chair smells like farts and dead bison.
7.) I frequently have the need to clear the history of both my home and work computers. The home computer is because of porn, the work computer is because of blogging and frequent ebaymotors abuse.
8.) I don't especially mind being Jewish, but I don't want to look Jewish. When I was fourteen I asked my barber to give me a haircut that would make my hair look like Niles Crane's. He looked at me and said, "I can't do that." Sure, the plastic surgeons can rhinoplasty your fucking Jew conk off, but the goddamn barber can't Aryanize your kinked-ass bushmop.
9.) Speaking of my nose-- several years ago I discovered that, if I squeeze on it hard enough, a substance resembling "Good Spray Cheese" comes out the pores. Hope you're not reading this during breakfast!
10.) I am never quite sure if I'm a good person, or a very, very bad person.
11.) I want my nephew to become at least three because, right now, he bores the shit out of me.
12.) I've told lies to pretty much every person I've ever met, except for my wife.
13.) Even though it makes me sound like a woman, I'm pretty much only ever truly happy when I'm cuddling and/or eating chocolate.
14.) I don't give a fuck who wins the World Series. And, yes, I'm from Philadelphia.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
In this crime-scene photograph, (A. O'Connor - AnemoneProjectors) you can see Detective Sergeant Head's body lying in the street behind the dark-colored vehicle.
Roberts, Duddy, and Whitney were all arrested and found guilty of the murders, and were sentenced to life imprisonment by Mr. Justice Glyn Jones, who is often quoted as referring to this murders as "the most heinous crime to have been committed in this country for a generation or more." People called angrily for the return of the rope, which did not return. At the officers' funerals, thousands of officers and civilians from all over the United Kingdom attended, as did Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
Duddy died in prison of natural causes in 1981, which is just fine with me, because that's what a life sentence means.
Shockingly, Jack Whitney was released in 1991, after only serving 25 years in prison for the murders. He did, however, have his head beaten in with a hammer by his heroin-addicted flatmate during an argument, so that took care of him, and gives a hair of credence to my mother's philosophy "everything happens for a reason."
There was much talk in February of 2009 that Roberts would most likely be released from prison. He has been in prison for 43 years, and is now 73 years old and refers to himself as "an old-age pensioner." He may very well be an old age pensioner, however, he is still something most other old-age pensioners aren't, a convicted triple-killer. While the passing of time makes some things better, like cheddar and wine, it doesn't do much to improve the reputations and histories of those involved in appalling acts like the one in which Roberts participated, and began, on August 12, 1966.
Roberts himself says this: "I can understand why the families of the three policemen could never forgive me and wouldn't want me released. But I feel I've served my time."
My question is this: how can you feel you've "served your time" of a life sentence if you're still alive? Obviously, you haven't, Mr. Roberts. You have served time, and you've served a lot of time, but is it enough?
When I hear people talk about crimes that occured a long time ago, I call them "black-and-white crimes" because that's how most of them were recorded for posterity, they often voice the opinion that, once a certain amount of time has gone by, the punishment somehow no longer fits the crime. Usually this opinion is expressed by sympathizers of the convicted, though not always, and usually these sentiments are posed when the killer is wizened, elderly, gray and now appears avuncular, or even grandfatherly-- in stark contrast to, say, their mugshots in which they appear crazed, young, powerful, angry-- and very, very dangerous.
"Who could he harm now?" people ask of convicted murderers like Harry Roberts, who committed their crimes in long ago, sepia days of yore. The answer, though, isn't really relevant. The gravity and the atrocity of the butchering of three unarmed men in the middle of a sunny afternoon demonstrated that the socioipathic nature of these three men was sufficient to warrant them being removed from society forever-- and that is what should have been done.
I think that people who utilize the "enough is enough" argument when referring to elderly people who have done the evil art of murder in their youth have a lot of nerve advocating for the release of people I don't think they'd want buying the house next door to their own families. The people who wouldn't pass background checks to work in their shops. The people whom you can't ever really trust, ever again.
The Lucifers in our midst.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Just Give Me the Chocolate Thingie
They don't sell them.
Nope. No matter how absurd that sounds, nowhere on their menu will you see the words "Chocolate Croissant." You will see, however, if you look hard enough on the counter where the baked goods reside, mingling with each other, objects that look suspiciously like croissants, dribbling luscious chocolate out of their rears, and their fronts.
Panera calls these "Chocolate Pastries."
Sometimes, on days when I'm fortunate enough to have to visit an ATM to deposit a check, I'll pop into the Panera that's three doors down from the bank to get a cup of coffee. Now, I'm sure most of you will agree that there's very little that goes with a cup of coffee than a chocolate croissant. Imagine the warmth of the coffee melting the chocolate as the sinfully delightful confection slides effortlessly down your gullet. Mmm. Almost pornographic, isn't it?
When I went into Panera a few weeks ago (I get a monthly paycheck-- I know, it's like the fucking CCC, for Christ's sake) and I noticed that Panera refers to chocolate croissants as "chocolate pasteries" I tried to subvert the dominat paradigm by announcing to the apron'd clerk that I would like a medium coffee and "a chocolate croissant." She went to go pull out the coffee cup, emblazoned with a large letter "M" to avoid confusion, when she stopped, evidently confused anyway, apparently by the latter part of my order. She cocked her head and furrowed her brow, the way my dog does when I ask him philosophical questions.
"Sorry-- a chocolate pastry."
She smiled, nodded, and proceeded to grab me one chocolate croissant. At least she used a piece of wax paper.
Americans get upset when foreigners refer to us as dumb. Being undumb, I can appreciate that. Because my father is foreign, I have to listen to him regale us with examples of the dumbness of America and Americans. Frequently. It's basically his favorite topic of conversation, after he exhausts singing the praises of my sister. He wants me to ghost-write a book for him about how dumb America it is. He's already got what will probably amount to volumes of anecdotes and stories to support his beliefs. He's even picked the title-- and it's snappy, too.
"AMERICA: DUMBEST FUCKIN' RETARD COUNTRY EVER"
Look for it in bookstores about a year-and-a-half after I lose my current job. I'll keep you updated.
Now, I will not even waste space on this blog arguing that lots of Americans aren't dumb. They are. I know that. You know that, even if you're dumb. (Of course, you're reading this blog, so we already know that you're not. You're sexypants.) I do not, however, share the McDonald Coroporation's (yeah, they own Panera. Crazy, right?) belief that Americans are too stupid to a.) read the word "croissant" and b.) pronounce the word "croissant" in a spontaneous, order-taking situation.
Now, we know that McDonalds thinks Americans are stupid and has for decades. I mean, they invented the picture menu, for Christ's sake, not to mention numbers for food. Perhaps you remember ordering a "Number 2" recently and not, thankfully, receiving a piece of stool in a box-like paper container.
Maybe they think Americans of a certain vicissitude cannot handle the word "croissant" because it is French. Well, I think a relatively large percentage of Americans have been saying French words for a long time and nobody's ever died of it yet. We've been saying "art deco" since the 1930s, haven't we? Haven't we done okay with referring to Demi Moore as "that slutty, brunette cougar?" "Brun" from the French word for "brown," "ette" to indicate that she's a small(ish) female.
Every asshole in town says good-bye to you before a trip with "bon voyage" before they go read your mail and break into your home to masturbate on your sofa pillows. And every pervert, scumbag and ESPN announcer knows how to say "menage-a-trois" when it matters most. We all know the skinny prig in the white vest with his nose in the air at a restaurant is called the "maitre-d."
So, why can't we be expected to say the word "croissant" at Panera?
Do they think it's going to negatively affect sales if the simpletons of the American world walk up to a counter, want a delicious chocolatey treat and won't order it because they can't pronounce the word on the menu?
Yes. That is what they think.
And, you know what? They're right.
At a local bagel chain, they offer sumptuous, flakey, square, layered, chocolate-infused, confectioner's sugar dusted delicacies, and they put them right by the cash register, so you just can't resist adding one of those lovely mothers to your order. For months, I longed to try one, but I didn't know how to pronounce their name.
I was petrified of looking like an incompetent, idiotic, yes, American asshole in front of the 19-year-old pony-tailed chippy behind the counter-- like she knew how to pronounce "beignets." Finally, after months and months, I summoned up every ounce of courage and decided, "Okay, that's it-- today's the day. Today I am going to order one." And I sauntered bravely up to the counter, slapped my $1.15 on the counter, cleared my throat, and confidently said,
"I'll have one of, uh, one... one of those chocolate thingies, please."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tales of Suburbia: Leaves Me Alone
First of all, our houses are all really superfrickingclose together, so chances are pretty good that my abberant behavior will not forever go unnoticed, even when inside my heavily mortgaged walls.
I play obscure Gilbert & Sullivan operettas on the phonograph (and not the normal ones, like "The Mikado" and "H.M.S. Pinafore"-- I'm talking about the ones only the hardcore buck-toothed gits know, like "Utopia, Ltd," "Ruddigore," or, if I'm in a really oddball mood, "The Grand Duke"). Not only do I play these on a phonograph, I do so loudly. And I always sing along, too. And I do so loudly.
Sometimes, when I'm in a playful mood, I can be seen (well, hopefully not seen) leaping about in various stages of undress, prancing around like a lemur, screeching in a high-pitched tone, eyes bugged, for no real reason other than boredom. Sometimes I just sit around at the computer and shout profanities when blog material doesn't come to me effortlessly.
It seems to help.
While my neighbors may think I have a personality disorder, or Tourrettes Syndrome, or a closed head injury, they don't bother me much-- and maybe it's because of that. This morning, I was out front raking leaves and laughing my ass off. My dog, who I routinely tie to the iron bannister while I'm outside, watched me demurely as I scooped up huge armfuls of wet leaves and dumped them into the bag, only to see about 75% of the leaves fall to the pavement again as the bag crumpled and shifted under their weight.
"AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!" I roared in hysterics. "Is this what my life has become!? Jesus fucking Christ!" I screamed to the clouds above.
I have no doubt that somebody would have called the police, if the rest of the residents on my block-long street hadn't been at work or AA meetings. I mean, I admit it, I'm strange-looking. Thanks to the show I'm in, the oddity that is me is only now compounded by a walrus-moustache and side-burns that would only look appropriate on a steampunk artist or Civil War colonel. And there I am, laughing, in corduroy pants, a dress shirt and sweatervest as I ineptly rake leaves. While my dog's tied to the steps, watching me, thinking, "No, that's not my Daddy."
I wonder which neighbor's going to narc on me. It'll probably be Kathy who lives next door. I can tell she doesn't like me. She thinks I'm queer, in every sense of the word. I know it. And that's okay. I think she's a passive-aggressive bitch. While I was conversing with her the other day, she clipped an overgrowth of hedge right in front of me, while we were talking. My hedge. As if to say, "You are too irresponsible to do this yourself. Faggot. Shall I come over and dust and Febreze and maybe wipe your faggot ass for you, too?"
At first I thought she was nice, and helpful. Pointing out poison ivy that was growing in our yard, and giving us a bottle of poison ivy killer to get rid of it. Then she started to get manipulative, and condescending. I mentioned to her that we were having some stumps removed from our flower bed.
"Oh, good," she remarked, "then you can finally do something in there."
Really? Maybe I'll come over late one night with no pants on and do something in your flowerbed, honey.
I guess then she'd definitely be the one to call the police on me.
I'm not altogether thrilled with the people on my street. Sorry, Mr. Rogers, but it's just not working out. The Asian family never says "hi." Ever. I even rang their bell one night to let them know that they'd left the lights on in their CR-V. All the woman said was,
"Oh no! Hurry hurry! I fix! Oh no, no, no!"
You might remember the guy in the black Passat wagon. He yells at his kids and his dog. A lot. One day, I hope I don't have to call the police on that angry, bald humptyfuck.
I don't like the self-described "part-time accountant, part-time comedian" because he's very nosey, and, one day, I saw him standing on the corner dressed in some sort of full-bodied, furry mascot costume. And, when you're sixty years old, that warrants a call to the police, just by itself.
I do like the elderly gay man who wears glasses with plum-hued lenses, tweed sports jackets and cologne. When he talks, his turkey neck flaps around wildly and his capped teeth gleam in the sun. He's married with four grown children, and he's gayer than Oscar Wilde's neckerchief collection. Unfortunately, I don't interact with him much. He doesn't rake his own leaves.
Life in suburbia has its challenges, and I think, the more I live her, the greatest challenge I'm going to face is making it without getting the cops called on me. In the city, you can deal drugs to children, keep sex slaves in your basement and stockpile enough ammunition to put North Korea's arsenal to shame and nobody would ever even think to dime on you.
But, in the suburbs, you've got to watch your ass.
Monday, October 26, 2009
My Sabbath Elevator
Just when you think you belong to a semi-sensible religion, you get kicked, right in the circumcision-arena.
Yes, that's right, kids-- the Big Rabbis have officially outlawed Sabbath elevators.
I'll bet you didn't even know there were such things. Well, there are. And, apparently, all-of-a-sudden, they're not good enough. No-- not kosher enough.
The bad news came from the pen of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, who is described by the New York Times as "a revered 99-year-old scholar" and "one of the most influential voices in the Jewish world" and, if that weren't enough superlatives, why not throw in "widely considered to be one of his generation's greatest authorities on Jewish law."
Well, let me just say this: if you think this crooked, knobby-kneed handbag with nostrils isn't taking an elevator on Shabbat, you're crazy.
The ruling has thrown the Orthodox Jewish world into a tizzy, especially considering that these elevators were constructed solely for the use of Orthodox Jews on Shabbat, so that they can utilize the convenience of an electrical device without actually touching any of the buttons-- thereby allowing them not to violate Sabbath covenants. (The elevators were designed to stop at every single floor and open and close, so that no buttons need be pushed, working on the theory of, "You'll get there... eventually.")
The New York Times article I read quotes 29-year-old Yosef Ball who, with his wife, now has to climb (sorry-- "schlepp") up seven flights of stairs after synagogue on Saturday, with a baby carriage, two toddlers and three other children. Now, does this ruling seem fair to you? Apparently, God wants you to be constantly making Jewish babies, but He won't let you use the fucking Shabbat elevator to get all their crying, tired asses upstairs?
Oh, no, wait-- it's not God-- it's Rabbi McCrustyface.
And therein lies the problem. Well, one of them.
Anytime you have human beings interpreting religious law, you're going to have issues like these. And, yes, they're stupid. You want to use the elevator on Shabbat in order to facilitate your getting to and from synagogue so you can praise God and feel like you're an active participant in something larger? Go ahead. Who gives a shit? Helicopters are falling from the sky in Afghanistan. Children with swollen bellies and flies in their eyes are toppling over in Africa. Preists are fingering little boys in the confessional, and rabbis are doing it in the mikvah. And you really expect me to believe there's a God up there who gives a hot motherfuck if this poor bastard with a wife and five kids uses the goddamn Shabbat elevator on Shabbat or not?
In case you couldn't tell, I think this entire issue is laden with stupidity, but I do think that Rabbi Elyashiv is maybe onto something that has possible legitimacy, and I think that's the issue of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy has, I feel, been like a sword of Damocles, hanging over the heads of Jewish people for a long, long time, and maybe Elyashiv is striking a blow for consistency of behavior.
See, the Orthodox community likes to have their cake and eat it, too, and maybe save some for later. Surprised?
"Well, you can't go out and get bagels on Shabbat-- but if they were made by a goy, and the water wasn't boiled on the Sabbath, and somebody else (who's a goy, too, of course) pays for them, well... then it's okay."
"Rabbi-- is having tea on Shabbat permitted? Because isn't dunking the tea bag in the water work, and aren't we to avoid all work on Shabbat?-- Well, if you just put the tea bag in and don't dunk, then it's okay."
"Gee, can I have sex on Shabbat? I mean, sex is exhausting, and shouldn't we avoid exhaustion? Well, as long as she's Jewish and she's fertile, and you've got a good shot at making another Jewish baby-- eh, it's okay. No, not just okay-- it's a mitzvah!"
Oy. You could get a headache from all the horseshit.
And maybe Rabbi Elyashiv just has a horseshit headache. Maybe he realized that stepping inside an elevator that operates on electricity constitutes the use of electricity, even if you're not pushing the fucking buttons with your own fingers, and maybe he felt it was time to strike a blow, with his gnarled, wrinkly, shaky little fist, against Orthodox Jewish hypocrisy. Maybe now the days when Orthodox Jews can benefit from modern conveniences while sliding under the radar are just a little bit gone.
Maybe Elyashiv is just saying no. No more bullshit. You're either using the elevator, or you're not. And, you know what? You're not.
I think it's also a little funny, reading about poor Yosef Ball, who made the choice to get married at 12 or whenever it was, and to have five children by 29 (and I guess that will continue until his wife's uterus falls out while overcooking chicken one night) and then wants to complain that he has to climb seven flights of stairs after synagogue. Well, you know what, pal? In the old, old days, motherfuckers walked through sandstorms in the goddamn desert to congregate to worship God. Even my father, in Israel, in the 1950s, walked eight miles with his father to go to synagogue.
I think Yosef Ball's complaints probably wouldn't hold up too well when compared to those of Job.
Frankly, I don't really care whether or not Orthodox Jews are allowed to take Shabbat elevators or not. I'm not Orthodox, and I'm thrilled about that. You know why? Because I don't have to worry about whether or not nose-picking is permitted on the Sabbath.
(By the way-- it is, as long as no nosehairs are accidentally or purposefully removed in the process, because that violates the Jewish law against cutting hair on the Sabbath.)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Adult Content Warning
Every time I think I'm a seasoned veteran, I stumble upon people who claim that they've been blogging since the Ford Pinto was considered safe, and while I question some bloggers' protestations of extreme longevity, I do realize that thousands and thousands and thousands of bloggers have been laying some serious smackdown on their keyboards for far longer than I.
And I respect that.
Some aspects of bloggery perplex me-- like the apparent etiquette surrounding comments. Many bloggers feel that it is appropriate and reasonable to respond to each comment they receive. Well, that's hard for me, and I don't always see a reason for it, so I don't do that. I also don't understand certain bloggers' propensity to use profanity, but insert asterisks where certain strategic vowels would reside. If you feel the profanities are warranted, and you're going to use them-- goddamnit, use them, motherfuckers!
While we're on the subject of profanity, it ties in rather nicely to my biggest confusion concerning the blogosphere: the adult content warning.
You may have noticed that this blog contains, on occasion, some, um, I don't know-- "adult themes." Some "peppery language." Some drug use. Oh, no, wait-- there's none of that. But there's plenty of fucks and shits and goddamnits, because that's how I speak and I figured, well, that's how I ought to write, otherwise I'd be presenting a false picture of myself.
And that isn't nice.
Of course, presenting an accurate picture of yourself sometimes necessitates presenting an inaccurate picture of yourself-- like an avatar instead of a picture, like a pseudonym instead of a name. It's necessary, if you want to keep your job. And, while I'm often ambivalent about it, I'd much rather keep it than lose it.
Since I've started blogging, one or two people have written to me or left me a comment asking why I choose not to utilize an Adult Content Warning, visible to anyone who happens across my blog, a hurdle that one must either vault over or back away from.
On http://www.blogger.com/, they give you a choice about whether or not you want to use the disclaimer. So that you can see what the disclaimer looks like, I've copied-and-pasted the Blogger disclaimer that appears before Leslie the Pirate's blog: "Swashbuckling Through the Murky Waters of Online Dating" Here it is:
"The blog that you are about to view may contain content only suitable for adults. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about our content policies, please visit the Blogger Terms of Service"
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Well, Tweak My Beak and Call Me Beulah, it's DEAR APRON!
My wife, "Laura," and I have been married 15 years. She recently had gastric bypass surgery and has lost 80 pounds so far.
The last time Laura was slim (about seven years ago), she had an affair with a co-worker and we nearly divorced. With her current weight loss, she is now going out with friends from work one night a week. This means that after all the activities we have scheduled for our kids, there is no night for us. I have had two weekends off in the last six weeks. During both of them Laura went to Las Vegas with her friends.
I'm pleased that my wife is happy with her looks, and I don't want to appear insecure, but I can't help but feel it's "deja vu all over again." When I ask where she's going, who she's going with and why now, she gets angry and says she won't put up with my "insecurities." We went to counseling after the affair, but Laura lied and denied she'd had one. I would really appreciate some advice. -- YO-YO HUSBAND IN LONG BEACH, CALIF.
DEAR YO-YO PA:
I'm sorry-- you're a man writing in to an advice column and you expect me to believe that you're not gay? Sorry.
But let's just assume, for argument's sake, that you are heterosexual, (which you're not) so I can at least humor you by attempting to answer your question, though I'm not even sure you really had one.
Stop being insecure. You can be totally secure in the knowledge that your wife is cheating on you. Again. You don't need to question or interrogate her about her whereabouts. Just use your own imagination-- she's nailing Jim from the Finance Department on a waterbed at the Roadside Inn, or she's getting donkey-punched on the hardwood floor of Xerox Al's 2 bedroom condo in Simi Valley. Or she's conducting a scientific experiment in lezology with Jackie, the receptionist, involving a tube of Crest Wintergreen, a set of chopsticks and a miniature wax figurine of Richard Nixon.
See? There's nothing to be "insecure" about! You know what's going on, so don't be a fucking d-bag about it, n'yah mean?
Now, the real question here is, I think, how fat are you? We all know Wifeywhore has lost 80 pounds and looks bangin' (and bangable, might I add), but something tells me you're haulin' a few extra tons of larddage yourself, am I right? Well, friend, herein lies the solution to all your problems....
Bypass your gastrics and this bitch will be all yours.
And, to that, all I can think of to say is: lucky you.
DEAR APRON: It's apparent that the art of saying "thank you" has gone by the wayside. I'm a widow with limited funds who likes to surprise relatives with nice gifts on special occasions. I sent a food gift to one of them as a housewarming present. Her mother wrote and thanked me, but added that it gave her a stomachache and she was sick for three days!
I shopped carefully for a niece who was starting kindergarten. I selected a sweet "girly" backpack in her favorite color with butterflies and a smattering of sparkles. Her mom responded that I should have bought a bigger one with a metal frame so she could also use it for family outings, the beach, the zoo, etc. -- as if I knew which ones she liked THIS week.
I sent a classic silk blouse to a young woman who was starting her first office job. Her mother told me she would have preferred something more "youthful."
What is wrong with just saying "thank you"? -- IRRITATED AUNT IN MIAMI
DEAR IRRITATED AUNT:
Ah, the "irritated aunt"... the "widow with limited funds." THIS is the appropriate advice column letter-writer, people! THANK you!
Now, here's the deal: you are cheap, easily offended, annoying, and, quite obviously, have very poor taste.
Stop sending people gifts.
Oh, and thank you again.
I work in a call center with 35 other workers. Recently our supervisor hired a woman who is mentally ill. We acknowledge that she has a right to work and, for the most part, she appears to be capable.
The problem is she hears "voices" speaking to her and often responds to them. Other times she "hears" co-workers seated behind her plotting to kill her, which, of course, is not true. She disrupts those around her by constantly asking if they can hear what others are saying about her and what she should do about it.
We have spoken to our supervisor about our concerns. His answer is, "Just be quiet and it will be OK." We don't dislike her -- in fact, we're sympathetic -- but we resent the position we have been placed in. None of us have been trained to deal with mental health issues. Have you any suggestions on how to handle this? -- UNEASY IN OHIO
Honey, you work in a call center. Of COURSE there are mentally ill people working there! YOU'RE mentally ill! What kind of a person, seriously, would work in a call center and be totally emotionally and psychogenically balanced in every way? Come on, don't tickle my dickle and pretend it's love.
By the way, I think it's deplorable that you and your coworkers are engaged in a plot to murder this woman, and then attempt to cover it up with this pathetic notion that it's all HER ideations and paranoia. Come on, you guys are stockpiling ammunition and alibis as I'm writing this, and I think it's a shame. Just because everybody else in America is committing acts of workplace violence doesn't mean that YOU need to as well.
And, finally-- you work in a call center and you haven't received training in mental health issues?
Friday, October 23, 2009
BAN IT! BAN IT!! BAN IT!!!
This is a post in which I put out to my readers that we band together and unite in a concerted effort to
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The Secrets of a Successful Blog
Someone once told me that THE secret to a successful blog is to "post regularly, each day, and at the same time each day." I don't remember who the hell it was-- someone with a successful blog, apparently.
As I'm sure most of you who are by now familiar with my dickhead-may-care attitude, this piece of advice certainly wasn't given in response to my asking this person, "Hey, what are the secrets of a successful blog?" Most of the advice I receive is unsolicited, not to mention unnecessary, and unused.
Truth be told, (that's why you come here, isn't it?), I don't even know what a successful blog is, and, even if I found out, I'm not even sure I'd want one. Is a successful blog defined by the number of hits? The number of visits? The number of times some random person in Perth gets directed here by Googling the phrase, "foaming neck pussy?" Is it defined by the number of readers? The number of followers? The number of comments per post? Per week?
Jesus. It seems like, whatever success is typically defined as, it has an awful lot to do with numbers. Well, I don't do numbers. Just ask every math teacher I've ever had since 2nd grade.
Frankly, I think my blog is successful because I'm writing it, and you're reading it. And, if I haven't thanked you for that in the recent past, thank you. You rock this pissparty. Hard.
Whether or not it's a component of "success" or not, I do try to post at the same time each day. Posting every day isn't a problem for me, since I have obsessive-compulsive tendencies, blogging fits in nicely to the various routines I find so comforting in life. However, it's not always possible for me to blog at the same time every day. Take today, for example. Maybe, for some of you, at 7:31 (EST) you checked out My Masonic Apron and you were like, "What the fuck? Where is this little twattard?" Well, I was at the garage getting the oil changed in my wife's car. This requires much humorous banter with Soly & Jack, the Israeli and Chinese mechanics with whom I would spend every working day of my life if I had any mechanical competence whatsoever. So, that took a while. Then, I had to come home and walk the dog. Then I had to buy my wife an anniversary card (3 YEARS, PEEPS!) and, while I was doing all of these things, I realized:
"Wow. It's a good thing I'm a blogger and not a writer."
Because, really, you can't walk into your editor's office and be like, "Hey, Mr. Jimmerjims, sorry that piece was late-- I was bullshitting with my mechanics and walking my dog and stuff."
You know? You'd get a size 11 Florsheim in your crotch for pulling that kind of shit at work.
And I realized that I really, truly, madly, deeply, obscenely LOVE being a blogger. And it's, of course, you who have made me a blogger. So, I guess, in some weird, syllogistic way, I... love... you?
And maybe that's the secret of being a successful blogger: embracing your readers, and embracing who you are to them-- and who you are to yourself. Fuck what you're not. That's just a head case waiting to happen.
One thing is for sure: there are many rules of the blogging world that I don't follow. New templates. Advertising. Giveaways. Award regulations. Responding diligently to commentatortots. Keeping posts short. Adding music, pics, links, eye candy, suggestive pictures of self draped around telephone poles... um.... cute puppies and shit?
But I'm pretty sure I have a successful blog anyway. And now I (and you!) know the secret.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This.... This is Awkward
Anyway, the commercial featured an impossibly attractive girl, who could not have been older than 21, rolling about seductively on a bed in a pair of pajama pants and a white tank-top. Obviously, the only skincare product this sumptuous female requires is a bar of soap and some eager, panting beau's saliva, but there we are. Anyway, the voiceover was peddling a cream that, supposedly, "diminishes the occurence of brown spots."
Did I mention that the girl in the commercial is African-American?
This..... this is awkward.
Now, I may be making an awkward something even more awkward by dipping my toe into the color pool, but we all, I think, can agree that African-American people, or "black people" are more brown-hued than black, right? So, then, what exactly is this cream, I wondered? Does it progressively make you.... less brown? Is it some sort of Michael Jackson re-pigmentification ointment?
I decided to Google the phrase "diminishes brown spots" and I got 51,400 hits, and I learned that the phrase "brown spot" is being used by the cosmetology and, possibly, dermatology industry (aren't they basically the same thing?) as a synonym, or quite possibly a replacement for "age spots." Which, of course, used to be called "liver spots."
As you can see, the Nasty Factor "diminishes" with the progression of terms.
This got me wondering about these spots, spots which I started to notice years ago on my mother, and, more alarmingly, more recently on my eldest sister. Liver spots, according to the Mayo Clinic, have nothing whatever to do with the liver or liver function. They are, however, vaguely liver-colored. Sometimes. According to the Mayo Clinic, liver spots are completely benign and result from the skin's decreasing ability, with age, to regenerate after sun exposure. The website also stated that the only way to have liver spots removed is through "cryotherapy or laser treatment," both of which, to me, sound like procedures best left to serious medical issues and best performed by Clark Kent's dermatologist.
So, I'm left to wonder the following: if "brown spots" are really "age spots" which are really "liver spots" and, if the only way to get rid of those fuckers is to freeze them or zap them, then why are companies like Neutrogena and Olay marketing creamy goop that supposedly "diminishes brown spots?"
Of course, if they ever get snagged for false (and racially dubious) advertising, they can always say, "Well, we only said it 'diminishes' brown spots... if you really want to get rid of them, you have to visit Dr. Evil." Damn lawyers. They're so.... damnably good.
As I was going through my Google results for this post, I became alarmed and dismayed by the disturbing array of products, services and seemingly medical procedures available to women who, because of the media and pop culture, are extremely succeptible to thinking that they look like desperate, sagging dogs when compared to the airbrushed celebrisluts we see on television and in magazines.
Take, for example, "pixel resurfacing."
This sounds like something I need to do to my computer monitor... or my house.
According to the Grand Rapids Vein Clinic, (I'm sorry, "vein clinic?"), Pixel Resurfacing "improves skin texture and tone, smoothes wrinkles, and diminishes brown spots. In short, this procedure erases those factors that add years to our appearance, restoring the skin’s youthful vitality."
Apparently, it also "then triggers the body’s natural healing process, stimulating the growth of new, healthy skin tissue."
Well, if it's so awesome-blossom, why should the body's "natural healing process" need to be stimulated?
This just in: faces ought not to be "resurfaced." Your face is not a Chippendale chair, or an antique sideboard or a laminate fucking countertop. When you are in your dermatologist's office and s/he starts describing a skin treatment, the "Home Depot" logo should NOT flash before your eyes. If it does-- run.
You also, in my opinion, should never have any need for a person who calls himself a "Paramedical Aesthetician." Especially one who is trying to slather you with something called "Whipped Oxygen Cream."
In the United States, at least, there isn't a recognized degree or certification to become a licensed "paramedical aesthetician," which is surprising to me, since we make up all kinds of meaningless jobs here, like "Lottery Specialist" (an actual civil service job in Michigan) and "Vice President."
By the way-- for the record, I didn't see any freaking "brown spots" on that nubile, ebony princess in that commercial.
And, believe me, I was looking.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Not Like Harry
It's.... um.... interesting, if nothing else.
Someone wants to know if you're on "Google Wave" yet. I don't even know what the fuck Google Wave is, which, I guess, is just one of the reasons why, come May 12, I will no longer be allowed to be a member of this site.
Someone else wants to know who should be the "featured blogger for November." Well, me, obviously. What are you, fucking stupid? Didn't you know that? Like, do you not also know what Google Wave is?
Some other someone or other wants you to know that they "love comments!" That's all kindsa awesome. Maybe I'll make a comment about that.
Then there's someone who wants to know "How often do you smile?"
And I thought to myself, rather than toss of some one-liner or inane attempt at a witticism that will be forgotten about and buried within six minutes, I'll make that my blog for today.
And why not?
The answer to this question, for me anyway, is "not often." That probably doesn't surprise many of you, whether you know me personally or not. Maybe one or two of you are like, "Wait a minute, how can someone who uses words like "shitsticks" and "donkeynips" and was nominated for the Funniest Blog Award not smile often?
Well, children, if you know enough funny people in your life, you'll know that funny people (if you'll permit me to be so bold) aren't typically walking around with a giddy grin plastered on their face all the time. Some of our greatest humorists are notoriously dark fucks-- take The Humorist, Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens. You might know him better as Mark Twain.
"But in my age, as in my youth, night brings me many a deep remorse. I realize that, from the cradle up I have been like the rest of the race-- never quite sane in the night."
I can remember one of my father's last attempts to connect with me about something that held my interest. It was music. He asked me one day what radio station I listened to, and I told him. It's the radio station of one of our local universities, and it routinely plays longing, tender ballads of contemporary folk artists like Patty Griffin and Richard Shindell and other guitar troubador type folks like that. There used to be a show on Sundays that exclusively played Celtic music, and many of the songs concerned young lovers who were forbidden to see each other by their stern, austere fathers, who then ended up slaying not only the young men in these tales, but also their freshly deflowered daughters, often in the bed of their love.
One day, my father came home from work and knocked on my bedroom door. In his customary Israeli way he said to me,
"Mummy-- I've been listening to this fuckin' radio station of yours all week. No wonder you so fuckin' depressed. Jesus. I never heard shit like this before. This one goes to the graveyard to visit her parents and this one gets hanged-- what the fuck, you know?!"
Yes, I know. And I also know that I don't smile very often.
My mother's father didn't smile very often either. In every picture of him, he looks as if he'd just heard Kennedy'd been shot. There's a furrowed anxiety and an umistakable pall hanging over him. When I pose for photographs, I say to myself in my head, "Okay, not like Harry. Not like Harry."
Invariably, though, I end up looking just like Harry.
Of course, I'm not like Harry. He was cruel with his words and inept with his hands, sporadic and unpredictable with his affections. I am none of those things, except maybe inept with my hands. Although I did put up shelves with my wife three weeks ago, a task for which Harry would have called in the National Guard. I just look like the sonofabitch in pictures, especially when I wear a tie, which is 96% of the time.
I don't have good teeth, either. That's the flip reason I give most of the time when there's some schmuck behind a camera egging me on to "Smile!"
"I can't," I'll say, "my fangs will frighten children for generations."
And that, like lots of things funny people say, is kind of true, but kind of not. Mostly, I feel like a great, big idiot when I widen my mouth and show my teeth-- like it's not a smile but a show. And I put on enough shows for people, I think. My Harry Half-Smile, Half-Wince is what people usually get, and I wonder if my grandchildren are going to look at those pictures and say, "God, what a sad sonofabitch. He must have listened to some sad fucking music."
And I love sad music, but I am not a sad sonofabitch. Do I get sad and depressed? Sure. Do I sometimes wear care and worry and stress on my face? Yeah.
But, hey-- I'm a blogger. And I'm snarky.
And I tell it like it is, even when it's on my face for all the world to see anyway.
Monday, October 19, 2009
An Open Letter to My Fictitious Maid
Good morning! It's so lovely to see you here. "Martita," is it? Charming. Thank God you've arrived. Gracias a Dios. Yes. Let's get you to work.
Now, as you may have noticed, my computer's keyboard looks like someone rubbed bumstank and coffee all over it with a six-year-old Q-Tip. Can you, like, do something about that?
As you wander around the house, you will no doubt observe fifty to a hundred mini-dogs in corners, under the baseboard heaters, underneath chairs, in the closets, under the bed and tables, basically everywhere there's floor. Please clean these up and dispose of fluff-balls properly.
Then, if you would be good enough to please shampoo our dog with "Nair" that might make your next trip here less laborious.
While we're on the subject of labor, please NAPALM the bathtub.
The kitchen I would not altogether bother "cleaning" per se, as we're looking to basically tear the shit out of this particular room. The floor. The ceiling. And, well, everything in between. While you're in there, though, you can cook us dinner for the week. Just be careful as the temperature on the bottom oven is kind of erratic.
Now, the basement bears a special mention. You might have noticed that this room resembles, um, how shall one say it? A... landfill? Well, all it really needs is some organization. I suggest the use of the categories "Shit heap" "Fuck pile" and "Ass Rumble." I don't know what the Spanish equivalent would be, just... use your best judgement.
While you're here, you might want to try your hand at tidying up the garden. It's my understanding that you people love landscaping. Well, don't be shy. There's plenty of weeds to go around! There is still poison ivy scattered on the left side of the pachyasandra, so keep those legs and wrists covered! Before mowing the back lawn, I would strongly advise using a scythe or rapier to cut the growth down to a reasonable length.
Of course, if you're done early, these brisk few days remind me that the attic needs to be insulated... but that probably doesn't fall within your "job description." If you're interested, though, I think there's three handsome George Washingtons who might like to make your acquaintance!
Well, I think that's everything, Martatas. It's really great to meet you and I look foraward to viewing your progress on the webcams I have installed throughout the house. Please feel free to make use of the HAZMAT suit and Hepa respirator hanging on the door.
P.S. I'm serious about the keyboard. That's nasty.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Blind Mr. Apron
"Sent from my iPhone"
That's how life goes, I guess. In 1948, the first year the Volkswagen Beetle was imported to America, they sold 2.
Two, people. Two.
The next year, it was over a thousand. After that? Forget about it. Everyone had one, or everyone knew someone who had one. It was like an infestation, if you'll pardon the pun.
Nicknames are kind of the same, but kind of different. One somebody has one, it sounds cool, and everybody wants one. The best thing about nicknames is that they don't cost anything, and the next best thing is that a nickname is only something that someone else can give to you.
You can't come up with your own nickname. You just can't.
Ball players love nicknames. Like Whitey Ford. And... well, I can't actually think of any more.
Another group of individuals who love their nicknames are musicians. I'm not talking about P. Diddles or whatever the fuck his name is now, I'm talking about real musicians. Like Mississippi John Hurt and T-Bone Burnett and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf.
If you look through the history of American musicians, you'll no doubt observe that there are a good deal of musicians who referred to themselves, or were referred to by other people as "Blind" Somethingorother.
Take Blind Snooks Eaglin, who passed away in February of this year. Snooks went blind in early childhood from glaucoma. It's been said in literature that his voice was very reminiscent of Ray Charles, which I think is pretty coincidental considering that, well, you know. After Snooks went blind, at age 5, his father gave him a guitar.
Now, I don't know about you, but, if I had a son who was blind, the first thought that would go through my mind would not be, "Here, have a guitar."
But I guess that's why I'm never going to have a kid who's going to be a musical prodigy, be referred to as "The Little Ray Charles" or "The Human Jukebox" both of which Snooks was.
There's Blind Boy Fuller,
Blind John Davis,
Blind Roosevelt Graves,
Blind Mississippi Morris,
Blind Tom Wiggins,
Blind Alfred Reed,
Blind Joe Reynolds,
Blind Lemon Jefferson,
Blind Willie Johnson,
and, of course, the bands The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi.
There's also, according to Wikipedia, 124 more blind musicians who don't use the word "Blind" in their titles and/or names.
So, I'm left to wonder a couple of things here...
1.) Why the hell are there so many blind musicians?
2.) Where are all the deaf painters?
3.) Did I ever take the Ektorp cover out of the washing machine?
4.) How exactly does a blind musician decide whether or not to call himself "Blind" Whatever?
Question four is the one this is occupying most of my thoughts today. Like, take Ray Charles. Why didn't he call himself Blind Ray Charles? Or Ray Blind Charles? Or Ray Charles (Blind)? Charles was getting noteriety in just the right time period to be publicizing his disability in his name-- I don't think anybody would have noticed, or cared, in the early 1960s. Stevie Wonder I have more trouble picturing as Blind Stevie Wonder. Maybe just "Blind Wonder" would have been enough. It sounds not vaguely superhero-ish, but I think it works. You picture him flying through the air in front of a levitating keyboard... slamming into telephone poles.
I have even more trouble picturing Andrea Bocelli calling himself "Blind Andrea Bocelli." Though I think it would be pretty awesome.
I guess it has something to do with marketing and your clientele-- how you want people to see you.
Me? I don't know if I'd want to be referred to as "Jew Mr. Apron." Or "Scoliosis Mr. Apron." Or "Left Leg 3/8-of-an-inch Shorter than the Right" Mr. Apron. Or "Asthmatic Mr. Apron."
But that's just me.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Have You Ever Ever Ever?
Well, that song has been running through my head today, for some unknown, ungodly reason (must be the rain) and it got me thinking about "Have you ever?" type questions that I thought I'd ask you guys.
By the way, in case you're curious, I haven't done any of this shit, so don't ask. This is about you, not about me.
Ready? Here we go!
SO: HAVE YOU EVER.............
Gone cow-tipping-- for realz?
Eaten a note in high school to prevent a teacher seeing its contents?
Farted simultaneously with someone?
Gotten fired from a volunteer position?
Masturbated to the images contained in a Sears catalogue?
Gotten thoroughly confused during a game of "War?"
Been laughed at by a child?
Pulled your groin doing something thoroughly non-sexual?
Read the emergency evacuation brochure on an airplane to avoid talking to the mouthbreather next to you?
Shat yourself in your twenties?
Licked a bald man's head?
Gone to I-Hop and ordered "the Lobster Thermidor?"
Successfully convinced a substitute teacher that you were retarded?
Purposefully undressed in front of a window?
Thought about casket-tipping at a funeral-- for realz?
Called up PBS during a phone-a-thon and pledged a million dollars?
Wanted to kick somebody's stupid little dog?
Written a song about touching yourself in the shower?
Eaten cardboard to support your claim that "This (piece of pizza/sandwich/meat/communion wafer) tastes like cardboard."
Angrily berated your priest about the staleness of the communion wafers and spitting it out on the floor?
Brayed like a donkey during intercourse?
Videotaped yourself dancing around like a fucking idiot on a trampoline in a clown costume holding a dildo or something and put it on YouTube? And then pretended that you were drunk when, really, you weren't?
Told somebody to leave your restaurant when it wasn't actually your restaurant?
Surreptitiously thrown up into a piece of pottery at an art gallery?
Pinched your mom's ass, just to see what she'd do?
Played a Marilyn Manson record backwards? (It's all Christian hymns-- try it!)
Thrown something at a stage performer?
Wanted to answer ridiculous questions on a blog?
Friday, October 16, 2009
You See Yourself
You, I'm sure, would never commit such an occupational solecism.
My employer informed me that her friend, a published playwright, had written a play and her publishing company asked her to make multiple revisions on it before it could be published. My boss asked me to review this script and make suggestions, revisions, comments, criticisms, & c "as soon as possible."
Actually, before she asked me to do this, she volunteered my services to the playwright.
"Please don't do that again," I said to my boss when I was informed that my services had been volunteered without my knowledge or acquiescence.
"Do what?" she asked innocently, quite possibly resisting the urge to bat her eyelashes.
"You know what," I said flatly. I've known my boss since I was eleven, so I can talk to her this way, rather like the way we churlish boys abuse our mothers.
"I thought you'd love the opportunity to be more creative!" replied my boss, feigning hurt.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see slaving over someone else's bullshit children's musical and working diligently to further her career as an opportunity to be "more creative" nor do I see it as something I, or anybody else, would "love" to do.
But that's beside the point. I did it, partly because I was already commited to do it, and partly as a favor to my boss.
The musical, by the way, sucks donkeynips. It has all the hallmarks of a musical about high schoolers written by a fifty year-old woman, because that is precisely what it is. There are the stereotypical characters, even referred to in the character list as "The Jock," "The Nerd," "The Cheerleader," and "The Artsy Girl."
I mean, seriously? Shoot me in the teeth.
But I took several hours, on a Saturday, mind you, to review this woman's daft little musical, because her publisher was breathing down her neck to receive the final revisions by Monday. I reviewed and edited the work, even adding monologues and dialogue of my own, and emailed her four pages of notes. Then, I washed my hands of it.
Until she emailed me back not 25 minutes later with 10 more questions about the play, and other character ideas to consider and get feedback on. Now, I should have said, "Sorry, you got your feedback already. If you want more jumpy mattress, you'll have to put another quarter in" but, of course, I didn't. Because I am a slave, a doormat, an assfuck, a limpwimp. More of my weekend got pissed away making changes and suggestions and additions and deletions to this manuscript that I don't give a hoot in Christ's left nip about. I sent her another email, indicating in a very polite way that this was the end of my critique session. She emailed back and was appropriately grateful.
I didn't hear from the playwright until yesterday, when she called up my office.
"Oh, I'm actually glad you picked up the phone," she remarked. Gee, thanks.
She went on to say how helpful the revisions were and how they made the play much stronger, which was nice to hear. She also mentioned that the publishing company was pleased, which was also nice to hear, since nothing I've written has pleased a publishing company since 2001. She then mentioned that she gave me "credit" in the script for my aid, and I won't lie and say that didn't please me either, because it did, though a fee of $1,000 would have pleased me a good deal more. Unfortunately, she did not stop there.
"And I wanted to let you know that I'll be contacting you again in the future to consult on some of my other musicals that I have coming down the pike that need a fresh voice, because I really see you as a dramaturg. Isn't that how you see yourself?"
This is where I ceased being pleased.
From the ever-trusty Wikipedia, for those of you not familiar with the term: "the dramaturg will often conduct research into the historical and social conditions, specific locations, time periods, and/or theatrical styles of plays chosen by the company, to assist the playwright, director and/or design team in their production."
In short order, The Playwright's Bitch.
I think this is what one might call a "back-handed compliment." I have definitely been on the receiving end of such compliments before, and I know distinctly what they feel like when delivered. Now, this playwright may very well think that it's a high honor to be called upon to flush out and finesse her simple and fatuous theatre pieces, but I do not share that opinion.
Proud? Sure I am.
I think, though, I was less offended by her suggestion that I be her own private, in-pocket, free-of-charge dramaturg than I was by her incredibly and outlandishly presumptuous question, "Isn't that how you see yourself?"
Isn't that how I see myself? As what? As chained to your hip, spending my free time reviewing outdated and ridiculous feel-good musicals about pimples and algebra?
No. Most definitely not.
"I see myself as a writer," I said to my boss this morning, recounting the conversation to her in a voice close to breaking, "but I suppose nobody else does," I said as I turned on my heels and walked out the door. On my way to go to Staples. To stand there for half an hour making photocopies. Of one of this woman's stupid plays.
And so maybe I'm just not.
Of course, I'm a blogger-- you know that. But, is that the same thing as being a writer? I vacillate on that point. I perform in amateur G&S operettas-- does that make me an actor? Maybe. Does it make me a singer? No, I'm no singer. Does affiliation with the arts always have to be dependent on whether or not you get paid? I don't necessarily think so, but that is how culture defines you. The insipid, scripted question you hear the most when meeting some painful new schmuck at a party, "So, whaddyoo do?" refers, of course, to what you doo, for money.
I don't know what titles or jobs or hobbies or anything really means anymore. One thing I do know quite clearly is that, at no point in my life will I answer the question, "So, whaddyoo do?" by saying,
"I'm a dramaturg. Nice to meet you."
Because neither of those statements will probably be true, especially if you write children's musicals.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Oh, Man-- Not Another One...
I got nothin'.
Those of you who blog (wait-- that's, like, all of you, isn't it?) know what I'm talking about. If you blog every day, chances are, one day or another, you're going to sit at your computer and stare at the monitor and go, "Shit. That's what I've got. Shit."
Bloggerblock. Sounds like a game you can download for your cellphone for $7.00.
When I get bloggerblocked, I tend to turn to newspapers for inspiration. Since I live in the 21st century, I don't actually get the newspaper, so I go to www.nytimes.com because I like to pretend that I'm highbrow, and oftentimes there will be a headline that will pique my interest enough to read a paragraph or two. Today there was a piece in the Automotive section about how, to prevent pedestrian injuries, hybrid vehicles may be fitted with "fake vroom vroom engine noises" so blind people and regular assholes who just aren't paying attention or are listening to their iPods won't get creamed by the next Prius or Insight that comes careening around the block at 60mph-- like hybrid motorists drive like that anyway.
And I thought to myself-- yeah, I could write a blog post about that.
But I didn't feel like it.
That's what writing for no boss and no deadline and no money gets you. Writers who "don't feel like it." What would happen if Andy Rooney just "didn't feel like" doing his 3 minute schtick every Sunday night? Oh, right-- they'd just air one of 7,000 re-run clips. I don't think anybody would notice. I don't think Andy would notice.
If nothing moves me sufficiently in the realm of the New York Times, I will turn my attention to the lesser, local offerings of the Philadelphia Inquirer and, if I'm really wandering the acrid desert, the Philadelphia Daily News. Well, the old DN came to my rescue, and speedily today, for I have struck gold with the following headline:
"Another Hunter Finds a Body in N.J. Woods"
When I read this headline, I read it in kind of a world-weary, exasperated way, as if to say, "Another Hunter Finds a Body in N.J. Woods." I mean, from the tone of the headline, the simple use of that word, "Another" leads one to believe that you can't even go for an hour's hike in New Jersey without stumbling over some human skulls or finding the Brower kid.
I have to say I was very disappointed when I read this article and found that, in the past year, only two hunters have come across bodies in New Jersey's wooded areas. From the tone of the headline, I would have thought this was happening every week. Or more.
I mean, I don't know-- I've never gone hiking in New Jersey, and I've never gone hunting anywhere, but now I'm kind of creeped out about what's lurking in New Jersey's woods. I know Jersey is "Sopranos" land, but they just whack people in the middle of the street and in Italian restaurants and leave them there-- badabing! Two to the head, you're fuckin' dead. They don't take the trouble of dragging the corpses of these poor bastards into the woods for hunters to find.
Well, according to this article, in December of last year, some stupid little whore paid her boyfriend to have him kill her father, "because he was mean to her." Honest to God, that's a direct quote from the Daily News article. They tried to economize Daddy's body with a chainsaw, but they abandoned the idea, probably because it was too much work, and they ended up dumping his body "in the woods on opening day of shotgun season for white-tailed deer."
I mean-- who knew, right? God, when you're a murderer, you've got to think of everything!
My mother likes to say that, "everything happens for a reason." I think that, if you're a white female and you've reached the age of sixty, you are required by law to adopt this way of thinking. I think, if she's reading the paper this morning, she would read this article and say just that-- that these idiots dumped that body in the woods on the first day of shoot-em-up season so they could get caught, that this crime happened because this woman and this dude needed to be in jail, removed from society. I think she would also say that these hunters were meant to find these bodies, for whatever reason. She might even go so far as to say that, when you go into the woods to do violence, eventually, you're going to stumble upon violence.
She'd definitely say that about hunters who get iced by other hunters who mistook them for prey.
I probably would, too, if I thought that everything in life happened for a reason.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Without the Kiss
"Bullshit," I murmered in my wife's ear. "It increases the chances that people will actually perform CPR on some dirty hobo who collapses in front of them on the street, if they don't have to actually put their mouths on the stinking bastard."
That afternoon, after my wife went to work, I got a text message from her. It's very long, because we just got an unlimited texting plan, and she just got a brand-new phone with a QWERTY keyboard:
"You're right about comp. only CPR: they
developed it to increase the likelihood
someone will actually do it. Dr. Sanjay
Gupta admitted it on NPR. Love you!"
See? Sometimes there is even truth in my cold, cruel, cynical view on the world. Welcome to The Kiss of Life, without the Kiss.
Of course, I don't mind that they've developed a handy-dandy new way to do CPR, namely, with your handies, that's fine-- but I do have a problem with their couching it as a "better" or "more efficient" or "more lifesaving" way to do CPR. It isn't. One of the first things they taught us back in EMT school was that CPR has a less-than-2% success rate. 20 compressions to 2 breaths, 50 compressions to 2 breaths, 100 compressions to 2 breaths. 10 to 1. 12 to 2. Whatever-- it doesn't matter-- the guy's dead by the time you've started, and chances are he's going to stay dead.
And all you'll get is very fucking tired.
My CPR certification expires in two months. My EMT certification expires on October 1st, 2011. I suppose, soon, I'll have to start making decisions about whether or not I want to renew both, or just the CPR, or neither. I haven't tended to a patient in an ambulance or driven one since February of 2007. Yet, when my EMT certification was due to expire in 2008, I renewed it for three more years, taking a bunch of ridiculous online courses and practice quizzes. I know that, if I decide to renew my CPR certification, that they will have changed the procedures. They change them every two years which, coincidentally, is how often you're required to get re-certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
I have no doubt that, with the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross's PR blitz about compression-only CPR, they'll be pushing that hard during the 2009-2010 re-certs. And that's fine. I can remember getting certified in CPR for the first time in 2004 or 2005, I forget which. The instructor, a 6'3" red-faced, big-nosed, no-nonsense paramedic, said,
"Look, if you come up on some disgusting scumbag with a stoma spewing yellow shit all over the place, you're not going to put your fucking mouth on that, right? You're gonna do compression-only, because you'd be outta yer goddamn mind to kiss that foaming neck-pussy."
In my seventeen month career on the streets of Philadelphia, I never kissed any foaming neck-pussies, and I never performed CPR on anybody. Neither had my partner, who was a paramedic with many more years on the street than me. I found that out one day, when it was quiet in the ambulance, I turned to him and asked him if he ever had.
"No," he said, before very a-typically launching into a monologue, "but there was one time where I was real close. I had this patient, typical cardiac old lady, in the back of the truck and she was going to the hospital for chest pain, but she was talking to me, nothing weird going on on the moniter, and then she just looked at me, and I knew something was going to go wrong. Then, all of a sudden, she went stiff as a board on the stretcher and the cardiac monitor flat-lined, and I was like, oh, fuck, you know? Here we go. So I checked her pulse, nothing, then I straddled her, you know, I was down on my knees with one leg over top of her, I rolled up my fuckin' sleeves and, I swear to God, I was about to push down on her when her eyes popped open and she was fuckin' staring at me, on top of her with my sleeves up. And she goes, 'Is everything okay?' And I stared at her for a minute and I was like, 'Uh.. I think so. Is it?'"
Sometimes, during a particularly long transport, I would silently pray that my patient wouldn't code on me. I guess, I would have known what to do if it happened, but I was always panicked by the logistics of different things you had to do. Were you supposed to radio dispatch to report the code? Would they notify the ER for you? Were you supposed to call the ER? If you were on a Basic Life Support ambulance, staffed with two EMTs, were you supposed to call for an Advanced Life Support ambulance to meet up with you to provide higher intervention? I was never certain how many liters of oxygen you were supposed to give a patient through the bag-valve mask once compressions were begun. If you're on an Advanced Life Support ambulance, and you, the EMT, are in back with the patient who codes, should the paramedic driving pull over and jump in the back since he has the higher training and the goodie bag full of drugs? I just didn't know. And I had even read the employee handbook, cover-to-cover, confident that I was the only employee of our company ever so to do.
Early on in my career, I had a conversation with an elderly, black EMT nicknamed Strollin' Roland, for the lackadaisical manner in which he lumbered to and from his daily activities-- like a moose through Jell-o. He had a slow, melodic way of talking, and he spoke as if he were constantly on the verge of falling asleep midsentence.
"Have I evah been scared in this bizness? Yes, ah have... Have I evah had patients die on me? Yes, ah have... You get used to all that shit."
I got used to a lot of shit in that job-- incompetent supervisors, manic dispatchers, psychopathic partners, rude nurses, malingering patients-- but I don't know that patients dying under my care is something I could have gotten used to. I guess, of course, we'll never really know. Unless I do decide to renew that cert in 2011 and suit up in blue for one more round.
I'm thankful, though, that I got out of EMS before I ever had to do CPR on a patient, before having a patient die on my watch. I feel lucky, like the cop who retires with 25 years under his belt and never had to fire his gun. Maybe going back would be like tempting fate. Maybe the first call of the new chapter of my EMS career would be an unresponsive male or female or, God forbid, child. That is how God works, isn't it? That would show me I should have just let that cert go the way of an autumn leaf.
Then again, maybe it's just a rite-of-passage that I never got to experience, unlike all the rites I did go through: slamming an ambulance into our station's garage door frame on the first day at our new base, being part of a six-man crew called to lift and transport a 680 lb. patient, getting AIDS blood and pee on my uniform, having a nurse slip me her phone number, almost being killed by my partner with a clipboard, getting stranded in a broken-down truck in the middle of summer, having a 92-year-old nun scream "Heil, Hitler!" at me, complete with gestapo salute. But maybe, just maybe, you have to give CPR to a patient in order to be a lifer.
Me? I just left one cold day in February.
And, when I did, I bade my partner of a year-and-a-half a warm farewell before he unceremoniously patted me on the back, declared, "It's been a lot of fun, man," and walked to his car. I shook my supervisor's hand, and the hand of another paramedic who was in the office, and I walked to my car. And, in the parking lot, I stopped. I turned around, and walked back into the base. My supervisor was still having a conversation with the other paramedic. When they saw me, they stopped talking and they looked at me. I looked at them. Then, I grabbed my uniform shirt and pulled it way, way up, exposing my stomach and my nipples. I jumped up and down and screamed in a high-pitched voice, bugging my eyes out. I showed my supervisor my nipples, and then I turned to the other paramedic and showed him, too and, as they collapsed on the desk in front of them in hysterics, I ran out of the office, slamming the door behind me as I jumped into my car and skeedaddled out of the parking lot.
Well. No one ever said I didn't know how to make an exit.
And who knows? Maybe I'll return, and maybe I won't. One thing's for sure, though: whether I go back on the ambulance or not, I won't be putting my mouth on that foaming neck-pussy.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
An Open Letter to NBC
Thank you, NBC, for my great Tuesday face-fuck of the day. At least we've gotten it out of the way nice and early.
Thanks so much for canceling "SouthLAnd," easily the best police drama since "Homicide: Life on the Street."
Thanks, also, for ordering new episodes, promising a season premiere on October 23rd, and then canceling the whole fucking thing on October 12th. Ham-handed, bullshit decisions like this really let your integrity and commitment to excellent programming really shine through.
Now, the most exciting thing on NBC is the occasional glimpse of Erin Burnett's neckline when she fills in on "The Today Show."
And to think that the 10:00pm timeslot "SouthLAnd" originally held was given away to Jay Leno, well, that just makes me want to add some vomit to my cry. Wait till it comes out that that pepper-headed chin-wagger anal-whammed all his interns-- then you're going to wish you'd never given him "SouthLAnd's" coveted 10:00pm timeslot.
Apparently, according to you wise sages, "SouthLAnd" was too "dark" or "serious" or "stark" or "gritty" to go on at 9:00pm, as if "Law & Order" (and its seven thousand incarnations) hasn't been scaring the bejesus out of turtle-necked, bowl-cut losers in the midwest for decades. Of course, what you mean is that it's too sophisticated for 9:00pm, but really it's too sophisticated for NBC. This is unfortunate, and it probably means that cable television will pick it up and run it, free from the incessant bleepings that make it sound like an episode of "The Steve Wilkos Show." Maybe HBO will want your cast-offs.
When I used to watch episodes of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" as a boy of 9 or 10, I didn't understand the frequent derogatory references to BBC Programme Planners, comparing them to imbeciles or children or penguins. Now, though, I get it. You have to have one too many chromosomes, or one too few, to be in television program planning. Take a successful show, with taut, intelligent writing, shocking plot twists, characters people care about, high intensity situations, solid ratings, and then you move the time-slot, order more episodes, and then cancel it two weeks before the season premiere is supposed to air.
This just in: people who behave like first graders are supposed to eat glue, not sniff it.
P.S. Jay Leno did me in the butt. Happy now?
Monday, October 12, 2009
Well, Nuke the Moon and Fuck that Chicken, it's DEAR APRON!
The other day my kids asked me why I'm always so angry. I didn't know how to respond. I'm angry that they think their dad is "wonderful" because he plays with them all day (he's not working), takes them to get fast food (instead of cooking something healthy), and because he's their coach (he is having an emotional affair with one of the parents).
I assign chores to the kids because things never get done when I ask my husband to do them. If I remind them "It's trash day" or "Don't forget to vacuum the living room," my husband steps in and says, "I'll do it for you, Billy/Jane," which makes me the bad guy. I know if I ask for a divorce, the kids will want to live with him.
How do I explain this to them? And what do I tell my friends when they ask what a pretty, fit, successful woman like me is doing with an overweight, unemployed, lazy man like him? He's more personable than I am, but the stress of being the sole breadwinner has taken its toll on me. -- NEEDING ANSWERS, LEVITTOWN, PA.
DEAR NEEDING ANSWERS:
God, you sound like a real dinobitch.
You say you need answers, but I'm not sure I know what the questions are. Is the question, "Why are you such a dinobitch?" I know you want the answer to be, "Because of your husband, girlfriend," but this isn't Oprah, and I'm willing to bet that you were a dinobitch before you met this personable schlubucket.
The thing about dinobitches is, they should be extinct. Have you given any thought to suicide? Maybe you could crucify yourself on the front lawn, since you're the household martyr.
Make sure to have your kids rake the leaves and trim the hedges first.
You really like to blame your husband for your miseries, but the fact is that you married him, I doubt this was an arranged marriage. So, really, you're to blame, not him. I realize that blaming your husband for your unhappiness is just a logical extension of blaming your parents for your unhappiness, which is what, I'm sure, you used to do prior to shacking up with Dale here. That's his name, isn't it? I just got a feeling is all.
And, by the way, you can tell all your inquisitive, pandering friends that you're a "pretty, fit, successful woman married to an overweight, unemployed, lazy man" because that's what the media dictated you should be paired with. Look at Marge Simpson, Lois Griffin, Francine Smith, the skinny bitch who's married to that asshole on "The King of Queens" and all those other fucking awful TV shows where the tight slut with perky tits is married to the miserable fat lump on the couch. Don't doubt media saturation, honey-- don't doubt it for a second.
Oh, and, by the way, did I mention it's trash day?
I am 14 and have just started high school. I have been told I'm beautiful. Most times I feel that way, except for one thing -- I hate my nose! I don't want to sound ungrateful for my looks. I know I'm not the only girl who has a flaw and wants to change it. I just want your opinion.
From the front you can't tell my nose is messed up. But viewed from the side, there's a bump in the middle. It's also sort of crooked and just too big. I'm starting to be self-conscious about it. I don't like people looking at me from the side, but it's hard to prevent.
I have been researching plastic surgery online. At my age, my parents won't let me get a nose job, but I don't want to wait until I'm 18. Some kids have commented about my nose, but mainly I want to do this for me. It would make me feel better about myself. What am I supposed to do? -- SELF-CONSCIOUS IN MINNESOTA
DEAR BIG NOSE:
Honey, I understand where you're coming from. It's not easy being Jewish in Minnesota. Believe me, my wife lived there for a few years, and it wasn't pretty. You'd think that in a place that houses the Mayo Clinic and is saturated with doctors that there'd be plenty of Jews there, but, really, they're all tall, blonde, beautiful people whose children are, frustatingly, above average. And, while I'm sure you get straight A's and give your math tutor handjobs for PSAT tips like every other 14-year-old in Minnesota, I can tell that your schnozz is above average, and not in the good way.
Want my advice? Get that fucking ski-slope shimmed down. If your stingy, mean, Jew parents won't foot the bill for plastic surgery before your eighteenth birthday, which is just unconscionable (it should have been your Bat Mitzvah gift, sweetiepie), you're just going to have to do it at home yourself. You will need the following:
1 disposable picnic knife, preferably polystyrene but take what you can get
1 bottle of rubbing alcohol (this will serve as sterilization prep & anesthesia.
1 set of your parent's finest bedsheets. This will show them what the fuck is up.
2 lobster forks
1 nutcracker (preferably the festive ones dressed up like soldiers with the beards
1 box of Can-Do's
3 rolls of Owens-Corning fiberglass insulation (to muffle screams)
Good luck, dear! Send pics when you're all done and beautiful.
I am a 22-year-old woman, fairly mature, intelligent and stable. I'm 5-foot-3 and wear a size 5 or 6.
I have this friend, "Tish," who is stunningly gorgeous. She looks like a model, stands about 5-foot-8 and wears a size 1 or 2. She dresses stylishly and has the figure to pull off many outfits that I never could. Tish is also a nice person who has never said anything to put me down. I feel no ill will toward her, just inferior when I'm around her.
I have had super-short hair most of my life, but have been growing it out for the past year to "reinvent" myself. When I saw Tish last week, she had donated her shoulder-length hair to Locks of Love and now sports an ultra-chic haircut that makes her look better than I ever did. I cried for almost an hour after she left.
I know my feelings are stupid and childish. Not only do I feel ugly externally next to Tish, but also internally ugly for being so hung-up on appearance when she hasn't done me any wrong. How can I get rid of these unwanted feelings? -- PALE IN COMPARISON
Oh, Jesus Christ. What is with you people today?
Here's the deal: you can either give yourself surgery in the basement, or there's a cross on the front lawn with your name on it.
Take your pick, love.