April 30, 2007
Weekend Recap: The Zoo!
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, which, in this instance means that, the better the weekend, the faster it seemed to disappear. The weekend felt as if it was, oh, fifteen minutes long.
Friday was chill (yo). We hung out, got Mia to bed and caught up on some hot TiVo action. [Aside: Two brief observations - Grey's Anatomy keeps getting sillier and Lost just needs to answer some freaking questions. What the hell is happening to all the good stuff on TV? The Sopranos is a snooze-fest, House has been pretty much reduced to the same episode each week and CSI is more laughably silly than it ever has been.] So, basically, we watched shitty TV and went to bed. That's a good night in my book.
Beth and Mia went to visit Beth's parents (Nana and Papa, if you're keeping score at home). They were taking care of my brother-in-law's dog for the weekend. Big fun was had by all. I stayed home and caught up on about 2,305 things I've been meaning to take care of for
weeks an eternity although I'm having a hard time actually listing what I accomplished. I started a book, burned some backup CDs, listened to some music, worked on some code for the site, answered email, edited pictures...you get the drift. The rest of the day was spent playing. As it should be.
Saturday was like an opening band taking the stage. Sunday was the headliner. We went to the zoo, not just to see the requisite lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) but to meet Nadine, FreezeM, their son Tim (as yet, blogless but I have no doubt that will change) and Zandria! The day itself was gorgeous, the zoo was hopping and the company was excellent. At least, it was on our end. I might have come off like a complete dork with the social skills of a fine pasteurized cheese. It was insanely cool to meet folks I've been blogging with for years. And Mia absolutely loved Tim. I mean, there was kissing and more than a few mentions of Tim throughout the afternoon and evening.
And there it is, in a nutshell. The weekend. Okay, enough. This Monday thing isn't funny anymore. Pass the coffee and tell me it's Friday.
Haiku For Monday #163
Gorgeous morning, but
here I sit in my office.
The Man keeps me down.
April 27, 2007
Schadenfreude Friday: Baldwins, Grants and Sopranos (Oh My!)
Plenty of hot schadenfreude action this week. Here's some proof:
Which Baldwin Is This Again?
While taping an appearance on ABC's The View Wednesday, the actor [Baldwin] — who was caught berating his daughter Ireland, 11, in a voice mail message last week — asked NBC to release him from his contract so he can focus his time on "parental alienation," according to a transcript released to the Associated Press.Huh. That's funny. I kinda feel the same way about his acting career.
"If I never acted again, I couldn't care less," Baldwin said in his taped appearance, scheduled to air Friday.
So, first he breaks out a verbal whoop-ass on his 11 year-old daughter, he apologizes, gets the backing of the ever-important Heather Mills, drops his agent then tries to wiggle out of his contract with NBC but is denied.
Stupid Alec. Don't you know that even Baldwins are expected to behave better than that? And while I'm at it, you'd think Heather Mills would have better, more important things to worry about like spending Paul's money or keeping that other leg. Oh, and NBC? What kind of idiotic company publicly stands between an obviously troubled guy and his kid?
He's going to end up in rehab, isn't he?
Notting Hell, Or Three Weddings and Baked Beans
Hugh Grant has reportedly been arrested in London over an allegation that he assaulted a photographer with a family-sized tub of baked beans, among other things. The actor, according to British press reports, allegedly kicked Ian Whittaker three times as Whittaker attempted to photograph him near his west London home. Whittaker alleges Grant then picked up a large carton of baked beans and threw them at the lensman, leaving him "bruised" and "battered" and slathered in the sticky mess.
Yup. According to TMZ, a surprisingly reliable source these days, Grant busted out the baked beans and later told the photographer that he hoped the photographer's kids "die of fucking cancer." But, you know, I bet he said it in a mildly amusing, charming way. And made the cameraman swoon.
Even though the body count is slowly mounting in this final season of "The Sopranos," let's assume that at least a few members of the biological and extended Sopranos family will still be breathing when the series ends in June.
What we know for sure is that, dead or alive, they will be unemployed - which means it's not too soon to be thinking about their next gigs.
This being television and all, we should probably start thinking spinoffs - the ancient tradition of creating a new show with a character or two from an old one.
Look, I've been a fan of The Sopranos for a long, long time. But I have a serious bone to pick with creator David Chase. We've got a nine episode season of which there are six episodes left. And all we've been handed thus far is a steaming pile of boring crap with character development out the wazoo but little action and no resolution to, well, anything. And, as this Daily News article suggests, we're supposed to care what's next for the cast? Hell, at this point, I don't even care what's next for the characters.
By the way, for those of you who are curious, the answer to yesterday's question was, indeed, "pictures of midgets with mullets". Congrats to the winners! Send me your addresses and I'll put some CDs together!
April 26, 2007
Search String Madness (The Spring Edition)
Know what I haven't done in a long time? Checked out my search strings. Let's rectify that, shall we?
- Naked cocaine midget. Next band I form? That's the name.
- Cats burp. Profound, dude. Profound.
- Teachers having sex on camera. That's one sturdy camera.
- White trash neighbors what to do. From my experience, there's only one thing to do - move. Or buy a shotgun.
- Peter Sellers Pink Panther license for monkey. Really, if you typed this in, please tell me what this even means.
- Queen of farts codename. Rosie O'Donnell.
- Protecting your nose. Actually, the primary motive behind the Founding Father's inclusion of the Second Amendment.
- Dented trash can pictures. Ooooh, trash porn.
- Something rude to say when someone knocks on your door and that person is the one you hate the most. Jerry Lewis, what are you doing on my front porch? And why the hell are you so popular in France?
- What Casio watch did keanu reeves wear in Speed? Dork. The fact that you know he was wearing a Casio is scary enough.
- Politically correct term for albino. Overachieving Cracker?
- Is vasectomy against the Bible. Luke 12:3, And the Lord sayeth, go forth and multiply but interfereth not in the spreading of thine seed for thou shalt not get the snip snip.
- Van Halen car seat covers. All you need is a mullet and you're all set to revisit 1984.
- Issues of children having short attention span. I'd say the majority of these issues are caused by...ohhhh, look, puppies!
- Rude kids songs. Row Row Row Your Fucking Boat, Asshole, Twinkle Twinkle Little Buttmunch, and The Itsy Bitsy Dickhead all come to mind.
- Harry Potter cartoon porn. Harry Potter and the Hookers of Bang-Your-Man
Now, to make things a little interesting, come up with the missing word from this actual search string and you'll win a prize. Yep, a CD chock full of good tunes which will rock your casbah.
"Pictures of midgets with ________________."
If someone's already hoarked your answer, go ahead and leave it in the comments anyway. I have nothing against multiple winners!
April 25, 2007
A Requiem For Ed
We've known each other for, what, twenty years now? With that number of years between us, that kind of history, I feel like I owe you the truth, the courtesy of laying it all out on the table. Like I should level with you. So here it is - you're disgusting. I love you, but you're disgusting.
You and me have been through a lot. The nature of our relationship has always been on-again-off-again but, through thick and thin, we've always managed to remain tight. Like I said, we've got history. You were there when I bought my first guitar - a shitty, beat-up, used black piece of crap that, for some reason, sounded like heaven when I plugged it into the equally shitty amp I'd bought the same day. You accompanied me on dates. Some were great, like all those dates with my wife in college. Some were tragically bad, like that one with that high school friend when she got plowed on vodka beforehand and we saw that uber-shitty Roseanne Barr/Meryl Streep movie which she (the date) couldn't stop laughing like a maniac through. You were even there when things clicked between me and Beth. You saw dozens of movies; I apologize for the poor judgment leading us to terrible ones like the aforementioned She Devil and the whole Eyes Wide Shut debacle . You stuck with me on drunken binges; thank you for holding my hair. Speaking of hair, you've really seen a lot of action up close on that front too.
It saddens me that you're in such terrible shape now, after so many good years. But I'm afraid there's little that can be done. The years are showing and you haven't aged well. You've got spots - mostly from the times we painted houses in high school and college - all over you. The sweat and blood we lost together through the years have left your pale surface scarred, stained, battered. You are, quite honestly, falling apart at the seams.
After 20 years, Ed, I think this is where we part ways. Goodbye my friend. Thank you for so many good years. So long, little buddy.
Now, Ed aside, I have two things to address. First, yesterday's post? In real life, the person took the cash. As for me? I wouldn't have taken it. Second, head over to Beth's Playgroup Dropout site today for some video goodness.
April 24, 2007
Ripped From The Headlines
Maybe not ripped from the headlines but this did happen. In real life. Only not to me.
Let's say you're at a friend's house in a strange part of town. You're on your way out when you realize that you're not 100% sure how to get back to the highway. A friend offers to lead you in his car. You take him up on it and tail him back to the highway.
Halfway through the trip, seemingly out of nowhere, a car passes, does a complete 360-degree turn, wildly out of control, and clips the front of your car. Your airbags don't deploy and you realize quickly that you're okay. Your friend having seen this transpire in his rear-view mirror, pulls off a hundred feet ahead. You jump out of your car, announcing to him that you're fine. The driver of the out of control car does the same. The damage isn't insignificant but it's not terrible.
As you survey the damage and the other driver checks out his car, you pull out your cell phone and you call the police. After you hang up, the other driver walks over to you. "Listen, I have a problem. You called the police, right?" You reply that you did. "Look," the driver responds, "I've been drinking. When the cops get here, they're going to arrest me because it'll be the third time. They're going to lock me up. I'd like to call my wife if that's okay." And you tell him that, of course, it is.
Before too long, the driver's wife arrives. She's driving a mid-size SUV. She's well-dressed, clearly a professional. Between the two cars and the looks of both, it's clear they're not filthy rich but neither are they destitute. When the wife arrives, she heads straight for the three of you.
"If the police come, they're going to lock my husband up for a long time. I can't live without my husband. I know what he did is wrong and it's dangerous, but I'll give you $5,000 in cash right now if you just tell the police that I was driving. We're both covered by insurance and your car will be taken care of. I just can't have my husband in jail." And with that, she thrusts an envelope full of cash in your direction.
Do you take it?
April 23, 2007
The Weekend Behind Me
What sick fuck came up with this Monday crap? And why did that person - because I'm convinced it's the same bastard - make up such a terrible week to weekend ratio? I'd like to meet him...and give him a gigantic wedgie.
This weekend was fantastic on all counts. The company, weather, activities and sleep were all absolutely wonderful beyond belief. It didn't hurt that the weekend started off a day early and, in turn, lasted a day longer.
On Friday, Beth, Mia and I hung out in the morning and spent a gorgeous afternoon checking out the animals at a local farm. Being spring, there were plenty of baby animals - pigs, goats, cows - and Mia was thrilled. Of course, it was more amusing for us because each time an animal made the correct, corresponding animal noise - a moo, oink or neigh - Mia thought they'd burped. Towards the end of our visit, I managed to alienate my wife who didn't appreciate my jokes about human-eating horses. She doesn't like horses. I'm not sure she likes me now much either.
Then Mia slept through the night. At last.
Saturday found me on the spot, dadcentrically speaking. Beth had to head an hour and a half south for a baby shower so Mia and I had a whole morning and afternoon together. After Beth left, we bought some donuts and a cup of coffee (coffee for me only, if you're concerned) and headed to a local park for a picnic. We saw the Potomac River, a few fishermen and a couple of deer which became very popular very fast. Mia punctuated most sentences the rest of the day with "dee-uh, dee-uh!" Beth came home, we had a wonderful dinner and then sleep...wonderful sleep.
And Mia slept through the night once again.
Sunday fell in-line with the other wonderful weekend days, mainly because we were able to enjoy the company of The Goon Squad, at Goon Squad HQ. Yep, we had an afternoon of playing with Ian, Claudia, Sarah and Gabe. A good time was had by all. They even agreed to feed us. Homemade pasta. Best way to make new friends in my world is through pasta. We're considering moving in with them. They're not aware of this yet. Shhhh!
And then (can you see this coming?) Mia, for the third night in a row, slept straight through.
So, there...as I said, the weekend was fantastic. I'm more than a little depressed that its in the past but then there's always next weekend. I'm still after the asshat who created Mondays though so if you run into him, send his ass my way.
Haiku For Monday #162
Nothing more tempting
than playing hooky on a
pretty spring Monday.
April 21, 2007
April 20, 2007
(No) Schadenfreude (This) Friday: In Memoriam
It's hard to imagine what possesses someone to take 32 lives. As the facts are pushed out into the open, details revealed, it's obvious that the mind which planned this tragedy wasn't a normal one. A loner with an arsenal. A familiar refrain. No solutions. This is terrorism. Let's work on fixing this before we march halfway around the world to solve (or create) the problems of others.
April 19, 2007
Thank God It's Thursday
Oh my peter!* I'm feeling pretty banged up this morning. I'll blame the late nights and interrupted sleep with a sick child. And the 10+ hour days at work, all day meetings, and dinners on Capital Hill. I started working at 6:30 yesterday morning...and ended up getting home at 9. The good thing? Today is my Friday. Yep, I'm taking the day off tomorrow.
One question - do I smell? As always I thank everyone who stops by on a regular basis. I know I've been delinquent in my own commenting. But, you know, I'm an insecure son of a bitch. So, delurk and comment today. Let me know what's up.
Finally, I've been featured over on BloggerView. Very cool site so go check out my interview and poke around and read the other goodness.
Meanwhile, I'll be pulling a Costanza, napping under my desk.
* an expression Elvis frequently used to express surprise.
April 18, 2007
Home Recordings: When Music Attacks!!
Over the weekend, I discovered that Mia had turned my music room upside down (metaphorically). Strewn everywhere were blank and homemade CDs and spare jewel cases. Whilst cleaning up, I discovered something that both horrified and excited me. No, not Ann Coulter. A CD hand-labeled Home Recordings.
I've been writing and recording music since I was a wee lad. The day I discovered that I could haul my dad's ancient reel-to-reel tape recorder with the long, phallic Bob Barker microphone on top of the piano and actually record whatever it was I was playing was a magic one. I played the piano through middle school, after which I switched to guitar (a much cooler instrument, no offense to the pianists in the crowd). I played with bands but I kept recording solo, me and my little four-track mixer picked up at a local Radio Shack on a whim. Then in college, like Ross Gellar, I found my sound.
My sound. I think I sprained something from the ridiculousness of that sentence. And my sound was what filled that CD. At least, that's what I discovered as I put it in the tray, pushed play and listened. And laughed.
See, I went through lots of phases and almost every one of them was somehow represented on that CD. There was the Art Rock New Age Phase which is best represented by an eight-song concept album which, as I recall, had the words soft stars and perhaps solitude in the title. It was, without doubt, complete and utter bullshit. Spacey keyboards over percussion courtesy of a lame drum machine packed tightly with plodding bass guitars. I think I threw in one solitary guitar solo. It sounded like medically sedated cats had hijacked my equipment. In other words, it blew a stable-full of donkeys.
I hit the Cover Phase somewhat later. During this phase, I performed and recorded an obscure collection of songs. The alt-country sound of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Lucky Man, complete with reverbed-out vocals is a shining testament to the need to destroy old home recordings. Later came a rather nice version of Stone Temple Pilot's Plush followed by a completely x-rated version of Alice In Chains' Don't Follow (if you must know, the revised title rhymed with the original and involved oral sex...you can noodle it through). I have no words to explain the acapella version of an early 80's U2 track. It did not represent my best work and I shall never do it again.
Later came the ProTools Phase. Primarily computer-generated using sound samples, it wasn't my best work. Anyone age five and over who owns a computer and has mastered the demanding skills of drag and drop could have pretty much nailed my sound. My favorite phase of all has to be the Naked Eye Phase. Somewhere around 1992, I happened upon an insanely cool Pete Townshend riff from a live version of The Who's Naked Eye. I proceeded to beat it to death in almost everything I recorded for the next ten years. Hell, who am I kidding? I still trot that old thing out.
I guess everyone goes through tragically embarrassing phases in their life, some recorded in some fashion for posterity, some not. Mine are all on CD. Before you ask, no, I'm not posting them. Unless you guys post the most fantastic comments ever. Even then, I'm not so sure.
April 17, 2007
Six Strange Things
The past 24 or so hours have been a little strange. I have, with my own two eyes, seen some weird shit.
One. It appears as if a family of ducks has decided to call one of our local community pools home. They can frequently be seen taking a little swim or just resting beside the pool. They were all out for a morning swim this morning. This, of course, begs for some Soprano's metaphor (you remember all the way back to the first season, right?) but I can't for the life of me think of one.
Two. I met a pirate yesterday. Seriously. I don't know how else to describe him. I walked into a meeting and there, dressed in a suit, was a pirate. A relatively nice looking man, around fifty and slightly balding with a long gray beard. Each of his ears was pierced twice, each adorned with an insanely large diamond stud and a gold hoop the size of a quarter. His fingers were ornamented with large gold rings and around each of his wrists fell, literally, piles of gold bracelets. His gold cuff links were equally ornate. Granted, he didn't say arghh or make me walk the plank but he sure shivered me timbers.
Three. Mia, still under the weather, sneezed and let loose a snot-rocket of epic proportions. Its range was quite remarkable as were the multidirectional impacts. It hit her, various pieces of her clothing and mine, and claimed a throw pillow and couch cushion among its inanimate victims. My favorite part? She laughed hysterically. Of course, so did I.
Four. I waked into the restroom at my client's place of business yesterday, a large building with thousands of inhabitants, and discovered an individual who was, apparently, sincerely bored or easily amused, or both. See, he was peeing at a urinal in the men's room which in an of itself isn't exactly big news. But he was standing about six feet away from it (see diagram below). Seems he likes to start the day with a little target practice.Busted, he zipped up and left without explanation. Or flushing.
Five. 4:37 AM. No sleep was had last night due to a sick toddler who wanted Cheerios in the middle of the night. Am tired.
Six. Sixty people at Virginia Tech killed or injured in what is now the worst shooting massacre in the nation's history. In some bizarre coincidence, I was surrounded by people who graduated from the school while we watched all of this unfold. Tragic, and deserving of more finely wrought sentences than I'm capable of crafting this instant.
April 16, 2007
How Can It Be Monday Already? I Mean, Come On!
A few weeks ago, I posted a version of my calendar in order to demonstrate exactly how busy I am at work. That version of the calendar now looks wonderful, ideal, like a nice walk in the park compared to the version I'm looking at now. It's a fucking minefield, people. Chaos theory at work inside Microsoft Outlook. After that marginally amusing, anxiety-fueled post, I received a couple of questions that intrigued me. They were all very similar - do I even like my job?
Fair question. All I seem to do is bitch about how busy I am, but the truth is that, yes, I do enjoy what I do. My job is interesting, challenging, and affords me opportunities most people don't get on a regular basis. I work with great people in a wonderful environment. It's also pretty good money. But still, it provides me with an ever-expanding pool of stress. I get to climb the high-dive on a daily basis and take the plunge into the icy depths each and every morning. And lately, that high-dive's been pretty damn high; and the pool has been a little shallow. Not a fun prospect to face.
This weekend, more so than the previous one, was not at all sufficient to mend the wounds received during my last series of high-dive performances. They healed slightly but did not come anywhere close to disappearing. So I'm limping into another week. One with, at current count, nineteen meetings in it. Wait. Eighteen. One just got canceled.
Don't get me wrong, the weekend was nice. Sure, it rained the whole time and ended up being even quieter than expected because Mia came down with a case of The Sniffles (for such a little girl she sure can generate a lot of snot). Beth and I, thanks to some willing grandparents, did get a chance to get out of the house for a while. We actually had a meal. Alone. Of course, I think the reason Beth was so happy was the fact that we ran into Hottie Pediatrician while we were out.
In summary...nice weekend...tired...icy pool of stress...tall-ass ladder...Monday...help! How do you balance work and family? What tricks have you come up with that seem to do the trick? Do you have any experience whatsoever subverting the space-time continuum in order to add a few extra hours to the day? If so, how? Have you successfully built and implemented a time machine? Would you be willing to share the blueprints? Let me know if you've got any tricks. In the mean time I'll be - you guessed it - stuck in a meeting or twelve.
Haiku For Monday #161
No sleep plus meetings.
I'm bad at math but I know
that equation sucks.
April 13, 2007
Schadenfreude Friday: Chances
Don Imus is an asshat. Of that there can be little debate or doubt. But what does this issue say about us?
I've always disliked Imus. If his coma-inducing rambling monotone didn't turn me off, his feebed-out attempt to look like talk radio's Marlboro Man certainly would have. His inherent talent for talk has long been watered down by racist, chauvinistic opinions which could only have been intended to offend or elicit reaction. Worse than anything, Imus is (and has been) completely irrelevant. Until last week. But why, with his history of demeaning women and, especially, African-Americans, was anyone surprised? From the fervor generated by the media, the unaware would have thought he'd sacrificed babies and kittens to honor Osama bin Laden.
We operate under very real and very perplexing double-standards in this country. As Michael Richards proved, use of the n-bomb is suitable for some but not all. Rap and hip-hop (not all but some) have migrated from an urban culture to a prison culture. In some parts of society, violence against women isn't only tolerated but encouraged; racial epithets are hurled faster than crosses in front yards once burned; lofty goals like education, marriage, success and, worst of all, optimism, are sacrificed for a supposed reality darker and more grim than the one that actually exists for most of us outside our front doors. And a startling number of people - rich, poor, black, white, educated and illiterate - embrace the values of that grim reality. And will it into being. Old white guys with microphones can't say something that millions of others can. He's wrong, clearly, but that doesn't make the other folks right. Until we stop allowing double-standards to exist, we will continue to face them.
The other part of the issue is the rush to judgment.
Despite my best efforts, I'm human and I fuck up. Whether it's in my personal or professional life, I make mistakes. The people with whom I share my life - my wife, daughter, coworkers - expect this because none of us are perfect. And we all have bad days. What concerns me is that we live in a time and place in which one sentence, one minute of one day, one stupid but simple lapse of judgment costs someone their jobs. Imus was stupid. And he had a history of this type of thing. He shouldn't be spared. But we're holding most people in this world to an almost inconceivably high standard. Let's say Einstein got kicked out of school after dropping a Bunsen burner on a professor's foot. Or Abraham Lincoln failed a final or flubbed a speech in college. Or Kennedy got booted from office just because he might have been screwing Marilyn. They never would have had the opportunity, the time, the potential to reach the greatness they eventually showed. I'm not saying Imus should have kept his job. But I do think that, as a culture, we exhibit a rush to judgment that forces people to reconsider ever going out on a limb. And without those limb-goers society really does come to a screeching halt.
April 12, 2007
Inappropriate Responses I Almost Gave the Mormons
I have nothing against religion. [As aside: That's not entirely true. If forced to be candid, I might say that, while much good has been done in the name of religion, a whole heaping pile of bad shit has been done under the banner of one religion or another. That, in my mind, at least, is bad. But it's not all bad. I get that.] I do not consider myself a person of faith but I do respect those who have and embrace faith and whatever set of beliefs accompanies it. Oddly enough, given my own lack of religious beliefs, some of my closest friends have held fairly strong religious beliefs. Maybe I'm just their token heathen friend. Regardless, I'll admit that above all other people of faith, those I respect the most are ones who understand that it is inherently a person issue. Not one to be pushed, foisted or sold like crack on a street corner. Which is why I almost responded very inappropriately when two Mormon missionaries knocked on my door.
[Aside Part Two, Son Of Aside: I'll have you know, I have nothing against Mormons. My brain would have spit out the same thoughts if they'd been Jews, Jesuits, Jehovas Witnesses, Scientologists or Wiccans.]
The Inappropriate Responses I Considered:
- Hi. Just so you know, upfront, I worship at the altar of Satan. You know, the devil.
- Hi. Just so you know, upfront, I worship at the altar of Satan. Oh, and I'm gay. By the way, are missionaries getting cuter or has it just been a really long time since I had a date?
- Curiosity question - would you consider your favorite position to be missionary?
- Could you come back later? I just found some great man-on-man porn on the 'net and you're kinda ruining the mood.
- So, if I convert or whatever, I get to marry, like, ten women, right? That's bitchin'. Where do I sign?
- Oh, hi there. I'm a little busy with the low-budget adult film I'm shooting in my basement. Would you mind coming back? Or, actually, do you need a couple hundred bucks for a quick afternoon's work?
- I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. I don't know how that applies to you but you'd do well to take it under advisement. Now, good day!
- Before I talk to anyone about anything, we have a strict no-thong policy in this house. So, drop 'em boys. Then we'll talk about the Lord.
Of course, I didn't say any of that. Why, you ask?
Her: Just tell them "no thanks" and "goodbye."
Me: "No thanks" and "goodbye"? What fun is that?
Her: You just better let me talk to them.
Her: You'll just be rude.
Me: You think I'd actually say any of that crap? I talk big but when push comes to shove, I'm a pussy.
[Aside Part Three, Aside's Revenge: It's true. I hate confrontation possibly more than I hate spiders, reruns of Good Times and the very concept of Spam - both the meat and the email - combined. I can't explain it. It's kinda like the fact that I hate the phone.]
[Aside Part Five, The Final Chapter: Rest in peace, Kurt Vonnegut]
April 11, 2007
Here's something to ponder while you sip your coffee, check your calendars, wake up your kids or sit in an endless stream of traffic on your way to work. Who is your role-model? And, in fifty words or less, why? Watch, allow me to illustrate:
Beth is my role-model. She stands strong when I cannot, steers me towards the right path when resolutions are lost upon me, and pushes me to be a better person. Beth is a wonderful mother, loyal friend, beautiful wife, and has, of course, a smokin’ hot ass.
So - husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad, teacher, priest, movie star or football hero - let me have it.
April 10, 2007
How I Won A Trout
The other night, Beth and I were lying in bed, adrift between conversations. I felt nature's call so I got up, did my thing, then returned.
Her: How was the mule?
Me: Excuse me?
Her: The mule.
Her: No. Mule.
Me: I beg to differ. The correct phrase is I've got to see a man about a horse.
Her: No. I've got to see a man about a mule.
Me: I'm sorry but you're so wrong.
Her: I can't be. I saw it in a movie. Where's your authoritative source?
Me: Movie? Come on. Everyone knows it's horse.
Her: Why don't you go boot up the computer and check?
Me: Why don't you. You're the one that's wrong.
Her: It's so far away.
Me: Yeah, those fifty feet are a terror-filled bitch.
Her: Anyway, I'm right.
Me: You're so not right.
Her: Care to put a wager on this?
Me: What did you have in mind?
Her: I mentioned the wager so it's up to you to come up with something.
Me: Okay. I wager a fine freshwater trout.
Her: A trout?
Me: A fine freshwater trout.
Her: What are you going to do with a trout?
Me: Mount it on the wall, as a reminder of this night's victory.
Her: Won't it smell?
Me: I'll take it to a taxidermist, have it mounted on the wall in a victorious position.
Her: A trout? Really?
Me: Yes. Bring me my trout, my fine freshwater trout.
I did a little research. In a quick Google search for "going to see a man about a" I had to scroll through three full pages of search results before I even found mention of a mule. It was a direct quote from Their Eyes Were Watching God. I don't consider that authoritative. The next mention was the 115th search result. All other references? Horse. Maybe a dog thrown in here and there for good measure. But clearly the man was seen about, above all other four-legged creatures great and small, a horse.
Two questions. How perfectly fated are Beth and I to be with each other (in that neither of us found this conversation particularly unusual)? And how tired must I have been to bet a trout on such a sure thing? I still haven't gotten it, by the way. I hereby demand my fine freshwater trout!
April 9, 2007
Haiku For Monday #160
Fucked up. Forgot the
'ku. Am neurotic. Must post
and beg forgiveness.
Easter Revisited (Starring the Easter Monkey)
So, uh...good morning!
This weekend was, of course, Easter. Easter is, of course, a fine time to take plenty of pictures of your lovely family doing fun things like posing for the camera or hunting for Easter eggs. Never shy with a camera, I took plenty of these pictures. I haven't yet had time to edit them (on a side-note, Beth did post a couple courtesy of Mia Monday so enjoy...or blame her for hogging the computer). I assure you that my family was (and is) beautiful and Mia was especially cute hunting for eggs.
Friday night was, as is becoming the norm, nice and relaxed. I took part of the afternoon off - and after a week of feeling like crap and working my ass off I think I deserved it. Mia and I got some extra time to play and then the three of us went out to dinner. A family date. It was fun.
Saturday morning, Beth, Mia and I were up early, prepared for the neighborhood Easter egg hunt. Something odd struck me when I looked out the window. There was something strange on the ground. Snow. Or a massive amount of cocaine. Surely that's not right I thought. Mother Nature - or a Colombian drug cartel - was rather confused. We got dressed and headed to the hunt despite the 30 degree temperature. The torrential snow storm was a nice touch as well. Mia still had fun. She found eggs, plucked them from the chilly ground, popped them in her basket and, since she didn't quite grasp the entire concept, took them out of her basket and deposited them elsewhere.
Sunday was, of course, the true Easter. After playing much of the day, the three of us got dressed up and headed to my parents' place for dinner with both sets of Mia's grandparents. Mia can never ever claim, even in her darkest teenage crisis-riddled moment, that she's unloved. The paparazzi were out in force and, according to her fans, practically anything Mia did was hilarious. Three Easter baskets, numerous puzzles, books, and a nice dinner later, we arrived home, in time for bed.
On the lawn of one home yesterday, we saw a giant inflatable monkey. We were confused.
Me: What the hell is that?
Her: Must be the Easter Monkey.
Me: The lesser-known accomplice of the Easter Bunny?
Me: Bringing bananas to all the children not lucky enough to get eggs.
Her: And flinging poo.
Me: When you wake up in the morning and find painted Easter bananas and fresh-flung poo, you know the Easter Monkey's been there!
It didn't feel like spring, but Easter was wonderful. How'd you spend yours?
April 6, 2007
Schadenfreude Friday: A Heartbreaking Amount of Staggering Stupidity
I'm not trying to complain and I certainly don't want to jinx myself, but the sheer volume of stupid people are giving me so much material it's actually obscene. There's pretty much no challenge in this.
Like, Keith Richards. First says he rolled up a dollar bill and snorted his father's ashes along with some nice blow. But apparently the media got it wrong. Keith just meant that he and his dad were tight. I don't know what kind of weird, fucked up relationship Keith had with his old man but when I want to indicate that my dad and I are close, I give the man a hug or something. I never snort him. Admittedly, he's still alive which makes snorting him much more difficult.
Maria Pantalone is another seriously demented example of the clarity of the gene pool. Not content with being the sister of Toronto's deputy mayor, Maria sought out a bonus fifteen minutes of fame through some rather unconventional forms of classroom punishment. See, Maria's a teacher. She got a little upset at one of her students...and threw feces at him. Her own feces. How upset, exactly, do you have to be to take a crap and then fling it at someone? Worse, perhaps, is the fact that the school isn't planning on firing her.
Steven Cole has a lot to answer for too. Earlier this week the Ohio firefighter was charged with a number of crimes resulting from a little drunken stroll he took through a park. Wearing a blond wig and a string bikini, the top of which was stuffed with water balloons. I think he was going for the anti-Britney; instead of shaving his head, he put on a wig and instead of losing underwear in public, he put some on. Maybe he'll blow up and become a huge pop star.
Benjamin Houghton is truly deserving of schadenfreude. Ben checked into a Veterans Administration hospital in LA to have a testicle removed. And a testicle was removed. Unfortunately, it was the wrong one. Oops.
My favorite parenting duo this week are Michael and Karolina Tomaro. The Swedish couple loves Metallica, so much so they decided to name their daughter after the band. Sadly, the authorities have rejected the notion. May I suggest Megadeth, Godsmack, or Iron Maiden as alternatives?
April 5, 2007
Just Choose One...Or Two
You guys know that, aside from Beth and Mia, I have two great loves in life. Music and books. I guess it's kinda weird that I don't write more about them isn't it? I'll try and work on that. But in the mean time - since I'm tied up in more meetings than you can shake a multi-directional heat-seeking stick at (or three) - I'm turning the microphone, such as it is, over to you. Yes. You. Wake up.
The challenge is simple - choose one book and one album, open the comments and write them down. See? Simple. If you feel up to it, you can tell me why you chose what you did. But it's not required. Maybe, for instance, you just bought a CD you love the hell out of and just want to spread the word. Maybe you have a dog-eared copy of On The Road that you kept shoved in a back pocket throughout your formative years. Maybe a certain passage of a certain song single-handedly got you through your parents' divorce. The reason, while interesting, isn't important. All that matters is that these things mean something to you.
I guess it wouldn't be fair if I didn't go. So, for the record...
The Book: The Road (Cormac McCarthy)
The Reason: Because Oprah told me to read it. No, I'm kidding, I swear. I just finished it. It's the freshest in my mind. It was one of the most viscerally disturbing novels I've read in a long time. The premise - the world's blown to hell and a father and son must survive - sounds like a second-rate science fiction film but the execution is utterly profound. Because it is about, quite simply, love. Something I think most of us can, in some way, identify with. McCarthy proves that a book doesn't have to be long to be big.
The Album: Born To Run (Bruce Springsteen)
The Reason: Anyone who knows about me and my long-standing musical tastes just got a big surprise. See, I've always loathed Bruce Springsteen. I don't know why. It's not like the guy doesn't have any talent. He just never did anything for me. Until I heard Jungleland, the album's eight minute closer, on the radio a few weekends ago. It is one of the more brilliant songs ever written. The rest of the album ain't bad either. I realize I'm preaching to the choir here. Born To Run is consistently ranked right up there with Dark Side of the Moon and Led Zeppelin IV. I'm just a little slow on the uptake.
With that, I turn it over to you. I'm curious what you come up with. What you read and listen to says something about you. And the people who read what I write say something about me.
April 4, 2007
Rude Cactus, M.D.
Beth: So, you bought some cold medicine on your way home.
Beth: Does that mean you think you have a cold and not the sinus infection you thought you might have? And don't need to go to the doctor.
Me: Yes. It's just a cold.
Beth: You have a medical degree I don't know about?
Well...yes. Yes I do. Aside from being a minister, I'm also a doctor. Proof? How about my resume.
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, Korea (1950-1953)
I am, perhaps, a bit older than you might have originally assumed. The internet makes me look young. But that's neither here nor there. My first job out of medical school was patching up our wounded boys overseas. I was part of a dynamic, crack mobile unit of fine, yet neurotic, surgeons stationed in some of Korea's hottest spots. I received fine tutelage from Captains B.J. Hunnicutt and Benjamin Franklin Pierce whilst in the field, successfully completing my medical residency by the time the fog of that particular war lifted and our boys came marching (and drooling thanks to terrible field dental care and a strange lack of floss) home. Ahh, those days were fine ones, hanging out in the tent, distilling our own moonshine...
General Hospital, Port Charles (1970-1984)
Upon returning from the war, I
heard voices needed some rest and long periods of heavy sedation a slower-paced lifestyle. After doing a little stint in a psych ward fly fishing and perfecting my skills on a newly acquired unicycle, I returned to medicine, sleeves rolled up and rarin' to go. I arrived in lovely Port Charles and reported for duty at General Hospital. It was a grueling undertaking. Despite working alongside eminent physicians such as Dr. Kevin O' Connor and Dr. Robin Scorpio, I was required to practice one hour of pre-recorded medicine five days a week! The pace proved too much. I retreated to the comfort of Boston.
St. Eligius Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (1984-1988)
Once in Boston, installed as head of Pulmonary-Psychotropic-Brangelina-Kfedmyopathy, I scrubbed in on several full brain-stem transplants with Dr. Donald Westphall as well as a highly controversial sex-change-reassignment-reversal-reversal overseen by Dr. Victor Erlich. I'll always remember Dr. Erlich's almost poetic thoughts about that surgery. "I'm not sure what it came out to be, doctor, but it sure had a mighty-fine ass." True, doctor. So true. Now, sure, I know some people say that the entire hospital was a figment of some autistic kid's imagination but I can assure you, that hospital and those people there are as real as the sheep-skin my diploma is printed on.
Cook County General Hospital, Chicago, Illinois (1994-1998)
There are lots of professions in which one may find themselves taking work home with them. Surgery sure isn't one of them, unless your family allows you to perform elective procedures on them without proper surgical instruments and the comfort and relief of anesthesia and a regimented pain management program. But there is a great deal of stress. For that reason, I took several years off after my
quick dash ahead of the law retirement from St. Eligius. During that time I authored several medical texts including The Astonishing Things About Medicine Doctors Don't Know and How To Avoid Nasty Malpractice Suits: Practical Advice From An Experienced Defendant. Once installed at Cook County General, I practiced alongside doctors John Carter, Mark Greene and Doug Ross. Each of these fine doctors eventually left the practice with varying degrees of success after departing. I like to think, however, that I was able to impart some wisdom to each like beware patients packing heat and one day, you'll get trapped in the hospital in a snowstorm with a mental case.
Chicago Hope Hopsital, Chicago, Illinois (1998-2000)
In 1998, I received a
restraining order against a female intern offer I couldn't refuse and found my way across town at Chicago Hope Hospital. My tenure there was brief. Dealing with the massive egos of Dr. Aaron Shutt and Dr. Jeffrey Geiger was too much for any physician to handle. I tendered my resignation after a brief two year stay.
Seattle Grace Hospital, Seattle, Washington (2005-2006)
After yet another
forced leave of absence brief respite, I picked up and moved cross country to Seattle. Seattle Grace Hospital was, at first, a pleasant enough environment however the sexual politics and infighting caused it to lose it's luster quickly. Dr. Preston Burke's ego needed, some may say, a parking space of it's own. Plus I believe that he might be quite the homophobe. The succession of Dr. Richard Webber was of no consequence to me, despite the brilliance of neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd (McDreamy to some). After a completely consensual yet litigation plagued threesome study session with two interns, Yang and Stevens, I believe, I tendered my resignation and moved back east.
Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, Princeton NJ (2006-Present)
I am currently studying with Dr. Gregory House, a premier diagnostician. I'm getting a crash course in misdiagnosis (something at which I have always been told I excel) but, best of all, I get to write on a white board a lot. I have a sneaking suspicion that Dr. House may in fact be British but his irrational behavior and reliance on prescription pain medication make me reluctant to add to his troubles by reporting this confusion in nationalities to Dr. Lisa Cuddy.
There you have it. My secret medical career. I say now, for the record, it's just a cold. Or a rare tropical disease.
April 3, 2007
Do you remember sick days when you were a kid? I do. Most of them were honest-to-god sick days but I'll admit there were times I'd try the old hold the thermometer under a lamp trick just to get out of a particularly tough day. Like a day in which I had to recite something (when I went to a private elementary school, I was required to recite Bible verses) or a day on which a legendarily bad quiz was being given. I didn't miss a day often (at least one year I recall getting a perfect attendance award) but when I did, I tried to make the best of it.
Television wasn't a big thing in my house. We'd watch a couple of hours per week but that was about it. I was usually absorbed in a book or listening to music. These were the days before the Internet. I do, however, remember playing some pretty nerdy text-based role playing games (remember Zork?) on my state of the art Apple II+ back in the dark ages. Nothing screams dork quite like good old role playing games.
But what I most remember about those sick days was watching television. (I'll admit, now, that typing that sentence made me feel pretty pathetic.)
To be sick in my house was to be given carte blanc with the remote. I would even, sometimes, be allowed to move the small television we had upstairs into my room. My parents still have this television for some ungodly reason and it was old-school; it had no remote and only got the standard 13 channels.
I'd almost always tune into The Price Is Right. I'd surround it with throwbacks to the golden age of television like Bewitched, I Dream of Genie, Eight Is Enough, One Day At A Time, What's Happening and Alice. It wasn't always easy. There were choices to be made. Simon and Simon, for example, might be up against The Love Boat or Charlie's Angels and Magnum P.I. might have to compete with Fantasy Island. That was a no-brainer though. Magnum always won. Sprinkle in a few game shows - Press Your Luck or the $64,000 Pyramid and you've pretty much got a full day right there.
Those days, like the television shows that represented them, are long past. Being sick doesn't always equate to a day off in the grown-up world. "Sick" and "work" aren't mutually exclusive. I've been running a fever since Sunday night. My nose is about ready to go on strike and run away to a healthier, less-rubbed face. Yesterday, I managed to work from home but today my nose and I have to hit the road and head into the city for a big, important half-day meeting. There's no getting out of it. Sadness.
I'll be out in the big bad world, sniffling all the way, if you need me. Wish me luck.
April 2, 2007
Weekend Recap: The Weekend In Verse
We read Yertle the Turtle to Mia last night
I just can't stop talking like Dr. Seuss might.
Yep, Theodore Geisel is stuck in my head
I'm afraid it might just last 'till I'm dead.
So I'll recap the weekend in verse, not in prose
though it will be a lot harder than usual I suppose.
The weekend started with no plans, no agenda
Unlike last weekend - Ohio, grandma's hacienda.
Friday was nice, quiet and relaxing and such
We three just hung out, playing so much.
Saturday my hair got a cut, very much needed
Then coloring and playing 'fore bedtime interceded.
Dinner - of pasta - some Deadwood then bed
Sleep, no dreams, just deep sleep instead.
On Sunday, I slept in and awoke with a start
As Mia invaded, not a knock not a fart.
I sprung from the bed, no clothes, I'm not shy
Then Mia pointed at my penis, waved and said "hi."
A funny moment, I'll always remember
When my daughter waved and greeted my member.
I read Cormac McCarthy's The Road in a day
It was good but disturbing, four out of five stars I'd say.
Dinner out, Mexican, spent with my folks
Chips, fajitas, and rice and some Cokes.
We got Mia to bed and chilled with the TV
Then headed to bed, books, Beth and me
Now it is Monday, not a day you can love
But I guess I'll start working, push comes to shove.
If I get Seuss out of my head I'll be more successful
Just one more thing to make Monday less stressful.
I wish you great days, all of you working stiffs
Or mother or fathers, not buts ands and ifs.