August 31, 2006

Our New Effing Vocabulary

When you become a parent, you have to make certain sacrifices. You won't be getting as much sleep as you're used to, your house will probably be a wreck, you won't have too much time to veg out and, most importantly, you'll have to alter your vocabulary ever so slightly. And by ever so slightly I mean radically. Especially if you and your wife swear like sailors. Like particularly filthy sailors who try their damndest to push the boundaries of acceptable communication. Sailors who think assmunch is a term of endearment.

Allow me to illustrate our new improved vocabulary.

Ass
Now Pronounced: Ay
Usage: I think my hair's on fire! Get your ay in here and help me put it out!
Variations: ayhole, aymunch, aykissing, ayhat...

Bitch
Now Pronounced: Bee
Usage: That Ann Coulter is such a huge bee I bet her mom wishes she'd never allowed Satan in her bedroom.
Variations: sonofabee, she-bee...

Dick
Now Pronounced: Dee
Usage: John Holmes was the porn star with the big dee, right?
Variations: deehead, deesucker, deenostril, deewrinkle...

Fuck
Now Pronounced: Eff
Usage: Eff off you big effer
Variations: effer, effnuts, effing, mothereffer, efftard, effbuddy, dumbeff...

Shit
Now Pronounced: Ess
Usage: Oh look! Some esshead let his dog leave a tidy pile of ess in our yard.
Variations: essy, ess-for-brains, essstorm, esshead...

Play these out in your head. Run through a few real-world scenarios. If you're anything like me, you'll find them decidedly less satisfying than the actual adult words and phrases. Sucks dee, yo. Eff yeah.

Allow my to illustrate the possible complications using a conversation Beth and I had last night...

Me: ...so that's why I did that thing about that effhead Rumsfeld.
Her: ...you know, those noodles by themselves kinda taste like ass.
Me: Shhh. You can't say that anymore!
Her: What?
Me: Ay. You can't say that in front of Mia.
Her: Oh, damn.
Me: Yeah, sucks dee, doesn't it?
Her: You mean I can't say 'tastes like ass' anymore, ever?
Me: Nope. But you can say that it 'tastes like donkey balls.'

Parenting has a lot to do with sacrifices, some big, some small, some effing essy.

Posted by Chris at 07:01 AM | Comments (60)

August 30, 2006

Me and My 'Intellectual Confusion'

Yesterday, our esteemed military leader Donald Rumsfeld delivered a speech. Some aspects of it were alright. Some weren't. Allow me to highlight a few prescient passages.

"We find ourselves in a strange time...It is a time when Amnesty International disgracefully refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay, which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and which is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare, as 'the gulag of our times.'"

It is disgraceful. Disgraceful that our country which values freedom so much, values the individual rights of others, is responsible for something which runs so counter to those very values. I would argue that, while the terrorists are indeed threatening and did intend to do us no good whatsoever, sinking to their level is hardly the appropriate course of action. This double standard might be part of the reason we're hated in some corners of the world.

"Not so long ago, an exhibit on the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian during the 1990s seemed to try to rewrite the history of World War II by portraying the United States as an aggressor. Fortunately, the American Legion was there to lead the effort to set the record straight. This watchdog role is even more important today in a war that is to a great extent fought in the media on a global stage -- to not allow the lies and the myths be repeated without question or challenge -- so that at least the second and third draft of history will be more accurate than the quick first allegations."

Wait. I thought you were going to besmirch the reputation of all of us liberal bloggers. And here you embrace us. Feel the love. Oh, but one thing - there are no drafts of history. Or at least, there shouldn't be. Facts are facts. They should be presented based on evidence and truth, not sensationalistic drivel delivered by Bill O'Reilly and Fox News.

"And in every army, there are occasionally bad actors -- the ones who dominate the headlines today -- who don’t live up to the standards of their oath and of our country. But you also know that they are a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of honorable men and women in all theaters in this struggle who are serving with humanity and decency in the face of constant provocation. And that is important in this “long war,” where any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can severely weaken the ability of free societies to persevere."

Donald, you just called me stupid didn't you? Worst of all is this implication that, somehow, those that oppose the administration suffer from small IQs or confused mental states. Throughout the speech, Rumsfeld peppers his remarks with meditations on Hitler, Nazis and the Allied forces that, eventually, set the European situation right. Yet, I would remind Rumsfeld that it was the Nazis who believed that thoughts and beliefs which deviated from their core beliefs were deviant and resulted from a lack of intelligence, poor breeding and confused moral compasses. The same thing he accuses me of as a liberal who vastly disagrees with his and his administration's policies on damn near everything. History is, in fact, rife with similar examples, administrations or dictatorships - legitimate and illegitimate - in which right-thinking, adopting a set of beliefs even against one's better judgment was a key to survival. We now understand that many of these regimes were completely and utterly wrong, politically and morally. If opposition to this failure of an administration is the result of a lack of morals or confused thinking, then paint me with that rather wide brush. I'm not confused. Rumsfeld is.

But let's get to the questions Rumsfeld asked during his speech. I didn't hear anyone in the audience providing any answers so I figured I would.

Rummy: With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?
Me: Nope. But if we, as a people, are going to align ourselves against them, we must be united and share a common understanding of the situation in full. We can't accept being lied to.

Rummy: Can we really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?
Me: Of course not. But then, when have we ever thought that?

Rummy: Can we truly afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply “law enforcement” problems, rather than fundamentally different threats, requiring fundamentally different approaches?
Me: I don't recall anyone speculating that an enforcement of laws could combat terrorism. But I don't believe sacrificing our privacy and other civil rights under the banner of the Patriot Act is the way to go either. We can go to extremes to protect our country and the lives of its citizens. We should do what we can. But if we sacrifice our liberties, what do we have left when we win the battle?

Rummy: And can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America -- not the enemy -- is the real source of the world’s trouble?
Me: The sources of the world's problems are, in many cases, those in positions of power who believe their opinions to be fact and impose their will upon not only their constituents but the world around them, who back those opinions with force, unwavering, even when they're proven incorrect. Dictators do this and, unfortunately, so do Presidents. The real question you should ask yourself, Rummy, with all your military might, strategic thinking and problem solving, is simple - how do armless guys pee?

P.S. - Seriously, do you guys have any answer to that last one? That's been driving me nuts all night!

Son Of P.S. - Courtesy of a faithful reader. Go to Google and do a search on "Failure." Heh.

Posted by Chris at 07:15 AM | Comments (32)

August 29, 2006

Talk About A Handicap...

I need your help. I need an explanation.

You see, there's this one building I visit for meetings occasionally. Enough, I suppose, to sense some sort of trend. On each and every floor, all ten of them, the ladies' rooms have automatic handicapped door opener thingies. You know, punch a plate on the wall and the door opens. The men's rooms? Nothing.

So what, I ask, do you do if you're an armless man suddenly stricken with the insatiable need to pee (tinkle, wee-wee, take a leak, shoot the rapids, tap the man-keg, drain the lizard)? What do you do then? Kicking the crap out of a closed door certainly isn't going to get you any closer to that urinal. And your range of motion has to be somewhat limited due to the, uh, pressing nature of your problem. Let's say you're specially abled and find that the unfortunately named lunch special ("taco surprise") starts to rethink its stay in your tummy? Unless you have a fart able to take a door off its hinges, what's your next move?

Can you think of a possible explanation?

P.S. If you're looking for interesting commentary about the whole debacle that is the dissing of Pluto, check this out.

Posted by Chris at 07:12 AM | Comments (42)

August 28, 2006

Summer Memories

Shhhh! Listen for a second. Did you hear that? It was the sound of another weekend popping out of existence...way too quickly.

This weekend, like most of them, was busy. Very busy. Let's see. There was playing, eating, more playing, a little bit of sleeping and, oh, some more playing. Remember when I sliced through our cable while trimming hedges? I finally got around to fixing that - TiVo needs to be able to record two channels at a time with the approaching television season. Then there was the water leak in the basement. That was fun. Of course, we had to swim a little before the pool closes for the season (how did the summer fly by that quickly?)...oh, and some CD burning for those of you expecting a CD from me this century. But my favorite part was the popsicle.



...more on flickr...

I've always considered the smell of cut grass, the arrival of the ice cream man, and the smell of chlorine the definitive signatures of summer. I've just added strawberry popsicles to the list.

And you? As summer draws to a close, what stands out as your favorite memories of the season?

Posted by Chris at 07:19 AM | Comments (44)

Haiku For Monday #138

Well, slap my ass and
call me Edna! It's Monday
again. What the fuck?

Posted by Chris at 07:07 AM | Comments (10)

August 25, 2006

Schadenfreude Friday: The Unprepared Edition

You know that thing I do every Friday? That thing where I point and laugh at the misery of others? Yeah, well, I'm not so much ready with that this week. The virtual dog ate it. Okay, okay...so, there were approximately 3,057 meetings I had to attend yesterday followed by a happy hour, a late dinner then an incredibly long-overdue horizontal reunion with my bed. Now, I'm happily still wearing my PJs, drinking coffee and working from home. So, it's adult swim time here in the Schadenfreude pool of misery. Here are my quick thoughts. Choose your favorite or post your own.

"I'm A Creep, I'm A Weirdo"
"From inside his dingy hotel, the American suspect in the killing of JonBenet Ramsey told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Thursday that he loved the 6-year-old and is "very sorry for what happened" in the basement of her Colorado home nearly a decade ago.

John Mark Karr, a 41-year-old teacher arrested Wednesday, was escorted back to his hotel room Thursday to collect his belongings. Dressed in a baggy turquoise polo shirt and khaki trousers, he appeared ashen and stuttered occasionally as he spoke in a quiet voice.

"It's very important for me that everyone knows that I love her very much, and that her death was unintentional, and that it was an accident," said Karr, a clean-cut, slight man with steely blue eyes and brown hair."

Pluto, The Long-Forgotten Planet, Officially Forgotten
"Pluto, beloved by some as a cosmic underdog but scorned by astronomers who considered it too dinky and distant, was unceremoniously stripped of its status as a planet Thursday. The International Astronomical Union, dramatically reversing course just a week after floating the idea of reaffirming Pluto's planethood and adding three new planets to Earth's neighborhood, downgraded the ninth rock from the sun in historic new galactic guidelines."

Apple Goes Boom, Fruit Doesn't Fall Far From Tree
"Ten days after Dell's record-setting notebook battery recall, Apple Computer Inc. told its customers Thursday to return 1.8 million batteries that could cause their Mac laptops to overheat and catch fire. Both recalls involve lithium-ion batteries made by a Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news). subsidiary in Japan, where the manufacturing process introduced metal particles into battery cells. Makers of battery cells strive to minimize or eliminate the presence of such particles, which can cause computers to short circuit, or, in extreme situations, catch fire. In its recall announcement, Apple said it has received nine reports of lithium-ion battery packs overheating, including two cases in which users suffered minor burns and some involving minor property damage. The Apple recall only applies to older notebooks — not the just-released MacBooks and MacBook Pros."

Pay At The Pump
"Cook County prosecutors say a 29-year-old man traveling with his mother desperately didn't want her to know he'd packed a sexual aid for their trip to Turkey. So he told security it was a bomb, officials said. Madin Azad Amin was stopped by officials on Aug. 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said. When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.He's been charged with felony disorderly conduct, said Andrew Conklin, a spokesman with the Cook County state's attorney's office. He later told officials he'd lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn't want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump, Scaduto said."

So, whatcha think?

Posted by Chris at 06:27 AM | Comments (33)

August 24, 2006

The Trouble With Charlie

The other day, Dee got me thinking about annoying people I've had to put up with in my past. After stumbling through some of the many mental roadblocks my subconscious erected to prevent me from ever returning to his memory, I immediately thought of Charlie, Database Savant.

Charlie was the database guy at the company I worked for several lives ago. Among database guys in the Kingdom of Oracle, Charlie was pretty much the freakin' rain man. The guy could set up the most complex Oracle database inside an hour and troubleshoot so fast, he should have been working for Jack Bauer. But his interpersonal skills sucked...much like Chloe O'Brien, come to think of it.

Charlie was a close-talker. Having Charlie approach you in the hallway was like having a sudden attack of vertigo. My first instinct was almost always to just fall down, Kramer-like, at the sudden invasion of personal space. He was so close, he should have bought me a drink first. Charlie, having identified me early on as a fellow geek, would come into my office all the damn time for a quick chat. And by quick, I'm talking an hour at the very least. And all he could talk about were his beloved databases. I often thought he'd break out his billfold and show off tiny wallet-sized hierarchical diagrams of his favorite databases, much like you or I would show off our kids. When he was in my office, talking about his databases, he'd gradually move closer and closer so, by the time he left, I'd been forced into a position parallel to the floor. It didn't help that Charlie's breath was awful. And his bald head smelled like sweat.

The first year Charlie worked for the company, I dragged my wife to the Christmas party. Charlie and his wife were scheduled to make an appearance. It was important that Beth understand what I was going through and that I got a chance to see who married this guy. They showed up, we met and the rest of the evening revolved around developing strategies to flee. See, Charlie's wife was nice but, while he was inexplicably hung up on databases, all she could talk about were sandwiches. It was the most twisted, geeked-out and disturbing evening I've ever spent. Imagine Rain Man and that guy from Forrest Gump who could only talk about shrimp, only, in this case, think sandwiches. Scared yet?

Her: There's the Ruben, the club, oh, and the hamburger, of course...
Him: ...so many different ingredients, you could really just build a big Oracle database...
Her: ...then you have all your deli meats, you know, your turkey and your ham and your salami...
Him: ...and there are a bunch of parts to a sandwich so the bread has its own table while the meat or filling has its own too...
Her: ...and condiments. Don't get me started on Charlie and his condiments...
Him: ...of course, you could mix them all up so that would make the queries that much harder to design...
Her: ...that one day I used rye instead of pumpernickel, yeah, we'll be telling our grandkids about that one...

We eventually escaped and no one had to die. Someone was lucky. The truth was, though, that I kinda liked Charlie. He was exceptional at what he did. And he loved it. He loved sandwiches and so did his wife. They were at best eccentric, at worst, insane and made for each other. No harm in that.

So, what about you? I'm sure you've got work freaks.

Posted by Chris at 07:11 AM | Comments (50)

August 23, 2006

Training Wheels

I sense a new routine, one with some inherent danger.

When I got home from work yesterday evening, Mia grabbed my hand, led me towards the front door, leaned against the glass storm door, and turned to face me with gigantic, longing eyes. It was clear she wanted to go for a walk. Beth and I put her shoes on and we headed outside.

We were doing pretty well for a while, walking through the neighborhood at a good clip, holding hands. Until she tripped. There was nothing I could do, for fear of making the whole thing worse. Her hand slipped free of mine and she landed face-first on the sidewalk. I picked her up and she started screaming immediately. Blood streamed from her lower lip, a victim of her new teeth. I held her as close as I could, reassuring her all the way home while she screamed. Beth ran ahead to get a cold washcloth while I whispered in her ear, promising I'd hold her forever if it would make her feel better. She kept crying and bleeding and I kept feeling terrible, like I should have been able to do something.

We got home and surveyed the damage - just a split lip. Otherwise, she was fine. The right shoulder of my favorite t-shirt was soaked through with blood and drool and tears and my nerves were as frayed as the t-shirt's collar. Her lip obviously hurt. She made the same move she makes when she doesn't like the taste of something - she gestured as if she were taking the hurt out of her mouth, handing it to us. I wanted to take it. Of course, seconds later, she was stumbling around the house laughing.

I understand this was the first of many falls, the first bloody lip, the first sprint back home to care for wounds. Hopefully all are just as minor. I know I'll enjoy none of them. The t-shirt will remain my favorite, bloodstained though it is. It'll remind me of the way my daughter held on to me, as I ran her home on a sunny summer evening after a fall. And helped make everything alright.

Despite the fall, Mia was able to finish a project she's been working on. She's been eyeing my cameras for some time so we figured we might as well let her play with one. Her style is a bit more abstract than mine but she's clearly got an eye.




Posted by Chris at 06:48 AM | Comments (65)

August 22, 2006

An Announcement (And Then Some Other Crap)

First, a brief, annoying-as-hell announcement. Over the past couple of weeks, I've had some issues with the server my site is hosted on. It's been repeatedly given a big old case of Internet VD because, apparently, it's incredibly slutty. My hosting provider swears they're working on it and it has now been fixed - again. If you hit my site and are prompted to download something, don't. If, for some reason, the site catches VD again, your browser may crash but that's the worst that'll happen. I'm trying to stay on top of it but I can't monitor the site all day. Rest assured, this is really pissing me off. I sincerely hope it doesn't change your willingness to drop by.

Now...on to better things...

It's that time once again. No, not that time...or that, sicko. Instead, it's time to dredge through the site stats and see wht all the fine people on the Internet have been poking around for.

I need some rude comments. Dammit! Hold on. Can't you see I'm working on that now?
Friday is the spice of life. Um, okay but you're boring. Next time, try cumin.
Strong sex machine. You called?
Is Stone Phillips sick? Few people know about his obsession with midget clowns. Naked midget clowns. Three terrifying words - full body paint.
Can you play freebird? Only if you're drunk, holding a lighter and shouting like a freak.
Most entertaining parking lots once called cactus. I don't even know what that means!
Is it okay not to wear hose to work? I find people actually take me more seriously when I'm not wearing hose.
Fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck. Amen.
Disturbing children's books. Stone Phillips and the Midget Clowns.
Sweet mullet. I finally found someone who understands my genius.
Trim ass hair. Damn. You skip a week and people start talking.
Very short attention span - what could be the cause? I'd suspect it's probably...wait...Seinfeld's on so lets...lets ooohhh...chicken!
Scary gross freak fetish. You're into naked nose blowing too, huh?
Pain and misery in the air people dying everywhere happy birthday. You were the life of the party, weren't you?
How to lower your expectations. You've come to the right place!
Rude retirement shirts. "You're old! Now get the fuck out!"
Bloggers are rude. Fuck off.

Posted by Chris at 06:58 AM | Comments (36)

August 21, 2006

Do These Genes Make My Ass Look Big?

Among the many (seriously, I'm kinda wiped out) things we did this weekend, we celebrated my great uncle Dick's 90th birthday.




Dick spent World War II flying fighters in the European theater. After the war, he was debriefed by the woman who would later become his wife. For years, they lived behind the Iron Curtain as diplomats. Dick was a member of one of the first military delegations to Saudi Arabia. A couple of years ago, he and I were talking about books. I'd just read Joe Gould's Secret and was describing it when Dick stood up and said, "I knew him! When I lived in New York I ran into him constantly!" And sure enough, he did. To say Dick led an interesting life would be one of the great understatements of the 21st century.

Over the last month or so, Dick's life has changed. Dick's wife has Alzheimer's. They recently moved from their condo to a "retirement facility" which he actually seems to love. He mixes a drink every night and head's toward the big-screen TV to see what's on. This is the same guy who drives a cherry-red sports car, surfs the net and owns two plasma TVs. So, he's fine. His wife, however, is not. In spite of all of this, he's still cracking jokes.

When I sit back and take a gander at the family tree, it bodes very well for Mia. Dick is 90. His sister - my maternal grandmother - is 95 and still active (although she is convinced that contrails from commercial airliners are dropping vitamin-infused vapors on an unsuspecting public...oh, and that Hillary Clinton might actually be the Anti-Christ). My paternal grandfather was almost 90 when he died a couple of weeks ago and my paternal grandmother is 90 and chugging along just fine, fuelled by that Lutheran, mid-western stubbornness that would yield a sure, I'm fine even if she'd just lost an arm to a shark attack (rare, though it would be in Ohio).

Mia's inherited some great genes from both sides of the family. Unfortunately, she's also probably inherited a massive case of The Crazy, from which there's virtually no escape.

Posted by Chris at 07:00 AM | Comments (34)

Haiku For Monday #138

Monday, you can kiss
my skinny white ass. Pucker
up, you big dumb day.

Posted by Chris at 06:49 AM | Comments (16)

August 19, 2006

Practice

I picked up my Fender and played hard through a few songs. It's been awhile since I spent any time doing some really solid playing. I was a bit rusty. My hands hurt. I'm out of practice.




The hat? There's a story there, of course. Last year when I got a promotion Beth went out and bought sombreros for us to wear - it was a Promotion Fiesta! This year, I just got a raise (wasn't expecting a promotion) so the hats were a little more understated.


Posted by Chris at 01:13 PM | Comments (24)

August 18, 2006

Schadenfreude Friday: Politically Incorrect

from the pages of the Washington Post...

Sen. George Allen on Tuesday sought to contain the political damage from remarks he made to a Fairfax County man that dredged up charges of racial insensitivity -- allegations that have dogged him for years as governor, senator and now presidential hopeful.

Despite a quick apology Monday, criticism poured in about Allen's use of the word "Macaca" to address a volunteer for the campaign of his Democratic opponent, James Webb, and also about another Allen comment, "Welcome to America." Democrats, left-wing bloggers and civil rights groups called him "insensitive" and "racist," while some conservatives called him "foolish" and "mean."

The question was fiercely debated all day: Was "Macaca," which literally means a genus of monkey, a deliberate racist epithet or a weird ad-libbed word with no meaning? And what was Allen trying to say by singling out the young man of Indian descent?

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Allen (R-Va.) said his remarks Friday to S.R. Sidarth, who at the time was videotaping an Allen campaign event on Webb's behalf, "have been greatly misunderstood by members of the media." He said Monday that "Macaca" was a play on "Mohawk," a nickname given to Sidarth by the Allen campaign because of his hairstyle. In Tuesday's statement, Allen said he "made up a nickname for the cameraman, which was in no way intended to be racially derogatory. Any insinuations to the contrary are completely false."

The comments were made at a campaign stop in the southwestern Virginia town of Breaks, where Allen spoke to about 100 supporters. Moments after greeting the crowd, Allen repeatedly pointed at Sidarth, called him "Macaca, or whatever his name is" and went on to say, "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia," as the crowd laughed.

Meanwhile, Allen's past -- which includes a youthful admiration of the Confederate flag and an office that once displayed a noose -- lurched back into the public spotlight during the Republican's senatorial battle against [Democrat James] Webb, a Navy secretary during the Reagan administration.


I live in Virginia, the Old Dominion. It's a strange state, torn between its roots as a southern state and the promise of a place within the east coast megalopolis. It's part cosmopolitan, part rural, yet most of the state is fairly conservative. No matter which part you're in, however, it feels as if old-school southern culture lurks just beneath the surface. Why? Partially due to people like George Allen.

I don't think George is all that bright but I assumed he was bright enough to avoid such a stunning display of stupidity. I was wrong. And I'd be willing to cut him some slack and assume he just opened his mouth and made shit up if he didn't have a track record for being both a moron and a racist dickhead. But, why "macaca"? How is that a variation on "mohawk" as he claims? And if he was going for “Mohawk”, isn't that potentially inaccurate racism since the dude's from India? At the same time, what are the chances that George, who I suspect has difficulty tying his own shoes in the morning, had any idea what a macaca was? Unless that was the new racial epithet being discussed at last month's Klan meeting.

If you really want to see it for yourself, check out the video.

Posted by Chris at 07:19 AM | Comments (27)

August 17, 2006

Worst Meeting Ever (Or, How I Almost Got Shot)

I had a meeting in Maryland yesterday morning. As I live and work in Virginia, I only rarely have to head to Maryland for any reason. But I knew where I was going. I've visited my client there often. Compulsively early and expecting traffic, I left uber-early and, of course, made it there in no time. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot reviewing some of the meeting materials (I was supposed to lead this sucker) when my cell phone rang. It was my client. I just wanted to make sure you remembered that the meetings is at another office, he said. Fuck, I said internally. No, I didn't receive that message, I said for real. He told me where it was, asked me if I knew how to get there, I said no but I'd try my best and I'd seem him soon.

My little VW and I became one with the unknown road. Fahrvergnügen indeed. Fifteen minutes to spare and we jetted in the general direction of the meeting armed with a street address and no knowledge whatsoever of Maryland geography. This lack of knowledge became fairly transparent ten minutes later. When I found myself at a small municipal airport. It was there that I learned something very important.

See, unbeknownst to me, I'd driven down this dead-end road into the airport entrance from which there was no escape. And I was driving rather quickly. When I decided I might want to hang a u-turn, my tires might have squealed a bit (after all, I was late for a meeting and you know how I hate being late with ever fiber of my obsessive compulsive being). An outsider, not informed of my plight and hatred of tardiness, might have considered me and my vehicle a slight threat. These outsiders have names - the Transportation Safety Administration. You know, the dudes in uniform with large weapons who patrol our nation's airports on the lookout for hostiles to engage, shoes to inspect and bottled water to confiscate. Apparently, they thought I was acting just a little erratically. Little old me. And my VW. Fahrvergfucked.

Luckily for me, they stopped short of opening fire or scrambling a squadron of fighters or launching shoulder-fired missiles and evacuating the state of Maryland and grounding air traffic. Instead, they let me turnaround and go on my merry way. And I'm sure they had a nice laugh on my behalf. I did end up making it to the meeting, late, of course.

Posted by Chris at 07:26 AM | Comments (40)

August 16, 2006

Inappropriate Humor...And Lettuce

[Aside: And aside intro, if you will. I feel it necessary to explain that my sense of humor is partially based on being somewhat inappropriate...and random. Like, I'd be the guy who'd say something about eating fried Muppet during my time in Korea in a room full of children for no apparent reason. But I try to know my audience and do my best not to offend, so I guess I'm more appropriately inappropriate than anything. Part of the fun in being me is seeing people react to what I say. And watching them laugh. Please keep this in mind.]

Last night, Beth and I were discussing someone neither of us particularly care for. She's no one you know and not particularly someone you'd want to know. Sadly, we don't have the same luxury.

Her: ...it's not just that she's a pain in the ass...she's mean.
Me: Yeah, I know.
Her: Really, really mean. She pisses me off!
Me: She's a dirty loose whore!

[Aside: See? There I am being all inappropriate. Trust me, I don't have a negative impression of or feelings for women in any way shape or form, be they nuns or ladies of the evening.]

Her: And? She's a republican.
Me: So she's a dirty loose republican whore!

[Aside: Again with the inappropriate thing. I'd like to take this particular aside to assure you that I have nothing against republicans. Or republican women. Even loose republican women some of whom might be rather, uh, expensive dates, if you get my drift. I know many wonderful republicans. I believe they're slightly misguided but I don't love them or value their friendship any less.]

Her: True.
Me: Now I'm curious.
Her: About what?
Me: About what percentage of hookers are republicans. Maybe I should ask the Internet.
Her: Go for it.

[Aside: So, I really am curious. And I'm asking you, oh great Internet. If you had to guess, what would you say the political affiliation is in that somewhat limited demographic?]

[Aside Aside: In no way, in the previous aside, do I mean to imply that you, my friends, are either hookers or should, for any reason, be more in-the-know about hookers than anyone else. We're clear on that, right?]

Her: ...what did Gwenyth [a coworker] name her kid?
Me: Peter.
Her: That's a nice, normal name.
Me: Yeah, I thought so. Of course I just tried to come up with a crazy middle name for you but realized I wouldn't be able to pull it off.

[Aside: Another key to my sense of humor is understanding when I can't pull a joke off and, instead of sacrificing the whole thing, I describe what would have gone down had I decided to pursue it. Very rarely is there any payoff but when there is? Comedy gold, people. Like Ed McMahon and a whoopie cushion or a liquored-up Gary Coleman and a mechanical bull.]

Her: If we had a boy [this is not a hint, Internet], I think we should name it Sir. Like Sir Lancelot. Sir Lancelot Cactus-Fish.
Me: And if we had twins, we could have Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain.
Her: But Gawain sounds a lot like Dwayne. So we should just do Sir Gawain and Sir Dwayne!
Me: And? If we had another girl, we could name her Dirty Loose Republican Whore!

And then we had a lettuce fight.

[Aside: Well, come to think of it, it was more of an experiment than it was a fight. We wondered how satisfying it would be to drop - or, rather, propel - a head of lettuce into the kitchen floor. So we found out. The verdict? Pretty darn satisfying.]




There's no chance our kid's going to grow up normal is there?

Posted by Chris at 07:09 AM | Comments (65)

August 15, 2006

Sometimes The Jokes Write Themselves

When I mentioned yesterday that I'd caulked the kitchen, surely I wasn't the only one who recognized how dirty that sounded, right? You didn't just assume I'd let that go, did you? Because that would be so unlike me.



Posted by Chris at 07:00 AM | Comments (69)

August 14, 2006

Weekend Wild Animal Adventure

As you are all painfully aware by now, it's Monday. This has two rather startling implications. First, it's the beginning of the work week and the office is calling. Second, it's time for me to recap the weekend because that's pretty much what I do on Mondays. And this weekend? Was our Wild Animal Adventure. Cue that old Wild Kingdom music.



There are, of course, more photos on Flickr.

It was a jam-packed weekend, the most adventurous part of which was our visit to a local animal part and petting zoo This place has been around forever. Both Beth and I were expecting something a little on the - shall we say - ghetto side. You know, spider monkeys with crackpipes, porcupines turning tricks, rooster-run meth labs, geese pimping out ducks. What we found, however, was pretty cool. Mia was a little timid but she warmed up and, on the whole, enjoyed herself. There are, however, some macaws, I'm sure she'd be happy if she never saw again. Pretty but loud.

The rest of the weekend was fairly standard-issue. I recaulked the kitchen (which sounds kinda dirty but isn't), we hit the playground and introduced Mia to the baby swings (she loved them) and we did a lot of walking!

So, there you have it - our weekend in a nutshell. Now, do any of you have any magical powers to make molars come in quickly and painlessly? Because last night? Not so much fun. Yawn.

Posted by Chris at 07:02 AM | Comments (31)

Haiku For Monday #138

Realization:
Crapity crap, it's Monday.
Coffee. Now, dammit.

Posted by Chris at 06:44 AM | Comments (8)

August 11, 2006

They're My Daughter's. Really.



Posted by Chris at 08:12 PM | Comments (47)

Schadenfreude Friday: Variety, The Spice of Life

First, for those of you who can't stand football and might be tempted to click through to the next blog on the list, let me share with you exactly how much I care about football. I like football about as much as Pam Anderson likes small breasts, as much as Nixon liked tape recorders and Mel Gibson likes Jews. In short, I'm not a fan. So, I'm always a little delighted when a fine-tuned football hot-rod blows a tire.

...according to Sports Illustrated...

Maurice Clarett's bond on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon was set at $5 million Thursday, a day after the former Ohio State running back was arrested following a chase with police and four loaded guns were found in his sport utility vehicle. Clarett's latest run-in with the law began when police noticed an SUV driving erratically in the early morning hours Wednesday. A highway chase ensued, ending when police spiked Clarett's tires, sending his vehicle limping into a restaurant parking lot. Officers said they could not easily subdue Clarett because the bulletproof vest he was wearing thwarted their stun guns. It took several police using pepper spray to get the 6-foot, 245-pounder into handcuffs.


It's also fun for me to see celebrities get a good old-fashioned smackdown.

..according to The Smoking Gun...

Lindsay Lohan's hard-partying antics and recent bout of "heat exhaustion" has left one Hollywood big shot steamed, The Smoking Gun has learned. In a blistering July 26 letter to the 20-year-old actress, James G. Robinson, who heads the L.A. firm producing Lohan's current movie, calls her recent erratic behavior "discourteous, irresponsible and unprofessional." Robinson, the 70-year-old chief executive of Morgan Creek Productions, writes that Lohan has "acted like a spoiled child and in doing so have alienated many of your co-workers and endangered the quality" of "Georgia Rule," a movie now being filmed and which stars Lohan, Jane Fonda, and Felicity Huffman.


And what did she do immediately after taking receipt of this letter? Went out and partied, banged 12 guys and did a 12-foot high pile of cocaine. Okay, I made those last two things up. But we'll always have Paris...

Paris Hilton was issued a traffic ticket after parking in a red zone and losing the keys to her $400,000 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. And living up to the Hilton family name, Nicky Hilton stupidly asks: "Can I put time in her meter for her?" failing to realize that they're parked in a red zone.

...and then the car exploded and the world was a better place.

Posted by Chris at 07:04 AM | Comments (25)

August 10, 2006

Classic Rock Conundrum

Mia got a combination CD player and radio for her birthday. She loves music almost as much as she loves pressing buttons. We keep the radio tuned to the local classic rock station. It's consistently the least annoying. The radio was on as we were getting her ready for bed. It sparked discussion.

Me: So, when they wrote this, do you think they were talking about a woman who practiced black magic or a magic woman who happened to be black?
Her: Hmmm. I'm thinking a woman who practiced black magic. Otherwise, it would be Magic Black Woman, right?
Me: True. But still, it gets you thinking about things.
Her: Like what?
Me: Well, see, I can understand the fire in the sky, but what set of circumstances could have possibly caused the smoke on the water?
Her: That's a thinker.

Posted by Chris at 08:03 PM | Comments (14)

Random Stuff That, For Once, Isn't About My Dead Grandfather

I worked from home yesterday in the hopes that I'd catch up on all I missed. I didn't. I could have worked for 16 hours straight and I still wouldn't be caught up. Mia's teething, I overslept...what I'm trying to say is that I have virtually nothing intelligent to say. For that, I apologize. Instead, I present random crap for your reading enjoyment.

Thing One: Dr. Z
Have you ever wondered if that Dr. Z guy is real? Or is he just a really terrible actor? I found the answer. Dr. Z is, indeed, played by Daimler Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche (bless you!).

Thing Two: We Just Shouldn't Vote As A People
Whilst watching Rockstar last night, I was armed with my computer while Beth was preparing her Playgroup Dropout post. By the way, have you visited her over there? Cos if you haven't...well...let's not talk about that...just go! Anyway, I just had to IM her...

Me: that horribly bad chick on Rockstar didn't get voted off!
Beth: Wow!
Me: See, this is how we got Bush in the White House a second time.

Thing Three: Bevis and Butthead, But Cuter
My daughter has recently discovered that burping and farting are the funniest things imaginable. Whenever she lets loose, she just giggles. If I'm around, I giggle too. Then she picks up on my giggling and we giggle for, like, an hour. Sure, she looks a lot like Beth, but apparently she has my sense of humor.

Thing Four: Meetings Meetings Everywhere
I have five meetings today. Five. When I am finally crowned King of the Universe, I hereby promise to do away with meetings entirely. Do I have your vote?

Thing Five: Teeth Suck!
That's right - teeth suck. Especially molars. Not mine. Mia's. She's got molars coming in and they seem to be responsible for random screaming, a ban on all breasteeding, an insane lack of sleep and, quite possibly, all this crap happening in the Middle East.

Thing Six: 911
The movie World Trade Center opened yesterday. I'm curious what you think. Will you see it? Is the world ready for it, or is it too soon?

Posted by Chris at 07:35 AM | Comments (56)

August 09, 2006

Home

Home. Yes, home. When I mentioned a couple days ago that I was taking a 36-hour road trip, I wasn't kidding. We left on Monday morning around 8:00 and returned about 8:00 last night. At least 12 of those 36 hours were spent in a car and I suppose a few were used trying to get some sleep. It's no wonder I'm more than a little exhausted.

We breezed into Tiny Midwestern Town on Monday afternoon, quickly changed clothes and headed to the funeral home. I wasn't looking forward to seeing my grandfather, for a lot of reasons I'm sure I'll go into later. More than anything else, the idea of hanging out with a dead person doesn't rub me the right way. It wasn't nearly as creepy as I'd expected it to be. Odd, but not creepy. He looked good, much better than he had while alive over the last couple of years. And I think it was important to my grandmother to seem him one last time.

The funeral, yesterday morning, was nice. None of the kids or grandkids felt they could adequately deliver a eulogy without losing it, so my mom did the honors. And, despite the fact that I'm not sure she and my grandfather saw eye to eye on much, she did a beautiful job. Afterwards, we adjourned to the church hall where everyone in town had seemingly baked or cooked something. It was an amazing show of support.

At the viewing on Monday night and the funeral on Tuesday, I'm not sure I shook hands with anyone less than double my age. They shared stories, told me things about my grandfather I didn't know, and, more fun, told me things about my parents growing up that I'd never heard. Their hometown is a small town. There are still only 25,000 people who live there. A couple of the old neighborhoods my dad and I drove through yesterday morning look exactly as they did when he lived there 50 years before. Of course, Maple Street, which used to be the main drag - a two lane road lined with maple trees - is a four lane through-way lined with fast food joints instead of trees. All but a few of the maples are gone. But everywhere we went, my parents knew someone, be it the owner of the pizza place we picked up dinner from on Monday (because my parents and their friends helped keep that same pizza place in business when they were in high school 45 years ago) or the brothers that ran the funeral home. I met my mother's high school drama teacher, Vic Damone's mother-in-law, several of my father's partners in crime from his junior high school days, not to mention several cousins and aunts and uncles I never knew existed.

The town's Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) unit came out and performed their 21 gun salute for my grandfather, a cook who was handed a rifle and told to help invade Guadalcanal. They handed the American flag to my grandmother and we later discovered they'd given her the shells for the bullets fired during the salute. Most of his church's congregation came to pay their respects. After all, he'd been a member of the church for 65 years. He helped raise most of the money when the new church was built in the early 70s. Former Sunday school students from years past came to pay their respects.

While I wasn't looking forward to doing this, to making this long trip to pay my respects to a man I never fully knew and wasn't at all close to, I'm glad I went. I spent time with my family, reconnected, learned things about them and myself that I might not otherwise have recognized and saw a small-town approach to life that I very much enjoyed. And perhaps, now, I understand my grandfather better than I ever did before. I guess you could see it as tragic, but we're closer now in death than we ever were while he was alive. I think I needed that. Maybe he did too.

When I hugged my grandmother yesterday, before getting into the car and driving back home, she said, "thanks for coming home." Home. I'd never thought of that small town as home. I'd never spent more than a week straight in it. But seeing how deeply involved my family has been there, seeing those roots and how deep they go, maybe she's right. Home.

Posted by Chris at 07:54 AM | Comments (35)

August 07, 2006

A Nice Story

So, I heard this nice story. See, I was standing in the funeral home, me on one end, my dead grandfather on the other. I was nervous about this arrangement. I'm sure I'm not alone, but I don't make a habit out of hanging out with the dead. But that's not what this is about. I'll wrap up the whole funeral experience as soon as it's all over with and we're back home. The nice story...

I was standing with my mom and a friend she went to high school with. We'll call her Linda and her husband, Terry. Linda told me how she and Terry got together. Now, in her words, or, at least, the ones I can remember...

We were dating and one night Terry came over to my house drunk. My father didn't appreciate it. At all. He told Terry to leave and informed us both that we weren't to see each other for a year. I worked in a bank and Terry came in with his paycheck every Friday and asked me out on a date. The rules my father made, though, those were the rules. You didn't break them. So, whenever he asked, I said no. I said no for 52 Fridays.

For my 21st birthday - which happened during this year - he brought me roses and a huge corsage, bigger than anything I'd worn. I told him that I'd wear it, but I'd have to wear it with my date for the evening, not him. He said that was okay.

The day that year-long exile expired, he came into the bank as usual, deposited his check and didn't ask me out. I got off work shortly afterwards and hunted him down. I went to all the haunts - up and down Maple Street which used to be lined with maples - but couldn't find him. After a couple of hours, I got in my car and drove home. Halfway there, I heard a rumbling behind me and there sat Terry on his motorcycle. I pulled over. He pulled over. And he asked me if maybe I'd like to go have a cup of coffee with him. I told him I'd have to call my dad. I did. I asked if we could finally go out and he said yes. He also told me that Terry had been over at my house, talking with my parents and asking their permission for us to start dating again for two hours before he tracked me down.

We were married three months later.

Posted by Chris at 10:13 PM | Comments (48)

August 05, 2006

A Little Peace

Thank you for your kind words about my grandfather. He passed away around 11:00 this morning.

I'm positive I should feel worse than I do. I grew up neither geographically nor emotionally close to my grandfather. He wasn't exactly the warmest of men. His death - from Alzheimer's - while sad, is a blessing in certain respects. I'm sure I'm not the only one breathing an albeit small sigh of relief. No one deserves to live or die like that.

So, there's a little peace at last. A little emptiness, yes, but a little peace.

Posted by Chris at 08:39 PM | Comments (42)

August 04, 2006

Schadenfreude Friday: The No-Brainer

Well, duh.

According to a rather comprehensive article in the Times online...

MEL GIBSON, the Oscar-winning Hollywood actor, apologised last night for his “despicable” anti-semitic rant when he was arrested on a drink-driving charge in Los Angeles.

Gibson, 50, is alleged to have tried to escape when he was pulled over on the Pacific Coast highway near his Malibu home in the early hours of Friday morning and then launched into a barrage of anti-semitic curses against the arresting sheriffs.

Police have confirmed the actor and director, who rose to fame by playing characters such as Mad Max and a mentally unstable policeman in the Lethal Weapon series, was found to have a blood- alcohol level of 0.12%, above the 0.08% Californian limit. He was charged with drink-driving and released on $5,000 bail.

In a statement issued by Alan Nierob, his spokesman, Gibson did not detail what happened but said: “I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said.”

The star added: “I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse.”

According to police records, Gibson, a strict Catholic, then launched into an anti-semitic tirade, referring to “f****** Jews” and stating that “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”. He also repeatedly insulted the police officers, addressing one female sergeant as “sugar tits”.

And from the AP, a little later...

A leaked arrest report quoted Gibson as saying "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asking an arresting officer, James Mee, "Are you a Jew?"

The entertainment Web site TMZ posted the document, which it said was four pages from the original arrest report. Sheriff's officials have declined to comment on Gibson's alleged remarks.

The Office of Independent Review, a department watchdog panel, has opened an investigation into whether authorities tried to cover up Gibson's alleged inflammatory comments, said its chief attorney, Mike Gennaco.

"Assuming that the report was excised, then the question is was it done for a good reason within regulations," he said.

...and then there's this, from Reuters...

The ABC television network said on Tuesday that it has pulled a miniseries about the Holocaust it was developing with Mel Gibson's production company.

The move came after Gibson was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving early on Friday and was reported to have launched into a tirade against Jews, asking the arresting officer if he was a Jew and blaming the Jews for starting all wars.

The actor, who holds strong conservative Catholic religious and political views and whose father is a Holocaust denier, apologized on Saturday and has entered a rehabilitation program to treat alcoholism.

But the incident has raised questions about the future of projects Gibson and his Icon Productions company are working on.


This is one of the ones that writes itself, right? I mean, you're not expecting me to type anything that'll top the actual facts of the story?

Oh, Maverick, is this Payback, Ransom or just a vast Conspiracy Theory? I know it's not What Women Want but you're not Forever Young you Bird On A Wire. You could end up as a Man Without A Face. So enjoy The Bounty of your life, Mad Max. Embrace The Passion. And remember - not everyday has to start with a Tequila Sunrise.

Posted by Chris at 06:57 AM | Comments (46)

August 03, 2006

Why Today Won't Be The Best Day Of The Week

First, um, geez. You guys enjoyed the hardcore mullet action, huh? If I'd known my mullet had that kind of draw, I would have posted it long ago. Maybe I should just grow that bad boy back! Or not.

On to other things...

Yesterday afternoon, my mom called to tell me that my grandfather (my dad's dad) was in pretty bad shape. This is not unexpected. My folks are headed out today to make the five hour drive and taking along some black clothing, just in case. I know I should be sad or feel something but the truth is that this was all set in motion long ago. I talked to my dad last night. I didn't quite know what to say.

Me: Hang in there. Or some other cliche. I'm not sure what the hell I'm supposed to say here.
Him: I know. It doesn't matter. I know what you mean.
Me: What the hell are you supposed to say, anyway?
Him: I'm not sure.
Me: Well then hang in there is the best we can do isn't it?
Him: That'll work.
Me: Then do it.
Him: Thanks.

I've got something like 37 meetings today and the coffee I picked up at Dunkin Donuts - which I'm now beginning to think is a front for a gang or some odd illegal activity - tastes like crap. But hey, at least I don't still have a mullet.

Posted by Chris at 07:10 AM | Comments (53)

August 02, 2006

What Not To Hair

I can never be accused of being less than forthcoming with you guys. I share a lot of myself and I've never shied away from throwing myself under the bus for your entertainment value. It's in that spirit that I'd like to reveal something to you I've never shared before. Yes. You guessed it. Your dreams have been answered. Allow me to introduce you to...my mullet.




Yeah. That's hott with the extra t. And I'm sure no one would blame you if you wanted to throw a third t in there.

Aside: Damn. What the fuck was I thinking? 1991-92 was apparently a weird time for me. Note the extra-large hoop earring too. It's as if I was trying to dress the part of a hockey playing bemulleted pirate...or something. Please don't think less of me.

Posted by Chris at 06:48 AM | Comments (136)

August 01, 2006

Neighborhood Freaks Abound

A while back, I mentioned I’d seen some freaky folks on my way to work. Yesterday, I reveled that someone had adorned a tree with a big white bra. This morning, of course, brought more freaks out of the woodwork, for I am a freak magnet. Such is my lot in life.

I turned out of my neighborhood to find a young Asian couple, resplendent in their workout finery, walking backwards. After turning into the parking lot of my favorite donut place, I spied an insanely large man – large in stature and beer belly – walking two ferrets. And while he was dressed casually, he was holding the ferrets’ leashes in one hand and a briefcase in the other. Several miles into my journey, stopped at a traffic light, I turned to my right and saw a rather attractive woman driving next to me. It took a few beats to realize she wasn’t actually that attractive…and that she was shaving her face with an electric razor and that, while her emerald earrings might have gone with her eyes, her wasn’t a her unless hers typically have Adam’s apples. Which I’m sure they don’t. Oh, and then I parked next to a stolen car.

noname copy.jpg

Yes, if you look closely, that is indeed kitchen flatware shoved into the ignition of the car. Handy if you're driving down the road and have the urgent need to spread butter on a piece of toast, dontcha think?

Have you ever woken up and felt as though you not only woke up on the wrong side of the bed but the wrong side of reality itself? Welcome to my week…my week under the big top. Either that, or I’m completely losing my shit. Did you guys spike my coffee?

Posted by Chris at 07:06 AM | Comments (56)