Monday, February 23, 2015

Belaboring the point

If you think that Bathos and Pathos are two of the Three Musketeers, I don't know whether to send you to the front or back of the class. Actually, nobody much gets pathos wrong; but bathos? Well, bathos is when Eleanor Roosevelt is meeting Mahatma Gandhi and they both fart at the same time. Then there's bemused, right up there with comprised as one of the words it's real easy to get wrong. Bemused doesn't mean amused. It means sort of set to thinking, musing. Think of beguile, becalm, befuddle. Or bedraggle. Let us by all means think of bedraggle.

Monday, February 16, 2015

We'll call you.

You know how when something really heavy is transpiring in your life, you'll go into the restroom and run the water and splash a double handful into your face and then grip the edges of the sink and take a long searching look deep into the eyes of your reflection? Me neither; I'm more likely to check my teeth and nostrils for parsley and boogers, respectively. But I suppose actors actually have to practice this unless they want to hear casting directors say, “Sorry. You have the right look and great abs, but your sink schtick could use some work.”

Monday, February 9, 2015

Last call

Like cocktail hour, it's always the end of the world somewhere. Death, pestilence, war, and famine are the traditional harbingers of the final days. But it seems like the apocalypse has whole platoons of horsemen. Prewashed jeans, the passenger pigeon, fluoridated water. A Muslim president from Nigeria, the insidious introduction of fructose into our food, casual Fridays. Fire or ice, bang or whimper. For yeast, the End comes from their own poisonous alcoholic excretions, so their Armageddon is somebody's delicious pint. For me, nothing suggests impending doom better than knowing there is such a thing as currywurst flavored energy drink.

Monday, February 2, 2015

son if it was up to me

It's possible to listen to a song and just plain miss the idea. Like when Reagan's handlers thought “Born in the USA” might make a good campaign song. Or last week when Dropkick Murphys told Wisconsin Governor and odious dickweed Scott Walker, “Please stop using our music in any way... we literally hate you.” “Dancing Queen” is sad. So is “Happy Together.” And then there's some dudes with no girlfriends who every weekend pile in one guy's car and drive up and down the same street. Everybody leaves them alone. “I Get Around” may be the saddest song ever.

Monday, January 26, 2015

1%: Bikers or Billionaires?

The big news is that one percent of the people in the world have more of the money than everybody else combined. And don't get me wrong, I have the same visceral resentful reaction as you do. But don't forget, being wealthy is expensive. The number of dollars it takes to feed a family of four for a day in your neighborhood isn't enough to tip the wine steward in some joints. One humanday of healthy nutrition is a more consistent measure than any currency, so we have to conclude that rich people get much crummier money than we do.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Dang, my shoelace broke. I need to sharpen this pencil. I burned the toast. The bus is late. My team lost, my job sucks, somebody parked in my space. Squeak in chair. Zit on nose. There's bills in the mailbox, ants in the kitchen, and ketchup down the front of my shirt. They say don't sweat the small stuff. I say only sweat the small stuff; the big stuff will stop you cold. A guy named Edward Noyes Westcott said, "A reasonable amount o fleas is good for a dog – keeps him from brooding over being a dog, maybe."

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mass media

I was watching football on the television, and when they talk about the players as they go on and off the field, they always mention their weights. These are pretty large numbers, usually between two and three hundred pounds. Call it an average of 250, which gives us roughly 1.4 tons a side. Okay. Here's a way to make football more fun. Instead of limiting the number of players, let's define a team by weight. So you could put 12 men on the field if they average 230. Who wouldn't enjoy watching 22 jockeys line up against 8 sumo wrestlers?