Monday, December 29, 2008

feliĉan Novjaron

Both Arthur C. Clarke and Forrest J Ackerman died in 2008. I thought they'd live forever. They imagined a 21st century I'm nostalgic for to this day. The one were we all get jet-packs, subsist on nutrient tablets, and spend sparkling Solar Credits instead of moist crumpled dollars. But dreaming of the future is like wishing for all the ice cream you can eat: Eventually you get it, and it makes you sick. It's almost 2009, the future has been and gone, and it seems I will never address the Supreme Council of the United Earth in fluent Esperanto.

Monday, December 22, 2008

When in doubt, tell the truth.

Remember the movie “All the President's Men?” It had Robert Redford in it because he vaguely resembled Bob Woodward, a big wooden goy. Dustin Hoffman was cast as Carl Bernstein, a short hyper yid. They interacted a little like Abbot and Costello. The story of the Watergate uncoverup included a mystery man, “Deep Throat,” whose true identity remained a secret for decades. Turned out to be number two FBI guy W. Mark Felt, who just keeled over dead at 95. Here's what's weird: This guy Felt vaguely resembled Hal Holbrook, certainly at least as closely as Holbrook favors Mark Twain.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yule, y'all

Dang. Here it is again. It's time to shift from our customary mindless aquisitiveness to fullbore turbocharged blind drooling greed frenzy mode. The New Orleans Times Picayune, on most Sundays a puny thing about the size of the Family Trader, has bloated to the bulk of the NY Times with color sales inserts. Based on my reading, I've decided I need a television the size of the Wailing Wall, a Hanna Montana over-under 12 gauge shotgun, and literally hundreds of those little USB memory sticks. It's all a blur. Jesus may be just all right, but his birthday is disgusting.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Big Triage

Supposing I had a job at Janesville or Lordstown. They'd give me some straightforward task to accomplish, like, “Tighten this one bolt here for 30 years, then go die.” If I couldn't do that, I'd be out on my ass for my proven lack of competence. But if I got paid as much as a thousand ordinary guys put together, and my only job was to not run the company into the ground, and I couldn't do that, I like to think I'd have the common decency to resign in disgrace. But these giants of industry are uncommon men.

Monday, December 1, 2008

...or spending American dollars

I might be wrong here, but it seems in general top predators don't eat one another. Lions don't chow down on leopard. Could be professional courtesy, but I think it's more that carnivores don't taste as good as herbivores. (Although the omnivorous pig is both tasty and intelligent.) I have vegetarian friends, and I can respect their choice as an ag-resource issue. But I think too often they confuse squeamishness with morality. “Don't you know where that comes from?” they ask. By their logic, one could no longer enjoy eating blood sausage, reading V.S. Naipaul, or listening to Miles.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Tradition of Service, a Legacy of Caring

There were 52 rants last year. This is the 47th for this year. That makes this the 99th over all. So next week's rant will be my 100th 100 word rant. Some writers might make a big deal about a milestone like that, but not me. 100 is just a number. I'm certainly not going to waste my 100th blog in self-referential blather to commemorate reaching the century mark, blogwise. Because the 100 word rant isn't about me; it's about you, the reader. In that spirit, next week's historic rant will simply be a continuation of our heritage of excellence.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blogging: the classier way to fling feces

Did you ever hear somebody say, “If people evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” It's meant to be clever, I think. Or one of those things like Steven Wright might have said. But it's just dumb. Nobody asks, “If jazz evolved from the blues, why is there still the blues?” Or, “If Christianity evolved from Judaism, why is there still Judaism?” “If American football evolved from rugby, why is there still rugby?” I could go on. I tend to do that. But look, if you don't like evolution, you should be perfectly happy with last year's flu shot.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Show the Hun you're a son-of-a-gun

Tomorrow will be Armistice Day, 90 years since the Great War ended. That was the war where the lights went out all over Europe. The war to end all wars. I heard somewhere that if you eviscerate a shark it will gobble up its own innards over and over as it bleeds to death in the water. The whole 20th century was kind of like that. Both my grandfathers were soldiers in that war- both for the losing side. You know what? I'll bet they didn't care. I bet anybody still standing on November 11th, 1918 felt like a winner.

Monday, November 3, 2008

He said “blah-blah-blah?”

First, let me make it clear that I don't think Jerry Lewis is funny. He never was. Even mentioning that the French think Jerry Lewis is a genius isn't funny. Dean Martin was funny, but the only funny thing Lewis ever did was receive medication that caused him to bloat up like one of those poison fish the Japanese eat raw. Blowfish Jerry Lewis was actually pretty funny. However. He recently got in trouble in Australia for calling cricket a “fag game.” Let's get real here: Who cares if some washed-up old kike offends a few Aussie cricket queens?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Some issues of Magazine Street

Riding a bicycle around town can give you a perspective you don't get from the drivers seat. For instance: You might never realize what an impoverished state you live in until you observe for yourself that in Louisiana, even rich folks in a Mercedes or Lexus can't afford turn signals. Or this: For some reason, skinny people enjoy bicycles while fat people tend to prefer automobiles. And actions speak louder than bumpers, so if you cruise your big SUV through a busy crosswalk without looking, while yakking on your cellphone and balancing a Starbucks cup, your McCain sticker is redundant.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Or a Monty Python sketch

Okay. It's still early and I'm on my first cup of coffee. And I'm going to hell for thinking this is funny. But the BBC is reporting that Mr Gay UK has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering his lover and cannibalizing him. At the sentencing, the presiding judge said, “Not only did you murder your victim by cutting his throat and stabbing him but you cut him up, cooked him and ate part of him.” This is dreadful behavior, and I shouldn't be giggling. But read that quote again. Wouldn't it make a great Gary Larson caption?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Or harness the thermal energy of Atomic Red Hots.

There was this old joke about the wonderful electric car- cheap to buy, cheap to run, but the 40-mile extension cord sets you back 20 grand. Chevrolet has decided it seems to take their engineering inspiration from this, and they're promoting a car called the Volt. They promise it in 2010, complete with a 40-mile battery to replace the expensive cord of the old punchline. The new punchline is: No such battery exists. Plus, most of us would charge it with power from coal or nuclear plants. I say build it to run on clean, abundant snake oil.

Monday, October 6, 2008

How about “rational rant?”

I think George Carlin invented the oxymoron-as-one-liner, starting with “jumbo shrimp” and “military intelligence.” He would have loved the last few weeks, when he could have added both “legislative decision” and “business ethics” to his shtick. And we're not talking about folks trying to get way with breaking the law of the land, but the very laws of thermodynamics. Unlike government, nature never looks the other way. That's why Ponzi schemes, Amway memberships, investment bubbles, and - I'm thinking - the very concept of capital itself are fundamentally unsound. The most absurd oxymoron of them all is “sustainable growth.”

Monday, September 29, 2008

I stand in awe before me

Remember August 11th, 2008? That was the morning I published a rant about the World's Largest Watering Can, the pride of Utica, New York. I gave that piece the title “best idea I've ever had.” And I truly believe it is. I've never written anything better, and I don't expect I ever will. After writing something so heartbreakingly wonderful, I'm frankly amazed that I still have to do laundry or eat or even breathe for myself. A committee should be formed to ensure that I am never again troubled by such minutiae. It's the least a grateful mankind can do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You do all the bailing; I get all the hay.

Somebody call Paulson and Bernanke. Tell them I got deal I want to make: I grab a flight to Vegas and spend an indeterminate period of time gambling, drugging, drinking, fighting, and whoring. When I finally crash, they step in to cover my debts plus pay me back all the dough I pissed away. They see to it that everybody but me deals with the consequences of any STDs, paternity suits, felony charges and brain or liver damage I may suffer as a result of my crazed and self-indulgent spree. But if I win any money, I keep it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Author! Author!

So there goes David Foster Wallace, joining Thomas M. Disch, Stefan Zweig, Hunter S. Thompson, H. Beam Piper, Hart Crane, Virginia Woolf... too many to mention. All those writers who decided to, um, become their own sternest editors. Language is the great differentiator, the development that separates humans from rough beasts. It lets us know stuff we never thought of for ourselves. It lets us jump backwards and forwards in time. And it may allow its best practitioners to exhaust life's possibilities long before their bodies are used up. Want a long life? Do like me: Write short. Write shallow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Just what are vagabond shoes, anyway?

You know what's a stupid song? That “New York, New York.” The opening “flink-flink-flinky-dink” riff is infuriating. You get drunks requesting it just to prove they can remember the name of a song, which is cheating, because it's also the name of a city. Then there's the blatant falsehood at the core of the silly thing. “If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere.” They obviously don't mean bagels-- you can't get a decent one west of Cleveland. Plus, a lot of people make it in New York who couldn't last a day in Houston.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Low humor from high ground

It's been just short of three years since we all trickled back. My buddy Gallivan had a guy ask him, “Did you evacuate?” Gallivan said, “No. I think I may have something on my shoe.” But seriously, the Great New Orleanian Diaspora of 2008 is coming along quite nicely. We're hundreds of miles away from home after a panicky period of planning and packing, and a grueling bumper-to-bumper drive. So it's a lot like Labor Day weekend all across America. Better safe than sorry, I guess. But you know guys; we hate to be accused of premature evacuation.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Speaking of superfluous articles...

When I was a kid, my grandfather told me that the dog was a man's best friend. He meant “man's best friend,” but added a superfluous article. Years later I figured out it meant dog and man as species, not just some weird guy Grampa knew. Anyway, my vet just sent me a reminder that it's time for Omar's shots, a note that begins, “If you're like most pet owners, you consider your pet's health to be just as important as your own.” That's sad. If “most pet owners” really feel that way, the dogs aren't the only sick puppies.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Meet the new decider, same as the old decider

Look. You can either be a rational being, or a deist. Pick one, but then don't ask for any job that calls for the other. I'm looking at a picture in the paper of Obama and McCain flanking some evangelist preacher after a spirited round of Holier-than-Thou at his big box tabernacle. Great, says I. This clears my calendar for the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November. And all three of these clowns are wearing suits and dress shirts, but no ties. Which doesn't look casual- just crummy. Look. Dress up or dress down. Pick one.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The best idea I've ever had

In Utica, New York, out front of the zoo, stands the world's largest watering can. It's like 15 and a half feet tall. It's kind of a big deal, I guess. You know what would be really funny? If Ithaca, New York, announced plans to build their own rival giant watering can. But the Ithaca can would be just fractionally smaller, say 15 feet four inches. And the Mayor of Ithaca could say, “We just decided that if Utica, New York, could have the world's largest watering can, the great city of Ithaca could have the second largest watering can.”

Monday, August 4, 2008

Like Ol' Man River, but more so.

Look, I got definite tree-hugger tendencies. Given the choice between mountaintop removal for cheap coal and rolling blackouts across the eastern U.S., I'll go for the widespread human misery every time. I'd rather see every motorhome in America up on blocks and rusting than cause passing anxiety to even a single caribou. But still. Could we stop talking about saving the planet? The planet doesn't need saving- it's already been through much heavier changes than anything humans can do. Methane atmosphere? Cool. Continental drift? Not a problem. Mountains rise and fall. Species come and go. The planet don't care.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Microbes of Amtor

Oh, cheer up. Yes, it's Monday. Yes, it's true that life has elements of sadness and disappointment. We are saddled with, not just self awareness, but endlessly recursive awareness of that awareness. Even if there was an alternative to dying, it would be living forever, which is hardly preferable. But meanwhile, know this: Two scientists from the Cardiff Center for Astrobiology, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Doctor Janaki Wickramasinghe, believe that germs from Venus could be blown to Earth by solar winds. So while your funny blogger may be mopey and disconsolate, Welsh cosmologists are conspiring to give you the giggles.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The squeaky wheel gets the worm

Some people say “no-nonsense” as if it's something to be proud of-- like their no-nonsense attitude was somehow intrinsically superior to another person's more nonsense-friendly way of doing things. These are the folks who would rationalize every aspect of life. But look; rationality is a system invented by humans in an attempt to explain reality. When the real deviates from the rational, it's the system of thought that has failed. And when observed phenomena deviate from the predictions of your accepted orthodoxy, it's no use standing there slack-jawed saying, “This can't be happening.” That's simply nonsense.

Monday, July 14, 2008

But don't they look natural?

By the time something needs preservation, it's probably too late to really save it, because the niche that allowed it to evolve has gone away. Consider the panda and the koala. They live exclusively on bamboo and eucalyptus, respectively. Their habitats are threatened by burgeoning global demand for tiki torches and coughdrops. Then there's jazz music, which grew out of a social environment that no longer exists. So today you can't get it fresh. It comes preserved, which is like substituting pickles for cucumbers. It's the same with opera, theater, poetry -- all those forms collectively known as the Embalmed Arts.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Daytona was our Anzio

There's been a lot of loose talk about a “greatest generation” and I for one want no more of it. Sure, surviving the Great Depression and polio, winning World War II, and nurturing millions of whiney, self-absorbed boomers constitutes a pretty impressive legacy. But let's not go overboard in our adulation. Every generation has its row to hoe, and our forebears might have been hard-pressed to endure, as we have, the combined effects of Soupy Sales and Bonomo Turkish Taffy. Greatness is largely a matter of opportunity. It's just our tough luck we didn't get a World War.

Monday, June 30, 2008

And every rant requires hours of painstaking work

Our lives are made easier by comfortable fictions -- the little stories we tell ourselves to get by moment to moment. “This slight residuum of chocolate pudding on my necktie is invisible to the casual observer.” “Life used to be better, and changing (shoes, diets, boyfriends, presidents) will restore it.” “This is an unusually small jelly donut, and can be of no possible consequence.” Or one might tell oneself that surely anyone committed to writing a short essay on a regular basis would have a spare paragraph or two on hand should inspiration fail as the deadline looms. Alas. Not so.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Talent is the real glass ceiling

When Marcel Marceau died last September, I thought it best not to say anything. I mention him now because I was just downtown, where we have herds of strolling tourists and their natural predators, street performers. There's these “living statue” people ­-- panhandlers with a coat of paint. No mimes, because “Annoying Mime” has become a cheap comedic meme, like “Nagging Mother-in-Law” or “Brain-Damaged President.” Ironically, mimage (mimery?) was destroyed by Marceau; he made it look easy, and a generation of no-talent simps believed it and bought striped shirts. (Ella Fitzgerald did the same for scat singing.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Now where did I put that wok?

I don't hear much about Rolfing these days. Okay, I don't hear anything about Rolfing these days. Not so much about the Feldenkrais method, either. Ditto the Alexander technique. Probably it's the circles I move in. Maybe at a certain age, you just stop imagining that there's going to be some simple cure for existence and its attendant discomforts. Or it could be that these things are on the back burner of the gas range that is our collective consciousness, quietly simmering, periodically boiling over in little spasms of renewed popularity like backgammon, fondue, yoga, ouija boards, and bluegrass music.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Conventional wisdom is an oxymoron

This just in: there's no reason whatsoever to obsessively hydrate ourselves. The “8 glasses a day” rule was an arbitrary invention. There aren't four areas on your tongue that taste salt, sweet, sour, and bitter either. Your whole tongue can taste everything. Oh yeah - you can safely swim right after eating, too. What next? What if breakfast isn't the most important meal of the day? The problem with a hearty breakfast is that it obviates the need to work the rest of the day. Because, once you've had enough to eat, why would you hustle around trying to look busy?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Ridiculous. That whole brouhaha about Rachel Ray's scarf. I swear to God, it's embarrassing sometimes to be human. The thing is, these ideologue bloggers and radio hosts and columnists and commentators (Why commentator? Why not just commenter? They don't commentate; they comment.) aren't really selling ideas. They're offering the opportunity to get angry, to blow off some steam, to get your undies in a bundle. They're procurers who pander to ire instead of lust. Righteous indignation is addictive. It feels good, it doesn't make you fat, it makes you want more. No doubt about it: Rage is the new crack.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Psychic baggage still flies free

Strapped for cash, major airlines are starting to charge extra for checked baggage. Fair enough - extra weight costs them extra fuel. But look here: I'm a big boy. I weigh over 200 pounds. A 130 pound human pays the same fare I do. Shouldn't they get to check a couple of 40 pound bags gratis? The equitable thing would be to charge a base seat rate plus poundage. They could install scales at check-in to determine the actual freight for hauling your carcass. My solution is simple, fair, and would additionally encourage healthful weight loss in the traveling public.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Plus, total lack of Paycock

A rental copy of “Juno” entered my home the other day, and I sat down to watch it. I was ready to like it; it had been recommended to me by several non-morons. And I lasted about 20 minutes, I think, all the time thinking it seemed like an “Afterschool Special.” What a limp slab of glib crap. Everybody talks the same. The pitch must have been great, though: “So, okay, it's – basically - Napoleon Dynamite knocks up Punky Brewster, who spends the next two hours cracking wise like a Letterman monologue.” “Genius! Let's do it! Are you ordering dessert?”

Monday, May 12, 2008

But the singer's vibrato hurts us all.

You know when you're seeing a rock band and the lead guitar player is playing one of those screaming passionate-sounding solos and he's throwing his hair back and then he gets to this one really high note and the very act of playing it causes his features to contort into what is either orgasmic ecstasy or the face cowboys make in the movies when Doc has to dig the bullet out with only a Barlow knife and a bottle of redeye for the pain? Well, it's fake. High notes don't really hurt all that much more than low notes.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Two hotels on Park Place!

Money is how we keep score. It keeps tabs on who wins and by how much, who owes what to whom, what has been promised and what delivered. We're told that the first writing was clay tablets recording commercial exchanges- bills of sale. It's just paperwork - a means of communication. Money is an abstract artifact of culture. Food is real. They are not comparable on a fundamental level. If there's enough food (there is) and some people aren't getting nearly enough (they're not) simply because of money, then the game has gone too far. This is when grownups should intervene.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Let them eat C2H5OH

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. When I first heard about ethanol and bio-diesel fuels I said, “Oh, great, now human beings have to compete directly with motor vehicles for food.” The damn cars already get more tax money and public infrastructure than our kids. They've already destroyed our cities and ravaged the countryside. Now we have to fight them for a handful of grits. On the plus side, there's still plenty to eat where I live, and Washington is sending me a stimulus package- I hope they remember batteries and lube.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bitter herbs and neuroses

It's unsettling when your personal creation myth doesn't jibe with reality. That's why creationists are so scared of science; Copernicus didn't even publish in his own lifetime 'cause he knew people need to be at the center of their universe. The present can seem meager and narrow, so it's nice to remember the past as glorious. Anyway, “remember you were slaves in Egypt” sounds better than “remember we were guest workers in the construction trades.” Meanwhile I'm here checking the household hints section of the Picayune to see if anybody knows the best way to get blood off a lintel.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dazzled by tomorrow's bright promise

Two full terms of inept, mean-spirited leadership have left voters feeling battered and resentful. They want to believe that the future holds something better than divisive political wrangling and overseas adventurism. The Republican candidate carries the political baggage of long years as a legislator, as well as the stain of association with the discredited regime. That's why this new guy is so refreshing. He's had political experience, but he's no Beltway insider. He projects an endearing combination of intelligence, decency, and self-deprecating humor. I'm telling you, all Obama needs is a peanut farm and a drunken baby brother.

Monday, April 7, 2008

This all goes without saying

By the time anybody says, “ make a long story short,” it's already too late. When they say, “I don't want to sound like a jerk,” it means they're a jerk. When they say, “Now, I may be wrong,” it means no such possibility exists. Then they may say, “Call me an idiot if you like.” This is a trick. You should not immediately say, “You're an idiot.” When they ask if you want some advice, you should always say “no.” They'll change it up on you sometimes, ask if you mind a little advice. Then your answer is “yes.”

Monday, March 31, 2008

brain brain what is brain

Volition can serve as a good analogy when you're trying to understand how insensate things behave. “The current's going to look for the shortest path to ground.” “The corporation will do whatever it needs to to protect itself.” Even where no intention exists, we see nature acting as if there is conscious will. Like you and me: We do stuff. We have reasons for doing stuff. I think it happens in that order, too. The prefrontal cortex is like a harried PR flack trying to come up with plausible explanations for the stupid crap the lizard brain makes us do.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Games begin with the traditional throwing out of our last scruple

The International Olympic Committee doesn't think that China's treatment of Tibet warrants a boycott. The IOC believes that human rights is a political issue, and international competition should be unsullied by politics. Krupp and Ford felt the same way. Anyway, they say, this event will be transformative- a catalyst for change. Like Berlin in 1936. Still, some people might stay away on their own; some athletes are hesitant to perform in Beijing on the grounds that the air might be bad for their lungs. But that's sort of like refusing to consume human flesh out of concern for your digestion.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I miss Cory and Trevor

By the time you start to wonder if your shtick might be getting a little old it's pretty much been over for a long time and everybody but you knows it. That's why sequels suck. All of them. Jaws II. Elizabeth II. Word War II. Imagine if Romeo and Juliet jumped up and said, “Oh! We're totally not dead, but our folks still want to keep us apart!” Five more acts of pubescent tsuris, only this time completely flat and lame. Plus, probably there'd be a part in there (as a warm-hearted, wisecracking father confessor, maybe) for Robin Williams.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Or did you say "highly deluded?"

Homeopathy is one of those nutcase fringe beliefs, like orgones and barbershop quartets. The idea is that the cure for any pathology lies in finding something that actually causes the same symptoms. This is diluted until it is mathematically unlikely that even a molecule of the original substance remains. Believers claim that some intangible memory of the remedy persists. By that same logic, each sip of water you take is subtly infused with the feces of every creature that has ever lived... Brontosaurus, Socrates, Katherine Hepburn, et al. But if "like cures like," why are homeopaths so full of it?

Monday, March 3, 2008

He joins Tim, Jeff, and Lord.

William F. Buckley is gone, gone his lizard face and patrician drone. He was smart and he was conservative, but that doesn't prove anything. Here's a quote from John Stuart Mill: “What I stated was, that the Conservative Party was, by the law of its constitution, necessarily the stupidest party. Now, I do not retract that assertion; but I did not mean to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.”

Monday, February 25, 2008

It looked safe enough from Madison Avenue

Compared to children who live in town, farm kids run about twice the risk of accidental death. That's not my normally perky first sentence. But J.C. Penney just ran a Sunday newspaper insert with a Benetton-bouquet of cute kids perched on a tractor. Wrong message; equipment accidents are the cause of hundreds of child injuries, amputations, and deaths - all part of farm livin'. Yeehaw. Rural health organizations are desperately trying to keep kids away from tractors. Penney's is promoting a clothing collection called American Living. Now doesn't that sound like a corporate commitment to USA-made apparel? It's not.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Heebs and shines, maybe?

Of all the people who misuse words, the ones who piss me off the most are marketeers. Hucksters. Folks in my business. For one thing, they get paid to write stuff, so some level of professional pride should obtain. And there's no underlying depth of feeling to make any errors of usage trivial. This is hackwork pure and simple; at least make it competent. Don't try to sell me a decadent dessert unless you really think I want a chocolate truffle in a state of decay. And I'm not interested in your exclusive resort unless I know who's being excluded.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bob Edwards smiles and shuts off the alarm

Okay. Let's go over these Grammy results again; anyone who didn't care last night must certainly be consumed with breathless anticipation this morning. Then report on the screenwriters' strike, using a cute pun like, “The Hollywood writers seem to be writing an end to their strike.” And, oh: The President of East Timor was shot in a coup attempt. The United States is bringing the first 9/11-related charges against any Guantanamo detainees. Venezuela may cut off oil to the US. And so, NPR officially joins the list of Things That Used To Be Good But Now They Suck.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Boys and their petty turf battles

After a few weeks of raw weather, we're back to muggy with a chance of afternoon mildew – springtime in New Orleans. Suburban folk around here have a really long growing season for America's number one crop, grass clippings. Lawn care is mindbogglingly wasteful and stupid, but the weekend harvest is pretty funny. That's when untold thousands of adult men ride little clown cars with spinning knives underneath, collecting tiny green shoots to be sealed in plastic sacks and discarded. Future civilizations will probably view this with the same sick fascination we have for Aztec sacrifices or the feasts of Elagabalus.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On being a man of parts

Police in a suburb of Delhi have broken up a kidney racket, where wealthy patients had new organs installed after their removal from poor folks who were paid like 2,500 bucks apiece. It sounds real bad, but hell - a person has two kidneys, and you can get along just fine with one. And while our bodies are made of meat, our lives are made of time. What's more gruesome than selling yourself off an hour, a day, a year at a time for a little help with the rent? Just something to think about as we start another work week.

Monday, January 21, 2008

This time, we'll need low-carb breadlines

A lot of commentators less perceptive and intelligent than I are maintaining a pretty constant flow of thrice-digested excreta concerning the upcoming presidential election, so I'll make this brief. For one thing, anybody who has concerns about Romney because Mormons have such weird beliefs should check the record; Mitt Romney doesn't believe in anything. Two: The fact that someone is anxious, or even willing, to serve as president should be an automatic disqualification for the office. And finally, considering the economy and the employment numbers, maybe we should elect a president whose name sounds good with “ville” after it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Don't get them started on the box springs

A house around the corner from me has a yard sign that says “War is not the answer.” I keep wanting to knock on the door and ask what the question is, 'cause actually, war might just be exactly the answer. But you know me. I don't want to be a smartass. And people sometimes publish before they've fully thought an issue through. Like in the Sunday paper, a big chain store advertised they were selling flocked top mattresses. Whoa. I mean, they may not be the best mattresses ever, but dissing them in public like that? Totally flocked top.

Monday, January 7, 2008

There's grog and buggery to be had right at home

Here's a vacation idea: you can pay somebody to let you help crew a sailboat. Whoopee! A chance to escape to the good old days of lice, scurvy, and flogging. Seriously, kids, adventure is to be avoided at all costs. Just navigating the minefield of daily life is all the adventure I can handle. I get my adrenaline rush from stuff like remembering dental appointments. To me, the structure of reality seems far from robust – the whole damn thing is ramshackle and temporary. Depending on your outlook, the straight and narrow can feel like a rut... or a tight rope.