Monday, December 31, 2007

Then there's Metheny's stripey shirts

Did Charlie Chaplin wear a Hitler mustache? Did Moe Howard have a Beatle haircut? No. Things should be named after whoever does it first. But I just read where they're calling these flat caps after Brad Pitt 'cause he wears them. Cripes, I was wearing a gray tweed scally when Brad Pitt was being voted handsomest little handsome guy in the Handsometown Kindergarten. The coolest thing was how uncool it was. Like something your Grandpa would wear. Now if Brad Pitt makes them cool, it'll be uncool to wear one. Nice going, pretty boy. Way to ruin it for everybody.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"And Stu Sutcliffe was the best Beatle"

Some music fans can't stand it when an artist lives a long productive life. Like, they'll adore Billy Holiday but find Ella too cold or technical. They dig Bird but think Dizzy was sort of overrated. I think they're making their case for lack of talent as a survival trait: “Fair's fair – you be creative and suffer, I'll write about you and and get tenure.” Bet they hated Oscar Peterson, that inexhaustible fount of brilliance, grace, and invention. Now I hear he's dead, but like O'Hara said about Gershwin, I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.

Monday, December 17, 2007

And the press descends like vultures

This morning, I sat down to write my rant and discovered I had absolutely nothing on hand as a topic. “Goodness,” I said to myself. “How shall I fill up an entire one hundred words? How, how, how, how, how?” Then I saw that the world's oldest human, Hryhoriy Nestor, had died over the weekend at the age of 116. Obviously, a story like this will suggest all sorts of acute observations and acerbic asides, easily filling the requisite paragraph. So I'll have my damn rant. It's just a shame a good man had to die to make it possible.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Heavy, man.

Hoo boy. I just read that the human population has “exceeded by perhaps as much as 100 times the biomass of any large animal species that ever existed on the land.” I don't know about you, but that's how I like to think of myself: About one 6-billionth of the biggest lump of meat that ever grew on this orbiting spheroid petri dish. Actually, I'm way over the global average weight. I'll bet I'm nearly a whole four-billionth. Now if I just had some of them blue neon lights under my car, I'd feel really good about myself.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Should be hangin' with Il Duce

Donald Rumsfeld was just in town, and the local rag treated him like a respected senior diplomat, a toothless old lion, and not the deluded and incompetent architect of a monstrous national crime. There was a picture of him with his wife at the racetrack, watching the ponies with tickets in their mitts. And here's another item for the social section: Doc Mengele and the missus were spotted in VIP seats at the Sugar Bowl. Rumsfeld oughta be shaved bald and driven howling through the streets, along with the Vichy Democrats who gave him carte blanche to commit mass murder.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm thinking Richardson/Thompson in the finals

There's this video game called Guitar Hero. You hold a toy guitar and try to replicate the hand positions you are shown onscreen. A great way to learn an instrument, except the toy has 5 colored buttons instead of six strings and there is absolutely zero correlation between aptitude at this game and actual guitar playing. So the skills players work so hard to gain have no application beyond the game. It's like the campaign season: The candidates participate in debates, although the skillset required for competent presidenting includes no debating whatsoever. We might as well watch them arm wrestle.

Monday, November 19, 2007

There's less hunkering, too.

It's mid-November and a sunny 73 degrees outside. This is deeply unsettling for a kid from Collinwood, where the annual snowfall measurement is somewhere between a Keith Richards coke-line and an NBA center. Down here, winter means hanging up the seersucker until next year. Where I come from, it's an unambiguous restatement of the ground rules of existence: The world is trying to kill you. Eventually it will. The best you can do is buy yourself a little time. Survive till April, and you win the prize -- spring cleaning and a few games of horseshoes in your shirtsleeves.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Greetings, puny earthlings.

What? Monday so soon? Another week begins, and I got nothing. For most of us, Monday means going back to work we don't like, to pay for things we don't want. Or won't want once we have them. Crockpots. Document shredders. That's in case someone wants to steal your identity. (Me, I find the whole idea of identity theft sort of flattering.) It's all so wasteful; I just heard somewhere that it would take 6 Earths to support everybody in a moderate American lifestyle. I for one see this as the most powerful argument yet for a revived space program.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.

God help us all, the screenwriters have gone on strike. Media commentators try to impress upon us what an earth-shattering cultural catastrophe this is. Of course, their lines were all written for them by guild members. For most of us, the hard part is trying to get our brains around the idea that the stuff we see on TV and at the movies is ever actually written at all. It seems more... um... excreted. One effect of the strike will be immediate: David Caruso will have no idea whether to take his sunglasses off or put his sunglasses on.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I awake and look around me

Certain things exist outside of time and space. They merely transect our plane of reality, rather than being strictly of it. I am thinking, of course, of Porter Wagoner's hair. That sturdy golden pompadour glowed like a beacon from our television when I was young. His sparkling jacket made the black-and-white image bloom and smear while he sang “I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand.” Now we've lost him forever. The only bright spot: a truly great yard sale. I'd go up there myself if I thought I could get into a 38 Extra Long.

Monday, October 22, 2007

This space intentionally left blank

You're lucky to be reading this. I almost didn't write any rant at all this week. I've been feeling sort of blank - dislocated, both geographically and temporally. Everything just seems so unreal. I read where the highest court in the land decided that citizens can be required to produce identification at any time, and I said to myself, “This can't be the United States of America.” A guy named Piyush Jindal was elected Governor, and I said to myself, “This can't be Louisiana.” Then I saw the Cleveland Indians playing baseball, and I said to myself, “This can't be October.”

Monday, October 15, 2007

Where the flying fishes play

Until very recently, everything I knew about Myanmar came from an Errol Flynn movie called “Objective: Burma!” And from those shaving cream poems they used to have along the highway. But somebody was saying that the Burmese economy is totally dependent on trade with China, which is where they're having the 2008 Olympics. Hey, I'm no geopolitical expert. But maybe if Olympic sponsors like Budweiser, McDonald's, and Kodak heard the word “boycott” from scads of people, the government in Beijing would feel some pressure. To paraphrase Nikita Khrushchev; the American dollar is China's testicle. Let's give it a little squeeze.

Monday, October 8, 2007

You take Tyrone; I prefer Woody.

So now Senator Craig isn't going to resign in disgrace after all. Why should he? Anybody who's ever flown Northwest knows how tough it can be to make a connection in Minneapolis. But this isn't about him. It's about hep, happenin', progressive Minneapolis, a city that sees itself as a Midwestern oasis of culture. They have the Guthrie. They have a bronze statue of Mary Tyler Moore. And they have plainclothes cops cruising public restrooms to entrap queers. Minneapolis is that kid at a punk show with a clip-on earring and a fake tattoo: lilywhite, uptight, and deeply uncool.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Some of my best friends are Urban.

You ever notice how neighborhoods get recolonized? Arty types act as scouts, sniffing out cheap rents. Behind them come the entrepreneurs and developers who market the bohemian milieu. Prices go up, and the scouts go back to the wilderness like ol' Daniel Boone. But how do certain parts of town become wilderness in the first place? My local paper, in an article about a new “nighttime arts district,” mentioned how “...the usual suspects – suburban flight, changing demographic patterns, growing fear of crime – led to decades of decline...” Whoa. Check out those three suspects again. Yup. They're all euphemisms for racism.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Give me a pigfoot and a bottle of Bud Light

You know the kind of blues band that's middle-aged white guys in ironic Panama hats and shades, trying to sing like the Howlin' Wolf in the same voice that tells kids how to change the rubber bands on their retainers the rest of the week? These are the guys who buy pre-worn guitars - they look beat up, like you've played them for years. It's the perfect background music for today's bikers, the folks who show up at Sturgis with logowear hanging on every available bodily protuberance. It's sad -- once we had a culture, now we have brand loyalties.

Monday, September 17, 2007

This is your next-to-last warning.

Words can be really hurtful. Like, if you insist on trying to seem clever by scattering grad-student words you've heard on CNN throughout your verbiage, you run the serious risk of appearing to be something much worse than the mouth-breathing dullard you secretly fear you are: A pretentious twit. So here are some hints. The word “exponential” has a precise meaning which you should have learned in 7th grade math. It is not a synonym for “mighty big.” The word “comprise”is roughly synonymous with “include.” And finally, I call your attention to this little essay's penultimate word.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Comeback another day

The newspaper is my radio. I don't dislike reading about pop stars so much as hearing them, and everything I need to know I can get from their getups. So go ahead, show me the shoes, the shirt, the haircut - just spare me the music. Anyway, news has reached me about somebody named Joss Stone. She had a hit record, apparently, then got into trouble with drugs and entered rehab. Now she's booked into casinos alongside bands like 38 Special and Quiet Riot. This may be the quickest transition ever from new talent, to troubled star, to reformed nostalgia act.

Monday, September 3, 2007

You're soaking in it.

Last Wednesday marked Hurricane Katrina's second anniversary. In remembrance, the President flew down here and created a peculiar photo-op by grabbing our mayor's face and sort of squooshing it. The BBC website ran a photo caption stating that Preservation Hall is on “the corner of Bourbon Street and Royal.” (Bourbon and Royal are parallel streets.) And I overheard this conversation as a chef at a local restaurant was finishing up work for the evening:

“So your shift's over?”

“Yeah. I'm going over to Phillip's Bar and remember Katrina.”

“They're having some kind of thing?”

“I'm just gonna get drunk.”

Monday, August 27, 2007

Some Words of Comfort

Ever feel like there's something vaguely wrong most all the time? Love, work, or new shoes don't really help? I'll tell you why. It is in the nature of the universe to express everywhere its underlying symmetry. So for every birth, there is a death. Balance. If you should find you have been born but have not yet died, you are in a temporary state of imbalance. This awkward stage can go on for some decades, during which it is natural to feel a certain sense of unease, a constant gnawing anxiety. This is transitory and of no lasting consequence.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wasting away again

A lot of folks are resentful of rich people, but I like 'em. Or at least I appreciate them for what they are - an important source of money. No poor guy has ever tossed a hundred in the tip jar to hear a rendition of “Margaritaville” consisting of the first line chanted tunelessly over the chords to “Song For My Father.” They're pretty dull, though. Bespoke suits and trophy wives are such conventional ways to spend money. Me, I'd put in a Men's Room. Nothing tells the world you've arrived like ice in the urinals and a novelty condom dispenser.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Millennial Thinking

I needed a stopwatch yesterday so I dug through one of the many corrugated cartons of obsolete technology (CCOT) that dot the landscape around here to find an antique cell phone that included that function. Remember those long ago days of 2000? Folks were so proud of their new phones they hung them from their belts like scalps. It made a guy feel like Batman: “Hold on, I must speak into this communications device dangling from my futility belt.” Yet in that same moment of bright promise, everything turned to crap. Dubya was elected and the Monkey Wards closed down.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Down and out

Over the weekend, tiny Russian submarines dove to the bottom of the Arctic ocean. They planted a flag in the seabed at the North Pole, claiming sovereignty over the entire polar region. The United States immediately objected, claiming that a single flag is insufficient to establish ownership. To make it official, you need to drop off some smallpox-infested blankets. Meanwhile, it turns out Mars is in opposition and its elliptical orbit has brought it closer to Earth than at any time since September 12, 57,617 BC. Has it really been 59,000 years? My goodness, where does the time go?

Monday, July 30, 2007

It seems like only months ago...

This is it. I've hit the big Three Oh – my 30th rant of 2007. A good time, I believe, to reflect on what has gone before. Looking back, how fondly I recall that callow, bright-eyed, eager-to-please fellow who pledged to write a rant every week. So far, so good. But the Grand Canyon still beckons, and if I keep doing yardwork with a machete, the guy I kill may yet turn out to be me. And the bitchin' mustache? It's been and gone. Seriously, I looked like the hideous bastard lovechild of Dennis Franz and James Carville.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Swift Thinking

A pint of Chunky Monkey is pricier than previous, in part because dairy prices are real high. That's in part because feed grain prices are high, which is in part due to the fact that ethanol sales are driving up demand. So our cars are competing with our cows for food. I haven't seen these numbers anywhere, but I'd like to know: How many daily servings of cornbread does it take to fuel an Escalade? I'm sure that creating fuel from the grain is a costly and laborious process. Why not save steps and simply fill our tanks with people?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jerked out his razor but he wasn't shaving

You know what's a redundant phrase? “Southern Rock.” Because it's all southern rock. For the people who invented it, going to Memphis to make your record meant driving north. Saying your band plays “Southern Rock” is like specifying that you enjoy “Human Food.” That's why it's so dumb to have a Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Plus, Halls of Fame, run by the same people who volunteered to decorate the gym for prom, are inherently un-Rock and Roll. Polka, bowling, plumbing - these should have Halls of Fame. Rock and Roll should have a knife fight.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Dessicated Grape Cadavers

We've been through his before, but apparently we need a refresher: They tell you premium raisin bran is better because it has a higher percentage of raisins. But check it out – raisins are cheaper than branflakes, so it's like paying extra for heavy grape-based gravel in the aggregate and cement premix that is this morning's breakfast. By lunchtime, your foundations are crumbling like a hastily constructed analogy. Or this – I had a bottle of soy based health drink, and the label said the stuff was sweetened with “cane juice powder.” Wait. Isn't that...? Yup. Newspeak for sugar. Orwell Lite.

Monday, July 2, 2007


At first, Durham County DA Mike Nifong looked like a hero, bravely taking on the children of privilege for their brutal excesses. “Duke LaCrosse” even sounds like the really spoiled snotty kid in a Horatio Alger book. Turns out Nifong's a lying slab of steaming self-interest, and the press is a ravening herd of attack sheep. But I'm not worried about them; I'm worried about me. What do you call a guy who jumps at the chance to judge a group of people not on evidence, but on his own presumptions about race and class? Call him a bigot.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Country of origin

There's going to be a new farm bill this year, and there's little doubt it will be as ridiculous as the old farm bill. Meanwhile, most city folks and suburbanites will remain blissfully oblivious to the whole thing. The only farm debate they've ever heard of was between Eddy Albert and Eva Gabor. But since Kansas gets the same number of senators as California, there's pious blather about preserving America's farms, and helping farm families to stay on them. Never a word about America's steel mill families, but they get all Gene Debs when it comes to their own acreage.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Down to their level

Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (NHOP) were on the radio last night. And they sounded like crap because this recording was from the mid-70s, the Golden Age of Crappy Audio (GACA). The technology was fine; the producer and engineer were idiots. The combination of close micing, gratuitous equalization, and unlimited limiting made all three instruments sound like they'd been pushed through a single nostril. No big Jewish nostril either - one of those stingy little hotel-heiress ones. And of course, dynamics were far too important to be trusted to mere musicians... Edison cylinders sounded better.

Monday, June 11, 2007

these things snowball

They found 90 thousand bucks in Bill Jefferson's freezer. That's slightly less than Bob Byrd's maid normally finds between the sofa cushions. A 90 grand tip would be an insult to Dubya after giving some Halliburton exec's wingtips one of his forked-tongue shoeshines. All Congressmen are traditionally assumed to be utterly corruptible, so why go after the gentleman from Louisiana? Let's just say the reason starts with "n" and rhymes with “we grow.” While I have yet to peruse the entire 16-count indictment against “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, I'm pretty sure I'll find the word uppity in there somewhere.

Monday, June 4, 2007

For extinguished service

Normally I'm the least likely to be flinging superlatives around, but I just went to the best retirement party ever. Why? I think it was because not a single person from the retiree's job was there. Most guys, you make it to retirement all wrinkled and wizened, and you get a gold watch and a mealy-mouthed speech from some front-office putz who never noticed anything you did. Not this time. This was more hello than goodbye. Now when my time comes, I figure I'll combine my retirement shindig with my wake. You're invited. Bring flowers and a bottle.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I'm trying to think of what the opposite of disgusting is. Because we need something positive for the designers of road food to shoot for in the future. Just telling people what not to do isn't as effective as giving them a goal. And “delicious” or “enjoyable” seem wildly ambitious. See, I was just on the road for a day and a half. Plenty of time in the car to think. I've been conjuring up marketing slogans: “Shoney's – not half so vile as Stuckey's.” And wasn't there something called Skelley's? A weird triumvirate - restaurants that sound like medieval skin conditions.

Monday, May 21, 2007

party of the first part

Somebody told me the other day that I was antisocial, but isn't that when you're actively aggressive or hostile? I think she meant asocial; I can easily spend a lot of my time all by myself. Some people say if they spend a lot of time by themselves, they get bored. It must be the company. Anyway, I got my own social set, thanks very much. Other cantankerous malcontents. Not that we're any barrel of laughs. We convene every couple of years in clumps of two or three, glaring at each other for awhile over tepid cups of bitter coffee.

Monday, May 14, 2007

if X then Y

There's been a lot of ill-considered talk about something called “unconditional love,” and I for one want none of it. There's no such thing. Even the requirements that the loved one be carbon-based, or sentient, or possible to conjure up in the imagination, are conditions. Unconditional love is the Monopoly money or AOL startup disc of emotional offerings. It's pink packets of saccharine. Plus, I gotta tell you, if someone said to me, “There is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you,” I would take that as a personal challenge. Watch me. I'll find something.

Monday, May 7, 2007

"Man, you must be puttin' me on"

Word has it that the Lord told Abraham to take his son out and truss him up like a animal and prepare him for sacrifice. Which Abraham actually did, but at the last minute the Lord told him not to do it, not to kill Isaac. Apparently, Isaac wasn't supposed to be killed; that wasn't the point. The point was to see if Abraham would do this repellent thing if ordered to. It was just a test. I think Abe failed, thus introducing the line of defense later adopted by folks like Eichmann, Lt. Calley, and telephone customer service reps.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A man of my caliber...

Some days I'd like to be a Libertarian, though I'm afraid I lack the requisite mean streak. As far as gun ownership goes, I believe it's good to keep the government from enjoying an absolute monopoly on the tools of violence. I'd be scared if only cops and soldiers had guns. Still, nobody wants to get shot. Here's one way families can vote with their pocketbooks: When sending a kid off to college, pick a school in a state that requires a comprehensive background check for firearms purchases. It's no guarantee of safety, but at least it's not tacit complicity.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Gripes Almighty

People say to me, “Dave, how can you write what is essentially a sequence of complaints when you are a member of the dominant culture within the dominant species on your planet at what looks to be the absolute pinnacle of its global power?” Actually, nobody says that to me. Who would dare? I'm just imagining being asked such a question so that I can imagine my reply: “Look. What you say is true. I'm also tall and clever, with regular features and a booming baritone voice. Given these attributes, self-pity is the only pity I'm likely to get.”

Monday, April 16, 2007

Read Cautiously

You know what’s stupid? The phrase “drink responsibly” is stupid. You know why? Of course you do. It’s stupid because the whole entire point of drinking is to escape responsibility. Like anything else, drinking should be engaged in with unflinching dedication and a wholehearted commitment to getting this damn thing done right. By “right” I mean waking up with teeth that taste like tiny ashtrays and a vague awareness that at some point in the recent past you have done something absolutely unforgivable. Drink responsibly? Then what - nap resolutely? It could probably be done, but what would be the point?

Monday, April 9, 2007

I am risen, too. Barely.

Yesterday I observed my traditional Easter fast, subsisting entirely on chocolate and hard boiled eggs. As a consequence, this morning I find myself morose and dyspeptic. Plus, this ain't a good day for reading the news. The guy who made up the phrase “clams got legs” is dead. And in France, this politician whose name sounds like some kind of inoperable malignancy is convincing voters that a get-tough immigration policy is what's needed. Which is pretty bold talk coming from a Magyar halfbreed. You know what they say: Any time you meet a Hungarian, kick him. He'll know why.

Monday, April 2, 2007

A Plague of Fries?

Here's a trivial factoid that will likely leap to the top of your “I will never need this knowledge” list: There is a kosher McDonald's in Buenos Aires. My source gives me very little additional information, but I'm assuming you can't get a cheeseburger there. A Big Mac would be out of the question. Maybe a “Big Mo,” a kind of glorified Hillel Sandwich, plus some kind of wine smoothie to wash it down. Print a Haggadah on the placemat. Really, the idea is no more sacrilegious than the McRib. Now there's an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Crunch Time

People feel loyalty to the weirdest things. A guy who would cheerfully cheat on his wife, sell out his country, and deny his God can go all twitchy when he can't get his favorite brand of toothpaste. Or pickup truck. Hell, I think it'd be easier to teach a chicken to play chess than to get a Dodge man to drive a Ford. Or you know how sometimes you'll find yourself eating the same thing for breakfast for months at a time before switching to another product for a while? My friend Scott calls this ...wait for it... cereal monogamy.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I'm confronted with a cognitive dissonance: bike racks on SUVs. I live real close to a bike path, so every weekend I get to see folks pull up, unload their bicycles, check their little bicycle shorts, lace their little bicycle shoes, and take off for their weekend bicycle ride. Okay, I know they didn't get a bicycle to reduce their consumption. They got it so they could have more stuff. The only dissonance is my own. I'm torn between my inclination to laugh, and my passionate desire to sneak up behind them and administer the mother of all spandex wedgies.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Human Piñata

Guys can be so competitive. That's why Bush had to actually kill more Americans than Osama Bin Laden - even if he had to lie, bully, and line the pockets of his sponsors with billions in squandered tax money to do it. I swear to you, when it comes to pure-D meanness, Bloods and Crips, the Russian Mafia, the Taliban got nothing on this White House Frat Pack. Now they've decided to leave one of their own to twist in the wind. Of course, a 56 year old man who's still called “Scooter” is probably used to it by now.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Spare The Rod. Please.

What’s worse than hearing a song you hate? Hearing a song you love performed by a singer you hate. I’m referring, of course, to Rod Stewart’s absolutely dire versions of songs made famous by performers like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett. You know… singers. Rod’s renditions are quite popular these days in grocery stores, possibly to keep shoppers moving briskly. But why? Maybe Roderick figures these great tunes will absorb and obscure his lack of talent, much like kitty litter clumps up and ameliorates the odor of cat urine. But the pungent reek of limey has-been is overwhelming.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Better In The Abstract

A gas well near Surabaya, Indonesia, has been spewing steaming mud since May 2006. The stuff has covered entire villages; 15,000 people are homeless after escaping the hot gray goop. The gas company is saying this vile glop would have come gushing up even had there been no drilling. Right. Meanwhile, engineers (doubtless emboldened by their colleagues' triumphant protection of New Orleans) are planning to stop the mud flow by dropping large cement balls down this big hole in the Earth. Geologists are predicting this just plain won't work. Anyway, it's hard to imagine a more concrete metaphor for hubris.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quite The Wag

This guy called me, said he and his wife just got a puppy. I said, “Great. Now you'll know what to do first thing every morning for the next 15 years.” And he said, “Yeah. It's kind of like a kid.” But, no it ain't. Kids get smarter. A dog, he's 6 months old, that's all the smarter he's going to get. Take my dog: I've walked him twice every day for over 10 years. Yet he still doesn't make any connection between the sound of his name called sharply three or four times and that subsequent unpleasant strangling sensation.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wilde Life Refuge

Held together, near as I can tell, by some kind of sequin-encrusted industrial strength duct tape, Carol Channing came to town to do a benefit. She made the cover of an inside section of the local paper, and I was stunned – stunned, I tell you – to note that she really looks exactly the same as she did some forty odd years ago. She's 86, and she hasn't changed at all. She's probably got one of those Dorian Gray things going on. But instead of a picture in the attic that keeps looking worse and worse, she's got Mickey Rourke.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Indulge Me Here

When you compare them to their peers living a sedentary lifestyle, people who stay active- participating in organized sports, regular cardiovascular exercise or even such simple measures as a daily walk- live a few measly years longer. It serves them right. All those folks who go to great lengths to increase their life span seem to lose sight of a simple irrefutable fact: The chunk of additional life you buy yourself by avoiding tobacco, alcohol, fatty foods, and illegal drugs begins after you would have died. Any extra hours you manage to add will get tagged onto the very end.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cravat Emptor

I'm not what you'd call a stylish person. My fashion sense limits itself to a preference for corduroy trousers because they go “voop voop” when you walk. (I also think that wearing white socks with black pants makes me sort of a rebel.) I'm aware of fashion, but as a neutral observer: I've witnessed the repeated futile attempts of GQ to get guys to wear kilts. Over the years, I've seen neckties get wide, then thin, then wider, then real skinny, then broader again, then narrower. Meanwhile, I have noticed my belts just keep getting longer and longer and longer.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ockham's Osterizer

This whole “free will” versus “predetermination” debate gets sort of tiring. Near as I can tell, equally good cases can be made for either side. You might end up saying that each of us is free to decide that our every thought and action is predetermined. Or that it is preordained that we believe ourselves to have free will. Or split the difference and say that we are free to determine our own rationalizations for the things we have no choice but to do. Basically, I think it’s all to keep Jesuits from pining too much about the celibacy thing.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ostensibly A. Paragraph

Pretty much, folks will whine about anything. They complain about spam in their email as if the inbox was a corporeal object and the spam an odious gelid substance. Or as if the time they spent clearing the stuff out had any value in the first place. Select. Delete. How hard is that? Clearing spam out of your inbox is a minor chore - like flossing, or rinsing your coffeecup. And the best part is the spam senders' names: Extraneously J. Ineptitude. Pontificate U. Unwisely. It's as if Groucho Marx and W.C. Fields were sending us little notes from the beyond.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Saints Alive

I don't normally pay attention to sports, except to the extent that some of my pals are sports in and of themselves. In the genetic sense. But this Saturday, the Saints are playing the Eagles. Here in New Orleans everyone's all excited, referring to the team as “we.” Me, I'm not so sure this is a fair matchup. I've looked at pictures of these Saints; these are some enormous young men. Fine specimens in the vigorous bloom of youth. Meanwhile, Frey and Henley have got to be in their 60s, right? And I'm betting Joe Walsh doesn't even suit up.