Monday, December 28, 2009

I've been through heck, I tell you. Absolute heck.

When we study the lives of the great, we learn how their destinies were shaped by painful, calamitous events that threatened their very existence, brought tremendous hardship, and sculpted from the shapeless clay of consciousness a fundamentally new perception of reality. I've just been through something like this myself. While I don't want to compare my severe headcold with the experiences of men like Nelson Mandela or Elie Wiesel, I need you to understand that I have been very, very congested. And I have concluded that Jerry Bartz of Gems TV is the finest broadcast talent working in America today.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thanks, David

It was my own fault. The only reason Titanic is the worst movie I've ever seen is because I watched it. James Cameron, a technical whiz, has the soul of an anteater. I wasn't at all shocked when four intelligent persons of my acquaintance called up to say they thought Avatar was just a steaming pile of crap. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when my son-in-law unintentionally wrote my rant for me by saying, “Imagine if the writers from the He-Man cartoons wrote a remake of Dances with Wolves but instead of Indians it had Smurfs in space.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

I normally put a headline here.

I persist in writing this weekly rant for three compelling reasons: I'm not required to do it. I don't get paid to do it. Nobody cares if I do it. So I do it. But I know I want to stop someday before I turn into Andy Rooney. The Irascible Geezer with a Twinkle in his Eye. “You kids got it easy. When I was your age, we had to rewind movies after we watched them.” And it becomes cute when you snap at someone, 'cause you don't have any teeth. Christ. Just put me out on the ice flow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Take, eat; this is my body."

Recently publicized finance records have revealed that last summer, the Archdiocese of New Orleans sent $2.000.00 to Maine to repeal gay marriage. A pittance compared to some dioceses; impoverished and nearly-abandoned Youngstown, Ohio, kicked in ten grand; Philly and Phoenix each anted up fifty large. It wasn't even their money – all their cash comes from collection plates. As I understand it, it's the Church's position that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman, while gay sex is a sacred bond between a priest and an altar boy. The clerical mind is nothing if not orderly.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Joel, not Mike

There was a time when I would watch television every chance I got. I found it just delightful. Then I started only watching for special occasions, if there was something I really wanted to see. Now I'm actually averse to it – not the programming – the very act of sitting in front of the screen makes me antsy and uncomfortable. It parallels my experience with marijuana. Tell you what I would watch, though: If there was a show where a fellow and his two robot friends sat in front of a screen making fun of MST3K reruns. Yum. Meta.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hook, line, and sinker

Back in the middle ages, alchemists were searching for something called the Philosopher's Stone, an imaginary material that would turn lead into gold. Who paid these guys to do this? I suspect the whole thing was a clever hoax by speculators conspiring to drive up the value of lead. Right now gold is going for nearly $1,200 an ounce, while you can get the same weight in lead for around seven cents. Now, what I don't understand about high finance could empty a checkbook, but shouldn't today's bargain hunting investor take a closer look at worm weights and split shot?

Monday, November 16, 2009

I love the smell of DEHP in the morning

A research team at the University of Rochester (I'm pretty sure their school motto is “I'll bring the Maxwell around, Mr. Benny.”) have found that women who are exposed to vinyl flooring and plastic shower curtains while pregnant will give birth to boys who are less likely than other boys to play with cars, trains and guns or engage in rougher games like playfighting. It seems that certain volatile plasticizers mimic the action of estrogen and repress the action of the male hormone testosterone. I'll just say again what I've been saying for years. They're not dolls. They're action figures.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How ya like dem ersters?

Every year in the United States, an estimated 15 people are killed by Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria picked up from eating raw oysters. Most folks, Vibrio won't hurt you; these fatalities are pretty much restricted to those with compromised immune systems. And there are warnings posted in restaurants, so actually the fatalities are further restricted to those who can't or won't read. The Food and Drug Administration, staffed entirely by former hall monitors and eraser clappers, has a simple solution. They intend to ban the sale of raw Gulf oysters. Since when are immuno-compromised illiterates such a powerful lobbying block?

Monday, November 2, 2009

I didn't see any Angela Merkels

On Halloween night on the corner of Esplanade and Decatur in New Orleans, the street was a human river of outlandishly garbed maniacs in various states of expectation, inebriation, and exaltation. Some of them even dressed up for the holiday. Which brings up the topic of women's costumes. There is a whole genre of commercially available costumes based on taking any female character from fiction or real life, and adding the modifier “slutty” to it. So, “Slutty Bo Peep,” “Slutty Nun,” even “Slutty Olive Oyl.” The profit margin on these must be tremendous; certainly materials costs are held pretty low.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't Cry for Me Adenocarcinoma

If you're reduced to reading this, you've probably already perused every scrap of information available to the public, including gum wrappers and the messages in the grout between tiles. So you already know what I'm about to tell you. But just in case you haven't heard: Andrew Lloyd Webber has been diagnosed with cancer. Probably not deadly, so this is one of those cases of too little, too late. He really needs to contract something more retroactive. I'm told he first noticed his prostate trouble when he kept having to get up in the middle of the night to compose.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm still waiting for the new Amiga...

Windows 7 is here. They say they've learned from what was wrong with Vista; they mean to say they learned a whole lot. Microsoft is like General Motors; they keep rolling out new models with different tailfins and headlight configurations in hopes that nobody will notice that the engine driving the whole contraption hasn't improved in decades. We all know how that worked for Pontiac and Oldsmobile: They're building Microsoft excitement! It's not your father's Windows! Then there's Linux. Even Chevy never had to worry about a bunch of engineers building a better car and giving it away for free.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bankers and postmen are whooping it up.

Today we observe Columbus Day, although he actually discovered the new world (Three of the four preceding words are nonsense. The “the” is alright.) on October 21st, 1492 by the Gregorian calendar. Actually, by the Julian calendar in use in 1492, the date was October 12th, so we're back to this being Columbus Day. In my family, we don't do a lot for Columbus Day. Of all the holidays, I think only Arbor Day gets less hoopla. I suggest that Columbus Day is a great day to sit around in your pajamas listening to Duke Ellington. But what day isn't?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Explanations come to an end

Immanuel Kant could have used some hobbies. He should have built model railroads or hung out all day at comic book shops. Instead he filled volume after volume with maddening conceptual tail-chasing. That's what happens when smart people devote their energies to answering stupid questions. The meaning of life? It's in the dictionary. You want the meaning not of the word but of what the word represents? Stupid question – you know what “bicycle” means but you'd never ask for the meaning of your actual Schwinn. Take a ride in the park. You're not going to live forever, you know.

Monday, September 28, 2009


California State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is calling for the legalization of marijuana in his state. He's getting opposition from something called the National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition, whose president points out that if reefer is legal “the people who drive the state's highways ... are going to be in danger from being hit by someone intoxicated from using cannabis.” Yup. At four miles per hour. I personally feel that NORML, the ACLU, and the NRA should merge into a single entity, taking the position that they're gonna get baked, say whatever they want to, and shoot anybody who says they can't.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Children of the Corn

So you get these exposés about our food supply, and here's the reaction: Squeamish parlor pinks seek out more expensive sources for their fodder to ensure that their sense of virtue is as untroubled as their digestion. And almost every other American reacts by doing nothing at all. What's to do? Our shoes are made by children in Asia, our clothes are sewn by paupers in Mexico. We've squandered America's bright promise, betrayed one another beyond any hope of reconciliation, and turned humanity's last best hope into a coast-to-coast parking lot. And now we're supposed to feel sorry for cows?

Monday, September 14, 2009

1914 also produced Ernest Tubb, Joe Louis, and Dorothy Lamour.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug died last Saturday at 95. Borlaug should probably have been more famous, but agronomy isn't one of the really sexy fields of human endeavor. He got the Nobel for being one of the architects of the green revolution, innovations in agriculture that saved hundreds of millions of people from starvation. Thanks to him, today there can be more people facing famine than ever before in history. Talk about your moral ambiguity. Anyway, let's all take a few moments to remember Norman Borlaug, and try to say his name three times real fast without laughing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Won't Write:

I overslept and am feeling a bit wobbly. So you get a cut-and-paste rant:

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”

Monday, August 31, 2009

He'll keep directing till he needs glasses.

Am I the only person alive who thinks Tarantino is just the ultimate wanker fanboy? He was on NPR flogging his latest movie, and he said of course there were some adult parts. By that he meant scalpings, bludgeonings, and mutilations. Grown up stuff. And there are lots of people who use the term adult to mean entertainment featuring the exhibition of human genitalia. So apparently, adult content is defined as that which titillates smirking spotty junior-high boys. You know what would be funny? Open an Adult Bookstore, and it would be shelf after shelf of, like, Beckett and Wittgenstein.

Monday, August 24, 2009

In fairness, picayune actually means puny.

In this age of newspaper failures, the charmingly-named Times-Picayune is ahead of the curve. It failed some decades ago. They only keep printing it because they're too lazy to stop. The Sunday edition isn't any bigger than the daily except for a lot of ads, a really skimpy color funnies section, and Parade magazine (which avoids paying writers or editors by simply printing celebrity news releases verbatim). From the color sales inserts, I've learned the following apparently universal facts: Teenagers spend all their time playing air guitar. And having a really great laptop makes you want to use it barefoot.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Close enough for govt. work

When asked, I claim to be an unreconstructed anarcho-syndicalist. I can't wholeheartedly support representative government because I think it's like all those other systems that have been tried and shown conclusively not to work. However, even I have to admit that the government has on occasion successfully completed a few of its projects. For instance, I use their money. None of the stores in my neighborhood will take any other brand. We all use the Interstate Highway System. That works. Then there's the Moon landing, Yellowstone National Park... and World War II, with Ford Motors pulling for the other side.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Everything is permitted. Just don't enjoy yourself.

Hitman movies are a whole genre. They are to nerd love stories what cowboy movies once were to screwball comedies. There are subgenres, too. Hitman farce. Hitman romance. I certainly don't want to come across as weak and girlish, but killing people for money is bad, right? Starting a story off with the presupposition that the protagonist is morally compromised beyond all hope of redemption can only be appropriate for an audience that feels itself equally corrupt. Nobody would accept this if the heroes were rapists. The difference? Professionalism. This is America. Anything's okay if you do it for money.

Monday, August 3, 2009

You look like a douche in that hat

Bing Crosby could wear a stingy brim fedora. So could Sam and Dave, Murray the K, Hound Dog Taylor. Later, guys like Paul Simonon and Tom Waits just barely got away with it as an ironic gesture. That was a generation ago. Today, even Britney Spears knows those hats are over. They sell them at K-Mart. So lace up your little Vans. Sip your little Pabst. But lose the hat. Because you could wear an actual red rubber douchebag on your head with a chinstrap and still look like less of a douchebag than you do in that hat.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Giant bacteria-filled balloon" is actually David Vitter's nickname.

An architect named Magnus Larsson is promoting his plan to stop the spread of the Sahara desert by putting up a 6,000 kilometer long wall stretching from Mauritania to Djibouti. He thinks that this can be done with a “barrage of giant bacteria-filled balloons.” Meanwhile, the President of the United States of America is promoting his plan to bring healthcare in his country up to the standards of the rest of the Western world. He thinks he can do this by getting legislators to act like responsible stewards of their constituents' future. Which of these guys is the more quixotic?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pro-life's illusions

One big mistake progressives make is letting the voices of reaction define an argument. Anti-abortion groups present their issue as life vs. choice. They are willfully ignoring fully half of the possible opinion spectrum. The opposite of anti-abortion is pro-abortion – the position that all pregnancies should be terminated. A completely rational argument could be made for this as the only sure cure for human misery. In fact, for a moderate salary I'd be willing to lead a grassroots organization. And between the two extremes – abortion being either prohibited or compulsory – individual choice stands as the middle ground.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ich kann nicht so viel fressen, wie ich kotzen möchte.

I don't even want to write about this. It's not funny. Among the only sane decisions of his sad little freak show life was Michael Jackson's unwavering commitment to keeping his children away from the public eye. Apparently he felt it might not be healthy for kids to grow up under constant media scrutiny. Then the moment the guy's dead, his family – their own family – uncovered their faces and fed them into the machine. The Times-Picayune printed his daughter's image again this morning, over a cutline that ended, “a star is born.” Shame on them. Shame on us.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Let's make monorails the new third rail

This holiday weekend, as America celebrated a tradition of bright shining promise, the future as we remember it took a terrible blow. There was a tragic crash in Orlando, and we lost one of the brave, the few, the monorail pilots. These 'rail jockeys are today's pioneers -- the Lewis and Clark, the Grissom and Glenn, of our generation. And though the fossilized forces of reaction may raise a croaking chorus of fear, we must not allow this singular tragedy to divert us from our course. Let's take steps now to ensure that the monorail always remains the transportation of tomorrow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Popular culture bravely struggles on.

There are some personalities whose monumental artistry propels them beyond the shallow tinsel and sham of the world of show business and into a kind of timeless Meta-realm where they hover weightless and transcendent above the sordid squalor of our humdrum lives, radiating an ineffable aura of order and beauty. That's a 50 word sentence, my friends, and if an accomplishment like that needs any actual purpose, let it be in memory of Gale Storm. Talk about eternal youth – she recorded Teenage Prayer when she was 34 years old. Our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Livin' large

What is it about big stuff? In Cleveland, Ohio, they're stuck with a real big rubber stamp lying on the lawn. Some rich guy bought it, then left it behind like paper clips in a desk drawer. Don't forget the big watering can in Utica, New York. My August 11, 2008 rant about it is the best piece of writing ever by a carbon-based biped. There's a Big Pencil in front of an office supply store in Wytheville, Virginia. So we're told. But what if it is actual size, and we're a lot smaller than we've been led to believe?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Again with the oil-based rant

Some vehicles are made without grease fittings, and advertised as “lubricated for life.” It's a short life – they wear out real quick. That's OK, though. The replacement parts come with grease fittings. My theory is the phrase “maintenance-free” means “you cannot fix this, throw it away and buy a new one.” An unrelated item: You buy a big bulky bag of raw food and cart it home. Heat up a little oil in a pan, empty the bag into it, cook it for awhile. What do you get? About a handful of finished product. Spinach is the opposite of popcorn.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wait -- hot oil what?

The fact that I can spew out a 100 word rant every Monday morning like clockwork while still maintaining a dizzyingly refined literary standard is testament to an almost crippling talent. It may look easy, but it's a high-wire act, a thrill ride, the adrenal equivalent of ladies' hot oil wrestling with a crazed banjo soundtrack. Yet, there are those who would criticize – nitpickers with nothing better to do than count the words and then disturb my post-rant torpor with their niggling questions. You think I shorted you? You want more words? I got two for you right here.

Monday, June 1, 2009


The word “believe” can be ambiguous. When I say, “I don't believe in unicorns,” you know what I mean. And it's the not the same meaning as when I say, “I don't believe in dishwashers.” I know there are dishwashers. I just think they're silly and wasteful anywhere but a commercial kitchen, and I refuse to make use of one. Using the word the same way, some people don't believe in fluoridated water, or motorcycle helmets. They know those things exist. I wish I was sure what I meant when I say I don't believe in God.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Newsstand Logic

Possibly you live in a place called "city" without living in an actual city. Like maybe Rock City or Johnson City or something like that. Here's how to tell the difference: Your genuine city will have at minimum one daily paper, one weekly alternative tabloid, and one glossy monthly magazine. A weekly shopper does not count as an alt. weekly; a true alternative paper periodically carries an article about quirky hipster girls reviving the art of roller derby. A metropolitan glossy monthly is found only in waiting rooms, and runs cover stories with exciting titles like, "Our 100 Richest Cosmetic Orthodontists."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Somewhat pale and peaked

Dang! This is my latest rant ever. By latest I mean tardiest, not most recent. It is also my most recent, and will remain so until next week, at which time it will be supplanted by a later rant which I promise will not be as tardy. I’m about half done now... Look, as long as I have you here, see what you can do with this: “It was while on holiday in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that I took up my trusty Montblanc to write to a dear friend in Tenerife. The topic? Alban Berg, of course.”

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tricks of the tirade

Look at the following: “Acme Boot Wax. No brand of boot wax has been shown to be more effective in the prevention of club foot and hammer toe.” See how that works? There's no actual product claim in there. This is how we sell you toothpaste and baldness cures. Or try this one: Add up the number of years everyone has been working to make it seem like you're a bunch of seasoned veterans. So your organization might claim a century of collective experience – sounds good, but if you employ 100 people it's not really all that impressive.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Get in touch with my people.

They keep producing sequels, prequels, and remakes like nobody can make up a new plot. Folks, it's not that hard. These are just off the top of my head: “Abraham Lincoln on Mars.” I can even visualize the poster for this – the lean angular frame of the Great Emancipator with his trademark stovepipe hat in stark silhouette against the ruddy Martian sky. Or “The Ninja and the Nun.” “He's a highly trained killing machine. She's a bride of Jesus. Theirs is a doomed love in a world they never made.” Or get this: “Black Einstein.”

Monday, April 27, 2009

[D] all of the above

I'm delighted to be able to report a growing number of things about which I have no opinion whatsoever. I started small. We were talking about meat, and it occurred to me that while a rare steak can be delicious, I have enjoyed them well-done too. Both equally toothsome. No particular preference there. A room can get awfully cool or pretty dang warm before I have any trouble sleeping in it. I'm OK with it either way. But this soothing state of mind could make creating a weekly rant a bit problematic – I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mm. Salty.

Here's a sentence that sounds naughty but in fact is not. “With some difficulty, the old gentleman pulled himself erect and carefully mounted the rostrum.” Tee-hee. Rostrum is Latin for the prow of a ship, but refers in this case to a platform for public speaking. Because it's out in front there, see. Rostrum also means “beak.” Some fishes, including the humble anchovy, have something in their snouts called the “rostral organ.” Anchovies are the litmus test of pizza. You may not like them, but you'd never order a pizza from a joint that didn't offer them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Introducing the 2011 Vergognoso

There's something to be said for the rough frontier justice of the marketplace. Old names like Packard and Studebaker are remembered fondly because when their time had passed they simply withered and fell. Not like Chevrolet, now under the oxygen tent with needles in its arm and tubes up its nose. Lean in close and you can hear the feeble wheeze: “Let me die.” Worse yet is the unspeakable prospect of an unnatural coupling between Chrysler and Fiat, the offspring no doubt an uncomfortable and clumsy sedan that won't start in the rain, for which no parts are available.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Perturbations of the aether

I live close enough to campus to listen to low power college radio. That means I get to hear music that a global hierarchy of broadcast professionals has decided is not worth hearing. Well, even experts can be right sometimes. Like if you listen to an indy rock song and after the first 5 minutes you think to yourself, “Wow. They really really know this chord.” Or maybe you'll hear something that if a musician heard it they'd say it was poetry, but a poet would define it as music. That's human nature. Blame it on the other guy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

They're so cute when they're feisty.

I'm tired of hearing about it. Guys my age, musicians, are griping about how there's no decent gigs any more because they all go to these kids, incompetent posers who'll play practically for free. Rave on, Pops. No mention of the fact that any surviving members of your long ago fan base are all snug in bed right after Rachel Maddow instead of packing the clubs like they used to. Just wait a generation; maybe then some kids young enough to be your grandchildren will rediscover you, and you can do a feeble campus tour. Possibly drop dead in Denmark.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Played by horns in pedal tones.

India's Tata rolls out the Nano. On its surface, this is simply a statement of fact: the Nano is the world's cheapest car- it costs less than two grand brand new. It looks like a toaster on a roller skate. Probably a lot of Americans will be buying them as spare transportation to get back to the clubhouse if their golfcarts break down. Heck, you could carry one in your backpack in case your legs get tired. But that's not the best part. The best part is the euphonious sentence, “India's Tata rolls out the Nano.” It's pure music.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Walter Brennan as Dorian Gray

It's even worse than we thought. Such benchmarks of mental acuity as reasoning, speed of thought, and spatial visualization all max out around age 22, and then start decaying by the time you turn 27. Professor Timothy Salthouse of Virginia University said so. The BBC published it. And I have no evidence to refute it. That explains the giant accounting error my generation seems to have made. We thought we were spending our children's inheritance, but it turns out it was our own retirement fund. Oops. Some bad math, I guess, back when we were befuddled geezers in our mid-30s.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Enjoy my crusty exterior

I have in front of me the bag from a loaf of bread. Not just ordinary bread- “authentic artisan bread.” And this bag is crowded with type, marketeering blather promising that each loaf is “gently shaped” before baking, directing me to enjoy it, and warning that it may contain wheat. Further down, there's a whole paragraph under the heading “sandwich assembly.” In case you bought this loaf of bread but don't know how it works. It's somebody's job to cover these bread bags with words; a certain percentage of absolute drivel is inevitable. I know the feeling.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hey hey we're the Monkees.

There's near consensus among political theater critics, whose specialty is telling us what people in Washington think of what people in Washington think, that Bobby Jindal isn't quite ready for his closeup. The RNC must be tearing its collective (graying) hair out by the roots. By their lights, they've done everything the electorate asked. They courted Hillary Clinton's base with a small-state governor with a cervix. They rebutted Obama with a small state governor with a cafe au lait epidermis. If FDR came back, they'd roll out some guy in a wheelchair. This sort of thinking produced the AMC Gremlin.

Monday, February 23, 2009

OK. This week's rant is "written."

Big spender here decides to pop for new pair of boots for a sojourn to the frigid north, so off to Walmart I go. In consultation with the knowledgeable sales staff, I locate the area of the store containing footwear, and finally settle on a pair of boots that include the word “waterproof” stamped on the ankle. I take a test walk utilizing an old dog. I walk through some dewy grass and notice my toes are just the tiniest bit moist. These boots are not waterproof, they are “waterproof.” Like the chili is “homemade” and Will Ferrell is “funny.”

Monday, February 16, 2009

Seriously? Monday already?

It's going to be tough in just 100 words to adequately address the topics that present themselves this morning. To mention just two of them, today is Presidents' Day, and I've discovered that Palm Beach County, Florida, is simply crawling with Finns. Specifically, in the town of Hypoluxo about one in every 20 residents speaks Finnish. Most of them live in the gritty “Little Espoo” neighborhood, where they endure a climate incompatible with their traditional lifestyle. Two words: sweaty reindeer. Then there's this portmanteau holiday where we celebrate the lives of our two greatest leaders by receiving no mail.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Two words: Mango Freeze

So the Jazz Fest schedule is out- keepin' it real this year with jazz stalwarts like Bon Jovi and Pete Seeger. Seeger is appearing to celebrate his 90th birthday. At 50 bucks a ticket, that's more of a gamble than I'm willing to make- this guy shouldn't be buying green bananas, much less making commitments months in advance. Plus, I have a problem with Pete Seeger. With all due respect, he can be kind of a supercilious snot. His big hit is that Malvina Reynolds song, “Little Boxes.” Great. A folk song that ridicules the aspirations of working people.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just who is this Mitch Starker I keep hearing about?

Are we going to finally have our own Great Depression? A little late, I say. Living through upheavals is what made our parents and grandparents the tough old birds they were. We were different, raised on Howdy Doody and Ovaltine. We were being fattened up to slide down easy when adversity came to swallow us. Like Kobe beef. Today they've decided a little dirt in a baby's diet is a good thing; a few microorganisms strengthen the immune system. So rat feces in hot dogs is actually a good thing, like a free vaccine. They should have charged us extra.

Monday, January 26, 2009

They still suck, though.

I heard from a guy who knows a woman who makes her living traveling around the world with the Eagles taking care of the bass player's hair that the band members travel in separate Learjets because they can't stand the sight of each other. Their crew and entourage include about 60 people. Meanwhile, I played with a great guitarist on Saturday night. He was a little tired because he'd played two gigs the night before, then got up early to supervise weekend detention at the school where he teaches. But for all that, are the Eagles actually any happier? Probably.

Monday, January 19, 2009

All this and MLK II.

Finally my years of assiduous calendar study are paying off. Look: Next Monday is Chinese New Year. Doing the math, I have determined that makes today Chinese Christmas. Obviously, this is a more restrained occasion than the traditional December Christmas, without all the Eurocentric baggage we've come to take for granted. There's less hoopla. I think you should seriously consider celebrating this holiday with your family, instead of ordinary Christmas. Think of the advantages: Wrapping paper and seasonal candy are like 75 percent off at the Big Lots, and Christmas trees are free for the taking, out on the curb.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Here is my handle, here is my spout.

A few months ago (August 11, 2008) I wrote the best paragraph ever written in the English language, all about the giant watering can of Utica, New York. I just re-read it, and it really holds up awfully well. I would rather read that rant over and over again than all the first novels from all the MFA recipients in America. It's that good. But now I'm informed that Staunton, Virginia claims the world's largest watering can. It's three feet taller, they say. My entire literary legacy depends on the primacy of the Utica can, so I'm a little bummed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hi Res

A New Year's resolution is a no-win deal. You might fail, which is especially bad if you'd resolved to recapture your lost self respect and so slip into an endless recursive spiral of doubt and loathing. For instance. Or you could succeed, and keep your resolutions, and then you'd have to continue writing a rant every Monday without the consolations of tobacco or alcohol. A very clever younger person pointed out the upside to me, however. She noted that January first is the best day of the year to visit the park if you like to watch fat people jogging.