Saturday, December 31, 2005


At roughly 1:00 pm this afternoon, Tim and Jenny Evans welcomed their first daughter, Reagan McKenzie Evans, into the world. Here is a conversation we had while visiting.

Jr (who was holding Reagan): I wonder what babies dream of.
Tim: They probably dream of Heavan.
Jenny: Yeah, that an doing flips.

Congratulations you guys.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Somebody Else Gets It

With the "publication" of Pointless Essay #2 soon to come, I would like to bring you this article, which describes in much fewer words the ideas I wished to convey with Pointless Essay #1. The article speaks of the loss of respect in discussing politics of late, and it comes from the liberal mind of TV's Wil Wheaton, who many of you know as that geeky kid from "Stand By Me" or that slightly older geeky kid from "Star Trek: TNG." Only he's no longer a kid. He is, in fact, nearing the back end of his 30s, which is a troubling thought to ponder in and of itself.

Apparently somebody else out there gets it, too.

Side note: In the above linked article Mr. Wheaton states his opinions on conservative talk radio and the death penalty. I agree with one and disagree with the other. I will leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Just Kidding

Just kidding. I have more to say before this terrible year of our Lord 2005 comes limping, beaten and bloody, to its eventual end.

It is 2:30 in the morning and I can't sleep. I had originally planned on going to bed around ten, waking up at five, and spending a good thirty minutes running on a treadmill at the local gymnasium before starting my day at seven. Instead, I have wasted countless hours surfing the internet and attempting to read “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” Neither has proven worthy of the time and effort expended.

I have to work tomorrow. I have to work the following day. Then I get five more days off. Some people are envious of the expanse of time that exists between my working days, but I consider it no great thing. When you hate your job as much as I do, you spend an inordinate amount of your free time under a cloud of gloom brought on by the knowledge that you must return. And no amount of holiday merriment or copious consumption of expensive liquor can assuage this sad fact. I might currently have a reprieve, but time is cyclical and it will again roll back to previous bad ugliness no matter how much I pretend this is not so.

I applied for another new job today. I apply for a lot of new jobs on a daily basis, 8,456 jobs in all 50 states and at least 6 different countries over the past year and a half to be exact (my family tells me I should have been an accountant, where I could have put my incessant counting to good use. I majored in accounting for three weeks, two days, and somewhere between four and five hours. The minutiae of time quadrants escape me at the moment, thus proving that I do not have the temperament for accountancy, no matter what my sister says), but this one was different. I am actually interested in this job.

The position is for a local university and is entitled “Campus Coordinator.” The job description leads me to believe that the work involves ensuring that classrooms and the faculty who use them are well stocked with the requisite services and equipment they require to undertake the arduous task of pretending to educate college students who, in turn, pretend to learn things about which they have little interest outside of a perceived monetary value they hopelessly affix to the poorly crafted knowledge they receive. The good thing is that it’s a second shift position, so I wouldn’t have to go in until nearly two. I would work nine hours Monday through Thursday, and then nine in the morning until two in the afternoon on Fridays.

Second Shift. I think I am well suited to the solitary lifestyle and lack of social interaction required to operate under such a lenient schedule. This is why I majored in computer programming. It is also why I have been uable to obtain a position in this field, despite my vociferous effors.

Chances are that what little supervision the university plans to lord over whomever they decide is worthy to fill said position will likely disappear by five at the latest. Given the tendency of managers in university settings to shirk responsibility, that estimation might even be a bit generous. They may leave earlier. This means that if I get the job, I would spend countless unsupervised hours completing tasks, uninterrupted by pointless meetings and useless discussions on topics about which I care very little. I would also avoid traffic on the way to and from work.

This is good.

All my hope is likely for naught, however, since these people, like everybody else with whom I have interviewed, are probably not interested in a candidate who is not specifically tailored to the underwhelming job descriptions they made up on a whim while drinking bourbon out of their ofices on a Friday afternoon when they were supposed to be doing something constructive.

This, of course, means I will probably remain in the cublce farm hellhole of a regular nine to five (or, in my case seven to five) job. It also means I had better get used to going to bed earlier if I plan on keeping this job. I think I’ll make another valiant attempt at this right now.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

End of the year

I hope you had a nice Christmas, and I hope you have an equally great New Year. I'll see you on the flip side.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bad Dizziness

Today I had another in a long line of instances wherein I succubmed the dastardly effects of the common cold on my inner ear. I awoke this morning to a spinning room and loud ringing in my ears. It was a nasty case of bad dizziness.

This used to happen rather frequently. In fact, I remember one time where the diziness got so bad that I passed out and throw up on the floor. The life of The Sasquatch is not a pretty thing.

Shortly thereafter, I wrote a series of short stories which I called "Reports from the Afterlife." In these fantasies, my diziness had taken me to the brink of death. I made it down the long tunnel and into the garden that leads to the entrance of Heaven, where St. Peter stands guard over the Pearly Gates like a bouncer, scolwing at everbody and constantly checking the ulitmate list of good versus bad. Rather than get in line, I chose instead to interview those who had gone the distance and died. Afterwards, I would return to my body and share their stories with the world.

This is one of those stories. Read More

*** *** *** *** *** ***
Today I met a man named Herbert Stevens in the garden just past the long tunnel of light before the entrance to Heaven. Herbert was the owner of a small, family deli in New York City until just recently when he died of a heart attack while making his signature Reuben sandwich for a young couple out on a date. The couple stood in shock next to the counter for several minutes before calling the police and this is why Mr. Stevens is no longer among the living.

Herbert was an avid baseball fan for most of his life, and he was particularly upset to pass away in the middle of what seemed like yet another Yankees championship season.

“I grew up watching the Yanks in the 50’s and 60’s when they had Yogi Berra, Roger Maris and the mighty Mick,” he said. “I was with them through the 80’s when Steinbrenner took over and ruined ‘em, and just when they’re getting good again, building up another dynasty and whatnot, I go and kick the bucket.” He spat on the ground, drawing a long and rather unsettling look from St. Peter and the crowd next to the gate at the entrance to Heaven.

“It just isn’t fair!” he said. “I had tickets to the 4th of July game against Boston!”

“You didn’t miss much,” I told him. “Wells gave up six homers and the BoSox won by almost ten.”

“Hey, you think I could maybe, you know, follow you back down that tunnel when you leave?” he asked. “I gots me some season tickets. I’d give you one every now and then. You know, like it was both of ours or somethin’.”

“I don’t know. I’m not much of a Yankees fan.”

“Not a Yankees, fan! What the hell’s the matter with you?” He was starting to yell, drawing attention from several new souls waiting in line to enter Heaven and a few angels in the front who stood processing the new entrants.

I slid to the end of the bench, and tried to look at something else. “Quiet down, man. You don’t wanna get St. Peter mad at you.”

“I’ll be as loud as I want, you good for nothing piece of elephant shit. If you ain’t a Yankees fan, you ain’t nothin’.” He spoke even louder, like a Southern Baptist minister leading the congregation through the heights of a glorious hymn on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

“The Yankees aren’t just the best team in baseball, they ARE baseball. The history of our country is defined by the happenings in Yankee Stadium. Great men have made and lost their fortunes on the backs of Gehrig, Ruth, and DiMaggio. The Yankees are all that was great with America, and all that is great with the world. And if you can’t see that, you ain’t worth a piece of gutter trash blowin’ through the streets of Brooklyn.”

Just then two large and mean-looking angels grabbed the man under his arms and quickly dragged him through a door that read “Reprocessing Center.” The door was brown around the edges, and it had a glowing red handle.

A third angel came over and spoke in a business-like tone. "What was all that about, sir?”

“We were just talking about baseball, and that man got a little excited when I told him I wasn’t a Yankees fan.”

“He was a Yankees fan?” the angel asked, a bit surprised.

“Apparently,” I said. “Does that mean something?

“Well, we usually send Yankees fans to the other place as a general rule, but sometimes they slip through. They’re a tricky lot, you know.”

“You mean ALL Yankees fans go to hell?” I asked.

“Baseball is serious business up here,” he said, “and they don’t call them the Damned Yankees for nothing.”

We looked back to the door as the two burly angels came back to the garden. There was a hint of smoke rising from the tips of their wings. Herbert Stevens, formerly of New York, was no longer with them.

“So, friend,” the business-like angel said as he turned to me with wide smile full of the brightest teeth you had ever seen. “What's your favorite team?”

“That’s easy,” I said without missing a beat. “The Anaheim Angels.”"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

No Work December!

Holidays mean a lot of time off. I only work three days this week. two the next next, and only three days the week after that. Through it all, I will use exactly zero vacation days. There are several things I do not like about my current position, but the schedule is certainly not one of them.

Bomb Goes Off At Cincinnati Mosque

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:
A bomb exploded outside a door at the Islamic Association of Cincinnati Mosque on Clifton Avenue Tuesday night, police said. No one was injured, but several streets in Clifton’s Gaslight District were blocked as investigators and bomb-sniffing dogs scoured the area for clues.

People are idiots.

The Fat Man Misses A Golden Opportunity

This post was written without the aid of corrective visual lenses. This si why there are so many mistakes.

It’s 2am and I’m still awake. I’ve been up since 5:30 this morning, and I feel as though I have done nothing. Sure, I went to work. I even did work at work today for a change. Sure, I went to the gym after work and ran on the treadmill for 45 minutes. Or, rather, I walked/ran for 45 minutes. My Demon Knee ™ started burning after a while and I had to slow down.

Ten minutes into the jog/walk fun, a couple of ladies in tight spandex jumped onto the treadmills next to me and proceeded to being their workout. They were young and in relatively good shape, and they joked with each other as they ran. After a while, however, they grew silent. The sudden change in ambient noise drew my attention and I looked over. They had matched my speed and every few seconds, they glanced quickly in my direction to see what I was doing. I laughed to myself and sped up a bit.

For those of you who don’t know, I used to have crazy high blood pressure. Back when I was pushing 400 pounds, my resting blood pressure was around 180/120, and I still find it amazing that I haven’t had a heart attack or a stroke. In fact, I had to take the maximum blood pressure pills allowable by law for several years in order to keep such a thing from happening. When I started losing weight, my blood pressure dropped substantially. They continually cut back the medication to the point that I had to stop taking it. This played havoc with my system for a while. I actually passed out from low blood pressure one day and later, when I woke up (luckily), my dad drove me to the doctor, where I found that my bp was 90/45.

There is no such thing as a happy medium with me.

The lasting result of all this is that getting my heart rate up to the point where I can get a good cardiovascular workout is a monumental task. It also means that I get drunk very easily, which is why I usually have either 1 to 2 drinks in a sitting or far, far too many. My limit is low and once I pass it, I ain’t stoppin’.

Here’s an example of what it takes to get my heart going. Shortly after they took me off the bp medication, I had yet another bout of crippling dizziness. My doctor wanted to be sure it wasn’t heart related, so he sent me to the hospital for a battery of tests. One came back stating that I’d had a “silent heart attack” some time in the past six months. This didn’t make sense to me because the day before the dizziness started I had hiked 12 miles over rough terrain in the hot summer sun. Heart attack victims don’t tend to do such things. They sent me to a cardiovascular specialist for an extensive stress test (it took four hours) to see what was going on. Part of the test included having to walk on a treadmill in order to get my heart up to the point where it was “stressed” enough to run the test. I was on the treadmill for fifteen minutes, running at a sprint on the full incline and my heart rate only got up to 140 bpm. They ran the test and, of course, it came back negative for a heart attack.

It turns out that the dizziness was the beginnings of the Exploding Eyeball Syndrome and resulted from an incorrect prescription for my contacts.

So today, at the gym, when the two young ladies increased their speed or angle of inclination on the treadmill, I inched a little further ahead. They were young, hot, and in shape and they couldn’t keep up with the fat, bald slob next to them. I would laugh at the situation if it weren’t for the fact that such a physical anomaly is likely to come back and bite me in the ass later in life.

Plus, I did not parlay the situation into an opportunity to get to know either of said hot women better in an attempt to possibly ask one of them out. I am too chicken for that. Also, I later went to the weight benches and embarrassed myself in front of a 13 year old who was lifting at least 30 more pounds than me.

But so what, eh? It’s been a long time and you have to start somewhere, right?

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Return to Normalcy?

"At Globo Gym, we're better than you. And we know it!" - White Goodman

I visited the doctor this week in response to the ear monster episode, and even without the earache the results were less than pleasant. It seems I have gained fifty pounds since graduation. That's a little more than three bolwing balls. Or a skinny fifth grader. Or maybe even that collection of unread newspapers your lazy assed neighbor left sitting on his porch. Fifty pounds; such is the aftereffect of a love affair with pizza.

I sat at my desk this morning, dreaming of the days when I had time to go outside and walk for hours on end. Back when I was in college, after I got on the whole weight loss kickand went from an elephantesque 360 to a anorexic-elephantesque 238, I used to walk everywhere. I would do a mile or so in the morning to wake up, then another two miles across a hilly landscape during my lunch break (at 9:00pm, it was second shift), and then a full four and half miles when I got home just after midnight. That doesn't include walking between classes and at work. The last time I went for a walk around here I almost got run over by a car, and it was so cold outside I had to run back home to avoid catching frostbite on my head where my hair used to be. I then proceeded to trip over a sewer grate, and ended up spraining my ankle. But today, as I sat imotionless in my cube, I dreamt of endless walks through miles of wooded sidestreets and brisk walks up large hills that made your heart race and your head so damp. Yes. I actually dreamt of exercising today. You see, for those of us who exercise on a regular basis (or, in my case, used to), it can become addictive. You have those first few minutes of resistance, and then the endophins kick in. Then you're sky high, on top of the world, and nothing can get you down.

Except maybe a sewer grate. But that goes without saying.

So today I gave in and purchased a membership at Lifetime fitness. They're open 24/7 and the closest location is across the street from work. They have a million treadmills, weight benches, exerbikes, saunas, and elaborate cable machines that specialize in working obscure muscles I never knew existed. And, most importantly, they have hot women in spandex! (Did I just say that out loud? YES!)

I don't know if I'm going to loose weight. That will also require that I change my eating habits. I'm just glad that I finally have something to do other that sit at home and wade the webernet on my computor box. And at least with this I don't have to worry about getting run over by a car.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Earache - or - Two is too many

So, like everybody else, I am sick. But unlike everybody else, I am SICK. I use the capital letters to denote a level of sickness which has thus far required a trip to the emergency room and a brush with death due to an overdose of pain medication coupled with my inherent stupidity.

Here is the story.

As last Thursday progressed from morning to afternoon to early evening, as I watched the sun dance across the tiny patch of sky I can see from my cubicle, I could feel it. My right ear went from perfectly healthy and somewhat hairy to completely blocked and filled with gunk. I noticed a tickle around 8:00am, and by 10:00 or 10:30 that tickle had progressed into a light weight; enough to make my head lean a bit to the right, giving me a skewed perspective on the world around me. At this point, I was still able to deny the impending doom, thinking that perhaps a large and unsightly ball of wax had settled into my ear. This happens from time to time, and the strange, itchy sensations therein usually disburse by mid-afternoon. They did not disburse, however. They intensified.

When I got home from work there was little doubt. I had a nasty ear infection. IT worsened all day Friday to the point that I needed to take four aspirins every other hour just to take the edge off the pain. That evening, as I sat in the movie theater watching “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” (which was very, very good), my ear began talking to me. It spoke mostly in profanity and it sounded a lot like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

“Hey, b*tch,” it said. “What’s going on out there?” Not wanting to appear insane in front of the throngs of movie goers, I didn’t respond. My ear was persistent. It continued, this time in a much louder voice. “Hey! I’m talking to you, g*d d*mmit! Answer my m***er f**king question!”

“Shut up,” I said in a hushed voice. “They can hear you.”

“I don’t give a d*am if they do. I want them to hear me. I want them all to think you’re COMPLETELY F**KING INSANE!!!”

“Alright. Alright. What do you want?”
”I wanna know what the hell you’re doin’ out there.”

“I’m watching a movie,” I said in a pissed off voice. “Can you see that? “

“NO I can’t see it,” it said. “And do you know why I can’t see it?



“When then how the hell are you talking to me?”

“Nevermind that now. Not now. Not now. Just give me some aspirin and I’ll shut up.”

“Uhh..” I said, stammering. “That’s gonna be a bit of a problem.”

“What! “ my ear said, screaming at me.

“I don’t have any at the moment. You’re going to have to wait.”

“You want me to what, b*tch?”

“Wait. Just a little while. The movie’s almost over. See. Aslan just came back to life.”

“I don’t give a sh*t about no m**her f**kin lion, b*tch! I got some bacteria back here chewin on my m**her f**kin a*s, and you’re telling me to wait so you can see some dumba*s lion?”

”Boy, GIT up out yo seat and get me some drugs!”

The conversation went on like that the rest of the evening. Everyone in attendance fell in love with the movie almost immediately, and I was the only one who held reticent praise. This was due entirely to the fact that I had an incensed Samuel L. Jackson eardrum screaming obscenities at me throughout the entire movie**.

On Saturday, I awoke to a vague dizziness. I imagine that Mr. Jackson had tried to make an escape in the middle of the night, leaving the passageway to my inner ear swollen shut and a trail of blood which pooled near the entrance. I could hear his screams as whatever monster that now inhabited my inner ear ate him alive.

My dizziness deepened and multiplied into a various assortment of aches and pains, and a red hot fever descended from my scalp, making its way past my head to the shoulders and the middle of my back. Samuel L. Jackson expired shortly after noon and the monster continued his hungry path from the inner canals of my ear towards what I believed to be my brain. I believed that by the next morning no grey matter would remain, and I would become a brainless, overheating machine of pain, bent on world destruction.

That evening the friends who had so recently joined me in viewing “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” had planned a fancy dinner, along with Secret Santa presents and haughty discussion on a plethora of relevant social topics. Originally it sounded like fun, but now it sounded like hell. Having looked forward to it for well over a month, however, I decided to attend.

The dinner started off well enough, and I made halfway through the salad (which I had purchased earlier that morning while stumbling through Giant Eagle, pretending not to be an alcoholic or a zombie), but when the smell of the main course hit my nose, I knew it was time to leave. The monster in my ear had given birth to a host of new creatures which now lived in various strategic locations throughout my body. There was the three headed beast of Hedramicus which took residence in my head, ramming its large, spike-laden shoulders against the inside of my cranium. There was the enormous mountain creature, Nob’Reetha-ng, which had wrapped its fibrous tentacles around my lungs, constricting my ability to inhale oxygen. And there was the vicious Pas de Stomache, which had set up a small fiefdom in my stomach and intestinal tract and was threatening to evict the residents through each of the primary exit points. Each of these dastardly creatures was governed, of course, by the dark entity which still sought to engorge itself on my ear on its way to my brain.

Before the beasts took over, however, I made my move. I left the party and headed straight for the local hospital, where the attending nurses quickly catalogued me, wrapped three bracelets around my left arm, charged me their exorbitant fees, and left me sitting in a room with the promise that, “the doctor will be along any moment.”

Four hours later, after having fallen asleep and woken up on the floor, the doctor returned. She took one quick look at me, called upon the vastness of medical knowledge she had gained through years of painstaking study and experience, and said, “You, sir, have a cold and an ear infection.”

“Thanks,” I said, not trying to hide the sarcasm.

“Here is a prescription for Vicodin!” she said.

“THANKS!” I said, not trying to hide my excitement.

I made my way out to my car in the blistering wind. The team of monsters within me groaned their disapproval.

”We will fight,” they said. “We will never give up!”

“Go ahead and try,” I said. “I’m willing to eat this whole bottle, including the plastic” The ydid not respond and, when I got home, I quickly took a pain pill and popped the extended edition of “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” in the DVD player, thinking I would be fast asleep on the couch before the movie ended.

But there was a fatal flaw to my plan. After an hour and a half, or just about the time the battle of Minas Tirith was hitting its stride, nothing was different. My ear still screamed, My stomach still churned, and my head threatened to topple under its own weight.

I read the bottle again. “Take 1 or 2 pills every four to six hours as needed,” the instructions said. Oh, I thought to myself. One or TWO pills. I’m a big guy; therefore I need to take two pills. So I took a second pill and settled in again at the start of the movie, this time assured in my belief that I would awake on the couch the next morning, happy and comfortable.

Darkness washed over me. Strange dreams and foul thoughts toyed with my fancy, and very real manifestations of the demons inside chased me through long, dark tunnels in an unknown city on an unknown world. Loud, fast music blared all around, as though it was part of the environment; like air; like water; like existence. In one part of the time that lapsed between that moment when I last remembered the comfortable movie and when I again regain this plane of existence, I remember being chased by a creature that was half Gollum, half Orangutan, and half Cthulu (yes, there were three halves) which chased me through the watery depths of the unknown city, screaming its incessant music and shining a deep, penetrating spotlight, which prickled my skin and cast strange shadows on the waters around me.

I awoke sometime later in cold water. It was cold. I was naked. I was shivering. It was very very bright. I felt like I was swimming, even though I knew I was not under water.

My senses returned and I realized where I was. I had passed out in the bathtub after having turned on every light in the house and increased the television to full volume. The last moments of “Return of the King” blared at a million decibels throughout the house, shaking the walls and causing ripples in the water. The second vicodin had done the trick with a much greater intensity than I had intended. I was still woozy, but my mind was with me.

I got dressed, turned off each of the lights and the television, and went to bed.

I have wondered about that night for quite a while. Was it merely a drug-induced haze coupled with a weakened state that left me senseless, or had I taken part in some strange battle against the forces of evil which had fought valiantly for control of my being? I may never know. All I know is that the monsters have subsided for now.

Well, that and taking two pills, even if the instructions tell you do so, is never a good idea.

**I saw the movie again this week, once the earache had abated, and it was wonderful.

Make Your Ears Bleed

You may think you have heard the worst band in the world. But you haven't. Go here.

Life At This Moment

Monday, December 12, 2005

No Work Monday

It's been a while. We hope you're enjoying all sorts of family fun this holiday season.

Friday, December 09, 2005

On The Ball

Here's something funny. I just got a voucher for free tickets to a basketball game at the University of Cincinnati, my alma matter. They wanted to congratulate me on my recent graduation. I graduated two years ago.

Oh well. As the old saying goes, you can't spell SUCK without UC!

Pointless Essay #1: Left and Right

Have you tried to have a political conversation in the past few years? Or better yet, have you tried to have any kind of controversial discussion? Did you hear something on television or read something in the news that pissed you off, and then spout off to the person closest to you, attempting to engage in a little spontaneous discourse? Did you go to a family gathering and grit your teeth while your crazy uncle whats-his-face raged against the “pinko commie leftists” or the “brainless redneck conservatives?” Did you decide that this was the last time and finally throw your hat in the ring?

What happened? Did it go well?

If you’re like me, chances are it didn’t. I imagine it was somewhere around the time you got punched in the face or fended off incensed family members with a broken chair leg in the inevitable steel cage match portion of the family reunion when you realized that something was wrong. Something wasn’t working. You started with the best of intentions. One minute you were trading points and defending ideologies like a college professor and the next minute you were the star of COPS as the police dragged your drunk, shirtless ass out of a trailer while you screamed that they had it all wrong.

You get the idea.

Here’s a good example. There’s an apparent feud between David Cross, the comedian from “Arrested Development” and “Mr. Show,” and Larry the Cable Guy, the comedian from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour (a.k.a. “the annoying good ‘ol white boys of comedy”). This rant from Dave is equal parts everything that is right and everything that is wrong with how we approach conversation, political or otherwise, here in America.

Apparently Larry, who isn’t from The South ™ and whose name isn’t really Larry, caught a clip of an interview Dave had given to Rolling Stone Magazine. In this interview, David Cross gave his opinion of Larry the Cable Guy’s comedy and how it was indicative of some scary social norms that have come to light in recent years.

“He's good at what he does. It's a lot of anti-gay, racist humor -- which people like in America - all couched in 'I'm telling it like it is.' He's in the right place at the right time for that gee-shucks, proud-to-be-a-redneck, I'm-just-a-straight-shooter-multimillionaire-in-cutoff-flannel, selling-ring tones-act. That's where we are as a nation now. We're in a state of vague American values and anti-intellectual pride."

And Larry The Cable Guy responded thusly:

“...according to Cross and the politically correct police, any white comedians who mention the word 'black' or say something humorous but faintly negative about any race are racists."

David’s response was to write the rant I linked above. He makes some good points in it, too. Larry does have racist comedy in his act. The examples he included attest to that. But Larry hints at something greater. Nearly every comedian has racist or, depending upon your interpretation of semantics, overtly prejudicial humor in their act. If you don’t believe me, turn the channel to BET and count how many black comedians make a career out of the “you know what pisses me off about white people?” schitck, or go back to Comedy Central and see how easily people rip on Latinos or Asians or whatever. Or you can go back two paragraphs and read these words, straight from David himself, the man who so recently expressed righteous indignation:

“I cut my teeth in the south and my first road gigs ever were in Augusta, Charleston, Baton Rouge, and Louisville. I remember them very well, specifically because of the audience. I remember thinking (occasionally, not all the time) "what a bunch of dumb redneck, easily entertained, ignorant motherfuckers. I can't believe the stupid shit they think is funny." So, yes, I do know your audience, and they suck. And they're simple. And please don't mistake this as coming from a place of bitterness because I didn't "make it" there or, I'm not as successful as you because that's not it at all. Since I was a kid I've always been a little over sensitive to the glorification and rewarding of dumb. The "salt of the earth, regular, every day folk" (or lowest common denominator) who see the world, and the people like me in it, as on some sort of secular mission to take away their flag lapels and plaster-of-paris Jesus television adornments strike me as childishly paranoid.”

Comedians make a living saying the things we can’t. This is good. There is nothing wrong with black comedians making fun of white people, and neither is it wrong for Larry to rip on “towel head camel fuckers.” These statements are obviously in poor taste for normal conversation, but their use in a comedic setting helps us to find a bit of levity in what is otherwise a tense arena. Many in these comedians' respective audiences likely agree with the comments they make, but I think the majority, including the comedians themselves, realize that it’s just a joke and move on.

Dave’s right. It’s not good comedy. It’s easy and it’s played out. A good comedian like Lewis Black (who is dynamite in a live setting, by the way) ,or George Carlin, or to a certain extent Mr. Cross himself is a rarity. He is right. America does glorify anti-intellectualism. This is why “Wife Swap” has been given another season of play on Fox and good shows like “Arrested Development” are canceled.

The more interesting part of his rant, however, is this:

“I honestly believe that if we had worked a week together at whatever dumb-ass club in American Strip Mall #298347 in God's Country U.S.A and hung out that week and got good and drunk after the shows, that you and I would've been making each other laugh.”

I like this and not only because it’s true.

I get the sense that a large part of the divisions in America stem from our inability to find common ground. We spend so much time trying to score a point against the opposition, whether logical, comedic, or otherwise, and we forget that each of us shares the same goal.

Take politics for example. It’s been over a year since the 2004 Presidential election and we’re still deeply divided. Emotions are still raw. This division isn’t something as simple as the few hurt feelings and bruised egos that naturally come after a loss in such a close election, either. They're greater than that. In today's America you are either a conservative or a liberal. You are either a Democrat or a Republican. There is no in between, no third or fourth option, and there is no escaping from the oversimplified and negative caricatures each side thrusts upon the other.
Democrats kill innocent babies. Republicans hate women. Conservatives are blinded by creepy Jesus-ness. Liberals are plotting to secularize the minds of our youth. Democrats hate white people. And Republicans are all closet members of the KKK.

And so on.

When you openly label yourself you paint a picture that carries much more weight than a mere thousand words. Call yourself a conservative or a liberal and immediately people make 500 assumptions about who you are, where you’re from, what you do for a living, and what you believe. That is normal. What isn’t normal is that these assumptions are likely negative. In today’s society you are defined by this mould, and there is no breaking out of it.

In a recent conversation with a group of conservative friends, I expressed my dismay at the apparent disregard for environmental issues in the Republican party. Very quickly, I was denounced as a radical leftist and asked to defend my alleged adherence to pro-choice philosophy, anti-war beliefs, outlandish feminist politics, and a generalized hate of all things American.

A short time later, I spoke with a group of people about the nomination of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court (this was before his confirmation and instantiation as Chief Justice). One woman stated that his ultra-conservative stance on nearly every importnat issue was quite scary. At the time, I had seen little regarding his opinions either way. So asked the lady how she had come to this conclusion. I was immediately attacked. I was called a right wing nut job and a racist. I was told that I hated poor people, and that I was a shill for the Bush Administration. One person, I believe, came close to spitting on me.

Nobody took the time to actually respond to what I had said. In either situation. It was merely assumed that because I believe in public policy that protects the environment, I am the worst sort of Liberal. It was taken as a known fact that, because I questioned a popular idea, I was the epitome of the sort of brain-dead, redneck, flag-waving American David Cross apparently hates so much.

And I’m not immune to the stupidity either. I’ve had to backpedal and apologize for my own overgeneralizations on more than one occasion. A few of these situations have even put a strain on close friendships, which makes no sense to me because it is patently ridiculous to throw away several years of good fun over something as pointless as economic policy or one’s opinion of the establishment clause.

There is no common ground anymore. There is very little respect.

Another comedian I enjoy from time to time spoke on the subject in a recent HBO special. Chris Rock, in response to people’s increasingly divergent opinions on the 2004 Presidential election said, “Normal people can go both ways. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican either. I got some shit I’m liberal about, I got some shit I’m conservative about, and anybody who votes for someone based on their political party alone is a damn fool.” I’m paraphrasing, despite the quotation marks, but the sentiment is the same.

I think Chris Rock has it right. Nobody is entirely Democrat and nobody is entirely Republican. Political parties are nebulous in nature. They shift over time to take advantage of the rise in popularity of certain opinions over others. They are not all-encompassing, and to claim that you will always vote for the guy with the D after his name or that the lady with the R after hers agrees with absolutely everything you say is to also say that you don’t really understand the process. That’s like rooting for your high school football team. You do it because its easy, not because it makes sense. It’s rah-rah politics. It’s a popularity contest, and it accomplishes nothing serious or worthy of attention.

There are several things we can agree on. Each of us likes America, more or less, and we want to see it prosper. We can probably even agree on ideals like social justice and fiscal responsibility, too. It’s the application that bogs us down. We have the same goals in mind, just different paths. I think that if we took the time to get to know each other as individuals and not as the labels we so easily thrust upon each other, if we took the time to understand what a person thinks about a certain subject or a particular idea instead of inventing opinions in our mind, we’d find that there’s a great deal about which we can agree. The rest, I think, would fall under polite disagreements.

So, in order to foster understanding, and because I have nothing better to do, I plan to follow through on my previously stated plan to write a series of useless essays on things I think I believe. It is my hope that some of you out there, especially those with whom I’ve had pointless disagreements in the past, will gain some insight into what I believe. And if you disagree, feel free to state what you think. Maybe then we’ll be able to find some common ground.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Who Dey!

Cincinnati 38 -- Pittsburgh 31

Friday, December 02, 2005


Fans of Super Mario Brothers, check this out.