Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Morning

It’s Friday morning and I can’t work. It’s not that I am incapable. It’s just that I really don’t want to do what I’m supposed to do today. All I want to do is sit here at my desk, surf the Internet and listen to Common through the fat headphones I found in the pile of crap my predecessor left when she moved on to other things.

I’ve never been much of a fan of rap and r&b, mostly because I’ve held strong to the belief that if you’ve heard one person scream about “bitches and ho’s” you’ve heard them all. This album is a bit different, though. Through the first few Mingus-inspired measures of the title song “Be,” to the inclusion of Umar bin Hassan from The Last Poets on “The Corner”, it’s a solid album, and it makes me wonder if there is more to the genre than what is commercially successful. It makes me wonder if there is a whole school of rappers out in the same vein as Nas, Mos Def, and muMs, people whose lyrics are based more on poetry and real life than the standard mindless chant you hear on the radio.

Don’t worry. I don’t like most popular music, not just rap. I believe the plague of midnlessness exists in all genres. It dominates, even. My mom says I’m a music bigot, but I’m not. I just don’t listen to bad music. What’s wrong with that?

** ** ** **

It’s raining again today. It’s been raining nearly every day for the last week and half. I’ve always wanted to live in Seattle. Now it seems that I do, except I don't get to look at the ocean.

** ** ** **

I put up a poster for the play yesterday, and slowly but surely people stopped by to ask what it was. I told them it was a play I had written and that even though I am a terrible actor, I’m going to actually be IN the play. I told them they were all welcome to attend, if they like, but that I cannot be held responsible for the sudden and violent urge to vomit after listening to me warble like a three headed chicken onstage. They laughed and said that, after my reading of Young Goodman Browne a few weeks ago, they were sure I’d do fine.

I warned them. That’s all I can do, really.

** ** ** **

If you’re having a bad day, watch this and smile.

Monday, May 15, 2006

City of Boulder, CO To Institute Newspeak

Citizens encouraged to turn in neighbors for telling bad jokes. "Finally we have the freedom of controlled language," say city leaders.

From the Denver Post, by David Harsanyi:

There's a famous joke that goes like this: What's the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother? Eventually, the Rottweiler lets go.

Now, some Jews may find that joke offensive. I don't. But if you're insulted, and you live in Boulder, you're in luck. Soon enough, you may be able to report me to the authorities.

Tuesday, the Boulder City Council will take up the matter of allocating public funding for a "hate hotline," which would give residents an opportunity to report incidents in which Boulderites use tactless language.


So, it seems that since purifying our thoughts is still beyond technology's reach, Boulder will now attempt to achieve politically correct speech codes in other ways.

The council should realize, however ugly it may be, Americans still have the constitutional right to be racist, homophobic, Jew-hating or even to make bad jokes - as anyone who's heard the one about the redneck who invented the ejection seat on the helicopter can tell you.

Round them up and send them to the Ministry of Love. Maybe they'll lose their minds when they run into Michael Palin wearing a creepy baby mask

Friday, May 12, 2006

Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

This post is going to be about baseball, just so you know.

When the season started, I was skeptical. The Cincinnati Reds haven’t had a good team in almost 6 years and they haven’t threatened to have a serious shot at post season play in over a decade. They have a good offense, sure, and they have had a few decent pitchers over the years, but for the past couple of seasons they seem to have lacked that extra “something” that turns a good team into a great team.

The Reds have done well this season, but the question of legitimacy has sat at the back of my mind throughout all of it. They’ve started well a couple of times, and one season they even made it to the All Star break in first place. But each year they fall apart. They loose a couple of close games, they loose a couple more, and before you know it management has traded your favorite players to Pittsburgh for a bag of Doritos and a six pack of Iron City Ale (which sucks, by the way).

Last night the Reds’ de facto ace, Bronson Arroyo, was on the mound and he was stellar. He pitched eight innings of shutout baseball with 8 strikeouts and only 1 or 2 walks. He got a little wild in the eighth inning, so they took him out in the ninth and sent in the closer, David Weathers, with a one run lead. He promptly gave up a run to send the game into extra innings.

The Reds were deep into the bullpen with their fourth pitcher by the eleventh inning, and things weren’t good. White gave up a homerun to Nick Johnson, and the infield followed that up with a series of blunders that let the Washington Nationals take a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

It was getting late and I was tired, so I went to bed without watching the bottom of the eleventh. There was no way they could pull it out, I thought. The Reds were doomed. That’s it. Game over. Zip up your fly.

So, imagine my surprise when I checked the newspaper this morning and saw that the Reds came through in the bottom of the inning to win 5-4. The winning hit was a three run homerun by Ken Griffey Jr. who, before last night, had been on the disabled list for over a month. I imagine it was very exciting.

The Reds are certainly not the best team in baseball, and they do have a lot of questions; most notably the bullpen. But I’m beginning to believe that they finally have the confidence it takes to win. It probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but it does to me.

It’s a nice feeling.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Strange Thing

A funny thing just happened. I walked across the street to visit my drug dealer (aka the people who sell Diet Mountain Dew and Orbitz cheweing gum, which I use to mask my Tourette's-induced facial tic), and on the way back I heard the whistling solo from the song "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon. I was reminded of the scene in The Royal Tenennbaums where Gene Hackman's character at the kids dart across a busy New York street, enjoying the warmth of a fun summer day. I had the sudden urge to dart out inot traffic and put my cares to the wind. Just then a city bus blasted through the intersection in front of me at no less than 50 miles per hour.

It's a good thing I'm not impulsive.

Pagoda. Where's my havelina?

Pointless Essay number (previous plus one): Abortion Ideology

I recently discussed the issue of abortion with somebody, and I was left with the distinct impression that he had made up his mind about me and my opinions and my reasons for holding the opinions that I do well before the conversation started. I suspect he had made up his mind about me well before he even met me. In response to this person, all I have to say about abortion is this:

*** *** *** *** *** ***

Quick. Tell me your opinions on abortion. Go ahead. Right now. Tell me. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Pro-death or anti-choice? Which is it? Make up your mind right now and tell me. Quickly. Let me know. It’s easy. All you have to do is say whether you think abortion ends a life or whether you believe it is just a ball of lifeless flesh that a woman should be able to get rid of without provocation from outside influences. It’s a simple decision, really. Do you believe that killing babies is ok or do you want to force women into pregnant servitude? It’s not a big deal. Just make up your mind which camp you want to be in and relay that information to me so I can conveniently compartmentalize your entire thought process into a simple box which I will lovingly and gently smash into teeny tiny little pieces for being the exact polar opposite of everything I believe. You are wrong, whichever decision you make, and I will ridicule you forever for your stupidity and heartlessness and small mindedness. So make your decision. Go ahead. But remember, whichever decision you make, it is wrong. Because you are a bad person no matter who you are, and I don’t really care about abortion, women’s rights, the life of the child, the people involved, the emotional impact, or the far reaching societal consequences of this momentous decision. All I care about is how much I hate you. So make your decision. And do it quickly.

There is a lot more blood to spill after yours.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Atheist Test

It's not exactly true, but there are parts of it that are dead on. ..
    The Pyrrhonian
    The results are in, and it appears that you have scored 44%...
    Quietly confident and aloof, the Pyrrhonian recognises that religions exist and that people subscribe to them, but manages to keep well out of it all. Pyrrhonians came to the realisation long ago that all matters of faith are beyond the scope of reason or argument, and thus retains a clear-headed skeptical approach to religion in general. They refuse to place belief in anything for which there is no proof, and regard the majority of theistic claims as irreconcilable. Leading a life of tranquility undisturbed by religious concerns, the position of the Pyrrhonian is enviable, if a little frustrating for others at times.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Decaffeinated Apocalypse

I was going to quit drinking caffeine today. I had it all planned out, too. I brought six of those Crystal Light drinks that were on sale at Kroger’s last night and I had a schedule worked out where I would have one bottle of Crystal Light and then refill it with water. This would last me most of the day, I calculated, and when I got home I would either drink a bottle of caffeine free pop or several glasses of water through dinner, play practice, and the remainder of the evening.

It’s a great plan, but it didn’t work out like I had hoped. You see, the bottle of Crystal Light was only 16oz as opposed to the 20oz bottles of Diet Mountain Dew to which I have become accustomed. I drank the first three at 8am, another one at 10 while I was at a meeting, and the last two I downed in conjunction with my lunch at noon. For the past two hours, I have sat at my desk, staring at the clock, thinking about how great it would be to have a cold bottle of Diet Mountain Dew to sip on. That’s when the headache started. It was small at first, just a tickle above my left eye, but it spread quickly across the left hemisphere of my now bald head where it currently sits, throbbing with each successive heartbeat.

So I went across the street to the Vietnamese Deli and purchased not one but two 20oz bottles of Diet Mountain Dew. The headache has lessened and if I’m lucky it will be gone by this evening, allowing me to focus on remembering my lines for the play (lest Abbie should decapitate me and feast on the remains).

All this caffeinated fun got me thinking. What would happen if there was a national emergency and suddenly we were without the niceties we currently enjoy? What if, for instance, all the power went out, or all the major us cities were destroyed in nuclear explosions? What if the Stay Puft Marshmallow man came for us all?

Those that weren’t killed in the original marshmallowy onslaught, would undoubtedly be confused for a week or so afterwards. Many would put aside their differences and band together as a community in a way similar to what we saw in the aftermath of 9/11 … for a time. Soon there would be food shortages. Soon there would be contaminated water. Soon the prescription medications would run out. Eventually, we’d all run out of our particular version of Diet Mountain Dew. And then were would we be?

I’m talking about disaster of biblical proportions. Old Testament, real, wrath of God type of stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together.

Mass Hysteria.

All because we’re too damn dependent upon Diet Mountain Dew. The sad thing is that I know all of this and yet I keep drinking the stuff. Because when you get right down to it, Diet Mountain Dew is one tasty beverage!

And my city would likely be incinerated anyway.