Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mister Blogs Slightly More Than a Disinterred Corpse

So it's been a while since my last post, and I'm currently cooking up a more substantial writing, yadda yadda... Well in the mean time, I thought I'd share recent frustrations in the style of Budweiser's timeless marketing campaign, Real Men of Genius.

Here’s to you, mister doesn’t know how to eat chocolate and simultaneously maintain his dignity.

Look, I have a sweet tooth just as badly as the next person. But some people seem to lose their minds when indulging in their favorite confections. The slurred speech, the sultry demeanor, the euphoric eye-twitching… There’s no reason eating chocolate should transform someone into an orgasmic stroke victim. And why do people feel the need to converse with you while they’re unnecessarily prolonging each bite?

AMMMHMMAHMM… Ohmagaw… yu dunno how good thi ith…

Umm, pretty sure I do know. It’s chocolate, not some rare Nepalese delicacy. And we live in America. Pretty sure if you cut one of Uncle Sam’s varicose veins, it will bleed Hershey’s. Seriously, how can you still be surprised at how good chocolate tastes? Please cease and desist with all your When Harry Met Sally moments, because I’m just not convinced.

Here’s to you, mister unnecessarily loud Harley revving in public.

Nothing evokes masculinity like a middle-aged, leather-clad rebel without a cause. I’m still confused as to how you got your family of four to Taco Bueno, but regardless… Is it really necessary to rev your bike in public 7-8 times? I mean, once you turn the key, you should have all the confirmation you need that your engine is in fact running. You made it next to impossible to order from the drive-through the other day.

Yes, I’d like the #3 MexiDip and Chips with a Dr.N-N-N-N-NA-NYUH-NYUH!!!! Umm, sorry, that was a number 3, add a chicken MuchacN-N-NYUH-NA-NEGINA-NYUH-NYUH-NA-NYUH!!!!!!! Forget it, just give me tacos, burritos and a couple dri

Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the crotch rockets, and now I think I know why. I don’t think I could ever ride anything that sounds like a flatulent Greek god.

Here’s to you, mister and mistress inexplicably drawn to bald heads.

Let it be known that baldness does not come with a membership card. There are no secret societies, nor is there frequent fraternization of the follicularly challenged (to my knowledge). So why, tell me why, sir do you feel the need to solicit the chrome-dome camaraderie of me, a stranger? Understandably, it is New Years, and there have been many libations… Just because you are bald and I too am bald does not mean that we have some inherent bond or brotherhood. Therefore, it is unnecessary for us to discuss head shape and shaving technique, because we are not of the same tribe or clan. (Note: you may actually be affiliated with a certain Klan, in which case, we truly have nothing in common. I cannot help you prepare Molotov cocktails, nor am I skilled in etching Confederate flag prison tats.)

Likewise, ma’am… contrary to popular belief, bald heads do not yearn to be rubbed. It’s no crystal ball, no genie’s lamp. I don’t wake up every day secretly hoping my noggin will be fondled by strangely amorous women. Honestly, a simple handshake will do. A bald head is not a helpless, adorable puppy that demands to be doted upon. Awwww, loogadit! Loogada cute wittle bawld headsy-kins! Again, there is usually a certain level of imbibing that has taken place before a cranium grope, but not even lowered inhibitions are enough to excuse this strange infatuation.

Here’s to you, mister grievously deficient in phone etiquette.

While it has been of no consequence to me, sir, you have made it obvious that this telephone interview has been exclusively for your convenience. Over the course of our hour-long conversation, I have had the privilege of overhearing you chew gum, wake the baby with a chorus of clanging pots and pans, yell at the dogs to stop barking, flick your lighter at the first of what would be eight smoke breaks, the squawking of what I'm sure is a malnourished tropical bird, you now yelling at the children, the flushing of a toilet, and the crunching of something with the texture and timbre of Cornnuts. I must say, it has been an utter delight.

Your groggy response when you answered the phone raised the question as to whether you knew the day started before 1:30 PM. After having to compete with Bob Barker for your attention, I am certain that whereas I will carry out my workday in slacks and a button-up shirt, you will more than likely ride out the remaining daylight on your sectional in sweats. Let me assure you that the rest of civilization heretofore has been abuzz with all the telltale signs of life and productivity that consciousness affords.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Puke, I Am Your Father

Prior to the past two weeks, it had actually been some time since I'd (pardon the vernacular) blown chucks. But having to endure the recent inhospitality of a stomach virus, I find that memory did not serve me well. There are certain do's and don'ts with the art of throwing up. How does one throw up well? Here are a couple of reminders to help make the most of such an ignominious event.
1. Pause to pray - Piety works when you've incurred the porcelain god's wrath. It's best to lie prostrate, light some incense and play some Enya to soothe yourself in your blubbery contrition.
2. Pinch the nose - What's not fun? Puking. What's really not fun? Having to prolong the experience because you gave your nasal cavity a new coat of paint. I've heard that there are rare mythological creatures who don't projectile vomit from every facial orifice, but I have higher hopes of meeting a unicorn in person.
3. Disrobe if possible - Nothing could strip you of more dignity than having to wear an unwelcome pity badge. Stock your workstation with a handy Tide pen, which incidentally, is not a handy writing utensil.
4. Double whammy - Given that your problems have escalated to the throw up / throw down combo, alternative means of collection may be necessary. Take a Saturday to peruse local garage sales for 70's Tupperware. Should they be necessary, your finds will be the perfect objects of disdain.
5. Stage an exorcism - Who needs split pea soup when you've got the real deal? Keeping a micro-cassette recorder around will help legitimize your metaphysical experience, and odds are your friends won't be able to distinguish your puke-speak from liturgical Latin.
6. Everyone's an artist - Purchasing a few canvases may just turn those chunks into bucks. Think SpinArt meets Jackson Pollock. "I call this piece, Gastrointestinal Abstraction. To your left, Technicolor Yawning."
7. Share the love - JK Rowling and Warner Brothers cinema have made it easy for us to share the joys of puking with others. A few vomit-flavored Bertie Bott's Beans surreptitiously placed in your friend's Jelly Belly dispenser will ensure an untimely spectacle for all to behold. But hey, it's far less malicious than ipecac in the maple syrup.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Short Fuse Chronicles - Pt. 3

Infomercials in general have become ridiculously insulting. Before now, I wasn’t aware that I couldn’t live without a blanket with sleeves. That's right, I'm talking about Snuggie™. It looks like it was invented by the Franciscan Monks of St. Flannel. I’m no genius, but here’s a little advice. If you’re having problems covering all your extremities, buy a bigger blanket. Or indulge in a few more degrees on the ole thermostat. Snuggie™ propagandists purport that you can now eat popcorn and change channels without exposing your arms to the threat of hypothermia caliber room chills. I say this speaks more to the poor circulation of an assuredly obese and couch-ridden populace. But like lotteries and other taxes on stupidity, infomercials never fail to cash in on the less than cerebral masses. I mean, honestly, has anyone ever said “wow!” over a sham?

And the Can’t-Live-Without-This-Piece-Of-Feces market has its celebrities too. The longstanding patriarch has been Ron Popeil, whose endless array of Crap-O-Matic inventions has littered the airwaves since the early 70’s. But now the new Sultan of Shit is none other than Billy Mays. This loud-mouthed Al Borland clone has unleashed a cornucrapia of wasted human ingenuity in the form of: OxiClean™, Mighty Mend-it™, Mighty Putty™, Orange Glo™, Kaboom™, Awesome Auger™, Vidalia Slice-It Wizard™, Mantis Roto-Tiller™, and Gator Grip™. And I love the timeless mendacity of the sales pitch Mr. SuperBeard employs. Act now, and you can get the Hercules Hook™ for only $19.95. But wait!!! If you call now within the next five minutes, you can get 48 more Hercules Hooks™ for the same price!! That’s like 7 hooks per wall in your home, and who couldn’t use that?? Why don't people use this ballooning technique in other areas of life? Probably because it would sound something like this... Mr. Ferguson... I'm sorry, I don't know how to tell you this, but... you're going to die within 24 hours... Nah, just kidding, you're not going to die. Yet, anyway. You do, however, have an aggressively malignant neoplasm of the brain, which gives you 3 to 4 months at best. Which is better than dying today, in my book, so... good news.

There is simply no excuse for the surge in dog movies the past few years. Not just heartfelt dog movies à la Marley and Me (NOT a date movie, FYI). No, I'm talking about the "talking pet" variety of dogsploitation cinema. I think it may have started with Milo & Otis, in which a cute tabby and pug, both with inexplicable British accents, detail their adventures outside the farm of their youth. And as they weather the toils of that merciless bitch Mother Nature to make it back home, we as the audience are supposed to draw some alleged parallels to the human condition, the cycle of life, blah blah blah. Then came Homeward Bound. Then the vehicle went completely south with Air Bud. Somehow, viewers are supposed to suspend disbelief and embrace the idea that a golden retriever can emancipate itself from its owner, cultivate enough skill to play basketball without opposable thumbs, and save the day and the championship by capitalizing on the "no anti-canine player" loophole in the rules. What makes it all worse is that Air Bud warranted 7 sequels. SEVEN. The latest being Space Buddies, an endless exercise in mind-numbing labrador puns. The very idea of talking puppies in weightless orbit is ridiculous on so many levels. What's missing is the realism and historicity of canine cosmonauts, i.e. Air Bud: Sputnik 2. Join Laika, the stray-come-soviet-stepping-stone-to-manned-missions as she leaves the cold abandonment of the Moscow streets for the cold abandonment of space! And the remote possibility of even accidentally viewing the latest installments, Hotel For Dogs and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, is enough to make me want to stab myself in the face.

James Bond once had me convinced that there was a classier if not sexier facet of alcoholism. The classic martini is comprised of gin and vermouth and is garnished with lemon peel or an olive. Bond put his signature spin on it, going for the vodka martini and iconically insisting that it be shaken and not stirred. But the king of cocktails has all but disintegrated with the advent of martini madness. First, the appletini started making waves at Chili's, Applebees, and any other establishment that serves fried onion petals as an appetizer. Now, it doesn't matter where you go, you will inevitably be bombarded with someone's improvisation of the drink, because apparently any fluid served in a conical cocktail glass constitutes a "tini." Be it a Chocolatini, pomegranate tini (or Pomtini), a Pickletini or a Jalapiñi (they exist). Fill a thimble with grain alcohol and you've got an Itty Bitty Teeny Weeny Tini. Hell, urinate in a salt-rimmed glass and you've got a Pisstini. Everybody has them and it's getting ridiculous. Martini bars have become all the rage in metro areas, as people have seen fit to consistently reinvent the wheel.

Hi, welcome to Tina's House of Tinis. How can I help you?

Yes, I'll have two Linguinetinis and a Cheesymactini, a Ricekrispietreattini for dessert... My throat's a little sore, so I'll have the Brothtini... a Sake To Me Tini... and oops, can't forget my baby... he'll have an Enfamiltini.

Speaking of offspring, since when were humans compelled to employ the reproductive methods of rabbits? Thus what now follows is an unabashed bashing of the media entity affectionately known as Octomom. (I think her real name is Greedy McFertilewench) Putting aside her blatant dependence on public assistance (they really are America's Octuplets) and her freakish resemblance to Angelina Jolie (also high on kid-rearing), Octomom strikes me as someone who is genuinely surprised that the birth of her children is overshadowed by the media's preoccupation with her complete and utter inability to care for them. And now with 14 mouths to feed, one has to wonder when reality will set in for this slippery breeder. Even with 18 kids, at least the Duggar family has seen fit to take things one placenta at a time. Whatever you make of their homestead, they're a testament to the efficacy of the "if it ain't broke" mission of colonial baby-making. Octomom's efforts invoke a completely contrary sentiment, that of "if it's broke, please don't fix it."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Concerning Celebrities, CDs, and Arts Degrees

So my friend Jacqueline inspired me to do an "Interview Me" blog, if nothing else because my next post is only half-baked. After doing so, I think it's worth perpetuating, so comment me if you want to be interviewed!

1) Describe to those not cool enough to be "in the know" why it is that I call you Chicken Fetus.

You know, for someone who has a genuine appreciation for nicknames and who routinely doles them out on the unsuspecting… chicken fetus has been the one moniker that I will never live down. Flash back 10 ½ years ago (which reminds me of the immanence of a reunion sometime in the next 12 months), and yours truly was entering his senior year at Rotten Lawton High. To put it in context, Savage Garden, K-Ci and Jojo, and Chumbawamba were playing on the radio ad infinitum, and I had follicles on my noggin. Now, this being a time when teenage defiance and self-expression found its form in hair color, I thought it best to set the tone of my senior year by bleaching the bejeezus out of my hair. And I actually thought it looked cool or original. In actuality, I was a wife beater short of a Slim Shady clone. So even though I didn’t think the change was that drastic, my arrival to the first day of summer band proved that my Eminemorphosis was too much to take. Thankfully, I’ve always had friends that were honest enough to not let me get away with anything, but still, I was a bit jarred when my friend Justin Montgomery dropped the bomb:

Dude, what’s with the hair? You look… like a chicken fetus.

And with that one grand, emasculating coup de grâce, I walked into my high school halls with my tail effectively tucked. In retrospect, I believe my cosmetic blunder ironically sealed my balding fate. If I had any wisdom at that age, I would have seen that my already thinning hair was a sinking ship and in no condition to be fried to an otherwordly shade of piss. Better to nurture it with Selsun Blue or the foul-smelling Neutrogena T/Gel shampoo for a few years. This slice of humble pie was far from tasty. But I guess it garnered a few shared laughs at my expense.

2) What degree did you get in college, do you use it now, and do you ever regret not getting a degree in something else?

Oh the undergrad. Bachelor of Arts. Emphasis in Music and Ethics. If you’re raising your eyebrows in a collective Huuhhh??, just know that this is the appropriate response. Like most liberal arts degrees, mine afforded me very little material application in life. And honestly, when would these two fields of interest ever converge in a vocation? Unless I was mapping out the moral depravity of vocal starlets for a living, I’m going to say they wouldn’t. While I rather enjoyed all of my undergrad studies, I have to concede that familiarizing myself with Renaissance areolas and ass cracks was nothing more than mental masturbation.

As to whether I regret not studying something else, I’ll unapologetically admit that I’d have preferred to have acquired a different skill set for the money that school costs. The world of academia is fickle, and there can be a huge disconnect between book smart and life smart. That is to say, I don’t think Medici family history ever came in handy when I needed to replace an alternator. Still, I can’t say that I would’ve changed anything. I’m no proponent of Chaos Theory, but I recognize that we are, as people, the summation of all of our previous choices and experiences. To try and go back and negate our missteps, I believe, would rob us of opportunities for growth and maturation.

3) What book has left the biggest impression on your life? What band/album/song has done the same? Why?

Wow. This one’s a toughie. Or is it toughy? As an aside, is toughie even a word? It sounds more like a failed infomercial product from Ronco. Toughie© – When the flooring gets tough, the tough get Toughie©! But I digress… No, the question is tough because I’m constantly cycling out my must-read and must-listen lists. So even though you asked for superlatives, I’ll give top 5’s and a brief justification for each.

Top 5 Books that you have to read, unless you suffer from some disabling impediment, in which case you should purchase the 26+CD audiobook

The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoevsky – I’m a sucker for classics. And this Russian literary wonder is chock full of family-churned drama. From Alyosha to The Grand Inquisitor to the trial, it’s all great, beginning to end.

Naked – David Sedaris – I rarely stumble across something that can literally make me laugh out loud. Before Naked, I never knew memoir could be so hilarious, even if it might be exaggerated. This is a must have if I’ve ever known one.

The Varieties of Scientific Experience – Carl Sagan – Thought-provoking, challenging, inspiring. Sagan reminded me that the mysteries of the universe should invoke awe and hope, not fear.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding – Maybe it’s because a new Lost season just started, but I’ve got islands on the brain. Contrary to Salinger’s school of thought, Golding makes a convincing case that, stripped of modern conveniences, brutality and corruption emerge from humanity’s primal state.

His Dark Materials Trilogy – Philip Pulman – Grossly misunderstood and misrepresented. Think for yourself. Read it and then form an opinion.

Top 5 CDs that you can’t live without, or at least without which you would live a languid existence

O – Damien Rice – One of the most amazing debuts ever. Except for the operatic closing of “Eskimo,” this is an emotionally raw handful of tracks.

The White Album – the Beatles – It’s difficult to pull a favorite out of the Beatles catalogue. I chose White because of its historical significance. Despite brimming over with creativity, you can feel the tension in the tracks as the Fab Four began to pull apart in different directions.

HAARP – Muse – Though I recommend all of Muse’s albums, I chose the live CD because it draws from all their material, and it showcases just how talented these guys are live. And the Prokofiev intro gave me chills.

Speak For Yourself – Imogen Heap – I mean have you not heard “Hide and Seek” by now? Seriously?

Diorama – Silverchair – After the melancholic opus Neon Ballroom, Daniel Johns emerges victorious after having battled his demons. It’s stunning, beautiful, and one of the few albums that I can listen to from start to finish.

4) Is there any aspect of your past that you wish you could have now?

Another time travel question. Without getting too sentimental, I’d most definitely spare a few loved ones some grief. I don’t personally think that there’s any circumstance that’s insurmountable. We only have the here and now, so I’m not the type of person to be haunted by the coulda woulda shoulda’s. But it would be nice to spend more time with the dearly departed.

5) By my estimations, you will be 28 on Feb 19. (If I'm wrong, please forgive me!) Do you feel old? Why or why not?

28 it is. Or will be. Old is a state of mind, I suppose. I’m finding that the things I used to hate about adulthood I now like. Whereas I used to run from responsibility and the daily grind, I now find solace in whoring myself out to management. (*note: I initially wrote “whoring myself out to the man,” but this added unintentional meaning to a simple statement about my work ethic.) But for the sake of prolonging an answer, I’ll indulge in a bit of good ole fashioned complainery. Growing up I never had any issue with allergies. But on the other side of 25, my years are now highlighted with an annual visit from grossly disfiguring bouts of rhinitis and edema of the eyes. I’ve never considered myself a looker by any stretch, but there have been days when I looked more like the Cryptkeeper than Mr. Clean. So I’d like to thank the flora kingdom for airborne pollen. Thanks to them, I’ll always have a vocational plan B ringing bells atop Notre Dame de Paris.

And, a bonus just because I really want to know: 6) Do you really remember me or are you just being polite, because our friend Matt can't seem to remember who I am. Go on, be honest - I won't get offended :)

Unlike some nameless Mormon, I do remember who Jacqueline is. I believe we made it to summer band practices via my decrepit ’89 Chevrolet Celebrity, which was understandably a celebrity in no one’s book. But it got us from A to B, and transportation at that age is a hot commodity, even if the manner and means are subject to rust and primer spots and frequent break downs!

Now it's your turn if you would like me to interview you just leave a comment and I will email you the questions! Here's the directions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Where a Kid Can Be a Juvie

There was a day when nothing excited me more than the prospect of a visit to Chuck E. Cheese. The promise of video games, pizza, tokens, tickets and a performance by the animatronic band on stage every half hour was enough to send yours truly into pre-pubescent squeals. So I was genuinely excited this month when our family celebrated my nephew’s third birthday at the one establishment that I thought could assure raucous celebration. I should have known better when we pulled up to what was evidently a Denny’s in another life.

A few steps in and we were greeted not with the gleeful merriment of childhood innocence but rather a barrage of acrid smells and shrill toddler discord. Probably due to the threat of an amber alert, a menopausal gatekeeper tagged every child and adult with a UV stamp. I suggested that she brand my ass, but the look on her face suggested that she was weighing whether it was worth losing $8.00 an hour to take me down a couple of notches.

I immediately noticed that things had changed in the 20+ years it had been since my own birthday romp with Chuck. Sure, there was still the surplus of bells, chimes and LED lights to send the younglings into euphoric delirium. But for me, adulthood has given way to a heightened awareness of germs and communicable disease, and I was immediately self-congratulatory of the decision to bring along a bottle of hand sanitizer.

With dawning awareness that I may have uncovered a lesser known 10th circle of hell, I consoled myself with the fact that food would soon allow my accruing rage to subside. That is, until we were presented with the hot garbage that narrowly slid under the parent category of "pizza." Here again is another example of how age has disenfranchised me with childhood experience. There's a reason that children always want to eat fried foods. Their nascent taste buds have little tolerance for anything that doesn't come in nugget form. If it's not colorful, noisy, salty or sweet, then there's little chance they'll take more than two bites. So naturally I didn't expect any objection from the kids, no matter how unpalatable our rations might be.

I, on the other hand, could not mask my revulsion when presented with the room temp trainwreck of tomato sauce, cheese and bread. It tasted like nothing less than a dish towel that Chef Boyardee used to wipe his crevasse. That anything that rancid could pass as sustenance was a culinary offense I'll not soon forget. But the optimist in me affirmed that despite a crippled economy, there's always an opportunity for a new shitty food enterprise. Welcome to CaCa's Pizza! Try our baked crapolini and feces bread!

If there were looks of unbridled excitement on every child's face, it was offset by their collective parents' morose and sullen countenances, each in full recognition that this was certainly not part of the 10 year post-high school plan. Each fatigued face bore the battle scars of incessant requests for more tokens. And yet, I found out that everyone has a coping mechanism. Whilst playing ski ball, some all-star dad next to me deemed it appropriate to dominate the basketball shoot-out game. Bleeding tokens, he played game after game, trying his hardest to outdo himself by sinking the most baskets before the 30 second timer ran out. It could have smacked of something other than chagrin, if it didn't seem like he was fueled by the paralyzing regret of being passed up for all-state 15 years prior. Add to that the fact that neither the ball nor hoop were regulation size, and there were no offspring in his proximity through which he could live vicariously. Truth be told, his competetiveness has more than likely alienated his sons, and they've taken up decoupage.

The unspoken consensus among all attendees over 17 was that it didn't bode well to tarry here in Munchkinland, a fact cemented by the relatively recent increase in parent on parent brawling at said establishment.

Shameless Battle o' Brooding Hens
An Octagon short of a new Spike reality show
"I'll have the pepperoni and black-eye pizza. Hold the suplex."
Mama-Bear Melee
"Happy Birthday, Miss Demeanor..."
The first rule of Fight Club is that you DO NOT cut in line at the ticket redemption counter

And if the finger wagging hasn't become searingly obvious, sit back and observe human devolution at its finest.

Leggo my Prego

Even Chuck himself doesn't appear to be immune to the mass loss of moral fiber. I suppose he pushes product with Geoffrey the Toys 'R Us giraffe, and after a bump or two they're both ready to beat Lucky the Leprechaun senseless until he hands over his pot of gold. Well with any luck, Mr. Cheese can score a stint on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. His namesake's consumers, on the other hand, can only be assured an appearance on COPS and tenure at the local county jail.