August 2005 Archives

welcome to the world, TBNL

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And at long last, we have the final, all-caps BOOM! of this summer's amniotic fireworks display, as Dorkass perpetuates her genes and thereby single-handedly sets human evolution back several epochs. I note that on this day, as on any other, all labor ceased before 3pm.

I have no name with which to greet the child, as her arrival one day after the due date caught her parents by complete and total surprise.

"What the Fucking Fuck?" awards 

  howard dean

Says the learned Democratic Party Chair:

"I think if we had a three-word message right now, it'd be We can do better."

get yer katrina headlines here

trine swirl.jpg

"What the Fucking Fuck?" awards 

  finish their thought

New Orleans resident Gail Henke:

"I'm not a religious fanatic. But God has saved us from the hurricane He sent that killed all those other people"

Former Steeler disappointment (and future Giants disappointment) Plaxico Burress, on Steeler fans' distaste for him:

"I was never really liked in that city. They just kind of based their perception off of what I drove and what I opposed what I didn't do, like charity work or catching the goddamned ball."

we're #1!

A reader just pointed out that this page is now the #1 ranked hit (out of 127,000) if you google "Percy Thelm@." I know many of you think those are pseudonyms, but they aren't. They're my neighbors' honest to goodness, impossible-to-believe real names. Which, sadly, means I need to throw Google off the trail. It's for this reason that Thelm@ will henceforth be spelled with that irritating character.

killer katrina

"Is it wrong of me to hope for the headline Katrina kills 112, rages inland?" I asked a friend last week. I've since snapped 20 or so such headlines. This is my favorite thus far:



I spend an inordinate percentage of my time driving below the speed limit.

Metamuville Road is about nine miles long and has few passing zones, and the resident ROWFs treat its posted speed limits as if that's the speed at which their engine will reach critical mass and explode. So yesterday, quite typically and very much against my will, I was driving 42 in a 55 and 21 in a 25. When I finally had a chance to legally pass the culprit, I did, and as I passed, he swerved into my lane to "scare" me. And then he followed me. I led him away from my house, of course, and into a housing development where I could circle around. Coming at me head on, he lunged left of center and made me slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.

I don't know where this sexagenarian is from, but where I'm from, you don't do this unless you want your ass kicked. I grabbed the club I keep beside my driver's seat, and I charged out of my car and toward his, foaming with rage and spewing profanity. I'm not sure what sort of conflict he was hoping to provoke, but the look on his face suggested that events had taken a decidedly unexpected turn. "WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!" I demanded.

"What's yours?"

"Nice retort. You pulled this stunt just for that?" I railed inarticulately about the legality of my pass and the illegality of what he just did. And then he started to speak. "Well, the way I see it--"

DEVELOPEDSENSESOFENTITLEMENT,DRIVINGSTUPIDAND WEARINGOUTMYEARS.GETOUTOFTHECARANDFINISHWHATYOU STARTEDORSHUTUPANDSTOPWASTINGMYTIME.JESUSCHRIST." Or words to that effect. I also vaguely remember predicting there'd be Geritol splattered all over his windshield, a line I've had ready for years and am most pleased to have finally had a chance to use.

Ironic that this all transpired within an hour of the below post.


On my commute yesterday morning, I saw a ROWF (Rich Old White Fart) driving a brand new, gas-guzzling Lincoln Continental with temp tags still on it, and the following bumper sticker:


Scenes like this are why I don't own a gun. (Besides, don't you mean you love their Social Security?)

cruising tunes

I've had this post loitering around for a while. I've been unable to finish it. It started out as an attempt to list my top ten favorite songs to play when driving, but creating a list smaller than 80 just became brutal. I know it starts with the Commodores' "Machine Gun," but then it gets hard. So instead, I'm going to list the songs guaranteed to enrage me when I'm stuck in traffic.

"Don't Worry Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin - Yeah, I know you hate it too, but it's actually inspired me to kick a car stereo so hard that I got my foot stuck in the resulting hole. Any list has to begin here.

"I Can See Clearly (now, the rain is gone)," Johnny Nash - The song that inspired this list. Ever wonder how some crap got on your iPod to begin with?

"High Five," Beck - It's like rusty drill-bit boring into my skull at 7 RPM. Although I echo the sentiment, I never make it to the part where the guy yells "Turn that shit off!"

"Slip Slidin' Away," Paul Simon - I haven't heard it since I moved to the Northwest, but every DJ back East thinks it's hi-larious to play this moldy oldie whenever it snows. A justifiable homicide in seven states.

"Hot Fun in the Summertime," Sly & the Family Stone - The opposite song. Oh, isn't it amusing to play this during gridlock on a sweltering summer day?

"When You Dream," Barenaked Ladies - A saccharine lullaby doth not exactly soothe the savage driver. It's salt in an open wound. This song once actually made me nod off behind the wheel. Driving drunk has nothing on driving unconscious.

"You Are the Sunshine of my Life" and "Overjoyed," (tie) Stevie Wonder - This could have been any number of Stevie's schlocky latter-day offenses, but these two aren't as obvious as "Ebony and Ivory" and "I Just Called."

public percy

A minor Percy note. Last week when he was working the Metamuville Community Crap-Swap Where Senile Old Geriatrics Buy One Another's Victrolas,* I was talking with the cable guy about installing cable broadband. We had a question for Percy, and Thelm@ went to fetch him. When told that I was getting cable service, he, annoyed, snorted loud enough for all to hear: "I thought that kid already HAD everything."

That's why I live here. I'm "that kid."

*Might not be its real name.

"What the Fucking Fuck?" awards 

  pat robertson

Pat Robertson on Chavez, yesterday:

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."

Pat Robertson to his viewers, today:
"I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' 'Take him out' could be a number of things, including kidnapping. There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time. So that I may better combat such media slanders, please send me large bundles of cash in nonsequential bills."

(Okay, I so made up the last sentence, but no more than the rest was made up.)

in defense of pat robertson

pats.jpgSome might think us strange bedfellows, especially after he prayed for the deaths of Supreme Court justices, but I have to throw my support behind televangelist Pat Robertson's call for the U.S. government to murder the Venezuelan dictator, Chavez. The liberal media is shrieking itself hoarse about illegalities and hypocrisies, but they should instead give Robertson credit for courageously sticking to the tenets of his faith. For doesn't the Bible tell us that:

"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus)

Oh. Wait. Wrong passage. I meant:
If...evidence of the girl's virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her father's house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy)

Crap. I meant:
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. (Exodus)

Hmmm. That's not even remotely relevant. But while we're digressing, here's my personal favorite, the justification for wives being subordinate to their husbands. Rarely do husbands asserting their biblical rights bother to quote the second part.
Wives, obey your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord. (Colossians 3)

Okay, back on task. Which is to say, back to killing Chavez:
Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged. (Deuteronomy)

Why, here's pretty much a blank check from God. Go to town, Pat!
Everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, will be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles)

I close with God's very welcome endorsement of male pattern baldness. Turns out He and I are of like mind on dealing with children, too.
While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. "Go up baldhead," they shouted, "go up baldhead!" The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the children to pieces. (2 Kings)

Can I get an "Amen?"


Last night I watched the National Geographic special on 9/11, which is disturbingly like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Every time the setting changes—and in the story about worldwide terrorism, this happens about every two minutes—we're treated to a Bruckheimeresque whip-zoom of a satellite map, complete with ominious rat-a-tat-tat percussion to drive home every cut.

"Hamburg, Germany"

It's complete schlock, right down to the grave, "Behind the Music" voice-overs while we watch terrorists' still photos flapping on flags. Puh-leeze.

• • •

I'm sick to death of the media's five minute attention span. Like seemingly every other retrospective on 9/11, this one shows us a bin Laden so consumed by his hatred of the United States, so proudly the architect of our pain, why he actually goaded us into invading Afghanistan so that he could kill some more of us. Am I the only one who remembers him vehemently denying involvement in 9/11 until the day he moronically boasted about it on videotape? Enough with the fairy tale. His famed courage of conviction developed only after he incriminated himself.


reader mail

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Okay, this is the second time someone asked about the filmstrip at right. No, I am not wearing blackface. Lord. Do you see the yellow stripe?

helmet.jpgThose pics are, in order: me outside Parliament in London; me inside Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, with Steeler-helmet face paint (see, it's not offensive—it's just moronic); me next to the evil bunny in Chicago; and Ed the dog.

The evil bunny is included pretty much just to bother Katrina, who on our trip to Chicago found this statue deeply disturbing. She entitled the photo of me and the bunny "Consolidated Evil." A better look at evil bunny:


arrested development

I couldn't sleep last night, so I turned on TV's smartest show (that I've seen, anyway) and was treated to a most surreal moment of television. It was barely noticeable. Two men and their attorney discussing a case while standing on a pier, and when the latter exits the scene to go to Burger King, he hops over a dead fish and is gone. It was a nothing moment, understated and not commented on, at most a curious bit of staging...except that the actor was a 60ish Henry Winkler and the dead fish was a shark.


So yes, some 28 years after jumping, on water skis, the original shark and thereby signaling his show's creative exhaustion, some 10 years after "jump the shark" entered the cultural lexicon, Fonzie is jumping sharks to signal another show's creative ascension. Cue "Circle of Life."

grating expectations

Reading this morning's news, I found myself thinking the same thing over and over: "what did you think would happen?" Whether it was a woman, now dead, who knowingly married a violent criminal; or a teen, now mauled to death, who posed with a white tiger; or a Jew, now evicted, who built a house on—of all places—the Gaza strip, I feel not pity, but resentment that their needless tales of woe are displacing actual news.

new church signs

I've added three new ones.

for terrell owens haters

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Man, you have to love the ingenuity of football fans.

the case for pseudonyms

If you google "Percy Thelm@," you get 134,000 hits. I'm number three.

prince uncharming

Minette, helping me pick out house colors:

"federal blue is sweet...charming...but it doesn't seem to suit your personality"

stupid thelm@ tricks

At one point last weekend, my house was clogged with furniture and boxes destined for a rummage sale, and I was simultaneously shampooing a rug, installing shelves, and ignoring wet spaghetti noodles oozing all over the kitchen counters and literally dripping down the cabinets and sink. The place looked roughly like coastal Indonesia. This is when I heard a knock at the door. It could only be one person.

"Hi, Percy."

Percy and Thelm@ (she with a camera in hand) had brought over the elderly woman who had built my house. They wanted a tour, and they wanted it right now.

"I'm sorry," I said. "The place is a wreck. If you give me 15 minutes, I can give you the whole tour."

"Don't bother," the woman sniffed. "I have to go." And they sulked off, Percy shooting me a dirty look over his shoulder.

What about our past relationship suggested that we're close enough for him to pop in without warning and show my house to strangers, I do not know. Oh, that's right. He's a geriatric old fuck with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. I keep forgetting.

• • •

Around the same time, I told Thelm@ I'm painting my house the same color as one two miles down the road. A few days later, having seen the color I said was my favorite out of the entire world of possible colors, she approached me. "I saw that house you talked about. It's much too dark, don't you think? It's ugly, don't you think?"

Woman, you don't wanna know what I'm thinking.

you heard it here first

On Saturday I installed new shelves in my guest room closet. To the right are the holes I drilled...forgetting that the sliding door was inside that section of wall.

house 002.jpg

Yep. It's not often that I get to add something to my Top Ten Stupidest Things I've Ever Done, but ladies and gentlemen, it's with trembling fingers that I proclaim this list-worthy. It doesn't nearly dislodge the time when I was 15 and was hanging curtains and I tried to get a little closer by standing on the back of a chair, thereby violently tipping the chair and sending me flying through a picture window...but then, that's a pretty high bar.

record records

Lance Armstrong's seventh straight win got me thinking about records that will never be broken, at least not in the lifetime of anyone reading this. (This post has been loitering for about two weeks, now, hoping that I would come up with more. I'm not.) Armstrong's seven wins, while unprecedented, aren't on the list. Other men have won five, so seven doesn't seem impossibly out of reach. With that as our metric, here's my list:

NBA, career assists, 15,806 (John Stockton) - 50% more than #2. Thanks to Stockton's natural gifts, his health (played in 1504 out of 1526 possible games), and a shameless homer stat-keeper in Salt Lake City, I think this one's out of reach.

MLB, home runs in a season, 73 (Barry Bonds) - Before the dirty steroids era, no one had apporached 61 in thirty years. Now that they test for steroids, this one's ridiculously out of reach. And, I might add, utter bullplop.

Television, longest running animated series (The Simpsons) - The Flinstones' old record was 166. The Simpsons will pass 400 next season, and they're still going, if not always going strong.

Sex, my personal record for times in one 24 hour period - It nearly killed me when I was in my 20s. It ain't happenin' again.

Film, biggest domestic box office, $1.3 billion adjusted (Gone with the Wind) - It's survived assaults by Star Wars, E.T., Titanic, and every other movie since 1939. With more people watching new movies at home instead of in the theatre, this one seems untouchable. Counting inflation, Titanic still rules $600 million to $461 million, and it seems that too will remain until inflation rises enough to knock it off.

speed bumps on their road to glory

A veteran of three births already, my mom thought she knew what to expect. You bear down and force the head through, and the rest of the infant's body squirts out. It's all about getting the head through. But not her fourth time.

"All right, Pat, the head is through! Good job!"

"Thank God."

"Uh, you need to push again."


"We seem to be stuck."

"What do you mean, 'stuck?' The head is the end!"

"Apparently this one's got shoulders."

And thus did I say a chipper 'ello, Mum! and rip her to shreds. She wouldn't be the last person I would maim.

• • •

I've long admired and resented men with long legs and graceful strides, the natural athletes. Such was never to be my destiny. I've got shoulders nearly as wide as my inseam is long. There's a term for a build like that: fireplug. It's not a compliment. When I walk alongside 6'4" Mark, I seemingly take seven steps for his every one. In my imagination, our strides sound like this:

John: dink dink dink dink dink dink dink
John: dink dink dink dink dink dink dink

In terms of athletics, my proportions are an advantage of sorts, but only in inglorious goon roles. In football, I'm an offensive lineman. In softball, I'm the catcher no one wants to charge. In soccer, I'm the fullback who will check your star wing and obliterate his knees. Basketball is probably the game I'm best suited for, but it's certainly not because I'm a scoring threat. Physics dictates that I do everything else: rebound, play defense, pass, and—most especially—set picks. When I set a pick, you stay picked. As d'Andre says, "There's no ‘battling through the pick.' There's ‘battling to eat solid foods again.' "

"I have no respect for that," the Approval Whore once snarked. She, although not exactly a keen sports mind, is hardly alone in that sentiment. But why? Are we fireplugs supposed to sit on the sideline "reading" Glamour, too? Are we supposed to play, but not use the only advantages nature gave us—in other words, to suck? Are we to pay homage to the fleet and agile by letting them score without challenge?

Utter nonsense. Buckle up, buttercups.

crystal ball

"I don't know why you cut your hair so short," Allie said—as always, mistaking me for someone who actually asked for feedback. "It's only now looking decent. And you should shave your beard off, too."

"Actually, I was thinking I might shave my head entirely. How do you think that would look?"

"Good god, no. Barry wants to do the same thing. It'd look awful. What is it with balding men your age wanting to shave their heads?"

Two words: Michael Jordan. When we're 80, men our age will still look to His Airness for our fashion cues. Now, I'll readily admit that my shaved head wouldn't look as good as Michael's, but the principle is the same: if you can't grow hair where you want it, take control of the situation. Be like Mike: nuke the entire site for morbid.

Or is that spite talking? Whichever, I'm thinking about it. Allie being so emphatically against it promotes it from mere "passing thought" to "life's dream."

bait and switch

Peeve: Chinese restaurants that hire Japanese or Koreans and think we won't know the difference. Might as well hire Swedes.

on dorkass

"All people know of me is 'comprehensive migration tools' and 'placesettings,' Dorkass moaned, not realizing that I never actually identified her as the dolt of the placesetting post. But fair enough. I'll tell the story about how we became friends, and I'll even allow her space for a rebuttal.

It begins, as seemingly all stories do, about ten years ago. I was a lead, and she was my direct report...who no one had actually told me was hired during my absence. I forget how I found out she was working for me, but it sure wasn't from Dorkass, who gleefully surfed during her 2-hour workdays. I asked around about her. "She's a radical feminist," cautioned one of her former co-workers. "Watch yourself." So odd it is to hear that in this day and age. I imagined she had her spinster's loft adorned with the jarred testicles of many a neutered man, and I kept an open mind and a wary distance.

Time marched on, and she proved herself a capable writer and human being, and in an uncharacteristic fit of professionalism she even nudged the length of her work day up to five hours. We weathered some sort of a crisis together—the norm on my team—and soon found ourselves doing what I do after a crisis: taking a colleague out to one of my shithole bars. This time it was Waldo's. As I poured truth serum into her, she sounded less and less like a man-neutering radical and more and more like, well, a drunk friend. So I told her what I'd been told.

"A radical feminist...?" she said, befuddled. "What does that mean?"

"Apparently, that you wear pants and have a job."

"That idiot Promise Keeper neanderthal. I can't believe he said that about me."

"I wouldn't worry about it." I sipped my drink and watched the activity at a nearby pool table.

"But I like men," she continued, arguing into the air. "I like penises. All kinds of penises. Big ones, little ones..." She babbled about phalli for a while, but honestly, I don't know how much she said and how much my memory has embellished, so I'll stop here. The next day, a hung-over Dorkass came to my office for our 1:1. She sat down and began with, "Hey, I want to thank you for taking me out last night. That was a lot of fun."

"Mmm hmm. Say, do you remember telling me how much you like penises?" Her reaction indicated that no, she had not remembered, but that she sure remembered the hell out of it now. Ah, sweet professional awkwardness. Utterly priceless. It remains the only time that genitalia have come up during a 1:1.

(Digression: but not during interviews. Not long afterward, I was interviewing a guy for a writer position, someone from SQL who I'd never worked with while there. When I identified myself, his face lit up with recognition: "Oh! You're the guy who called James a 'cocksucker' at that meeting!" My vanity is such that I hired him on the spot.)

No Dorkass backstory would be complete without my telling the tale of the first time we played racquetball. I was chasing down a high, arching ball and not looking where I was running. Dorkass, an Amazon, got in my path, hunkered down, and cut-block me at the knees, sending me tumbling ass-over-teakettle to the floor. Color me impressed; no one gets underneath me and takes my pins out. That's my own bread and butter move. I am the low center-of-gravity, cheap-shot king, but on this day, she beat me at my own game. She still couldn't make verbs agree with subjects, but any woman who can take my pins out from under me is the kind of radical feminist I really respect.

• • •

True story: When I wrote that this summer was going to be like the fourth of July, only instead of fireworks, it would be explosions of amniotic fluid, "boom-boom-boom-boom-BOOM!," Dorkass immediately deduced that the last BOOM! represented her. "Are you saying I'm fat?!?"

would that this were all it took

Remember how two years ago, someone was shooting up cars on the freeways of my hometown, Columbus? He pled guilty today. Quite mentally ill, he says opened fire to silence the voices in his head.

None of that is remotely funny. And then...

Psychiatrists for both sides agreed that McCoy had severe delusions that television programs and commercials were speaking directly to him and mocking him. Toward the end of the shootings, he believed firing from overpasses would make news coverage of Michael Jackson stop.

shameless pandering to the reader base

My favorite part of this is that you can't tell definitively where his sock ends and his skin begins.


or not

Wow. I long ago came to grips with the fact that posts I think will be hits are misses, and posts I barely think about are hits, but wow. Who knew Dennis Johnson and High Fidelity had so many fans?

stuff that apparently only I like

TV shows
Kenny vs. Spenny (GSN) - No one has heard of this show. Made for about 15 bucks—and I mean a full season, not an episode—this Canadian import is juvenile beyond comprehension. Two friends old enough to know better engage in a different competition every week. Who can stand the longest, who's the best cook, who can stay handcuffed the longest, who do kids/girls/psychiatrists like best, and so forth. It seldom fails to amuse on a sophomoric level, and it recently provided me with the most jaw-dropping, holy crap, they're-not-going-to-HOLY SHIT ALMIGHTY!-THEY-DID-NOT-JUST-DO-THAT! moment of television I've ever seen.

Long Way Round - More known, but I still don't know anyone else who watched it. Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman ride their motorcycles from London to New York the long way: through Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and the U.S. Inspiring and endlessly fascinating. Besides Ewan's lapses into Obi Wan—"These aren't the bikes you're looking for. Move along."—my favorite nuance is simply watching people's race change not abruptly but gradually, as the longitude changes.

Dennis Johnson (basketball) - He sat through his senior year of high school, and Lenny Wilkens called him a "cancer," but I adored the man and his game. A clutch shot and a defensive genius who could shut down Magic and inspired a young Michael to lift weights, he went utterly unnoticed in Seattle, Phoenix and Boston, and that's a damn shame. I once vowed to name my first born after him, but I eventually tired of getting girlfriends to agree to this to no eventual avail.

Alan Faneca (football) - You go ahead and watch the so-called "skill" athletes--I'll watch this big, ugly offensive lineman. I do on every play. I haven't seen him get beaten since 2000. Not one single play in five years. He runs like a fullback and hits like a steamroller. Bodies fly. Sweet, sweet carnage.

Teresa Strasser, Roger Ebert, Chuck Jones (TV host, TV film critic, animator) - Three people best known for things other than writing, and that's a damned shame. They're all brilliant. Strasser writes about dating for the L.A. Times, Ebert about movies and whatever else strikes his fancy for the Chicago Sun-Times, and Jones wrote a stream-of-consciousness masterpiece about life, people, writing and Bugs in "Chuck Amuck."

Chuck Brown (lord of the D.C. "go-go" funk scene) - I don't know another soul who's heard of him. His music gets repetitive after a while on repeat, but DAAAAAAAAAAAAMN it's catchy and upbeat.

Cristina Aguilera (crack-whore) - Okay, first of all, I am not a gay man. Second, I'm as surprised by this pick as you are, but god help me, the trailer chick has some pipes, and few will admit it. It really hit me the other day when I was listening to some shuffled music and she ended up between Aretha Franklin and Etta James. She. Was. Better. Which means she has arguably the best voice since voices could be recorded. The universe is a truly arbitrary and unfair mess.

Big Night - An indy about two Italian brothers and their struggling restaurant, this is the ultimate flick for people who love to cook. Others find it as interesting as watching jello congeal.

High Fidelity - A minor hit, but when I ask, no one ever seems to have seen it. I saw this Nick Hornby adaptation about exes with my ex, and we laughed ourselves to death and back at this examination of life after love. Best line, screamed out the window by John Cusack, to the woman who just dumped him: "If you really wanted to mess me up, you shoulda gotten to me sooner!"

bumps on the path to nirvana

Desire, the Buddhists tell us, is the root of all unhappiness. That there's something to this is undeniable; I know of no one more miserable than people driven by their wants and jealousies. My sister Judy, for one, is perpetually unsatisfied with what she has already obtained—perpetually coveting more, more, more—and she's perpetually unhappy.

It occurs to me that my life is really, for the first time, free of such desires. If I don't like my job, I exchange it for another. If I want to do nothing, I rest. If I want something, I buy it. If I want to travel somewhere, I go there. If I want to eat something, I swallow it. And on and on. In short, I find myself at my life's zenith of comfort. I cannot imagine how to make myself more comfortable. The thought "If only I could x" just never occurs anymore. And truly, unhappiness has been a stranger lately. This is easily one of the happiest periods of my life.

And yet.

There's no denying that intellectually as physically, I have become soft. When Dorkass, of all people, points out that your mental acuity isn't what it used to be, you're clearly trippin' down Retard Lane. It's evident to me now that challenges wrought by desire—nesting, dating, career—even if they made me miserable, kept me sharp, quick, decisive. Writing tooltips all day might pay the same and allow me to work from home, but it doesn't exercise the ol' brain. I'm also wondering if a little misery, or a little desire to get out from under it, doesn't keep you alert and motivated. Desire may well be the root of unhappiness, but a lack of desire isn't exactly an A-ticket to nirvana.

you're so great

11 years
132 months
4018 days
96,432 hours
5,785,920 minutes
347,155,200 seconds

Yep. Still waiting.

never believe a finger-wagging man

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Qaeda #2 man Ayman "I'm too valuable to be a martyr and go to heaven. You go." al-Zawahiri is at it again. He took to the airwaves to bedazzle the world with his linguistic dexterity, his oh-so-intimidating set decorations—"oh my god, Gladys, that scary Muslim still has that gun!!!"—and a grasp of the American psyche apparently learned through TV movies.

"We exploded volcanoes of anger in your countries. If you continue your politics against Muslims, you will see, God willing, such horror that you will forget the horrors of Vietnam."
Dude, you've lost. Oh sure, it's easy enough to kill Americans. You can do it. So can I. Who couldn't? But this cowering you covet is a figment of your imagination. Ain't happening. We've reluctantly adjusted to the reality that a bunch of fundamentalist fucktards are trying to kill us and that we're in a race to kill them first. Proof: the headline this morning wasn't about your histrionics. It was that Martha Stewart was going to have to serve three more weeks. The next headline was about Dave Chappelle. You were above John Daly missing the cut, but he hasn't won a tournament since 1993 or so. Best of all, when you bombed London, the world's stock markets went up. Thanks for that.

You can bite and yap all you want, but at the end of the day, it's still the tinny arf of a lap dog desperate for attention.


Speaking of trends I've been in front of, this page has been a monkey on my back for nearly six years now. Amazing. For the first five years, I had maybe four readers. And that was Jen hitting Refresh three times. Now that I'm completely running out of creative gas and utterly losing interest, I have hundreds.


Readership comes with a cost, though. Lately I find that my relationships with people have become colored by this page. No, not the right people—Percy is still an unrepentant douchebag. These are friends, not intended targets. I'll call a new parent and ask how labor was, and the answer is a toe-digging "Um...I'm...not sure what to say to you." A peer will go into confessional mode that "I'm the type of editor you just hate." Just last night, a buddy said "I read your poker rant. I guess I'm one of the poseurs." And then there was my "user error" post.

No fewer than four people have read it and thought I was talking about them. I'm suddenly getting gifts and thank yous. (Jesus tap-dancin' Christ. Stop that!) The worst reaction, though, has been from people whose solution to a perceived inequity in our relationship is not to adjust such that they're comfortable, but to immediately smack down any kindness I extend. If I try again, my gesture is belittled as unneeded, or even over the top. And if I protest, I'm informed that my consideration is really a worrisome character flaw.

Yeah. This is precisely what I had in mind: balance achieved through no one extending the slightest kindness to anyone else. Health = reciprocal lameness. Got it. I'm so there.

...752 days later

An addendum to my July 10, 2003 post

In the interests of fairness, I should say that I have now eaten off one of the placesettings I've purchased over the years. True, I ate Thai food that I purchased and delivered after having invited myself over, but hey, baby steps.

asexual healing

One of the odder events from this quarter occurred when I rented a hotel room in order to avoid making the round trip twice in two days. I mentioned to some students that my dog, Ed, was already there. One of them was inspired by this news. After class, she bubbled, let's go to your hotel room, get your dog, take our dogs to the lake, do a doggie play date, and hang out! That she did not consider this an inappropriate or potentially unsafe plan was plainly evident.

I vented to Terrell a couple days later. "I'm so asexual, so unthreatening, that cute little co-eds are, like, inviting themselves to my hotel room for doggie dates."

"You want to be distrusted?" she asked.

"I don't want to fall off the threat radar altogether, no."

Terrell's a trouper. Loyal to the point of blindness, but a trouper. "Maybe it's just that you exude so much integrity, you inspire that sort of trust."

"But I'm a dog."

"No you're not."

"Yes I am. A complete dog. A K-9 of major proportions. Canis Maximus. Woof."

"Oh please."

And then I started rattling off my considerable pooch credentials, and somewhere along the line she stopped defending me. So at least I'm on her radar now. Yay, I "win."

One week later, I'm on the same topic with Courtney. Instead of arguing that I'm a good person who inspires trust, she tries the opposite tactic. "Well, you'll notice that I've never invited myself over," she snarked in a tone appropriate only if she thinks I have a Jamie Gumm–style pit in my basement.

Splendid. I "win" again.

You wouldn't think that the same person could be made to feel worse by both of these approaches. You would be wrong.

moron taxonomy
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percy chronicles

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