September 2007 Archives

count 'em, twelve

When I was a kid, I tried to explain to a 7 year old that buying a group of ten candy bars for $4.00 would in fact be cheaper than his practice of buying 10 individual candy bars for 50 cents each. But he dug in his heels. He was insistent his way was the less expensive, for 50 cents was a lot less than $4. He was defensive. He was absolutely sure that he was correct. We were both flabbergasted by the other's stupidity. And only one of us was right.

• • •

"Wow. That's...stupid," Amy said after I pointed out the "12th Fan" flag hanging in a Seattle bar. She also seemed surprised to hear that in the couple years since she'd left Seattle, the locals had reinvented themselves into The Best Fans in Football. Just ask them. When she was here, you see, Seahawk games were still being blacked out because of poor attendance.

seattle seahawks 12th fan.jpg

"What do they say when you point out they got the whole 12th Man thing wrong?"

Nothing. They say nothing. There is no conception of what the convention really is or why their error is hilarious to outsiders. They dig in their heels, absolutely sure that they are right. We are both flabbergasted by the other's stupidity. And only one of us is right.

near death experience

It started to mist on me when I was in the hot tub the other day. Rather than get my book and, even worse, my cigar wet, I stepped out naked to set up the umbrella. As I cranked it open, a small garden snake fell out, no doubt as utterly mortified to see me as I was to see him. He landed on my wrist, ricocheted toward my body, and fell to the ground.

My brain knows he was falling at 32 feet per second per second. Other body parts clocked him going much, much faster. Yet I aged ten years before he hit the ground. Damnedest thing, that relativity.

the ad that wasn't

Last week I was considering taking a job in another town. I didn't, but it would be a shame not to run the post I drafted just in case.

For sale: 2 bedroom, 3 bath waterfront house. Totally awesome neighbors in a vibrant, youthful community full of excellent drivers. Substantial discount given to owner of multiple Harleys and pit bulls.



"What the Fucking Fuck?" awards 

  trenni kusnierek

I used to rail against eye-candy sideline reporters, but I'm afraid I lost that battle. Thank you, Melissa Stark. So I might as well exploit 'em for WTFF awards.

Local Pittsburgh sideline twinkie Trenni Kusnierek, who once said that the Steelers would go from a play-calling ratio of 65% runs to 45% passes to a more balanced 60/45% ratio, turned in another mathematical gem last night. Arguing that Willie Parker gets better as the game goes on, Kusnierek said:

"And the stats back that up. Parker had just 34 yards after the first quarter, but he gained his final 100 yards in the final three quarters."

dorkass sighting

"There sure haven't been a whole lot of Dorkass posts lately," Dorkass lamented last night.

"That stems from there not being a whole lot of Dorkass lately," I shot back.

"Yeah, I saw your little pity party. Poor baby."

And then we reminisced about the first time we ever got fucked-up together, at her place, with her little sister. We'd gathered to watch the Olympics. Remember Tara Lipinski's gold medal winning performance? We don't.

Our tale of drunken woe and green pepper chunks in the sink is long and, I'm afraid, kinda uninteresting to anyone who wasn't there. I vaguely remember falling asleep and awakening to discover that my direct report was fastening barrettes to my hair while her little sister fumbled with a camera. But surely if that memory is correct, those images would be an Internet classic by now.

the worst thing

In discussing past relationships with a buddy, we agreed that being called "scary" by our exes was the biggest insult we'd each endured. Scary as in physically threatening. As in only the barest thread of self-control standing between her and physical abuse. Call me stupid, call me selfish, but don't you dare imply you ever felt threatened. Sons of wife-beaters are often sensitive on this point. The very suggestion cuts deeply.

So what's the worst thing you can be called by your partner or former partner? What bomb is nuclear for you?

One time when the Approval Whore (AW) was at my house crying about some perceived slight or another, I made myself a bowl of soup. Importantly, I was in my stocking feet. Well, I slopped that 212 degree soup on my feet, and as socks are wont to do, they absorbed the scalding liquid. I howled in pain. Somehow, the AW managed to turn this into her personal tragedy. My yelp became a Big Stinky Issue. She was terrified, you see, and she never recovered emotionally. That's when my true nature as a woman-beater was revealed to her. I am not making this up. She milked this bone-dry udder.

things i will just never get

Susan Sarandon. She's talentless. She's unattractive. She's insufferable. Why on earth is this woman revered? If there were ever an open season on actors, she'd be the first one I'd bag.

The NFC East. I guess someone there will have to be a playoff team, but really—why does the media fawn over this concentration of mediocrity and pronounce it the NFL's best division?

Linds, Brit, Paris, et. al. Stop clicking. I beg of you.

Calls for impeaching Bush.
Yeah, you'll simply love President Cheney.

Nagasaki. Japan had three days to surrender after Hiroshima. They didn't.

Mike Holmgren's clock management.
Does he think the time-outs roll over to the next game?

Goodfellas. It's fine. Kinda boring. Like a clown.

The following parting remark from girlfriends dumping me: "Thank you for treating me so wonderfully." I've been dumped twice. These were the exact parting words both times. This remark should come with a gift certificate for therapy.

The following compliments from girlfriends:

  • "Your best feature is good hygiene."
  • "Thank God you don't bring all the junk mail into the house and let it collect."
  • "I like that you don't use my kitchen knives as household tools."
Um. I love you too?

fun with racists

A fake graphic designer, Sarah created some marketing materials for a client. They liked what she'd done, came the response, but could she please use another picture? She thought it odd that they didn't provide more specific feedback. She asked what exactly they didn't like. "Just use another picture, please," they replied.

She examined the picture she'd used. It was of a guy in a suit. A black guy. Nah, she thought. It couldn't be that.

To disprove her theory, she gave them another picture of another black guy in a suit. And they asked for another picture, for unspecified reasons again. And so it went. Sarah antagonized the client until she exhausted her supply of minorities and had to use a white guy.

"This is great," they said. "Thanks!"

symmetry

I was telling Allie how beyond done I feel with my employer. I still do my job and do it well, but I refuse to care about anything beyond that scope. I also don't go to the mat anymore when confronted with sloth or ignorance. "I refuse to care any more than they do," I held forth.

"Why do you still work there?" she asked, annoyed.

"I didn't say I have something against their money. Just them."

"So," she said, "You're saying your career has reached the same place as that last year you spent with the Approval Whore. No love, no prospect for happiness, just a loathing economic convenience."

Thanks for understanding.

reader mail: pivot questionnaire

From dubious Stank troll Jenni comes a delightful request: "Your royal Stankship," she begins, "Would you, per chance, deign to answer the Bernard Pivot questionnaire?"

Maybe it was the butt-kissing, more than the request, that was delightful.

What is your favorite word?
Anything with the suffix "-tard." It's my all-purpose insult. "Seatard" is probably my most used such insult because, well, in Seattle I'm surrounded by them.

What is your least favorite word?
"Dysfunctional." As in family. Wally, I've seen shit that would turn you even whiter. Get over yourself, grow up, and take ownership of your own problems already.

What turns you on?
Competence.

What turns you off?
Pretense. See "Seatard," above.

What is your favorite curse word?
"Fucktard."

What sound or noise do you love?
The Michigan football team being booed in their own stadium.

What sound or noise do you hate?
My boat hitting a submerged log.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Private investigator. I can't believe they get paid for surfing the Web. And for sitting in a car, eating Cheetos and stalking other people's spouses. I'd truly be making my hobby into my job.

What profession would you not like to do?
Anything on the Vista team at Microsoft. See "competence," above.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Surprise, motherfucker."

familiarity

When I moved to Metamuville, I noted the nearby Indian reservation and its dilapidated housing. I thought the loftiest of guilty white guy thoughts. The poor, put upon Native American is my neighbor now, I thought whitely. I'll give them whatever business I can, be it gas, groceries, or whatever.

My thought two months later: Really? Twelve dollars for butter? Really?

And thus did my contempt for my new neighbors begin. In retrospect, it follows. When I was lofting whitely, I simply didn't know them. But why should American Indians be any different from the rest of humanity, really?

"Native Americans," someone white will correct.

This used to confuse me, too, but I have a handle on it now. They're "Native Americans" when they're selling art or killing whales, right up until they're trying to lure me into their casino or sell me cigarettes, liquor or fireworks. Then everyone's magically "Indian" again.

Which isn't to say I don't honor their people and their traditions. Like casinos. Like clearcutting. Like using a machine gun to shoot up a gray whale this past weekend. It's their noble, ancient way.

The whale later died, by the way.

alma matters

Much as I, in a fit of gratitude, posted the Appalachian State fight song after they beat Michigan, so too are my brethren in Columbus loving the Mountaineers this week.

And talk about your bad fits. Here, the former university President complains about Ohio State's art scene. "When you win a game, you riot. When you lose a game, you riot. When spring comes, you riot. African-American Heritage Festival weekend, you riot."

Just outrageous. Let's go flip the bitch's car and set it on fire.

squeak

Ever since I installed the SpamBully spam blocker and it started keeping stats on this sort of thing, I've received 1029 legitimate emails to 1031 spam mails.

Enraging. I blame my friends for not emailing me more.

the electric wire

When I was little and my family was still intact, we lived in what was, to us, the country. That the suburbs were two miles away mattered little to a child. Creeks were raging rivers, cow pastures were vast expanses of wilderness, and yet-to-be-cleared trees were forests.

The aforementioned cow pasture was across the street from my house and, significantly to my young psyche, it was surrounded by an electric wire. Touching it was a rite of passage in my neighborhood, as was peeing on it. (The secret: stand far enough away that the stream breaks up.) For the most part, the wire was a minor obstacle under which we all reflexively ducked on our way to someplace interesting. I must have ducked under it a thousand times, feeling it on my back, scraping harmlessly down my coat. One time when we were all ducking under the wire, I somehow got it inside my lips. Good times. I hear.

One winter, a group of us hid near the road, out of sight, and hurled snowballs at passing cars. It's easier said than done. Cars is fast. The prestige shot was leading the car by so much that your snowball exploded spectacularly on the windshield, which was, to our collective astonishment, a practical use for geometry. Finally.

After several hours of snowballs and "Angle Side Side" jokes, we salivated as a cargo van approached. Low hanging fruit! As it passed, we pummeled its enormous side with snowballs. Before it had even screeched to a halt, the side door exploded open, and a bunch of teenagers armed with baseball bats poured out.

We scattered. Some ran into homes, others into woods. "GET THE SLOW LITTLE ONE!" I heard behind me. Shit. I knew who that was. And thus did my puny legs churn in a panic, keeping me a few seconds ahead of an angry horde of pissed off, bat-wielding teenage villagers.

The wire,
I thought.

I knew if I could make it to the electric wire, I had an advantage. I made a right angle turn and sped right for it. I headed for a path where there were no cautionary signs, and I ducked under the wire at full speed. I kept running, kept listening.

I'm not sure how many of them hit the wire. I just know they harmonized.

Their pursuit stopped immediately, and I've always wished I'd stopped to see what happened. I content myself, though, to know that in the decades since, they've doubtless told an even better story, one that stars a mysterious prepubescent Rambo. Only, you know, little and slow.

ed epilogue

It turns out that the Ed I actually miss most is the one who religiously cleaned up after me in the kitchen. This picking food off my bare feet—it's tiresome.

• • •

When I went to pick up Ed's remains, the receptionist, who I've known for years, got up without being asked and gravely rummaged through cardboard boxes. She picked up one the size of a grapefruit and set it on the counter in front of me. Her eyes moistened.

"This is the hardest part of my job," she said without making eye contact.

"Nah, I knew she'd be in a cardboard box," I said.

"No, not that. This." And she handed me a plaster mold of a dog's footprint. The plaster had "Ed" etched in it.

Damn.

• • •

I have nothing I want to share about Ed's final hours except one detail. Far from the "she died peacefully, just drifting off to sleep" nonsense we all expect, her final moments were surprisingly violent. There's little doubt in my mind that for a couple seconds, Ed was very much aware that she was dying. I've since learned that the mythological peaceful drift-away requires a sedative (Acepromazine) not given to my pup. Ask for it.

seal island

seals with sarah 070b.jpg

seals 083b.jpg

You know the words! Sing with me now...


Hi-Hi-y-ike-us
Nobody like us,
We are the
mountaineers,
mountaineers,
mountaineers,
Always a-winning
Always a-grinning
Always a-feeling fine
You bet, hey
Go Apps!
Fight Apps!
Go, fight, kick ass!
#5 Michigan lost their tuneup game. At home. To a I-AA school. I can die now.

Michigan might not be the Princeton of the midwest, but I'll be damned if they didn't play like it.

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