March 2008 Archives

gurgle gurgle

It wasn't when the emergency room doctor said that I have lower-lobe pneumonia that my thoughts first turned to murdering the co-worker who gave me my original illness. It was when the doctor said "That's the only case I've seen this year."

My will to live, in three words: she must die.

cough

Laid out with flu thing. Still alive. Don't want to be.

poo from heaven

It's been a brutal week. Lots of deadlines, lots of computer problems, my iPod went belly-up, and Annie made it 4-for-4 of the friends in my employ who immediately ran out and bought a car.

It wasn't until this morning that I even had a moment to sit in the hot tub. And there I was, reading my book and smoking a breakfast cigar, when something wet hit my face. A blue jay flew overhead. Did I just get hit by bird crap? That'd be the perfect capper to a perfect week. No, actually, it was much worse.

Apparently, dessicated Ed crap makes for fine nest material. The bird had dropped my dead dog's poo into my hot tub, where the splash had hit my face. Or maybe, just maybe, it was just Ed crapping on me from heaven.

It rehydrated with alarming rapidity.

the champ

I was peripherally aware of them. There was the guy who got into dental school at Case Western, the guy who was a stud running back in high school, the guy who might have slept with a local celebrity, the guy who was going to be heavyweight terror Mike Tyson's next bum-of-the-week. I didn't meet any of these neighborhood guys, but I heard plenty about them on the basketball court. Mostly, I heard their modest claims-to-fame mocked by their friends.

"Interest in this fight is so intense," they said of the impending Tyson beat-down, "They had to move it from Trinidad to Japan."

I wasn't even sure when the fight was. Judging by the increasing intensity of the sneering, I figured it was soon.

One morning, I groggily opened the front door and looked down for my newspaper. There between my feet, in 4-inch type generally reserved for headlines like "CONGRESS DECLARES WAR," was instead this headline:

BUSTER'S THE CHAMP!
"No. Way."

And wow, did Buster ever have a lot of friends in the neighborhood. Stories about the man they'd not-long-ago called "Meat" suddenly abounded. He's one of us. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. We were best friends in grade school. He dated my sister. Say, how much you think he'll get paid for his title defense?

Buster.jpgI only met him once, a month or so after Buster shocked the world but still a few months before he would vanish into obscurity. It turns out we had the same favorite nearby restaurant, Cooker's, and the same favorite dish, the meatloaf with drop-biscuits. We nodded to one another—I'm not one who bothers celebrities when they're eating—and for the rest of the evening I stole glances at a man eating his way out of the championship of the world.

hail mary, full of herself

My sister is the only one of us five kids to have remained Catholic. And lord, is she ever Catholic. I can't believe the crap she knows about various Vatican dogma and rulings. It is no surprise, then, that she's asked me to testify as she petitions to have her defunct marriage annulled. My free time not being the Catholic Church's primary concern, they sent me a list of 18 essay questions, each with several sub-questions. About a guy I met once, on his wedding day. For a church that I think dispenses even more bullshit than average.

Groan.

Question #6 makes up for it, though. This, I can enjoy writing.

Please describe [your sister's] family background. Were there any special circumstances or problems (like divorce, tensions in the home, difficulty relating to parents, absence of parents, death, illness, alcohol or drug abuse, emotional difficulties, financial hardship, etc.)?
Can I respond "Yes?"

reader mail: oh, just let me dream

When I started this site in the 90s, I had to explain to many a troll that "checkraise" is a poker term. Then I had to explain that "poker" is a card game I like to play. And then 2003 happened. TV poker became a fad, and millions of psueoker players came out of the woodwork, and I was suddenly inundated with requests to sell my once-obscure domain.

Yesterday's inquiry was no different, except that it came from a poker agency who

  1. represents an unnamed client interested in buying my domain and whose short list of clients, it turns out, includes
  2. Shannon Elizabeth.
As in the actress who played the hot foreign exchange student in American Pie. Now, I was a Tara Reid guy myself—although I cannot for the life of me remember why—but Ms. Elizabeth will do. If, per chance, she is the client, the notion of "reasonable terms of sale" will become a whole lot more inclusive.

the death of doubt's benefit

Over the weekend, Blondage got an email from a professional acquaintance. He'd heard she's separated, and he's in town, and he'd always found her attractive, so what does she think about a date with him? If you want to just remain friends, I can do that too, he added.

Blondage rushed to the Internet to remind herself of what the guy looks like. I, meanwhile, for the first time in memory, ruled on the side of a guy being decent. "Actually, that sounds pretty respectful. He's being up front about his intentions and expectations. He's not slime-dogging it like, say, I do."

Blondage was not convinced. "Something doesn't feel right. He's rebounding or looking for a booty call or something."

"Nah."

She met him at the airport and they hung out, during which time she found out he was just dumped the week before.

Point, Blondage.

To make himself even more attractive, he declared to the 11-years-older Blondage that the lesson he'd learned is that he's interested in older women. "I've been reading up on being with older women," he offered, apparently unaware that if he knew anything whatsoever about older women, he wouldn't have used that line.

"Did you just throw your legs open for him when he said that?" I asked.

"No. It was surprisingly resistible."

And then she got fateful email. But for their names, this is verbatim.

RE: hotel

Blondage

I know you don't get 'around' and I really don't either (think thats easy to tell based upon my personality type which is similiar to yours in alot of ways). And I know your married yet been separated for a year...And you are wiser/experienced in life but your also still a sexy woman with wants/desires (ignore them or not their there!). I would still love to hang out if you have any time this week but if you want something else w/me you know where to find me, leave your inhibitions. Saturday AM will be here before we know it. I'm not ashamed of being attracted to you.

Frank

Oh Frank, you honey-mouthed sweet talker, you.

controversy

I have often have this discussion with friends. Usually Dorkass, this time Minette.

Her: Man is that [blog] story riddled with inaccuracy!
Me: Do feel free to write a rebuttal.
Her: Uhhuh...
Me: Yeah, that's usually where the whining stops.
Her: Would you post it?
Me: Absolutely. Longstanding policy.
Her: Without editing or annotating?
Me: I might comment afterward, but your post will go unedited.
Her: Sweet.
And with a realization that I'm poised to pants them far, far worse, this is where friends' outrage usually ends. Stay tuned.

ballast

Whalin' buddy Minette and I have a long-standing rivalry. Her account of the rivalry would be something like "I get the good photos." I would not disagree with that, but I would edit. Specifically, I would add "...because John selflessly mans the helm and points me at the whales."

Because of this, I gave Minette some practice helm time. The idea was that she, too, could operate the boat while someone else got the shot. This weekend, Minette took the helm for the first time during an actual whale situation.

"All stop!" I directed from the slick aft deck. And Minette jammed the throttle to Full, sending me and my camera tumbling hard to the floor.

"Sorry!" she giggled.

I missed the shot. And I almost dropped $3000 worth of camera into Puget Sound.

Later, she joined me aft. I was poised with my camera on the port side, stalking where I thought a whale would rise next to the boat. Minette wriggled her body on to the boat's port side, trying to get a few inches closer. When the whale rose, I had the shot and she didn't. So naturally, she wriggled back off the side and obstructed my lens with her thigh. Hmm.

For the rest of the trip, we traded off. I stalked the whales from the helm, running parallel to their course, getting Minette close for her shot. Click click click. When it was her turn at the helm, Minette cheerfully steered away from the whales. Fuck click fuck. "I feel bad," she said. Yeah, well, me too.

My shot:

grays Mar08 025.JPG


Her shot:

minette gray.jpg

Mind you, our lenses are about the same length.

One time, despite Minette's best efforts to steer away from them, a whale rose next to the boat. Good shot. Not great, but good. (thumbnail, make sure to enlarge)



atlantic

I have a love/hate relationship with the Atlantic. It is, for my money, the most balanced and well-researched mag out there. Literate without being masturbatory like the New Yorker, the Atlantic helps me stave off stupidity.

But oh, the hate.

You sit down with your massive new issue. Maybe you read a poem as a warm-up. And then you roll up your sleeves and read a fascinating article about the childhood of some Russian drug smuggler who assists Venezuelan orphans, and you think "This is so fresh. I would not read this in any other magazine." And an hour later, you're still reading it. You twitch. You riffle forward through the pages, doing a quick "How long is this motherfucker?" check. And just if you're wondering if the smuggler is really years-off-your-life interesting, you hear the phonebook-like thump of the next issue of the Atlantic hitting your doorstep.

I gave subscriptions away at Christmas. Allie is already two issues behind.

off to the races

Since I wrote yesterday's post, Ferraro has been soundly blasted and has stepped down from her post on the Clinton campaign. She was not, however, blasted for the things I was observing: her dubious motivation and her appalling lack of self-awareness. No, she was crucified for something even worse: daring to discuss the effect of race on the race. God forbid. No unvetted opinions on race are allowed in post-racial America.

When I meet a single Obama supporter who doesn't mention his race in their first fifteen seconds of emoting about the man, I'll grab my pitchfork and join the outraged mob storming Ferraro's castle. Until then, not so much.

what goes around

In 1984, when Mondale was taking on the seemingly unbeatable Reagan, my neighbor said something I've never forgotten.

This woman in her 50s, a lifelong Republican, was going to vote for Mondale. She beamed as she explained that she couldn't not vote for his running mate, who was, like herself, an Italian Catholic. Yep. That was her whole reason.

Well, that's certainly retarded, I thought. And then I made a note never to again rely upon any wisdom dispensed by this woman.

It's 24 years later, and I'm astounded to watch that very same Italian-Catholic vote-getter (and Hillary Clinton fundraiser) chucking stones. Says Geraldine Ferarro:

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman ... he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept"
Just wow.

indy.JPG

unfired bullets

During the final months with the AW, I wanted out of the relationship but more wanted a free place to crash near my office. I therefore stowed several bullets.

What do you do when you catch your partner in nefarious activities yet, relative to your own interests, you don't care about the betrayal? You keep your mouth closed. You keep your eye on the ball. And thus did I not call the AW out when I discovered she'd hacked into my Hotmail and saved to a file called "roses.txt" my correspondences with a previous love interest. All of them. Not saying something to her was hard. You want to kill. And later, when I discovered the presence of the Next Guy, I said nothing. Eye on the ball, I instead bought her flowers and made romantic plans for the same evening I knew they already had plans. Her visible implosion was priceless. She swallowed her own spleen.

There are professional equivalents, of course. One former friend at work has a felony on his record that about which the company does not know; I really haven't been moved to share that. I know of thieves and bigots and perjurers at all levels of the company, but I seldom take them on, again out of self-interest. Everyone hates a narc. Still, it's good to have the bullets if I need 'em.

The poster child for an unfired bullet is undoubtedly my mom. When as a teen I discovered her porn stash, it was thrilling and self-satisfying—surely, only the troops who discovered Saddam's spider-hole could understand. Mom would be mortified to know I knew. M-o-r-t-i-f-i-e-d. And if I ever needed a nuclear weapon, I realized, this was it. And so I saved it for a rainy day, for when Mom discovered my own porn stash or walked in on me having sex or something. And these things never happened, and she died, and the bullet still rusts in its chamber.

What a waste. What an appalling waste.

funeral for a friend

I remember the moment that Favre became Favre for me. I was aware of the Green Bay quarterback with the cannon arm and unspellable name, and I'd seen him play, but he hadn't yet blown me away. It was 1995, and my Super Bowl-bound Steelers were closing out their season in a meaningless game against Fahv-rah's Packers. The Packers were overmatched. The Steelers pounded Favre in a way that no QB could ever survive. Just pummeled him. Yet time and again, this guy got up off the turf, shook the sod out of his ear-holes, and fired away into the teeth of my defense. By the third quarter, blood poured forth from his face and his jersey turned a dark maroon. Jesus Christ, I said to Allie. This guy has seen "Rocky" a few hundred too many times.

And then he won the game.

And his hulking lineman leapt into his arms, in celebration.

And from then on, I watched him as often as I could, fearing that if I didn't, I would miss something that I'd never seen before and would never see again.

And now he's gone. Retired.

And the game I love most, I love less.

AAGU100~Brett-Favre-Last-Game-of-2005-Season-Posters.jpg

google hit o' the day

This page is the second hit if you Google "Underwater dook lighting"

I'm very proud.

reminds me of you

Sometimes a woman will tell me that an entertainer or character "reminds" her of me. The association is usually flattering, if somewhat mysterious. Cedric the Entertainer, Lewis Black, Dave Atell, the Rip Torn character on "The Larry Sanders Show," the John Travolta character in "Get Shorty," the Hugh Laurie character on "House"...these guys are cool enough, but they don't seem to have much in common. They're so random, in fact, it makes me wonder if this "reminds" thing isn't an appeal to my vanity designed to get me to watch certain TV shows and movies.

Sometimes, vanity is not served. Like when the AW said that the Al Pacino character in "Scent of a Woman" reminded her of me. We were newly dating, and I was still inhaling any entertainment she recommended. And man, did I ever choke on Pacino's unredeemable, insufferably obnoxious character. What a self-absorbed ass is he, and, apparently, am I. This remains my personal gold standard for anti-vanity.

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