September 2008 Archives

Responses to the beautiful ex survey ran the gamut from "Hell no, it doesn't bother me. I'm here and she's history" to "I'm here and she's history. Hell no, it doesn't bother me."

Okay, so there were a few fringe votes. And there were the obligatorily baffling, misspelled "What question do they think they're answering?" responses. But the "hell nos" were the overwhelming majority. And the timbre of the explanations did gibe with my own notions, although that could just be observer bias on my part.

I love women. Adore them. Predicated my entire life around them. I especially adore them when I compare them to the alternative, for whom I have no use beyond mowing my lawn. But collectively, and quite easily, womankind's least attractive quality is how they treat one another. Sister-on-sister crime is relatively rampant—men simply don't knife one another for sport like this—and it's this perception that led me to this hypothesis: she likes having beautiful predecessors because it means she "beat" them.

I will now pause to allow the knives to fly. Tell me I'm wrong. Please.


For my first 15 minutes on the treadmill, I do quasi-curls with 15 pound dumbbells. It doesn't sound like much, but it accrues. 15x60x15 = 13500 pounds per arm. My arms get weak and rubbery.

Toward the end of this workout segment the other day, the following joke occurred in the Simpsons episode I was watching.

Actress: "I don't see why I have to be nude in this scene. It's totally not necessary. I mean, Katherine Hepburn never appeared nude in any of her movies."

Director: "There's still time."

It was at this point that I laughed so hard that it knocked me off-balance, and the treadmill sent me spinning into the closet door behind me, the dumbbell punching a nice hole into it.

Still worth it.

beautiful homage

Whenever a woman asks to see photos of my exes, I'm sheepish about it. I'm sheepish because, on average, they're pretty good looking. It feels like boasting, it feels like I'm shallow, and I'm afraid it will give her a complex. I'm ever aware of the Dean Cain effect.

But that's not remotely how they feel. They seem to find some sort of homage in attracting the same putz that once dated beautiful women. Blondage tells me it's exactly that: the woman thinks I'm beautiful by association. This baffles me. It baffles me to the point where I can't believe it. I know when I see that my predecessor was gorgeous, I'm convinced that to be with me, she must be closing her eyes and imagining him. Hell, maybe I will, too.

I have my theory, but first, a poll.


Remember the "funny" New Yorker cover with the Obamas? The cover of Entertainment Weekly this week is bloody brilliant.

right turn

Casual Stank troll Annette points out the following, frightening bit of self-awareness, which is inexplicably still in the 2008 GOP party platform:

We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself.

left turn

The wank folks were all good Seattle people, so they vowed to move to Canada if the unmitigated evil that is John McCain should rise to the White House. Being unusually post-racial and color-blind, they also spoke of just how flippin' cool it would look to the world if we elected a black guy.

I asked about my primary concern with him. "Do you worry at all that his plans for taxing the everloving shit out of investment might, you know, discourage investment, thus hurt the flailing economy?"

"His plan isn't as stupid as John McCain's!"

Well, duh. "Touché."

And then this woman went on to belittle McCain for the president-of-Spain thing. And she admonished us all for not reading the same blogs that she reads. "He's the epitome of stupid. So much for the supposed 'foreign policy expert!'" snorted the professional writer who pronounced epitome "eh-pi-TOAM," and not for the first time that night, but no matter.

And thus has my intellectual exercise lately become not holding Obama's supporters against him. It ain't easy.


Saturday night I hosted a dinner. The post-meal conversation included a discussion of the meaning and etymology of the word "wanker." It was around then that I went inside to prepare everyone's dessert, a brioche tart with a white wine sauce. To hastily prepare it.

We consumed the tart, and then I put my feet up on the firepit. Complete pandemonium ensued.


what you gonna do when they come for you?

We sat around the fire last week, sucking down cigars and talking about the various romantic weirdnesses in our lives. When I finished, Gary regarded me for a moment, then spoke.

"John, are you a 'bad boy'?"


"YES!" screamed Kiki from the house. "HELL YEAH."

This cast a pall over the proceedings. Kiki was unable to explain to my satisfaction why I deserved the title. "It's like porn. I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

To me, "bad boy" is how a weak woman explains her continued devotion to a cheating, unemployable wife-beater. No?

the quotable troll

Longtime Stank troll (and fellow Steelers fan) John, who wants you to know that working with flowers all day doesn't make him any less of a heterosexual, said the following of the Steelers' performance yesterday:

The offensive line sucked so bad, they created a vacuum that drew the opposing D linemen through the holes.

chuck storm

From Dorkass comes this clip. Not soccer kid good, but good.

I hope we're not expected to believe he's the one who went "Oh God." 'Cause there's no way.


I think I'm alone in that I respect both McCain and Obama. And Biden, for that matter. Even Palin has a fascinating and uniquely American story, even if I do think she's pretty much W. with a better haircut.

But at the tops of the tickets, I got exactly the matchup I wanted a year ago. These are both bright, honorable men who've devoted their lives to serving their country and communities in a way, I suspect, that you and I and the vast majority of Americans wouldn't at gunpoint. I'd be proud to have either as my head of State and commander in chief. Which is a helluva improvement on feeling shame.

And yet their inferiors, moral and otherwise, vilify them. When Chris Rock mentioned McCain during his show here in Seattle, the ditzy left in attendance booed viciously. Contempt? Really? Two days later, the College Gameday show was in Atlanta, and in passing one of them mentioned Obama. The cretins in the audience booed his name just as bloodthirstily. Hatred? Really?

I don't understand you people. Don't want to, either.

used trojans

I went to the Ohio State/USC game Saturday, the ticket for which I bought long ago, before it became clear what a lousy game it would be. Sigh. On the upside, I changed over Sarah's New Year's Eve plane ticket in order to fly there, so there's still some level of satisfaction.

USC has a great football program, and its star players' parents' free houses are second to none, but what a lousy gameday experience. I couldn't find a parking lot within two miles of the stadium. Not a parking space, mind you. A lot. Not even a full lot. And thus did I drive through gridlock for two hours and end up at the Staples Center, where I waited for a half hour for a free shuttle, which dropped me off a mile from the stadium, where I stood in line for another half hour, jockeying with 95,000 drunks to enter through one of two gates. It's as if Cal Poly suddenly had 95,000 people attend a game. They would be totally unprepared for it. I'm not sure what USC's excuse is.

Not surprisingly given the parking situation, the tailgating is bush league. The USC band is pathetic. The fans have no traditions and are utter football illiterates. ("Go Stanford!" yelled a Buckeye fan. "GO LSU!" a Trojan fan yelled back to applause, because losing to a great LSU team in the championship game is clearly worse than losing to pathetic Stanford at home.) The stadium is woeful. Therein they proudly claim to have won LSU's 2003 national championship, about which, if I were LSU, I would file an injunction. But at least they retired an enormous orange AT&T logo right next to where they retired O.J. Simpson's huge orange number, so at least there's a touch of class.

Oh, and the free shuttle that was to take me back to my car? Never showed up.

l.a. story

Seattle drivers exhibit a baffling combination of traits. They are both slow and aggressive. The apparent paradox confused me at first, until I realized what seems like slow aggression is more that these people have 1) no idea I exist and 2) no lives worth getting to.

It's an article of faith among Seattle natives that the reason the drivers here suck is not because they suck, but because they're all transplants from L.A. "We'll find out soon enough," I thought as I pulled on to 405 near LAX the other night.

I pulled on the the freeway at about 70. A U-Haul towing a car passed me like I was driving 40. "So much for that excuse," I thought.

These drivers were fast. They were decisive. They were predictable. They saw me. They did not panic-brake at the first sight of a pedestrian or a turn signal or a mountain. And they could handle four-way stops without someone from the midwest wildly gesticulating You! Go there! Now!


The old Lincoln Continental caught some air as its wheels barely grazed over a construction site. We heard the sickening sound of metal grinding asphalt.

"Just so I get the details right when I tell this story tomorrow," I said, death-gripping the oh-shit strap, "What year is this pimpmobile?"

"1989," said the man driving.

"Okay. And who are you, again?"

• • •

I was in L.A. over the weekend. Among the matters to which I attended was checking in with old buddy Grady, whom I last saw in Columbus last year. We had not parted amicably. We'd exchanged angry words about the circumstances of Mason's death. We both felt bad about it. When I told d'Pam that I was going to L.A., she suggested I do a little fence-mending. Fence-painting, anyway. And thus did I end up driving my rental car to Compton.

I found the address I'd been given, but it sure didn't look like a bar. It looked like a strip club—mason blocks, no windows, no sign of any kind. I knocked on the door, but no one answered. I walked in and was soon smothered by Grady's embrace. Like me, he seldom connects with anyone he knew over ten years ago. Fence: painted. Let the ball-busting begin.

"You moved 3000 miles to fucking Compton?" I asked incredulously.

"Oh, I don't live here," he said, twinkling evilly. "I just wanted to make you come here. I live in Woodland Hills."

I stared at him. He read my mind. "No, there are other brothers in Woodland Hills. I can just, you know, name them all."

I have no idea how to describe the establishment where I would spend the next 10 hours. It was my kind of place: sticky booths, dank, no lighting to speak of. There were no servers. No money exchanged hands. There were four kinds of alcohol served: tequila, whiskey, rum, and beer. There was an owner, but he seemed more like a host than a proprietor. I have no idea what was going on. I do know that I ate my body weight in buffalo wings and drank a Monterrey Bay of whiskey. The evening was a blur. What follows are random reminiscences bubbling up through the drunken fog.

• • •

I ordered a huge amount of whiskey on the rocks.

"Easy, there. You don't really drink," Grady said.

"I, um, gave that up a while back."

• • •

These were good people. No one was under 30, which doubtlessly helped. The drunker they got, the more sickening their professions of love for their absent women became. The setting notwithstanding, it was sweet. And everyone had an origin story worthy of a film and two sequels. Everyone except me. I'm quite used to eyes glazing over when I'm asked what I do and I explain that I write software documentation, but this was special. I might as well have said "I make margaritas in my carburetor." They simply could not believe that someone makes a living doing such a purposeless thing, and in a rare moment of clarity, I was right there with them. My job is a joke. A painfully unfunny joke. A Carrot Top joke.

• • •

At one point, Grady introduced me as "the conscience" of our old neighborhood. "What?" he said of the look on my face.

"That giant sucking sound you'll hear Monday morning will be the collective gasp of a bunch of women reading that at once," I said.

• • •

I talked a bit about being the polka dot. I told the d'Andre "bald friends" story, to much table pounding delight.

"Let's shoot some H.O.R.S.E.," Grady suddenly said. I knew what he was doing. He was baiting me. My standard retort back in the day was that we'd have to play P.I.G. instead, as I was the only one present who'd mastered the complexities of spelling five-letter words. I declined to reprise the joke.

• • •

But shoot horse we did, around 4am. Did I mention this was in fucking Compton? No one had a basketball, so we lived off the land. One would think that a wadded up cotton gym bag would snag on a chain basketball net, and one would be correct. That I would lose was certain.

"Do you know the last time I played hoops?"

Grady looked me up and down, his eyes wide and eyebrows arched. "I'm guessing four score and eighty pounds ago."

• • •

We awoke around 6am in our booth. A woman was very, very pissed about...something...she'd done with...someone...the night before. The details were hazy, probably because she didn't want to come right out and admit that she didn't know which one of us she'd slept with. She glared at me, but I don't think I was a serious suspect. No, she would probably remember that.

I'm glad she started shrieking, because my plane left at 7. Compton is about 20 awkward miles from LAX. I might make the flight, security willing, but there was no way I was getting the rental car back. And thus was a plan devised where Grady would return my car and Door Number Three would drive me to the airport on two wheels.

Remember Issac Hayes in "Escape from New York?" I'm just sayin.'

• • •airplane chick.jpg


Unbathed for two days and smelling like, well, like I'd just spent the night in a bar where I'd smoked cigars and drank a quart of vinegar, I nestled into my seat on the plane. This is who sat next to me.

Hey, God, thanks for the jaunty "Fuck you, John." As always.

"Just so I get the details right when I tell this story tomorrow, you're a model, right?"

That's from her portfolio.


"What movie character is your ideal (or most ideal) woman?" writes virgin Stank troll Gaylord. And no, that's not a pseudonym.

Tempted as I am to go with Rachel McAdams in the scene in Wedding Crashers where she plays football, I cannot. For they snapped the ball and her princessly gait betrayed a woman who hadn't run to so much as a bus stop in her life.

So I'm going to have to go with the Laura character in High Fidelity. What a strong yet loving character. You hate her for the first half of the movie. She's dumped the protagonist. He's heartbroken. She's moved in with another guy. Hate hate hate. But then she reappears. She stumbles upon our hero's Top Five Dream Jobs list and asks why "Architect" is #5. Wouldn't you rather be doing what you're already doing than be an architect? she asks. He admits she's right. While he watches in silence, she erases "Architect" and scribbles "record store owner" on his list.

And the hook is set. That's exactly what I want from a partner. At least until I get it.


My EYES! MY FUCKING EYES! (clawing sockets)

Many "thanks" go to distinguished Stank troll John for sending in this chestnut.

That got me thinking. Was this actually worse than the Tom Cruise dance that started this award? So I went back and looked. No. No. Nothing is worse than Tom Cruise.

rooting interest

"Whaaaaat," Allie answered the phone, as if I'd called her 17 times already. We hadn't spoken in days.

I was undaunted. I knew I had gold. "You know that trip to San Diego I planned around the Steelers game there? The one I already bought a plane ticket and a Priceline hotel for?"


"Turns out I screwed up. The game is in Pittsburgh."

She was, at best, mildly amused. "Anyway," I continued weakly, "I know how much you enjoy John's-a-moron stories, so I thought I'd share."

She rated this story good, not great. "What would have been really funny is if you'd shown up at the stadium in San Diego with your $300 ticket and no one had been there."

Man. You gotta kill yourself to get a laugh out of this chick.

set up

Allie was telling me about her new co-worker. I did what I always do during her work stories: I politely, if not convincingly, feigned interest. "Here, I'll send you a picture of her," said Allie strangely.

Ooooookay. She did. The co-worker is really cute.

"She's really cute," I observed.

"Yeah, and she's like twenty-three," Allie replied, satisfied that I'd once again been caught trolling elementary schools.


happy breakup day

It started as a coincidence. When I broke up with Steph, it was my second Labor Day breakup in a row. Then it became three. And then last year, I set a secret Labor Day deadline when it came to my waiting for Sarah.

Labor Day has become my dumping day. But why? The traditional end of summer? School being back in session? A salute to trade unions? Allowing her a third day for listing my faults?

It could be any of those things, I suppose. But as I watched Ohio State's football opener Saturday, I wondered if my heart simply doesn't belong to another.

moron taxonomy
stupid church signs
super bowl xl officiating
percy chronicles

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