July 2009 Archives

(CNN) -- A Boston police officer who sent a mass e-mail referring to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. as a "banana-eating jungle monkey" has apologized, saying he's not a racist.

knobby thing

Dorkass is stunningly lazy. When I was her manager, this had two manifestations: 1) my having to figure out what, exactly, comprehensive migration tools were migrating comprehensively, and 2) my handling tasks so that she didn't have to.

On a day when the latter symptom compelled her to visit my office dozens of times, I grew impatient with what I deemed stupid requests. "Are we done?" I snapped. She turned to leave, and I growled some more: "Let me know if you need help working the knobby thing on the door."

Mere days later...

She and I were walking into a store and I did that humiliating thing where you don't quite unlatch the door and you face-plant into it. I hit it HARD, too. I saw stars. Dorkass glided past me, cooing "knoooobby thing" as she opened the door and walked through.

Seldom in life is vindication so utterly devastating.

homelessness

So first, I published this photo of my house.

Seeing this, d'Andre remarked "The heterosexual community misses you."

Seeing that comment, gay buddy Mike adds "Hell no. You're not getting foisted off on us."

fair play

I haven't attended a family function in 14 years. I've seen family members, yes, but I haven't seen 'em all at once since my sister's wedding. On holidays, they knife each other without me. And then they burn up my phone, each lobbying me to believe their version of events.

To summarize, I detest family functions. Always have. My relatives' behavior toward one another is contemptuous and reprehensible. When I was a kid and I would blow out my birthday candles, I wished that I would never have to see the assembled people again. And then I became an adult, and I damned near made sure that wish came true. Fact: since I was in high school, my family has met exactly three people from my life. And it ain't because I'm ashamed of my friends and girlfriends.

It was my kindest sister that was getting married 14 years ago, and I didn't really see how I could blow her wedding off. I said I would attend, and then I begged my friend Tammy to accompany me. Having heard horror stories about my heinous family for years, she agreed to be my wingman. I introduced her as my "friend," which of course was interpreted as "secret wife." They descended on her, regaling her with stories about me.

"Like this one time, we were sleeping on the floor at our grandmother's house, and John stage-dove off the bed and landed on our cousin's Jimmy's nuts and started an inter-cousin war that still pisses people off..."

"Once after I got eye drops to dilate my pupils, we went into the bathroom to see if I could see in the dark, and when I said I couldn't see anything, John sucker-punched me as hard as he could in the gut..."

"We were playing soccer and I had an easy shot on goal and John knocked me 5 yards out of bounds and screwed up my spine for life..."

"When we were in our Aunt Helen's funeral procession, John gave the finger to our grieving cousins..."

"He tried to decapitate this kid Timmy with a hammer on a rope."

"One time he used a sewing needle to sabotage an entire pack of condoms..."

When I couldn't deny the stories, Tammy smirked at me smugly. Now they were sure she was my secret wife.

role model

Dirt and Kiki's kid, Ava, is severely autistic. At a year and a half, she was a normal, happy-go-lucky kid. Alert, chatty, bright, engaging. At two, she entered the fog of autism. She withdrew. She spoke no more. She wouldn't make eye contact, let alone interact with anyone. If you made a loud noise, she wouldn't even react. It was devastating to witness.

Now three, she's slowly starting to respond to changes in her diet and treatment. She's still vastly less engaged than she was at half this age, but it's an improvement nonetheless. First she started interacting with Mom. Then Dad. Then Uncle John. That's pretty much the list for now, but hey, at least there's a list. You wouldn't believe how thrilled everyone is that she high-fives me on request 30% of the time.

This week, there's something new. I suddenly enjoy a unique status in Ava's life: she tries to imitate the words she hears me say. "Fire," "Dex," "cracker," and "tardwit" have all made appearances on her lips this week. Does she imitate her parents? Not yet. Just me.

"Not my first choice," moans Dirt. "Not anyone's first choice for their kid's linguistic role model."

"Fuck you. Fuck your mother. Fuck your mother's horse."

"I stand corrected."

dicks with decks

My co-workers decided to join me in working from home. And so did five of us assemble in my office, a.k.a. my deck. While we ate crab and drank, Percy was inspired to power-wash his own deck, 10 feet from mine. The chainsaw din was bad enough, but soon clouds of mist enveloped my guests, none of whom had previously believed that Percy is fully as obnoxious as I say.

decks.jpg

poindexter percival

Yep, as soon as I saw the nomination "Percy," I knew poor Dex's fate. Poindexter Percival it is.

There was surprising support for Poindexter Bartholomew, even after I vacated one ballot-stuffing attempt. I didn't see that coming. My personal favorite, Poindexter Jemima, came in a close third. No, I'm not blind to the racial undertone of the name Jemima (essentially, a female Uncle Tom). That was a concern, and it was also the appeal. I can't imagine a more comical non sequiter than Percival Jemima. It's the black-and-white cookie of names, for my black and white dog. Fortunately, y'all kept me from having to make a call.

finalists

Wow. I mean, like, wow.

These names are so much better than anything I came up with, it's a certainty that a Stank troll will choose Dex's middle name. Believe me; that hurts me much more than it hurts you.

I've narrowed it down to the ones that seemed to flow best when interlaced with profanity. Also, I combined all Percy-derived entries into simply "Percival."

Place yer bets.

poindexter ________

I just realized that Dex's first birthday is next month. Is it ever too soon to begin dreading the geriatric years and their incumbent expenses? I think not.

I'm also mortified that I've yet to perform a rite of critical importance: bestowing her middle name. What on earth am I supposed to yell when I discover Dex chewing the thumbsticks off my X-Box controller?

"Poindexter...um...Schmoindexter...get yer ass over here!"

This travesty cannot continue. I leave it to you trolls. What middle name goes with "Poindexter?"

apollo landing sites

Uber-cool.

Here are some low-res photos of most of the Apollo landing sites, taken by the new moon satellite. My favorite is the last one, Apollo 14, in which the foot-trail between the spacecraft and some instruments is still visible.

369228main_ap14labeled_540.jpg

the enemy of his enemy

As I pulled into the Metamuville Grocery, a county sheriff was backing out of a parking space across the lot from my own. As he shifted from R to D, his cruiser was ambushed by a geriatric couple, whose arms were flailing so frantically that for a fleeting moment, I could have sworn I saw the couple levitate. I was no more interested in Elmer and Agnes than I am in any other local old farts, and I walked toward the store. And then I became aware that they were pointing toward me and my Jeep.

Straining, I could only get bits and pieces of the conversation. I've filled in the gaps as best I could.

"Blah blah blah, SO FAST, blah blah blah, we're unfathomably entitled, 100 MILES AN HOUR, blah blah, me me me, gimme gimme gimme, ALL THE TIME, blah blah blah, Elmer hasn't gotten it up since Eisenhower's first term, blah blah, EVEN PASSES US ON SPEED BUMPS, DRIVE US CRAZY."

In the middle of their histrionics, the cop, about my age, locked eyes with me and smirked. And with them still ranting, he slowly pulled away.

d'ouch

Offers d'Andre about the below photos of my house: "The heterosexual community misses you."

In terms of life's era's, I'm still in the period when I have to hear about my friends' kids' bowel movements. But the next era is coming into focus, and it's much, much worse: hearing about my friends' bowel movements.

"God, I haven't been able to take a dump for five days," said one recently. "How often can you go, John?"

"Yup, I remember when we used to talk about football and sex," I sighed wistfully. "Alas."

"Do you have problems with, um, er...(sotto voce) hemorrhoids?" asked my brother. "NEVER MIND," he snapped at my cascading waves of hysterical laughter.

"God, I was up all night peeing," said an older friend. "Like 10 times a night. Stream's so weak I have to straddle the toilet now."

This, this is what I have to look forward to? Not the maladies—the conversations? I shall go to bed tonight praying for my friends' continued fertility.

and the 2009 gary condit award goes to....

Remember Gary Condit? Only vaguely, right? He was the Congressman who was being investigated in the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy, 30 years his junior and with whom he had an affair.

But mostly I want to concentrate on that "vaguely."

Mr. Condit was on the front page of every newspaper when a little thing called 9/11 happened, and we never thought about him again. Even in my grief at the time, I remember thinking "This is good news for one bastard, anyway."

Somewhere in the afterlife, David Carradine owes Michael Jackson. Big time.

ashhole

My intellectual deterioration proceeds apace (I, II).

For reasons I cannot remember, this weekend I decided to swap two enormous hanging plants. Clenching a cigar in my teeth, I lifted first one plant, then the other, off their hooks. And while I looked up—standing like some sort of gay Atlas, balancing a heavy floral plant on each raised arm while I smoked a cigar—a flaming ember of ash fell into my mouth. As you can see below, I couldn't set the plants down without damaging them. In the eternity it took me to formulate a plan, the ember bored a hole into my tongue and eventually extinguished itself. It tasted kind of peaty, with a pesky insouciance.

ash.jpg

biddy biddy bum

Says peculiarly floral Stank troll John, of the below Dex picture: "Nice slippers. They make your feet look Jewish."

This does make one reflect. What exactly do Jewish feet look like? The tips of the toes are cut off?

friends like these

This reference to the Emma post greeted me when I awoke. Said Annette:

Keep in mind that "I don't think you're a sociopath" is not the same as "You're not a sociopath."

monkey see

From the moment I first got Dex, I cradled her in my arms so she would become accustomed to being held upside down. Why? So that reading-on-the-deck-and-smoking-a-cigar-while-billing-for-it time could be a communal experience. She snoozes on me, on her back, a la Snoopy.

irises 010.jpg

pathology

It says something about my year when my favorite compliment came from dream girl Emma: "I don't think you're a sociopath, John..."

There was no more to that thought.

• • •

My least favorite kind of compliment came from a friend's husband on July 4. Surveying my house, he said "I'm surprised, John. It's nicely decorated. And lots of flowers outside...it's not at all what I would have expected from you."

As if a foul-mouthed, cigar-smoking, football-loving, skanky-bar-dwelling non-sociopath isn't also capable of a modicum of taste? I ask you: is this really so outlandish?

house Jun09 007.jpg

cherry pop

When I was in Bellingham, I bought two cases of Diet Dr. Pepper. I put them in the back of the Jeep, which is also where I left Dex while I ran into Lilly's apartment for a few minutes. When I returned, no cardboard remained. The only forensic evidence that the cases ever existed was 24 slightly chewed, free-range cans of pop.

Whenever I rounded a corner, a heavy metallic avalanche would swamp Dex, who lunged to keep out of the way of the rolling cans.

"Serves you right!" I yelled into the mirror.

And then the cans began exploding. Three of them sprouted geysers. Today, Dex has a peaty, cherry bouquet. And of course, a pesky insouciance.

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