May 2010 Archives

all-time idol

I won't join the chorus of people proclaiming Lee the worst idol winner ever. Can't. I'm a charter member.

Does Simon know when to jump ship, or what? What an excruciatingly dull season. But for Crystal and the pants-on-the-ground guy, there was no one I'll remember in June. Hell, I didn't recognize half of the top 12. It didn't used to be like that. I remember Jasmine Trias and Kevin freaking Cobais, for god's sake, although not for any pleasant reason. But this season? Meh. It was in trouble from the minute we met the top 12.

That got me thinking. What would be my all-time top 12? Not in terms of ranking them—that's gonna come down to musical taste—but just in terms of what would be the most entertaining show? I decided to go for best-in-class. Country is therefore represented by Underwood, rock by Daughtry, soul by Studdard and Hudson, etc. Here's my list, in alphabetical order, with the thought behind their inclusion.

  • Adam Lambert (glam rock)
  • Alison Iraheta (chick rock)
  • Blake Lewis (creativity, or as Katrina says, "to annoy Simon")
  • Bo Bice (southern rock)
  • Carrie Underwood (country)
  • Chris Daughtry (rock rock)
  • Clay Aiken (pop crooner)
  • Crystal Bowersox (folk/blues)
  • David Cook (emo rock)
  • Jennifer Hudson (soul balladeer)
  • Kelly Clarkson (pop belter)
  • Ruben Studdard (southern soul)

Happy with my list, I asked Katrina to do the same exercise. I didn't tell her my criteria or choices. And despite the fact that we have quite different musical tastes, she came up with the exact same dozen. This surprised us both. How about you? See any flaws in our thinking?

BTW, my top three would be Bowersox, Clarkson, Cook. No idea who's number one, but I'd sure love to see them go at it. So would you.

bail, bail, on michigan

This cracked me up. From the AP.

The University of Michigan admitted Tuesday to a series of violations by its storied football program and said it had reprimanded seven people, including third-year coach Rich Rodriguez. Another staffer was fired and the school released more than 150 pages detailing a breakdown in communication within the athletic department as well as self-imposed sanctions that include two years of probation.

The school now has to hope that its explanation and sanctions will satisfy the NCAA, which will hold a hearing on the case Aug. 13-14 in Seattle. A final decision isn't expected for 6-10 weeks later, perhaps sometime during the Big Ten season.

Athletic director David Brandon said he doesn't believe the problems related to practice time and coaching activities are enough to warrant the loss of scholarships or extreme disgrace.

"I don't think this is a black eye," Brandon said. "This is a bruise."

Right. And Dex isn't a Portuguese Water Dog; she's a mammal.

A quick check confirms that the erudite Mr. Brandon is indeed a proud graduate of the Harvard of the Midwest.

jasmine and juice boxes

The child's mother and I were going to be busy loading a truck for a while, so I threw myself into a routine I now have down pat.

"Hey sweetie, would you like to watch a movie?

I could see the alarm in her mother's eyes. It's all too familiar. "Please don't be Kill Bill. Please don't be Kill Bill." And then I produced my folder of kid movies and let the child choose, and then I got the portable DVD player so she could watch it where Mom could see her. Here's a coloring book and markers, too. "Mom, is it okay for her to have a juice box?"


Out of the liquor closet came a juice box. Organic, don't you know, because I'm tired of being yelled at.

"Why does a childless bachelor have—"

I waived her off. Too painful to talk about.

As I draped a blanket around the child, she chatted amiably about her dog, her room, and why Belle is better than Ariel and Jasmine combined. She really couldn't have been nicer—or more correct. She thanked me each step of the way, and I found myself saying something I never imagined I'd say to a child.

"You're very polite."

"Thank you. And you're very kind."

What. The hell. Is this? I thought as I staggered off, shell-shocked from the concussion of the child's sweetness. I'm not accustomed to "You're very kind." I'm accustomed to "I hate you and everyone hates you and where's my juice box, motherfucker? It better not be that organic shit again."

I approached the mother. "Your the single nicest, most polite kid I've ever met in my life." I would remain confused for exactly two more seconds.

She smiled. "Yeah, she's home schooled."


So that, parents, is what your kid would be like without the corrupting influence of other little shits.

shit my boss says

Flo and beau are in my home state of Ohio, and the whining is coming in at 10¢ per text message. A sampling follows.

• • •

We are in your home town! Can you buy alcohol in grocery stores here?

Everyone here is either obese or overly tattooed or both.

We've been in Columbus 5 minutes and we're both dying for a drink.

We started drinking margaritas at 10am...tapering off...find me a liquor store.

BF at bachelor party. I am supposed to be at bachelorette party but who can be bothered? I'm drinking in B&B and watching Star Trek. WTF you doing?

Me: Your job, as it happens.
Ohio has the cleanest public bathrooms.

Christ. I'm drinker (sic) then (sic) Ive (sic, okay, I'm stopping now) been in a long time and talking to a guy who is a special forces sniper who kills people for a living. WTF with Ohio?

Me: Sorry he doesn't watch soccer and talk endlessly about Obama while his mouth is full of goat cheese and he's driving his hybrid to the winery. Come home.
Omg I want to be a sniper

I told some douchebag guy in the bar that he was dressed like a douchebag. He didn't like that.

Me: How was he dressed?
Like a douchebag

He replied "yeh well your dress looks like something I found on my picnic table." i said "what does that even mean?"

mom check: cancer

Once a decade, I like to survey how my flake mom's historical predictions turned out.

Mom shrilly insisted that the following caused cancer:

  • Pepper—Thanks for the heads up, Mom. But too much salt? It's apparently good for me?
  • Off! insect spray—Well, I can't imagine that overuse is good for you, but it's 30 years later and there's still zero evidence of a link to cancer. And that's the most plausible of her cancer causes.
  • Microwaves—She insisted that microwave ovens are proven to cause cancer "even when they're turned off."

    Huh. I'll be damned. I can't think of any way to mock her that's funnier than quoting her.
  • Toaster ovens—This was when I first suspected Mom might not have been all that bright. Her evidence? They look kinda like microwaves.
  • Color TVs—Not only do they cause testicular cancer, they sterilize you. I wonder what Mom would have been able to do had she lived to see plasma TVs. Or smartphones or, god help us, laser pointers.
Unfunny postscript that needs to be said anyway: guess what this Off/microwave/pepper/TV-avoiding smoker died of?

metamuville, defined

"It's kind of hard to describe Metamuville," I said, twirling my tawny, hoping this gesture made me look thoughtful and sophisticated and not, as was the case, bumbling and inarticulate. And so I told her about Percy. About the old white farts with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement (OWFOSE). About the ruling geriatric clique. About the OWFOSEs who, after I pass them legally, have thrice followed me home to berate my dangerousness.

"So in Metamuville, the old farts shake their fists and yell at you to get off your lawn?"

That must be what being articulate is like.

A "high ponytail" is nothing nefarious, Stanktards. It is a euphemism for neither drugs nor sex. It isn't a euphemism at all. Low ponytail at left, high at right.


This stared at me for three weeks while my deck was under construction.

custom ho.jpg

permanent damage

I'm thankful to have been poor. Among other benefits, this past allows me to:

  • look at my stupefyingly stupid job and feel very fortunate, indeed
  • listen to my peers' material angst and think they're spoiled, whiny bitches
  • not fear being poor again
  • look at my friends' kids' mountains of long-forgotten toys and hate the kids truly, madly, deeply. You know what I owned when I was five? Half of a lincoln log set and a stuffed chimpanzee named Schnickelfritz. I was his fifth kid. That's it. That's the list.

But perhaps the best part of having been po' is stories like the following.

Maddie wanted a perm, but we couldn't remotely afford it. A perm for hair the length of her beautiful brown locks ran something like $100. One of us—which is to say, me—hatched the inevitable scheme to buy a $20 home perm kit and have me administer the perm. Not only would it save the $80, but if I didn't waste the chemicals, we could get two or three perms out of that kit.

Reading the instructions on the box, I combed the perm solution into her hair. All of her hair. And then I began the process of wrapping her locks in curlers.

"Huh. This is harder than it looks."

30 minutes later, with me having successfully curled exactly two locks, Maddie was in a full-tilt panic.


And so I picked up the pace, whirling her locks willy-nilly around the remaining curlers like I was collecting sting around a cardboard tube.

The lessons here, kids, are two: 1) if you're doing a home perm, only put solution in the hair you'll be able to do something with later that same day, and 2) don't ever, under any circumstances, do home perms.

Two of the locks ended up looking looked pretty good. The other dozens were an odd combination of frizzy poodle, giant corkscrew, and Verdine White, the bass player from Earth, Wind & Fire. Mostly the latter. I tried to emphasize the two good locks. Maddie, ever the Negative Nelly, emphasized the Verdine locks.


She eventually forgave me, but she did have to shell out the $100 to try to fix my handiwork, then another $40 to cut it all off.

"Why on earth did she lop off all her beautiful hair?" my buddy asked. "It was her best feature!"

"Stupidity," I snorted, shaking my head disapprovingly, not specifying whose.

stupid is

Another sequel to the Tale of Two Biddies post.

I told Exhibit B about Exhibit A, hoping she might learn something. She was suitably appalled, then added, "Like I always say, you just can't fix stupid."

your not welcome

The problem with the democratization of communications is, of course, that most people aren't worthy of a vote. Moreover, not long ago, if bigotry-spewing morons wanted to share their thoughts with me, they had to brave doing so to my face.

No longer. The web has seen to that. Count me among the old farts who shake their fists and yell at trespassing webizens to get off their lawn.

Ignorance was bliss. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I think far less of my fellow man than I did 10 years ago. I was happier for not having known them.

My least favorite phenomenon is rather like the schoolyard. In any web discussion, there will be a bunch of preliterate punks and a smart kid. The punks can't bang two words together, and the kid makes excellent points backed up by evidence, but the punks take a vote and agree that they're right and the smart kid is very, very stupid indeed. They mock the intellectual gulf between them and him, as if they're not on the shallow end.

Go look at any discussion that the tea party has a stake in, and tell me it's not your schoolyard revisited.

I try to avoid web comments, but I often can't, largely because outraged friends quote them to me. The only part I enjoy: seeing the punks misspell their insults of the smart kids' intelligence.

"I wonder," I thought last night, "Have we reached the point yet where most people are spelling it your stupid instead of you're stupid?"

To Google!

We're not quite there, but a life-depleting 24% of all uses of this phrase on the web are "your." I shall track this over time. When it hits 51%, I'll move to some country without broadband. It'll surely be less backward.

You're an idiot: 4.3 million
Your an idiot: 1.3 million

more stupid percy tricks

I had my property line surveyed last week. No, not Percy's. The other one.

That neighbor has thoughtfully torn down the thick forest that was once between us so that I might have a better look at the beater pickups parked in the lawn; the cement swan lawn ornaments; the enormous tin trumpeting angels she has tacked on the front of the house 365 days a year; and the 17, count 'em, 17 lights that illuminate it all 24/7. And so I am erecting a fence. If I could erect a 20-foot high electrified fence with guard towers and gun turrets, I would.

As the surveyor was packing up, I grabbed a line marker out of the back of his truck. I marched about 15 feet into Percy's yard and planted it there, pink flag a-fluttering, roughly aligned with the center of his new garage. I couldn't wait for Percy to emerge from his toolshed. I waited a half hour, but I had to go. When I returned home, Percy was waiting for me.

photasddaso.jpg"IS THAT FOR REAL?!"

I burst out laughing. Percy tried to muster a smile, but he couldn't. Apparently I had set off a neighborhood panic. No fewer than six homeowners were on their hands and knees, sifting frantically through foliage for survey pegs.

"Jesus fuckin' christ," exclaimed a neighbor I'd never met before.

"Hi, I'm John. Nice to meet you."

• • •

Percy left me the use of his garage for the winter. Very thoughtful. Very, very thoughtful. Yep.

In the above photo, I'm rockin' his safari hat. This is why you don't lend me keys.

speaking of obtuse dumb guy

So if a certain kind of woman learns about romantic relationships from popular media, is this also true of some men? What's the male equivalent of Jane Austen and Pretty Woman leading us down the garden path?

I keep trying to think of an example that's not "porn" or "commercials." I try. I fail.

It's impossible for me to imagine a guy romantically emulating Colin Firth. And certainly not any literary character. Please. I couldn't even write that sentence without laughing. I'm inclined to say we don't give it any thought at all, but that would be a paradox, wouldn't it? No, what feels right, what I can provide too many examples of, is men in real life behaving like men in commercials. She will swoom if we ship her cardboard flowers in a cardboard box, go to Jared's for a ring, and then propose in some sort of stunt. Say, the Jumbotron at a stadium. And so this is exactly what we do.

And then we wonder why she didn't squeal with delight to her girlfriends like the chick on TV did. Crazy bitches, man.

obtuse dumb guy

I rely upon it. It's a fair bet your man does, too.

Schooled by Jane Austen in the ways of finessing men, some enterprising lass will try to "finesse" me instead of simply conversing like an adult.

"Oh, I was just really hoping we'd go to the Dahlia. But Waldo's is good, too. We'll have fun at Waldo's. Love you!"

Translation: "Waldo's? Are you serious? I never want to hear about Waldo's again. Christ."

"You're welcome to come, of course, but why do you want to? You won't know anyone but me, and I'll be busy. I think you'd be uncomfortable."

Translation: "You are decidedly not welcome to come, as the guy I'm hoping to fuck instead of you will be there."

There are many advantages to being male. Women's reproductive plumbing tops my list, and most days the shorter life expectancy is welcome, too. But right up there is the Obtuse Dumb Guy expectation. So little is thought of my gender by certain members of the other, when I pretend not to understand what she wants me to do, it's completely plausible.

I use this as a form of punishment. Insult my intelligence with this circumlocutious manipulation crap, will you? Here's a full dose of Obtuse Dumb Guy. He doesn't get it. No matter how much you dumb down your machinations, he will just not get it. Thus my normal response of

"Oh, you wanted to go to the Dahlia? That's a much better idea. I'll do Waldo's some other time."
becomes a vindictive
"Okay, Waldo's it is! And it's your turn to treat, remember."
Postscript: Jane Austen died alone at 41.

Lunch with Annette turned, as lunch with Annette invariably does, into an examination of what my problem is. A usual suspect reared its head: my choices in women.

"Well, as we see on Skank—"

"It's Stank."

"Mm. Is it."

like or lesser losers

I hesitate to write about this topic because at first glance, it smacks of egotism. But a quick check of my self-esteem finds it dragging through the gutter, matted with sludge, just like always. No, it's not that I'm thinking any more of myself. I'm just thinking less of others.

loser.jpgSpecifically, lifelong fuckups with obnoxiously high self-confidence.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to ask someone "Wait. Hold on. Based upon what expertise, upon what history of accomplishment, exactly, do you so confidently express an opinion? In fact, when have you ever been right? Have you ever succeeded? You can go back to childhood, if you'd like. Take your time."

I so want to ask this. Increasingly. Like more every day. I can feel my filter clogging from the debris of unremitting incompetence. I will certainly say this to someone before May is up. Alternately, I might say "I'm baffled. Can you help me understand how you've gotten to be your age without realizing that pretty much everyone is smarter than you?"

I'm not just being mean, though it's essentially that. I'm also legitimately baffled. Near as I can tell, serial losers instinctively surround themselves with an entourage of like or lesser losers. This allows them to decouple from the reality that they are demonstrably stupid. When your friend has never gotten his high school diploma, after all, he has to respect yours. In his world, you're a bona fide Nobel laureate.

The thing is, the rest of us exist on Earth. And on Earth, serial fuckups should shut the fuck up.

moron taxonomy
stupid church signs
super bowl xl officiating
percy chronicles

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