August 2010 Archives

requiem for eight cents

I'm allowed 200 free text messages per month. After that, I have to pay eight cents per message. Yes, I could pay for unlimited, but only a couple of times would that have been worth the extra fee. No, I'll stay at 200.

This doesn't mean that when Bill sends his sequences of texts, I don't want to kill him. What he writes:

"i'll be working until 4"

"or maybe 4:30"

"so come over at 5:30"

"or maybe 6?"

"actually"

"why don't i just call?"

What I read:
"ca-CHING!"

"ca-CHING!"

"ca-CHING!"

"ca-CHING!"

"ca-CHING!"

Vastly more expensive-seeming, though, is the brutally stupid text. This came in last night. If any reader can top this for sheer pointlessness, I will buy that reader a beer. This pained me so badly, you'd think it had cost me eight grand.

textmsg.jpg

g.i. joe

I just told this story to an incredulous audience, so I might as well share here, too.

When I was about 7, I asked for a G.I. Joe for Christmas. I did not receive one. My parents were locked in a heated debate about why I shouldn't. My mom argued that a soldier toy would make me violent, militaristic. Dad, meanwhile, argued that a doll would make me gay. One would think they could have settled comfortably in the common ground of my not receiving the toy and thereby not experiencing fleeting happiness, but no. They had to argue about whose reason had trumped whose. About whose reason was dumber.

In retrospect, I wish I'd become a gay Green Beret. That would have taught 'em.

Yep, these were my parents.

imbecile, imbecile, imbecile

I've avoided the whole Dr. Laura thing. What more really needs to be said? Yet several people have written me, seemingly presuming I'm going to be on her side.

I suppose this is because I've ranted about young blacks correcting me about what white people think? That's my best guess. I fail to connect the dots, however. There's no mistaking what Dr. Laura thinks. She said it on the bloody radio. Have at her.

To the round of condemnations, I have little original to add. I find it incredibly disingenuous that anyone would use the n-word on the radio and claim surprise at the subsequent uproar. This intellectual leap would require that we believe Dr. Laura is not a bigot or shameless race-baiter, but an imbecile. But apparently that's the impression she'd prefer. Okay. I guess I can indulge her this wish.

And this is what now passes for conservative discourse? Offend, provoke, and claim victimhood? Really?

Today we're going to do a mash-up of two things that annoy the hell out of me:

  • comparing people to Hitler
  • Ben "cuts, bruises and vaginal bleeding" Roethlisberger.
Because genocide and rape are just that funny.

"Dear God…what were you thinking?" I imagine Allie saying in a couple of hours.

• • •

Reporter: "Adolf, how did it feel to be out there strolling the Champs Elysées today?"

Hitler: "Good, real good. Conquest is what I like to do, it's who I am, and it feels good to be back out there doing what I love."

Reporter: "Adolf, you were away for quite a while. What did you miss most?"

Hitler: "My boys. I missed being out here with my boys. I love and support my boys. We're a band of brothers."

Reporter: "Wasn't the Band of Brothers on the Allied si—"

Hitler: "Also my fans. I've been really touched by how the fans have responded to me. I see lots of SS jerseys out here today, and I won't lie to you, that feels good. Especially here in Paris. The warmth of my Parisian fans means a lot to me. I want to settle here, raise my kids here."

Reporter: "So—"

Hitler: "Did you notice how many freaking autographs I've been signing?"

Reporter: "Not to mention how suddenly, you give the local media the time of day."

Hitler: "Right. This is the New Adolf. All that other stuff is behind me. I turned the page. It's time for a new chapter. I'm just happy to move on."

Reporter: "New Adolf, is there anything you'd like to say to the families of the 20 million people you ki—

Hitler: "Just, you know, lesson learned. I'm moving on. I'm the new me, and I hope y'all will give the new me a chance to show how new the me is on this new page, or chapter if you will, ha ha ha, in my life. I'm excited by the opportunity to prove myself.

Reporter: "So in Warsaw today—"

Hitler: "TURNED. THE. PAGE. Notice the past participle. I'm told that means ‘what happened three months ago is such, such old news.'"

Reporter: "You've spoken about being caught up in the ‘Big Adolf' persona. Can you explain how that happens?"

Hitler: "Sure. When all the media and fans are telling you how great you are all the time, you start to believe it, maybe you start to act like it a little bit. So even though I've turned the page, I want you to know that really, the preceding pages were more your fault than mine. If you stop and really think about it, it was like it was you pouring drinks down that co-ed's throat and following her into the bathr—er, invading Poland. But hey, I'm not here to point fingers. Because—"

Reporter: "You've turned the page?"

Hitler: "For annoying media turds, you catch on fast."

• • •

Allie, upon reading this: "You forgot the end of my sentence. ‘Dear God, what were you thinking when you created John?'"

stupid pet tricks

A friend's dog ran away over the weekend. Mother and moron have since been reunited, but for 24 hours, there was much drama. For my part, I was driving in ever-increasing concentric circles around my friend's house, looking for corpses. We all do what we can.

The guy who found the dog posted a "FOUND" ad on craigslist. He told my friend that he'd gotten five bogus calls about the dog, each claiming ownership. This pissed me off. So I decided to do a sting. I would advertise that I'd found a Portuguese Water Dog roaming near Costco, and I would very much like to see this sweet girl reunited with its owner. And I would include an especially cute photo of Dex. And when the would-be dog thieves wrote me, I would publish their emails and names here. The bastards would get what they deserved.

And so I ran my ad. And the emails didn't come. Not one person tried to steal my dog.

I did get a couple of nice emails, from people suggesting that I check to see if the dog was microchipped. And I got one from Dex's breeder, some 100 miles away, panicked that Dex was roaming the streets.

Experiment summary

Pride in Dex: gone

Faith in humanity: restored. Well, not restored. Just not diminished any further.

Faith in myself: diminished further

the man without fear

The dinner conversation was about monsters and their innumerable hiding places in the kids' rooms. These not being my kids, I wasn't sure if Santa Claus rules were in effect. Hmm. Is it okay to say there's no such thing as monsters? I can't really see the downside, but on the other hand, parents are really weird. No, best to err on the side of caution and pretend that something IS trying to disembowel them in their sleep.

That conversation winding down, Mom asked me a question I never know how to answer. "What are you afraid of, John?"

"A 13 year old son showing up at my door with a suitcase, a tuba, and a skull bong," I replied.

"Ha, ha. No, really."

Well, crap. I don't really feel fear, not like she meant it. I'd like to pretend this is a function of heroism (I'm Daredevil: The Man Without Fear!®) or bravery, but I think it's more that I'm just broken that way. I used up all my fear during childhood. Compared to how I grew up, nothing in adulthood is remotely scary. I don't fear being alone, unemployed, disliked, assaulted, and so forth. I would rather have had a decent childhood, but my experience was not without an upside.

Of course, the downside is that I'm often alone, unemployed, disliked, and punched.

great moments in coordination, part iii

My dog did this with her head at the dog park. She was aiming for my knees, but I did a sweet toro! move.

trashcan.jpg

great moments in coordination, part ii

My buddy had just been dumped, and I was sitting at the desk in his dorm, pretending to listen to him moan. I had my feet on the edge of his desk, and I was tilting back in the chair while absent-mindedly tugging at the cord of his oh-so-clever banana phone. The phone suddenly launched off its wall-mount, striking me between the legs with appalling force. It was a nad-seeking missile. The shock sent me falling backwards in the chair, into the aquarium, which I badly splintered with my head.

In a movie, of course, the fish would have poured out all over my racked and battered body. But that would just be silly.

His depression was instantly cured.

feelin' the love

I'm being socially tortured right now, to my friends' increasing delight. Out of fear of a certain someone finding this site and taking my mockery out on someone else, I cannot write about it here. Maybe someday. I'm dying to. But for now, a few yucks aren't worth that risk.

Nope. For now, my trevails will have to entertain only my real-world friends. You'd think it'd be offputting to have every single person in your life rooting for your continued drowning. But you'd be someone else. Nope, no surprises here. My friends don't want to see me hurt, particularly, but they sure don't mind watching me slip on a banana peel and bounding down a flight of stairs into a patch of mouse traps.

great moments in coordination

My recent conversations have had a distressing theme lately: "You think this is uncoordinated? One time, I..."

I was 25 and in the best shape of my life. Through hard work and innumerable natural gifts, I had elevated my basketball game to "not always a liability." We were playing four on four on my old asphalt court with the threads of chain nets hanging from dunk-proof cast-iron rims. This was a brutally rough court. Blood flowed freely, not all of it mine.

On this day, I was leading a fast break.

Ahhhh. Let me type that sentence again.

On this day, I was leading a fast break.

One more time. Pardon my indulgence.

On this day, I was leading a fast break. I passed back and forth with the guy on my wing (who I'd like to say was d'Andre, but let's face facts: the guy was invariably gasping behind me, hands on his knees, lest he keel over). I decided to lay it in myself. I beat my guy off the dribble, leaped for the rim, and for some inexplicable reason thought that I was remotely capable of changing hands while mid-air. I was going for exactly this:

What actually happened was that I sort of schlubbed the ball in the general direction of the rim and, still at full sprint, rammed my extended knee into the solid iron pole. It didn't make the resounding GOOONG! sound a hollow aluminum pole would make. It made the exact same sound as a cantaloupe being dropped 20 stories on an anvil.

I could not stand, not that I tried very hard. The boys carried me and my broken patella home, depositing me on my couch unceremoniously and returning to their game.

"Did I make the shot?" I asked, hopeful.

Such a cruel, cruel laugh ensued. I had hit the bottom of the backboard, and the ball had ricocheted off and hit my head.

reader mail: special guest

From time to time, someone about whom I write will google themselves, read my post, and write me back. Sometimes it's a complaint. It's usually a thank you. But recently I got my first "you're welcome." It was for one of my favorite posts ever, the Mike Tomczak saga.

To my rapturous delight, I got this.

yourewelcome.png

My year is made.

not quite there yet

Flipbook is an app that takes a bunch of feeds and assembles them into magazine format. For instance, here's a screenshot of my Facebook wall in Flipbook form. I can't decide what I enjoy more: the juxtaposition of Mark's Rush concert photos with Anita's headline, or the Yahoo!

Okay, it's the Yahoo, hands down.


where ARE my glasses, anyway?

Sure, there are better athletes than me. Much better. And there are certainly more likable guys. Better looking guys. Better singers. Better cooks. My whole life, I could count on someone being better than me at pretty much everything. But I had one important refuge: I could count on being among the smarter people in the room.

And much like the beautiful, I've flaunted what I have. My brains have always been how I differentiated myself. I would look at folks older than me, their onetime beauty diminished by the ravages of aging. I would look at how bitter it made them to have lost their beauty. They could scarcely function now. And I would feel superior. What made me special, after all, would never be diminished by age.

And then I aged, and I became a moron. The neurons are flaking off like an arctic storm, now. I can neither remember what I did yesterday nor perform work tasks that I could do in my sleep just five years ago. It's horrifying. It's humbling.

All in all, I would rather have been hot.

this post is almost straight

I haven't scrubbed a toilet in seven years.

I like living in a clean house, but not nearly as much as I hate cleaning my house. Thus do a never-ending succession of maids pass through my revolving door. With a couple of exceptions, they're middle-aged women who've gone through some sort of life-changing event. A recent divorce, perhaps. Or she was a realtor when the bottom fell out on the housing market. What she generally is not is gorgeous. Until this week.

Assisting my usual housecleaner was the sort of shimmering beauty I don't often see in my home. Okay, ever see in my home. Okay, ever see. While I was still trying to form a word, she went upstairs to clean. The usual maid and I remained downstairs. I tried to return to work. I violently shook my head, hoping the image burned on my retinas would clear like an Etch-A-Sketch. No dice. I worked, but my heart wasn't in it.

Daaaaaaaaaaamn...

The usual maid and I chit-chatted as we often do, and she apologized for being late. The customer before me had taken an unusually long time.

"Was the house disgusting?" I asked, hoping for a validating comparison.

"No," she groaned. "He just really liked Adrienne." She rolled her eyes upward, indicating the Venus fluffing my blankets upstairs, who I hadn't thought about for over two seconds, dammit, and now I had to restart the clock. "It was gross. He wouldn't leave her alone. So he's humping her leg, and I was like, Dude, you're like [AGE SLIGHTLY YOUNGER THAN MINE] years old! She's young enough to be your daughter! Not to mention, to her you're just a disgusting old man!"

"Men are such pigs..?" I managed to gag out.

Adrienne eventually came downstairs, of course, and if she remembers me at all, she probably wonders if she had the sort of booger that would make people so obviously avoid looking at her.

gay math

Yeah, so maybe my posts are becoming swishier. You know why? Gay friends don't crap out kids and disappear. They're what's left.

This morning I was chatting with Mike about the young'un yanking him around. As usual, I had to ask him to translate.

(11:36 AM) john:
do young gay guys have daddy issues like young women do?

(11:36 AM) Mike:
oh yes
very much so
daddyhunt.com

(11:37 AM) john:
my god, just look at all of the abs on that page. my eyes! the burning!
man + man = shallow²

gearstick lesbians

Percy has confirmed the purchase of his house. Our long national nightmare is almost over.

While I ponder what to do with Stank's first retired category (there will be no more "Percy" posts soon, after all), I've resumed my happy dance. Childless lesbians. I can't believe my luck.

Upon hearing about the new tenants, guy-friends get that look. That lascivious as-soon-as-the-women-are-gone-let's-hit-a-strip-club look.

"High five, John!"

I leave them hanging. "No, no. Not porn lesbians. Real lesbians."

lost email

Ugh. This morning I discovered a screw-up (my own) that rerouted years of reader mail into purgatory. As my punishment, I am now reading misspelled death threats from 2008.

They seem strangely toothless, now.

I'll reply to stuff sent in the last year. I apologize for the seeming rudeness. I wasn't ignoring you. But now if I don't reply, yes, I want credit for ignoring you.

greatreads.jpgToday, I'm starting a new post category: great reads. Whenever I come upon an article I love, I'll pass it on.

• • •

Tired of seeing his work stolen online, a composer had given up on doing anything about it. But then he realized there was one thing no one ever tried. So he personally wrote the thieves and asked them to stop stealing his work. Many wrote back. One was a teenage girl who didn't understand why he was infringing on her rights.

Fighting with Teenagers: A Copyright Story

This girl takes the classic "if a starving man steals a loaf of bread to feed his family, is it wrong?" ethical debate to a whole new level. She's an artist. Artists want, nay, need to steal his music and take money from his pocket. Why is he being such a douche about it?

Percy has accepted a bid on his house, and when I met the buyers, I couldn't believe my luck.

Childless lesbians. My second choice of new neighbors. First choice, if you disallow Beyoncé, which I never will. But failing that particular miracle, can you believe my luck?

Better still, they're kind and complimented my house instead of bitching about it.

Better still, they're my age instead of the median Metamuvillian age of 104.

Better still, they're already talking about joint beach parties.

Better still, they have a house in Seattle and would only be here every other weekend.

Best of all, one of them works as a headhunter for people in my profession.

I could scarcely believe my luck. I was vibrating with rare levels of happiness. I offered them free wifi as an inducement. Every day, I watch Percy's sign for a "sold" placard. Every day, nothing happens.

"They came back with some requests from their inspection," Percy just snarled at me, visibly offended. "I said no to 'em all."

fixer-upper, part ii

Kelly and her family visited again. I'll pause so you can catch up on last year's trip. And its aftermath.

This year as last, Mom chatted with me while I prepared drinks and dinner. Her other daughter now in a relationship, Mom didn't miss a beat. Even while kicking aside the women's slippers at the base of her barstool, Mom was trying to set me up with her neighbor. Her neighbor back in Georgia.

"She's a nice southern lady. Just widowed."

Egad. What do you say to that?

"And she's wealthy."

"She sounds really interesting," I replied. "Tell me more."

Kelly, outside playing with her kids, glared at me through two walls.

"She might be too old for you, though," Mom continued.

"IF SHE'S REMOTELY HIS AGE, SHE'S TOO OLD FOR HIM," the voice of God bellowed into my windows.

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