June 2011 Archives

only the penitent man shall pass

At least former USC coach (and longtime Stank favorite) Pete Carroll is suitably repentant for having been a cheating sleaze...shortly before he bailed...shortly before their national championship was stripped.

Pete Carroll: Players still know who won

Pete Carroll, in the wake of the BCS stripping USC of the 2004-05 national championship, still chooses to remember the players and results on the field.

"Just watch the comments of the players," Carroll said in an interview with Mark Willard of 710 ESPN. "They know who won, who didn't. Matt Leinart and Lofa Tatupu and those guys, they all know."

brother, brother, brother

I took the ferry into Seattle for what feels like the first time all year. It's been months, anyway. I needed a web development book, and I needed it that day. Experience has taught me that even the "good" bookstore on my peninsula stocks 2.5 shelves of "iPhones for Dummies" for every programming book, so I don't even try here anymore.

Once at the mall in Seattle, I held a door open for a gentleman about my age. It's a bitter game I play: How many doors can I hold open for Seattle people before someone deigns to thank me? My record is 13. This gentleman, however, ended my current streak at 6.

"Thank you, brother," he said, cheerfully enough.

I'll never get used to white guys calling one another "brother." Ever. Even "Brother Thomas," my childhood priest-in-training, always rubbed me the wrong way. (And holy crap, did that sentence ever come out spectacular. I'm changing nothing.)

An hour later I was on my way home, and the young white cashier called me "brother."

Okay, so apparently this is a trend I missed out on? Will someone let me know when it's run its course?

work crush

I know what you're thinking. Yeah, I wish I had a crush on someone at work. Nay, I am crushed in work, which is far less expensive and far more likely to end well.

I leave you, then, for no reason other than desperation, with this photo of how Amazon packaged a plastic bottle of syrup. Everything you see was used.

amazon packaging_sm.jpg

gay pride

It's Gay Pride weekend. I wish I didn't know that, but here I am. This is what happens when all your straight friends crap out kids at once. All that's left is the gays.

"I hate when you say crap out kids," a wincing Katrina always interjects at this point.

Sorry. This is what happens when all your straight friends crap out little miracles.

I think three or forty more uses, and I'll officially retire that joke.

• • •

So in the shadow of New York legalizing gay marriage and Hollywood celebrities scrambling to approve the loudest, we have Gay Pride weekend.

"I'm kind of jealous," I told Madam. You get parties and parades and floats and booze, all to celebrate your pride in who you want to have sex with. Whereas I'm ashamed of who I want to have sex with."

ohio state keeps drilling

Fresh on the heels of my rapist pro QB, I now enjoy having a dirty college team. This has been a banner year of fandom for me.

Players disgraced, a head coach pushed out...I really thought Ohio State had bottomed out. And then one of you sent me this photo of everyone's mother-of-the-year, Casey Anthony.

casey anthony

stabbyfication

I've come to the conclusion that I cannot describe my weekend guests without using the phrase "ungrateful cunts." So I will not describe my guests. It's important to me that the phrase "ungrateful cunts" never appear on this page. We have standards at Stank.

I will therefore just quote my guests. Two such anecdotes follow.

• • •

"Please be careful around the puppy. Don't run around him, because he's only 9 weeks old doesn't know what he's doing. He'll run under your feet and get hurt," I told the kids as they tried their best to see if Fredo's guts squish like a cockroach's. "And please don't leave the puppy outside alone like that. There are eagles and coyotes around," I had to add later. "And please don't leave the door wide open. The whole puppy thing is still happening. Thank you."

Finally, one of the children's heretofore mute parents stopped stuffing brie into her hole momentarily to say "Okay kids, let's take the puppy down to the beach!"

"The puppy can't go," I said.

She sighed the exasperated sigh of those persecuted by the truly stupid. "Is this your first puppy, John?"

• • •

The kids didn't break anything over the weekend, but once again, the adults did their best. My marble vanity has an exciting new permanent stain thanks to someone deciding that where I had the soap dispenser (6 inches from the sink) wasn't close enough. She needed actual soap-dispenser-to-marble-contact, lest...lest...I'm at a loss. And so the globs of soap bore their way into the pores of the marble, where they shall remain. There's half a dozen needless things like that.

The kids slept outside in a tent. It rained. The next morning, I was surprised to see their mother bringing my good guest linens back inside. I cannot emphasize enough how expensive these items were. "Ugh, this is soaked through," she said with a disgust that suggested it was my down pillow's fault.

"Awesome," I said softly, at this point long in a meditative trance.

And thus did this woman glare at me. Me, who'd supplied her children with a closet full of games and toys, with an industrial bubble machine, with blackout blinds in the guest room, with sand castle-making gear, with sparklers and other kid fireworks, with an X-Box (and dedicated TV) with kids' games. Me, who'd let them buy games on his iPad, who'd spent hundreds of dollars on feeding them, including a bonfire over which we roasted s'mores.

Knowing this, standing there, holding my used maxi-pad of a down pillow, she stared at me, then at her sister, and then she issued her judgement: "John hates kids."

my second ban

My weekend guests are gone, and I'm still processing what a miserable time it was for me. Nine years after my first ban, I am issuing my second.

Long pause

I've now stared at this page for five minutes, unable to articulate my hatred. I don't think I'll even try.

• • •

An unrelated curiosity: since I put a TV in my upstairs guest-room, it has been used twice. On both occasions, I set up an X-Box for a guest's nephew. On both occasions, I left him several kid-friendly games to play. And within an hour, on both occasions, the boy saw fit to go exploring my house, opening every cabinet and drawer until he found the non-kid-appropriate games in a spice drawer downstairs, which he then took and played, without comment. On both occasions, it was me—never his parent, God forbid—who discovered what he'd done. And on both occasions, his excuse was an indignant "You only left me four games!"

It's as if I'd locked him in the room for a day with a thimble full of water, then yelled at him for using the tap nearby.

There are many levels to this that I don't understand, not the least of which is: since when are four wildly popular games not good for an hour?

I fancied myself a news junkie at a very young age. As soon as I could read, I was enduring lectures about the importance of letting Dad also enjoy the newspaper for which, I gathered, he'd paid. Fine, fine. Whatever, whiner. No newspaper was as coveted as Sunday morning's, of course. I was banned from touching it until he had.

Thus was the following ritual born.

Dad would sit on the toilet in the half-bathroom just off our dining area, chain-smoking. Those eating breakfast nearby watched the reverse waterfall of smoke billow out from under the door. At fairly regular intervals, I would rap twice, softly, and a section of the newspaper would slide under the door. This was his discard. And so we would read the paper section by section, a daisy-chain of news, sports, comics, carcinogens, and, most likely, trace amounts of fecal coliform.

News, Comics, Sports, Movies, and Parade magazine were my holy grail sections. Business and Religion were deathly. Then as now.

Dad would not be rushed. He zealously guarded his toilet time, and woe be unto the 7 year old who knocked too hard or too often. Time moved glacially. He dragged it out for hours upon hours. How my father so enjoyed squatting on the toilet, I did not fully understand.

I now have two dogs: 3 year old Dex and 10 week old Fredo. Fredo positively mauls Dex. He's mauling her right now, in her bed, and she's taking it like a champ. The mauling is unremitting, and most times, she even seems to enjoy it.

But at least once a day when I take the dogs outside, Dex points herself toward the large expanse of my front yard and stares at me pleadingly. This is new behavior, and it took me a few times before I figured out what she was requesting.

John, I don't ask you for much, and I think you'd agree that I handled the recent incursion in our home amazingly well. Well, I need a favor. I would like to go take a nice, long dump. In peace. This is the only quiet time I ever get. Ever. Can you please make this happen? I beg of you.
And so I pick up Fredo and Dex races off. How a dog can so enjoy squatting in a field, I do not fully understand.

putting another deadbolt on the doors

The last time I might have damaged something in a friend's house was a few years ago, when I kicked back in Katrina's reclining chair and the whole damned thing toppled ass-over-teakettle. I don't recall there being any damage to the chair, and if there was, they're being nice about it. Prior to that, you'd have to go back to the broken plates of childhood to find another breakage incident. Not counting broken noses and women, of course.

Mind you, I am not graceful. Not remotely. I am a lumbering clod. Which brings me to my present mystification: how come my friends break so much of my stuff?

Mind you again, I'm not talking about their kids. When four year old Trevyn pulls a towel bar out of the drywall, I'm not delighted, but this is the tax I pay for having a four year old boy in the house. No, I'm talking about the grown ups. The broken plates and glasses. The broken knife tips and rusted cast iron skillet. The broken leg on my deck bench. The gouges in my new deck. The mascara left on my white guest towels. And yes, the broken bulb I just discovered in my incredibly narrow 12" pendant lights. That was Kiki. I remember her fiddling with it when she was watching me cook.

People can't be this clumsy and rude. My house must be a giant, fragile house of cards, crumbling at the slightest touch.

back door friends are best

"Hey," Allie answered her phone.

"I just got kicked out of a store," I said.

"Oh god. WHAT DID YOU DO?"

"Nothing!"

• • •

Now, I'm not saying that I was in Home 'N Hearth with the purest of intentions, but I didn't deserve to be kicked out. The kitchy shop smells of doilies and Geritol and is replete with heart-covered aprons and "Kiss the Cook" plaques. Stank Troll Brenda visited the shop for some reason. She sent me the following photograph.

backdoor.jpg

This, I had to own. I had dreams of mounting it on the door of my guest bedroom. I had dreams of buying them in bulk and setting up a booth at Gay Pride week, then retiring.

There was one problem with the dream: by the time I got to the store, the sign was gone. I circled the store twice, looking at every treacly plaque there. I was aware that I didn't exactly blend with the clientele, that the octogenarian behind the counter was staring disdainfully at me, but I didn't think much of it until...

"Can I help you find something?" she snapped, as though she couldn't hold it back any longer.

"No thanks. I'm just looking."

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave," she said with a nervous over-assertiveness.

I chuckled. The old-fart capacity for acting decisively when dead-wrong never ceases to amuse me. I truly had no designs on stealing her American flag oven mitts. Honest.

Seriously? Is shoplifting really a problem here? And not for nothing, but my company has enough cash in its checking account to buy her entire inventory forty times. I felt a twinge of "Let's see you kick me out, bitch," but the truth of the matter is that I was done with my search—and more importantly, in my old age it's less important to prove anything to such people than it is to not know them at all.

Still chuckling, I left and called Allie.

"What were you wearing?" she asked.

I was dressed for my typical work day. Gym shorts and a ratty t-shirt. I call it "Homeless Chic."

"Maybe this is a sign you should clean up your act."

• • •

I could surely do better, sympathy-wise. I dialed 614.

"I got kicked out of a store for the first time ever where I wasn't with a black guy," I told d'Andre.

"WHAT DID YOU DO?"

At this writing, I am watching Dirt duct-tape a chainsaw to a wooden pole.

Smell that? Me too. Bad things.

My plan for today was to:

  1. sneak out and see Super 8

That's it. That's the list. But as we've established, compared to Dirt, I am less than a man.

His plan for today:

  1. drive a teeny stake into Madam and Eve's back yard
  2. tie a rope to it
  3. tie the other end of the rope to the ancient wooden ladder that came with a pile of scrap-wood when I bought my house nine years ago
  4. lower the ladder down their cliff
  5. descend it
  6. use the aforementioned chainsaw-on-a-pole to remove some trees

When doing this, he will be dangling some 70' above the shore below.

If I am not here, no one will hear his screams. "Just go," says the imbecile, cementing my moral choice.

It is with no small amount of bitterness that I am canceling my movie plans and watching the inevitable slowly unfold. I'm still having popcorn, though.

• • •

It's over.

Here's the rig on which he bet his life and, more importantly, my afternoon. It's straight down from there. The cliff is concave, even.

Where he was is circled in red. Scale: an adult man is circled in green.

dirt stunt.jpg

what should they do?

AP headline and lead regarding the Mavs' win tonight, from AP.org:

Mavericks top Heat 105-95 for NBA title
MIAMI (AP) -- For Dirk Nowitzki, the resume is complete. He's an NBA champion.

Headline in the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the same AP story:

Dallas Mavericks take their talents to South Beach, leave with NBA championship
MIAMI (AP)-- For Dirk Nowitzki, the resume is complete. He's an NBA champion.

the unheedables

I first noticed it shortly after the 2005 baby boom.

"So, I saw Click the other day," said one new dad of the Adam Sandler remote control movie. "A masterpiece. It really made me think."

"I have never cried so hard at a movie," said one new mom of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. "Huge, racking sobs. Rob Schneider was sublime."

Okay, so I made those quotes up, but that's what I remember: new parents are so goddamned happy to have two hours of normality, of them-time, that they can enjoy any drek whatsoever. Viewed through the bloodshot eyes of the life-deprived, The Mummy III is Raiders of the Lost Ark wrapped in Citizen Kane stuffed inside The Hangover.

I totally get it. I'm just not listening to it. A movie recommendation from a new parent means as much as a music recommendation from the stone deaf.

There are other unheedable recommendations. Beer snobs, for one, cannot be trusted to recommend a restaurant. To me, "great restaurant" means great food. To them, it means their favorite lager is on tap. I can't tell you how many truly atrocious meals I've suffered while my friends held forth about the beers they were sampling.

When a woman calls a guy "handsome," I never find myself questioning her criteria. Invariably, he's empirically handsome. When she calls another woman "pretty," however, I have to tune it out. It's beyond useless data. I don't pretend to understand the pathologies involved (least of all my own), but from what I've seen

"pretty" = she's unattractive
"she treats people badly" = actually pretty

Minorities about minority candidates/art. So my gay buddies think Milk was robbed of the Oscar. My black buddies think Obama can do no wrong. What a shocking turn of events. Really, you couldn't even make a movie about it; these endorsements would be that implausible. The first time I experienced this was in 1984, when a lifelong Republican voted for Mondale/Ferraro for one reason: "I can't not vote for an Italian!" All I hear is white noise.

Baltimorons about why the Browns left Cleveland. You bribed another town's beloved team away. Stop repeating rationalizations. You paid rape forward.

I can't tell you how many times I've fallen for a Seattle person recommending pizza. "It's real, genuine New York style pizza, at last!" the Seatard will proclaim. "Not like this other crap I keep falling for," he'll add, forcibly ratcheting down my skepticism. And so, knowing I'm being a sucker but not willing to risk missing out, I'll try the pizza, and it will be doughy glop with a radioactive polymer melted on top, and I hate myself anew.

psa: credit freeze

Since banks and video game makers apparently must provide identity thieves with an Ethernet cable that leads to our personal information, I thought I'd take a moment to recommend something that works amazingly well. I know. I'm surprised, too.

I once fired my accountant for incompetence. A year later, Kiki, another of his customers, told me the accountant had sent her a letter saying that his laptop had been stolen out of the office, and it had all our tax data on it, including our Social Security numbers, in unlocked files. It was then that I initiated a "credit freeze" on myself.

Two months later, the accountant sent me an identical letter. See "fired for incompetence," above.

Simply put, a credit freeze means that if someone tries to get a credit card or phone or cable TV in my name, they are denied. Period. And when I switched TV providers, I had to get online for two minutes and pay $10 to have the freeze temporarily lifted so that a credit check could be performed. I even told them to slap the freeze back on after one day, which they did.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. The cost is practically nil--$30 to get going ($10 to the three credit bureaus), and 10-$30 every time you want credit issued. The inconvenience is trivial. It's cost me two minutes in four years. And I don't worry about ID thieves at all anymore.

Pricing varies state by state. WA state residents can start here.

47 states require that the credit bureaus offer this service. I see Michigan does not, and yeah, why bother? No self-respecting meth freak identity thief would pretend to be from Michigan.

on "fredo"

If you're a guy, you love new dog's name.

If you're a woman, you're confused by how I spelled "Frodo."

So far, that's how it's broken down. Fredo, if you don't know, is the dim, traitorous, and ultimately dead brother in the Godfather. It was Fredo who was executed on the rowboat.

Before deciding on "Fredo," I considered a couple of themes. Notorious Brothers was obviously one such theme, and until I thought of Fredo, "Cane" was topping this particular category. I briefly considered names in Portuguese, but while nothing really worked out, I did learn that the Portuguese word for "geek" is "nerd." And I considered compliments for "Poindexter," his sister's name, but "Nimrod" was the only equivalent I could think of. There aren't that many names that are also affectionate insults, and "Nimrod" ain't really that affectionate.

Ultimately, I couldn't resist the thought enacting the following scene any time I come downstairs and step in a pile of shit. To be followed by the boat scene.

Oh, and the lesbians next door? They immediately loved the name. I'm just sayin.'

victim of the week: the outraged texter

Rewarding achievements in claiming victimization

Entitled assholes who text during movies normally just make me stabby. But this imbecile, she delights and amazes. Remember, people: you weren't bothered.

And if I had a Hero of the Week award, I would name it after the Alamo Drafthouse.

none, pete

Five years ago, when USC was blathering about a "three-Pete" championship, I countered that they only had claim to one championship.

And now there are none.

I don't know what's gotten into karma this week. More, please. There are plenty more Carrolls and Tressels and Dexes where those came from.

introducing fredo

Dex has a shiny new little brother. Literally a brother—same parents. They're from litters 3 years apart.

In a rare case of karma actually working, Dex is now being unremittingly followed and pestered for attention. It is glorious. Thanks for the solid, Universe.

Two vids to share with you. The first foreshadows my next couple of nights.

And here are sister and brother at play. Prepare for sickening amounts of cute.

Again? This is at least the fifth diet chart in my lifetime.

Memo to the gummint: the problem isn't that we don't understand. The problem is that we hate vegetables. Want to address the problem? Stop creating nutrition charts and start air-drops of hollandaise sauce.

plate.PNG

the "i am not a racist" speech

It's become a rite of passage for disgraced celebrities. Caught on tape slandering some minority, they try to get ahead of the mounting scandal. They issue a statement that's always the same. "I am not a racist," says x, reads the headline the next day. Occasionally, we break up the monotony with "I am not a homophobe."

It was during Joakim Noah's latter speech that a thought occurred to me: How come you and I never have to say these words? I've been called a racist or homophobe approximately 183,765 times in my life, yet it's never occurred to me to defend myself. Why?

Oh. Right. Because they were kidding.

Are you like me? When someone actually says the words "I am not a racist," do you hear "I am a seething racist" set to Johnny Rebel, the Confederate Anthem?

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