January 2012 Archives

stump the band

I gots nothing. Here's laser doberman.

unbridled jealousy

In my lifetime, the three most highly regarded college quarterbacks entering the NFL have been John Elway, Peyton Manning, and Andrew Luck. Also known as the Colts' draft picks in 1983, 1998, and 2012.

We Kordell Stewart and Sage Rosenfels fans wonder: do the Colts have vibrating horseshoes eight feet up their asses?

rip van winkle

I lost two entire days this week to sleep. It was the oddest thing. I would shut my eyes and wham! I'd wake up 5-8 hours later. I was awake no more than 6 of 48 hours.

"You were fighting something," people tell me, which was almost certainly the case. But the thing is, I had no other symptoms. I felt fine. Great, even. I just connected two nights of sleep with two days' worth.

I was, if but for two days, a cat. And it was glorious. They're on to something, people.

none for me, thanks

Some friends invited me to dinner, and I cheerfully offered up a recent gift. "Hey, I have a bottle of Dom Pérignon here. I'll bring that."

And thus did I pack four champagne flutes and a bottle of Dom and head to my friends' house. It would be them, me, and another friend of theirs. When the time came to pop the cork, I took the bottle outside on the deck and fired the cork to the heavens. Some foam seeped out the top of the bottle, at which point the friend grabbed the Dom from my hand and put her mouth on the $150 bottle of champagne, slurping the foam.

mission accomplished

Says George Lucas in his New York Times interview, about making more Star Wars movies:

"Why would I make any more (‘Star Wars' movies) when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?"
Great work, everyone. That's a wrap.

pure, unadulturated awesome

You'd rather see this than read my whining anyway.

nimble little minx, ain't she?

Remember in Ghostbusters, after the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man exploded, and everyone was covered in goo, except Bill Murray, who had just a rakish dab on his head?

That's my dog Dex right now. A wisp of snow on her muzzle. She just schooled her little brother in the perils of snow and ice. He, meanwhile, looks like, well, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

• • •

Busy week at work. And not in any entertaining way. Unless you count me railing about the helplessness of the people who work for me as entertainment. I know I don't.

Distinguished Stank troll Giancarlo sends this link about the government hiring prison inmates to man their call centers.

I'm so okay with this alternative to speed-listening to Indians.

Read more about my prejudice here.

webex.png

margin call

In the margin of my Shakespeare class notes, in unfamiliar handwriting: "You are the most arrogant motherfucker I've ever met."

Would it have killed my classmate/professor to sign that?

box o' notes

Last week I found my undergraduate notes. All of them. Underscoring my advancing years, they smell like someone's grandfather's newspaper clippings from the Depression.

Although they are in my handwriting, although the margins are littered with Steelers logos, I do not recognize their author. This guy knew stuff. He was incredibly well-read, well-rounded. He was conversant in music and physics and programming and linguistics and literature. He was everything I aspire to be.

Lost, all lost, to the ravages of time.

I'm reminded of Watergate's mantra. What exactly did John know, and when did he forget it?

• • •

Most interesting to me are my astronomy notes. F still = MxA and Shakespeare is still dead, but astronomy? It's changed. Dark energy, the force that's making the universe accelerate apart, was not even an inkling then. The Hubble was still a punchline, a failure, so the age of the universe was not known. Black holes had not been proven. Planets orbiting other stars had not been observed, but my professor predicted precisely how they would be. Europa's ocean-smoothed ice was just a "smooth surface." Water had not yet been proven on Mars.

This is like reading an outdated textbook, except that it's in my handwriting. I'm thrilled. And horrified to have lived that long.

annus horribilis

And with that, my football season comes mercifully to a close. I have never been so grateful for the final gun to sound. Not even when winning Super Bowls. It was that miserable a year.

On with the Urban renewal in Columbus.

simply adorkable

I'd like to wrap up this week's theme on a hopeful note. In this old letter to the editor, a 17 year old girl takes Vogue magazine to task for celebrating outer beauty. It warms the heart to see. Surely, at least one young girl did not grow up to trade on her looks.

zooey.PNG

Stank troll Marta, always quick to poke me with a stick, sent me news of the book Beautiful People. In it, one of us mortals interviews, well, beautiful people. About what it's like being so darn beautiful.

Reflections on beauty by people who consent to reflect in a book entitled Beautiful People. Yep. I'll bet that's a veritable Algonquin Round Table.

Hold. Me. Back.

nicole.jpgGetting a curious amount of sympathy is Nicole, quite obviously lovely. See if you can guess which part I added.

"As I began to grow up, I noticed that I was receiving a lot of attention from the opposite sex. People are surprised when I recount to them my bad luck with boyfriends. I've been cheated on and lied to and gone through painful breakups. Everyone says, ‘Really, you? You're too pretty. He's an idiot. If there is no hope for you, there is no hope for the rest of us.'

"The truth is, being beautiful doesn't guarantee a faithful romantic partner or being treated with respect. If anything, it changes the entire game. You have to be careful with girlfriends' significant others, for fear of inciting jealousy and you must analyze whether or not another person's intentions are pure. So much of my personal value has been placed on what I look like. It's sad. Looks don't last. So as I age, will I lose my value?' asked the agency-signed model and E! network modeling-reality-show participant."

Didja guess which part I added?

I know several women who are at least as lovely as Nicole. They were my students, and as such, they all earned college degrees and have started their careers. They could have modeled (or married up), but they instead chose to trade on their minds. Not coincidentally, they do not think about losing their value any more than I think about losing my back hair. It ain't in our respective futures.

From all evidence, Nicole is a perfectly nice person who was answering a question I find irritating. I hope, for her sake, that while she cashes in on hitting the genetic lottery, she's not doing so, as so many do, at the expense of being a worthwhile human being. Because she's right. Looks do fade. As she ages, her genetic lottery ticket will abruptly lose its value. E! will cease to broadcast her makeovers.

And for the second time this week, I ask "So what other value do you bring?"

missing ohio

During that glorious period of my life when I was mooching off my girlfriend, Maddie, there were inglorious bouts with something I've come to derisively call "employment."

One such lapse was my working as a chauffeur. The job was mostly nerve-wracking, as the general motoring public tends to go "Oh look! A limo!" and lurch toward the object of their focus. One might think I met a lot of celebrities, but for the most part I met frat boys who puked in the car and young newlyweds who forgot to tip.

One day, my boss called me excitedly. "Here's the address," he audibly wriggled. "Pick up is at 9am. And John—you owe me, man. You owe me."

This worried me slightly, but I parked the limo in the specified driveway at precisely 9am. At 9:57am, the client came outside. She was jiggling beneath an impossibly tight sequined evening gown, but what I mostly noticed was the tiara and sash reading "Miss Ohio."

"We're late," she snapped accusingly. "Let's go." And thus did I ferry her from her Columbus home to some kiddie pageant in Toledo.

• • •

On the day my father died, I had a horribly debilitating flu and the clutch on my Jeep died. I spent 10 hours in the mechanic's waiting room, miserable, not having strength enough to sit upright, fielding phone calls from grieving and/or angry relatives. And it was only the second longest day of my life.

• • •

tiara.jpgMiss Ohio was certain of two things. 1) I was beneath her and therefore damned lucky that she deigned to speak to me and 2) what she had to say was endlessly fascinating. And what, the reader asks, does Miss Ohio have to say for 11 hours? Exactly one thing: beautiful women have it so hard in America.

We're objectified. We're underestimated. We can't eat. We have to worry about make-up and exercise constantly. Women resent us. Men only value one thing from us. We're defined by our beauty, and that's horribly unfair, she said from beneath her tiara and sash while putting on make-up.

It went on forever. I would have gladly gnawed off my own leg if that would have liberated me from her insights. Instead, I employed the chauffeur's equivalent of going "All right, then" on the phone; every time she paused, I would raise the privacy divider. And every time, she would lower it to share some newly remembered anecdote about being victimized because of her beauty.

I raised the divider one last time and called my boss. "I hope you're calling from a motel!" he chirped.

"Negative. The client is a puseous [redacted]. I'm officially requesting permission to be myself."

"Knock yourself out, " he sighed. "This was a one-time gig anyway."

I couldn't wait for the divider to lower again. What would I do with my new green light? Kick her out by the side of the freeway? Oh, how good that sounded. "Let's see how long it takes a beautiful woman to get a ride," I would tell her, kicking her ass to the curb in a shower of sequins. Of course, she wouldn't bounce even twice before 18 guys stopped to rescue her. And then she would tell him that I hate her because she's beautiful. No, that would not do.

"So," I said in my imagination. "Just how many times a week does a complete stranger tell you to shut the fuck up?" Yes. That would do. I awaited my chance. The divider lowered, and through it flowed anecdotes about how men, bosses, teachers, strangers, etc. think she brings no value besides her looks. And I changed my plan.

"So what other value do you bring?" I asked sweetly, as though genuinely interested.

We drove the last hours in icy, glorious silence. There was no more conversation. There was no tip. And there was no other value.

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