August 2017 Archives

Today I learned that the Romans didn't have a numeral for "zero." They just used the word for "nothing."

This morning I left the house without my phone, which meant I was at the mercy of the Pittsburgh FM dial. In an hour's time, I heard one song recorded after 1985. It was recorded in 1993.

That station played "Last Dance for Mary Jane, "I Heard It from the Grapevine," "Take Another Piece of my Heart," and some Christian song—oh, let's say it was called "Hey Jesus Your [sic] So Fine Your [sic] So Fine You Blow My Mind Hey Jesus! J-E-S-U-S! Hey Jesus!" They played those songs back to back. I humbly submit that there is no audience on the planet for that song block.

gutterball

img_0381-650.jpgWhen I was 12, I guilted my mother for never coming to watch my soccer games. She sighed and decided brutal honesty was, as usual, the best way to get me to shut up.

"I can't stand watching you run," she said. "It's like watching a bowling ball skip across a cow pasture."

This is sadly accurate. It's also true of how I walk. I walk with great force, and I don't exactly stop on a dime. Melinda Gates herself can attest to this, but that's another story.

The other night, I left a restaurant at my usual pace. I stepped off the curb and strode toward my car, not seeing a second curb—a cement parking curb that the restaurant had thoughtfully painted the same color as the asphalt. I went down with incredible force. If you told me I smacked the pavement with 1000 pounds of force, I would believe you. I bounced. And for the first time in decades, I heard a group of people gasp at my own injury. I can't say I missed that sound.

"Who. The fuck. Paints a parking curb black," I groggily said to the onlookers helping me up. One of them insisted that I go inside and complain to the teenagers making minimum wage. I declined.

"It doesn't hurt now, but it's going to hurt tomorrow," she mothered.

"I assure you that it hurts now," I replied as I staggered to my car.

It's two days later, and my long-bad elbow sounds like gravel sloshing around in a can of paint. It's an odd sound, at once both moist and crunchy. It is unwelcome right before a move, but at least it repels the many people I make listen. Here's hoping it's days of entertainment, not months.

things i'll miss about pittsburgh, part ii

Pittsburgh is blessed to be home to the Carnegie family, without whom this would be an ethnic Topeka. Among their many contributions to local culture is their art and natural history museum, which is simply ridiculous for a town of this size. I call the impressionists room "the Andrew don't mess around room." Renoir next to Monet next to Van Gogh next to Degas next to Manet next to Pissaro. At some point you cease being overwhelmed by the sheer density of it all and become overwhelmed with the sheer luckiness of this town. So you go downstairs and look at the T-Rexes.

Sure, I could show you pictures of the T-Rexes or Monet's largest Water Lillies painting. But I'd rather make fun of unfortunate signs I saw there. Andrew truly spared no expense except an editor.

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summation

Thanks to longtime Stank troll Marta for sending in this cartoon. It's perfect.

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boat ride

Perhaps my dog, Fredo, was doomed when I named him. Like his namesake, he is helpless, sweet, a complete pussy, and prone to whoring himself out to my enemies. But most of all, he is dumb. Good lord, is he ever dumb.

His water bowl is downstairs. Whenever I come home after a lengthy absence, I tend to go straight down there, because that's also where the TV is. It's at that point that a parched Fredo fills his hump with water, slurping mightily for several minutes. Because he certainly couldn't go down the stairs without me.

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things i'll miss about pittsburgh, part i

Yesterday I was smoking cigars with a Jewish district attorney, an Italian Catholic realtor, a gay CFO, and a black construction worker, listening to a jazz musician tell us about the Asian tour from which he'd just returned when a middle-aged black guy drove by, blaring Johnny Cash on his car stereo.

I don't know where you live, but this scene doesn't happen where you live.

endgame

Not that I'm ready to bolt outta here, but when I signed the sale agreement on this house, I already had 67 boxes packed.

Here's some fun math. And by "fun," I mean "nauseating." Let's say I sell this house, put the cash into a savings account earning a measly 1.2%, and live in a furnished townhouse hotel month-to-month.

   Current cost of state & local taxes
+ Current utility bills
+  Interest income from new cash
$40 less than cost of the hotel

I get paid $40/month to have someone scrub my toilet for me.

no cigar

I got an offer on my house two weeks ago, and I just balked at their terms, so this post is pretty much pure anticlimax.

What can I say about their inspector that I haven't already said to anyone in my presence this last week? He couldn't work the lockbox. He left my doors unlocked. When I went to get a glass of water, I'd found that he'd turned off my kitchen faucet. I turned it back on to discover that the faucet was bent and now leaking water from its base. There was no note from the man who broke it. I made my displeasure known to the buyers' realtor, and soon I was listening to the inspector's bullshit narrative about how the faucet had been leaking when he got there. The faucet a plumber installed six months ago, the one I use 20 times a day. That faucet.

His masterpiece would not come to full fruition for several days, when I was greeted in the morning to an absolute swamp of a swimming pool. To verify that the pool heater works, the inspector cranked the thermostat up to 92...and left it there. Thanks, guy!

i can't not see it

Jesus, Facebook.

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lingua miserabilis

More so than my peers, I have a hard time understanding Indians speaking English. I find the accent impenetrable, and I always try to steer them toward email or chat. "What is your phone number?" they'll respond, and I groan. I guess this is a cultural thing. They'd rather talk than write. Me, if I'm forced to speak Spanish, I'm begging to write instead of speak.

I spent yesterday in meetings with Indians, and by day's end I was exhausted from straining to understand. I needed silence. I needed solace. Not a smart person, I went to a Mexican restaurant. I cannot explain this choice. I was served by my new least favorite kind of person, the Earnest New Immigrant Who Wants to Practice His Conversational English with the Presumably Lonely Guy at the Bar.

Mierda.

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