Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Blogiversary

While I released my first post earlier in February of 2009, I never circulated the URL until one year ago today, so this is the day I claim for my blogiversary.

From February until August, I blogged in relative obscurity.  That September, though, people began to find me based on comments I’d left on other blogs. 

To you reading me now and all who may find this in the future, I thank you.  Knowing that you are reading gives me all the motivation I need to continue writing.

So many of you have been so kind with your time and guidance, and you continue to provide daily examples of how good a blog can be.  I thank you for your time and friendship.

So as a token of my appreciation, I’m posting the coolest video I’ve seen in quite some time.  If you’re a fan of either boogie-woogie piano or dancing, you’re going to love this:

Admit it, that was totally “The Shit.”  (And if you didn’t bother to click “play”… Party Pooper!)  Special thanks to my Dad, for sending me the video!

Screeching Change of Subject Alert:
I stayed home sick on Friday, after spending all day Thursday coughing my brains out.  I bought some cough medicine on the way home.  I haven’t taken cough medicine, especially in liquid form, in over 30 years.  As a kid, you think it tastes pretty good.

As a grownup, it’s like you’re doing a shot.  I had this overwhelming urge to lick some salt and take a bite of lemon each time I took a dose.  Is it just me?

Anyway, the important thing is that it worked.  Will be back on the job on Monday.  But until then, it’s Gold Medal Hockey time!  USA!  USA!  (um, and Go Sid!)  I stick by my earlier wishes… a hat trick for Sidney Crosby, but a 4-3 victory for the US.

Friday, February 26, 2010

PunMaster B

That last post reminded me of how much I’ve always loved puns and word play… the worse the pun, the better.  If I can make someone groan today, I’ve done my job.

When I was in high school, I was give a big book called, “Crosbie’s Dictionary of Puns.”  Oh, man, it had everything, from straight definitions to limericks to pun-based jokes.

I sat near the blackboard in my Junior year English Lit class, which was taught by Mr. Williamson, the best teacher I’ve ever had.  (See a brief bit on him from an earlier post here.)   With his blessing, each day I would post the daily pun… stuff like this:

Innuendo: Italian word for hemorrhoid preparation.

Injudicious: How Hebrews use their spices.

Hypotenuse: “The upstairs bathroom is occupied.

Hemoglobin:  Attributed to Mrs. Ferdinand Magellan, when asked, “where is your husband?”

Specimen: Italian astronauts.

Buffalo:  A greeting between two nudists.

Shampoo:  An imposter bear.

And so on and so forth…

The book also gave me a bunch of new jokes to tell.  (Remember, this is back in the day when jokes were told; not faxed, emailed or Twittered.)  Again, I loved this kind of stuff:

*  There was a king of a province in India, who decreed that no one was to kill the large wild game animals any longer, for they, too, were God’s creatures.  Alas, soon tigers, elephants, and other dangerous beasts overran the province, and the king was given the old “heave-ho”. 

This was the first time in history that reign was called on account of game!

*  There was a Count in the court of King Louis XIV, who was involved in a plot to overthrow the King.  He was found out, though, arrested and thrown into the dungeon.  The King, being outraged at the Count’s disloyalty, sentenced him to death.  On the eve of the execution, the Count dispatched a guard to take the King a message; in exchange for his life, he would deliver the names of all his co-conspirators.  Unfortunately, the guard was delayed and by the time the King could send word of a reprieve, the Count’s head was lopped off.  The other conspirators eventually overthrew the King. 

The lesson the King should have learned is, “Never hatchet your Count, before he chickens!”

*  The curator at the Zoo had a problem with his popular dolphin exhibit.  It seemed that all his dolphins ever did was have sex with each other.  All day, all night, they never stopped.  The Curator hit upon the idea of feeding them large amounts of gulls, their favorite food, with hopes that they would be too full and lazy to keep up their activities.  As the Curator approached the tank, with an armload of gulls, he found that an old toothless, docile lion blocked his path.  Not fearing the animal, he stepped over the beast, and was immediately arrested by two FBI agents. 

The charge?  Transporting gulls across a staid lion, for immoral porpoises.

OK, maybe this is why I had such a hard time scaring up a date for the prom.  I love the groaners.

Posting the daily puns on the board led to some interesting fallout.  My girlfriend’s Neanderthal brother was in an earlier "senior" class in the same room and wrote something derogatory on the board in response.  It had a rhyme in it, so I wrote something snarky back, also in rhyme.  The next thing you know, it was the Great Limerick War of 1978. 

This was one of those thick-skulled, hyperactive dimwits that thought the height of hilarity was coming up behind me and knocking the books out of my hand.  Why he decided to challenge me on MY home turf is beyond me. 

I freakin’ destroyed him and everyone that took a class with Mr. Williamson got to see.  I’d come in, see what he wrote, then as Mr. Williamson would start the day’s lecture on Emerson or Thoreau, I’d start noodling in my notebook and usually by the halfway point of the class, I’d have my response posted.  If I didn’t have anything up by the end of the class, Mr. Williamson would say, “So, Mr. Dude, do you have a response for Mr. Neanderthal today?” 

Once, I came in and saw that whatever was left for me on the board had been erased.  I surmised that he called me a “fag” or something.  I said, “Mr. Williamson, what happened to Neanderthal’s limerick?

Mr. Williamson said, “I had to erase it.  He was making accusations of which he could not possibly prove.”

He was cool like that.  I really blossomed in that class.  The next year I got onto the school newspaper and went from there.  The Neanderthal eventually left school (I’m sure I had nothing to do with that.) and another girl in his class took up the “war”.  That made it a much more civil affair… we didn’t actually know each other so we just ridiculed each other’s limericks. 

I met her after that school year and she told me that Neanderthal had half the class helping him with his limericks.  Figures.

When I was in college, I had a buddy with me that was just as bored in History of Broadcasting class as I was, so we’d collaborate on limericks about mutual acquaintances.  I’d do a line, then pass to him to do a line, etc.  The idea was to make it tough for the other guy to rhyme something.  You had to get very creative.  It was a blast and they turned out hilariously.  If only I knew where they were…

Years later when I was working at a craft store, I got a better job to manage a video rental store and I actually submitted a resignation letter as a series of limericks.  I asked Linda the manager if I could… she said it was fine, as long as there was no haiku.  (Of course I included one, just to be a nudge.)  Here is my resignation letter reproduced below, with some explanatory notes added in blue.

I was beckoned by Video World
So I’m leaving with my sails unfurled.
My readiness peaks
When I start in three weeks
And I give movie rental a whirl

One further piece of information
Is needed regarding vacation.
A week’s all I need
To get back on my feed
And recover from my celebration.

My time in this store’s been intense,
But I’ll miss all you ladies and gents.
I’ll miss all the yucks
While unloading trucks
And all of the stuff for nine cents!

Our stock came a couple times a week in large trucks, packed floor to ceiling, which we, as a team had to unload.  “The nine cents” refers to our final markdown price on seasonal items we were clearing out.

Now listen to me just once, will ya?
‘Cause working for Linda can thrill ya.
But don’t screw around
Or you will be found
And then she will “just have to kill ya.”

Linda’s favorite saying… “or I’ll just have to kill ya”.     

Though Lenny’s behavior may peeve us,
We still hope that he’ll never leave us.
A papa to be
With mama Daree
And a baby that must be named Beavis.

Lenny was an assistant, who with his wife Daree, was expecting their first child.  As Beavis & Butthead was flourishing at that time, and Lenny was known for his imitations of the show, there was pressure regarding naming his child.

It’s Clair now, of whom I must talk
She likes to work to Classic Rock.
Male strippers she hugs
After cold beer in mugs
And hustles us all through The Walk.

Clair was captured on video at a bachelorette party locking up the male stripper in a bear hug, and not letting him go.  “The Walk” refers to our final tour around the store every night, fixing and straightening.    

My department has left me with no hair
But don’t let my corridors go bare.
The new guy in Promo,
Be sure he’s no… oh no…
I’m not even going to go there.

My responsibility was the Seasonal, or “Promo” aisle.

Now quickly, before I take flight,
A toast- let us raise a Bud Light!
But now it’s last call,
Merry Christmas to all
And to all I must bid a good night.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Two Feet of Snow???

Sorry... I couldn't help it.  I was going to post it for the last storm, but I got cold feet.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Terror on the Home Front

While I was hunting up the previous post from my earlier archives, I came across this one as well.  It made me laugh, even though I knew what was coming, so I figured I’d give this one some new light as well.  This was also written in 2006.


Every day we read about the horrors that are being inflicted on the world.  Militaries dropping bombs, insurgents blowing up crowded markets, people getting pulled off busses and killed, the litany goes on.  We may breathe easier because this is going on in lands far away from us, but that is not to say that we here in North America are immune from experiencing terror in our daily lives.  I know that just this week, I myself have felt the icicle of terror pierce this heart of freedom beating deep within my libertine chest.  Until now, the only torture it had known was that of metaphors. 

Who knew that daily life could be so fraught with peril?  Take this morning, for example, when I had to deal with a shoe emergency.  This emotional minefield started yesterday, but let me give you some quick background. 

First of all, I’m a guy.  That means that shoe options are kept to a minimum.  I have three: Black, Brown, and Sneaker.  (I consider sandals to be part of the “slipper” family.)  My routine is that I keep Black and Brown at work and commute in Sneaker.  This saves a lot of wear and tear on the dress shoes, especially in avoiding the tromping around between the office and the subway on rainy or sloppy days.  It also makes it easier on me in case I have to run for the subway, or sneak past the panhandlers when they’re not looking. 

Anyway, I wore khaki’s yesterday, which meant I had to wear Brown for the day.  It is a big adjustment for me, to even care about this sort of thing.  I never used to… it was simple black shoes, black belt with everything…  (This may also explain why I’m still single, but that’s another story.)  It’s not that I really “care” care, it’s just that I got tired of everyone thinking I was too dumb to know any better.  So as I proceed through my forties, I at least want to look like I’m trying to be a grownup and one of the concessions I’ve made attempting to wear clothes that match. 

(Side note:  Do you remember Garanimals?  They were a line of kids clothes back in the 70s, each with a different animal on it.  The idea was that if you wore all the same animal, the clothes were designed to match.  I think they should make a line of those for grownups.  Well, for guys anyway.  Single guys… Dressing would be so much easier.)

So there I was, in my khaki pants, and brown shoes and belt, secure in the knowledge that I dressed myself correctly today.  Come quitting time, I forgot to change out into my sneakers.  Not an immediate problem; for a change I get to match while in transit, and draw looks of approval from my fellow subway commuters.  Then I realized the bad part… I was scheduled to wear black pants to work the next day.  Now I know, it seems weird that I “schedule” what pants I wear, but it’s not as bad as it seems.  I was actually scheduled to wear a gray shirt and therefore had to go with the black pants by default.

My options were limited… I could wear other sneakers back to work, and carry the Browns in my bag, but that would leave me with two pairs of sneakers at work and my size 12 shoes don’t fit in my shoulder bag very well.  I could wear khaki’s again, but like I said, that would have broken protocol.  My only choice was to wear the Browns back to work in my black pants, and hope no one would notice.

Things were so much easier when I didn’t give a shit.  There I was this morning, up on the train platform, in my mismatched clothing, trying to make my feet as inconspicuous as possible. But all I felt were the cold appraising stares of disapproval from my fellow commuters.  I tried setting my shoulder bag down over my feet, but that only made things worse, given that my bag was black as well.  I half expected to see Carson Kressley, the blonde, queeny fashion expert of the Queer Eye guys, pop out from around the corner and give me a stern talking to.  It’s truly fortunate that nothing like that actually happened, because he might have been “accidentally” nudged down onto the tracks in front of the approaching train.  But I digress…   

On the train, I was fortunate to have the cover of a big woman wearing a bright pants suit sitting on the aisle seat beside me.  When the doors opened, I hustled my way up to my building and snagged an empty elevator car, which delivered me to the privacy of my humble cubicle and my much needed black shoes.  Complete at last!  My morning of terror could now fade into the abyss of distant memory.  OK, it would have, if I didn’t feel compelled dredge it back up in order to tell the tale.  Such is the price of one’s “art,” I suppose.  Another suffering artist on life’s scrapheap…

But the indignities continued…

I found myself unable to concentrate, late yesterday, because nature was calling me in an urgent manner.  And not in a “yeah, excuse me, when you get a minute, you’re going to have to take care of something.”  More like “YOU.  GO.  NOWWWWW!!” 

Normally, I prefer not to frequent public restrooms for the purpose of using the stalls.  (I’m trying to put this story as delicately as I can, just so you know.)  But sometimes, your hand is forced, and you gotta do what you gotta do.  So when I gotta do, I try to do when no one is around.  Not only do I not want anyone listening to what I do, I do NOT want to hear what anyone else is doing. 

When I peeked in the restroom, the coast was clear, so I scuttled to the last stall down and began preparations.  But before I could begin conducting any business, someone else came in and entered the stall two down from me and began his preparations.  This meant that I could either up and dash, or batten down and wait it out.  Recalling the urgency of my mission, I decided to batten down, so I put my hands up by my ears, and prepared for the onslaught, ready to try to block it out.  Twenty seconds went by… thirty… forty five… nothing.  Uh-oh…

It occurred to me that the interloper might be waiting for me to leave, thus initiating a Stall Stalemate.  Five minutes went by… then ten… and no business.    
It was obvious that each of us was waiting for the other to make the first move.

During this time, a number of others had come and gone on the urinal side, sometimes several at once.  At one point I lost track of who was in and who was out, and wondered if my nemesis was still nesting, so I peeked for a foot check.  There were two black dress shoes still there.  (They matched his pants too.)  I began to worry that this one may take a while to crack.

Thankfully, he finally cried “Uncle” at the fifteen-minute mark, leaving me to conduct my business in peace.  As I washed up and left, I was concerned he might be staking out the entrance, to see whom his tormentor was.  I was curious about who he was myself, but then I could always take a stroll around and see who had the look of discontent on his face.  But there was no one around, so I was able to make a getaway, like a stealthy, business-conducting ghost.

So next time you read the paper or watch the news about the suffering and atrocities that are going on around the globe, remember that there are plenty of terrors right here on the home front.  Tune in again later for the next installment, “Paper Cuts: Blood on the File Cabinet.”

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Focus Group

Back when the DaVinci Code movie came out, I wrote this bit about it for my old site and how I imagine the Bible might have actually been put together.  Since my post was read by approximately no one, I feel no guilt whatsoever about recycling it now.  After the last couple of religiously themed posts, I figure the time is right.  Rest assured, I plan on changing the subject with the next post.


I’ve been enjoying the flurry of publicity regarding the movie release of The DaVinci Code… the protests, the defenses, the dialogues… As a Recovering Catholic, I find a great deal of happiness regarding anything that gets The Church’s panties in a bunch. 

As I understand it, The DaVinci Code asserts (albeit in novelized form) that the Catholic Church has for years covered up the fact that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and produced offspring, of which there is still a traceable bloodline today.  (Talk about an intimidating family to marry into…) 

As I also understand it back in reality, The Bible was compiled from the writings of various men, and translated again and again throughout many centuries, to ultimately become in the eyes of the most devout believers, the literal word of God.  These are the poor souls who, sadly, were out sick on that day in grammar school when they covered “metaphor.”  (What’s a “metaphor”?   To keep cows in, of course.)

So, there is information from all these different sources… different writers, different styles… Who was the editor that decided on what was used, and what went onto the cutting room floor?  And how did he decide?  I also wonder who he was that he had the right to decide… was he given the Holy Red Pen, with which to make the Divine Edits of God?

The research department here at Darwinfish has obtained an ancient scroll, which indicates a major roll played by the Holy Focus Group… a mishmash of average Josephs off of whom the Editor bounced the Hallowed Rough Draft.  I’m picturing the meeting of the Exalted Editorial Committee, as recorded in the meeting’s minutes by a member of the Scribes Pool…

In Attendance: Phil Osteen (Editor in Chief), Ferris Seize (Focus Group Moderator)

Phil Osteen: Well Ferris, what did the group have to say?

Ferris Seize: They have a couple of issues, Chief… first of all, they don’t like JC’s occupation.

Phil:  What’s wrong with being an accountant?  It’s an honorable position counting the Holy Beans.

Ferris:  True enough, but they’re just not feeling the heat.  They think it should be more manly.

Phil:  What do they suggest?

Ferris: They’d like him to be a lumberjack.

Phil:  Are you serious?  A lumberjack?

Ferris:  Yes, Jesus, the Lumberjack of Nazareth.

Phil:  But he would have looked horrible in plaid.  And look at all the unintended irony at the end of the Third Act.  I can just see the headlines on the local parchment… “Lumberjack Felled By Tree”…  Can’t do it…we’d be the laughing stock of all the other religions… They’d call us “Bunyonites.” 

Ferris:  Well if we leave him as an accountant, no one but librarians will be following Him.  We need broader appeal…

Phil:  Who would believe it?  No one can support a wife and kids on what a lumberjack makes…

Ferris:  Oh, they want to lose the family stuff too.  They feel there’s only room for one “Heavenly Father”.  No one wants to think of The Savior doing the laundry and changing dirty didies…  It ruins the “stud appeal”.

Phil:  Ok, what say we split the difference and make Him a carpenter?

Ferris: I can sell that.  Just make sure that no one ever finds out about that Accountant thing, otherwise…

Sadly, that’s where scroll ended.  But there you have it.  Jesus 1.0: husband, father, accountant.  Stay tuned for further developments, as the Committee finds something else for Jesus to do during tax season.   Also, Jesus turns white.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Odd Bits - Holy Shit Follow-up and Team USA Edition

Cassie at Sisters from Different Misters has a post up anticipating tonight’s USA/Canada hockey match-up.  I had the following comment:

Before the game, I feel conflicted. I love my country. And I love my Penguins. How can I root against Sid and the Flower? Sid’s carrying the weight of his country on his back. If they fail, he’ll be dogged about it for the rest of his career.

I also remember the Miracle on Ice… live, and not the Disney version. That was a formative memory for me and possibly the most exhilarated I’ve ever been.
I have a feeling that this game will be like this time my brother was at Ohio State and entered a fraternity boxing tournament. (3 one-minute rounds)

My brother and I fought a lot before he went away to school… he was a constant irritant to my friends and I. So I thought it would be perfectly deserving if some other dude whooped his ass and served him a nice slice of humble pie. That’s what I said going down there, anyway.

As it turned out, the frat that was running the event liked to rig the fights in their favor, so they put my brother in the ring with a guy that should have been in a higher weight class. Not that I knew this going in… So I was sitting there with my parents, and all I know was that once the bell rang, all thoughts of humble pie were gone. I wanted my brother to take the other guy’s head off.

(My brother won in a decision. I’d never been so proud of him as I was that night.)

I figure that’s what tomorrow’s game is going to be like. Once I see that USA jersey out there, it won’t matter who the opponent is.  Can’t root against the USA.

So here’s what I want to see:  Sid opens the scoring with 2 quick goals, flying around the ice with a jump in his step.  US claws back with a goal.  Sid answers, giving him a hat trick.  The US goes on a run and pots the next 3, putting them up 4-3 and chasing Brodeur.  Fleury comes in and holds the fort, but the Canadians don’t score again.  USA wins, Sid and Flower play with honor and can hold their heads up high. 

Is that too much to ask for?

Holy Shit Redux
I had so much fun with Friday’s post and I thank everyone who participated and commented.  

One of the issues I always encounter is having too much material for a single post.  While I don’t really have anything else to say about it, I did have some more outside material that I thought would have been overkill in the original post.

This is a segment from one of my all time favorite George Carlin bits.  In it, he logically and carefully boils down the Ten Commandments to the Two Commandments, as only he can.  It’s brilliant.  Have a look:
The other thing I wanted to work in was this video of 50s/60’s musical satirist Tom Lehrer.  The video doesn’t include it usual explanatory introduction so let me handle that.  This song was done in 1965 after the Vatican II council, at which the Church stopped using Latin in the Mass and widened the range of music permissible.  Lehrer felt that if the “really want to sell the product, in this secular age, what they ought to do is to redo the music in popular song form.”  This “modest example” is called, The Vatican Rag.
I love what this guy does with a rhyme.  If you like this song, do look up more of his work on YouTube.  Tom Lehrer was a Harvard Math professor that side-lighted by performing satirical songs in clubs around Boston and eventually the world.  He also wrote music for the children’s show “The Electric Company.”  The guy was way ahead of his time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Holy Shit

Last October, my friend Cher was conducting a good conversation going on her site AskCherlock, about being Catholic and going to confession, to which I contributed several long comments.  At the end, I thought, “what the hell am I doing putting all this here, when it would make a perfectly good post of my own?” 

I tabled the idea for a while but then on Wednesday, I bumped into the notion again when BachelorGirl was talking about Ash Wednesday and giving things up for Lent.

I mentioned there that Ash Wednesday has always given me the willies ever since I had a traumatic childhood experience with receiving the ashes.  I made the mistake of trusting that the priest had put his cigar out first.

OK, I kid.  But it reminded me that I still hadn’t used the Cherlock comments.  So let’s dive in.

When not referring to myself as a heathen, I usually self-classify as “Recovering Catholic”. 

I only endured 4 years of Catholic school at St. Euthanasius, but it certainly left a mark (and I really mean that.)

I, too, dreaded going to Confession because I didn't think I had that much to talk about in that dark little closet.  Cher had mentioned that when she was in Catholic school, the nuns had given them a little Book of Sins.  (I would call it a menu.) 

Now, I didn't have a neat little Book of Sins to refer to although I wish I did... It might have given me some good leads for after-school activities… so I only had the Ten Commandments to go by. 

So what does a little kid really have to confess? 

Not honoring father and mother was always a good fallback.  Kids aren’t much for ‘honoring” anyone or anything.  Let's see... false idols?  I'm in 3rd grade, for Pete's sake... Does Batman count?

Coveting neighbors wife?  Uh, nope... she was like a thousand years old.  Coveting neighbor's goods?  I did like his little electric lawn mower, but I wasn't allowed to cut the grass yet.  How about coveting my brother's toys?

Ah... name of the Lord in vain!  I didn't really do that one much, but at least it was plausible.

In all seriousness, I probably checked out of the whole Organized Religion thing right around 2nd grade, when we had a priest come in to take questions... you know... Play "Stump the Father".  I hit him with the dinosaur question and he gave me a bullshit answer.  2nd GRADE, and even I could tell it was bullshit.  

Like many boys, I read every dinosaur book in the library. (Wow... in retrospect, I'm surprised they even HAD dinosaur books in Catholic school.)  Anyway, I knew that the dinos had been there for millions of years before mankind, yet he was up there still pushing that World Created in Seven Days stuff... He told me that back then, "the days could have been longer than they are now."

I’m thinking, in my little kid head, “Is he flippin’ KIDDING me?” I wasn’t confident enough to argue with him about it though… The nuns will get you for that. In fact, maybe that’s what happened after all… After class, Father Pinhead told her, “Make Dinosaur Boy pay…” I KNOW that’s really why she took my mechanical pencil away from me.

Another day, I asked what Jesus' last name was.  He told me "Christ."

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT... wrong answer, and again I knew he was BSing me.  So I did what any kid would do and I asked my mom.  She knew the answer... People were named after their fathers, so it would have been "Jesus of Joseph".  It was a perfectly logical answer that I understood just fine.  Why couldn't he have told me that?

I’ve always had problems with the idiosyncrasies of organized religion.  I mean, why does it really matter what you eat, what you wear, or what day you do which activity?  If there is a Supreme Being, would it really matter to him what you ate on Friday, as opposed to Saturday?  And if it does, then that’s not the kind of micro-managing deity I care to hang out with.

I remember the exact moment I became an ex-Catholic.  I was a freshman in college and we were visiting my grandparents in Pittsburgh, which meant we had to go to church on Sunday.  On this particular day, the priest’s sermon was devoted to denouncing the new movie, “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”  Or as the priest called it, “Brian is Alive.”  Asshole didn’t even know the name of it, but he knew we shouldn’t see it.  So that pissed me off right from the start, that this pious jaggoff was obviously under orders to come out and condemn a movie he hadn’t seen.

At the time, I’d just discovered Monty Python through their record albums and thought they were hilarious.  (Still do.)  So I wondered what it was that could be so upsetting to the Church establishment.

The priest said that we shouldn’t see this movie because it advocated thinking for yourself and following your own heart.  (As opposed to doing what the Church tells you to do.)  I just got madder and madder, thinking, “that’s exactly why people should go see this movie.  I stood there, just absolutely fuming.

The second we got back home to Ohio, I went out and saw the movie immediately.  Laughed my freakin’ ass off… it’s one of my all-time favorites.  (Along with “Dogma”.  Sense a theme?)

I see now what the Church found so threatening.  They claimed it was making fun of God and Jesus and the Saints and the Martyrs.  In fact, the movie didn’t make fun of any of that… it made fun of the weird shit people do in the name of God.  That’s a big difference.  And it told people to “work it out for yourselves… you’re all individuals…” meaning, seek God in your own way.  No one can tell you what’s right or wrong.

This philosophy is no threat to God or spirituality.  It’s merely a threat to the Church’s market share.

Cher said on her post, “I tell God my deepest and darkest secrets, regrets, and joys. An automatic pipeline, if you will. Right? Wrong? I don’t know. I’ll let God judge when it’s my time.”

I agree completely with the "automatic pipeline." 

Who needs "the middle-man?"  It's all the goofy shit that mankind made up in order to deal with the eternal questions that has made such a mockery of what God is supposed to represent. 

I find that all these denominations are about power and influence.  Sometimes it's monetary; sometimes it's not.  Maybe all these divisions are necessary because they provide the powers that be with a reason to exist.  If there are not differences that appeal to a certain "market", there's no reason for anyone to attend.  Or chip in when the plate is passed.

I don't claim to have any answers to the eternal questions.  I wouldn't call myself "atheist"... more probably "agnostic", because I just don't know.  But what I do know is that if there is a God, you won't need an organization to reach him.  All you need is your own brain.  Of course, there is no money to be made in that. 

All the other trappings of organized religion are just things that some men made up a long time ago, in order to control people and amass or retain power in whatever form... money, land, status, influence, etc.

I know that all seems rather cynical, but that's the way I'm wired.  It puts me in mind of a quote I read once, but have been unable to track down again to double-check the author.  But it said, "Religion is the only thing that keeps the very poor from killing the very rich."

OK, that and the National Guard.

So I told Cher to use that automatic pipeline with pride. 
Anyone that judges her for that will have his own judgment to deal with soon enough.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

15 Reasons Why Being a Bachelor Guy Rules

Last weekend, one of my regular blog reads, Bachelor Girl, did a post on why being a Bachelor Girl rules.  I thought it would be a grand idea to do a similar post from the male point of view.  Obviously, I have to do it from memory of the years before Pinky…

So here they are, in no particular order:

  1. No Food Network, Oprah or Lifetime Channel.  I can watch sports and action movies 24/7 if I want.  Samson will not have to be defiled by playing chick flicks.
  2. Also, volume of the TV is no issue.  I don’t have to hear “turn it down… turn it down… turn it down…” whenever something good is on.  (like sports or action movies)  Why do you think I have the home theater speakers set up?  Also, loud rock and roll at 10:00 on a Saturday morning is back in play.
  3. Seat up… seat down.  Makes no difference whatsoever.
  4. Whatever I make for dinner is a serving for one.  And I always get the last pork chop.
  5. I can keep chocolate in the house for extended periods of time.
  6. I get the whole bed.  Snoring is never an issue, either doing it or hearing it.
  7. Temperature control, so that I don’t have to pay a small fortune in gas and electric.  Nor do I have to live in a sweatbox.  A “Man-Cave” should never be more than 65 degrees.
  8. I can read and write in peace and quiet.  It’s nice to be able to construct a complex thought and have the time to get it all down.  OK, “complex thoughts” may be a reach, but still…
  9. I can fart with impunity.  The same goes for burping, scratching and all other off-putting yet satisfying manly pursuits.
  10. No frou-frou decorations.  The 6’ tall Batman and Darth Vader cardboard standees, the autographed albums and Pittsburgh Steeler photographs proudly proclaim that a man lives here.
  11. Cleaning is only necessary when I think it’s dirty.  Men and women have vastly differing ideas of what constitutes filth.  Like Dave Barry once said, “women see the actual dirt molecules.”
  12. I can drink right from the bottle in the fridge and bite right off the block of cheese.
  13. I can buy all my favorite product brands.  (Which if I think about it, are really whatever brands my mother used to buy.)
  14. I can see the sink-tops in the bathroom because they are not covered with creams, ointments, lotions, loofahs, cotton balls and cleansers.  In fact, there are no “sanitary” products of any kind in the house
  15. Complete flexibility with regard to comings and goings.  No need to “negotiate” for happy hour attendance, even on a Friday night.
Sometimes I wonder how men and women manage to live together at all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lord of the Bobsled

I love it when a post idea bubbles up organically from real life.

I was exchanging emails today with incendiary blogger Sally-Sal, who writes “You. Me. No Adult Supervision...” and we had the following exchange.  Sometimes blogs just write themselves.

Sal:  In my town, I can always tell when the weather gets bad because they block off the hill on my street.  When it ices over, kids slide down it.  And I have to say, I’m not above that either.

Bluz:  I would totally do it.  My dad grew up in a neighborhood in Pittsburgh that had these steep hills, like you see in San Francisco, and they’d to the same thing… close the roads and let the kids sled.  If it weren’t for a pile of ashes at the bottom, they would end up flying over the railroad tracks and straight into the Ohio River. 

When the roads weren’t closed, it was entertaining to watch out the window as the cars tried unsuccessfully to get up the hill and go sliding back down.

Wait, they have hills in Oklahoma?

Sal:  A hill.  It’s the only one in Oklahoma and we have to share.

On Christmas, we had an ice storm so bad that pretty much everything closed here.

About midnight, I heard a bunch of boys sledding down the hill, so I went to check it out.  There were 3 or 4 of them, and they were in these camo coveralls, just having the time of their life.

So I got talking to them, and they let me sled down with them.  There were 4 of us packed on this one little sled and it was so much fun.  

I let them come into my house to warm up before we all slid down again.  I even broke out the Jackie D for a couple of shots.  Good times…

Bluz:  Sounds like a grand time… A fast moving Sally sandwich on ice!  With a JD kicker even!  The heck with “Silent Night”.

Sal:  It was as moving as Baby Jesus in the manger.

Bluz:  Which makes me wonder how fast Baby Jesus could go if pushed down an icy hill in Bethlehem.  Now picturing the 3 Wise Men all pushing, then hopping in like it was a bobsled.

That sounds like it should be the subject of the next Christmas carol.  Beats Rudolph, anyway.

Sal:  Baby Jesus and the Wise Men would be the best bobsledding team evs.  Nobody could beat the Jesus.

Bluz:  And with the halo, they could bobsled at night.  I bet you could have used the Baby Jesus on your sled too.  He could have blessed the JD, but then you’d run the risk of turning it into wine.

You do realize that this is how I come up with blog postings… Random emails generate crazy visuals and next thing you know… it’s a post.

Sal:  He could turn the snow into wine.  Frozen, yes.  But when it thaws… wine.  A snowball that not only hurts, but gives you a nice buzz.  Win.

I think it’s a killer way to come up with posts.

Bluz:  Complete win!  I can see opening a snowball stand of wine snowballs.  (In Baltimore, they call Sno-Cones “Snowballs” and have stands all over town in the summer.)  This would kill at the Italian Festival in August.  Blessed Holy Wine Snowballs.  Just look for the halo over the stand.

Sal:  The specialty of the house would be a triple-decker snowball, aptly named “The Judas”.

Bluz:  All for the low price of 30 pieces of silver.  One bite and you’ll be feeling cross for the rest of the day.

Sal:  Now I want to taste The Judas.

Bluz:  By Ernest and Judas Gallo.

That was the end of the exchange.  But do you ever wonder if there was anyone ever named “Judas” after the famous one?  I bet it would be really hard to go through school with that name.  How hard must it have been to get a date for the prom?

Judas:  Excuse me Missy, but can I ask you something?

Missy:  Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!  Get away from me, narc!

Judas:  Is it I?

Note:  For some good times and good storytelling, check out Sally’s blog, “You.  Me.  No Adult Supervision…”  Click the name or you can always find it on my blogroll.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Odd Bits - Valentine Edition

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, cherished member of the D-fish online family!

Things seem to be coming back alive today.  The sun is out, snow is receding and life appears to be returning.  Granted, we’re supposed to get more snow tomorrow… GAH!
Ice abounds as the snow melts.

Even our orchid has been reborn.  This is its 4th time blooming, I believe.

Pinky has to work today, so I’m able to chill and watch the Penguins game in peace.  I left her a card and some chocolates on the table for her to find this morning.  I brought flowers home on Friday,

When she gets home, she’ll get her real present.
A rose pin from Danbury Mint.  They make some nice stuff and have the added bonus of keeping me out of jewelry stores.

Then I’ll make dinner.  I always try to avoid eating out on Valentine’s Day.  I hate the whole grind of the experience.  Instead, I’ll make dinner at home.
Nothing says “I Love You” like a big plate of meat and shrimp.

Transit Travails
I finally got out to work on Friday.  The Metro (subway) runs on an aboveground track for half the way, then goes underground.  But on Friday, they were only running on the belowground segment...  it was something about the cars not being able to keep connection with the electrified 3rd rail.

  So I had to take a bus from my subway stop to the first of the underground stops and get on  the subway from there.  All in all, my commute went from its normal 45 minutes to an hour and a half.  I’m just hoping they have everything all cleaned off for Monday.  This is NOT a method of travel I want to continue.  The bus ride sucked.  Next time I’m tempted to complain about the Metro, I think I’ll be more inclined to shut my yap.

One decent thing happened though.  On the way home, as I was at the last underground stop, waiting to get back on the bus to take me home, I was in a small mob that was waiting with me.  A bus pulled up and a bunch of people were able to get on.  Then right as I had my foot up on the first step, the bus driver cut off the access.  I was pissed because I’d been there long before a lot of the people that had gotten on. 

Then the bus pulls up about 4 feet and reopens the door, to a second portion of the mob.  I have no idea why.  Oh, I was seriously pissed!  But then a guy that saw what happened stepped back and made a path for me to get on.  I said, “Thanks bro!”  That was a real decent thing for him to do.  And probably the first time anyone has ever shown me any kind of courtesy on public transportation.

Misuse of Grammar Police
This is a pet peeve of mine.  I absolutely hate it when people on TV, especially sports announcers, misuse the phase “mano a mano.”  They almost always use it like it means “man to man,” when in fact it means “hand to hand,” and does not apply to every one on one confrontation.  If you ask me, it applies to sword fighting, arm wrestling and thumb wars.  It does not apply to pass coverage in football, track and field races or Wheel of Fortune.

What it tells me is that the speaker is trying to sound smarter than they are.  If you’re going to use a fancy foreign phrase, you should at least be sure you’re using it right.

Live in Concert
I also got out of the house yesterday to do some shopping; a big excursion to Wal Mart.  (No, I didn’t see anything that would qualify for those grotesque pictures that go around)  But while I was there, I had another one of those moments where you just have no choice but to buy something you didn’t intend to.

This was $7.00.  It was like they were paying me to take it.  Best live rock band ever… it was a no-brainer.  You can never have too much Angus Young. 

Plus, I actually saw that tour in 1996, when they came to Albany.  Our seats were in the 2nd row on the side.  When Angus came through the crowd on his roadie’s shoulders, I was close enough that I could almost high-five him.  I almost shit my pants.

We watched Tina Turner in concert last night on the Palladia channel.  The show was from last year.  That means she was 70.

I could critique that she wasn’t nearly as active onstage as she was when I first saw her in 1986 (and twice after that).  She still got around, of course, and still danced up a storm from time to time, but most of the time the dancing was left to her 4 very hot dancers.  So compared to her old self, she was not at that level.  But compared to the 70-year old population at large?

Holy hell, she’s a freak of nature.  And still looks damned fine.  Whatever she’s doing should be bottled by AARP and sold over-the-counter.

More Puck Droppings
The Pens played the Nashville Predators today and lost in a shootout.  But it was good to see one of the Predators players again, Steve Sullivan.  He used to play for the Albany River Rats when I lived up there.  We used to go to a lot of Rats games in 1994 and 95.  Sullivan was really small, like 5’7” but was very fast and very slick with the puck.  He was also much scrappier than you’d think for such a diminutive fellow.

Even though the Rats were the New Jersey Devils’ farm team, it’s always been hard to root against the kids I saw come up through the system.  Not many are left in the league, let alone still with the Devils, but I’m always happy to see them turn up.  It was like watching a kid’s team grow up and succeed. 

Question: So why am I bothering to bring this up? 

Answer: So I can use this picture:

The team had a Meet the Rats Night after an early-season game, where you could go around and get autographs from all the players right on the ice.  Sitting down, with his pads riding up, Sullivan looked like a little kid wearing his dad’s clothes.

Today is an anniversary of sorts, but not really a big deal. 

One year ago today I made my first Darwinfish2 post.  I don’t really count it as anything because it was at least another 2 weeks before I actually circulated the URL and told anyone about it.  I thought it was important to have a little something there for first time visitors.  But still, a milestone is a milestone.