Thursday, April 28, 2011

Whatsername Part 2

I started the story of “Whatsername” with the last post.  If you haven’t yet done so, read that one before continuing here, or else this won’t make much sense. 

A month or so after The Letter, we had a big region-wide store-manager pow-wow in Columbus, (right near where I used to live).  That meant I’d actually have to see her.  I was a bundle of nerves the entire time.  The first night when we got there, it was a breeze.  I spent the time horsing around in the pool with the other guys.  But the next day when we had to assemble in the meeting room, it was another story.  I knew she was sitting somewhere behind me.  I kept trying to steal a glimpse but my buddy Al kept whispering in my ear, “Stop looking at her!

Later, our DM took all of his managers out to dinner together so I was forced to be at the same table with her.  I could barely look at her.  I tried to make small talk with others at the table, but I could hardly put a sentence together. 

Halfway through dinner, I felt a foot sliding up my leg.

I’m surprised no one saw my heart leap out of my mouth and into the bread dish.  I didn’t know what to do… yank my foot away and burn a death-ray stare through her chest, or return the illicit footsie.  I basically had the same choice as before… sit there feeling lonely and miserable or kick the tires and light the fires.

I got out the matches and kerosene, like I usually do.  We ended up at my old junior high, making out on the playground like crazed weasels.  And so we got together again.  It was the same story.  She missed how I made her feel.  The Slob belittled her constantly.  I told her she was trading up.

This time, we got in a little deeper.  Within a month or so, I had my stuff at her house.  We went on family shopping trips and out to movies and stuff.  She came out to my parents’ house in Baltimore for Christmas.  We even started looking at houses together.

Then she dumped me again.  Same shit… it seemed that she had this thing where whoever got to her last could change her mind.  She didn’t seem to have a mind or will of her own.  And it didn’t help that her mother didn’t like me.  I’m sure that was another chip in The Slob’s pot… he wasn’t some long-hair retail manager.  Still, it shouldn’t have been that easy for people to talk her out of me.

We went about on our usual post-breakup routine… I froze her out with silence or hostility; she strove for normalcy.  Believe me, by this time, I’m sure our co-workers were tired of this soap opera, but as far as I know, they were still on my side.  What the hell did I do, except try to do the right things for her and her son? 

It took a good number of months for me to chill out to the point that I could start to deal with her.  One thing I learned from that experience is that there truly is a thin line between love and hate, and the opposite of love it NOT hate, it’s indifference.  And once you can be indifferent, you’ve won. 

I heard from her again on my birthday of that year.  She no longer worked for the company so I didn’t have to deal with her any more, which definitely helped the healing process.  But she called to say she wanted to come over and give me a nice “birthday present.”  I was like, “Shit, OK.  Why not? 

But this time, I was not so emotionally involved.  Any illusions I had were long gone.  Again she brought up that it wouldn’t be so bad if she could continue to be with The Slob, but still come over and get her freak on with me once in a while.  This time, I went along.  She’d worn me down.  (Metaphorically, you pervs.)

OK, you win.  Be with him, and call me when you want a roll in the hay.”  She walked away happy.  And never called me again.

Sometimes I think that all she was ever trying to do, by yo-yoing me all over the place, was to attempting to find a way to break up with me without her coming out of it as the ‘bad guy’ and having to face the wrath from me and the other managers.  It’s the only explanation I can come up with.  It was either that, or she was just a pinhead with no real will of her own. 

OK, or maybe I wasn’t all I was cracked up to be either.

It’s funny when I look back at the journals I kept during those years.  (And I probably should have consulted them to confirm the timeline, but I’m claiming some writer’s license here.)  One day I’m writing along like we’re the happiest couple ever and everything’s coming up roses.  Then the bomb would drop and I’d just start raving, with my handwriting getting harder and messier as I went.  Then there would be a gap of a couple weeks between entries and suddenly it would be, “Well, we’re back together and I couldn’t be happier.  It’s really going to work this time…”

Let me tell you, I listened to a lot of Sam Kinison during those times.  Bad Sam always made me feel better.

For the longest time, I prized The Letter, and congratulated myself on the cleverness of carboning it into my journal.  Then one day a couple years ago, I had the chance to read it again.  And I was no longer very proud.

I really wish I had a little more class back then, and could have just accepted the deal and moved on.  It’s no great victory to kick someone when they’re struggling.  I don’t know what was really going on with her; I can only speculate.

I was so desperate then to be a grown up and have all the things I thought a grownup needed to have… wife, house, family, yard and all the rest.  During our last go-round when I was staying at her place, we discussed getting married.  It was February and I was waiting for my tax refund to put down on a ring.  She wanted one immediately and we had a big fight over that.  Can you imagine?  I was the asshole because I wanted to wait until I actually had some money before buying a ring.

I wish I could have had the strength to just stay away.  I could have survived that first breakup and went on relatively unscathed.  It was the next ones that tore me up and it was as much my fault for going back as it was hers for not realizing what she had.  It was at that point in my life when I instituted the One Strike/You’re Out Policy.  If a girl decides I’m out of the picture, I stay out.  Period.  She’ll never see my ass again.  I walk away for good.

She ended up marrying The Slob.  The last time I ever saw her, about a year after my “birthday visit,” she came in my store to buy a piece of music she told me she was going to use at their wedding.  Seeing her still made my gut hurt, but not like it used to… I told her, “I guess that means that there won’t be any more ‘special visits, huh?’” 

OK, I didn’t really say that.  I didn’t say much at all.  I just steeled myself and watched her walk out the door.  That was 23 years ago and I never heard from her again.

That is, until Monday night when she sent me a Facebook friend request…

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Back when I lived in Cleveland, I was in the most tumultuous relationship I’ve ever endured.  It lasted from we met in 1987 until we finally split up for good in 1988.  In between, we got together and broke up 4 different times.  (Just for giggles, I used the Synonyms function in Word on “tumultuous” and it yielded: turbulent, confused, chaotic, disorderly, riotous and noisy.  All were apt adjectives to describe our time together.) 

It got to where I couldn’t even say her name any more.  I took to calling her “Whatsername,” which was a tactic I learned from my brother… a retaliatory denial of their personhood and identity.  In fact, I haven’t spoken her actual name since long before the last breakup.  Even when people have asked me what her name was, I’d usually tell them it was the same name as a particular television character and let them figure it out.  (And, no, don’t ask now.  I’m not telling.)

I was around 26 and managing a mall record store in the Cleveland suburbs.  My boss wanted to transfer me across town to a larger, free-standing store, so he sent me a new manager trainee.  We hit it off immediately.  We especially hit it off late one night after we were up until the wee hours doing a store inventory.  We were going to go out for drinks afterwards, but I forgot that every place would be closed.  So we went back to my apartment instead.  And so it began.

She was a divorced mother of a small boy and had been having a rough go of it.  She’d been through a shit-storm in her life up until then and I was determined to fix all that.  I was going to be her White Knight.

The complications started immediately.  I soon found out that she had been dating this other guy who she had known for 12 years.  I didn’t immediately realize how much trouble that would cause.  Plus, there was this other old boyfriend who had somehow gotten my phone number and had taken to calling at all hours and hanging up.  It got to the point where I’d just answer the phone, “Hi Dickhead.”  (This was a gamble, of course.  In 1987, no one had caller ID.  Luckily my Grandma didn’t call very often.)

Anyway, after a couple months of dating, she called me up to break up with me.  She was going back to the old boyfriend.  After all, she’d “just met me and she’d known him for 12 years!

I was gob-smacked.  I mean, what kind of reason is that?  All she’d done for our 3 months together was complain about him!  I didn’t get it.  I’d been wonderful to her, trying to undo all the harm done to her in the past.

Unfortunately, I was not exactly a model of grace and decorum in the aftermath and I reacted very poorly.  When she came by to pick up her shit, I included a piece of the I-Heart-You mug she’d given me, which I had smashed for the occasion.  (Like I could ever drink out of THAT again…)  I also included the booklet of “Love Coupons” that she’d given me for Valentine’s Day.

You can use these on that other slob,” I told her.  As she walked out, I slammed the door, which echoed throughout the apartment building hallways to amplify her Walk of Shame.”

I don’t know what it’s like now in the retail world, but back then we had kind of a built in support system of store managers within our district.  Many of us had worked with each other before and had often started out in the same stores.  So it wasn’t long before my other manager friends learned what happened.  They lent their comforting ears as I vented about the unjustness of it all, until eventually, I started to get over her.  It was uncomfortable whenever we had to deal with each other on store business, but I was getting through it.

But before too long, she called me again.  The Slob wasn’t treating her well and she missed how I made her feel.  I was extremely hesitant, especially because she wanted to see us both.  That was a deal-breaker for me.  There are some things that I just will not share.

But she always seemed to catch me at my weakest times.  When you’re sitting at home drinking wine and watching TV alone, and your old girlfriend calls you up and says she wants to be with you, it’s pretty damned hard to say no.  You look around, knowing you have no other prospects and zero irons in the fire, and go “What the hell else do I have to do?  I can either sit around here and be lonely and miserable, or I can go over there and get nose-deep in some hot monkey love.

So we got together again and dated exclusively again for another couple of months.  At least I thought it was exclusive.  I should have wised up the time that we were on our way to see Eric Clapton in concert and she told me she wanted to see The Slob, but still wanted to see me too. 

I was like, “Fine… feel free to see him.  But I’m out.  I can’t share a woman I love.” I didn’t realize until much later that what she wanted was for me to fight for her.  To me, it was much simpler… “Either you want me, or you want him.  Not complicated.” 

So it shouldn’t have been so surprising when she broke it off again, for the same reasons.  “I’m going back to him… after all, I’ve known him for 12 years!

She also had a new angle this time; a 2-pronged attack.  On one hand, she felt I would not be able to support her on the money I made (which was the same money she was making, I might add).  On the other hand, she felt she was becoming too dependent on me.

I questioned the obvious self-contradiction contained in those statements, but to no avail.  She was going back to The Slob and their “12 years!”  And I went back to being steaming mad and acting all pissed off.  I ducked her calls at work.  If she needed a supply of a particular hot record, I told her I didn’t have any to spare.  (This was actually true, but I enjoyed shooting her down.)  I was generally rude and hostile and would often hang up on her without saying goodbye.

One time when our DM was at my store, I picked up the phone and it was her, looking for him.  I didn’t say anything to her, I just said to the DM, within easy range of the phone receiver, “Here, it’s Whatsername.”  He knew who I meant.

It wasn’t that I was trying to be a dick… (OK, maybe a little), but just hearing her voice would set my heart beating fast and I’d get that sick feeling in my stomach.  It’s so hard to be around someone that dumped you. 

Note to anyone considering an office relationship: let this be a warning.  Don’t do it.  It’s not worth it.  This damn near killed me and we didn’t even work in the same place.

She came into my store one afternoon, seeking some product she needed.  I gave her the freeze, as usual, speaking only when necessary and then, in 1-word answers.  That’s when she said it: “You always make me feel so bad when I come in here!

I was incredulous.  I make HER feel bad??   She tears my heart into fuckin’ pieces over and over again and I make HER feel bad?  I was so mad, I couldn’t even see straight.  That night, I went home and wrote her a letter.  (1988, people, there was no email and I never would have been able to say what I needed to say, out loud.)  I wrote her a 3-page letter on legal paper and carboned it into my journal.  It was my masterpiece… it was like a coiled snake that laid back and then struck, recoiled and struck again, over and over.  I got everything off my chest about what she’d done to me and how I felt about it.  It was really quite therapeutic.  If she didn’t realize what she’d done to me before, she sure would now.

Oh, did it ever work.  It caused precisely the kind of damage I’d hoped it would.  She thought it was going to be all warm and fuzzy and conciliatory, because that’s how it started, and then POW.  Bomb after bomb.  See, she told me all about it a couple of months later when we got back together again.

She wouldn't break my heart again, would she?  Or could it be that I was really a slow learner?

The saga will continue in the next post…

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Odd Bits - The Easter Eggs With Bacon on the Side Edition

There’s nothing like a new edition of Odd Bits to empty out the random stories, triumphs, cartoons and odd notions that wind up in the old mental inbox.

Best Laid Plans Gone Wrong
I try to be efficient, I really do.  So when I know I have a number of possibly time-consuming errands to do, I try to commit a day to get them completely taken care of.  That day was supposed to be last Tuesday, so I took the day off work.

First of all, I’ve got a bad shoulder.  I don’t want to go into a lot of boring health details (yet) but it started hurting last July, and has been steadily getting worse ever since.  By fall, I couldn’t even throw a Nerf football to my nephews.  Every week, it seems like I lose a little bit more range of motion.  I eventually came to the painful conclusion that this was one thing that was not going to get better by itself.  So I found a nest of orthopedic doctors nearby and set up an appointment for a diagnosis.

Knowing that may take a while, but not exactly all day, I also had plans to take my car in to a local tire shop.  When I first bought it last summer, the mechanics at the place I took it to get checked out told me I should replace the tires by that fall.  They looked pretty good to me and had been driven less than 25,000 miles, I let it ride for a while.  But with a pair of trips to Pittsburgh scheduled for the end of May, I didn’t want to take any chances of a blowout, so I figured I’d get a second opinion.

I figured that would take enough of the day to make it worth my while to burn a Floating Holiday that my company gives out in lieu of closing on President’s Day, MLK Day, Columbus Day, etc.

So, first up, the visit to the doctor.  I already had my paperwork filled out, thanks to their website and downloadable PDF files, so I was in the door, registered, and called in to the little room within about 10 minutes.  The doctor’s assistant had me get set up in the awkward hospital gown.

Let me ask you, aren't those things just diabolical to get tied up in back?  I mean, even on a good day, you have to be a contortionist to get that backwards, upside-down string bow tied.  Now imagine doing it with a bum shoulder.  I think there are hidden cameras in there, to ferret out anyone that’s faking it.  Then they post them on YouTube and laugh.

Given that I could keep my pants on, I only tied the one behind my neck.  I couldn’t come close to reaching the lower strings.  I supposed I could have asked for help, but that’s like asking for directions.  Guys don’t do that.

So I got my X-Rays done and went back to the little room, where the doctor came in within minutes.  He had me go through some range-of-motion exercises while he felt, poked and fished around in my shoulder joint.  The X-Rays proved more or less negative.  He could see some kind of lesion in the joint, but nothing that would explain all my particular symptoms.  What I needed was an MRI, he said, so he could look at the soft tissue.  This would show the ligaments, rotator cuff, labrum and all that other stuff that you hear about when a baseball pitcher goes on Injured Reserve.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t do the MRI there, because the MRI people don’t go with my insurance.  They told me to call into another place, (where I have gone before for other things) and have it done there.  Then I could bring the films back and we’d discuss my prognosis.

So I was in the office at 8:45 and back out on the street by 9:30.  Pretty darned efficient, if you ask me.  Other than the MRI part, but hey, it’s the medical profession.  Things are never as simple you want them to be.  (Right Cassie?)

Now, on to the tire place.  They looked busy so I was prepared to wait.  Or even come back.  But the guy came out and after a quick look at my tires, said that there was nothing wrong with them and I had no need to replace them.  I mentioned how another place said they were beginning to dry rot and recommended replacement 6 months ago.

He said they may be able to tell more if they got the tires off, and hey, did I need my oil changed?  If so, they had a special: oil change and tire rotation for $19.99.  They could check out the tires further when they rotated them.

In fact, I WAS planning to get an oil change before my trips, so I was all over this.  But then the bad news… they couldn’t do it that day… too busy.  I offered to come back the next night after work and he said that was fine.

I’d been planning on walking down to the McDonalds that was by the tire place and having lunch there while I was waiting for my car.  It was only 10:00 and too early for lunch, so I went home.  Turns out, I could have gone in to work after all.  So now, what am I going to do with myself for the rest of the day?

I know I could have gone to McD’s anyway, but it’s not exactly my favorite fast food place.  Wendy’s is.  There is a Wendy’s up to the north of where I live, but I don’t usually go up there without somewhere else to go at the same time.  (It’s that efficiency thing.)  If only I could come up with something to do in that part of town, so I would have a convenient excuse to go to Wendy’s…

So where does one go when one wants to shop, but doesn’t actually need anything?  WalMart.  There’s a huge Wally’s right by the Wendy’s.  Problem solved.

I always find shit at Wally’s that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it there.  I mean, there are always staples for which I can lay in reinforcements, like vitamins, paper products, snacks, chocolate and of course DVDs.

As it turned out, they had all the seasons of South Park on sale for $15 each.  I’ve probably spent $20 to $30 a pop on the seasons I already have (which is most of them) so I as all over this.  I found Season 13 right away, but spend about 10 minutes looking for Season 12.  I looked behind all the other season, and in other areas, but couldn’t find it anywhere.  So be it.  I’d fill the hole in my collection later.

Of course, when I got home, I checked my DVD spreadsheet (yes, really) and found that I already have Season 12.  Idiot.  In all fairness, once I’d have seen the cover I’d have known that I already had it.  Still, I was pissed at myself for wasting all that time searching.  As if the day wasn’t a giant waste anyway.

To finish this thread, I have my MRI appointment on Tuesday and a follow-up with the doctor the next Monday.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  I’m really hoping to avoid surgery… maybe if I’m lucky, it will be something simple.  Any procedures will probably have to be after the Pittsburgh trips though… can’t have anything interfere with my ability to pound bacon cheeseburgers over at Carpetbagger’s.  Or maybe I should just practice doing it lefty.

Also, I did go back to the tire place and they said the tires were fine, but I could use an alignment,  as indicated by some outer-edge wear.  I said "fine."  But then they couldn't do that either.  They needed a particular tool, which was locked up in a toolbox belonging to a mechanic that wasn't there.  I've never been to a garage that was so good at not taking my money.

Email Non-Fail
This week, I encountered a problem with my email Outlook.  It just stopped sending emails.  I could receive, but nothing I sent got out.  This is the kind of problem that at one time, would have had me curled up under the desk in fetal position.

But this time, I simply Googled the error message, found some prospective fixes and tried them out until it worked.  Holy shit, look at me fixing a real live grownup computer problem.  It was really just a change in settings, but it made me wonder how it happened in the first place.  One second, I could send emails.  Then I walk away from the PC and come back an hour later, and I can’t send emails.  WTF? 

Just another computer mystery, I guess.  Probably one of those things that guarantees that PC Help Desks always have work to do.

The Buck Rocks Here
I found this clip from Ginny/PittGirl’s Twitter feed and as a resident Baltimorean, I feel I can lay claim to the right to re-post it.  Around here, people feel that new Orioles manager Buck Showalter is the real Second Coming.  He has rolled back the boulder to lead the O’s out of their self-imposed basement.

Watch Buck as he gets a load of the awful version of the National Anthem being foisted upon him by a local college.  (It’s only a 12-second clip)

I haven’t seen an Anthem that excruciating since Frank Drebin channeled Enrico Pallazzo before a 1980s Angels game.  Apparently neither has Buck.

Good Riddance Dept.
Perhaps an outbreak of sanity and calm has embraced this nation because our Pied Piper of Idiots, Glenn Beck, is leaving the airwaves.  Don’t hurry back, y’heah?

Goofy Easter Shit
Now, to clean out some more crappola from the Vaunted Darwinfish Archives, may I present some silly things that I can peripherally attach to an Easter theme.

First, there’s this bit from  This isn’t exactly a “Fail” however.  They sometimes celebrate the rare “Win.”  This totally “wins.”
How is this related to Easter?  I’ll tell you.  Ever heard of Easter ham?  This is close enough to be cross between candy and ham.  Totally Easter.

On to the rest of it…

Happy Easter to all; may all of your eggs end up in someone’s basket.  Otherwise, a couple weeks from now, someone is going to be blaming the dog.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I've never really had one of those “Email Moments” you see on TV, where someone sends a horribly inappropriate an email by mistake and then goes into a blind panic trying to fix it.  Worst thing I ever do is send things out without the intended attachments and then have to resend it.  I’ve had a pretty good run, I must say… right up until Tuesday night, when I did something so awkward and inappropriate that was worthy of The Office’s Michael Scott.

As you may have seen, I’ve been reposting some goofy stuff from the website  There, they post pictures, videos and other clips of bungled signage, clunky translations, inadvertent porn, YouTube face-plants… any and all ways that one can “Fail.”

The other day, I found 3 items that I thought were keepers.  The first was featured in my last post… an unfortunate vanity license plate that read JZZLUVR.  The assumption, for those with pure and innocent minds, is that the owner was thinking of JaZZLUVR.  The rest of us pervs naturally saw it as JiZZLUVR, which is a completely different thing.  But it got me thinking of the idea of vanity plates in general and I decided to base a post around it.

But I also found a couple of other interesting things, so I saved them to an email so I could file them away later.  One of the items was this picture:

When I saw this, I knew I had to send it to my Blog Sister Cassie.  When we all first met at the Darwinfish Fry last August, the restaurant we were at had a women’s room with 2 toilets sitting side by side, with no divider between them.  Cassie and her sister Carly found that to be hilarious and snapped a picture, which they later put up on their site.  So when I saw this variation… a toilet with seats for an audience, I knew I had to send it on.

There was one other keeper, but I’ll get to that later.

So Tuesday night, before beginning to weave the comedic magic makes up one of my posts, I opened up all three pictures and saved them to their appropriate places in the vaunted Darwinfish Archives.  There was a bit of a hiccup with one, where I wasn’t sure how I got to this other folder, but I carried on.  Then, real quick, I sent the Bathroom Audience picture over to Cassie.  Then I turned my attention to whipping up my Vanity Plate post, with the hilarity sure to ensue.

While I was working on that, Cassie emailed me back.

Cassie: You’re so thoughtful, Bluz.  So thoughtful.  :) That’s AWESOME.

I was pleased that she saw the humor.  I like Cassie.  She gets me.

So I responded.

Bluz: It’s kind of like Restroom Musical Chairs.

I thought that would be the end of it.  But as I continued to work on my post, Cassie emailed again.

Cassie: Wait.  I’m confused.  What I’m seeing is a California license plate that says JZZLUVR.  Is that what you meant to send?

Uh oh.  That was NOT the picture I meant to send.  I wondered if I mislabeled the pictures, so as I was replying to her, I went back and checked.

Yup.  That little hiccup I had earlier?  For some reason, when I thought I was saving the Bathroom Audience picture, I was actually re-saving JZZLUVR and changing the title.  When I attached it to the email, it was from a folder where I only see the file names and not the thumbnails.

Slowly I realized what I had just done.  And you know, it wouldn’t have been so bad, except for what I’d originally put in the subject line.  Oh my God.

Now picture this: before she opened up this email, and saw the picture of JZZLUVR, she saw this subject line:

Subject: Saw this and thought of you…

Sitting all alone in my apartment, I clasped my hands over my face in horror.  Holy shit!  What have I done?  It was The Fail to End All Fails.  What must she have thought of me, some out-of-state guy nearly twice her age, whom she’s only met once?

Naturally, I fell all over myself trying to explain.  I mean; you can see the file name in the email attachment says “Bathroom Audience,” and that backs up my story.  But you know how when you try to explain something like that, the more you explain, the more it looks like you’re just making excuses? 

If I were to follow through on getting my own vanity plate now, I’d have no choice but to see if this one is available:

The other funny thing?  How cool was Cassie’s response, before she knew my intentions?  She totally went with it, figuring that I didn’t mean any harm.  As if people try to forge links between her and JZZ all the time…

For the record, I have no idea where Cassie stands regarding JZZ.  I don’t know if she LUVs it, or merely TOLR8s it.  I mean, she does have three kids, so she must be a JZZ aficionado to some degree and knows good JZZ when she sees it.

Meanwhile, she totally got a post of her own out of it, completely at my expense.  You can see her version of this story by clicking here.  She’s got screen captures of all the emails.  She has the whole exchange.

And the comments are even better.  That’s where I learned that they were other interpretations to be made regarding the plate.  Mrs. Bachelor Girl and commenter “Emily” thought that JZZLUVR was meant to be JESUSLUVR.  And when I first showed the plate to Pinky, she thought it meant JEWSLUVR.  Thank goodness Red Pen Mama knows JZZ when she sees it.  Shows I’m not the only one with a mind in the gutter.

If there’s any good news to be had, it’s that I didn’t send Cassie the other Failblog picture I had in mind to forward.  Cassie’s from Minnesota, so when I saw this one, I knew she’d get a kick out of it.  So imagine that with the subject line of “Saw this and thought of you…” plus the JZZLUVR plate, I had also included this shot:

I’d say there would likely have been a cancellation for next month’s Darwinfish Fry.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vanity Fare

I’ve often thought about getting vanity license plates for my car.  It seems like that’s the official “state-sanctioned” method to show that you’re either completely self-centered, or just a wiseass.

Mostly, it’s been the cost and the hassle that’s kept me from getting one.  And the cost is about to go up in Maryland.  The state legislature just passed a bill increasing the fee for vanity plates from $25 to $50 per year!  That’s right, every year, you’d have to cut a check to the MVA.

Sorry, no thanks.  I don’t need to identify myself as a wiseass that badly… not when I can do it online for free!

But I do wonder, if I were to get a vanity plate, what would I get?

First off, you have to be careful.  Like, I’m sure this person thought their love of David Sanborn or Grover Washington would come across in this plate:

Instead, it just looks like they want to “love” David Sanborn or Grover Washington… love them long time.

I’d also have to be careful about using any Pittsburgh references.  That’s a good way to get your tires slashed and doors keyed, around here.  I only decorate my car with Bowling Green State University alumni decals, because no one gives a rat’s ass about the MAC Conference schools.  We fly right under the radar.

I should probably take notes from my Uncle Joe, who is the King of Vanity Plates.  He used to have a plate that said, IWEWEYQ.  And parked beside that was my Aunt Linda’s car, with a plate that said, NIYQTOO.  That was how I knew they had lived in California too long.  Unc’s plates weren’t all cutesy… he had one on his Ferrari that said, FMLY 4RE.  Of course when you see someone driving a Ferrari, who ever looks at the plates?

I’d consider getting a plate that had some variation of BLUZ on it, but first, I’m sure it’s been taken, and second, that could possibly identify me in public to some rabid teabagger who may try to run me off the road for crowding his liberty.

Speaking of, I wonder if this fellow understands the implications of what he’s suggesting:
Then again, it’s a California plate, so I’m guessing he does.

I used to know a girl in Virginia that was also a blues fan.  She didn’t do a vanity plate, but the VA licenses had a picture of a colonial dude in the middle of it, so she took a marker and drew on some dark shades.  I thought that was cool as hell, although she’s liable to get pulled over for it.

Bluz Sister has a plate that says INNY.  It’s on the back of her Audi.  Yes, it took me a while too.

One of the most creative ones I’ve heard of takes some high school chemistry to decipher.  It said, HIYOAG, which looks meaningless until you realize that AG is the Periodic Table designation for silver.  I love the “thinkers.”

I was looking through an internet site for some other cool ideas and found this one (as well as the previous plate picture):
I can steal that as long as I don’t live in New York, I guess.  Hey, I wonder if that’s Homer Simpson’s car…

You should check out the site… there are too many good ones to list here.  But I was surprised at how many off color ones made it through.  I thought it would be tougher to put something over on the Powers Charged With Making Sure No Citizen Ever Gets Offended.

Now I’m thinking that one of my ideas might be workable.  I’d like a plate that says, QQQQ.  Which is a sneakier way of saying 4Q.

Oh yeah?  4Q2.

Ultimately, I’d probably go with this one: BBBBBBB.  In other words, the sound one makes when driving.  When one is 3. 

Or you can call it homage to the noise you make when you’re going crazy sitting in traffic.  Just make sure your fingers weren’t in the ashtray before making the noise.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

90 Percent Bullshit

If you’ve read this site for very long, you’ve no doubt gathered that one of my pet causes is reproductive freedom; in other words, the right for people (women) to decide for themselves what to do with their own personal bodies, without the helpful advice of the of prissy, pasty, well-to-do white men of the US Congress.

Planned Parenthood, as I’m sure you’ve heard, has been squarely in the crosshairs of the political right during this month’s budget negotiations.  The Teabaggers want funding for Planned Parenthood cut, you know, because it represents such a huge portion of the federal budget.  (Caution: sarcasm alert.)

In truth, the amount of money spent is infinitesimal.  And for every dollar spent there, the country reaps a savings of $4.00.  That makes the Teabaggers pretty budget-savvy, eh? 

Their cause wasn’t helped at all, this week, when Arizona Senator John Kyl made one of those televised speeches to an empty Senate chamber and claimed that 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion. 

Of course, this argument has no relation to the truth, as this chart verifies:
3% < 90%… a LOT <.

John Stewart got in on the action as well, ripping open the tightened sphincter that personifies Sen. Kyl.

It doesn’t surprise me that the right is making this kind of shit up out of whole cloth… they’ve been doing it for the last 10 years, at least.  And I’m not talking about fudging a percentage here and there, but just making shit up and repeating it until their idiot constituency takes it as the truth.  (See: Birthers.)

I’ve said before, if I ever become King, I’ll establish new guidelines on political speech.  (Assuming there is a need for politics at all… cuz I’LL BE KING!)  Any speech by a politician, or by an organization for or against a disputed political issue and communicated through the media… TV, radio, print or online, will be subject to instant factual verification.

It’s not like it can’t be done… it’s already being done, only on such a small scale that people don’t know it.  Every so often, an event like this breaks out and garners attention, but unfortunately it’s a rarity.  And it’s even more unfortunate that people will continue to disregard actual verifiable facts, in order to keep running with lies that they would rather believe.

What puzzles me is that Planned Parenthood should be flush with cash, if the goal of the right was to actually decrease abortion.  Birth control does that for a fraction of the monetary and emotional cost.  But still they fight… against Planned Parenthood, against Plan B contraception, against sex education, against SEX, period.  (Hey, getting caught in the airport men’s room with your “wide stance” is not “sex,” right?)

I also think that Planned Parenthood is attacked because they fight all the bullshit delaying tactics that lawmakers try to insert into the doctor’s office.  They want pamphlets passed out that are often filled with lies, exaggerations, assumptions and other elements of religious orthodoxy.  They want waiting periods that vary between hours and days, knowing that often times, women have to travel long distances to get to a clinic.  They inject emotionally loaded language and imagery into a discussion that should be about a hard look at the particulars of life from that day forward. 

Next, I hear South Dakota is introducing a law that will require the woman to watch a very special episode of Oprah with her prospective child and then go to church.  (OK, that’s only 90% true.)

Then you had deposed Right-Wing Dipshit Glenn Beck come out and say that the only people using Planned Parenthood are hookers.  This is a guy that used morality and religion as the means to club his viewers into voting Republican.  Such comments show just how removed he is from the everyday life of average Americans.  Apparently his brand of religion is high on judgment and pretty goddamned light on empathy.

I’m just grateful that for a change, the Democrats haven’t rolled over on this one.  Did you hear about President Obama being “caught” making some comments about the Planned Parenthood fight, that he thought were off the record?  He made some remarks to a small group after a more formal statement, but the press was still receiving the feed and someone took notes.

Addressing what he called “sneak attacks on his health bill:

I said, (to Republicans), ‘You want to repeal health care?  Go at it.  We’ll have that debate.  You’re not going to nickel and dime me in the budget.  You think we’re stupid?’”

Regarding attempts to cut funding for Planned Parenthood he said he told House Speaker John Boehner:

Put it in a separate bill.  We’ll call it up.  And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it.  But don’t try to sneak it through.”

Also, regarding Paul Ryan, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, who recently authored a draconian (unless you’re a wealthy business owner) budget proposal:

When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he’s just being America’s accountant… This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill, but wasn’t paid for… So that’s not on the level.”

This last point goes directly to what I’ve been saying for the last 2 years… the deficit hawks are only concerned about the deficit when it’s not their guy doing the spending.  It’s just the political cover they’re using to reinstate their own ideology in place of the one we voted into office in 2008.

What bugs me about this whole thing is that these comments were not meant for general consumption.  This is exactly what I think the Pres should be out there trumpeting!  Call their asses out on this budgetary nonsense.  If they wanted to really affect the deficit, repealing the Bush tax cuts on those making over 250K would make a huge difference.

Sure, the big business money people would start squealing like stuck pigs and funneling even more dough into their Teabagger mouthpieces, but that’s where we have to keep hammering the facts.  Why is it that the Middle and Lower Classes are supposed to get by with so much less, but the rich expect to ride along in luxury, unscathed?  Who can actually believe that if big businesses paid Clinton-era rates (when they paid any taxes at all…) that they would then be unable to produce any jobs?  Shit, we’ve had these low high-end tax rates for 10 fuckin’ years.  Where are all the jobs then?  The companies are NOT producing jobs with all their tax savings; they’re shipping them overseas, sitting on the cash and paying huge bonuses to their upper echelon.  (And screaming about regulation.)

Why is it that we have to continue producing insanely expensive weaponry that the Defense Department itself says they don’t want, but we continue to make because no one dares say “no” to Haliburton and other defense contractors?

So of course, there is a huge push back.  Naturally, they can’t actually run a campaign based on their actual principles, so instead, the wealthy right revs up their little Teabagger squads with indefinable issues like “liberty” and scare issues like immigration, guns, gays, Muslims and the threat of mass babycide.

And one last note… if the Right was so insistent on babies being born into any circumstance, why are they trying to cut funding to programs specifically designed to help single mothers and their babies?  Maybe it’s just the overall Republican Plan… first cut the money for Planned Parenthood, which results in more babies being born into low-income families.  Then cut all the support for said babies.  I expect the next step to be to have them all delivered directly to the penitentiary, for safekeeping, long-term storage and to bolster the business of the prison industry.

The thing is, they don’t actually care about babies… not at the top.  It’s just one more wedge issue designed to mobilize people into voting against their own economic interest.  Then once in office they can get back to their primary mission of enriching their benefactors and widening the income gap between the rich and the poor.

This Sunday Sermon has been brought to you by the suppression of 2 months worth of political hostility over the budget process and a serious lack of sleep.  Now I’m off to cut a check to NARAL.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jersey Boy

Last night was the onset of the Stanley Cup playoffs, so naturally the topic of the Penguins’ Cup run came up in an email thread between Sitcom Kelly and me.  You’ll remember that Sitcom Kelly is my friend that wants to dig a Silence of the Lambs Pit in her basement for the purpose of capturing and keeping Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, as well as former Steelers kicker Matt Bahr.  We’ve been working on and off, on a document full of episode ideas to make into a sitcom about her life.

First, I sent her a link to a really great story.  A reporter wrote of taking her wheelchair-bound brother, who has cerebral palsy, to a Penguins game. By chance, Penguins star Sidney Crosby pulled in behind them when they parked at the rink.  Sid initiated the communication by asking about her brother, (who happened to be wearing a Crosby jersey), and got out of his car to give him an autographed picture and pose for a shot of the two of them. 

This comes on the heels of my Blog Sister Cassie’s story about how her 3-year old sent Sidney, who has been sidelined since January with a concussion, a hand-made get-well card for the “boo-boo on his brain.”  Sid sent her back an autographed picture, which she has been carrying around like a security blanket ever since.

It was yet another of a long line of little but important things the guy does off the ice, just to make people happy.  I’m sure he had no idea that it was going to wind up in a newspaper story.  It’s just the kind of things he does.

So, I emailed the link to Sitcom Kelly:

SK: Tears gushing from my eyes…

Bluz: Dude’s amazing.

SK: He is truly someone you want to be like, or your kids to be like.

Bluz: Practically stalk-worthy.

SK: I was going to say that he needs a Pit too, but he’s worthy of a glass case in the living room.

Bluz: Mmmmmmmmmph!  (Clamping hand over mouth to suppress the laugh…)  That’s totally an episode!  And your other “guests” in their Pits get jealous of him and argue about who gets to be in the glass case.  They fight for the honor…

Later in another thread…

SK: Now get the hell on the ice and win us a Stanley Cup!!

Bluz: I don’t think he’s going to get into this series.  A lot of people are debating whether he should even come back at all in the playoffs.

SK: I can see that point, but he’s awesome enough that he could come back and play like he’s never been gone.

Bluz: The concern isn’t that he won’t play well, it’s that one more head shot this season could put him out much longer, maybe even for good.

SK: Oh… right.  The head.  He won’t get his noggin hurt in The Case.

Bluz: LOVE The Case.  You could bring him up for parties… like your cat parties!  (This refers to a previous email thread/post about her throwing a party on the same day as a massive snowstorm (again) and no one would show, leaving her to continue the party with no one but her cats, and Kris who is down in the Pit.)

I can see it… You, the 3 cats wearing little party hats, are sitting in a circle on the floor with a pan of ziti, and Sid in the Case.  With a hat on top of the Case!  LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL… Oh god, I’m dying here…

Geez, the script practically writes itself… which is good, because I have posts to do and TV to watch.

This morning, I emailed her again:

Bluz: BTW, you know I’m using our thread on The Glass Case in tonight’s post.  Can’t possibly keep that to myself.

SK: There are going to be Secret Servicemen casing your Memorial Day BBQ event, waiting for Sitcom Kelly to show up.  Kris Letang is one thing, but if you mess with Sidney Crosby, they WILL come get you.

Bluz: I’m picturing a dozen women stepping forward one by one, saying, “I am Sitcom Kelly.”  “No, I am Sitcom Kelly.”

SK: A couple of guys too.

Bluz: That would totally work!  The name goes both ways.

Meanwhile, Spartacus rolls over in his cinematic grave.

Like I said earlier, the playoffs started last night.  For what it’s worth, the Pens won the first game, 3-0.  But I have no intention of going all Puck-head with game details… not when I can talk about jersey mojo, instead.

All year long, I tracked my jersey versus the game results.  It’s a bit different than football, in that there are so many more games.  I figured the tracking would give me some pretty good data on what to wear during the playoffs.  Here’s how the season played out:

5 wins, 0 losses, 1.00 winning percentage. 

Mario Lemieux jersey from the pre-lockout era, early 2000s.  Geez, I should have worn this one more often.  Didn’t realize it was undefeated.  And add one playoff win, because I wore it last night.

7-3, .700

Crosby jersey from the first Winter Classic in 2008.  I only wore this one when the Penguins wore it to play.  I didn’t always know ahead of time; sometimes I’d have to make a quick change after I saw them line up for the faceoff.  Had a good record wearing it… I may go to it as an alternate.  But I prefer not to clash with what’s being worn on-ice.

7-3, .700

OK, it’s not a jersey, but during one of the Pens early slumps, I tried it out because none of the jerseys were working.  Did pretty well.

2-1, .666

The old-school Snoop Dogg style Lemieux jersey from the mid to late 90s.  Didn’t wear it often… I do remember yanking this one off for the blue one a couple times, as mentioned earlier.  Another possible alternate.

14-9, .608

No jersey at all.  These are some various Tees I wore… Just about everything I wear has a sports logo on it… I used these during the mid-season doldrums, when I didn’t feel like digging out a jersey, and they won a good deal of the games, which kept me from going back to the jerseys again.

6-4, .600
Current “away” jersey for Jordan Staal.  This was my go-to jersey for Penguins “away” games.  Had a tough early run, especially when Staal was out.

3-2, .600

AKA, “The Corporate Pigeon” jersey, used during the mid to late 90s.  Used to be a #68 Jaromir Jagr jersey.  I had the 8 taken off and added a 6 to make it a Lemieux.  Also added the “O” for “owner.”  I am aware that it might be considered a “jersey foul,” if you follow the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s “Empty Netters” blog.  It’s my oldest Pens jersey… I actually used to play in it, when I played pickup hockey in the mid 90s.  Didn’t really get me many wins this season though.  But it is my only other “away” jersey.  When neither this nor the white Staal jersey produced wins, I didn’t wear a jersey for a bunch of the “away” games.

3-2, .600

Old “home” jersey from the early 90s Stanley Cup winning teams, another Mario.  Can’t go wrong with a legend.  You know a #66 will be good forever.

2-4, .333

The current “home” Crosby jersey.  Horrible record, and that was with Sid playing.  I haven’t worn it since he got hurt.  (I was wearing the Snoop jersey when he took his second shot to the head that put him out.)

1-2, .333

2011 Winter Classic jersey for goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.  Again, I only wore this one when the Pens did.  The results were not good.  Doubtful this will see the light of day during this playoff run.

0-1, .000

Blue jersey created by The  I bought it because I couldn’t get my hands on a regular blue Winter Classic jersey at the time, but I wanted something the same color.  I had this one personalized.  I only wore this once this season, as a desperation ploy to shake off a losing streak.  Didn’t work. 

So, as the playoffs unfold, I expect to be using the jerseys at the top of the list.  But I have to keep in mind… mojo is fickle.  Remember, during the Penguins Cup run in 2009, I abandoned the jerseys completely, in favor of Pens Tee Shirts, and was rewarded for my adaptation by the sight of my boys lifting The Cup in triumph.

Sitcom Kelly may even let Sid out of The Case, for that.