Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
"Go ahead, Eagle. Over."
"Uh, yeah, it would appear that the American flag we planted was blown over when Eagle began it's ascent. Over."
"That is unfortunate, Eagle. Over."
"Houston, Do you want me to, uh, go back and fix it? Over."
"Uh, the Eagle is not a craft that is designed to go back and forth to the moon. I'm pretty sure, uh, that's something that would have been covered in your training. Over."
"Houston, uh, no biggie. I'll just climb down real quick, uh, scamper behind the green screen, come in from stage left and re-plant it. I saw some sandbags by the sound mixer. I can, uh, use one of those to make sure it stays up. Quick like a bunny. Just, uh, vamp and cover me for a couple of minutes. Over."
"Eagle, uh, not sure what you're talking about. NASA Mission Control does not 'vamp'. You're in an actual spacecraft, returning to Earth. You're not on a movie set somewhere in Arizona. Over."
"Riiiiight. Listen, while I'm out, I'm going to, uh, stop at the craft services table. Over"
"Houston, do you, uh, want anything? Over."
"(whispered) Eagle, grab me some, uh, mini muffins. Over."
"Roger that. Eagle out."
For one thing, it's not a wise way to spend money. But worse than that are the options available to you as a late night diner. Here is the list of places that serve food and are open after midnight on Hillsborough Avenue between I-4 and where I live:
- Steak & Shake
- Some chicken wing joint (I don't know the name, never stopped there)
- Burger King
- Dunkin' Donuts
Of those, the one place that stands out as most likely to provide a legitimate meal with some kind of positive nutritional value is Denny's, and that's just because their ketchup doesn't come in single-serve packets.
Why is it that the worse the food is (or worse for you anyway), the later the place stays open? Subway, which touts itself as a healthy alternative to fast food, closes at 11, while Checkers is open til 4AM and Krystal is open around the clock. I think it's a conspiracy. I think the general feeling is that most people who are out and about "after hours" are probably up to no good, which is probably true. After all, nobody donates blood at 2AM or reads to blind orphans at 3:30AM. So somebody decided to thin the herd by fattening them up and getting them to kill themselves. That's the only theory that makes sense to me.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
- OVERRATED: Sarcasm. UNDERRATED: Flippancy
- OVERRATED: "That's not a knife; THIS is a knife!" UNDERRATED: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho"
- OVERRATED: Kool. UNDERRATED: The Gang
- OVERRATED: Creepy clowns UNDERRATED: Creepy acrobats
- OVERRATED: Research and development leading to microscopic nanorobots UNDERRATED: Research and development leading to one gigantic robot
I find it's a nice, easy, and, I'd like to believe (although I'm probably wrong), thought-provoking way to call attention to things that might not get enough recognition. Since I started doing it, people I know are doing it also. As far as trendsetting goes, it's not going to earn me any money and it's not all that widespread, but still, it's nice to think that I wield some kind of influence over people. The problem is, not everybody does it correctly.
The other night, a young man I know posted the following: "OVERRATED: Prince UNDERRATED: The Beatles"
Now, OVERRATED/UNDERRATED is certainly a matter of opinion, but this is wrong for a couple of reasons: A) You don't speak ill of Prince. Okay? You just...don't. B) Unless you're talking about beach volleyball, research and development leading to microscopic nanorobots or some other area in which their proficiency and dominance has not been previously established and celebrated, it is impossible to underrate The Beatles. Just can't be done.
Here's what you need to know in order to do it right:
- Keep in mind that "OVERRATED" doesn't mean bad. Something can be awesome and still be OVERRATED. It all depends on what you're saying is UNDERRATED. Here's a perfect example: OVERRATED: How cool Jack Nicholson is UNDERRATED: How cool Paul Newman is. Everybody always talks about how cool Jack Nicholson is. And no doubt, he is very, very cool. But at the end of the day, wouldn't you much rather be Paul Newman? I know I would. He's much cooler. You never saw Paul Newman play slightly more unhinged versions of his real self in movies or lose it and go after someone with a golf club or be seen mugging it up at every single awards ceremony that comes down the pike. Come to think of it, maybe Jack Nicholson isn't even all that cool to start with. At any rate, this illustrates the point perfectly.
- Certain elements, like The Beatles, can't be UNDERRATED, simply because they are too damn good or prevalent or both. Others include: oxygen, Ted Williams and Muhammad Ali. The one exception to this would be water. And that's because nobody really appreciates a nice, cold drink of water until they're really, really thirsty, at which point you feel like it's the best thing you've ever had in your life...which is because it is. Water is vastly UNDERRATED when compared to other drinks.
- Certain other elements can't be UNDERRATED, simply because they aren't very good. Others may not share your appreciation for the "Charlie's Angels" movies but not because they're UNDERRATED. Rather, it's because they suck. The problem is you, not them. Now, we all have our guilty pleasures and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But it's not a good idea to call attention to yourself by trying to justify them as something better than they are. Gouda cheese might very well be OVERRATED but it doesn't mean Cheetos are UNDERRATED. Usually, it's best just to just enjoy sitting quietly in the corner, sucking the fluorescent orange, vaguely-cheese flavored sodium residue of bad pop culture off your fingers without bringing others into it.
- It's not advisable to OVERRATE/UNDERRATE really big and important things. If you try to compare gods and countries and Elvis and stuff like that, you're going to piss people off. Also, certain elements are too large and powerful to be brought into any kind of conflict with one another and should be left alone. Let discretion be the better part of valor there.
- Also, try to stay away from things that aren't all that awesome. Sure, you could do an OVERRATED/UNDERRATED for cole slaw and potato salad. But why bother?
So there you have your guidelines. Go forth and make your own comparisons. OVERRATED: Me, overrating and underrating stuff all the time UNDERRATED: You doing it.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Today, we'll be determining rightful custody of the name "The_Real_Hulk". We have two parties laying claim to that particular user name, Mr. Randy Hulk of Coloma, Michigan...
RANDY HULK: Hello, Your Honor.
...and Mr. Incredible Hulk of New York City.
INCREDIBLE HULK: Bah! Hulk smash puny humans!
Why don't we begin by hearing from you, Mr. Hulk?
RANDY HULK: Me? Do you mean me? Or...okay, I'll start. Uh, my name is Randy Hulk and I'm a realtor. I use Twitter to update my clients, share info with my office and as a networking tool to meet new clients. I deserve to use the name "The Real Hulk" because Hulk actually is my name, it's Hungarian, so I actually am the real Hulk and also it's (chuckles) kind of a play on words with me being in real estate (chuckles again).
INCREDIBLE HULK (turns into Dr. Bruce Banner): Your Honor, The Incredible Hulk is my alter ego, a creature I transform into when I am angry or otherwise under stress. This is a condition directly related to my being accidentally exposed to gamma rays back in the early '60s. It's really a retelling of the classic Jekyll and Hyde, cast at the dawn of the nuclear age. It's, uh, a burden, but I've come to terms with it. Being The Incredible Hulk is what I'm best known for. Well, that and wearing purple pants.
Very compelling arguments from both of you. Any final comments you'd like to make before I render judgment?
RANDY HULK: Well, I'm a real person and my name is Hulk, so...
INCREDIBLE HULK (has turned back): Hulk smash! Hulk smash!
Judgment is for the comic book character. Case closed.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
So I guess I'll just keep plugging away as single guy cooking on on a family stove, one burner burning, the other three serving as parking places for various pots, pans and whatnot.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
There's watching puppies play happy.
There's having the owner pick up your tab happy.
There's finding a $10 bill in an old pair of jeans happy.
And then there's finding out someone you despise so much that you frequently fantasize...in slow motion...about spin-kicking them into a high-speed turbine was arrested for third degree grand theft the night when they told everyone they were in the hopsital happy.
I only feel bad that I don't feel bad...and I don't feel all that bad about that.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
(PS: I'd especially like to hear from anybody who is a nurse who is or was familiar with this organization. Thanks!)
- Biggest drawback: trying to figure out when to sleep, before or after work.
- Biggest benefit, and an unexpected one at that: hadn't considered the potential for interacting with weirdos!
Friday, July 17, 2009
I, on the other hand, use mine to sit in the back of the room and make fart noises while watching society consume itself. And to try to meet chicks. In case you needed further help telling us and ours apart.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
No worries, we found it!
Here's the gang at Gino's later that night. Normally, babies at a restaurant will ruin an evening out, but all of our newborns were perfectly behaved.
Here's a video we shot...
A lot of my friends, and mostly everybody who lives here in Florida are very excited. I think it's nice too. But I'm sorry, I'm just not that into the space shuttle.
Dear God, I hope I didn't just start the kind of shitstorm I got the last time I expressed less than 100% enthusiasm for something. If it's any consolation, it's a shortcoming on my behalf, nobody else's. I recognize that it's something I should be more excited about. They're going into space, for crying out loud. That in itself is cool, just from a daredevil standpoint. Also, I'm from the first generation of kids who grew up watching lunar landings. I should be all about galactic exploration! What the hell is wrong with me?
I think it's because nothing ever really happens when they go into space. I don't mean a disaster. I don't want to see anything like that. But we pretty much know they aren't going to encounter any aliens, hostile and armed with laser guns or otherwise, and there aren't any sentient robots wandering around firing off snarky quips like a mechanical Oscar Wilde. I blame Star Wars for raising the bar too high.
Please address all hate mail to George Lucas.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I'm not a practitioner myself. For as much as I run my yapper, one place I don't feel the need to express an opinion is in the men's room. But I'll never say never. Who knows when (and what) inspiration may strike?
This picture was taken in the men's room at my neighborhood Sweetbay supermarket (and no, I don't normally make a point of bringing a camera with me into public restrooms, it's just that I happened to have the camera when I went in there and...oh, shut up). Not only did somebody feel the need to gouge "GOD ALMIGHTY" (underlined) into a paper towel dispenser, but somebody also felt the need to testify with an "AMEN!" (underlined) gouged in below. I'm guessing this was a spiritual declaration. Someone's love for the Lord is so powerful that they feel the only way to express is it to deface property in a men's room. Who knows when (and what) inspiration may strike?
Regardless of how you feel about the politics, think about the word used...
...and try to explain to me how she could have used the expression "sucks" 15 times and nobody would have reacted at all, since we all hear people of all ages use that term all the time to describe anything they don't like but when she says "blowjob" one time, in reference to, you know, a blowjob, and suddenly it's an incident that merits apology?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
You don't even have to do anything. That's the key component and the most unfair thing I've ever heard of. Eating lunch, picking up milk at a convenience store, generally minding your own business. Whatever. But one shot fired by somebody who is also minding their own business (really, if you think about it, that's what they're doing; nobody invited your dumb ass to participate. You're a bystander. Your job is to stand by) hits you in the temple and just like that, the mayor is offering a moment of silence on your behalf at the next chamber of commerce luncheon.
What about me? I want some of that sweet action. Do you know how many problems being an IB would solve for me? I can't even list them all but trust me, it's a lot. I think I ever had the opportunity I'd try to help. I can see myself whispering softly to a cracked-out madman waving a gun around wildly, "easy now...breathe...aim and squeeze the trigger, don't pull it...". Because you want him hitting center mass, where your vital organs are. Headshots are tricky and the last thing you want is to be merely wounded and possibly severely disabled. That would suck. That I do NOT want.
Although...they're IBs too, and people love them just as much. Maybe even more. Hell, okay. I'll take wounded. No downside either way. Except the physical pain part. But still. Okay, then. Count me in.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
One of my favorite comedians is Maria Bamford. her most recent email had some info about what she's up to, but had even more about various friends and family members and how they're dealing with the current economy. I found one excerpt, regarding her dad, especially funny and would like to share it here:
"MY DAD EXPERIENCES HOPE DESPITE CYCLE OF CHRONIC UNDEREARNING!
My pop is the proud owner of the website- www.soapalternatives.com. Over a 7 year period, he has received NO ORDERS for his “No Soap” product despite advertising, constant talk of and prayer without ceasing. As a family, instead of feeling sadness, we have experienced only joy and laughter from this project. There is doing in the not doing. Happening in the not happening. Will you be a part of the change? Will you break the cycle? It’s exciting and yet not exciting! Create your own non-business! Participate in nonparticipation."
In the spirit of supporting one of my favorite entertainers, I would invite you to patronize...or not...her father's business. Either way is good.
In the meantime, here's some Maria Bamford material for you...
Also, her new album "Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome", which includes the complete web series of "The Maria Bamford Show", is available all over the place.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
This is an egg dish, like an omelette only not all uppity, that I like to call...
HUEVOS APARTMENTOS (Apartment eggs)
- Three eggs (chicken, unfertilized)
- One onion (again, I like the Spanish ones)
- Cheese (shredded cheddar is best but you can get by with slices of American)
- Salsa (Newman's Own is awesome but use whatever you like/have)
- One skillet (You fancy folks can use a frying pan if you want, but you should stop taking yourself so seriously and get a good ol' fashioned skillet)
- Spray your skillet with some cooking spray and pre-heat it on "medium high".
- Cut up the onion into medium to big pieces while the skillet gets hot. (Man, I do love saying skillet!)
- Throw the chopped onions into the skillet. (They might try to resist. "No! Please! Don't cook us!", they'll plead. Don't listen to them. If you're like me, the last thing you need right now is a bunch of screaming onions whose only concern is their own self preservation. You just want to eat. So you tell them, "Be Quiet! It's your job. Go do your damn job!" and toss them right in there. Sure, they'll sizzle but don't let that bother you. You're in charge here and you don't take shit from onions.)
- Cook them for a while until they get soft. (That is NOT what she said)
- Crack the eggs and dump them right on top of the onions. (Go ahead, this is part of what makes this so easy)
- Stir it up. (Stir it all up! Stir like the wind. Stir like you've never stirred before. Stir like nobody is watching. Because in all likelihood, nobody is watching.)
- It looks like a mess, doesn't it? (Keep stirring)
- It looks like it's not going to cook. (Keep stirring)
- Ugh. It's all slimey looking. (Keep stirring)
- What's the deal? (Quiet, keep stirring)
- This was a bad idea. (Keep stirring)
- Maybe you missed a step. (Keep stirring)
- No, no you didn't. (Keep stirring)
- You did everything perfectly. (Keep stirring)
- Was I just messing with you? Maybe I was! (Keep stirring)
- What a jerk! (Keep stirring)
- Why did you listen to me? (Keep stirring)
- What were you thinking?!? (Keep stirring)
- This is all just...oh wait! (Keep stirring)
- Suddenly it's starting to firm up into scrambled eggs. (Keep stirring)
- Yeah. You doubted me. That hurts. (Keep stirring)
- Now that you have your scrambled eggs and onions, stop stirring and add the cheese.
- Leave it on the heat just long enough for the cheese to start melting. (It will keep melting after you remove it from the heat plus you don't want the eggs on the bottom to burn)
- Dish it up on to a plate.
- Remember when you bought salsa because your new "thing" was going to be non-fat tortilla chips & salsa because it's a healthier alternative to other snack foods? What did that last, like a weekend before you were back to dipping pork rinds in Marie's Blue Cheese dressing? Well, now's the time to try to make amends to the salsa. Go ahead and spoon some onto the egg/onion/cheese melange (that's French for "hot mess") you just created.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
- I own a copy of "Off The Wall".
- I was amazed by his performance on the Motown special when the moonwalk was unveiled.
- I never bought "Thriller"; never needed to because everybody else did and I still heard every song over 100 times.
- I saw "Captain EO"
- I thought "Bad" was okay.
- Between the kinda overblown-but-mediocre music and increasingly bizarre behavior, with or without actual convictions, that followed, I kind of tuned out after that and kept up with his exploits almost entirely via jokes.
By 1989 or so, he wasn't someone I could really relate to on any level. I liked him for a long time and then he got too weird for me. I think that lands me real close to smack dab in the middle of average when it comes to opinions on him. So while I wouldn't classify myself as a fan per se, I still recognize that he's my generation's Elvis. There's no debate over who's bigger or better; when it comes to pop cultural impact, it's Elvis, Micheal Jackson, Muhammad Ali and the Beatles (collectively, not as individuals) sitting all alone on the top of the mountain. So I felt like I had to watch.
For the most part, it was very nicely done. Sadly, the aspects that were tacky symbolized showbiz at it's absolute worst. CNN's coverage leading up to the ceremony was clownishly over the top, consisting of pundits topping each other with anecdotes that sounded more Paul Bunyan than Micheal Jackson. Too many people who you just know wouldn't have accepted an invitation to have lunch with Michael Jackson two weeks ago went to great pains to be seen outgrieving each other. And any time Al Sharpton, whose main connection to Micheal Jackson is that "I'll Be There" is the song he sings to himself whenever a media opportunity presents itself, shows up on my television, I feel the need to hose it off with Lysol afterward. But when the whole thing wrapped up with a little girl crying over the loss of her father, surrounded by her aunts and uncles...well, how does someone not relate to that?
Monday, July 06, 2009
That's not going to happen.
I don't begrudge them for trying to share something they enjoy. But I loathe that show on so many levels that it's just not something I'm ever going to warm up to.
Sorry. I know it's popular and people like what they like for whatever reasons and that's their business. I'm honestly trying to be better about that kind of thing. Live and let live and all that. But their right to like something doesn't cancel out my right to despise it. So I'm just going to air out my thoughts on the whole thing this one time. Then maybe I won't feel the need to make snide comments about it in the future and annoy those...so, so many of those...who are devoted fans :
- I hate that so many people think that being on American Idol is "IT" now. I heard a young girl singing karaoke recently. 16 years old, and obviously gifted. When she got done singing, the sentiment expressed by everyone in attendance was, "she should audition for American Idol!". Nobody said she should front a band or go to Broadway or study at Julliard. It made me sad because I think of music as so much more than a component of a popularity contest/game show. It's like meeting a teenager who's a wiz at calculus and saying "you should audition for Deal Or No Deal!".
- I hate that they only feature very pretty people. Nobody who looks like Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, Bono or a hundred other legendary artists I could name with no trouble at all would ever get past the first day of tryouts. Sure, it's possible for someone to be attractive and talented but there's never going to be an ugly Idol winner.
- I hate that at a time when artists should be embracing their freedom and control over their careers, there are still talented people (note: I have never said, and never will say that the people on American Idol are not talented) who are willing to dive headfirst into what amounts to artistic slavery. This is an actual excerpt from the standard contract that all American Idol finalists are required to sign: "I hereby grant the Producer the unconditional right throughout the universe in perpetuity to use, simulate, or portray my name, likeness, voice, singing voice, personality, personal identification or personal experiences, my life story, biographical data, incidents, situations, events which heretofore occurred or hereafter occur...". You don't have to be a lawyer to figure out that American Idol literally owns these people. Forever. Here's another beauty: "Other parties...may reveal and/or relate information about me of personal, private, intimate, surprising, defamatory, disparaging, embarrassing or unfavorable nature that may be factual and/or fictional." That means that not only do they own the Idols, they own the right to make up shit about them if it suits their needs. Never touched a drug in your life? Well, if it helps to ring the register, you're now a recovering heroin addict. Or gay. Or not. This contract ensures that American Idol finalists are treated slightly better than racing dogs, but not quite as well as thoroughbred horses.
- I hate that people subject themselves to this for a shot at stardom that has a shelf life of about a year, if they're lucky. Honestly, with a couple of exceptions, what 'stars' have emerged from American Idol? Yes, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and a few others have "made it". But for the most part, the contestants are disposable commodities that are famous for exactly the one season they're on the show. After that, POOF, they expire and disappear.
- I hate the music. It's all buffed and polished to a high shine, freeze-dried, high-end karaoke. Not a rough edge to be found anywhere. Very pretty and completely non-toxic, just like the performers. Sorry, but I like the occasional dropped note, a beat missed here or there, a voice cracking in pursuit of a note. Those kinds of flaws and imperfections spell certain doom for an Idol contender. If I want to watch skilled performers competing by executing flawless routines, I'll watch gymnastics. If I want music, give me somebody who stands on stage knowing they won't be sent home in shame if they break a guitar string.
- Lastly, I hate that people don't turn off their televisions and go out once in a while. Right around the corner from where you live, you can go to a place tonight with other human beings and see a talented young performer who probably plays an instrument and (GASP!) writes their own original material. I simply can't understand anybody who truly loves music who wouldn't rather experience that than sit at home and vote for the prettiest puppet.
There, I'm done. And I feel better for it. Thanks.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
As you may remember, Blair was arrested after an altercation with his two teenage sons early Father's Day morning. However, today Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters characterized what happened between Blair, 52, and his 17-year-old son, Brett, as "discipline" and dismissed all charges.
Corporal punishment is legal in Florida. In case you're wondering, here's basically how that works:
- You are a supervisor on a job. You reprimand an adult subordinate for being late. He responds angrily, telling you not to disrespect him in front of his co-workers. You punch him in the face. You have committed assault.
- You are the head of a household. You reprimand one of your minor kids for being late. He responds angrily, telling you not to disrespect him in front of his friends. You punch him in the face. You are a mentor (you might want to consider being a Caucasian, just to play it safe).
One of the saddest things about this situation is now that charges have been dropped, people of a certain political orientation will point to it as a victory for the conservative Blair over a biased left-wing media, as though this is some kind of happy ending. Which I guess you can say it is, if you're willing to ignore the fact that this family obviously has some very serious problems. The next time there's a disagreement over curfew times that elevates to a fistfight, are the cops supposed to ignore that call? Considering Blair's fondness for lawsuits, they might. I mean, they haven't been sued for this yet, but it's still early.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Anyway, this is their latest delivery. It's some kind of three-day church gathering that features what looks like Alec Baldwin from the future. Apparently, he is going to be blessing people and if I don't go, some joker might steal mine. I'm not sure what to make of this. I'm not the world's foremost biblical scholar, but I don't think it's even possible to steal a blessing. I kind of thought that blessings are like monogrammed tea cozies in that they're designed to be given to someone very specific. When somebody sneezes in a crowded room and I bless them, I'm directing that blessing to them, not every jamoke within earshot. They're on their own. I mean, I don't wish them any ill will; if they sneeze, I'll bless them too. Unless everybody starts sneezing and then it's like, "oh ha-ha, obviously some people crave attention" or "oh shit, obviously I've wandered into an infirmary", in either case I would leave immediately. Of course, I suppose you could have a mass blessing, in which case it's like chicken fried steak at a Golden Corral buffet; no need to hoard, there's plenty for everyone. And if they run out, they'll make more. Take it easy, big fella.
But if it is possible for someone to steal my blessing, do I want to attend an event that's liable to be infiltrated by the kind of people who would do such a thing? Who's to say that if I'm present to receive the blessing that some thug doesn't jump me in the parking lot to take it from me anyway? I mean, these are people who steal blessings. Can we put anything past them? And what's with making that the primary focus? If some nightclub in Ybor distributed a card like this (actually, the nightclubs in Ybor do distribute cards that are pretty similar to this), they probably wouldn't lead with something like "DON'T GET SHOT!" or "DON'T HOOK UP WITH SOMEONE WHO WILL GIVE YOU CHLAMYDIA!". Sure, those things are likely to happen, but that's not what you want to lead with.
So I don't know if I'm going to this or not. I'm sorta leaning towards not. If you go, will you grab my blessing for me?