Monday, June 30, 2014

Mother Nature tried to steal my stuff!

When I first moved into my house, I bought a wind chime at a local craft market to hang on my front porch. It's got a metal duck with beads and forks and spoons hanging off of it that make a pleasant tinkling noise when there's a breeze. I know it sounds fruity. Screw you, I like it.
Anyway, the other day I was going somewhere and I happened to notice that it was gone. My first thought was major disappointment, because I really like my neighborhood and the people who live there. "Aw man, what kind of trifling, no-nothing steals a wind chime?", I thought. But then I got out of my truck and looked closer at a huge vine creeping up the front of the house that I somehow hadn't noticed previously.

When did that get there??

Look at that thing. It's friggin' huge! I leave my house every day and I like to think I'm fairly observant. That means it grew REALLY fast, like the vines you see in a Tarzan movie that actually reach out and grab people. I think if I'd sat in the yard and watched it, I would have seen it grow. Upon examining it, I realized that my wind chime was still there but ensnared in a half dozen or more tendrils that had grabbed hold of it to help it climb.
There's a wind chime in there

I went inside and got a knife and hacked it away then moved the wind chime to another area on the porch, so that mystery/problem is solved. But now I'm creeped out. What if I went away for a week or two? Would that thing have climbed up and over the roof and eventually surrounded the entire house? I cut it but will it just grow again? Are there more of them? Are they pissed at me?? This is a situation that will require twice-daily monitoring, at least for the immediate future.
I've got my eye on you, Mother Nature, you and your sneaky-ass plants. Keep your grubby little vines off my shit!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Just another day down at the ol' plant

"All right, boneless pork rectum inverters. Coffee break is over, let's get back to... hey, what the hell is going on here? You've stacked this entire batch of boneless pork rectums upside down! How many times do I have to tell you guys that in this case, 'inverted' means inside out, not upside down. You can't just stack a bunch of boneless pork rectums upside down and call them inverted. No, you gotta get in there, with both hands if necessary and turn those boneless pork rectums inside out, one at a time. Now, I don't know how they do things at the bone-in pork rectum division or at any of the cow rectum or seheep rectum or goat rectum divisions, but goddamnn it, here at the boneless pork rectum division, we do things the right way. That means inverting a rectum the way a rectum should be inverted. Now, start over from scratch... yes, go ahead and scratch these rectums. Each and every one of them. We'll just have to write this batch off because you guys have totally ruined these rectums. You should know that a rectum isn't something that a whole bunch of guys should be handling. We'll start over with a fresh batch of rectums and from here on in, the sloppy handling of rectums will simply not be tolerated. Do you understand me? When it comes to rectums, you guys are supposed to be professionals! Respect your craft!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Smoothie madness!

Recently (okay, almost a year ago), I mentioned plans to get myself a smoothie maker. At that time, I theorized that I would go nuts with it. Well, I was recently given a Magic Bullet set as a gift and I'm here to report that it's worse (and by "worse", I mean "better") than I imagined it would be.
For starters, I got it last Friday and immediately went to the grocery store to get all manner of smoothie-able foods. Then I locked myself in my house and tried every possible combination I could think of. Some were better than others but all of them were really good. When I emerged some time the next morning, I ran out into the street, laughing maniacally with banana smoothie foaming from my mouth. I approached a stranger walking down the sidewalk, grabbed him by his lapels and shouted, "Listen to me; you make it in the cup... that you drink it out of!!". I ran over to an old lady waiting for the bus. "All you have to do for clean-up is rinse off the blades! You just rinse off the blades!" At one point, cops started following me. I threw a smoothie at them and said, "You can't stop me! I can do anything I want! I put apples and spinach together in the same smoothie. The frail bonds of this Earth are not capable of confining me!". As they pushed me into the back seat of their cruiser, I screamed, "MAGIC BULLET, MOTHERFUCKERS! AH HA HA HA HA HA!!"
Anyway, yeah. I like it. The Magic Bullet is pretty damn great.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The only thing worse than soccer fans is people who hate soccer

I hate the people who hate these people
I don't care for soccer. It's no big deal. I've made honest efforts to get into it and it simply doesn't appeal to me. That's all. No big tirade. I just don't care for it.
Meanwhile, everybody knows the World Cup is going on right now. That's fine. When people approach me and they're all excited about it, I smile patiently, maybe give them a high-five or a fist-bump and go about my business. Again, it's not a big deal.
However, standing right behind me are a bunch of mouthy fart-sniffing pricks who hate soccer. Ugh. When those people approach me and want to tell me how soccer sucks, I turn and head in the opposite direction.
"You wanna know why soccer sucks?"
Nope, I do not. I have my own reasons for not liking it and I certainly don't need nor want to hear yours.
"Okay, for starters..."

Motherf... what did I just say?!?
Honestly, it's like the way that some atheists are worse... much, much worse... than some religious zealots. Because while wild-eyed maniacal enthusiasm is tiresome (and in some cases, scary), it's still nowhere nearly as annoying and soul-crushing as the condescending, self-important prattle billowing from blowhard know-it-alls. These are people under the sad, ill-informed, self-mandated belief that anybody thinks that what they say is in any way important or even slightly influential.

There is absolutely no chance that this person is going to change their behavior because of anything you say.

Look, the World Cup will all be over in a few days. In the meantime, if you aren't into it, just leave the people who are having a good time alone, you miserable, joyless humps. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Why do I blog?

This being the week of my 8th anniversary of blogging, I've been all reflective and shit. Writers like to be reflective. It gives us a legitimate reason to indulge our moody brooding, one of our favorite, favorite things.

Wah! Look how angsty I am, because I'm a writer, although rarely do I actually sit down and write anything. But still; wah.
 First, I prefer to self-label myself as a writer, not a blogger. I don't look down on bloggers, but what traditional bloggers do is not what I do, even though this is a blog and it's mine and by definition, I am indeed a blogger. But what I do is more along the lines of posting a writer's journal for public consumption and I write about whatever happens to strike me. Most bloggers tend to focus on something specific and write about just that.
From what I've been told, most bloggers live in their mom's basement. I do not. I live in Florida where we don't even have basements. I've never lived in anybody's basement, although I kind of wanted to. When I lived in Michigan, lots of people had turned their basements into small underground playrooms or even apartments and sometimes, they let their kids live down there. They had pool tables and air hockey, a bed and usually a TV. Sure, there might be a washer and dryer down there too, but still; basically a private underground lair. What kid, blogger or not, wouldn't want that? My family only lived in one house that had a basement and it was pretty sad. It was a wide-open space with a cold concrete slab of a floor and cinderblock walls. More often than not, depending on the time of year, it was flooded, not suitable for washing machines or air hockey. Picture a concrete room the size and shape of a house's footprint under two feet of water. We didn't go down there very often because it was creepy and depressing.
Aside from online journaling and subterranean living accomodations, why blog? There are therapeutic aspects. I get to rant and rave about things that distress me. I get to praise things I like. I meet women (that hasn't really worked out that well...yet... I mean, it kinda has, on a short term basis, which is fine but... well, you never know). I meet cool people in general (this has worked out VERY well).
Those are all pretty solid reasons. Solid enough that I'll stick with it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Eight friggin' years

You know what happened in 2006?

  • A Maryland judge struck down a state law banning same-sex marriage saying the measure violated a state constitutional amendment prohibiting sex discrimination.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL.
  •  AIG apologized for deceptive business practices and reached a $1.64 billion settlement with federal and state securities and insurance regulators
  • "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" was the top grossing movie.
  • The United States won nine gold medals, nine silver medals and seven bronze medals in the winter Olympics in Italy.
  • "Heroes" was on TV.
  • Vice President Dick Cheney shot a dude!
  • The Blu-Ray disc format was introduced in America.
  • "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley was the #1 song.
  • Suri Cruise was born.
  • Gerald Ford died.
  • And on this very date, June 18th, 2006, this blog began with this.
My God. Get me a slice of cake or pour me a drink. Or both. I've been doing this for eight years (or approximately seven years, eleven months and two weeks longer than most blogs last). Sheesh. You'd think if I had something significant to say, I'd have said it by now. Maybe in another eight years, I'll get around to it.

Thanks to Gail Worley who's been at it even longer than I have for all her support over the years. She'll always be the pink to my purple.

Thanks to The Comics Curmudgeon, the first blog I ever followed and the one that made me think I could do it too.

Thanks to two women who sort of legitimized this whole thing by saying yes to interview requests when they had no real good reason to do so, Lynne Austin and Maria Bamford.

Thanks to John Fontana and all my colleagues at Raw Charge for letting me write about sports (specifically my beloved Tampa Bay Lightning), which prevents you (mostly) form having to read about it here.

Thanks to Appleby's, which I wrote about as being terrible a long time ago. People continue to chime in with agreement six years later, making it the most popular post I've ever written.

Thanks to my writing partners Jeff Hickmott and Michael Noble with "The Unbelievables". Honestly, if you aren't checking that out on at least a semi-regular basis, you're missing out on some LOLZ.

Thanks to Keri Ramos, Jessie and Pavel Stehlik and Amy DeMilo for helping me squeeze a book out of this nonsense. If I hadn't been able to work with exactly the people I wanted to, I wouldn't have even done it.

Lastly and by far most importantly, thank you to you as readers for sticking around as long you have. Hang out for another eight years and let's see what happens, all right?

Monday, June 16, 2014

I owe you

We're two weeks into June and I haven't delivered a podcast since April. I know the title says "Ridiculously Inconsistent" and that's my out, but I do feel it's an oligation I should really try to meet. So I owe you two podcasts and I plan on delivering them by the end of this month.

Hey, sometimes things happen, you know? Sometimes I fall behind on stuff. Sometimes I don't record a perfectly good interview and have to do it all over again. Sometimes I forget that I'm supposed to do a podcast. It happens, all right?!?
Please don't sue me or break my legs.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Problem: Solved!

If you owned a boat that had the problem of constantly sinking and people were constantly drowning as a result, a way to deal with an annoyance like that is to issue those inflatable arm floaties. Because after all, boats don't drown people.
A similar solution to the school shooting problem is this, the bullet-proof blankie.
Bang! Nailed it! Err, so to speak...
Home run! This is it, the big idea. Since 'duck and cover' saved us from all those nuclear strikes in the '50s, there's no reason an updated version of it shouldn't protect us from the occasional three-times-a-week school shooting. Once you come up with the best idea possible, you cancel all your meetings and go have celebratory drinks at the corner pub. Do you think the guys who invented the microwave kept looking for a better way to heat a burrito?

I shouldn't make fun. I mean, kudos to the guy who invented it for at least doing something, since the rest of us are never going to. It's not a bad idea, even though it's not a solution to the problem. It's something, which is better than nothing and nothing is all we've been offered up until now. Because having a reasonable conversation between adults where both sides are at least willing to agree that there's a problem is too hard. And considering any kind of flexibility that could be looked at as a sacrifice (aka "a loss", aka "pussing out") is simply off the table altogether.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I'm not one to judge, but...

"Hey, so, you used to go out with ______? What do you think of her?"
"Oh, I don't know. She's fine."
"Come on man, just tell me what you think."
"Listen, I'm making efforts to be a better person, and part of that is not being judgmental toward other people, you know? I mean, people are all basically the same. We all have flaws and some people mesh better than others. It doesn't necessarily mean anything, so..."
"I'm not asking for a full psychological profile. Just a thumbnail sketch based entirely on your opinion."
"Come on."
"It's no secret that we didn't really get along. That's nobody's fault, though."
"I mean, it could be as much my fault as hers."
"If I'm being totally honest, it's probably more her fault though."
"She has some annoying traits. But of course, who doesn't?"
"But hers..."
"Go on."
"Really annoying..."
"And the thing is, she knows they're annoying. But she doesn't stop. It's like she's trying to be annoying in an aggressive manner."
"Oh, I see."
"What kind of person does that?"
"Well, I guess..."
"A bad person. That's who does that."
"Oh. Okay."
"A real piece of human garbage. I'm sorry to say that, but I really feel that's what she is."
"Oh my."
"She doesn't think before she speaks. She's uninformed. She's rude. She's insensitive. She lacks empathy or any sense of basic human kindness. She laughs at old people when they fall down. She's a high-functioning sociopath."
"She pushed a blind guy down the stairs once. She boos the Make-A-Wish Foundation."
"Holy... !"
"She made jokes about my genitals."
"To my grandmother."
"She hates children. And I don't mean she doesn't want any. I mean she hates that children exist. She advocated that they be hunted for sport. She had a booth at the fair where she handed out pamphlets and everything."
"Are you serious?"
"One time, she accidentally scratched herself and this bubbling, black tar-like substance oozed out. I went to clean it up and it barked at me."
"That--that's a lot to deal with."
"Tell me about it. Pretty much a 24-hour waking nightmare."
"She is kinda cute, though."
"Oh yeah, she's smokin' hot. I miss her."

Monday, June 09, 2014

Here's what I'm kind of bothered by right now.

On the bright side, look
how svelte I'm getting!
Before I state my concern, let me give you a little background. When I was in the military, I served in combat support units as a vehicle operator. That means I was never in a unit whose primary function was to go fight in battle. However, every member of the armed services is trained with the expectation that not only does shit happen, shit probably WILL happen and at some point, EVERYBODY could be called on to participate in combat. Therefor, every member of the armed services is taught to fight. Cooks, clerks, medics, truck drivers. Everyone is issued a weapon, everyone is taught how to use it and everyone fully understands why it's important. At my two duty stations (Ft. Campbell in Kentucky and with the 3rd Armored Division in Frankfurt, Germany), I requested to be issued an M-203. An M-203 is an M-16 assault rifle with an additional component that launches grenades. That's right; my weapon could do everything a regular M-16 could do plus this...

As a non-combat unit, we only had a few of these in our stockpile and it meant extra time spent on the practice range but I always wanted to be one of the troops to whom they were issued. If things went south, I wanted a weapon that could not only shoot out a whole bunch of bullets but could also blow shit up real good. Had a highly-flammable version with knives all over it that dispensed potentially dangerous prescription medicine been available, I would have wanted one of those. That's because I was in the army when the Soviet Union still existed and there was a wall between East and West Germany and my job as a heavy equipment operator was to retrieve broken tanks. Had we actually gone to war, that would have meant going to the places where Soviet troops had broken the tanks and pulling them out of there so they could be repaired and sent back into battle. The Soviets, being as proud of their handiwork as one might expect, would probably take offense to any attempts to fix the tanks they had worked so hard to break. I'm pretty sure they would have expressed their displeasure by trying to prevent me from doing my job in the most effective way possible: killing me with bullets and stuff. I take no offense to this because if the roles were reversed, I'm sure I'd feel the same way, and when you take all the circumstances into consideration, it's a fairly reasonable response on their part. But that doesn't mean I would accept this response willingly and without objections of my own. Hence, my desire to carry the most shooting-est and blow-shit-up-real-good-est piece of hardware our unit had on hand.
I mention all this only to illustrate I'm not someone who doesn't recognize the value of a weapon for the sake of personal defense in the face of a real, possibly imminent threat to one's well-being.

Now here's my concern...

I am not afraid of you Gun People, and you know who you are if you're a member of the Gun People (notice I didn't use the term "Nuts"; I'm trying to be polite and respectful here). You, who value the Second Amendment to the Constitution, a document drafted when an assault rifle was, well, a rifle (defined as a rifle-like object with which you assault someone), seemingly more than human life itself. I don't doubt you when you tell me that you're safe, reasonable people who are responsible handlers of firearms. Okay, fine. I have no reason to think you'd lie to me. Benefit of a doubt and all that. Again, polite and respectful.
I am afraid of this guy, however, and guys like him who I have to believe exist (because, you know, they do) by the hundreds (thousands?). Spare me the mentally ill thing. He doesn't seem mentally deficient in any way. To the contrary, he's well-spoken and apparently educated, indicating an at-least average level of intelligence. He's shown here telling me and anybody else who saw this on The Colbert Report that he's a safe, responsible person who is a responsible handler of firearms, while also stating that he employs his geriatric and addled parents (who turn their backs to him while he shoots in their direction) as "lookouts" and that he simply doesn't care that innocent bystanders may be within his line of fire.
See where I'm going with this? That's who I'm afraid of. Oh, plus these people...

And these...
Because, you know, "Ha ha ha ha ha!", as the soundtrack to so many of these clips says.

Just so you know where I'm at on this stuff that happens and keeps happening and that we never, ever actually do anything about, even to the exclusion of sitting down and having a responsible, adult conversation about the possibility that a problem even exists, choosing to sling fault and blame and insults around instead.
I find that troubling. That's all.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Choose your word wisely

Actor Jonah Hill got himself in some trouble this past weekend. Harrassed by photographers, he snapped and called one of them a faggot. He meant it entirely as a slur without regard to his target's sexuality. It's a mean, nasty word and that's how he meant it, in spite of the fact that he doesn't harbor ill will towards gay people. Now he's making the rounds and apologizing for it.

"I'm not at all defending my choice of words but I am happy to be the poster boy for thinking about what you say, and how those words even though you don't intend them, they are rooted in hate, and that's bullshit and I shouldn't have said that."

That's fine, he's doing what he should do and there's no doubt that he's being sincere. Plus, he's 100% correct. This is very similar to situations when people use the hateful word "retard" when they're trying to insult someone's lack of intelligence. They want to use a hurtful word towards the subject of their ire, but they don't intend to direct that invective toward those who are mentally challenged. Hill's right; he's guilty of choosing the wrong word. Why call someone a retard when you mean to say they're an idiot? Why call someone a faggot when you mean to say they're being an asshole?
And that's the whole point of today's post.
People, the elders, in their infinite wisdom, have passed down a glorious gift to us in the form of a classic pejorative descriptor that cuts across all societal bounds, be they racial, political, religious or gender:
It's perfect! It's mean. It's nasty. It fires across the tongue and right out of the mouth with ease. "HEY, YOU ASSHOLE!" Mmm, that just feels so *right*! I love it! It hurts the recipient's feelings without taking into question their sexual orientation, standing in society, ethnic heritage or spiritual beliefs. What could possibly be better than that? Well, aside from being the bigger person and not compounding the situation by throwing hatred at hatred. But who has time for that shit?
If Jonah Hill had called the photographer an asshole, he'd have been fine. If Donald Sterling had used it, he'd still own the Clippers:

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with assholes. Do you have to?”

“You can sleep with assholes. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”

"Don’t put that asshole on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”

See how many problems can be avoided in the first place when you just take a second to use the one, all-inclusive, specific word?

Monday, June 02, 2014

Not so fast, would-be Spike on the Mic Show attendee...

Tonight's show is cancelled. I just found out. Cancelled on account of sometimes, life isn't fair. Sorry if this ruins your plans. Sorry even if it doesn't. You can say you were going to come if you had no real intention of actually showing up and I wouldn't know. So you have that to hang over my head at least.
Plus, I know I owe you a podcast too. I know, I know. I'm working on it! Geez!

A plug in lieu of a post. Lucky, lucky you!

Hey, how's it going? Everything all right? Did that thing with the... you know... did that whole deal turn out okay or... ?  Don't wanna talk about it? No, that's cool. Me? I'm fine but I am having some internet issues, as in dependable access to, so no new post today. Sorry. But while I'm on line, let me sneak in a gratuitous plug.
These people.
Check out the Spike on the Mic Show tonight, 7pm (EST)! Watch and listen live via a dependable internet connection. You can call in to the show at (813) 667-7453 (or 81366Spike if that's easier for you, which I know it isn't, so I'm sorry). Even better, if you're in the Tampa Bay area, be a part of the live studio audience. We're at the Pin Chasers bowling center located at 4847 N. Armenia Avenue. Blow Spike's wee mind by actually showing up! Seriously. There's food and beer and you can get totally naked, just like every show hosted at a bowling alley.