So long, Luke

27 09 2008

I hate waking up to find out one of my heroes is dead. Paul Newman succumbed last night to his lengthy battle with cancer.

Kudos, Paul. Your spark made our lives brighter for a good long while.

Advertisements




What we have here is failure to communicate.

16 07 2008

We bitch constantly about Mexicans not having the decency to learn and speak English. I’ve heard old men go on and on about it like this country has always been made up of people who spoke perfect English. Like we all just landed here, fresh from whichever countries weren’t good enough, or whose inhabitants were unfriendly and mean, and we all spoke English as written by MIss Emily Brontë.

We bitch about that, but nobody ever mentions the people who know English, who were raised speaking it, but still gibber like idiots whenever someone asks them a question about something important. We call these people “corporate professionals”. For these poor souls, plain English is a terrifying language. Comparable to other languages, which consequently are known as our native tongue’s predecessors, English is like a wide, well-lit hallway that has no points of egress.

Not so, with a little financial jargon thrown in the mix. Now, there are shadows and things to hide behind, escape plans, points of egress. It’s comfortable for the corporate professional because he knows that he can, at any point, back right out of anything he says, because no one could righteously hold him responsible for any of the ridiculous things he just said. 

You may have heard the news about Budweiser’s makers. Well, that same sort of corporate non-talk is all over that NY Times article. You get the feeling like they’re almost saying something, like they’re really trying to get it across, but on our end, all we hear is “building synergies” and “streamlining the paradigms” and other impressively meaningless statements of that sort. 

To be fair, that article didn’t have a high jargon content. It just irked me to think of all these Harvard M.B.A.s getting several degrees of wealthy by selling Anheuser-Busch to the Belgians. They all talk like that, those money guys. Tom Wolfe nailed the type down pretty solidly in “A Man in Full”, within the character of Wismer Strook, or The Whiz. The Whiz is a pretty sharp fellow, but he was trained to talk like an idiot at college. 

Anyway, just thought I’d share that with all of you. Also, to round out the article by returning to the title and making a Paul Newman reference:

Between him and Eastwood, we’re just about out of good old-fashioned, ass-kicking hero types. That fact bothers me a little bit.





In Memory of…

4 07 2008

In order to properly commemorate the life and accomplishments of Senator Jesse Helms, I’ve decided to post this old thing I wrote. It was unfinished and abandoned, but hey–big news today, am I right?

Remember When Hating Blacks and Gays Really Meant Something? 

By Jesse Helms

 I remember those days. When people like Strom Thurmond used to rail against those dark-skinned peter-touching Commies like there was no tomorrow. Those were the good old days. Now, this is that tomorrow we never expected to come–owing in part to our healthy belief that Jesus is coming soon to kill all the niggers and homos with a sword–and where do we find ourselves but neck-deep in caramel-colored queerboys who don’t think twice about appearing out in public, or even looking a person right in the eye and saying “Hello!”

…and on Sunday, of all days!

Anyway, these days it’s getting to where a good hardworking Christian fellow can’t even shove a Chinaman off of a city sidewalk anymore. That’s city property! How can they just walk around on it like they own the place? Now, I’m not a racist, or anything, but I strongly disagree with allowing Chinamen and Chinawomen on city sidewalks. It’s not that they’re Chinese, or whatever yellow country they’re from; it’s that they’re not American

I’m getting off the main road here. The point of all this has been that I have lost faith in my country. That might seem like a comical statement coming from a tired old country cynic like me, but it’s the truth. You’ve let me and the whole rest of the world down, America:

Chinamen!

Allowing this filth to exist anywhere in the world is tantamount to slapping little baby Jesus in the face with a rainbow-painted black boy. Chinamen

May God have mercy. 

Sincerely, 

Newly Dead Ex-Senator Jesse Helms

 

Special Author’s Note: So I hopefully won’t come off as a dick when people read this, I have to explain that this has nothing to do with being glad he’s dead, or that he “deserved it”, or anything. Over all, he seemed like a pretty colorful character (pun mildly intended) who brought a degree of rustic charm to the Senate.

So he was a homophobe and a racist. So are a lot of other people, except Helms had the nutsack to come right out and say it. Then again, he was also a powerful United States senator, so that kind of fucks things up a little. Oh well. Anyways, he’s dead.

A moment of silence, please: 

Peace out, G.





Rain, rain, go away…

1 06 2008

Okay, so I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that China, in its apparent panic-induced insanity, has decided that firing a weather satellite into orbit is the most ideal way to prevent Mother Nature from fucking up the Olympics. Right. So the next time I’m planning a picnic and storm clouds appear on the horizon, I’m going to go out and snap a couple of pictures. That should show that lousy storm who’s boss.

Is there a more unlikely solution to China’s Olympic games problems? If I were China, I’d be full of rice paddies and tiny people I’d find a more reasonable middle ground. Of course, “reasonable” might not come across very well in Mandarin. Judging by China’s reaction to the looming games—beating the ever-loving ass off of Tibetans, firing missiles at hypothetical storms—I’d say that “reasonable solutions” translates roughly to “pussy-ass nonsense” to most Chinese officials. If we could somehow convince them to build an enormous glass dome…
It occurs to me that I probably know only a handful of people who even give a shit about the Olympics. Much fewer than those who care about 30 Rock, The Office, or UFC Fight Nights, in any case. It’s weird, too, since there are so many things to bet on in the Olympics. Unlike horse racing or midget tossing, an odds-maker could have a fucking manic field day drawing up high-lows for each day of the games. If I were a betting man—or, if the truth were told, I understood how gambling odds are made—I’d lose a massive bundle every time the games roll around. That seems to be the ticket, anyway: it’s not about winning; it’s about playing.

That sounds an awful lot like the Special Olympics, which in all fairness would be much more entertaining to bet on. At least then you could lose five large and still be able to laugh about it. God, I am an awful bastard for even thinking that.

Anyway, back to those wacky Asians. I don’t really understand what all the fuss is about. I know that China is trying their damndest to join in all of the other reindeer games—like, you know, mattering to the rest of the world—but it makes them all look a bit silly, what with all of this craziness about the Olympics. Even if all of the games get rained/bombed out, they’ll still make a pretty penny—or yen, or whatever the hell they trade for real goods and services—by selling out and over-crowding every goddamned hotel in the country. Here’s what I’d do: hike up the price on every saleable item in China, then shut down all the airspace.

The Government: “Fuck all of those rich Europeans. Let’s gouge the shit out of ‘em!”

The People: “Yeah!”

The Government: “And then we can get back to life as usual!”

The People: “Aw, crap.”





The Fat of the Land

22 05 2008

I know I spend a lot of our–yours and mine–time on here talking about fat people. At some point, I’m sure a lot of you have probably wondered just why the hell fatties bother me so much. Is it that ever-present odor of sweaty ass and belly-wrinkle goo? Is it the wheezing and panting after charging up a massive three-step flight of six-inch stairs? Is it something more personal?

No, it’s not personal. It’s just that I don’t appreciate being lumped in with all of my country’s grossly overweight citizenry. I don’t work hard to keep slender or anything, but I also haven’t been blessed with the metabolism of a tomcat, either. I just don’t eat as much as I could, and it helps me to not be a total fatty. I rarely exercise anymore–in fact, I seriously lifted weights for the first time in about ten years the other day, and I’m still ridiculously sore–and I’m still a bit leery of going for one of my midnight runs in this strange town. I’m not afraid of running into coyotes or rednecks in the middle of the night, which was a danger more present than it probably seems since I moved from the country, but I am kind of worried about being hit by some drunken fraternity assbag in his daddy’s Beamer.

What spurred all of this was a combination of three television shows, all of which are on the same channel. No, I’m not talking about Celebrity Fit Club. 

G4, the channel for gaming nerds and their ilk, has brought to us from Japan two of the most grueling and heartbreaking–and yes, entertaining–shows I have ever seen. The first was, obviously, Ninja Warrior. Holy fucking cats, what an awesome show. If you haven’t seen it, the basic idea is that some Japanese engineers put together one of the hardest damned obstacle courses ever built, for hundreds of their countrymen to risk life and limb to beat. Well, they risk limb, anyway. 

Also, there’s this to consider:

Ayako Miyake, three-time Women of Ninja Warrior champion. Yowza.

The second show is called Unbeatable Banzuke, and fuck if that’s not an apt title. When you combine the three ludicrous pastimes of pogo-sticking, unicycling, and hand-walking, then put all of those skills to work on an obstacle course that looks like something out of HR Giger’s worst LSD nightmares, then allow ten-year-old kids to compete right alongside the adults, you have a recipe for some fantastic television.

Then, as if to bring a sense of balance to the awesomeness that is Ninja Warrior and Unbeatable Banzuke, G4 also gives us another show:

 

Yes, just puke it up guys! That's it! Nobody will judge you!

 

 

As you can probably imagine, the competitors are not forced to fight their way through rough, unyielding obstacles in search of total glory. Instead, they’re asked to force-feed themselves until nearly bursting, after which they will go through a battery of “endurance tests”. Inevitably, someone will vomit. Hence the name–“Hurl!”.

So, to recap:

Awesome:

 

Fat and gross:





Rummaging in the attic of dirty politics

15 05 2008

Let it never be said that I am above cheering at the sight of a fistfight between a woman and a nervous black man. If there has ever been an uglier race for the presidency between two surer losers in our national history, I haven’t heard of it. Aaron Burr might disagree with me, once we’re both in whatever place is reserved for bad men who fully believe that what they’re doing is right, but until then I stand firm. Hillary and Obama are rats too stupid to jump ship, and too self-concerned to do anything more than chew the flesh from the other’s ears. 

 

Everyone who’s anyone knows that McCain is today’s first-stringer. Likewise, everyone knows how this next Presidency will turn out: McCain, the war hero, dying in office and allowing some half-retarded geek to take his place. And then? Christ, who knows? All-out war with our closest allies, underhanded dealings with shady foreign dignitaries… Jesus God. 

 

Anyway, shit on that craziness. The world is in such an ugly way right now that politics of any sort are beneath the concern of most thinking people. Florida is on fire, for reasons known only to people learned in those matters. Asia is being swept up in a storm of brown-yellow faces and ruined shanties. And the Almighty Dollar is looking more and more like the humble peso on the world markets. Canada and China are the next-in-lines for our current place of 2nd on the economical scale, while we backslide further into fat apathy.

 

Politics and weather be damned, I’m beginning to wonder if this oddball little town isn’t just what the doctor ordered for me. Being Summer, the collegiate crowds are thinned considerably, which is just as well, since I don’t get along well with sycophants and asswipes who still think that Kierkegaard is a source of valid philosophy. That’s a common symptom of people who are only just learning to think for themselves: they tend to grasp at whatever’s closest and most far-out. Which further explains why college campuses are breeding grounds for Leftist stupidity and date rape. Testosterone and politics are both ugly reasons for people to congregate, and usually result in the same sad end.

 

It’s a pleasant thing to know that whomever you meet on the street isn’t going to automatically turn you in to the police for being Out of Place. In this town, I blend in like brown on black. Nobody notices me, and that’s for the best. There is good beer to drink, pretty girls to see, and not a little LSD around, in the event you want a pick-me-up. It’s nice here. 





I Quit My Job Today: a Dramatization

8 05 2008

I’m standing at the urinal at work today, when the Big Boss comes walking through the door all in a huff.

“Thompson!” he yells, clearly meaning me, even though my name isn’t Thompson.

“Yes, boss?” I reply politely while trying whole-heartedly not to piss all over the floor.

“What the hell is all that–Jesus God!” he exclaims, pointing at my crotch. “What the Holy Mary is that thing? Did the Salvation Army have a closeout sale on artificial limbs?” 

“Well, yes they did, actually,” I answer sheepishly.

“Jesus man, put that thing away! I need to speak to you.”

“Okay boss,” I comply, turning to speak to him while pissing all over the floor. “What is it?”

Ack!”  he screams, jumping back. “You idiot, you’ve pissed all over the floor!”

“I see,” I say. I’m still not sure where he’s going with all of this.

“Anyway, I need to ask about what Little Boss told me earlier. Are you really quitting?”

“Why, yes sir, I–”

Before I can finish, he jumps on me and begins pounding me about the face and head with a hammer I did not notice him holding. As it punches neat little divets into my face, I can see with my good eye that it says “The Defector Defeater” along its handle. “Defector”… That’s me.

Later on, once the beating has ceased, he’s walking me back to my station, where I will sit, politely silent, until and only until he says that I can go. Along the way, I slyly pick up a long sharp piece of steel laying on the floor.

“Alright Johnson, you’ll stand right here until, and only until, I say you can go. Is that clear?”

“Yes b–”

“Goddamn it! You’ll be quiet when I’m talking!” Several quick blows from The Defeater remind me who’s in charge. “Davis, I’ve been pretty lenient on you so far, but if you don’t shape up, I’m taking you to see Big Big Boss.”

I nod, blood dripping from pretty much every square centimeter of my face, and wait for him to come to the point.

“And the point of this little exercise, Mabutu, has been–ACK!”

He finds it somewhat difficult to speak with ten inches of steel driven upward through his soft pallet.

“Yes, boss?” I ask quietly.

He doesn’t answer, only meekly swings the Defector Defeater at my face. I deftly snatch it from his hand and drive another piece of sharp metal through his face, just for good measure.

Later on, as I’m signing my letter of resignation, I pause to reflect on how poorly the day has gone. Big Boss didn’t have to die, but he forced my hand. Further, I didn’t have to urinate all over his bleeding face while he lay gasping on the floor, but again with the hand-forcing. The stapled eyelids may have been my fault entirely.

Just as I walk out the door on the last day of my employment, a tall blonde secretary runs up and exposes her enormous breasts to me in a gesture of friendship. I’m not buying it.

“You tell Big Big Boss that I’m not falling for his tricks anymore!” I tell her quietly as I beat her about the face and breasts with my artificial arm. “You tell him!”

The last thing I see as I drive away from the building is Big Big Boss stepping out of his blonde ladysuit, shaking his fists at me and swearing: “I’ll get you, Thompson!”