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SOCIETY (permalink) 10.13.2017
fed up
like many neighborhoods, ours is tied into a community website. i don't follow it myself, but bella keeps an eye on it in case people ask about house or dog sitting jobs. the other day she sent me this a post someone in the neighborhood made.

Hi There! I am one of your neighbors. One that cuts grass, pulls weeds, paints fences - you know, I guess I give a shit about my yard and my neighborhood. Oh, and speaking of shit; I pick up after my dog when I walk him. (I know, a novel concept)

Not once, not twice, but three times in the last week I have picked up large piles of your dog's shit out of my front yard. Yeah, you're a real class act. In fact, so classy that the second to last time you decided to make your problem my problem, you let your dog shit on the sidewalk AND in my yard.

Tell you what: How about we play a game? I am going to figure out who you are and then collect not just your dog's shit, but my own (dog's that is; I am not a savage) and I will bring it to your place. That way you can enjoy this as much as me.

See you soon!


gotta say, if more of the neighborhood updates were this entertaining i might actually look in from time to time. and i think it would have been a little better and smarter if he had done the legwork first of finding out who this person was, exacted his revenge, and then made this post. this fellow doesn't seem like he'd be shy about sharing the name of the thoughtless ass-hat. my fear here is that he's giving the person a heads up that he'll be watching now and may have spoiled his chance of catching him/her (and i do hope he catches him/her). although, there's a decent chance the person is like me and doesn't read the site so there's a bit of hope.

another thing. how new are all of these approaches to pet-care and did something specifically usher them in? i mean, when exactly did people start picking up after their dogs. and crating dogs, when the heck did that start? i don't remember any of this when i was a kid. dogs slept all over the house and shit all over town. let's be clear, now that i own a home, i'm glad grown people tend to their creatures almost like they were children. but i do feel bad that dogs can't sleep at the foot of the owner's beds warming their feet on cold nights. i have warm memories of our family-dogs snuggling into me for warmth and comfort on those cold colorado nights. and when i hear people defend the crate-business, it sounds mildly akin to the explanations made for giving young kids phones/ipads--they make it sound like it is for the dog's/kid's benefit but in the end they, the owner/parent, seem to be the main beneficiary. i mean dog houses have been around super-forever, and dogs used them, i get that. the difference between a dog house and a crate is one doesn't have a jail door on the front.

and before you have any chastising thoughts and say well, of course, people have always picked up after their dogs and crated their dogs. to that, i would first say that, well, that is most definitely not the case that people have ALWAYS been doing those things and that the uber-practice had to start sometime and i think that time has been since i was a kid. and secondly, i saw a new/next level of first-world pet-care at target the other day. and that discovery may have marked the precise moment i became a sour old man. at the end of an aisle stood a large, glass-paned, interior-lit fridge that held PET-food. prominently, or rather loudly, displayed as it was, it looked like it contained the cure to pimples, old-age and herpes all in one convenient spot. but it did not hold the cures to all human ills. it held chilled food for peoples' animals. the furrows in my brow surely grew deeper at that moment as i stared at those privelege-lined shelves. i don't remember exactly what i muttered under my breath, but i promise you it was not fit to share.

all of this said, there has been many i time when i had pets, i'd pour another scoop from a giant bag of food into my pet's bowl and thought, sucks to be you bud, as i would hate if i had to eat the same thing everyday. the saving grace--i knew my pet, like many american pets, would have his dish peppered with table scraps later in the evening which he would quakingly engulf at the end of each day and digest while curled up against my back or on my feet as we warmed each other literally and emotionally through the night.

KIDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 11.13.2015
i used to hide my money in a band-aid box in an air vent.
while walking to school with anthony he asked, after a natural pause in our conversation, "so dad. what is something you really want, that cost less than 20 dollars?".

while i was reflecting on things i talked about how the best present for someone was something they really wanted but for whatever reason wouldn't buy themselves. after a few minutes i told anthony that something i've been intrigued by for a number of years were mounted insects. after explaining what they were he asked why i would want that. i told him that from my photography contest i've come to be amazed at some of the insect-photography, especially the up-close macro images that people have sent in of bugs and stuff and that they are really very extraordinary and if they could be enlarged to, say, the size of one of these houses we were walking by they would be the most extraordinary things we've ever seen, both in their beauty and detail.

a few days later i mentioned anthony's question to marty. she told me she was well aware of the conversation because anthony then went to her and said he needed her to help him buy me a mounted insect for my birthday. after looking a bit, anthony found one that was $30. when marty asked him if he had $30 he said sure, walked to and opened one of his bedroom windows, pulled a velcro wallet from the outer jamb and produced the requested $30.

yeah, what, like you don't keep your money hidden in a window jamb?

and for reasons i can't explain (in that marty has confessed ignorance) both of my boys have taken a great interest in getting me a birthday gift this year. i'm admittedly a little easier to shop for since i went on my spending fast (ref). also, i'm a little more eager for the goodies given i'm no longer buying myself each and every bauble that catches my eye. i have the sense it's all going to taste a bit sweeter this year.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.10.2015
i hate that shit!
marty, bella and i were walking home. as we were crossing a street bella yelled "SLUG BUG!" and gave me a hard shot in the arm. that side of my body sagged from the unexpected blow (she is not the small and defenseless girl she once was). as i began my whiny "what didya do that for?" the guy inside the vw beetle guffawed and yelled out his passenger window, "Man! I love that shit!". his comment got bella and marty laughing. the humor missed its mark on me and my sagging arm.

SOCIETY, TECHNOLOGY (permalink) 04.22.2015
there are also fewer fights around the dinner table thanks to all those facebook feeds
kottke recently shared a story from a guy that said since smart phones arrived, nobody picks up coins they see on the street anymore.
From 1987 to 2006, he averaged about fifty-eight dollars a year. Then Apple introduced the iPhone, and millions of potential competitors started to stare at their screens rather than at the sidewalks. Since 2007, Pasquier has averaged just over ninety-five dollars a year.
my smartphone observation, and one of the few true boons of the technology would be an immediate and sharp decrease in the incidents of road rage you hear about. turns out people are too distracted to get annoyed at anything.

and there is a comment marty made a few years back that stuck with me. if you recall, marty taught 9th grade science for eight years in the 90's. then took nine years off to be home with the kids. she is now in her third year back in the classroom. when she first returned i asked her what, if anything, had changed in the educational landscape. her response: "well, there weren't smart phones when i taught before." i'll leave it to your imagination to ascertain if their impact on our educational process has helped or hindered our mission to grow a new and improved generation of thinkers.

the further we advance in time, the more the movie wall-e looks like a documentary and less like a kids movie.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.26.2015
get on with it already
marty voiced something i've been wondering a lot lately but haven't trusted myself to speak about. she commented:
Who in the world is everyone talking to on the phone? When i get to work at seven in the morning, over half the people getting out of their cars are on the phone. Virtually everyone I know is still in bed at that hour.
i've had that very thought (not the early morning hour bit, but the who is everyone talking to) as i watch cars go by as i ride my bike or sit at red lights or do anything that puts me in the path of other folks. please note that this part of the sentiment is not a judgement but just an observation as well as a genuine curiosity. the logical part of my mind anwers the question of who everyone is talking to is, obviously, each other.

this is not to say that i don't have judgmental notions about people's distracted states, especially while driving (seconded by when they are conducting transactions). after our last day of skiing, an 18-wheeler drifted fully into our lane at 70 miles an hour and i had to drive my car, also going 70 miles an hour, onto the shoulder to keep from getting side-swiped. the man never saw me before, during or after his maneuver. then the next day when we were literally one mile into our 1,300 mile drive home a girl came barreling through a red light where we were turning and came inches from caving in the passenger side of our van at better than twenty miles an hour. she definitely saw me as i could see the sheer terror in her face as she saw the near collision unfold.

i continue to be struck that more is not done regarding the legality of using a phone while driving. i'm convinced that this is largely due to the fact that one of the greatest abusers of this tenet seem to be police officers themselves. it's rare that i see a cop rolling by who is not on the phone (i wouldn't say the same of state troopers i've observed). and suit/business types seem to be another high-frequency abuser of one-handed, half-minded driving. i assume some of the these folks are the ones we would turn to for help in changing the law so when the law-makers and law-enforcers are big users themselves, it's hard to think there might be help close at hand.

the frustrating part of it all is in time i think this behavior will go the way of our pre-seatbelt and biking-helmet existence. there is just no sane, rational or intelligent argument in defense of the practice. none. i just wish we'd hurry up and come to our collective senses already.

one final aside related to marty's initial question above. back in the nascent days of cell technology (e.g. car-mounted, brick phones) a friend of mine, man-who-screams-like-woman, had a scanner that could listen in on the conversations at hand. he and another friend would stay up way into the night searching for and then listing to any nearby conversations they could detect. as it was still a newish thing, i asked what sorts of things merited the need for being able to call someone from anywhere. he said that well over half of the conversations they picked up on involved people in extra-marital affairs. and this was exactly what i told marty when she asked who all those people were talking to at seven in the morning--their lovers who they couldn't talk to at seven the previous night because their wife was around. for anyone thinking the percentage can't be the same given how many phones there are in play now i would only say the divorce rate trends will not support your argument.

QUOTES, SOCIETY (permalink) 12.17.2014
modern-day prophet.
except from a chris rock interview (source).
Q: What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn't?

A: I'd do a special on race, but I'd have no black people.

Q: Well, that would be much more revealing.

A: Yes, that would be an event. Here's the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it's all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they're not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

Q: Right. It's ridiculous.

A: So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he's the first black person that is qualified to be president. That's not black progress. That's white progress. There's been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship's improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, "Oh, he stopped punching her in the face." It's not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner's relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn't. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let's hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

Q: It's about white people adjusting to a new reality?

A: Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it's unfair that you can get judged by something you didn't do, but it's also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn't work for.

SOCIETY, VIDEO (permalink) 08.30.2013
this is an issue soundly in the "getting worse" column.
we live near a university campus and the students just returned for the new school year. since their arrival i've seen multiple astonishing demonstrations of obliviousness due to "living in their phone-itis". the most glaring case being a guy who walked into a busy intersection at a snail's pace. aside from the slow shuffle of his feet, all of his attention was spent trying to block the glare of the sun from his screen. meanwhile a long stack of cars waited for him to cross the street. i'd say he's mostly lucky the person behind the wheel of the lead car wasn't doing the same thing he was, otherwise all they would have found was a red smear and a shattered iphone.

between blocking traffic, having unusually loud one-sided conversations in public spaces, walking into people, sitting through green lights, slowing down order lines, derailing live conversations (the most unfortunate of the lot for me) and on and on, i think we need a new term to describe such indiscretions because the words we may have used in the past, like, say, "inconsiderate", no longer convey, fully, the numb egotism of this behavior.

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.29.2013
don't check consumer reports. check with the guy who fixes what you want to buy.
oh. and another interesting thing about the dishwasher bit. when the repairman, one of them at least, was at our house assessing our broken washer, after backing out of the washer, standing up and drying his hands on his rag, he explained that what we're experiencing is now rather common. he said
this has been picking up ever since the washington lobbyist got new rules in play about using smaller motors in dishwashers, motors to conserve energy. the part they missed, is they just changed the motors but nothing else and the new, smaller motors weren't powerful enough to drive the machines so the motors burn out quicker. and for reasons i can't explain replacing the motor most times cost more than buying a new machine. so first the old models would run longer and could be easily repaired which means after fifteen years you might send a motor to the dump. but now the machines break after five years, get replaced with a new machine, because that's cheaper, so now we're taking the whole appliance to the dump instead of just a motor. and three times as often.
f'ing brilliant.

SOCIETY (permalink) 12.12.2012
the bit of american craftsmanship in question.
pictorial version of yesterday.

SOCIETY (permalink) 12.11.2012
i think brita is swedish for suck.
out last brita pitcher lasted ten years. granted it very much limped along with a loose handle and cracked shell the last few years but it held its ground in admirable fashion. finally it purified its last reservoir and had to be put down.

the shiny new pitcher made the other seem totally monochrome. alex (9) excitedly filled the space-age model. together we watched the water accumulate in the anointed base with surprising speed. he then tipped it over the glass for the maiden taste test. as water began to flow from its spout, the lid fell off the top and dumped the water still being processed out all over the counter. being the paternal supervisor i instructed alex to step away as he was apparently not ready for such adult labor (said in a over-inflated gruff voice). i re-affixed the lid, re-filled the container, began the pour and had the lid near shoot off like it were a child's pop gun. to this alex said "see dad". to this i looked at him with my annoyed "yes i see alex" face. after realizing the lid just did not and would not fit i did what any back-boned american consumer would do—i accepted our society's inferior workmanship and put a rubber band around my brand new piece of technology and pined for my other one and the days that produced something as decent.

in addition to the lid not staying on, seemingly by design, there is a gap in the water reservoir that makes it so if you fill the container up all the way, the top 1/8 of inch worth of water leaks from the back running out the bottom of the handle, also seemingly by design. seeing things like this makes me wonder if employees are given like seven minutes to plan for something their company hopes to make for years and make millions of dollars on. what the hell is going on? however does something this completely flawed ever get made. it's utterly astonishing. sheesh.

SOCIETY (permalink) 12.06.2012
the other day posted the following. as someone who marvels at the infinite power of photography, the image blew me away. i can't imagine a place in the world i was less meant to occupy. i mean seriously.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.27.2012
good reason to get your thanks on
a boy spent the night at our house. it was his first time in our home. he did the usual room to room discovery most kids seem to do on an initial visit of a new space. as he passed through the kitchen where marty washed the morning dishes, he stopped in front of the refrigerator and in a wondrous and astonished tone said, "woooowwww. look how big this refrigerator is." and then asking no one in particular added, "have you ever seen a refrigerator this big?"

in all my years i've never had a guest in my home marvel at the grandeur of my perfectly normal sized refrigerator. truth is, aside from a dorm style cube fridge, i didn't even know they came in another size. since that moment i've not looked at my fridge, or its contents, the same again. in fact i've not looked at many of my possessions the same again. a fruitful and balancing issue to have in this thanksgiving time of year.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.08.2012
this just in ...
i found out about the election results the morning after at the bus stop from some neighbors who routinely pass by walking a dog. it went something like this.

yeah, nate's tired. i let him stay up to watch the election.

oh! right! the election. do they know who won?

BETH (astonished look)
what? well yes.

so who was it?

BETH (still astonished)
you don't know?

no, i don't know. do they know?

later in the conversation beth asked me how i could ever be a good citizen without the news (backstory). i said i guess i couldn't be. what i didn't say to her was BEING A GOOD CITIZEN did not make the top ten list of things i hope to achieve with my life at this juncture and it's everything i can do to save and steal enough minutes for the things that did make the top ten. perhaps after my kids are all out of the house there will be room for which senators think rape is cool or who are having affairs with their assistants as well as other distant, out of my control things for my shiny, sexy mind to occupy itself with, but not yet, not now.

and yes, i know "now" may never come and i'm perfectly content with that in this particular case.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.06.2012
trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something unexpected to eat.
my favorite halloween tale from this year came from one of marty's students.

when st louis kids trick or treat the majority of folks (e.g. those who grew up in the lou) require a joke or trick before giving out candy. thus, the lead up to the big day involves in addition to choosing your costume, finding the joke you will tell hundred plus times that evening while you make your rounds.

how strictly a house chooses to enforce the joke/trick rule varies widely. in the day after re-hash at school, one of marty's ninth grade students told of unique practice he runs at his door. if he guesses the punchline to a kid's joke, instead of candy, he gives them a piece of american cheese, individually wrapped of course.

as a collector of thoughtful human moments, this particular thought and subsequent practice holds a prominent spot on my wall of noteworthy artifacts.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.13.2012
speaking of things to read
yesterday i talked up a book i recently read. today i'm sharing the best thing i've read on the net in the last four years (the prior favorite read being merlin mann's BETTER essay). below you will find a few excerpts from a speech delivered to a group of first-year west point students by essayist William Deresiewicz.

the full article may be found here.
How do you learn to think? Let's start with how you don't learn to think. A study by a team of researchers at Stanford came out a couple of months ago. The investigators wanted to figure out how today's college students were able to multitask so much more effectively than adults. How do they manage to do it, the researchers asked? The answer, they discovered—and this is by no means what they expected—is that they don't. The enhanced cognitive abilities the investigators expected to find, the mental faculties that enable people to multitask effectively, were simply not there. In other words, people do not multitask effectively. And here's the really surprising finding: the more people multitask, the worse they are, not just at other mental abilities, but at multitasking itself.

One thing that made the study different from others is that the researchers didn't test people's cognitive functions while they were multitasking. They separated the subject group into high multitaskers and low multitaskers and used a different set of tests to measure the kinds of cognitive abilities involved in multitasking. They found that in every case the high multitaskers scored worse. They were worse at distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information and ignoring the latter. In other words, they were more distractible. They were worse at what you might call "mental filing": keeping information in the right conceptual boxes and being able to retrieve it quickly. In other words, their minds were more disorganized. And they were even worse at the very thing that defines multitasking itself: switching between tasks.

Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it. Not learning other people's ideas, or memorizing a body of information, however much those may sometimes be useful. Developing your own ideas. In short, thinking for yourself. You simply cannot do that in bursts of 20 seconds at a time, constantly interrupted by Facebook messages or Twitter tweets, or fiddling with your iPod, or watching something on YouTube.

I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else's; it's always what I've already heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom. It's only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn't turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.

... You do your best thinking by slowing down and concentrating.

Now that's the third time I've used that word, concentrating. Concentrating, focusing. You can just as easily consider this lecture to be about concentration as about solitude. Think about what the word means. It means gathering yourself together into a single point rather than letting yourself be dispersed everywhere into a cloud of electronic and social input. It seems to me that Facebook and Twitter and YouTube—and just so you don't think this is a generational thing, TV and radio and magazines and even newspapers, too—are all ultimately just an elaborate excuse to run away from yourself. To avoid the difficult and troubling questions that being human throws in your way. Am I doing the right thing with my life? Do I believe the things I was taught as a child? What do the words I live by—words like duty, honor, and country—really mean? Am I happy?


So it's perfectly natural to have doubts, or questions, or even just difficulties. The question is, what do you do with them? Do you suppress them, do you distract yourself from them, do you pretend they don't exist? Or do you confront them directly, honestly, courageously? If you decide to do so, you will find that the answers to these dilemmas are not to be found on Twitter or Comedy Central or even in The New York Times. They can only be found within—without distractions, without peer pressure, in solitude.


These are truly formidable dilemmas, more so than most other people will ever have to face in their lives, let alone when they're 23. The time to start preparing yourself for them is now. And the way to do it is by thinking through these issues for yourself—morality, mortality, honor—so you will have the strength to deal with them when they arise. Waiting until you have to confront them in practice would be like waiting for your first firefight to learn how to shoot your weapon. Once the situation is upon you, it's too late. You have to be prepared in advance. You need to know, already, who you are and what you believe: not what the Army believes, not what your peers believe (that may be exactly the problem), but what you believe.

i know i'm in a scrubby, small camp, but i wish more folks were preaching the gospel of thought.

LIFE, SOCIETY, HOW-TO (permalink) 10.14.2011
good living.
if you haven't guessed by now, i track just about everything in my life. one of the more unusual things i keep tabs on are my favorite reads of the year. this extends beyond books into websites, magazines, office notes, commencement addresses, and even wall graffiti. this year's front-runner has been carrying a strong lead since early march. i've been thinking something would have knocked it out by now but it just hasn't happened. i think part of its success with me resides in the way it snuck up and held me tight before i even realized it had laid hands on me. i've wrecked its chance to quietly sneak up on you, but hopefully you'll still enjoy my favorite story in 2011 (thus far), the tire iron and the tamale.

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.21.2011
excuse me, but the seat of your chair doubles as our chopping board
i think a large part of the reason marty and i are as thin as we are is because our kitchen is so poorly designed. i say this after recently hearing a woman go on about the inefficiencies of her kitchen layout and her lavish plans for her new lavish kitchen. by her description things in her original kitchen seemed so barbaric i find it a wonder any food more complicated than ramen ever culminated out of such a primitive setup.

and if you're wondering how ill-conceived our kitchen is, given my record of only living in one-bathroom homes, i'm reasonably sure i've never lived in a home that could claim a smart and properly considered food-making room, by one woman's estimation at least.

FAMILY, SOCIETY (permalink) 05.04.2011
when you're getting grooming advice from me, it's time to spend more time in front of the mirror.
my family was eating at lion's choice (a local roast beef sandwich house) enjoying a rare trip out for food. while ordering our food i glanced at the guy next to me. he was an older gentleman and was in the midst of talking to the cashier. his face was framed by the take-out window and in the daytime sun, i noticed a significantly long hair sticking out of his nostril. now this was not a weekend growth variety of nose hair. this one had been brewing for many months, if not years, and had become dislodged with a sneeze or snort as it was sticking out a full inch or better. my immediate inclination was to tap him on his shoulder and motion to my nose letting him know he should go check it out, but he was putting in his order and my cashier was talking to me as well. when i finished paying and turned the man had already moved on.

moments later we had our food and took our seat. i distractedly looked around and saw the man sitting on the other side of the dining room with a guy about my age who i presumed to be his son. prior to seeing his table mate, i assumed the man was alone and had no one to tell him he had a wayward nose hanging more than an inch out of his right nostril. seeing he was not alone, i got annoyed that the guy with him did not let him in on the matter. marty noticed my glance and asked if i knew them. i said i didn't but told the table what i saw. we then spent our lunchtime talking about acceptable ways to handle such moments and how informing people of such things, even if embarrassing, is the neighborly thing to do. it also came out that i was bummed out that i didn't get a chance to give the guy a heads up but going to the table uninvited to tell him in front of his lunch date was even a touch out of my comfort zone.

our table's conversation moved on but i'd occasionally look the old guy's way wondering if there was anyone else in his life who may let him in on his grooming mis-step or if he'd have to wait for the weight of the hair to pull it from the follicle naturally. after his meal was complete the man stood to refill his drink. seeing this i hurriedly excused myself grabbing my own still full drink and headed to the soda counter. he was already there and i positioned myself to his right. noticing me he shifted to the left giving me room to share. knowing the moment was short, i began with a smile ...



oh. excuse me.


i think you have a hair getting away from you there.


(i rubbed my nose and quietly added) you have a nose hair making a break for it. the next time you're in the bathroom, give it a quick look and you'll see it.

i then sidled away. his last look didn't seem to register a quick comprehension of my point but that is not the sort of conversation you tend to draw out any longer than one needs to. when i returned to the table i excitedly told my cohorts of my adventure which they eagerly took in.

that was several months ago. last week after our family dinner was wrapping up and alex and anthony had excused themselves, bella, marty, and i sat in our chairs talking of this and that. shortly before excusing herself, bella said to me:

hey dude, you got one getting away from you.


(she wipes a finger across her eyebrow as if she's giving some old mafia sign). over here. you got a hair getting away from you.

where? here?

(she motions me to lean forward and reaches forward) no here. the next time you're using the bathroom, you should run it down.

after several futile attempts of my trying to grasp it, she reached up and grabbed the long hair that decided to start pointing straight out from my head instead of resting flat with the others. once she had a pinch on it, she gave it a few soft tugs to prove her find. seeing how long it took for me to get the message, i now worry i should have sent bella over to the old guy instead of me given how slow i was in understanding her not at all subtle clues.

and don't think i (or marty) didn't notice her perfect re-use of my technique (on me). and while i'm sure having a keen memory will benefit my children in life and school, i can see, already, it isn't doing my parenting any kind of favors given their seeming ability to recall my every bit advice, which oftentimes, when used on or against me, seems less sage than when directed at others.

SOCIETY, TECHNOLOGY, VIDEO (permalink) 09.10.2010
zero to ravenous in fifteen seconds, flat.
a student of mine from last year forwarded me a link today. he said that after seeing this interview he felt it might be of interest to me and of possible use in future classes. i opened the link. this was the first thing i heard.
technology is like a mirror, if an idiot looks in you can't expect an apostle to look out.
after that line i paused the video, now fifteen seconds into a thirty one minute interview, readied a reply to my student and wrote, "that is possibly the single greatest line i've heard in regard to technology since i've begun working in technology."

i've never heard of stephen fry but after listening to thirty minutes of him free-styling here, i can assure you that three months from now i will be very familiar with his thoughts on technology and life's chase.

you can all thank luke, the most stylish student i've ever had the pleasure of working with for this juicy and marbled slab of greatness. and, send good thoughts and karma his way as he looks for a curious endeavor with a non-profit in the atlanta region.

STEPHEN FRY: WHAT I WISH I'D KNOWN WHEN I WAS 18 from Peter Samuelson on Vimeo.

FRIENDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 07.15.2010
it's my "that's what she said"
i was talking with neighbor on the sidewalk in front of my house. she was walking her dog. a woman approached on the other side of the street. she was also walking a dog. when the dogs saw one another they started whimpering and making lunges against their leashes towards the other dog. the other-side-of-the-street woman seeing the dog near me, crossed the street directly for us. when she arrived the dogs began twisting and sniffing and jumbling up together mixing and crossing the two leashes crazily. no one said anything. then the woman extricated her leash from the mix, said good day, and continued on her walk.

the woman i was talking to me looked at me and asked if i knew the woman. i said i did not and that i assumed she must have. the woman scrunched her face, turned to look at the departing woman, turned back to me and derisively said, "who does that?"

the phrase "who does that?" and the intonation it was delivered with at that moment became my favorite quip and i've used in no less than five times since hearing it.

PHOTO, SOCIETY (permalink) 05.21.2010
that reflective shield almost gave us more than we bargained for
someone who knew i adored this picture, was kind enough to send me this picture.

WEB, FRIENDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 04.08.2010
and then this woman just walked up to me and punched me in the face.
i forgot that i had one more facebook morsel to share, which i do realize takes me further from my seven sentences goal. a friend forwarded a message they received from another facebookian they didn't know. here's a name-protected version of the message:

Subject: Hello from another [smith]
Hello! I enjoyed checking out your facebook page. I read a few of your entries. Is your son, [john], special needs per chance? A couple of your entries referred to his developmental milestones which is exactly the type of thing we say about our son, [ted], who is special needs.

Again, enjoyed checking-out the site.

i fear i'm unable to share the exact wording of my friend's message to me because i don't think i'm able to sanitize it enough for this public space without it losing all meaning or coherence. the gist of his message was simply asking how one should respond to an inquiry of this nature.

as far as conversational mis-steps go i put this right up there with asking a woman who is not pregnant what trimester she's in or when the child is due. i've been lucky enough to witness one of those first hand and for however uncomfortable the next few minutes were, i gotta say i'd rather be dealt that (says the man) than asked if my child, who is not mentally disabled, is mentally disabled.

after pondering my friend's fix for a moment i suggested he say no, his child is not special needs and that after receiving her inquiry he looked at her page and wondered if she is expecting again or is merely struggling with the baby weight from her last child.

and yes, my mother did raise me better than that (she would have asked me to share this point with you).

and yes, these sage advice services are also available to you. and get this, they're completely free of charge. i know, thoroughly unbelievable.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.25.2010
clarifications and back-peddling.
in response to some feedback i received regarding yesterday's post.
  1. i did not mean to imply saint louis has not shown any signs of the recession. i was saying saint louis was showing less signs of the recession than my friend's city was. out of respect for his personal situation, i'm not going to get into specifics, but they have public services looking at potential layoffs of 80% of staff and an 85% reduction of physical locations. and this from an organization that has never in its history laid a single person off, and that is a history that includes our country's great depression. in recent years my employer has not issued raises, instituted a hiring freeze and in a few instances laid people off. but i find this quite innocuous compared to firing 80% of your staff outright.
  2. i was trying to be funny. i've long been told i'm one of those guys who is only funny when he's not trying to be funny and that my attempts at being funny always fall short and thus, me trying to "bring the funny" is ill-advised. this point is duly noted.
  3. i agree the only really funny part of the post was my friend saying in-bev should have pushed the arch into the river as they rumbled through town and people reported visions of a giant big-boy like character stomping through saint louis and dragging the clydesdales behind him like a set of pet wiener dogs and knocking stuff over everywhere like a petulant child.
  4. and for those that asked if my friend who said the funny line had a site and if so would i share it with them because then they could go straight to the funny guy and not have to wait for me to sprinkle his humor into my content. the answer is no, he does not have a site. he used to but no longer does. so there. you're stuck with me.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.24.2010
take that recession ... we beat you to it.
a friend was telling me about how his city and employer are being ravaged by the recession. i was shocked by his descriptions of rampant business failings and layoffs, mostly because i'm not seeing anything near those levels in my own city. a few minutes into the conversation the reason behind the difference occurred to me; my city has been in a state of recession for over fifty years where his city has not been.

saint louis has slowly siphoned off their significant local businesses long ago so we don't really have a whole lot left to die on the vine. especially with the fall of Anheuser Busch, our last truffula tree. when i made this observation, my friend, quick as a whip, added that when in-bev took AB they might as well have pushed the arch into the mississippi on their way out of town with one of our city's last and most storied family jewels.

so number seven on the reasons saint louis is a good place to live; we're conveniently recession proof given we have no businesses left to fail.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.19.2009
choose wisely
everyone is chasing something. everyone that gets out of bed in the morning at least. what people pursue in life varies, but for most it probably falls into one of the obvious categories: money, status, fame, belonging, love, acceptance, comfort. it seems that when you reach a certain mature age, say forty or thereabouts, you look around and if you're still with the pack and feeling nourished, all is good and well and you bear down keeping your eye on the person in front of you and your ears tuned to the person behind. if you find yourself trailing too many in the group, or in the wrong race altogether, you pull up, winded. what a defeated contestant in this state does next is wildly unpredictable but most call the collective actions of these folks a mid-life crisis.

given where i'm at in this race i'm seeing runners throw in the towel in alarming numbers. the disintegration of an adult's life with decades of momentum behind them is a bewildering thing to behold. and when children are involved, a tragedy, for sure.

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.07.2009
of course, i was the exact same when i was their age.
in my thirties i coveted young people's lithe, able bodies and their ability to stay up all night and work all day. now that i'm forty the only thing i covet is their endless supply of free time. and seeing how so many aimlessly piss it away makes me want to weep.

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.31.2009
like, pay up sucka
when in santa fe on our holiday we stayed with another family. they had four kids. all but one was older than our kids, their oldest months from driving. one day while we were lazing about i asked the kids if there was a rule in their house they didn't like. after about thirty seconds the fifteen year old boy excitedly answered, "yes, the like jar was pretty lame." his sister immediately seconded the thought. i asked what the like jar was and before my sentiment was even complete, their mother groaned and her head sagged and to avoid her children's editorial she confessed the following, "i just couldn't take it anymore. the word like. it was constant. each and every sentence out of anyones mouth was peppered with five or seven or more likes. it was maddening. so i made a rule that every time someone said the word like in conversation and not in meaning they had to pay the like jar." her son then brightly added, "but it happened so often that mom couldn't keep after us about it and it died after, like, a day or two." i smiled at his enthusiasm as well as his slipping a 'like' into his taunt.

i said to the mother she should have promised them each fifty dollars at the end of the month but each time they said like, the month-end booty dropped a buck. with this she eyed the kids and with that they stopped smiling. or stopped smiling so obviously at least.

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.26.2009
getting my ricky ricardo on
while walking home from work i ran into two women. it was a mother and daughter. they were visiting the university i work at, considering it for the daughter for next year.

i met them by asking if they were lost or needed help finding something because they seemed perplexed about things. their faces lit up with surprise. then they said they did not need help but immediately commented on how nice it was that i asked. they went on to say that people everywhere here were so nice. nothing like at harvard or yale or the eleven other schools they had visited. i quipped that we run a happy campus but there are a few old cantankerous cranks around, we just don't let them out much. after a few more pleasantries i noticed the woman, the mother, intently staring at my face. when i turned to her, she said in a methodical and careful way that i had a very cuban forehead (i now assumed that both of these bronzed women were themselves cuban). she moved her hand over my forehead like she wanted to touch it but resisted. after a pause while i processed her comment making sure i heard it right, i assured her she was the first person to ever say that particular string of words to me and that i've been told i look like eddie munster plenty but never that i had the forehead of a cuban man. she then told me it was a good forehead clapped me on the shoulder in a familial way and with that we parted ways, everyone the better for the moment we shared.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.16.2009
it seems nick-naming everyone may have a genetic component in that bella has taken to applying monikers to her own world. most notably last week a group of kids at school she calls the hannah montana girls. and for added bite, not all of them are girls.

recently bella made a comment about going to another school. when marty asked why she wanted to change bella said it was to get away from the hannah montana girls. marty paused from what she was doing, turned to bella and explained that there was no getting away from the hannah montana girls because every school had them. they are everywhere. by the dour look on bella's face you would have thought marty just told her there was no santa, cuddly puppies, or music-playing ice cream trucks. she was struck completely dumb.

and as i think i've noted before, bella calls grown up hannah montana girls, decorated ladies. and like their younger counterparts, there's no getting away from them either.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.25.2009
troy's napkin philosophy
i believe the first half of your life should be spent learning stuff and the second half of your life should be spent teaching the stuff you learned to others. if you get any years beyond that, they're yours to do with as you wish.

as for when the halfway point is, forty seems like a nice round number to me. so pull up a chair and get ready to get your learn on.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.17.2009
daily bread
sleeping in the same bed with another person is quite a bit like going to the movies with someone. there are moments you want to entertain or interact with the other person but most of the time you just want to do what you came to do, watch the movie.

KIDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 01.26.2009
outsmarting your children isn't as easy as it looks
in dating you have something called hand. the notion of hand was probably best handled and described by seinfeld and team. if you haven't heard the term it pertains to the battle for influence between a dating couple. i believe it is an abbreviated phrase for 'having the upper hand'.

in the world of parenting, hand is replaced by something called currency. as a parent it is always your job to know what your child's currency is. currency in this context refers to any object or event your child especially loves. with this knowledge, the theory goes, you're able to influence your child's behavior instead of beating them with a switch.

but, children also have their own currency. a child's currency is what they can do to sway the behavior of their parent. such currencies for children include looking cute, acting sad, throwing a tantrum, making lofty promises, embarrassing their parent or saying they hate the parent. these are all antics done in the hopes of causing a parent to buckle. as an aside, all child-currency has an inflated value in public. and the more public, the greater its rate. children who understand this principle of micro-macro-economics can often be a handful and are known as children who wield their currency with great expertise, getting the absolute most for their money.

the other night alex and i got into a row at bedtime. i wanted him to go to sleep. he wanted to invent things to delay his going to sleep. after threatening his currency he stood for a few moments and then turned to me and shouted, "FINE. THEN I WILL GO TO BED WITH NO STRAWBERRIES AND NO BOOKS!" after this outburst he scaled his ladder and threw himself into his bed and was asleep moments later. this would be an example of me using my currency with greater alacrity than he used his. while one may be inclined to gloat, i suggest your do not because we all have the occasional weak outing. like the time i threatened to take bella's play horses from her for a week. without a hint of emotion she suggested i take them for two weeks and offered to throw in all of her dolls for added measure. that was a solid counter-move on bella's part and easily trumped my dated notion of her currency. then there was this time when alex got me all twisted up:

alex if you don't put that stuff away like i've asked i'm going to take away your transformers toy.

i have a transformers toy?

uhhm. well yes. i mean, i thought you did?

can i see it?

i don't know. i'm not sure where it is right now.

what does it look like?

i don't think i know that either. maybe we should pick another toy.

ok. but if you see my transformers toy, can you show it to me?

uhhm. yeah. sure.

in reproduction, there are two kinds of impotence. there's the physical kind that doesn't allow you to have children and then there's the emotional kind that happens after you have children. the research isn't entirely conclusive as to which of the two is more psychologically crippling to the male esteem.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.20.2009
time to pull the car out of the ditch

four years ago i felt the infrangible website best captured the disbelief in many people after bush-43 was RE-elected. as of late, it was beginning to feel like this reign of terror and error would never be over but finally the day has come. but with it comes bad news too. whatever will jon stewart and company do with all their free time.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.08.2009
troy's home buying advice
i like old houses because they know what they are. new houses are like young children and teenagers. they just never know what to be because they are in a constant state of flux.

a new house is only new for a very short time.

then it's kinda new.

then it was once new.

then it's dated.

then it's tired.

then finally, it is reborn into something both special and unique.

if you start with a new or transitioning house, it won't be officially old until your time is done there and you pass it onto a buyer of another generation. so save yourself from spending your days in a schizophrenic home and just buy an old one from the start. it will promise to always be old for you and you can never have enough stability in a family home.

SOCIETY (permalink) 12.15.2008
why the phrase 'no shit sherlock' was created
i read in the news that some guy threw his shoes at president bush during a press conference in iraq. the journalist took a sentence to report that "In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt."

is there a culture where chucking shoes at people is a sign of adoration and support, aside from the elementary playground at least? sheesh.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.05.2008
it's like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders
after the 2000 and 2004 elections i wanted to cry. after this election, while standing in an upscale loft surrounded by cheering and hooting followers as our new leader addressed the nation, i did cry.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.04.2008
let's go MO

SOCIETY, KIDS (permalink) 10.29.2008
those ears may be little but they work just fine
someone recently asked bella who she would vote for if she could vote. she lit up and quickly said obama. when asked why she would vote for obama said that that mccain guy kills animals.

meanwhile, in another house in our neighborhood, a girl asked her father who he was going to vote for. knowing he held a minority voice in the community he broke into a long-winded explanation about all the things he considered when making the such an important decision and after taking everything into account he felt mccain was the right choice for him. after quietly shouldering his lecture and hearing his choice she asked him in a concerned voice if mccain won if they'd have to move. surprised he asked why she would think this and she said that all the mommies and daddies at her school say that if mccain wins they have to leave the country.

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.27.2008
isn't it time we got a little more medieval with these folks
over the weekend, i talked to a guy who works a federal job responsible for catching child predators. oh, and when he's not doing that he oversees child abductions. of those he said if you remove kidnappings that involve a parent or incidents that were actually homicides, there are less than fifty traditional kidnappings a year in the United States. after a few minutes of discussion the first thing i could think to say, facetiously mind you, was, "you surely must sleep well at night."

after that embarrassingly lame comment i managed to ask how he dealt with such a gruesome and emotionally demanding job, admitting that immersing myself in such matters would make me jump out of a high-rise window. his answer was precise, "someone's got to go after these twisted assholes." right he is.

the most striking thing he said was his description of a typical offender. he said people typically think of pedophiles as vile and disgusting creatures with outward signs of their illness. this couldn't be further from the truth. he described these folks' proclivities as being hard-wired and they could not define or control their attractions anymore than the average person can re-define their attraction for males or females or blondes or women who like network gaming parties. they all know their interests are societally unacceptable and for this reason they have become very good liars, this being one of things that make them quite hard to catch. in time they essentially become grifters and as all good con-men do, they learn the arts of deception. he said he never interviewed the family of a single victim that said, "yeah that guy was a real slimy asshole." instead they say stuff like he was one of the family, we've known him for decades, he was my best friend, i'd trust him with my life and the life of my children. by this day and age, this point should be far more obvious.

another thing that struck me was he said if he had to run into a burning building to save people and had his kids with him and had the choice of leaving them with four men in suits or a homeless crack-whore, he'd give them to the crack-whore every time. i thought to say that the crack-whore might sell his children to the four men in suits. believe it or not, i refrained from making the comment ... and did so for about seven reasons. such on the spot reason is rare for me but probably couldn't have appeared at a more opportune time.

i for one wish this man and all like him every professional success.

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.24.2008
preach on little people
marty and the kids we're picking up dinner at a gyro house near our home. standing by the register waiting for his already placed order was a man super-rife with tattoos and piercings. in our neighborhood these sorts of folks, and there are plenty of them, are known as loop-rats. while such scenes are reasonably commonplace, you do run into the occasional over-the-top variety and marty had said this guy was that given a variety of sprawling tattoos, some running up into his face and metal balls and hoops hanging from places that didn't seem able to accommodate such artistic and weighty objects.

after ordering marty and the kids sat down at a table to wait for their food. wordlessly, bella and alex continued to look at the man. fact is they'd been gazing at him since they walked in the storefront. finally, alex leaned into marty and in a soft and concerned whisper said, "mom, i think that boy over there is a pirate." alex's serious tenor made his remark much more comical and marty fought back the release of a deep guffaw. just when she thought she had it controlled, bella leaned in and said, "no alex, that boy just made a lot of bad choices."

my kids just may be brighter than i give them credit for.

some other pirates of our time. it's impossible to cite one favorite from the terrible tatts slideshow. the best caption for sure would have to go to "Backfat Wars: We feel a great disturbance in the force"

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.03.2008
buckle up

as i mentioned the other day the vp debate took place where i work. yesterday, the day of, campus was a circus. nbc did a twelve hour live-broadcast in the main quad. familiar reporting faces were walking the grounds and every fifth person had either a camera-strap looped around their neck or a video-camera perched on their shoulder. auditoriums and common spaces were converted to full-fledged theaters to televise the event. in my particular school, a two-story projection screen was erected with seating for hundreds. they also arranged for speakers to analyze the moment, one of which was formerly legal counsel for al gore during his vice-presidency and election run.

in classic american fashion, the people were out en masse given the smell of blood. the forum was every bit as bristling as any high-stakes sporting affair. but as is so often the case these days, the underdog had more game than people had given them credit for. palin rawked the house sadly muddying the already murky waters. all i can say is it looks like we got another nail-biter at hand folks.

UPDATE: i don't mean to imply that palin whooped biden last night. my inference was that palin outperformed the expectations placed upon her. which i would say she very much 'darn-tootin' did since i thought she wouldn't make it through without hurling, defecating, urinating and crying. and i don't mean just one on those, i mean all of those. as for who won i think it was more of a matter that neither of them lost. for me, the most compelling point was that mccain has yet to define or demonstrate how his operation would differ from george's. not only do i not think our country can't withstand an additional four years of bush-like decision making, the current state of this country makes you wonder if we can shoulder another four months of it.

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.01.2008
now i'm pissed.
for the most part, and by most i mean 98%, i steer clear of political battles but enough is enough. palin and her supporters have crossed a line i cannot forgive. i came to know this after running into a friend at lunch. he was walking with another gentleman and after being introduced the man i didn't know commented that i and sarah palin have something in common. assuming he wasn't talking about my creamy, stemlike gams i asked what that might be. glasses he said. it seems we share taste in the same designer. i'd like to go on record and say that i've worn the same model of glasses for nearly ten years, own two pair, and have only once met someone sporting a set from the same maker. pre-palin the maker sold 12,000 of her frames world-wide. in the last ten days they've received 9,000 orders from the us. embarrassing.

tomorrow's debate is happening about 100 yards from my office and while i don't know biden that well, based on the below video, if the result of their verbal fencing proves anything short of tarantino-like bloodletting, i'll be legitimately appalled.

huh? were you saying something? or was that a story? or a made-up language? this could explain the naming of her children. she really meant to name her son 'john' but when she opened her mouth and it went through the palin-filter, the word 'track' came out.

and as this reporter so aptly states, we are one 72-year old's heartbeat away from this woman becoming president. and, by this woman, i mean this woman.

i've dated girls with more presidential potential than palin. and as one friend noted, what a great slight to give a guy, "wow. troy. your new girlfriend is, uhm, very, uhm, presidential." i love it.

KIDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 08.26.2008
the question: what does bella call a woman who wears makeup?

the answer: a decorated lady.

the example : yes, that's the same kind of dog that decorated lady in the neighborhood has.

makeup has an odd existence in our home. marty wears it once or twice a year and each time she does i recoil at the sight. upon seeing me cringe she immediately launches into a defense of her battle-paint saying if i realized how little make-up she was actually wearing i'd feel stupid for making such a fuss and if she really went to town with it and did what other women did i'd faint from the end-product. to this tirade i always say the same thing; "so, does all that mean you're not going to wash it off?" to which she always adds "no and if you make another snide comment i'm actually going to put more on."

i have marty's three older brothers to thank for how little she really wears it because the first few times she ever tried using make-up her brothers harangued her relentlessly asking her if she got those black eyes at school and who beat her up and if she was going to be a raccoon or batman's sidekick robin for halloween.

given all this you can imagine how elated i am that bella already finds such matters mockable and i just hope she continues finding it so because she doesn't have three older brothers to help me with that life-lesson.

SOCIETY, WEB (permalink) 08.14.2008
If you want to sell the house, you've got to mow the lawn.
there are few days that go by that i don't think about how hard life as a woman must truly be.

and we can all thank bookguy for sending this morsel my way.

VIDEO, SOCIETY (permalink) 08.08.2008
another reason i dislike hilton hotels is they have a lot of guys like this there.

and i really don't know or care if this is fake, i've seen behavior close enough to this to give voice to my point.

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.05.2008
i was charged $3 because the front desk answered the phone
i just got back from a couple of work-related days in chicago. i realized too late that i was staying in a hotel owned by the hilton cult. it seems they are hip to the fact that some people hate their whoring ways and are now trying to hide behind differently named hotels. it worked this time. this time.

my first night i arrived late, tired and hungry. i checked the room service book and saw they had 'fresh buttered popcorn' for a perfectly respectable $8. i called down. i asked the order girl if the fresh buttered popcorn on the menu could also read 'recently microwaved popcorn'? with a soft chuckle she said that it could also be called that. it is often the case that things go more smoothly when everyone sits down to the table with a sense of humor.

fifteen minutes later an older gentlemen dressed in a suit arrived with a silver platter which held a silver bowl which held the still steaming contents of an ACT II popcorn bag. after asking to come in he walked this platter to a table in the room as if he were delivering filet mignon to a visiting ambassador. with a bow he handed me the black binder holding the bill. i opened it and found, to my expectant delight, the hilton family, even under the guise of another name, can still transform an advertised charge of $8 into a transaction fee of $15.87. i mean these people are fricken magic. after listing the original $8.00 fee, they listed the $4.50 delivery fee and then the listed the service fee and then the taxes. let's be clear, i've had car repair bills that had fewer lines than this. but there was one more line. this last line was blank and to the left contained the single word; Gratuity. it is my understanding that a gratuity is something left to someone after a service has been performed. does anyone know the going tip-rate for a good ole fashioned corn-holing?

FILM, SOCIETY (permalink) 08.01.2008
one of the very last old, saint louis movie houses closed a few months back. several years ago it was absorbed by landmark when they came to town along with a few of the other small, privately held theaters. for several reasons landmark decided to cease operations of the hi-pointe theatre, originally built in 1922, and shuttered its windows.

but then, with the release of the new batman film, the hi-pointe's lights mysteriously came back on. while showing my support at a 10:15 viewing, i was told that a landmark employee based out of chicago quit his job, leased the space and is resuming operations of the historic theatre as a private business venture.

oh, and i was also told that next week is free popcorn week. so grab your girl or guy and take in heath ledger's farewell performance, which is worth seeing, in one of saint lou's last theaters with character. and i'd call about the popcorn. i may have heard that wrong or it may just be a few nights or whatever. i just don't want anyone getting pissy with me because i botched a detail. but, either way, at the hi-pointe you can actually load up at the snack bar for less than ten bucks.

and i have to comment on something said in the article linked to above. in it landmark ceo ted mundroff says that part of their decision was based upon the fact that "people prefer to go to multiplexes." i'm going to pause for a moment to collect myself before continuing. ok. almost there. alright. i think i can proceed now. let me start by saying HEY TED! SHUT THE HELL UP! and please, please, please don't ever again apply you imbecilic and self-serving notions about movie culture to me again. feel free to say your mother prefers multiplexes or your neighbor or some college frat brother, but don't ever imply that this is the true choice of the people. unless you are equating the sheer paucity of options left to the consumer after the corporations razed the land.

typically when i go to a movie theater i go to see A movie and i don't take my seat and reflect at how pleased i am that there are fourteen other movies playing at the same time in the same building as the one i actually came to watch. because you know what ted. the second i walk down the aisle of your multiplex theatre the first thing i feel is claustrophobic and that is because you shrunk and shrunk and shrunk the rooms so you could shoe-horn two or three or five more screens into the complex. but once i find my seat and sit down i'm welcomed by the inviting feel of a piece of fabric stapled to a piece of cardboard glued to a metal chair that is welded to a string of twenty other chairs so that when the four hundred pound guy eight seats away hefts himself out of his chair mid-film to refill his rubbermaid size tub of day-old, butter-it-yourself popcorn the whole row rocks because all the damn seats are connected to one another because the are cheaper by the dozen. but thankfully my mind doesn't dwell on this nuisance given the explosions and music and screams emanating through the wall of the films playing on either side of the room i'm in, movies, mind you, i did not come to see OR hear. so ted mundroff, someone may have put you in charge of a movie theatre chain and told you to do good but it is not because of your love of film or knowledge of the theater-going experience or even because you know what movie-goers like, want or need. it is because you know how to work a casio calculator and your gifts could just as easily be applied to shoes, valves or tampons. so again, don't ever pretend that you have my or any other customer's best interest in mind. it insults your patron's intelligence and reveals your lack of it.

and ted, there ain't a multiplex in this nation that has better: than the hi-pointe. you pompous douchebag!

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.22.2008
but, don't drop the soap
marty and i give time to a few different efforts in our community. as a team, people tend to favor us. between her people skills and gifts for patience and my technology and organizational skills we make a pretty effective duo. problem is we suffer the same obstacles most workgroups do and that is one of communication. several times marty has brought me requests i thought were outlandish or desired too quickly. these moments usually result in minor huffs between she and i that later result in apologies and cooperation to get the jobs done.

someone recently told me how meetings at google happen. supposedly, they are limited to some small and inflexible number of minutes, like fifteen. and no one in the room is allowed to sit down. this strategy is reported to have increased productivity and employee satisfaction because people don't feel as though their time is being disrespected.

after exercising the other night i took a shower. a few minutes later marty entered the shower as well. we stood chatting about the day and the kids. marty then brought up something we were asked to do. we talked through the task while washing each others backs and trading turns under the spray. when the shower was done and i was back at my desk making notes about the chore, it occurred to me that that was our most pleasant and productive 'meeting' ever. furthermore, it occurred to me that this may be the answer to the business worlds low opinion of meetings. group showers. you feel more vulnerable. you feel more equal. people are being helpful (washing each others tough to get spots). you're sharing. and if all goes well, you're potentially minutes away from getting lucky. all vital components of a positive experience by my estimation.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.16.2008
may your ultimate demise be swift ... although i already know it won't be
it was big news when it happened. it continues to be a bit of a thing around here, rightfully so. that is the sale of anheuser-busch (AB) to a belgium-based company for 52 billion dollars.

in 1999 i began planning to leave my employer after the company was purchased by an out of state bank. i put a single condition on the new job. the condition was this: i would only work for a company that would never be purchased. at the time of this missive i narrowed my local options down to two. the first was a well-endowed, private university and the second was this storied beer mill. they were the two institutions i felt were immune to and bigger than the standard ills of corporate greed. i guess i was wrong about one of them.

i was lucky too because my first job offer actually came from AB. in the end i turned it down for a couple of unrelated reasons. first i couldn't see dedicating myself to the promotion of alcohol. i myself don't drink and am more times than not annoyed by those who do. secondly, they had a long-standing policy of not giving vacation during the first year of service. they considered this point not negotiable and wouldn't budge. coincidentally, i felt the same and now, because of this dual stubbornness, i sidestepped a major professional catastrophe. had they been humane and granted me a respectable amount of vacation up front i may not have been paying attention when an opportunity opened up at my second employer of choice and where i currently hang my hat, in a building named anheuser-busch hall nonetheless.

but back to the acquisition. i don't know how many people realize how bad this development is for saint louis but it is a true and real tragedy. i read the article and almost wept crossing phrases like ...

The companies will, however, sell off "noncore assets" that they would not name to raise some $7 billion to finance the deal.

seven billion dollars! if that isn't a call in the night that the pillagers have crested the hill i'm not sure what is. i surely have experienced such language before and will say this is a mournful day for saint louis (and many other affected states) and not just because an iconic beer baron fell but because one of our cities last historic institutions just became a line-item in another company's ledger. a company who has no interests in the surrounding communities other than what they can trim and bleed from the people and real estate. AB has been part of the landscape for so long, it's hard to have a realistic notion of just how much they routinely re-invested in the city and subsequently, how severe the imminent raping will be. we are so far from corner taverns and neighborhood businessmen where the merchant's kids and your kids shared the same schools and the proprietor knows your name and what kind of house you own and what sort of drink you like after work that we're completely numb to the implications of it all. professional pride has been replaced with collective apathy and distrust. and whenever that is the case, community pride ain't never far behind.

even though i didn't join your ranks or consume your product, i was a big fan of what you did and am sad to see you fall. rest in peace AB. rest in peace.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.20.2008
you're mistaken because you weren't born in my house
have you ever contemplated the determining factors between the sports team you support and the religion you practice? the foundations of each have more in common than anyone should be all that comfortable with. i was two mailboxes away from being raised presbyterian, four from lutheran and eight from amish. as for born again christians, they're kinda like victims of corporate relocation.

and for anyone saying they don't have a sports team, stop being so damn literal. it's bad for your skin.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.12.2008
give it up for your local dumb-line
sunday we drove by a street protest. the group was across the way from the scientology church in our neighborhood. as we approached the mass alex started yelling for me to stop the car. startled, i asked him why. "because there is a marching band! stop! stop now!" i remembered that alex thinks any collection of humans on the street is a marching band and i told him i didn't think this particular group was a that kind of band. as we passed the rag-tag collection, alex asked, "well, what kind of band is they?" i sedately told him it was just a band of nut-jobs with an enviable amount of free time.

seriously, isn't picketing the scientologist about as necessary as protesting a presidential bid made by me.

SOCIETY (permalink) 12.18.2007
it's all about the intent
at a work christmas party tonight, a co-worker told me about a call she received from her ten year-old's school saying she needed to come in to discuss an in-school suspension for her son. it turns out he and a neighbor boy, using the internet and the family's color printer made baseball-cards of naked women and got caught showing them to other boys in the school. she described how mortified she was and the subsequent speech she delivered about the degradation and objectification of women. she also said when she asked her older brother about it, the first thing he wondered was what an 83 topps card of pam anderson was going for these days. sadly, women will never comprehend how depraved the male mind really is.

SOCIETY, FILM (permalink) 12.05.2007
in 1941 more than three million cars had been manufactured for the united states. only 139 more were made during the entire war. instead chrysler made fuselages, general motors made airplane engines, guns, trucks and tanks. and at its vast willow run plant in ipselanti michigan 67 acres of assembly lines under a single roof that one observer called the grand canyon of the mechanized world. the ford motor company performed something like a miracle 24 hours a day. the average ford car had some 15,000 parts, the b-24 liberator long range bomber had 1,550,000 parts. one came off the line at willow run every 63 minutes.

excerpt from the ken burns documentary The War

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.19.2007
now hiring: uncontrollable use of obscenity a plus
i just read of a report that claims swearing at work boosts team spirit and morale. if this is true, i've been blessed to work in some pretty high-spirited places where morale was soaring.

QUOTES, SOCIETY (permalink) 10.05.2007
preach it.
Excessive wealth engenders self-satisfied mediocrity.
Leon Botstein, President, Bard College

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.23.2007
i'm gettin' mine
my family recently visited with some friends of ours. at the outing, the parents of one of our friends were in attendance. when we left and were saying our goodbyes marty leaned in to hug the father of her girlfriend. when she tried to offer the man her cheek he just shot in and kissed her full on the mouth.

i've added this to my currently short list of good things about getting old; kissing younger women i don't really know on the mouth.

SOCIETY, PERSONAL (permalink) 07.18.2007
may i fetch your slippers and paper miss marty?
some of the neighborhood ladies have been convening about a smooth-talking salesman that's been trolling our streets. since he works during the day, he mostly catches the stay-at-home moms. when he approaches one he quickly opens with some insightful and relevant compliment and then seamlessly rolls into a friendly course of banter. by the time he begins pitching his wares the ladies are engaged enough that they feel unable to snub or refuse him outright as if he were some perfect stranger trying to wrangle money from their home equity lines. in one of their sidewalk pow-wows about the topic one of the ladies suggested what they often suggest when uncertain of an answer to an everyday and possibly awkward situation, "we should ask marty. marty will know what to do." marty is the no-frills, cut-to-the-chase, nip-it-in-the-bud mom on the block.

an example. a few years back we were at a bbq at a neighbors house. there were about six families there and kids were running and screaming inside and out. a small group of parents were standing in the kitchen talking when a kid came running in from the backyard. the child's father stopped him and told him to go back outside because his feet were dirty and he was going to track mud on the floor. the five year old looked at him, turned and ran on, ignoring the instruction. the man looked back to the group passing a hand in the air towards the now gone child and said:

what am supposed to do with that? the kid listens to nothing.

at least he stopped when you addressed him. mine don't even do that.

THE HOSTESS (while mixing a salad)
you should ask marty. marty knows what to do.

THE FATHER (turning to marty who was quietly standing in the room)
so marty. what should i do?

are you really asking me this?

yes i am.

you go get him, you sit his ass in a chair and you tell him he's on time out for five minutes for not listening.

sit him on a chair huh? like he'd stay.

you make him stay. you're a grown man john. are you telling me you can't hold a forty pound child on a chair for five minutes. i've held two down while making brownies and talking on the phone.

so you see. marty is viewed as a bit of a problem-solver in our neck of the woods. her advice might not always be in agreement with all folks, but the girl always has a position and in these hectic, break-neck days that seems to count for something. so when the neighborhood women were stymied by the pearly-toothed home security salesmen they came to marty. they explained the scenario and marty quietly listened. quietly that is until they got to the part of the episode where if the lady starts leaning towards the husband-card, the man quickly says "oh, if i'm talking to wrong person here, i can come back when the decision-maker of the home is in." when marty heard this she guffawed, like one of those great full-belly guffaws. when done she told the ladies that if he appeared on our stoop and made that implication she would say: "oh the man of the house? yeah, he's tied to tree in the backyard for sassin' me. you should go talk to him. he'd probably enjoy the company."

hearing marty so confidently regale the now-laughing ladies in front of our house gives me a sense of pride in being paired with a woman of such conviction. that said, when the laughter dies and the everyone is back in the homes, the strong words resonate in my head leaving a slight chill because of the bravado and confidence in which they were stated. it's almost as if this thing has already happened. or in the least could happen. at any rate, on days i don't update the site, you now may have an inkling as to why.

PERSONAL, SOCIETY (permalink) 04.10.2007
the bathroom's are clean too.
today marks my one year anniversary at the new job. that means it was one year ago today that i walked to my new office with a broad, idiotic, unremovable grin across my face. you see, i'd set this goal approximately six years prior and now here i was cresting the hill. as the year progressed the sheen didn't fade. i'd find myself walking the hallways or sitting in my office just grinning, still idiotically. and while i remain enamored with the employer and the work and the colleagues, it is the little things no one would expect that really keep the situation special.

if you need something you ask for it and assuming it is not a prostate massager or the like, you get it. after one of the several mergers at my last place, our new ceo instituted a policy that this company, his company, would no longer supply pens and pencils to the staff. i mean sure, it's not like a financial institution would need something superfluous like writing instruments to function so i found the move quite insightful if not inspired. when asked what employees were meant to do should a need arise the response claimed there wasn't a person on staff who didn't have a junk drawer full of pens in their home. and i reckon his $37 million year-end bonus could swing at least two such drawers.

parties and celebrations are held at people's homes. sometimes catered, sometimes not. either way, the personality of these affairs warm me. i recall back in corporate-world such celebrations entailed a boss flying in from another city for the day and the staff assembling in a conference room with too few chairs where we'd stand around awkwardly and eat a grocery store hoagie off paper plates.

there is a switch on the wall that allows me to turn the light in my office on and off. back in the day i remember standing on my desk to unscrew the broad fluorescent tubes over my workspace, disabling them. at some point in the week an elf would come in the night and reverse my adjustment. the next morning, up i'd climb and thus went our dance of persistence. i'll let you guess where the switch on my new wall most often resides.

windows. glorious, tall, world-framing windows. and as if just having them wasn't enough, they open. there are few professional perks sweeter than plying your indoor trade in the natural light of the day and feeling a soft morning breeze usher a co-workers acerbic flatulence away from your nose.

here's to what is hopefully another year of bliss and appreciation.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.19.2007
some days i'm a lonely adult too
in visiting with the hair-girl today she told me that growing up she thought the proper term for children with no siblings was 'lonely children' instead of 'only children'. throughout the afternoon my mind kept returning to that thought and i've since concluded that her usage is way more apt, appropriate and concise the what has always been used. and starting today, it is how i will refer to the country's growing phenomenon of lonely children.

KIDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 10.11.2006
stop, drop and run like hell
yesterday i bumped into a friend and her three-year old son leaving his pre-school. after introductions i had the following conversation with her boy.

so ravi, how'd school go?

good. a fire truck came.

oh, wow. a fire truck. that's pretty cool.

i didn't cry.

well, that's ... great. firemen do good stuff, there's no reason to cry.

he says he didn't cry because half his class did after the firemen put on their uniforms.

did you know this? that kids are freaked out by firemen. i had no idea. fortunately our fire professionals are a little more in tune and make it a point to tour their communities acquainting kids with the process. can you imagine busting your ass through a burning house only to have the little human you're trying to save shriek, turn and scamper under a flame-engorged bed. if it were me i'd be as alarmed as them by their reaction and think there was someone else in the room they saw and i didn't. odds are i'd dive under the bed right behind them to get away from the scary thing. it wouldn't be until they screamed, again, scurried away, again, and locked themselves in a burning closet that i would figure out i was the scary object in the room. and this is only one of the reasons i'm paid to type on a keyboard all day long instead of rescuing humans in peril.

additionally, if you remove the fire-element from the above, the scenario has way more similarities a marty-troy date night (before children) than i'm willing to share in such a public venue.

SOCIETY, ART (permalink) 08.24.2006
great advert

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.19.2006
well, there's always luby i guess
these are a few of the women we know; sole, ligaya, jona, pilar, geneva, celina.

and these are the men they are married to; john, joe, danny, steve, eric, and john again.

there's nothing magic about this sampling other than to highlight the collective gutlessness of our society when it comes to naming our males. i can't say i'm studied up on the psychology of it but i'm sure there is some identifiable secruity-related culprit lurking in the dark alleys of our minds. and as per usual marty and i have a host of girl names but again find ourselves empty-handed boy-wise.

names and clothes are a woman's game in our ethno-centric country.

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.16.2006
it's all about the acoustics people
i used a public restroom yesterday. there was one other person in there. i was going number one. he was going number two. he was also talking on a cell phone while going number two. as i attended to my matter, i listened to his end of the call (like i have a choice). i tried to discern if it was a professional call or his wife asking him to pick up a ham steak on the way home. it seemed like more than ham steak. i finished my duty and let my hand rest on the flush handle until i was sure the guy on the other end of the phone was in the middle of speaking. i didn't want to compete for microphone time with the squatter. and then with balletic-precision i dropped the hammer lighting up the small-tiled room with a reverberating rush. at the sound of the commercial-grade explosion, duece-man immediately interrupted the speaker trying to mask/overwhelm/hide the jet-powered urinal. such a force of nature is not so easily quelled though.

it was never a question of wether i would do it or not. it was just a question of how calculated i would be in doing it. well that and how much satisfaction i'd derive by acting like an eight-grader who just intentionally clogged the school's commode. let's just say my already spry step had a little extra attitude as i exited said bathroom.

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.02.2006
i don't how far away it is, but i can hear the brain cells dying from here
a local radio station in town has been advertising, incessantly, a contest where first prize is two vip passes to something called 'the party-deck'. i don't know what or where this structure of joviality is but after extensive consideration have concluded it's the last place i'd ever want to be.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.21.2006
give me the keys, i'll drive the car
the why the hell wouldn't ya guy told me a story about a friend of the family who was placed in an assisted living facility. for a long time he was perfectly ok with it because he was free to come and go as he pleased because he still had his car. as he got a little older and by some people's estimation a little less capable behind the wheel his children said he had to start thinking about giving up his car. his response was simple; if they took his car he was going to kill himself.

good to their word, they eventually took their father's car. when he learned of this he made his way to the second floor of the building he lived in, opened a window and stepped out of it. and, good to his word, died.

wouldn't you think the children of a man possessing this much conviction, would know the man possessed this much conviction?

SOCIETY, SCIENCE (permalink) 03.16.2006
i'm a magnet for information of import
the following subject was discussed during one of the more recent work pow-wows at my desk. the guy talking is one of the youngest coders in our group and he's also probably in the best shape of anyone in the office, but as always is the case in our industry, his physique is beginning to slide which is starting to plague his thoughts.

you know how when you're just wearing underwear and you bend over the elastic on your underwear waistband folds in half? now, when i stand up my gut is causing it to stay doubled over and it's freaking me out.

i assured him that if he stays in technology just a few more years, the problem will iron itself out because he will no longer be able to bend over in the first place. i didn't smile or laugh when i said it and he studied me seriously for a moment before waving me off laughing. i then gave him a reassuring, yet pitying, smile. in my tenure, i've watched many young men go through this body image revelation. no two really accept it the same so it's always a treat to watch.

in a related aside, many years ago bookguy said something to me that stuck firm since. we were on the elevator going to lunch and he told me he could tell if someone was overweight by seeing nothing but their shoes. curious i tested him and he was repeatedly spot on. when i asked how he was doing it he said the laced knots on their shoes were not centered on the tongue but more towards the inside of their body and this was because they pull their foot up onto their knee to tie it, versus leaning over and tying them straight on.

can't wait to send the kid at work into a further tailspin by applying this observation to him.

and i know your first impulse is to be jealous of the insightful and meaningful conversations that seem to routinely gravitate towards me every day. to that i say, you should be jealous. but you should also be chagrined that you don't get to hear all the juicier ones to blue for the net.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.10.2006
as dennis miller said, the tv beast ate us whole
some things i believe:

television killed the american family.

air conditioning killed the american neighborhood. *

and, irresponsible amounts of available credit killed the american society.

* television didn't do our neighborhoods any favors either.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.02.2006
bottoms up
i've had a few folks inquire into my jaded tone towards alcohol consumption given my 'seemingly derisive' post about the guy wearing a 'GET DRUNK, BE SOMEBODY' shirt. my position is this:

in regards to alcohol consumption, i'm not arrogant enough to think someone requires all of their faculties to carry on a conversation with me, i just like to think i'm at least working with their A-game.

i assure you, it's not some biblical or puritanical assertion. i just find people who are inebriated to be less capable of meaningful or witty discourse than those who are not altered. that said, i have experienced one exception to this where i was at a party and talking to guy who the t-shirted dude on the plane would have certainly described as being wasted or possibly plastered (i'm the first to admit i'm deficient on the variant stages of inebriation and their proper semantics). this guy i was talking to led what i will simply call an alternative social life which i happened to have many candid questions about. this guy, in his state, freely answered any and every question i threw his way regarding the intimate details of his lifestyle. in this case his drunkenness assisted both of us in having a highly compelling and fruitful exchange (granted, one-way exchange) of information.

that's it. nothing too overly judgmental here. you're free to be drunk around me if it helps you unabashedly reveal things about yourself that i want to know and that you otherwise would not tell me, if this is not the case, may i direct your attention to the jug of sweet tea on the counter.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.25.2006
i suggest you get in on this next year
this is the note i sent to my boss first thing monday morning:

i forgot to get a commitment i have on the calendar and wanted to give you a heads up that i will be out tomorrow.

i am attending a shakespeare performance at a womens' prison in northern missouri.

he didn't believe me.

anyone reading this site, knows i'm not nearly creative enough to make that up. he obviously has a higher opinion of me.

and speaking of creativity, before even getting on the bus to drive to the prison, i was preparing a few troy-esque quips to describe the experience. now that i've signed the book, emptied my pockets, walked through the checkpoints and took my seat in the windowless, cinder-blocked room, those witticisms seem neither appropriate nor humorous. especially since i shed more tears during the spoken word readings than i did in all of 2005.

i thank darkman for affording me this unique experience. i also commend darkman for being the first person i've ever seen use a cellphone without loud-talking into the receiver. i didn't think it was possible, for real i didn't.

SOCIETY (permalink) 12.15.2005
the best i can tell it says something about ...
saturday while pulling into a curbside parking spot i scraped the fender of the car parked in the space behind mine. in the end the damage was not bad. nothing on mine and a scrape to the rubber fender of a honda accord. it was very, very minor and i considered just leaving it. but decided if someone scraped my car i'd want to be the one who decided how bad it was and if it needed some sort of attention or not. so, on a scratch piece of cardboard, i wrote the following.

in parking, i accidentally scraped the front left fender of your car. i looked at it and the damage seems minor but wanted to give you a chance to inspect it for yourself. if you disagree my name is troy dearmitt and i may be reached at

i slid the torn cardboard under their driver side wiper and went in to get my haircut. while waiting, i had an uneasy feeling and couldn't get a co-worker's voice out of my head about 'never admitting' and 'never apologizing' when it comes to matters of auto accidents. i argued that in cases where there is obvious fault one can admit and one can apologize. he tells me to ask any insurance company and they'll make it very clear ... never admit and never apologize, just call them. not often looking to insurance companies for ethical advice, i decided the note was the right thing to do and i would work through whatever came of it and i went about my day.

a few hours and errands later my pager went off. i instantly knew it was marty and it occurred to me that i didn't think to call her about the mishap or the note (if only they made a device you could use to contact others while away from home). i feared the worst. "troy. some insane woman just called raving about her ruined car and said you did it. is this true! are you back on the pipe? we talked about this! come home! come home now!" but instead this is what my pager read.

very appreciative woman called about her car. just a scuff and not to worry. loved your honesty. wished u a merry xmas. alex fell asleep. mjw.

when i got home marty went into more detail about the lady's phone call and how she went on about how our communities needed more mutual respect and ownership and she was so very appreciative of the gesture. she also mentioned a need for penmanship because she could only decipher about half of what my note actually said.

so there evil insurance-abiding co-worker. it seems the world does not have to revolve around fear of litigation or bloated insurance premiums ... or legible writing as far as that goes.

SCIENCE, SOCIETY (permalink) 10.11.2005
printers, doorknobs and that shared copy of teen beat
if someone chooses to not use their sick days and comes to work ill, jettisoning their poisoned dna throughout the office, other presently healthy employees should have the right to use the diseased individual's sick-days (since they seem disinclined to). i mean why shouldn't the un-sick folks get to stay that way, un-sick? as for who should get first dibs on these confiscated privileges, a neurosis-based pecking order seems to make sense. what's one more bulleted list to corporate america?

granted, such an intelligent selection process would more than guarantee myself first rights to any neglected sick day. and don't think i'd only take honors in my current office because i'd win this lottery in your office, your partner's office, the office of every person you've ever known or done business with. you're reading the words of a man who can see germs as easily as i can see if you flushed the toilet in my home. and i'm not talking about detecting your day-after-the-super-bowl bowel movement, but your near-clear, post-bally's workout urine. hell, on a good day i could tell you the score without even walking into the john.

and, if i hear one more person tell me they're beyond the point of contagion i'm going to hack a spittle-laden sneeze on their keyboard and say "yeah, me too."

NEWS, SOCIETY (permalink) 10.06.2005
where were you, thought-wise?
were you aware we just celebrated the ten year anniversary of the the OJ verdict? i didn't until i caught this great episode of frontline which was loaded with all sorts of current observations about this historic affair. one of the more poignant comments came from a ucla law professor, Peter Arenella, in regard to the performance of the defense team:

tragically, the american public doesn't seem to understand the role of the criminal defense counsel. even my first year students ask me frequently how can you as a criminal defense attorney ... represent a guilty person in good conscious. the point of an adversarial system is for the defense to force the prosecution to persuade a jury beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt and a defense counsel's ethical role is to make the prosecution satisfy that burden of proof by challenging the credibility and persuasiveness of the prosecution's evidence.

i could definitely be lumped into the american public referenced here and have long been intrigued by this legal circumstance. i've always possessed a pollyanna notion that skilled defense teams were meant for the innocent and it was not morally clear to me how someone could fight to free a person they knew to be guilty (this obviously assumes a defendant admits the truth and/or crime to his attorneys or they otherwise come to know the truth), almost as if the trial should happen and if the dude's found innocent AND the defense team KNOWS the person is guilty, that some member of the defense team should step forward and assert that even though we won the case, we know our client is guilty of the charge.

an admission, to anyone in the legal circle feels like it should be enough, in my utopian vision at least. and i get that the landscape would change should this method be the norm. all i'm saying is it seems utterly bizarre to me that people go free when we have legal professionals walking around who know the defendant committed the crime for which they are accused, wherever that may apply.

a few more interesting points made in the show.

upon the verdict's reading in 95, you know, when the white population collectively sagged and the black population collectively rejoiced, the whites had a sense that the celebration was over what appeared to be an obviously guilty man, who was black, getting away with the murder of two people, who were white. upon re-interviewing many of the previous celebrants today, they admit to feeling he did in fact commit the crime, and they were not rejoicing that OJ dodged a murder charge but instead that a black man beat the system, a system that has long ravaged factions of their communities. beyond the irony that OJ was a man so accepted and revered by whites, the fact that it was orenthal james simpson seems to be irrelevant. but it is this vitally important distinction (that a great many of the blacks celebrating the verdict that day felt he either did it or was in some way responsible for it being done), i feel, was not made abundantly clear by the press back in 95.

i also heard multiple people say that the great flaw in the case was that certain parties of the lapd attempted, or very much appeared to have attempted, to frame an already guilty man and had they let events unfold naturally the case would have been much more winnable for the prosecution.

the only thing the pundits can agree on; the vivisection of this event does not have a final chapter. oh, and also that we really need to get cracking on the truth box.

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.11.2005
like basketball with sixth-graders
and then there were seven.

no one will believe me. i cannot be beaten.

FRIENDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 06.15.2005
i have no friends and rarely call my family
it is my personal goal to be the last information technology guy in america who doesn't own a cell phone. as it stands, it's between me and 18 other folks.

i still haven't even seen titantic. i cannot be beaten. this is a fact.

FRIENDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 03.25.2005
and i got ridiculed for playing hacky sack
on wednesday i had lunch with some people i just recently met. one of the girls at the table was complaining about the state of her dating life. i gave her the typical 'just got to keep swinging' propoganda speech, you know the one that ends with a hearty, yet assuring, clap on the back.

she responded to my spirited pep talk by sharing a moment from her last outing where her date left her sitting alone at a table while he stepped out to engage in some medieval combat using a weapon made from pvc tubing.

on the good side, at least his mom was letting him stay out late, and this in addition to borrowing the car for the night.

afterthought : if i had to guess where the traditional clap on the back business comes from, i'd attribute it to homophobes who were unable to give hugs to their other phobe friends. if this is true, giving a clap on the back is almost like throwing hail hitler salutes around the workplace. no more claps on the back from me. you are either getting a full-body contact hug or you'll have to lick your wounds all on your own.

HYGIENE, SOCIETY (permalink) 03.22.2005
pay up you chump-rookie
last month my momz was in the newspaper. you see, there's recently been a syphilis outbreak in saint louis and when stuff like that goes down, people give my mom a shout because she's all over knowing the score about broken and malfunctioning genitals.

in the articles my mom referred to some 'sex-oriented social events' that took place late last year which were thought to be the source of the city's current dilemma. one thing that people will never be able to say about me is that the phrase 'sex-oriented social event' didn't grab my attention. so when mom was over for bella's birthday party i asked about her comments.

let's just say i got 20 bucks that says my mom has uttered the phrase 'spanksgiving' and your mom has not.

PHOTO, SOCIETY (permalink) 03.18.2005
i'm sure your household will survive w/out that extra gallon of milk
as people moved through this traveling museum looking in on some of the most terrifying of human moments and while paying homage to the craftsmen who have devoted their lives, occasionally literally, to capturing these unique and momentary events, you'd think, you would just think for a moment that out of respect of this event and those trying to experience it, you could turn your fricken cell phone off for 60 minutes. or hows about a compromise and we just say set it to vibrate you self-absorbed hard-on(s).

PERSONAL, TELEVISION, SOCIETY (permalink) 01.14.2005
she doesn't look at me the same anymore
marty and i have been enjoying the terribly underrated freaks and geeks series together. i can't tell you how interesting it is to be watching this with someone who was neither a freak, a geek or, as with her spouse, somehow both.

although i will say i feel like a celebrity. she's so full of questions, questions i know the answers to. and she asks them excitedly, sitting on the couch with her knees pulled up to her chest, smiling widely as she works to get them out.

were there really girls who would/could push guys around? did guys really freak out about having to shower in gym? do people really dance in front of and converse with their mirror?

the answers:
  1. my mom made me put the dollar bill she gave me for lunch in that funny little pocket above the regular right pocket on levis. three people knew this. myself, my mother and a girl named audrey who simply held her hand out every day she saw me before lunch.
  2. at my high school, we only had to shower during swim week. me and a terribly overweight kid were the only ones with doctors notes excusing us from the program for three straight years. you see, not only did i not know how to swim, i didn't get a chest hair until i was 19, started shaving a year after that (and then only once a week until i was 25). you do the math. i was about twelve leg hairs away from being diagnosed with alopecia and advertising my pubeless groin to all of my rowdy and hirsute colleagues was simply not in the plan.
  3. dammit

but don't get me wrong, i'm also learning stuff. like that the average person could feather their hair if they so desired?

although, for me, it raises another question; who wouldn't desire to feather their hair?

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.25.2004
everything is not relative
be thankful for...

your opportunities.
people who like you.
indoor plumbing.
and an underwear optional lifestyle.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.09.2004
the most complex problems oftentimes require the most simplistic of solutions
i heard a news story today about a lawsuit against a school district. the plaintiffs were petitioning for the right to place stickers inside the school's science books. this insert intends to correct any misinformation the textbook and educational facility may attempt to convey to its students regarding evolution.

were i the decision maker in this squabble, i would grant the zealots their request with the single condition that i get to place my own sticker inside all of their fancy, leather-bound bible books.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.05.2004
will a stool in the closet pass?
walt and i watched one of those home shows on the tele last weekend. they were discussing the new age of luxury homes. the encouraging news; we're seeing a departure from the behemoth stone-faced mansions of yesteryear for more intimate, better crafted domiciles. more intimate meaning a 12,000 square foot hovel, complete with the requisite half-court basketball and golf facility in the basement.

i wasn't sweating what we didn't have until one feature was discussed. it seems that what you and i knew as a study while growing up is now known as a knowledge nook. and it seems quite important that these cerebral crannies be 'acoustically open so kids are able to chat with mom and dad if need be'.

a flood of explanation washed over marty and i. in our defense, how were we to know we'd fail as parents without an acoustically open knowledge nook?

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.03.2004
None of them knew the colour of the sky.
the key to my happiness has always been tied to gross ignorance about anything of consequence.

i think i need to go back there now.

SOCIETY, FASHION (permalink) 10.06.2004
i'd totally wear them to work
i miss wrist bands.

and i'm talking about those big three-stripe suckers. never has a more utilitarian accessory fallen to the fashion whores.

well, unless you include the raised collar. and, if you are wondering what functional purpose that fad served, it made me look less like a bobble-head doll.

STORYTIME, SOCIETY (permalink) 09.29.2004
what would you do?
sadly, i wasn't here for the original conversation or even the retelling. i heard about it third-hand from marty so the players will have to forgive any kluged details (and, should that happen, walt is to shoulder the blame).

e-love and dr. j have a dog, hattie. they also have a new baby, alison. trying to gauge his wife's commitment to their family members, e-love recently posed the following questions to her.
  1. if crazed terrorist broke into the house and said you had to cut off your pinky finger or they would kill hattie, what would you do?
  2. if crazed terrorist broke into the house and said you had to cut off your baby's pinky finger or strangle hattie to death with your bare hands, what would you do?
let's just say you don't want to be hattie, or any other canine for that matter, on dr. j's watch should crazed terrorist break into the home looking to grow their collection of finger-pieces.

SOCIETY, FOOD (permalink) 09.17.2004
what do you do when you brown bag it?
people do all kinds of kooky things to lose weight. my favorite, by far, never to beaten, is this one:

eating every meal in front of the mirror ... naked.

awesome in its simplicity, this plan rules. and, i figure if such a routine can help your dietary choices, imagine what it could do for other facets of your life. would you have ever guessed that as i'm typing these words to you i'm looking at myself, naked, in a mirror i hung over my desk. can you see a difference? i can.

SOCIETY, FOOD (permalink) 09.16.2004
when its offered in an intravenous drip, i'll be the first rolling up my sleeve
a couple of very nice mormon fellas stopped by the house to chat the other day. after some polite conversation and realizing the purpose of their visit, i decided to save them some time. i asked if their organization was the one that disallowed caffeine. in a surprisingly unabashed manner, they said they were.

i took a moment to describe my daily regimen, in regards to caffeine, to their dropped jaws. i then explained, in a very succinct manner, that i'd sooner give up my rights of reproduction as well as the body parts responsible for that reproduction before i would forfeit a single swig of my luscious and legal narcotic. it was here that they bid me a good day and went on their white-shirted way.

SOCIETY, SCIENCE (permalink) 09.15.2004
so that's what all these people are talking about
i just met my second person who used to have a scanner that could pick up cell phone conversations. as i understand it, due to changes in cellular protocols, these devices can no longer receive the signals. too bad about that really, cuz there are about seven traits of my personality that would have made that activity and me real good friends.

interestingly each of these fellows had similar findings. they said that the dominant thread of conversation they heard dealt with infidelity. one of them went as far to put it at 70% of the conversations he listened to took place between affair goers.

the second most common discussion they spied; couples fighting.

now there's some math even i can add up.

SOCIETY (permalink) 09.01.2004
yes, i would like to supersize that
imagine britney spears' career if she were 50 pounds heavier.

but then again, it hasn't seemed to hinder anna nicole's ability to earn a buck, so who knows.

WEB, SOCIETY (permalink) 08.27.2004
this is the 600th monorail post. no lie.
put some fun between your legs

a guy at work showed me the above ad which he found in a 1978 issue of national lampoon. if you own one of these shirts, bumper stickers or bags, you should email me right now because i'm paying a grotesque amount of money for one i can call my own. note: low-rent substitutions will not suffice.

spinning through this rag it's bizarre to see many domain-less advertisements. i can't help but wonder what i would be doing for a living if i was 35 in 1978 instead of 2004. the other noteworthy aspect of leafing through this is the commercial space is way funnier than the humor magazine's actual crafted content, by today's standards at least. allow me to expound:

[click to enlarge]

is that jeff goldblum?
it seems an unfortunate side effect of this in dash sparkomatic is that it causes your head to begin morphing into that of a common housefly. that and dressing like an aspiring adult film star. on studying this scene i'm thinking mr. reams here may want to shag his ass out of dodge in that mag-heavy firebird because i don't see the natives being too warm and fuzzy to a guy with huge, white, compound eyes, especially one wearing that bombardier jacket.

yamaha chappy
[click to enlarge]

i'd like to join your hell's angel club ... please
i can't tell you how much i'd like one of these. but i also couldn't tell you about the black and blue beating i'd get if i showed up to work riding it. no worries though given my super-secret and uber-effective self-defense. although that might not save me from dodging the nickname CHAPPY.

yamaha stereo advertisement
[click to enlarge]

i kind of miss the big silver dials
so we all know i have one of these. and i recently added one of these. just last night i was trying to explain the ipod/henry kloss setup to my father and he just kind of stood there blinking, wanting to understand, trying to comprehend but because he came from such a different school we weren't really firing on all cylinders. but, you'll never find me to be too scathing on this front because as e-love points out i'm closer to 70 year's old than i am to my birth which means i'm just a few birthdays from the doddering phase of my own life.

camel advertisement
[click to enlarge]

they got everyone but gopher
now i bet you never knew that tom sellek, dana plato and jacques cousteau posed for an ad together. and if you think you're spying ron howard up on the gangplank, i would say you have a keen eye (this is obviously ron in one of his earlier directorial cameos). one would think with all this star power you could leave the cool-ass diving bell back in the shop but camel has never been one to pull a punch when it came to their advertising. i mean if it weren't for the diving bell, i wouldn't have a smoke dangling from my mouth as i type these words. to recap ... no diving bell ... no sale ... diving bell ... i got an opened carton on top of the fridge. and this is 25 years after the ad initially ran. i'm going to call that a well spent advertising dollar.

SOCIETY, PERSONAL (permalink) 07.14.2004
you're talking to the jenifer aniston of D-block
a guy and i were talking at work about what it would be like to go to jail, like for-real jail.

he was all 'man if i went to jail the guys would seriously have their way with me'.

this guy is a pretty normal looking dude. normal height, normal weight, has to shave everyday, beginning to lose his hair. you know normal dude. additionally, he doesn't have a feminine thread in him. given all of this, i had to set the boy straight.

'no offense man, but who the hell do you think you're talking to. look at me. i'm five foot eight, all creamy smooth cuz i've got no body hair, full head of hair. to those guys i might as well be alyssa milano. hell, throw in my big cyclist ass and you got j-lo herself bunking over you.'

now oddly enough, after defending my standing as the more appealing prison bitch, i swear this guy didn't look at me the same the rest of the day. is there such a thing as a corporate cube bitch? if so, i'm afraid i may already be spoken for.

SOCIETY, FILM (permalink) 06.24.2004
it saddens me terribly
of the documentary-based movies i've seen recently (fog of war, super-size me) and am about to see (fahrenheit 9/11, like don't ya know) i must say that my majority feeling has been one of anger. well, and of course there's disbelief. and, i'd hate to leave out disappointment. and then you've always got good ole american apathy.

if only selfish-ass behavior was a reusable natural resource, this planet would be set for the next trillion years. assuming that the corporate or governmental agency charged with its control didn't totally screw the human race over for the benefit of the top three executives. and in considering that, go ahead and scrap the canning of selfish behavior idea because the power broker's record aint all that impressive when it comes to doing the noble and global thing.

and, don't think i'm not hip to how unoriginal this rant is. that's just how damn sad i feel about it all.

SCIENCE, WEB, SOCIETY (permalink) 02.11.2004
1 member strong (think about it)
just as my campaign against circumcision was ebbing, i learned that i had my first admitted/documented conversion. and by this i mean when these new parents were having the discussion about to chop or to not chop my name came up, and in a positive way, a convincing way.

now some of you may be thinking that for all the raving i do, it is amazing that this is my first conversion. i know that's what i thought when my jehovah's witness friend told me that after knocking on doors every week for ten years he had yet to convert someone. i thought what conviction, what perseverance, what a lunatic. in fact, his dedication proved sturdier than mine because i was ready to give up the foreskin fight after just three years of rejection. but, the most disheartening fact about it all was not the futility but the near-believers. the people who nodded in agreement. the people who saw the logic before them. the people who could see the flaws in the process and still decided, in the end, to take the knife to their infant boys.

for those who want the converts' names, whether your intention be congratulatory or inflammatory (for rekindling my faith) forget about it. all of my client information is kept in the strictest of confidence, especially the clients i like.

FRIENDS, QUOTES, SOCIETY (permalink) 01.21.2004
i'd say more but i'd just wreck it
marty and i know a young man. i find him to be quite spectacular because he is unlike most people his age. perhaps my affinity to him comes from sharing a proclivity for never fitting into the peg we're told we're supposed to fit in, by the society around us at least. but he ... he is one of the most introspective and beautiful people i know from and because of it. below is an excerpt from an email he sent to marty. and, for once, i am posting it with his permission, albeit anonymously.
as life goes on, things happen that we don't expect and that we can't control. all we can do is learn from it all and try to understand ourselves better.

i think a lot about life and relationships these days. reflecting on the way we all relate to one another, i come to this conclusion: please try to see your kids for something more than their pretty faces or their hungry stomachs. please try to see them for something more than their minds or collection of thoughts.

when i look back to the way i was raised, i feel abused and neglected. i feel cheated. my parents gave me everything in this world - money, food, clothing, car, school, kisses and hugs. but they never saw me for that person within it all. i was never seen for what i truly am.

looking back, i don't think i was ever loved. and because of it i don't know how to love today. i'll probably never marry and have kids because of the fear i would do it to them. it's sad.

please do more for them then put clothes on their backs. with whatever time you have in this life, please try to see them as something more. my life has been damaged because my parents didn't have the strength to try - somehow.

please don't do that to your kids. please just try somehow. i'm not trying to tell you to be religious or spiritual or whatever. i'm not. i'm just saying, i lost about 20 years of my life because i was never shown anything else. they just raised me to eat, sleep, drink and defend my property. and expected me to find it all out on my own.

maybe i'm coming closer to my answers, but i lost a lot of time and i shed a lot of blood trying.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.06.2003
100% guaranteed to make it a memorable event
i heard an interesting person interviewed on the radio. she is a party motivator. more simply, she could be called a party ringer. someone with guaranteed charm, charisma and a way of bringing people out of their shells. yesterday i was bemoaning how i'm not a party guy, but this i could do. it's all about the objective. if i was being paid to interact i would have an excuse to interact and could then justify it even if not fulfilling.

her core skill involved stimulating conversation. i could stimulate conversation. i've been known to do this many a time. only difference is she would ask questions like...

what did you want to be when you were in high school and what do you do now?
who is cuter, justin timberlake or leonard dicaprio?
who here thinks mud baths don't renovate a woman?
don't you just love wearing capri pants in the early fall?

where i would ask questions more along the lines of ...

are you circumcised?
will you circumcise your children?
have you ever seen an uncircumcised member?
don't you think men should be able to wear capri pants?

while getting my own party motivator business off the ground, i think you'll find my rates to be quite fair. but i suggest you book me before demand becomes too great.

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.08.2003
you know that thing has a suck setting, just like you
there is a guy in my neighborhood some call the most anal resident but they are wrong. he is the most anal person ever invented, and he's pissing me off.

here's the deal. he has this gas powered blower and weekly he sets out to relocate every blade, grain and follicle he doesn't deem attractive away from his home. the magic radius seems to be 150 feet which coincidentally is about how far the beginning of my property line is from him (he's two doors down). so he meticulously escorts the natural varmints away from his front door and stops his maintenance in front of my home. this leaves a small wave of outdoor dust bunnies sitting on my sidewalk and street, yes he does the street too, remember we're talking about the most anal human to ever sport an anus.

now while this habit has been noticeably annoying i've never really sweated it too much, but the other day i was sitting on the front porch reading, heard something, looked up and saw him walking back towards his home. i looked into the street and saw that he had just dumped some twigs and dried leaves right in front of my house. it was apparent he hadn't seen me sitting there and he was too far away by the time i realized what happened to gig him in the act.

to my point. i'm seeking applications form the more deviant among us describing what it is you would do to this guy for me. please make your submissions generously verbose. also, include any past experience, references and what you feel would be an appropriate fee for your services. photos of previous work would also be appreciated.

and, i'd totally do this myself, but ...

SOCIETY, FRIENDS (permalink) 07.11.2003
i think we may be onto something here
it started with a comment i made to marty a few months ago:

"it's just weird that 90% of the people in this neighborhood are doing the exact same thing right now (making dinner) and most of them hate it."

it was next passed onto a neighbor by marty at a picnic:

"i mean how hard would it be to double your recipe and walk half of it down to your neighbors so they wouldn't have to cook for an evening."

and, it culminated with an authentic indian dinner being hand delivered to our door one week later.

if things go right, there should be more on this later. but in the meantime, crazy mad props go to Anu.

and i also need throw a shout out to neighbor anne who brought to our kitchen a farm fresh chicken dinner the week before.

while down deep i know people don't mostly suck, it's nice to experience an occassional reminder illustrating this.

and i promise to stop saying things like 'mad props' and 'shout out' anymore. my temporary excuse; i'm high on people.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.08.2003
i wonder what unpredictable noise this one will make
i'm quite certain that i could never express how much i hate the fourth of july, after dark especially.

when they invent a firework that can be exploded at three in the morning in your backyard which i don't have to listen to, i'll share in your joyous and meaningful celebration.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.02.2003
boy, that troy sure was a ...
you ever wonder what people will say about you when it's all over. i know something people won't be saying about me:

'there wasn't a soul who disliked troy'

i've heard this in reference to a few people in my life and must say i question it every time.

for instance the kindest, gentlest guy i've ever known was hated by another guy i knew. granted the hate guy was a totally unreasonable, irrational and self-important tool, but he did technically hate the nice guy. perhaps the epithet for those who were never disliked should be amended to read:

'he luckily never met an idiot so everyone liked him'

and just in case you're wondering if the nice guy was really all that nice, he'd sit down to pee when a guest in someone's home as to not splash water/urine all over their floors and walls. where i come from, it just don't get any nicer than that.

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.13.2003
front window

it was 3am on a friday night. i was going to bed which means alex was waking up which means marty was mumbling incoherently and picking up things that weren't there (once marty hits 30 plus days of deficient sleep, watch your ass).

after realizing alex wasn't going back to sleep, i plucked him out of his bassinet and stood rocking him. during this i noticed that a way cool fog had rolled in. seeing how the lights played through the mist it was a given i had to go out and get some shots. so with the little man master-blastered to my chest, i grabbed the camera gear and headed out. we ambled around for about an hour during which time we talked to a cop who warned me about being too affectionate to my kid lest they become overly attached, ran into a shopping cart guy getting a jump on the friday night trash can loot. he asked for a buck. it's sad how some people are just unable to clock out.

alex and i call the above shot 'the apartment building someone was having sex in'. my god can people be loud. or i should say, my god can this particular woman be loud. i heard her halfway down the block. she was so loud in fact i felt i had to commemorate the moment with a picture and since i had just talked to the cop i thought it may be uncomfortable if he had to arrest me minutes later for photographing a young couple having sex through their bedroom window, so you're going to have to settle for a picture of their building's entrance.

and, while setting up for this photo and listening to this woman's production, alex and i pondered why it was societally acceptable for women to make all this racket when the guys can't, or aren't supposed to at least. i mean i guess the guys 'could' light it up but i ask you, what do you think would happen to your libido if you had to take in my squeals and grunts of utter delight during your utter delight. don't bother answering that because i know what it would do to me and that's all i need to know at the moment. issue settled.

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.04.2003
12,416 days old and counting
the people who knew me before i was an old man with two children have witnessed a transformation in me. some think it's good. others find it annoying. i know i'm different, this i can admit. although, i don't know that i'd liken it to the full lobotomy bookguy swears i underwent. for instance, i asked a woman at the park the age of her baby and she replied 'oh, he's 16 and a half weeks old'.

i have a piece of advice for her. no one gives a shit. the correct answer was four months, my child is four months old. celebrate the half week anniversaries of your ilk in the privacy of your own boring-ass home, especially when it's four days beyond four months.

there bookguy, i told you it was only a partial lobotomy.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.30.2003
got milk?
yesterday was a pretty average day. well, except for when i ran into the 30 year old skater rat who was milking his pregnant dog. and, what struck me about the scene was the sensual way he rolled the canine's pink, bloated nipple between his fingers. it just seemed way more sexual than you think a dog milking would need to be.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.21.2003
they had rakes! who would buy a rake there?
bella spent the weekend at the betty ford clinic (mom's house). we were to drive out on sunday to pick her up and have easter dinner with the folks. my mom called early sunday morning to say that bella was having asthma attacks and her medicine was empty. this was ok because we had dropped the prescription off the day before. this was bad because our neighborhood pharmacy was closed on easter sunday.

the health of my child is the only thing that could make me pass through the doors of a walgreens, especially on a holiday (*). i felt like gilbert grape at the super-mart. did you know they sell picture frames at walgreens? how about sporting equipment? and, if you ever need gourmet pasta made in a microwave they'll hook you up there as well.

while marty got the prescription filled i checked to see if they were carrying the penis numbing condoms yet. it's not that i need them or would use them it's just that i feel this is an exciting step in man's progress. they don't stock them though. kites, yes. penis-numbing condoms, no.

* i not only boycott walgreens, i also boycott shopping at places that are open on holidays. these people should be home with their families, friends or laying around watching carter country marathons on cable. i still remember when everything was closed on sundays, the grocery, target, the mall, everything. i'd like to see us go back to this for the sake of our communities. our society is lacking a social element, not consumeristic greed.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.14.2003
would it be safe to assume you're not an NPR subscriber
the war is definitely a touchy topic and many people are guarded with who they discuss the matter with. contrary to most media outlets i feel that there are more than two camps out there and the factions are more complex than the simple pro-war/pro-peace groups getting most of the press. given this, i'm extra cautious about floating most opinions out there.

but, there was this one guy i was talking to who didn't seem to have this tread lightly attitude. "they're just savages, nothing but savages, we've got no choice" he kept repeating this over and over in regard to the iraqi people. finally, i asked him if he knew what the difference between himself and one of these savages was. he said no and asked, facetiously, if i might enlighten him. of course i would. the difference between you and these savages is that you were born here and they were born there. and it's not hurting any that you were born white at that.

we didn't get into the specifics of what he did to earn, deserve or control this minor detail of his life or the benefits he enjoys by this distinction. i didn't get the sense he was ready for that. his pulsing neck veins and clenched fists helped me draw this conclusion.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.08.2003
an un-caped crusader
i was listening to an interview on npr about a woman who was struggling with an obesity issue. there came a point in her struggle, she recalled, that she decided to kill herself. so she walked to this bridge near her home, climbed up on the ledge and was preparing to jump when she looked over to the side and saw this guy in the bushes on the river's edge masturbating to her potential dive. she got all disgusted by this scene, climbed back down to safety, went home and has never tried again.

is it wrong that i find this funny? and sure, i can admit that i'm a little bit jealous that i've never been given the opportunity to use my powers for such good. some people just get all the luck.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.18.2003
and i thought i was completely deluded!
the closing argument in my 'saying it doesn't make it so' campaign came today when i saw an airline stewardess bumper sticker on the back of a crappy mini-van which stated:

stewardesses: we're here to save lives, not to kiss your ass.

yeah, well in-between saving all those lives get me another bag of peanuts and coke ... with extra ice. and, you're not as puckered up as i like to see my lifesaving sky waitress-help so can i see a little more pout behind the bombay red lip gloss. and, would i be way out on a limb to guess that the newly founded hooters air isn't doing your cause any favors.

question, if you stood every stewardess in a long line, in plain clothes, and then had to guess what occupation they were in would you think seasoned paramedic or people who used to work at j crew.

and, in response to this spin project, i'm representing my own interest with the following bumper sticker:

there. respect me now. really, i insist.

QUOTES, SOCIETY, BOOKS (permalink) 03.13.2003
i think i'd get my hate on
My mother's mistress had three boys, one 21, one 19 and one 17. Old mistress had gone away to spend the day one day. Mother always worked in the house. She didn't work on the farm in Missouri. While she was alone, the boys came in and threw her down on the floor and tied her down so she couldn't struggle, and one after the other used her as long as they wanted for the whole afternoon.

Mother was sick when her mistress came home. When the old mistress wanted to know what was the matter with her, she told her what the boys had done. She whipped them and that's the way I came to be here.

Mary Estes Peters, former slave

i've often heard people comment on the 'misdirected' hate of our oppressed towards the living ancestors of these evil-doers saying things like "i didn't do it" or "you can't hold me accountable for what someone did a 100 years ago". i may have even uttered this a time or two myself. that said, if this happened to my mother or grandmother, etc i think i may harbor some ill-will, however ill-logical it may seem to someone who doesn't have this as part of their family tree.

the un-correctable nature of this history totally sucks. but the even sadder fact is that this history is still being written.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.11.2003
but it said not to.
as noted yesterday i recently purchased an electric toothbrush. something i didn't mention is that another thing i'm doing now is i read the instructions for things that i buy. i haven't done that since i could make noise with my armpit. and i couldn't read before that. if you do the math that does mean i've never read instructions.

not only am i now reading the instructions, i'm heeding them. for instance point five from the braun people reads:

5. never drop or insert any object into any openings.

the problem is they do not specifically apply this tenet to their product. therefore, i'm forced to take it as general advice. one would think they might say "do not insert this item into electrical outlets, lest you may have a bad day" or "do not prod humans smaller than you with this device because that would pretty much make you a dick and karma would dictate some larger human will later violate you in a like manner."

given my quandary, problems abound.

there are three garbage bags sitting NEXT to the dumpster behind my house. they're mine. i put them there. i'm fearful of placing them INTO the actual dumpster.

a man pushed me at the ATM because i wouldn't put my card into the slot. he didn't even give me time to explain. he just called me a name involving the rather troglodytic term 'moron' and cut in line.

i've urinated on the bathroom floor eight times since getting my toothbrush. i have tried explaining the reason to marty, i even showed her the instruction pamphlet, which i now carry in my wallet for quick reference, but she just grabbed it from me, crumpled it in her raised fist, threw it back at me and told me to stop pissing on her floor.

i wrecked my car after swerving to avoid going through a tunnel and then almost got hit by another car once i realized i inserted myself in my car in the first place. that close shave knocked me out of my inserting things into other things stupor.

however, the instructions for some elbow patches i just bought tell me to never think about something i'm unaware of. this may get worrisome.

oh, and happy birthday to the raised fist one.

SOCIETY, HYGIENE (permalink) 03.07.2003
my green nipples mean you should buy me dinner
ok, this one here's for all the ladies out there. i'm going to let you in on a little secret. ready. ok. here goes. there is no such thing as blue balls. never has been. you know how i know. well, a couple of reasons. first, i own a set and they've been through all kinds of trauma and abuse and they have never, ever taken on such a jaundiced hue. second, i've seen every In Search Of ever made and nimoy never tackled this mythic beast which pretty much confirms the veracity of the whole deal for me.

now we know all kinds of guys are going to come crawling out of the morass saying i'm wrong and that they've had them or their cousin had them or this guy up in canada got em once and how they were wicked terrible and ached so. it's bullshit. don't believe a word of it. it is a male-wide conspiracy to dupe women into granting favors of the flesh that they may otherwise be disinclined to provide. i mean believe me, i've been tormented, turned down, and left in quite a state by an inordinate number of ladies all over the planet and my sack has never gone through such permutations.

now here's the deal, should a guy try to work this con on you, ask them what the remedy is. when they say it is to get some relief, bust one or flush the tanks, tell them that they are probably more qualified to address the issue than yourself and they should go to the john or behind the bushes and handle their bidnez. because, you see, even if there was such an affliction no one ever said that a woman had to be the one to extract the demons. hell, i know a doctor that will give you a a prostate massage to the point of climax. send them there and see if the mere thought of a gloved hand two feet up their ass corrects their mood.

and since i believe in being thorough, let's say the above tactic doesn't take. tell the guy you'll help him out but that you are a little trepidatious given the colony of warts on your hands, the chancre sores in your mouth and the odoriferous yellow-green discharge your girlfriend said you should have checked out by a professional. if they're still game after that, run. run like hell. don't stop, don't look back. just run.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.07.2003
stepping up for all mankind
ok, let's say you get picked up by a spaceship or approached on the street by an alien and they ask you what is the difference between men and women. reproductive and physical traits aside, what would you tell them? and let's say you want to keep it brief, given that they're an alien and all and possibly freaking you out a bit. i think a lot of people would jump on the horndog factor. the visceral, do-anything nature of men. or perhaps the power gene or the slob factor or their incessant need for new, young and shiny things.

while any of those work, they are relatively singular in nature. i would shoot for something fresh and more impactful, something that dug into the embarrassingly few layers of the male psyche, something that would concisely reveal the true nature of men in comparison to women. i've actually been thinking on this much longer than i'm comfortable telling you but i've finally concluded my search. the answer is underwear.

how weird is it that men dig womens' underwear as much as they do. clean, soiled, no matter. for men, a pair of delicate delicates is such a _thing_. if obtained it is a prize to be coveted and shown only to those with such backstage passes to their personal life. the appointed owner will touch them softly, smell them (say what you want but you're preaching to the wrong cat here), then fold or rumple them neatly and steal them away into some secret place specially picked out for such valued possessions.

now flip this. can you imagine giving as a present or some affectionate token, a pair of your tighty whitey's or printed boxers to a lady-friend. and forget about the soiled variety. if they're clean you're at the least going to get an "Oh my God!" and should you place a pair of your seasoned, bacon-striped, thin-where-you-scratch-most pair of undershorts in her unsuspecting and outstretched hand you just may get a merciless ass-beating. you may as well reach into the murk of a johnny-on-the-spot and let the sludgy residue slide into the powdered palm of her hand.

i was just thinking that that is what i would tell an alien race is the difference between men and women should they ask me. men like womens' underwear and nobody likes mens.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.05.2003
loud and proud
so some guys at work were all huddled in this circle talking about various guy things when one of them pipes up and starts bashing the adult flushable wipe. i mean he's essentially calling them feminine hygiene commercials for men and asked "what kind of man is going to use these." i saw several heads nodding in agreement. being new and being the least testosterone ridden of the pack i found myself unable to step up in the name of my personal sanitation-based savior. my head hung in spineless shame afraid my eyes may betray my allegiance. when shockingly i heard an unlikely voice speak up in their defense. i say unlikely because if you had to pick the guy most opposite me in our group, this fellow would be it. but, all the same, here he was and proclaimed the following in a stern southern drawl.

"let me ask you something. if you walk into your backyard and it's just loaded with dog landmines and you happen to step in one, are you going to go grab a thin, dry piece of toilet paper from the bathroom to clean your shoe. hell no! you're going to get the garden hose or go to the kitchen sink and douse the hell out of the bottom of it to get it clean. so you expect a man to clean his grimiest of spots with that same piece of paper you wouldn't even clean the bottom of your shoe with is ridiculous. i use those wipes and all my buddies and my brothers give me all kinds of hell over it but i don't even care. i use 'em all the time and i'm clean and fresh and no one is going to take that away from me."

yeah. take that you heathens.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.10.2003
you're daft
i don't make bets very often. the few times i do, i'm certain i will win (exept where e-love is concerned). yesterday i was presented with such an opportunity. the bet: if you put a dime on the floor beneath the urinal in the men's bathroom, would it still be there an hour later. the wager: lunch. my position: yes, it would absolutely still be there one hour later, one day later, one lifetime later (barring the janitorial process).

all men should know where i'm coming from but women may not so allow me take just a moment to explain this rationale. i'm sure you ladies have possible notions of how a male attends to his liquid business but there is minutia involved that most wouldn't be privy to. now i know those that are married or co-habitating have a semblance of understanding because there are drops and smatterings of your partner around your own lavatory. you may on occasion marvel at the quantity or the distance it traveled from the commode but assuming you're only living with one guy at a time, these thoughts are still wildly deficient. now what i need you to do is imagine the mayhem created by 100 men sharing one urinal over a span of 9 hours. furthermore, consider a man's attention to such matters in their own home and then project how their nature may change in a public forum where they are not solely responsible or held accountable for the cumulative effect.

for instance, in the morning when the bathroom is pristine from the night's cleaning, men just step up and do their deed. as early as ten am you may have to move anywhere from 6-12 inches back as to not stand in the shiny pool beginning to form under the urinal as brought about by the hapless shakes and miscalculations of previous patrons. by 3pm you may find yourself a full two feet away with legs apart as not to be standing in this accumulated swill.

so given this you can imagine my certainty when someone said they were going to set a dime in the epicenter of this mayhem at 2:30pm and that it would still be there come 3:30. i know, sheer madness. but this fella was confident as was i, so the dime was dropped at the appointed hour. for obvious reasons we could not stand watch over the urinal so i cannot say if the silver lucre lasted 10 or 55 minutes, all i can report is that it did not last the full 60. i repeat, it did not last the full 60.

shocked and staggered and now uncertain of the far-reaching ramifications of this study, i will buy this lunch but i will buy it with paper currency. and i will accept only paper currency in return, as my change in that from this day forward coin will never again touch the hand of troy lane dearmitt. never!

and oh yeah, everyman submissions are due tonight by midnight.

SOCIETY (permalink) 12.24.2002
does it ooze green and red?
in attempt to explain some of my lunacy, i've told you how my mom works in the sexually transmitted division of the centers for disease control and some of the traumatizing events to come about from this affiliation (as in, monstrously large and mangled penises painted on our living room wall). should this confession not sway you in my direction, see how they celebrate christmas in the aniseptic corridors of their building as carolers in white lab coast made their rounds last week.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a little luvin’ under the tree.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two itchy bumps from that little luvin’ under the tree.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three french kisses, two itchy bumps, it’s some sort of STD.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

On the fifth day of Christmas my doctor said to me … Chla-mydi-a, one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

On the sixth day of Christmas my doctor gave to me six penicillin, Chla-mydi-a, one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love came to me – “how ‘bout a quickie?”, six penicillin, Chla-mydi-a, one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

On the eighth day of Christmas my ture love gave to me – a case of herpes, “how ‘bout a quickie?”, six penicillin, Chla-mydi-a, one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

On the ninth day of Christmas my doctor said to me try doxycycline, a case of herpes, “how ‘bout a quickie?”, six penicillin, Chla-mydi-a, one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

On the tenth day of Christmas the CIS came to me “tell me ten sex partners”, try doxycycline, a case of herpes, “how ‘bout a quickie?”, six penicillin, Chla-myid-a, one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

On the eleventh day of Christmas the CIS gave to me eleven HIV tests, “tell me ten sex partners”, try doxycycline, a case of herpes, “how ‘bout a quickie?”, six penicillin, Chla-myid-a, one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

On the twelfth day of Christmas I got just me twelve latex condoms, eleven HIV tests, “tell me ten sex partners”, try doxycycline, a case of herpes, “how ‘bout a quickie?”, six penicillin, Chla-myid-a, one clinic visit, three french kisses, two itchy bumps and some sort of STD.

SOCIETY (permalink) 12.06.2002
but, do you get what i mean?
in dissing the mispronunciation guy yesterday, i remembered once, back when i used to teach computer classes, that i convinced a roomful of people that you could pronounce the word ambiguous as ambi-guous, kind of like ambidextrous, only with a gous on the end. i defended the version by claiming it was a british manner of saying it, like when you hear people say advertisement or harassment funny. they bought it.

i curiously got this from an episode of ER where i heard a character, from Britain, pronounce the word as such. i fell in love with it started using it whenever possible and when not possible, inventing reasons to use it. then, six months later i caught the rerun and discovered that, somehow, someway, i misheard her and she actually pronounced it the way everyone pronounces it, well everyone except the 14 people in my computer class.

sorry guys. but, if it's any consolation, i still say it the screwed up way too. it's just another one of my 'hey look at me' antics i exercise daily. like i always preach, if you can cause one person to fire one extra neuron through the day, you've earned your societal keep.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.20.2002
gonna kill us some turkeys
so last night we went to a family story time deal at our local library where this very animated lady read all of these great stories and sang billowy songs about hanging, chopping, squishing and burning turkeys, given the coming holiday and all. i'm here to tell you that interspersing a gobble, gobble in-between these horrific tales of mutilation does not right the wrong done in terrorizing these young children so.

all right. so we all know that i was the only one horrified by these images but all i'm saying is clucking funny and fanning your arms about doesn't help soothe my cringing nerves in any way. at least marty was kind enough to give my knee an empathetic pat while i sat staring at the macabre library lady.

FRIENDS, SOCIETY (permalink) 11.19.2002
can you please tell me where your backyard is?
at a chili-fest over the weekend it was e-love and not me that got the conversational ball rolling when he first admitted to taking leaks in the back yard when walking the dog. it was also elove who when trying to tell a story about the breath freshener binaca, accidentally said Bianca, as in the p*rn star, and as in she is what he was occupied in the night before. and then he admitted that, yes, his mom had done time but he would only specifically speak to the incident involving a peace rally and left the drug and prostitution rumors to the listener's imagination.

elove was so busy entertaining the masses i was never called in to pitch. in some ways i felt unnecessary, useless, but in others i felt proud. i felt pride at seeing a comrade not only ignore but actually combat the typical small talk that looks to overwhelm such gatherings and to thwart the mindless prattle that can dig into your chest and remove your desire to continue in the facade. for me, elove has become the guy sitting in the missile silo through the night making sure the world stays a safe and enjoyable place so i don't have to.

although, in leaving the affair it's safe to say that dr j, elove's life partner, does not share my giddiness towards e's maturation. i guess he still has the ever conciliatory Bianca.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.12.2002
how does it even come out
i took part in a conversation over the weekend about the fact that, yes, men do pull their pants all the way down to their ankles when making number two and girls only to their knees, or above their knees to be precise. the boys and girls eyed one another conspiratorially, certain that the other gender was misleading them.

and, just when you thought you had it all figured out, life throws your a squirrelly pitch.

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.31.2002
two and a half
i mentioned earlier that a new super mall opened in saint louis. while i don't usually commit cycles to mall happenings, this one had special import in that it brought an apple store to saint lou. another goodish effect of this opening is that all the other respectable malls got face lifts and new stores were introduced to the market to keep shoppers tantalized given the new player in town. our snob mall even got a tiffany's, which is great because i obviously do a lot of business at tiffany's.

our prior alpha mall got a, brace yourself, cheesecake factory. like the apple store, this is our first. so last friday night while out with elove and dr j we decided to give it a tryst. we swung by at 9pm figuring that most people would have eaten by then. i think most had but i got to make a new facial expression when the hostess looked at me and said it would be two, possibly two and a half hours for a table. so it appears you have to make a reservation and then go eat somewhere else and just about when you're ready to eat again, a table may, possibly, be available for you at the cheesecake factory.

two and a half hours?!?! it would take me two and a half hours to list the things i could achieve in two and a half hours. and it was 9pm! i don't even think they were open two and half hours from then. how pissed would you be if you sat around all that time and they would just call your name to say that the kitchen is closed and they were going home but if you put your name in they may, may possibly, be able to seat you by 4pm the following day. she didn't even laugh demonically or scoff or mock me when saying this. two and a half hours! two and a half hours my ass.

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.23.2002
new and improved
so bookpimp was moaning the other day about this.

for me this is is not a sign of the apocalypse but rather simply a long overdue measure. to me, eating the crust on bread is like eating the rind of an orange or the wrapper of a candy bar. just cuz it's there doesn't necessarily dictate that it's meant to be ingested.

now something i do hate is our society's neurosis about convenience because if truly analyzed it is not so much about time saving as it is about sheer laziness. from yogurt in a tube to peanut butter and jelly mixed in a squeeze bottle there just seems to be no end. and given this i'm wondering why the hell i'm still asked to apply my salt separately from my pepper.

the sad thing is you know some greedy-ass company somewhere has actually looked at this. can you in any way imagine dedicating your professional life to creating a vehicle that would allow the morton folks to combine the salt and pepper together. although challenges would exist because the very fine salt keeps moving to the bottom, damn it and then when you tip it to shake something out you get mostly pepper but when upside down that wily salt races to the top and when it gets there comes out more rapidly than the pepper. damn the constantly moving salt. i'd love to be that guy. after reporting that it looked like it just wasn't going to work because the salt is finer and heavier and my boss would fly into a rage. "dammit dearmitt, cannot is not an option. won't work is unacceptable. you WILL figure out how to make our Sepper product work. we cannot expect people to just continue to pass salt AND pepper shakers up and down the dinner table. it's un-american. and i won't have it. not on my watch by god and so help us and get back to work dearmitt you sniveling little nay-sayer!"

i'd quit that job quick and start working on my own dream-child; the odorless bowel movement in a tube for when you just don't have to go. and you know i'm all about co-branding this with the handi-wipe folks and while i'm at it i'll hit up those waterless hand-cleanser people and i'm sure someone could figure out how to package it all up in a convenient, pocket sized, recyclable aerodynamic piece of belt-wear.

SOCIETY (permalink) 09.17.2002
i'm glad someone's paying attention
last night as marty and i were reading to bella before bed, eight F-14's rock and rolled over our home. we get occasional fly-by's given a nearby air base, but never anything like this. usually these supercharged jets float by at a modest clip. you know they just went by but that?s about it. last night it began as a low rumble and culminated in four powerful booms which rattled our windows and felt like they were about to fly into our home. as marty and i looked at one another and bella pointed at the ceiling, we heard two more go by followed by yet another two.

someone once told me that if those jets ever really opened it up near occupied areas, they?d blow out windows. i didn?t believe that then, but now do. it was a very eerie experience and one that brought people out of their homes, all standing on the sidewalk and looking up even though we all knew they were long gone.

times they are a changing.

SOCIETY (permalink) 09.13.2002
just thinking
given that no two individuals are identical in belief or opinion i find it astounding that we as a people have made it this far in history. the fact that the whole planet doesn't just break out into a massive gang fight at any given moment is quite the boon.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.12.2002
i'm wearing kneepads right now
i recently passed a guy wearing a motorcycle helmet ... while driving a car. after secretly mocking him (it's a habit) it occurred to me that maybe i'm the stooge here. i mean someone had to be the first to put on a seatbelt, wear bike headgear and don a cup before stepping up to the plate. and, considering the growing number of prophylactic measures in place around us I think we're about three hallway collisions short of wearing protective paraphernalia while simply walking around. as if I don't look skewed enough already.

did i mention that the driving helmet guy's car was totally covered in bumper stickers. this may be an important point while thinking this through.

SOCIETY, WEB (permalink) 07.11.2002
is he ok?
you may have noticed i haven't been around much as of late. you may have also noticed a newish project listed under my professional page, boycott city. you do the math.

BC is a vision i've had for awhile which i'm pretty stoked (nice eh) about and those i have discussed it with seem equally compelled. one such person not only offered to help but immediately returned home and developed the entire, not unsophisticated, backend to this web application (thanks bg). this token of charity obviously placed the burden on my keyboard to produce an interface to front his work. hence, i have been holed up working on this every waking moment as well as plenty of should-not-be-waking moments.

after beginning the work on this site, as always seems the case, the simple vision exploded into a comprehensive labyrinth of pages to be built and challenges to be met. fortunately, my daily life incents me to trudge forth through this quagmire of detail and lost hours. for instance, just tonight i was at my local blockbuster looking for a film and made a horrific discovery. my lovely video store does not deem the highly acclaimed films, birth of a nation or in the heat of the night worthy of their shelves. after being told this and returning to find something else i spied such classic cinematic triumphs as hot club california and the naked cage. yeah, i trust your judgment and discerning eye to mandate what i'm able to watch after you closed every other respectable and intelligent video house in a twenty mile radius. my viewing pleasure is in your capable and caring hands.

so sit tight kids. no one wants to see a tool to voice your displeasure with large corporations and sub-par standards more than myself, and fortunately, a few of my more technically gifted friends. given this BC will be built, and available, unless of course we elect to replace it with something more useful and entertaining to you like a fan site for joshua jackson or yet another unusable portal to nothing, to better convenience you, our customer, because it is ultimately your happiness we care about it and you are the reason we strive towards excellence with every transaction and decision... didn't you read our glossy pr prospectus we sent to your home telling you what a competent and knowing organization we are ... unsolicited for your ease.

it is you we care about.

FILM, SOCIETY (permalink) 07.02.2002
do you have a mr. microphone back there?
the last several years has witnessed significant innovations in audio technology, especially as it relates to film. however, dolby surround, dts or even the latest digital systems are impotent to compensate for a single oaf with a large bag of popcorn and a 64 ounce soda. didn't your mother ever tell you to chew your food with your damn mouth shut? i swear. and as far as getting the popcorn out of the tub, what the hell are you doing? it sounds as though your trying to catch a live rat in a cellophane bag with your bare hand. you were given an opposable thumb for a reason, if even by accident, so do us all a favor and try using it.

and, while we are on the topic of mothers and the most mundane of things you should have been taught as a youngling, kicking the back of my seat falls on like ground. and don't worry, i'm kicking myself plenty for sitting anywhere near your loud and hyper-active self.

simply count yourself lucky that our society has not yet implemented the sorely needed Respect Police.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.17.2002
i don?t see specific mention of this in the dress code
how wrong is it that i spend time contemplating how i can pull off wearing capri pants. i feel confident that these confused trousers would immediately satisfy about 7 different issues i have with every pant i own as well as all of those i don?t and are still on the rack. i tell every woman i know that if i were a woman i would be uber strong and not shave my legs or pits, burn and axe high heels and never ever wear pantyhose or bras (don?t even get me started on bras). but, here i sit, unable to shoulder a single and not too historic of a fashion battle. all i know is some sort of get out of jail free card should exist for those who have been dealt a physique as odd and contorted as mine. is it my fault that a small child could stand on my haunches or that the waistline of traditional pants attempt to rest in the space between my navel and nipples or that i have to buy my pants off the web where they honor ?irregular? sizes for ?irregular? folks.

perhaps if i called them beachcombers instead of capri pants.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.07.2002
it's not how you look, it's how you think you look
the number of times the guy sitting in front of me on the metro touched his combover, trying to repair the havok caused by the wind: 7

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.27.2002
i told you to kill your tv
my buddy snake was telling me about this wager that recently took place between some friends of ours. the bet was that this guy, nate, could not remain awake for 8 hours of really bad tv and then answer a series of questions about the episodes. the guy coordinating the effort, nick, setup the following lineup for nate to watch (note: shows had to be readily available for taping which explains their somewhat pedestrian nature).

1/2 hour friends
1/2 hour frazier
1 hour sabrina the teenage witch
2 hours family matters
1 hour boy meets world
3 hours full house

if i may commentate for a moment. i like the early technique of starting with the respectable shows as to make the ones down the line seem more abhorrent. that was strong. the hour of sabrina is a neutral selection though. i?ve only seen snippets of the show and know there?s some talking animal that?s pretty surreal but if i recall there?s some youngish, cutish girls in there. rookie move given the male contestant. the two hours of family matters serves as a sound recovery though but any ground gained here was lost in the boy meets world selection in that the topenga character has a haunting, yet compelling, physical presence and would stir mental endurance if even only to ponder her peculiarity. but, again, nick returns as strong as one could with the epic atrocity that is full house. no one can question this move and certainly many would have been tempted to lead, assault and even end with this show alone but i like the staggered and diversified approach. that's the definite sign of an artisan who treats his craft seriously.

as it turns out nate fell asleep during the boy meets world leg of the challenge. this obviously surprised me. and with three hours of full house ahead of him, that poor bastard didn?t stand a chance. but, given he didn't have to watch the full house block and nick did to tape it, it's hard to say who really walked away the victor here. i'd be lackluster on it.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.26.2002
save yourself


SOCIETY (permalink) 02.25.2002
that dang ruthie is so doggone cute.
you don?t know pain until you know an addiction to the WB?s Seventh Heaven.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.31.2002
the antenna man's tv guide
best game in town: 24

most surprising new effort: the bernie mac show

tv guy i?d most like to hang out with: eddie from grounded for life

tv girl i?d most like to hang out with: sally from 3rd rock from the sun

most insulting use of my time: that 80?s show

the show i?d watch if i had cable: trading spaces

surprised it?s still around, and good: simpsons & x-files (tie)

the show i wish was still around: it?s your move

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.18.2002
rand mcnally is from birmingham
the south is the only place i?ve ever been/lived where they think that mexico is up north. you see, to a hard-core southerner, there is the south and everything that is not in the south is up north. colorado is up north. the queen of england is a yankee from up north up there in merry and fairy old europe. even florida is up north to a native.

now that i think about it, i guess if you start heading north, from the south, all the way to the north pole and kept going, you?d then be traveling south, until you got to the south pole where you would then again, technically, be traveling north until you finally and ultimately run into mexico. wait a minute, given that track i think they may be right. holy general lee batman i think that mexico is north of the south. i stand corrected.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.14.2002
who, i mean what, are you bringing?
i was at a dinner party the other night and one of the dishes, a dessert, was called Better than Robert Redford Pie. I?m serious. And so was the dish.

It went very well with my Jucier than Jenna Jameson Casserole.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.01.2002
i'm actually going to follow through on this
new year's resolution: be nicer to people i never meet, know, talk to or share time with.

i'm so all over that.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.22.2001
kill the turkey, pass the spuds
food is to thanksgiving as presents are to christmas. stay centered my friends.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.01.2001
no joke for me, no candy for you
saint louis has this thing where you can't get candy until you tell a joke or do some pantomime (trick). Saint louis translates the phrase trick or treat very seriously. I initially hated this, mostly because i know i would have loathed this added pressure and time hit as a child, but i have since grown to enjoy the tradition. Here are some of the more noteworthy offerings this year:

best joke of the night
Q: when isn't a door a door
R: i don't know
A: when it is ajar

most overused joke
Q: why didn't the skeleton cross the road
R: i don't know
A: because he didn't have any guts

worst joke of the night (actually a riddle)
Q: you're in a room with no doors or windows and only a table and mirror in it. How do you get out?
R: i don't know
A: neither do i

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.17.2001
the gods have spoken

At last! Today these signs mysteriously popped up beneath the elevator buttons in my building. What I like most about the message is the duplicitous inference that can be made by the wording. Does "For your health..." imply that the exercise will serve you well physically or that if you don't take heed we will kick the living hell out of you for being such a lazy waste of mass.

And truly, the funniest thing about this landmark event is that I've been at the company long enough to know that an entire think-tank and approval process was put in place to craft and post these few words.

SOCIETY (permalink) 09.26.2001
effective communication is key
today i used the term "taking opium rectally" in a business setting. i know some of you are thinking big deal, that's just another one of those overused corporate catchphrases like 'best of breed' or 'incentify'. others may be saying 'so what, opium, recatally. i don't see the conflict'. but, few of you were thinking what the people i made the comment to were thinking..."that guy just said his boss was taking opium rectally."

SOCIETY (permalink) 09.25.2001
you may want to pull those up, push that down or tuck them in
We must first thank brittney for plunging waistlines to all new depths. We must next thank the perseverance of the Europeans for sticking with the thong concept and letting it grow on them, in them, whatever the proper description may be. We must thank these people because it is through their diligence to fashion and image that make moments such as this possible at a Saturday afternoon football game.

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.03.2001
your business is important to us
I think bell has finally gotten their act together. Some may recall my previous tirade(s) regarding how they treated me when I called them and wanted to give them my money. After they said they would be at my house between 8am and 10pm on three different occasions and never showed up, I decided to go with another company.

Since then, every few months I get a phone call from some hyper-perky girl named Becky or the such inquiring as to the status of my pending order and wondered if it had been installed yet. No. Do I still have interest in it? Sure. What day will work for you? You pick. She picks some random date three weeks in the future? I?ll be here. Ok, and thanks for choosing southwestern bell as your internet service provider. Ok.

I then tell Marty to clear out on that day or at the least to not answer the door. I initially justified this arguably unethical behavior as payback for the three times they left me hanging. The fourth and fifth times were questionable and I?ve yet to see if we will rank a sixth time, but I?m fearful of making the right decision because there is something oh-so satisfying about that yellow ?Sorry we missed you sticker? on the door when I get home from work. Some people call it pettiness, I call it retribution heroin.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.31.2001
yours for a limited time...
I feel that yesterday?s log entry may not have adequately conveyed my distaste for ads, which is to simply say I thought of more to vent about on the matter. To expound, I loathe all forms of advertisement be it junk mail, cold calls, commercials, spam, billboards, car magnets, sign yards, plane banners, t-shirts, bar cups, door flyers, bumper stickers and yes, even free mousepads.

I make two exceptions to the above credo. First, Times Square does advertising right. If you are going to do something annoying, do it huge, phenomenally huge. I want the sky obstructed from view and my head to have to pan left to right to take it all in because as my pal e-love says, ?enough of anything is funny.? Granted when he said that he was referring to biting the backs off of Easter peeps and sticking them all over someone?s car. What can I say, I ran with it.

The second ad I will turn the other cheek for comes to me about twice a year. The book of the month club (BOMC) is solely responsible for about 1/5 of all the works in my library. And, they?re nice hardbound and trade paperback?s, not those low-rent consumer rags. Their plan is simple; pick five, receive five, write cancel on the monthly subscription card and wait for their next mailing in six months to repeat the process again.

So in other words either make me think the planet is being attacked in some Independence Day kinda way or make my reading your literature actually worth my time. If you do that, call me your customer for life.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.27.2001
They might know your name but they can't remember or pronounce it
I used to drink. I no longer do. I used to try to explain. I no longer do.

A friend of mine was recently bemoaning the agonies of hanging out with people who drank a lot and the relentless push for him to consume equal amounts. While he does not mind the occasional taste he does not desire to swill the unreasonable quantities that are placed in front of him (funny that). So, I shared with this friend my secret weapon when combatting such high-minded fellows.

"If you find yourself taking heat over the glass of coke or water in front of you," I tell him, "simply state, no thanks... recovering alcoholic." No single comment will renovate an uncomfortable and annoying situation faster. And you get the added humor of ?
  1. witnessing the priceless look as they size you up, amazed that such a vanilla looking guy could acquire such a rogue disorder at such a tender age.
  2. watching them come to grips with the fact that you were once a better drinker than they are attempting to be
  3. having them know that you have the internal wherewithal to overcome being a better drinker than they are attempting to be
  4. and, digesting that you're strong enough to have once been a barley fish, kick it, and still hang out in a bar with a bunch of lushes without even being tempted by their shiny grogs of plenty.
There are few guarantees in life, but when battling the emotionally addled this fix has been absolute. I promise if you put it into terms they respect, mindless as these terms are, you can enjoy your diet sprite in unencumbered peace.

And, of course it doesn't hurt when you and your real friends behave in a drunken and unabashed fashion without the benefit of alcohol. All the zaniness with none of the slurred speech or $100 plus bar bills at the end of the night that no one pitches in for.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.25.2001
where's the dvd?
people in quest of money will stop at nothing in chasing the almight dollar. pah-leez.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.16.2001
forever young
Did you ever notice that the phrase ?I?m an adult? sounds very much like ?I?m a dolt?? Just because your age categorizes you as such does not mean your demeanor must. So I encourage you to sleep till noon, skip your chores, watch three movies in one day and on occasion eat yourself into oblivion so you can, if even only for a moment, again taste the unassuming beauty that defines youth.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.12.2001
Napalm Reddenbacher
I?m 90% certain that the cause behind our debilitating eco-system stems from burnt microwave popcorn. How can you mess this up? And, if you mess this up, how can you think it acceptable to not go to every person within nasal shot of your crime and grovel for forgiveness on violating their personal space with your culinary ineptitude. Not only does this produce one of the most unnatural smells known to man, but it does not say a whole lot for your ability to contribute and/or participate in this thing we call life. Being one who still uses a pre-JiffyPop recipe to make my corn, I am flabbergasted that someone can fail in this meager endeavor.

As long as we have humans unable to follow a set of instructions that begin with ?Place bag in microwave?, I vote for government regulation restricting who can engage in this complex form of food preparation. Unless of course you plead uncertainty given that steps two and three of the instructions could not be consulted since they were written on the bag which was currently spinning in circles in the radiation box.

SOCIETY (permalink) 07.01.2001
extra starch on the collar please
Man do I wish the turned up collar look would come back. I love it to death and it stands as one of the few fashion trends I?d like to re-live. Currently, when getting ready in the morning I don the typical gap or jcrew polo shirt and the collar stands up as it was on the hanger. I typically leave it this way through my morning rituals (i.e. watering the lawn, eating breakfast) and only lower it in bashful shame on my walk to the metro station. Each day I leave it up a little longer though and like easing your way into a cold swimming pool I?m secretly assuming the hip guy role a few minutes at a time. If my past stylistic record can be relied upon in anyway, the fad will come and go before I make it through an entire day with my collar standing tall and proud. <sigh>

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.29.2001

It's more than safe to say that i don't run into the people polled in this survey in my daily machinations.
taken from snapshots

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.28.2001
you might think that, but you'd be wrong
marty recently told me that swimming no longer counts as a bath. since i was on a three day run using this philosophy i asked when this expectation changed? since you became an adult, she replied. assuming this has in fact happened, i have interest in canceling my membership.

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.22.2001
stick 'em up
How has the onus of the toilet seat?s position fallen upon men? We don?t need it down to tend to our lower numbered task, therefore why should we be the one?s expected to manage it willy-nilly all day long. Now think about it. Not only are we asked to put the seat down when we?re done, we are also expected to lift it up before we start. I don?t do that much work professionally; I?m certainly not going to take it on as an elective. If you want it up when not in use, I suggest YOU lift it up. If you need it down to do your deed, by all means, put it down. I know I do when necessary and in fact have never had my delicate cheeks kiss the icy glaze of room temperature commode water because as a civilized creature I have the wherewithal to see if I?m going to go plummeting into a sitz bath before committing to the act.

The only practical path here is that the toilet seat should always be up and comes down only when called upon. This is a win-win for all concerned. The seat stays clean, no one makes any undue assumptions and I don?t get yelled at every time I visit my mother-in-law?s house. Although, should you argue the above points you force my hand ... You force my hand to shake wildly instead of calmly and you force me to whiz on the seat intentionally instead of accidentally. The choice is yours to make.

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.20.2001
for those covert missions when you got the kid along
While cruising bella around, we ran into this hoey-hoey woman with this crazy, souped up baby carriage. I commented on it and she said it was an SUS. After giving her my ?come again in english? face she said ?Oh, I?m sorry that stands for Sports Utility Stroller?.

My brain really hurts sometimes.

SOCIETY (permalink) 06.18.2001
in house cinemax
I recently had three breast feeding women in my house at once. I felt like I should have been at the door charging admission and playing a Lita Ford song on the hi-fi. While this thought was going through my mind I overheard one of the women say, ?Oh, I?m sure. Like some guy?s gonna get off watching me breast feed my kid.?

So, so young and innocent. She?s obviously never made the acquaintance of my friend Big Dog. At best, I could have gotten him to refrain from taking pictures.

FILM, SOCIETY (permalink) 06.17.2001
Does Fredrick's make a Kevlar lined brassiere?
Saw Tomb Raider tonight. And I once thought Angelina messed me up in Girl Interrupted. I am a simple, simple man.

I told someone I was going to the show and they actually said to me, ?Ah, I wouldn?t see it, the reviews are terrible.? Really! No kidding! Get out of here! You don?t say?!? Of course the reviews are terrible, they are supposed to be terrible. This is yet another film generated for the sole agenda of accumulating money and art created in that vein will always suck. It takes a work like Clerks or Priest to slap you in your junior mint eating face because those guys are making the film for the love of the process, not the collection of teeny boppers allowance trimming here or there and getting gutless everywhere so they can lower the MPAA assigned rating as to dump more seats in their seats. So, go and buy your ticket, order your concessions, sit down and make your mindless faces at the pretty lights on the wall cuz that it was it is there for. It?s television you pay for and watch with a bunch of ill-mannered people you do not know. Wake up already and smell the day old popcorn.

SOCIETY (permalink) 05.14.2001
Kill em all!
I was reading an article about what to do when squirrels are devastating your lawn by digging holes in the quest for nuts. This piqued my interest a touch because as of late I?m finding myself wandering around my front lawn muttering to myself about these evenly distributed divots in my otherwise well manicured turf as result of these cuddly tree warriors. Anyway after the problem was posed the very next sentence read: ?Squirrels are not an endangered species.? Aaaahhhhh! I hate that. First the Indians, now the squirrels. Murder out of inconvenience truly revolts me.

SOCIETY (permalink) 05.10.2001
and a look of serenity painted her face
So this person posed a question to me the other day. You?re leaving to head home on what should be about a 15-minute drive. Approximately halfway there you get stuck in a gridlocked traffic jam. One problem, you really had to go to the bathroom, number one, when you left but figured you could make it home in a reasonable time. Now you find yourself stuck here in this traffic. All the major obstacles apply; no facilities, no cover, no receptacle in the car and no sign of relief on the congestion. What do you do?

In honestly assessing the scenario, I wouldn?t have the gumption to stand next to my car or on the side of the road in plain sight and attend to my need; I would therefore have to loose the torrent in my britches. I was relieved to hear that this was this young woman?s solution as well. Man, do you know you took a wrong turn, when as an adult, you are purposely spreading that warm sensation in your lap. I really, really hope it never comes to that and going forward will always ensure I have a stale McDonalds cup rolling around in one of my foot wells.

SOCIETY (permalink) 05.01.2001
Summer School News
I hate the news. And, because I hate the news, I never watch or read the news. Well, that's not entirely true, I will occasionally catch myself watching the 10 o'clock atrocity or reading the front page of the times. Each exposure leaves me curious how so many people regularly subscribe to this poison bullet. It's grotesquely depressing and 95% does not even pertain to the general public, weather representing 4% of what is applicable and what are you going to do about that anyway. Now before you start tisk tisking me too much allow me to reveal that I'm not a total dullard living under a rock of voluntary ignorance.

I treat news like many people treat viewable television. I wait for a show to receive national buy-in, or friendly buy-in at least, before committing my time to it. I wait to hear what's hopping and then bring it up in passing to one of my more scholarly friends. What then transpires is an individual and personalized telling of the tragedy of the week complete with hindsight analysis as well as the speaker's speculatory impressions. Today, I received my update on this row we're having with China. If that's not a Clancy novel in the making, I don't know that hack half as well as I think I do. Almost simultaneously I stumbled upon this letter to China, which certainly proved more humorous given my 12-minute crash course on the topic.

SOCIETY, HYGIENE (permalink) 04.26.2001
Can I get this haz-mat suit in a mauve?
I?ve noticed an evolution in the food industry?s policy on plastic gloves. When initially implemented this prophylactic measure protected consumers from any contaminants the server may have been exposed to. Now their primary function seems to provide a protective barrier between the wearer and the public at large. Back in the day, you?d see employees swap these gloves out with surgeon like ethics, donning a fresh pair with each new customer or task. As of late I get the impression, they go on in the morning and are discarded out the car window on the way home.

This morning I watched a gloved waitperson pause from her chore of preparing turkey sandwiches for the lunch rush, to ring me out at her register. In this side-mission she handled my beverage, the cash register, the cash I gave her as well as the change she returned only to resume her prior burden of piling mounds of shaved turkey on cheese-laden buns with the same gloved hand. The only thing I?m certain to have left that transaction germ-free was her epidermis. Now don?t get me wrong, as I?ve alluded to in the past, I would more than consider sporting a form-fitting body suit made of the sheerest, yet non-permeable material possible, so I don?t blame them, I simply take issue in that I am not one of them.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.25.2001
snot-nosed punks
Billy Gates gets honest to a group of high school students. While his 11 rules smacks of a Chris Rock spiel I gotta homage the guy for leaving his politically correct promotional machine even if only to garner some press buzz.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.19.2001
Give us your weak, poor and highly intelligent
People who gripe about "all those damn foreigners coming to the states and taking American jobs" make me wild. Just stop it already. First off, the jobs these individuals 'steal' predominately represent work that the native faction either does not want to do (migrant field worker) or are lacking enough people with skill (technology) to fill. Much of this can be attributed to the majority of our citizens not force-feeding the three R's down the throats of their children as well as growing kids who feel they occupy a particular station in life (pre-achievement) and are above many forms of menial labor. This parenting philosophy results in an ill-equipped workforce therefore crippling our highly demanding and specialized needs.

Secondly, recognize that importing human talent works in our favor. America is absolutely raping the intellectual wealth of the world. Other countries expend their public resources making their offspring smart only to have them plucked from their population as soon as they are ready to contribute. You see, this is a good thing for us and a very bad thing for them and we as a society benefit significantly through this dynamic.

A side facet to this debate I find irksome falls into the equal opportunity squabble. What percentage of people screaming about the loss of American jobs are the same dolts griping about quotas and equal opportunity acts ("The best candidate should get the job"). Well, guess what Clyde, sometimes the best or most willing candidate doesn't speak your native tongue. So instead of preaching about this or that atrocity why don't you get qualified so you do not have to worry about some bloke from here and there taking a job you were not ideal for in the first place.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.17.2001
I think these people are leaving
I spied a parking rage battle last night at the local giga-mall. From what I can gather, both parties darted for the same spot and then got into a bitter shouting match concerning its rightful owner. I never really understood people?s compulsion for getting the closest possible spot to the door, evil weather excepted. The more crowded places get the further I park away from the morass, and I?m not talking about that catawampus muscle car park job that defines great men. The practice I?m speaking of entails pointing my mobile down an aisle and not necessarily slashing into the first available spot, but just getting into a spot. As result I many times suffer the agony of walking five extra car widths (widths, not lengths mind you). Now while this methodology may not prove, on paper, to be the most efficient, I do find myself arriving at my destination impressively faster than the lap hound who?s seeking the Costanza like alpha spot. And, much like the elevator practices of our fellow man, it seems to be the one?s who would most benefit from the extra leg-play that are taking their chances on yet another shell-game of life. Is it any wonder SUVs only get 4 miles to the gallon.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.18.2001
Elevator Etiquette 201 (bosnian rendition)
  1. Do not urinate in the elevator. It may seem like a convenient, private location, but the entrance-way to the building is usually better ventilated.
  2. Do not cast objects over five pounds of weight into the elevator shaft. Although the shaft is very deep and has space for a large amount of trash, heavy objects could penetrate the roof of the elevator, causing hurt to passengers inside. This rule does not apply if you are certain that the elevator car is on a floor above you.
  3. While forcing your way into the elevator, it is polite to excuse yourself when you need to push others by the arms and shoulders and buttocks. While entering, if you accidentally push people in the face or in the privates, a quick apology is in order.
  4. On average-sized elevators (approx. 3 feet wide by 4 feet long) the passenger limit should generally be regarded as 6. It is not polite to force your way onto a 3 by 4 elevator if there are already six people on board.
  5. While writing, drawing or spray-painting on the walls of elevator, make sure not to get any felt marker or paint on fellow passengers.
  6. While the elevator is moving, avoid contact with the floors passing by the open door. A poorly placed arm or leg could quickly be torn off if caught between a floor and the elevator car.
  7. Especially for new users: If the elevator car jerks strongly or free-falls for a meter or two, do not panic or scream. Locals find this behavior disruptive and irritating.
  8. While smoking on the elevator, try not to blow smoke directly in other's faces, and try not to touch them with the burning end of your butt. Remember that it is safer to extinguish your finished cigarette on the floor of the elevator rather that to cast it down an elevator shaft and risk it making contact with unseen flammables.
  9. If you are a non-smoker, do not grimace, wince or cough while others smoke in the elevator car. This is considered extremely rude and presumptuous by the locals.
Item compliments of Chris McGrath, retired web developer and bosnian resident. This certainly does help to put things in perspective, chris and gina are ever-reliable on that front.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.16.2001
please step away from the camera
j-lo, cruise, stallone, puff, eminem. What used to only live in the enquirer now rates the 10:00 news. I can't be the only one miffed about this marzipan use of our country's great communication network, but I'm also not the only one who does not consume these channels of import regularly. Therefore, the question stands, how does one boycott something they do not use or purchase in the first place? Best answer receives a free VHS tape of Christian Slater's classic opus Kuffs.

I'm not kidding, the ex-radio promotion is in a box in my basement right now

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.14.2001
Will you be my dumbass
If you are one to celebrate the vapid and spiritless event known as valentines day, please deviate from the American boilerplate special of a dozen roses, heart-shaped box of chocolates, local Italian cuisine and movie. And I don't mean get snow-caps and drop the movie. What I do mean is drop it all, recognize that every swinging Richard in the continental United States is on this program, and everyone knows it. It's a marketing screwjob, a hallmark conspiracy. Boycott v-day and just spoil your partner in a week, month or never. I promise you will be equally benefited.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.28.2001
Elevator Etiquette 101
  1. When getting on the elevator where people are exiting, let them get off first. First I say!
  2. If there are more than 10 stories in the building, do not use the elevator to travel a single floor, especially in a downward direction, unless infirmed or the stairwells are out of service.
  3. If there are more than 3 elevators present and you are not the only passenger, do not hold the door while your slow and oafish comrade makes their way down a corridor exceeding 30 feet.
  4. When other passengers are present, male urinal rules preside. Identify the largest expanse, divide by two and stay on your side of the demarcation line.
  5. If you are simple enough to hit the wrong floor, apologize to the other occupants for your thick nature. If you are actually bent enough to select the wrong floor a second time, complete the job nature started and kindly remove yourself from the gene pool.
  6. If the elevator mechanically hiccups in any fashion, do not freak out. Your life is not a keanu reeves film nor are your moans and faces extraordinary.
  7. Do not pass gas in the actual elevator car. And while exiting counts as being 'in' the elevator.
  8. When more than 5 cars exist, do not throw your briefcase/purse in the closing doors so you can get on. Accept that you missed the boat and wait for the next. Also recognize that you are possibly the fourth person to do this, and the poor suck in the back has now been waiting for 5 minutes to begin his meager journey.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.23.2001
Where's the Beef?
I have long been berated for my theory that McDonalds treats their fries with some form of addictive agent. Now as is usually the case, I possessed no supporting evidence of this claim other than my sharply honed acumen. Until now that is.

The other night NPR featured a fast food guru who was talking about none other than fast food. The interviewer, to my surprise, asked about the fry thing and the guest authority talked about how McDonalds had, in the past, cooked their fries in beef instead of vegetable oil until their methods were questioned and they moved to the more common program. However, not wanting to alter the taste they treated their fries with a mysterious animal extract. And, hence maintain their ruling status as king of the fry-makers.

SOCIETY (permalink) 01.07.2001
this must be answered?
i have been seeking an answer to a question for about two years now and not a soul has been able to answer it. furthermore, i'm astounded that other people have not been plagued by this fact. question is: why can public television and radio air whatever they like, free of editing without the FCC three feet up their arse? i have asked this very question to over 30 people and no one has a clue.

now, i know i probably shouldn't care so much about this (like others who just shrug their shoulders and say "dunno"), but i do and satisfactory mental rest will not be had until the solution is proffered.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.07.2000
I think it's time for that add-on
in perusing this month's National Geographic, i spied a story about the 'real' beverly hills 90210. two facts lept off the page. the aggregate income of the 2,585 families making $150,000 a year or more is $1,177,152,216. and, in the highly exclusive 'subdivision' of North Beverly Park, a starter home is 8 mil, 25,000 sq feet, and routinely sports 10-car garages, multiple kitchens and 4,000 sq foot bedroom suites.

i hope there aren't any jones living there.

SOCIETY (permalink) 10.21.2000
may i ask who's calling
The government has finally decided how use of cellular telephones while driving is to be regulated. Not surprisingly, the solution proves quite simple. It was determined that if you are a member of society, which requires the use of his or her cell phone, even while behind the wheel of an automobile, it becomes the responsibility of your employer to provide you with a chauffeur, limousine and motorcade. Furthermore, they have concluded that all people possessing this level of import have already been supplied with the fore mentioned items.

Therefore, if you are in violation of this new directive, you are kindly asked to hang up the phone, shut your turn signal off, accelerate when the light actually turns green, get off the damn shoulder and go give that dog a proper burial. The Respect Police thank you in advance for your cooperation.

SOCIETY (permalink) 09.09.2000
Is your daughter circumcised?
at a wedding the other night (congrats john and sacha), i surprisingly found myself in a discussion about circumcision. after a young woman said that she would absolutely cut any boys she had, i proffered the standard "if you circumcise your boys, you must also circumcise your girls." this is usually enough to fluster even the most steady-witted of women. she turned to me and very calmly replied (and i paraphrase but you'll get the gist):

"well, unless i'm mistaken, the women of this society have been both mentally and emotionally circumcised by the patriarchal founders of our culture."

this retort went on but my head was reeling for a worthy reply (none was had) but i capitulate and extend kudos to the most creative piece of social banter i've encountered this year. thanks for the humor michelle.

SOCIETY (permalink) 08.21.2000
We'll be there between February and September
A friend recently forwarded me this article about southwestern bell getting sued by some group in Texas, asserting they have delivered 0 of the umpteen things advertised in their DSL package. You'll have to scrape my dumbfounded ass off of the floor, because I've only been waiting for them to show up at my place since 2.28.00. It's remarkable that someone could possibly find a chink in their suit of capability.

If you are one of the minions considering using them as your high speed internet provider, consider the following unadvertised feature list:
   6 month installation turnaround
   2 counts of lost customer record
   9 non-callbacks
   3 no-shows to my house
    5 failures to complete requested task (i.e. closing account)
And, all this before they even get the product into your home.

Now in their defense, if you're going to screw something up, you might as well do it big, Texas big in this case.

SOCIETY (permalink) 05.20.2000
I have no friends or family
Whoever invented the FRIENDS AND FAMILY plan should be drug through the streets. I was recently on the receiving end of such a campaign complements of the Tivo Corporation...because they "value" me so immensely as a customer (pox on them). I felt so special after reading their memo, I spent an hour drafting a thank you for their sincere and touching concern for my well being.

SOCIETY (permalink) 05.16.2000
Butt Chuckers
Is anyone else baffled by the American tradition of cigarette smokers just pitching their spent smokes out the window, on the ground, over the bridge, etc. I would typically rely on our friend the litter law if I hadn't also witnessed cops chucking the occasional butt as well.
here's the fix. put a 5-cent deposit on all cigarettes, returnable when you, or some opportunistic homeless guy, brings a bucket of butts in for recycling. And as for the butts already decorating our landscape, just ding the tobacco companies for facilitating this great atrocity to our land and cities...let's call it a retro-active fine. Now admittedly, there is the problematic drawback of guys getting waxed while running around on the highway collecting said refuse. Can you say acceptable losses. Now stay frosty out there boys.

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