Friday, October 30, 2009

World Series is On!

Well, the World Series is under way--and the Yankees and Phillies are tied at one game apiece. Will it be Cheesesteaks or Pizza that carries the day? Let's look at comparison of the cities:

1) Yankees have Steinbrenner and Donald Trump. Point goes to Philly.

2) Philly has Joey Lawrence and rock star Pink. Point goes to NY.

3) Philly has lower cost of living. Point goes to Philly.

4) New York gets a view of New Jersey. Point goes to Philly.

5) Philly gets a view of New Jersey. Point goes to NY.

6) New York had Billy Joel sing a song about it ("New York State of Mind"). Point goes to NY.

7) Philly had Elton John--the British Billy Joel--sing a song about it ("Philadelphia Freedom"). Point goes to Philly.

Looks like a push! Now, why do they call it the World Series when only American teams (okay, maybe one Canadian team) can compete? After all, if the Yankees and Phillies won their respective League championships, and say Germany were to say "whoa, if you want to win the WORLD SERIES, you're going to have to play our top team, the Munich Reichstaggers!", they'd be laughed off the field. Why then do we call it "World Series" instead of a more accurate "North American Series" or "New World Series" or "Big Baseball Game Thing"?

According to my friend who goes by the handle "Desert Fox", and is quite the Yankee fan (attending a game this weekend), "the World Series was originally intended to be a championship tournament among various nations, sort of like the Olympics or World Cup--the idea back in the day was that baseball would take off on a worldwide basis, with Major League teams around the world. Although teams haven't expanded beyond the U.S. and Canada--the game is in fact popular in Japan and Latin America, but it hasn't led to Major League franchises there--the name 'World Series' was catchy, and it stuck."

Well, I for one hope some day the Japanese League and the Caribbean League and the Mexican League are soon fielding teams of a sort that can compete for the World Series. But I doubt fans in Mexico will be happy to pay five bucks for a hot dog.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Grief, Great Pumpkin!

One of the few moments in my childhood when the cacophony of yelling and hyperactive activity would die down and everyone would shut up for a short while was when a Charlie Brown special would come on TV. This time of year it would be "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" which would help overcome the misery of the beginning of the school year. As an adult, I still try to catch it every now and then. Sort of a reminder of childhood that didn't involve my brother throwing things into the fireplace or my sister getting milk poured on her head. Ah, to be a kid again!

For those of you who were too poor to own a TV, or those of you who just hate America so much that you're unfamiliar with the Peanuts gang, I'll summarize--the "Great Pumpkin" special involved a group of cartoon schoolchildren who couldn't wait to put on their white sheets and go around the neighborhood demanding candy from adults who had voices that sounded like trumpets being tuned. (Of course, it's not advisable to go around town in a group that is ALL wearing white sheets, lest the neighbors think it's a Ku Klux Klan rally and you end up on Jerry Springer). Lucy, who was sort of ahead of her time as a feminist and psychiatrist (she'd offer psychiatric help for 5 cents, and tell Charlie Brown things like "direct a school play" when he comes to her with serious concerns about his crippling depression), would dress as a witch. Pigpen, who represented the urban proletariat what with his clouds of dust, was recognizable for his filthy sheet. Charlie Brown, the hapless loser, had cut his sheet full of holes and would have been better off pretending to be Swiss Cheese. The trumpet-sounding adults would torment Charlie by giving him rocks instead of candy. (It is a wonder he didn't later star in "Put the Gun Down, Charlie Brown!")

Snoopy, who was Charlie's pet beagle, would in the meantime fly his doghouse into a WWI air battle (this was created in the mid-60s around the time LSD became popular) and then ended up crashing the kids' Halloween party. When Lucy bobs for apples, she'd inadvertently end up smooching with the dog. Despite her histrionics after discovering she was kissing Snoopy, I think the lady doth protest too much!

But the main focus of the special is Linus, who is Charlie Brown's loyal sidekick. He decides to forgo trick-or-treating and wait in a pumpkin patch for some monster called "The Great Pumpkin" who apparently shows up for kids of faith, and gives them all sorts of riches and rewards. This may be a religious allegory, but in the end--SPOILERS!--the Great Pumpkin never shows up. Is this the creator--Charles Shultz--telling us that there is no God? Or did the Great Pumpkin simply never appear because Linus wanted tangible benefits like riches and candy? Was this Shultz's way of telling us to live our lives well and enjoy it, because we find God in our everyday happenings? Had Linus gone with the other kids he would have still gotten candy, and perhaps the Great Pumpkin would have shown up when needed. Maybe to smite Lucy for her Wiccan beliefs!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Puerto Rico Trip Recap

This past weekend I took a "guys trip" to Puerto Rico to celebrate the impending fatherhood of an old friend of mine, Nick. Most of our usual "guys night out" crowd bailed on the trip, due to budget reasons, work conflicts, or in some cases extreme lame weak sauce "look at me I can't do anything fun so everyone treat me like a martyr"-itis. But Nick and I and his friend from New York (who also went to law school with us, though I didn't know him too well then) were able to make it. Let's call this friend "Death Wish" because it is quite clear that he lives by the motto "Safety Last".

DW is evidently a very intelligent person--former Fullbright scholar, Wharton and Georgetown Law grad, and has devoted his career to public interest projects. What makes him different is this hard charging devotion to experiencing what it's like to live in poverty. He has lived in the shanties of Nigeria, and evidently spent a year of law school living in a van. Ever read the book "Into the Wild" about that kid who graduated Emory, gave up all his stuff and went roughing it in the deserts and finally Alaska without adequate equipment? That's sort of like DW.

We meet at the San Juan airport and learn that DW very nearly missed his flight out of JFK (Idlewild Airport for those of you who refuse to accept the hard-on that society seems to have for the Kennedys). What could it be that caused the delay? Traffic tie-up? Bomb scare? Trying to bring a bag of switchblades on the flight?

Nope--it turns out there was a dispute with the cab driver over the proper fare to the airport. The cabbie insisted that the flight would cost $45 flat fee, DW argued that it is supposed to be on the meter--which would have run about $32. They called the police to resolve this dispute.

The policeman agreed with DW, but apparently the delay over a $13 difference was enough to cut it very close. However, he did catch his flight and we were soon checked into the hotel and hitting the beach.

And what a beach it was! The weather was solid--90 degrees and sunny each day; the waves were high and the water was as warm as a bath. Unlike a lot of beaches, drinking was allowed on these so we stocked up on Medalla beer and did what we do best--drunken swimming. Did I find myself wiping out in many of the waves? Indeed! Did I get massive sunburn? And how!

DW for his part tried on a few occasions to use the offer of beer to strike up a conversation with some local girls, and by "girls" I mean he really should have asked for ID because they didn't look old enough to buy cigarettes. Still, nothing came of it and I don't think Puerto Rico has a law against attempted statutory rape. After all, they don't give out Nobel Prizes for Attempted Chemistry, do they? (Granted, they just gave out a Nobel Prize for Attempted Peace....)

The real fun began when some guy walked by with about six dogs on leashes. The biggest dog decided to start using the smallest dog as a chew toy, and the owner was having a go of it smacking the big dog to make it stop. DW, being a man who can't stand to see an oppressed beagle, had to run across the beach and insert himself between the two dogs. Or more accurately, insert his hand between the jaws of the big dog.

So now he had to run back to the hotel to get his hand disinfected and bandaged, while Nick and I asked the owner whether his dogs had been vaccinated. Because frankly, there's a very good chance the dogs could catch rabies from biting DW. I mean, this guy lived in Nigeria and had just gotten back from Thailand!

Fortunately, he was mended quick, and drinking beer on the beach with us in no time. At night we managed to find some nice local cuisine--Mafongos at a Puerto Rican place one night, and some Italian the next. During this time DW told us of his trip to Thailand and expressed surprise that neither Nick or I had ever used a prostitute, pretty much the same way I'd have reacted if someone told me they'd never drank a soda. But after hearing some of what went down in Bangkok I'm more sure than ever that I will never use a prostitute!

We also made it into Old San Juan, which is a neighborhood of restored old-style buildings and cobblestone, more European-seeming than Latin American. This is also where a number of bars and clubs were, and we visited a few. One thing they all have in common is they're much louder than bars back in the States--music blares well into the streets. Another thing? Every single woman on the streets had very high stiletto heels on. And mind you these were cobblestone streets. Impressivo!

Our third night we tried to find a Mexican place that was recommended by our hotel, but we got a bit lost. Lost in a rather ghetto-ized section of San Juan! At this point, I was ready to turn back, regroup and maybe hit one of the restaurants we'd been to the night before or at least find a McDonalds so we might get the quick energy calories to survive the walk back. But then, DW was in his element! (I mentioned he has a thing for poverty?) He saw an over the counter chicken joint, and made his case for why we should eat there. This rather greasy chicken joint was "authentic" and "what the Puerto Ricans eat". I tried to point out that real Puerto Ricans are different from us in that if they have the money to not eat in places like this they wouldn't. Nick tried to point out that there wasn't adequate seating, but DW was having none of it--he asked the joint owner for an extra chair and we were soon sitting down. He also picked out some generic soda that was a cross between toothpaste and death. Thirsty as I was from the chicken, I couldn't get more than a couple sips down. But some good came out of it--DW got his poverty fix! I suppose from having his hand maimed by the dogs earlier he had earned it.

All in all, though, it was a fun trip--Nick keeping us in stitches and some eclectic characters and stories throughout. Now as I nurse my peeling sunburn, I can say I can't wait to make it back to that island. But this time no greasy chicken shacks!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Things to Know When Flying

Got back from Puerto Rico last night and will recount the misadventures of this trip soon. But it seems that every time I fly, I learn new and exciting things! Such as:

1) When you pass gas on the airplane, and have your headphones on, just because you can't hear it doesn't mean that the guy sitting next to you can't hear it either.

2) Apparently two shifty looking and heavily sunburned Italian guys can make it through security with large coconuts in their bags (yes we're hoping to start a super race of palm trees in DC). But if one of those guys is trying to bring his sunblock, he might as well have "Al Quaeda Class of 2001" stamped on his bag.

3) Any man or woman thinking about having a precious little snowflake of a kid should spend some time listening to someone else's precious little crotchfruit screeching two rows behind them for a 3 hour trip.

4) Apparently if the hippie girl in your row is scared of flying, she will drink a lot of red wine and spill a bit of it on her shaggy boyfriend.

5) A coconut in your bag is a burden. A coconut in your bag is a doubly painful burden when you're carrying the bag over your shoulder which was heavily sunburned.

6) Direct flights are really the only way to go.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Ghostest With the Mostest

In our discussions of the awesomeness of werewolves, people have said "hey Brando, you mention werewolves, zombies and vampires--what, no love for Frankensteins, mummies or ghosts?" I shall address these in turn.

First, mummies are basically zombies covered in toilet paper. Undead, slow moving, yep--zombies basically. And let's face it--much like Nile crocodiles and Moses, you only really have to worry about them if you're in Egypt. And anyone encountering one only has to put a foot on one of their wrappings and watch it unravel, making the now naked mummy very embarrassed.

Frankensteins (yes, I know it's actually Frankenstein's monster, as Frankenstein was the scientist, but I'm assuming the monster took the name as well. It just wouldn't be as scary if we were talking about "Floyd, who happens to be the monster made by Dr. Frankenstein)--well, they had a run most recently in the 1970s, with the blaxsploitation film "Blackenstein" (that monster was one bone-crushing soul brother!) and the lesser-known jewsploitation film "Frankensteinberg" (that mensch had some serious heartburn! Oy vey!), but they haven't caught on in the modern era. This is partly because the monster himself was actually quite sympathetic--a dumb, unthinking beast that just never learned to love. Sort of like Rosie O'Donnell, but where you actually felt bad about trying to kill it with fire.

As for ghosts? Well that's an omission on my part--ghosts are just plain scary, especially in the Japanese horror (or "J-horror" as they call it) era of the last ten years. "The Ring" and "The Grudge" (as well as lesser known retreads) got a whole generation of viewers scared of petite Japanese women! Confession--I had a Japanese-American girlfriend about a year ago (who doesn't read this blog far as I know) who once snuck up on me and I nearly shat myself. Of course, anyone startling me like that could have given me such a reaction, but let's just say if she had crawled out of a television set that would have sent me right to the grave.

As for Japanese ghost-women, seriously what's with the TV set crawling? They never really explained why the ghost used TV as a medium. And to think, the only people safe from such a ghost would have been those intellectual snobs who brag about not having a TV set.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Spot a Werewolf

A few years back, I remember walking from bar to bar in Portland when a friend of mine noticed the full moon, and for no particular reason I said to her "now would be a good time to tell you I suffer from werewolfism so you might want to watch out if I start foaming at the mouth". Rather than ignore this, since of course werewolves are mythological, she pointed out that in fact she had seen me on many full moon nights without transforming into any animal whatsoever, and therefore it was likely that I was not a werewolf at all. I remember thinking wow, she put more thought into that line of conversation than it deserved.

But with the end of the month approaching, we should all be aware that the moon affects many things, besides ocean tides, menstrual cycles (sorry ladies!) and lunacy (hence the root word, "luna" which is Latin for white fish). Is it possible that some friends among us suffer from werewolfism? One of my college roommates had an intense amount of back hair--he is of Iranian descent--but far as I could tell he didn't roam the streets slaughtering prey once a month. Or maybe he did--I wasn't the boss of him! But look for the following warning signs if you're afraid that a friend or loved one is a werewolf:

1) Comes over to your house and spends more time with your dog than you're comfortable with.

2) When you're having a cookout, he asks if he can just eat the steaks raw and unseasoned.

3) When you go target shooting with him, he keeps asking you to assure him that none of the ammunition you're using has any silver in it.

4) He listens to far too much Warren Zevon.

5) Every time you want to be buzzed in to his apartment, he asks whether there are any townspeople with torches trying to come in with you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wolfpersons Rule

With the upcoming Halloween season, not enough attention has been paid to Wolfmen (and Wolfwomen, for that matter). Sure, zombies have been big for a while--from the George Romero "Living Dead" series, where all you had to do to defeat a zombie was walk a bit fast, to the "28 Days Later" zombies which can run like Carl Lewis and don't seem all that interested in BRAIIINNS. And Vampires have always been popular, dating from the Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi Draculas to the Buffy Vampire Slayer and teenybopper Twilight vampires. (Though I find the less charming and more frightening "Nosferatu" style animalistic vampires far more compelling!) But Wolfpeople have been getting short shrift by the pop culture--there hasn't been a good wolf movie since "American Werewolf in London" and that was a comedy.

Here's why wolfmen are better than zombies and vampires:

1) They only have to work once a month, so they totally make it worth it.

2) They're not scared of dogs, so they can totally hide under your porch if they have to.

3) Unlike vampires, they aren't scared of garlic, crosses, or sharp sticks. Only a silver bullet can do them in, and who keeps silver bullets around?

4) They can probably be tamed which would be pretty cool. Feeding one could be a bitch though.

5) Werewolves can act totally normal when it's not a full moon. Zombies and vampires are weird all the time.

6) At least one Wolf Man--Wolfman Jack--has been a successful rock and roll dee jay. How many vampires have been successful in broadcasting? Except Keith Olbermann, zero! And Zombie Glenn Beck is just no Wolfman Jack.

7) Pale skin or a lot of fur? We'd mostly prefer pale skin in dating partners, but these are monsters, people--fur is much more effective in keeping warm and deflecting attacks.

I think I presented a pretty solid case.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blood Sucking Bastards

Everyone who knows me knows that garlic is in my blood. My last name means "of the garlic" and of course there is no family recipe that doesn't have a garlic component. I think it goes back to my earliest ancestors, who were garlic dealers to the czars. Needless to say, they spent much time at odds with vampires. (Who were the medieval equivalent of "emo kids")

My old college roommate was once asked to describe my cooking, and he said "pretty good, but always involves tons of oil and tons of garlic". And with modern science telling us that garlic has curative properties--and this was known for some time, since people tried fighting the bubonic plague with garlic and herbs--it's only natural that I try and stave off swine flu with heavy doses of garlic.

So Sunday while watching the Redskins lose again (hooray! Suck it, Dan Snyder) I whipped up a some linguini with a light garlic sauce and basil, to the extent that even now two teethbrushings and a shower later I still feel like I have garlic on my breath. And you know what? No swine flu and no vampires.

Of course, it is broad daylight right now....

Friday, October 16, 2009

In Soviet Russia, the Sexy Brings YOU Back

This weekend the gang was supposed to go on a long and arduous hike, led by a former Marine who refers to himself as "Gunny" (okay, he doesn't really do that, but we do have active imaginations in our gang). Sadly, it looks like an unseasonably cold and rainy weekend so we're tossing around "plan B" and no I don't mean morning after pills. Do you know how expensive those are? We'd be better off tossing around Advil.

The alternate plans for our day of hike have revolved around brewery tours, visiting Baltimore, bar crawling, indoor picnics, bowling, and going to Charles Town Racetrack because there's a fine filly in the fifth. It seems, though, that the rain has sapped everyone's energy and no one is taking action in deciding what it is we're going to do.

What we have here is a power vacuum. It's like Soviet Russia after the death of Lenin. Except more beer. Who will step up to the challenge? These are interesting times, folks...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yes, I'm a Wordsmith. Bow Down Before Me!

Ever have one of those special occasions where you need to write just the right sort of thing on a card? Where you want to say just the right thing, but don't have the wordsmithing to do it? Well, fortunately I was an English Major, in that I majored in something at a college that was located in an English-speaking country. So my gift to you, my readers, is a set of some heartfelt words that apply in any occasion. Just write them in your special card!

1) "As a parent, you're much better than that lady who beat her kids with wire hangers. Even if you didn't win an Oscar."

2) "I'm sorry your pet turtle died. I'm sure it had nothing to do with your neglect as a pet owner."

3) "If I had to get kicked in the balls, it would be an honor if you were the one who did it."

4) "Congratulations on getting married. Hopefully your new husband will quit grabbing my ass at parties."

5) "Happy Bar Mitzvah. You should really trade those stock certificates for some lap dances while they're still worth something."

6) "There's never a good time to mention this, but your recently deceased father owed me a lot of money. And this funeral doesn't look cheap."

7) "Happy Baptism! I'm sure that dollop of water from a celibate man in a robe will be enough to keep your kid from going to hell."

8) "Happy wedding of your daughter! Since you're Sicilian and cannot refuse any requests today, I really need my car waxed. You might want to take off that tux first."

9) "Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary! Though if you don't count the three years you abandoned your family for the stripper in Reno, it's really your 47th."

10) "Happy graduation! Fuck you."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Review of Brian De Palma's "Carrie"

For those who haven't seen it, "Carrie" is the story of a high school girl who feels like a fish out of water. Always teased by the "cool kids" (and keep in mind this movie was from 1976, so big feathered hair, overalls--yuck!, and high waisted bell-bottoms were the unfortunate uniform for the "cool kids"--all Carrie would have had to do is point out how shitty they were dressed and it would have been all "oh, SNAP"), Carrie White felt all alone in the world, with her only ally being her gym teacher. This gym teacher is an interesting character, as she manages to violently slap a number of the girls in her gym class without getting fired and sued. Ah, 1976! When you could smack someone else's kid without reprisal!

(Interesting note--one of the mean girls is played by Edie McClurg, who also went on to play the secretary in Ferris Bueller's Day Off--"the dweebs, stoners...think he's a righteous dude"--so maybe seeing what happens to Carrie helped her empathize with Ferris' plight ten years later)

Anyway, Carrie also has a very religious mother who tends to get a bit stabby when her daughter wants to go to the prom. Why is Carrie going to the prom, you ask? Isn't she super-unpopular? Well, good question--it turns out that one of the popular girls, Sue, feels guilty for tossing tampons at Carrie (don't ask) and wants to make it up to her, so she forces her "heartthrob" boyfriend Tommy (and yes, heartthrobs in 1976 had flowing Jew-fros and wore lots of ruffles!) to take Carrie to the prom instead of her. Amazingly, he agrees, probably because of some promise of fetish sex that was left on the editing room floor. So, things are looking up for Carrie!

But hark! One of the mean popular girls, Chris, is pissed that due to picking on Carrie, she is barred from going to the prom with her own boyfriend Billy (played by a then-unknown John Travolta. So imagine how extra pissed Chris would be if she knew that her prom date would be Tony from Saturday Night Fever!). So Chris decides that maybe a glorified dance in the high school gym isn't all that it's cracked up to be, and maybe she and her boyfriend could instead go into town for a fancy dinner and dancing at a grown up club, followed by group sex at a swingers party. (After all, those were popular in the seventies). And in the process, Chris would learn a bit about growing up. Right?

Wrong! Chris instead decides that the best way to spend prom night is to (with Billy's help) slaughter a pig, collect the blood, rig the Prom Queen election so that Carrie wins, set up a bucket of the pigs blood (and by the way good thing the farmer wasn't around or Chris might have spent an evening having Billy pick bits of buckshot out of her ass with tweezers) on the rafters of the gym, and dump the blood on Carrie right after she gets crowned. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, it turns out that Carrie is telekinetic, which means she can use the power of her mind to move objects. While this would have made her quite excellent at a construction site--imagine lifing several tons of materials up the length of a skyscraper! The unions would have had a shit fit over that--it makes her quite dangerous to pull a nasty prank on. The sad irony is that Tommy, her reluctant date, was treating her nicely and probably realizing that Sissy Spacek (who played Carrie) was rather hot when she's all gussied up--meaning we might have seen some weird telekinetic sex play had this movie gone in a different direction.

So, Chris and Billy dump the blood on Carrie, and Carrie goes batshit, slamming the gym's doors closed, opening the firehoses which cause electrical shorts and turn the crowded gym into an inferno. This slaughters pretty much the whole school, including the gym teacher who tried to be nice to Carrie and hapless Tommy, though Carrie does manage to get out, stalking home covered in pigs blood.

When she gets home that night, her religious mother sees her blood-soaked daughter, and of course tries to stab her because she figures her telekinetic powers are an affront to God or something. Now, I've never had kids, but if my daughter comes home from prom covered in blood, I don't think I'd try stabbing her to death--telekinesis or not! Instead, I'd be all "hey, how was prom? What's with the pigs blood? You kids and your wacky traditions! In my day they served punch." But, Carrie's mother is no match for telekinesis and a set of kitchen implements, and soon she looks like a pin cushion. For some reason the house implodes though, seemingly killing them both.

What to take from this film? I think there are some clear lessons, like don't dump pigs blood on the weird girl since she might be able to destroy the town, and if your girlfriend asks you to take someone else to the prom then tell her to fuck herself. But more importantly, if you're a pig farmer, make sure you get some security system. Think of all the bacon that went to waste!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things I'm Happy About

1) That my stomach ache went away. You never really can enjoy a non-achy stomach except right after you had an achy stomach.

2) That my car doesn't have a rocket launcher or battering ram, as they would have gotten ample use on the way to work this morning. Apparently all the dumbassery comes out around 9:15, and pulling halfway into the road is considered okay.

3) That my team of "spies" has been assembled for Halloween Hijinks. Now to find capes and cool hats.

4) That someone long ago found that boiling grains and sugars and adding yeast, and allowing it to sit the right amount of time, would have created sweet delicious beer. I don't think such a process ever would have occurred to me.

5) That having good friends around can make even the most uneventful day thoroughly enjoyable. This is how friends are like beer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Well, Now The Peace Prize is a Total Joke

Well, it isn't an Onion headline--President Obama has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, which is interesting because his accomplishments in terms of world peace so far include . . . well, pretty much squat so far. Defenders of giving him this award are saying that it's more because of the promise he's demonstrated, and what he intends to do. Well, that's swell! I hope that means I can get an Academy Award now for that movie I plan to make in a few years. Do they give out Pulitzer Prizes for writing that hasn't been done yet? Sort of like an advance?

What I'm hearing from this is that Obama got the Prize as part of a repudiation of George Bush, who the Nobel Committee (representing the European elite opinion here) consider to be the greatest contributor to all causes against peace since the Hitler-Stalin Hybrid (Stitler!) of the 1940s. Apparently, giving the Prize to Jimmy Carter (a noted Bush critic and fellow disaster as president) and Al Gore (Bush's nemesis from 2000, and a fellow dullard) was too subtle--instead, the Prize is to be given to the man who succeeded (without ever actually running against) Bush in the Oval Office. Forget for a minute that Obama is essentially staying the same course as Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan, has kept Guantanamo Bay open as a prison camp for terror suspects, kept the PATRIOT Act going, and . . . you basically have a premature and immature bestowing of the Prize. If they really hate Bush so much, can't they make up a new award, like the Nobel Un-Peace Prize? In the world of actual world leaders, diplomats, activists and philanthropists who are actually making real strides in brokering treaties and ending wars and easing international tensions and helping end poverty, do they really need to give this award to Obama now?

Look, I'm hoping Obama does actually find a way to disengage from Iraq and Afghanistan and repair our relations with countries from the Far East to Latin America, and help tackle both international and domestic problems (such as our economy). I hope he's able to do something in the next 4 to 8 years to actually deserve a Peace Prize. But giving him the Prize this year is just plain shitballs retarded.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Nothing pisses me off more than a stupid idiot. Of course, I should rephrase that--some idiots are just fine, when they don't harm themselves or others. I just don't care for idiots who arent' aware that they're idiots (see, Al Gore, George W Bush, Dan Snyder) or idiots who are actually proud of their idiocy, as though it is some badge of honor (Sarah Palin). And then there are idiots who use the word "literally" wrong.

My theory is that there are a large number of people who use the word "literally" because they aren't aware of the word "figuratively". Such as:

1) "I could literally kill that guy." Really? You're prepared to stalk and kill this person, and most likely hide the body in a hole somewhere (need your "Hole Buddy"!) and concoct an alibi? All because he didnt' serve you a beer fast enough? Psycho!

2) "That is literally the hottest chick on the planet." Really? You've somehow done a survey of the 3 billion women on the planet, and used some generally understood metric to judge "hotness", and found this woman to outshine them all? That's an impressive study, you should publish these findings!

3) "I could literally eat a horse right now." Really? You're prepared to pay some farmer for one of this thoroughbreds, ask him to kill it for you (I'm assuming you don't want the unpleasantness of wielding the axe and the horse screams to haunt your nights), and cook up all its parts, and eat the whole thing? Take some TUMS (R).

4) "That guy is literally retarded." Really? That man who cut you off in traffic is in fact a special needs case, with a sub-level IQ, which probably accounts for his driving erratically and not checking his blind spot? You mean to tell me that the state hands out drivers' licenses to people of such dangerously low intelligence levels that it would jeopardize the very lives of its citizenry? Okay, in this case you're probably right.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I asked my doctor for a second opinion. He said, "okay, you're also a despot enforcing sharia law on a modern populace."

Well, just when you thought the Jews hadn't suffered enough! Looks like the Israeli-hating, Holocaust-denying leader of Iran might be Jewish after all. This would give ammunition to the conspiracy theorists in the Iranian government who think the Jews control everything--including their own Jew-bashing leader! The irony is enough to make you want to enrich uranium for not-so-peaceful purposes.

Of course, if this turns out to be true it remains to be seen whether this will change Achmadinejad's (let's just call him Mr. A) outlook. It could be that he knew he was Jewish all along, and was one of those "self hating Jews" that try and cover their ancestry out of some psychological turmoil. Or, he could be one of those "self deprecating Jews" like Woody Allen, and will pepper his speeches to the U.N. with references to domineering mothers, wives who give him heartburn, the big-boobed girl in Philosophy class and other Borscht-Belt tropes. Give the man a Yiddish accent and we could be looking at the next Henny Youngman! Take my Supreme Ayatollah....please!

In the meantime, let's just hope he doesn't blow anything up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Assholery Is So Too a Word

With the fall season coming on, we're seeing nights and weekends filling up quickly as this is the most festive part of the year. Between Oktoberfest, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Belgian Appreciation Day, Greek Hatred Day, the Jumprope Festival, Tickle a Wiccan Eve, Tickle a Wiccan Day, and Contest the Restraining Order Filed By the Wiccan Fest, it looks like there will be few slow and dreamy fall days ahead. Below are some party suggestions from the gang:

1) Oktoberfest Theme Party. Pluses--if we celebrate the Germans it might keep them from marching in and stomping all over us as they often do. Minuses--last time we celebrated Oktoberfest we ended up taking over Poland. Sorry Poland!

2) Halloween Party. Pluses--gives me a chance to wear a white sheet without giving people the wrong idea. I just like the smell of fresh linen, people! Minuses--party hosts making you eat everything in the dark and telling you it's really brains even though you're pretty sure brains don't taste like Cheetos.

3) Talent Show Party. Pluses--gives me a chance to emcee! Minuses--none of us have anything approaching actual talent.

4) Fall Harvest Party. Pluses--this might inspire the gods of the harvest to give us plentiful bounty next year in exchange for our gratitude. Save us, harvest gods! Minuses--how many harvest worshipping societies are thriving these days?

5) Celebrate the Day the Redskins are Eliminated From the Playoffs. Pluses--we know this will be pretty early in the fall, so we can even hold this one outdoors. Minuses--Dan Snyder still owns the team and lends his assholery to it on a regular basis.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Chi-Town Denial!

So word on the street is Chicago lost its bid for the Olympics in the first round of voting. To which I say, that's a relief! The amount of money they'd need to spend to build the facilities, the losses in commuting time and additional security necessary, not to mention the opportunity costs (consider if such money and effort could be put into something useful, like a giant sign that reads "show us your tits" and can be read from outer space by aliens)--who needs it! The estimates on the costs were also laughably conservative, especially considering this is Chicago we're talking about. Even the parking meters have special slots for inserting bribes for the meter maids.

Of course, some are making political hay out of it since President Obama went and made his pitch for Chicago to the Olympic Committee, as if that had anything to do with it. (After wearing President Bush's acrimonious relationship with other international officials like a badge of honor, you'd think conservatives would be proud of Obama getting "snubbed" here) More likely, the choice between the beaches of Rio and the backdrop of TV's "Good Times" was the determining factor.

That said, it's always the case that they have to practically construct an entire city for the Olympics every time they hold them--stadiums, facilities, athletes quarters. Seems it'd make more sense to just hold the Games every year in the same city, so they wouldn't have to keep up this building and tearing down. Seems simple to me, people!

That said, Chicago will just have to keep being famous for a pot-pie that they call pizza, Al Capone, and Walter Payton.

Whoopi Goldberg Isn't Actually Jewish!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I am, and always have been, an opponent of rape. Apparently this would be an unremarkable statement, ranking up there with politicians who say "I want to help working families" or "I love America!" in that no one is really going to say "I respectfully beg to differ, kind sir!" But apparently a lot of Europeans and more than a few of our Hollywood glitterati (people who glitter) are willing to hedge on the question of rape.

Case in point--Roman Polanski, who's made two decent films (Pianist and Chinatown) and one overrated film (Rosemary's Baby, seriously folks it's a friggin' baby, it's the Devil's, so kill it already), and probably a bunch of others I haven't seen. As it happens, he's also a Holocaust survivor, and later in life had to deal with the fact that his young (and hot, but that's not relevant) wife and unborn child were slain along with some other party guests by a bunch of hippies. (For the record--hippies normally they just keep to themselves and only affect the rest of us by driving up the price of patchouli and hemp, but in the case of the Mansons things went too far) Ordinarily, this is a man who would have everyone's sympathy.

However, in 1977 he also had sex with an underage girl. Normally, when I hear "statutory rape" I withhold judgment, because in the case of say a 21 year old meeting someone at a party who claims to be 18 and it turns out they were only 17, and it was consensual, I don't like to put that in the category of sexual predation. (I think "predation" is a word, or it should be. It sounds better than "predatorness"). I know society has to draw a line at age, but there is a gray area around young adulthood, and the laws can be arbitrary (what's perfectly legal in one state can put you in prison in another) and abused by families that don't approve of their teenager's dating choices. But then there are more clear-cut cases.

Polanski was in his forties, and the girl wasn't "barely underage" but instead aged 13. He also knew her age--he'd needed her mother to sign a consent form so he could take photos of her for French "Vogue" magazine. He also plied her with booze and a sedative, and she'd resisted his advances. Ultimately, he pled guilty to a slightly lesser charge, but fled the country before sentencing. He settled the civil case that the girl brought, and has been living overseas ever since.

Now that he's been taken into custody (by the Swiss, who are extraditing him) a bunch of Hollywood halfwits, including Whoopi "Didn't I Once Have a Career?" Goldberg and Martin "I Really Need Some Coke" Scorsese are clamoring for his release, arguing that he's a talented filmmaker, suffered enough in his life, etc. One has to wonder if the same circumstances had happened with the accused predator being an unknown schlub who never won an Academy Award, would they have come to his defense?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

No Tax on Beer, Fools!

I'm a simple man--hand be a box of paper clips and I'll amuse myself for hours until I accidentally poked myself in the eye. I don't ask for much from my government, render unto Caesar and all that--because frankly I expect so little from the sort of people--legislators--who think there's nothing fishy or stupid about spending $10 million to get a $150,000 a year job for two years. Our leaders are idiots, to be sure, but so long as they let me have my little amusements I'll leave them to their follies.

One of my little amusements is beer--that fine, age-old brew that can provide ease after a long hard day, can enhance conversation, and can repair bad relations (remember when the President invited the black professor and the white cop who arrested him over for beers?). And now some short-sighted individuals are suggesting that our collection of 535 mouth-breathers who legislate at our Capitol impose a new tax on beer to help pay for health care. Might I just say that this idea ranks somewhere between "let's give Hitler that bit of land, he'll leave us all alone after that" and "let's execute this Christ fellow, so once and for all we don't have to hear any more from his followers".

I know the government wants to find a way to pay for health care reform, and apparently there's just no money around after propping up governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, or building highways to uninhabited Alaskan islands, or paying farmers not to grow corn, and paying artists to cover a statute of the Virgin Mary in urine. But you know what? Tax something that sucks, like broccoli or tofu. At least beer will help me get over the news that my health insurance claim was denied.