Saturday, December 16, 2006

What I would say if I was in charge of...

...naming hurricanes:

"Okay, if it goes Category 5, you're guaranteed 24 hours a day coverage on all the mainstream media networks. Front page of every newspaper for at least a week. And if it just happens to cause billions of dollars of damage to places where white people live, it'll be mentioned for years afterwards. So do we have a deal? Are we going to call this thing The Trump Hurricane or what?"


Its getting hot in here (so hot!)

...writing the press release for an actor who drunkenly ran over and killed some nobody:

"He's been under a lot of stress lately due to a lower-than-expected domestic gross on his latest film. And that led him to develop an addiction to painkillers. But he's asking for forgiveness now. Oh and he also found Jesus. Yeah, right behind the washing-machine actually. Been there the whole time."

...the charge:


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Scared Straight (Updated for the New Millenium)

I was watching the news the other day, on my 35th birthday, and came to a startling conclusion.
Kids today, these so-called "teenagers" are bad. Very bad. Much, much worse than me or my peers ever were at that age.
Example: We used to drink cough-syrup for kicks in high-school. Not all the time, of course! But a few times a week, my friend Bob* would venture off to the local Drug Store, suck back a root-beer float at the soda-fountain, then buy a few bottles of cough-syrup for me and the lads.

We'd choke down a bottle each then sit around vomiting and hallucinating that our futons were farting. I'm not proud of our cherry-flavoured escapism, but it was a stressful time. We had high-school exams to worry about, not to mention the ongoing threat that Grenada might invade the US then sweep upwards into Canada to gain control of our much sought-after maple-syrup and baby-seal resources. If ever there was a time that teens needed that blissful peace for sale at $4.99 a bottle, that was it.

So yeah, we drank cough-syrup and got locked in death struggles with powerful, ceramic creatures that turned out to be our toilets. But by God, at least we didn't have a name for what we were doing! Unlike the zit-besotted devils we call teens today, we didn't have a zippy catch-phrase for the practice. In fact, we only spoke of our habit in hushed whispers.

But now? Well, things have changed my friends. Now kids are proud of drinking the stuff! I think a big part of the problem is that once something has a name, suddenly it's out in the open and the kids think it's okay. We all saw it happen with the word "handjobs" (I'm pretty sure the recent ubiquity of this phrase is Bill Clinton's fault, but George Michael may be involved too), and it has certainly now happened with the practice (formerly the art) of drinking cough-syrup.

Teen # 1, on his way down to Broadway to smash my car windshield:
Hey, other than smashing in the car windshields of those who can barely afford gas let alone needless repairs caused by random vandalism, what should we do tonight?

Teen # 2, while receiving a handjob from Teen # 3:
I know! Let's do some robo-tripping!

Teen # 3 (slightly out of breath):
Yeah, let's all go robo-tripping! Then we can head back to my place and listen to Evanescence. I got my futon de-fanged, so we should be okay.

Teen # 1: Robo-tripping! Woot!

Teen # 2 (to Teen # 3): Thanks for the handjob and... wait a second. YOU'RE A DUDE!

Anyway, my point.

Kids today = Bad. Very bad. Much, much worse than when I was young.

But you don't come here just to hear me complain about how bad teenagers have become since I turned 35. You come here for solutions.

But before we get to that, one more quick digression. There was a time before TV, when reading was the only form of entertainment beside playing Bubonic Plague Tag. Back then some uppity Brit (excuse the redundancy, but I get paid by the word) invented satire with his Modest Proposal.** Please keep this in mind as you read what you're about to read.

And now, without further digression, my own Unassuming Proposition:

Build high-schools and men's high-security prisons together, in one building. Now, I'm no monster... I suggest we put up one structure, but split it right down the middle with a thick, plexiglass wall. On one side, the high-school kids. On the other? Oz.

That way, the teenagers can see, in vivid, semen and blood-stained detail, their eventual fates if they don't cut down on the robo-tripping.

I haven't yet decided if the plexiglass wall should be one-way glass. I know we want the teenagers to see what's going on over there. But I could foresee some difficulties if the prisoner's could also watch through (and, um, press things up against) the glass. But hell, maybe a few squashed squirrels would help scare a few of these smart-aleck kids straight.

Anyway, I have a lot of other strong opinions about the subject, including exactly whether or not there should be one door through the plexiglass wall separating the two institutions (I'm thinking yes, but that it should be carefully locked at all times) but I think I've written far more than even my own attention span can handle.

So, let's leave this with one final note: You know how earlier I brought up that whole satire/Modest Proposal stuff? That has nothing to do with what I just wrote. I'm fucking serious. We should really do this. Otherwise, those god-damned teenagers will never learn, and I'll continue to get dirty looks every time I'm bored on a Friday and head down to pick up a bottle.

* His name was really Edward. But let's hope his lawyer sees that asterix up there and just assumes I've added a footnote that reads "All names changed for privacy reasons." I'm sure dumb old Edward is too poor by now to afford the hourly rate for his lawyer to read all the way through this entire blog post, AND the footnotes at the bottom.

** Admission: Intellectually, I *know* the work was satire. But as anyone knows, who has ever tasted "Irish Veal", lightly broiled and dipped in melted butter, there's a fine line between satire and good eating.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Depresspirational Message!

It just occurred to me that we 20 and 30-something Western Civilizationites (for the record, I recognize that any second-year Arts student worth her salt could easily write at least an A- paper on the inherent ethno-centrism of the very notion of a "Western Civilization", but I don't care. Because those second year Arts students shouldn't even be reading this. Those blessed years are supposed to be filled with those second year Arts students roaming around their dorms doing keg stands and room-mates.) are living in the absolute best possible epoch, past or future?

We were born after the sphincter-clenching of the 50's, the kinda-fun-but-holy-shit-are-there-some-embarassing-photos-in-my-album 60's...and we haven't had to deal with any really traumatizing wars that requried sacrifice on the part of the general public... And the times before that whole WW2/WW1 business were even worse. You really can't argue that nowadays are preferable to the Before Times...before toilets, before anasthetic and before the notion that syphillis was anything but an inconvenience ("Edmond, I dare say you look even more handsome without a nose.")

So, there's now. Besides the various other pleasures that we live, watch and imbibe ever day, there's the Internet, and all the happiness it brings us...with instant access to friends, family and pornograpy. Especially pornography that doesn't involve our family. Or at least not anyone more closely related than second cousins. (Tisha Ryerson, call me!).

And I'm no cynic, but the future's looking a bit...well, let's just say it has a 90% chance of heavy cloud cover. We may figure this whole global warming thing out (Al Gore, call me!) but if we don't, things are going to go to shit...and not just cancelling the 2-man luge at the Winter Olympics shit, either.

Plus, then there's the rise of other global superpowers to worry about (China, call me!). This could work out very, very well for the Chinese, and that's great. But for us Western Civilizationites, it may well mean we'll become kind of...obsolete. Like the French.
They're still around. You can even go there for a romantic trip of sipping wine and riding Le Space Mountaine at Euro-Disney. But their culture, once mighty, has become obsolete. It's been on a steady decline since Asterix and Obelix were felled by botulism from an undercooked wild boar.

Anyhow, I'm not saying life is going to suck in the future for Western Civilizationites. I'm just saying it's going to suck a bit worse than it does now.

And because it sucked worse in the past...and it's going to suck worse in the future (precluding a sudden desire on our parts to choose Segways over cars, trucks, SUVs and flying in planes for business and travel) that means just one thing:
All of us lucky enough to be 20 or 30-somethings right now are basically living in the best possible epoch in all of Western Civilization's history or future. The. Best. Ever.

And yet, still I complained about the breakfast sandwich I had this morning. (Undercooked bacon.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Great Big Book of Soiled Objects

This morning, on my walk into work, I did something I almost never do. I looked to the right at every street corner. This wasn’t necessary, since I live outside the UK, Japan, Australia and the rest of those obstreperous* countries who drive on the liberal side of the road. But I was bored.

There isn’t much to report. Most of the streets wound up looking eerily similar to their counterparts to my left. With one notable exception – an off-ramp dropping from a bridge down onto the street. Off-ramps have a strangely pleasing aesthetic to them, I thought to myself. I wonder if people take photographs of them. And then I remembered exactly how many photographs of off-ramps I’ve seen in my short** life. In fact, it’s entirely possible that every single photographer goes through an Off-ramps and Overpasses phase, right after their Sad Children of Various Ethnicities phase and immediately before their Wow, You Mean You’ll Really Take Your Clothes Off and Let me Take Pictures of You? phase.

So then I thought, dammit, it can’t be that hard to come up with a whole new idea for a collection of photography. It was at about that moment that I stopped looking to the right, and resumed my normal walking posture – staring forlornly groundward. And it hit me like a bunch of tiny, vaguely rubbery missiles. Gum. Or, more accurately, the squished little chunks of gum ground into any sidewalk of any city in the world***.

Why not take a series of photographs of gum stains? Answer: Because it would be ugly and lame. Better question: Why not expand that idea beyond the rather narrow constraints of sidewalks and spearmint? How about a book of stains and other be-soilments? If our saviour Jesus Christ can appear in an enormous mildew stain in a bath-tub in Pittsburgh**** then what other miracles (Christmas and otherwise) might we find in everyday besmirchments? What other wonders are waiting in dried alley pee-puddles or the oil stains in a suburban garage or the burger-drippings on the pants of a Duluth truck-driver?

Well, I don’t know, quite frankly. But I’d love to find out. And because I’m a lazy non-photographer, I never will… Unless someone else takes this idea and runs with it. And I’m talking runs to the bank, because if this idea doesn’t get you a contract for a 200 page coffee-table book with Taschen, I don’t know what will.*****


* I’ve always been a fan of this word, but never actually knew exactly what it meant until about a week ago. I always thought it had something to do with babies with sore throats.

** Short, using a geological time scale.

*** Singapore excluded.

**** Guy, wash your tub once in a while.

***** Legal Notice: Be reading these words you are hereby agreeing to grant me, Baco-Vegetarian, exclusive rights to any and all proceeds you may receive from the sale of a book of photography based on stains or besmirchments, or any other money you may ever make, for any reason, for ever. And ever. Amen.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Fun with Numbers

Did you ever notice that if you type the number

...and then look at it sideways, it kind of looks like little dangling testicles?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Getting Old

This weekend I went to the drug-store and bought garbage bags and vitamins.

I remember not that long ago when I'd go to the same store to buy condoms and nitrous canisters.

(Imagined) Telephone call to a number I found on a “Missing Pet” poster

Me: I found your pet.

Kid: You did?

Me: I think so. It’s a little porcupine looking thing, right? Spines and whatnot?

Kid: It’s a hedgehog.

Me: What’s its name?

Kid: Hazelnut.

Me: You called your hedgehog Hazelnut?

Kid: Yeah.

Me: But it’s a real hedgehog right? You didn’t put up a poster because you lost one of those Belgian chocolates?

Kid: What?

Me: The thing you lost. It’s a real animal right?

Kid: It was. Is it dead now?

Me: No, I think it’s just resting.

Kid: Call out its name, see if it wakes up.

Me: It knows its name?

Kid: No. But if you say it loud enough it’ll wake up.

Me: (loudly) Hazelnut!

Kid: …

Me: …Um…

Kid: Did he wake up? Did he wake up?

Me: Um..

(clicking noise as I hang up.)

Kid: Hello? Hello? Oh no!

(I re-dial the number)

Kid: Hello?

Me: It’s me.

Kid: Hazelnut’s dead isn’t he?

Me: No, I was just fucking with you. Hazelnuts fine. Gimme your address and I’ll bring him right over.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Transcript of a never-before-aired Muppet Show special

If you’re just joining us… Before we went to commercial, we mixed up ½ cup of cornmeal, one egg, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of salt and a full teaspoon of pepper. Now I’ll quickly beat it, and there we go. We can set that aside for the time being. Where did I put Kermit? Ah, there he is. Notice the way his flesh bounces back when I squeeze his thigh. That’s good. That means he’s been dead for less than an hour. Really, to make this recipe the Louisiana way, you need the freshest frog you can find. If he’s dead any more than an hour, the flesh would already be getting too soft. And don’t think you can just throw the little fella’ in the freezer and save him for later, either. That’ll make the meat stringy and discolored. Imagine what Gonzo’s leg meat would look like? That’s what happens if Kermie here spends a bit too much time in the Frigidaire.

Now, in your right hand, firmly grasp Kermit by the bottom of his bulbous abdomen. With your left hand raise the cleaver up… And if you can see what I’m doing here, I’m aiming for a spot about halfway between his knee…well, Kermit doesn’t have knees. So about three inches above where his knee would be.

Word of warning. Frog bones are surprisingly hard. When I was trying this recipe out yesterday, I managed to convince Robin to help me test things. Now, he is…was just a juvenile frog but I still had to have a couple hacks with the cleaver to get the legs off. But it’s worth it. My daughter could barely wait for ‘em to finish frying before she started nibbling. She’s always loved the Muppets.

So, one swift downward cut. And there you go. I’ll just put Kermit’s head and torso aside for the moment. Actually who am I kidding? I’m making frog’s legs, not frog’s head and torso. So I might as well just throw those right in the garbage. I’ll wrap it in a plastic bag here, though, cuz it gets fragrant pretty fast. Let’s just say he smelled better alive than he will in a day or two.

Now just dip these two legs in the cornmeal/egg mixture. Make sure you cover it completely. And then pop ‘em both in the frying pan. Oh geez, would you look at that. I guess that’s blood. I don’t know, I’m no veterinarian. But my understanding is that if the frog is dead, and then you remove the legs, that shouldn’t…

Well, that plastic bag shouldn’t be wiggling like that. You know, I could’ve sworn the little fella was… Hang on one second. And everyone at home, don’t worry. He was definitely unconscious, if not dead. I’m sure he’s not awake, and there’s no… Frogs don’t feel pain in the same way we do. So..

{Unrecognized voice, muffled: “Hi-ho, [unrecognized word] the Frog is still alive here.”}

Whoa. Um, I’ll just get a mallet, and make sure. I don’t want the little guy suffering, if he is still… Okay, there we go. Good.

Now I’m going to take both legs, they’re already battered up, and I just drop them in the frying pan. I’ll leave them on for a couple minutes ‘til they’re browned on all sides. So this is a good time for a station break.

But coming right up after some commercials, we’ll be giving this a taste. We’re also going to have a couple more guests come by. Miss Piggy and Pepe are both on deck. You’ve heard of bacon-wrapped scallops, but did you know you could do the same thing with King Prawns?
See you in a sec.
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