Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekend sublime

I can't think of any better way to drift off - away from the work week and into an extended holiday weekend - than on the luscious tones of the legendary Dinah Washington.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Okay - new rule!

No one is allowed to criticize my writing and editorial skills unless they have the baseline intelligence to use spell-check before commenting on my work.

"This article seems highly distorted to me -- it fails to mention the contriversy, the disenfranchisement, ..."


You can use disenfranchisement and yet you f*ck up "controversy?"

However, this respondents' life may have been saved by the following feedback I received a little later. I have yet to meet this gentleman, but be assured he is my new bestest friend:

"Fantastic article. Witty, smart, motivating, with an edgy side (sidebar is priceless). Described XXXX Company at its worst and best. Please pass on my kudos to the author!"

I love him.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I promise to stop soon...

...just as soon as I quit laughing.

Do not want

U haz $20?

Thinking about evil

Contrary to most of my musings on this blog, tonight I am thinking about evil. Not your Satanic fire and brimstone kind of evil - but the homegrown kind. The kind that "righteous and right-meaning" people in this country breed among themselves.

I was watching TV tonight and a "religious" character in the show I was viewing made a vicious, homophobic remark.

Not so much his age or appearance, but rather his demeanor and facial expression made me think about Fred Phelps and his warped Manson family of followers. The "God Hates Fags" crowd.

What could possibly fill any human being with such hate that they would wish grievous and bodily harm - let alone hypothetical damnation - upon anybody?

I think of that cadaverous waste of wrinkled, hateful flesh leading his demented and hate-filled family and the Westboro so-called Church -- and wonder what it must have taken to fill someone with such hatred. And how certain other religions foster, foment and feed that hatred.

I can't help but think of the damage I've seen it inflict.

My friend Michael in AZ - whose widowed mother pushed him out onto the street at 18 because otherwise her fellow Jehovah Witness friends and congregants wouldn't visit or socialize with her as the mother of a gay son. Michael turned to drugs and prostitution to support himself - and I pray every day that he's still alive.

But ah well, Mom can have coffee with her fellow hypocrites.

My dear friend and - briefly - boyfriend from high school. Randy, who had been kicked out by his parents and had nowhere else to go besides his "righteous" older sister's house - where she and her husband shamed and berated Randy constantly, calling him an "abomination in the eyes of God." Randy ended his suffering at the age of 17 on a moonlit night - by driving his speeding car into a tree.

Wonder how big sis is sleeping nights?

How can people who proclaim to believe in the love of a God, Christ, Jesus, Buddha, Allah - pick one - perpetrate such evils upon their fellow human beings?

Thank whomever, I've had the strength and the support of both my biological family and my chosen family - and never for a moment let myself believe that I am worth any less than any other person on this planet.

But my heart breaks for those who don't have the strength - who don't have the support - who must fight for their very personhood while being told they are unworthy and evil.

Well guess what, folks. I'll challenge you to a race to see who ends up in hell first. I have a pretty good idea who it's going to be.

Oh - and by the way...fuck you, Fred. And your family is ugly as well as crazy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Made me laugh: LOLcons

Here's a hat tip to one of my new favorite blogs for turning me on the art of the LOLcon.

Check out Sadly, No!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New things that make life worth living

  • Lesleigh's cupcakes (and the rest of her fabulous desserts)
  • 440-thread count sheets (YUM)
  • Doc Hickory's chili on a rainy day
  • Svedka Clementine

A Moooo-ving story

This is the kind of thing I love to stumble across on the Web.

This incredible lady in New Jersey funds her cow rescue organization by making "Cowches" - life-size soft replicas of her rescued cows.

And she uses the cows as her mannequins!

Read the whole story here - it's guaranteed to make you smile.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

If the Devil wears Prada, I'm sticking with Old Navy

The fashion industry is a mean bunch of bastards.

I know that women are constantly pressured to be thin, gorgeous and on the cusp of organ failure to meet the standards of beauty only achievable with a good airbrush and a copy of PhotoShop.

But I'm really finding that men are not safe from their villany either.

It used to be really easy to be a guy. You had some jeans, some t-shirts, a few polos, a couple dress shirts, a jacket or two, and some nifty shoes - and you could go just about anywhere.

But now - the insidious fashion Nazis are messing with our clothing mojo.

Case in point:

I'm not huge, but I am a large guy. I am not yet fated only to shop from the Rochester Big & Tall catalog - or to shop at Mumus-R Us - but I have broad shoulders, a barrel chest and I stand 6'2" tall. Even at my thinnest, when I was a loose 33" waist, me and the XL sized shirt were very good friends.

Now - depending on where I shop - I am either still very much an XL kind of guy - or a Japanese movie monster.

I love Old Navy - for the most part - because I can usually buy something at my last known waist and shirt size - and it will fit.

However, at the GAP just down the mall concourse, I magically gain a waist size. Plus, the shirt size becomes a bit of a gamble.

When I say "for the most part" at Old Navy - that's because designers are now playing with our heads and our ability to clothe ourselves by introducing special "fits."

One must now choose between
  • "Traditional Fit" - clothing for normal people
  • something called "Vintage Fit," which implies that your size will no longer fit unless you are a malnourished Oakie refugee from the great depression of the 1930s
  • "Athletic Fit," which is pretty straightforward and fits you if you have less than 3% body fat, and finally
  • the latest and most mysterious - "Contemporary Fit," which - from experience - leads me to believe that these clothes have been resized to mean if you are a small, you must buy a large. If you are a medium or large, you must buy and XL or XXL. If you are an XL, they simply sell you the bolt of fabric and a stapler.
For other "healthy" guys out there, I offer the following advice based on my experiences trying to find XL clothing that actually fits a normal guy's body.

  • Old Navy - a pretty sure bet - avoid the Vintage Fit
  • GAP - suck it up - you are fat here
  • Dockers - designed for men without an ass
  • Perry Ellis, Geoffrey Beene - pretty safe unless you fall victim to the "Contemporary Fit"
  • Liz Claiborne - close, but no cigar
  • Kenneth Cole, Donna Karan, Crew - Be prepared to buy a size up if you have any kind of waist at all
  • H&M - don't bother - even if you found an XL that fit, it wouldn't last until you got home
  • Diesel, Lucky Jeans - If you are XL - buy a 3X, which they don't make - so forget about it. We're all fat people in these clothes.
  • Tommy Bahama - I love him - his stuff fits.
  • Michael Kors - even if it fit, keep walking unless you want to look like Opie on the Andy Griffith show. Kiddie clothes at grown-up prices.
  • Ungaro - don't even think about buying Ungaro unless you have been a heroine addict for the last five years and your ass dropped off somewhere along the way. Ungaro designs for aliens.
  • Wrangler, Lee - You can't beat a classic
If anyone else has some great tips to share, please comment.

Keep up the good fight - we can't let these bastards win!

Ambushed at the Ghettoford

The constant struggle of living in a "recovering" city - even a small one the size of the one I live in - is that one is constantly faced with the choice of convenience over experience.

The case in point for today's rant is about grocery stores. One of the weirdest things about where I live is that we have almost no grocery stores located anywhere near where people actually reside - instead, the vast majority are located on the retail strip of highway on the side of town where fewer than 15 % of the city residents live.

The exception, of course, being the Hannaford grocery store near where I live - the only game on this side of town.

And sadly, the plaza in which it sits happens to be surrounded by halfway houses, social service agencies, dollar stores, and off-track betting - earning it the unenviable local nickname of "the Ghetto-ford."

I have friends who absolutely refuse to shop there. They tell me that they simply feel unclean just being in the same building with some of the shoppers.

I can't blame them -I have seen a few brawls start, had my patience tested by folks with some kind of emotional or mental issue, and had my sense of justice and fairness fired up watching food program credits being used for less than sensible purchases.

And forget the first five days of the month - I don't care if I just need bread - I'm making the trip across town when the monthly stipends are received.

But you know what - it's close, it's relatively convenient, and I know where everything is.

I'm not bothered about having a shopping experience where I am surrounded by mentally challenged people, recovering addicts and young mothers on WIC - but I am also a 6'2" man of a rather large build, so I doubt that the average welfare mother is gonna throw down with me.

(the following should be read with ones tongue firmly planted in ones cheek)

What I do not like, however, and what is making me rethink my shopping options - is the sheer number of organizations regularly posted outside both entrances to the store, wanting me to give them money. To support something I have no interest in.

This makes me very cranky, because none of these children - yes, children - it's always kids - is ever collecting for anything I care about.

I'm very happy that we have such a diverse arrays of youth activities in our community - girls volleyball, boys rowing, JV wrestling, Future Yak Herders of America - you name it, they're all out there asking for money.

I'd be stuffing those cans if I were to encounter kids outside who were collecting for, say - Future Bon Vivants of America, Future Functional Alchoholics, or Rabid Young Democrats with Long, Angry Memories. But they are nowhere to be found.

So - I am forced to look furtively at your children and disappoint them - on a regular basis - muttering "sorry" as I pass - or making up some lie about how I don't have any cash.

Now - to you parents and educators out there - it's not that I don't want your children to be fit, learn good sportsmanship, or milk a mean yak - but please realize that I am already paying taxes through the nose to enable the schools to offer these programs - that strikes me as double-dipping. Especially when I have a less than zero return on investment on those taxes, because I will never need to take advantage of those services - since I stand about as much chance of reproducing at this point as being crowned Miss Universe.

In fact - I think of it as paying protection money. Pure and simple. I'm paying to keep your kid off the streets, gambling on the fact that they will grow up to be productive, upstanding citizens and not homicidal maniacs on crack.

Okay - that being said - back to our regularly scheduled rant...

Yesterday was nearly the proverbial camel-crippling straw. I had to pick up mixers and nibbles for the weekly post Farmers Market Saturday boozer at our house - so I jumped in the car and zipped down the hill to the Ghettoford.

Once again - positioned outside both doors - were groups of young children. Boys at one entrance, girls at another. A creature of habit, my normal parking place happened to be on the side where the boys were stationed. Fine by me - I figure the boys are tougher and less likely to make me feel guilty about not contributing.

As I approached, I realized they were singing.

"Okay," I thought. "Maybe this is something we can get behind." I am constantly enraged by the cuts made to music and arts education - having dipped heavily into those scenes myself during my school life.

But as I approached, they had no discernible identification or sign showing who they were representing, so I decided to pass by and see what happened on my way out.

On my return to the car, I noticed that one of the boys was now holding up a sign saying "_____ Baptist Church Praise Choir."

My brain exploded.

(end tongue in cheek holding at this point - we're on to some serious shit now)

I will save you all my EXPANSIVE opinions on the public display and evangelizing of religion, my views on churches who hate and condemn me without even knowing me, and focus instead on the sheer EFFRONTERY of being asked to FUND their children's programs for them.

I passed by the boys, smiling and saying"Nice job, guys" - in reference to the song they had just completed - but my eyes were spinning in opposite directions and all of my teeth were moving about independently in my head.

I was furious. I wanted to march into the store and demand that the manager allocate one of the doorways as "hassle-free." That seemed to me to be the only sensible solution if they wanted to keep my patronage. Then I just got pissy and drove home - where I knew a brand new bottle of Stoli was waiting for me.

Of course, this will probably sound harsh and mean to some people - with me sounding like some kind of a##hole who hates kids.

I don't.

What I hate is feeling guilty for disappointing some young kid because their parents, churches, communities and school boards do not provide for them.

I overheard a conversation recently in the grocery store between two parents who were talking about the fact that their high school aged teens had already been part of 6 or 7 fund raising activities for one sport - in a single school year! What's the sport? Team begging? Jesus.

I remember doing fund raising as a teen, both for high school programs and for my church youth group. But the school programs were always selling things or providing services - where you got something in return for your money. I sold cases of citrus fruit, candy bars, and god knows what else.

And my parents funded my music and art activities. They rented instruments, paid for sheet music, provided funds to pay for bus trips and uniforms. Hell, our mothers all got together and pitched in to sew over 200 new marching band jackets for a summer competition in Florida.

And as for church - we generally only fund raised from our own parishioners or, worst case scenario, invited passersby to enjoy a car wash in our church parking lot. Again - receiving a service for their donation.

Despite my comments above, I do believe in and support our public schools. I believe my public schooling did a wonderful job for me.

I don't know what's changed - or why it seems that schools and parents need the rest of us to do more than our share to keep the boat sailing.

Maybe a dollar here or there is not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things

But I draw the line at supporting your church. Believe what you wish, worship as you wish - or not - but don't expect me to support your religion when that same branch or flavor of religion oppresses others - or singles them out for hatred and violence.

Don't send your children to ring my doorbell or sing outside my local market and expect more than a polite "I'm, sorry - no."

And I am damned if I know how to end this post - I guess I'll simply say - that's it.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sick, sick, sick...

I hate being ill.

I rarely get ill and if practice makes perfect, I am very much out of practice whenever it happens.

Generally, I would describe myself at any given moment as "robustly healthy," whether or not I have been to the gym recently, am nursing a hang-over, or have gained a few pounds after succumbing to the delights of fast food while on a road trip. I find that I am still hale and hearty at just about all times.

But once in every great while, like the Lottery pot building to a multi-million dollar payout, my number comes up. And when it does - hoo boy! I am the big winner - hand me the super sized check, put my face on TV, and then watch me vomit all over Ed McMahon.

I am not a very nice sick person.

B is of the garden variety male personality where he requires "nursing." He needs comfy pajamas, hot tea, cool washcloths, soft pillows, chicken soup, and lots and lots of patience and attention.

I, however, would rather stick flaming kebabs into my eyes than be ministered to. When I am sick, I am like a wounded animal - I need to close myself away in a cave somewhere, lick my wounds and sleep and let my body heal. I do not need nor want attention - if you ask me more than once "is there anything I can get for you?" your life is pretty much forfeit.

Once, one of our friends visited for a weekend to help out on a house improvement project. Sadly, I fell ill with the Black-Flu-of-Death-That-Ate-New-England-and-Then-The-World the day before he arrived, so I gathered my Nintendo Gamecube, a stack of DVDs, some books, and retreated to my room.

Then I found out that our friend, in addition to being a great DYIer, is also a "caregiver" personality. And a handsy one at that - wanting to rub your back and reassure you with hugs...


F*ck me - I had two people in the house who wanted to help me, instead of just the mostly-trained one (he still devolves into a caretaker occasionally).

I think that was the weekend where I perfected my snarling (and got pretty goddamned good at the video games where you either shoot people or beat them to death with sticks and magical sh*t).

This time wasn't as bad as that, however. This was more of an aerobic sickness where you build up your puking muscles by expelling all food and liquid in the first fifteen minutes, then doing dry-heave repetitions for the next 9.5 hours. Meanwhile, your nether regions are undergoing a similar routine - but we won't go all the way down that road. It's not pretty.

Fortunately (or not - I need to check my e-mail in-box for work), this time it happened on a work day. I was home, alone. It was too hot to venture outside. And I had about as much strength as a newborn kitten, having spent it all at the all-night expulsitory olympics.

Today, however, the worst has passed and I am only feeling like I have been mugged by a gorilla.

Now, my story being told, I need a nap.