Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallo-Fucking-Ween

A few weeks ago, I posted about how the economy was still looking good to me, based on the amount of people who were still going out ot eat. OK, maybe we are fucked. Or maybe it was because of a mixture of Halloween and High School Football Friday that lead to Inky and I eating in a 90% empty steakhouse tonight. I was expecting to see less people out tonight, but not as few as we did see.

Inky and I were just about the only patrons with all our orginal teath. It was grandparents evening at Charlie Brown's tonight. This was either because they are the only ones with the extra dough to spend, or because they had to take care of the grandkids while the parents get in the Joker and Sarah Palin cosutme and head out to get drunk.

_

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sounds Like a Good Idea To Me

See more Natalie Portman videos at Funny or Die


I'm not one to argue with what Rashida Jones and Natalie Portman say, especially when they are in bed together. So, I think it's time to go out and buy as many puppies as we can, and fix this economy.

_

Monday, October 27, 2008

Greazy vs The Captain

As a 32 year old man with no children, a strong bladder and a relatively low stress level, I really shouldn't have problems sleeping. And yet, I do. I can be dead tired, with my head bobbing at my desk all day long, but when I get home, I can't fall asleep. I head up to the Captain (the name Inky and I gave to our king size) and every ounce of my being is calling out to it. My aching bones yearn for sleep, however, the sleep doesn't come. I lay there, looking at the clock every seven to ten minutes, wondering to myself 'why the fuck am I still awake."

What's more maddening, is that I know I can sleep, and I know that the captain is a willing an gracious partner in the bedroom. How do I know this? Because, when I nap it is the most complete and glorious experience this side of orgasm. Twice this weekend, I found myself all tuckered out in the early evening, and having nothing of any import to do, I took the chance to nap. And it was mind blowing!

A little background here: I am not traditionally a napper. Inky can nap just about anywhere, just about any time. The only time I've ever seen Inky have a problem catching a few winks was on the way back from Oz, and I suspect that had more to do with being in the middle seat than her own abilities. As for me, the last time I napped on a regular basis, save for my time on third shift, was during the Carter administration. During my graveyard days, I would stagger down to the building's abandoned cafe' at 4 AM and sleep the sleep of the dead on a padded bench, until about 4:27, when my cell phone alarm would wake me to return to the salt mines.

As a day-walker, I have chosen to eschew catnaps for the chance to be lazy while still awake. But those two interludes with the captain this weekend have forced me to rethink my whole position on napping. In each case, I fell asleep straight away, and didn't hardly stir until I awoke 90 to 120 minutes later. When I did wake up, I was completely and totally rested, not to mention 100% contented in my little heated sleep cocoon. Inky will tell you that when I nap, I throw off slightly less heat then Three Mile Island does. Even after being away from my covers, my woobie and the captain for a few minutes, they are all still warm with clean, 100% green, Greazy heat. I think someone might want to look into me as a possible solution to the energy crisis, I'm just saying...

So why can't I sleep that way at night? I toss and turn, I sigh and frown and most importantly, I get ever closer to the time I have to get up. All with no good rest. Is this some kind of cruel joke? Is it residual damage from the two year disruption of my circadian rhythm while I worked overnight? Or, even worse, is it just a fact of getting older? Because that would suck! With all we have to go through during the day, don't we deserve seven or eight good hours of sleep a night?

_

Friday, October 24, 2008

"For a while I tried to be folksy, but it just came off douchie"



It's a bit sad that the best two parts of this skit, are two people that don't work at the show anymore. But, it's still really funny, so who gives a damn.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gone Too Soon

Really well done rock music doesn't just grow on trees, and it's so rare that musical acts come along that I really love. So it's all the more sad when two that I have only been able to enjoy for a short time are hanging up their instruments. Back in August the Nashville Teen Punk group Be Your Own Pet dissolved just four months after putting out their sophomore record, "Get Awkward". I had Get Awkward at #5 on my midway list of the best records of 2008, and It's only grown on me more in the past months. Their Self Titled debut record was far and away my favorite of 2006, and I still listen to to it all the time.

The other group that is calling it quits is the British group The Long Blondes. While BYOP hasn't really given much of a reason behind their breakup, the Sheffield based act were hit with a huge blow shortly after their second record hit stores this past spring. Their lead guitar player, and primary songwriter Dorian Cox had a stroke in June, from which he is working hard to recover. The band has said that they didn't want to continue on without him, and so they are scattering to separate projects. Lead singer Kate Jackson is already working on a solo record, in a move that I would have to think BYOP front woman Jemina Pearl will also try.

I took to the Long Blondes right away, at the end of '06. I heard them on internet radio, and I really loved their sound right away. Their first record, "Someone to Drive You Home" was as complete as a first record could be, and I placed it at #12 over all for 2006, despite the fact that it had just come out in November of that year. This year's "Couples" is a bit of a departure from their first, but was still very good, and I had it at #8 on the half year countdown.

Knowing that we will almost certainly hear from Kate Jackson and Jemina Pearl again makes me happy, but it's not quite the same in the end. Sting was great, but the Police were better. Eddie Vedder is a fine solo artist, but the real genius comes from Pearl Jam. I don't know how Kate will sound when she is singing songs she writes herself as opposed to ones Dorian wrote with the collaboration of the rest of the group. I'm also afraid that Jemina, being so young, may end up being another Avril if she falls into the wrong hands. But, I'm a worrier when it come to the art and artists I'm into, and I'm sure it will all be OK. I guess I just wish we had gotten a bit more from these groups before they disintegrated.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Toilet humor

The following story only further proves that you can take the boy out of college, but you can't take college out of the boy. This is especially true when he works at a college. My new office is in a "multi use" space on campus, where we have offices for administrators, as well as classroom space and some other student facilities. Because of that, we have to share THE facilities with the students. This can lead to some strange bathroom incidents, like I had yesterday.

I was standing at the urinal, doing my business, when I realized that I was a bit phlegmy. I was faced with two options: I could either wait till I was all zipped up and spit in the sink while I washed my hands, or even perhaps in the towel after I had dried my hands. Or, I could spit into the urinal, trying to avoid spitting on my own junk, which is difficult... because it's massive and has it's own gravitational pull. The grown up option is the former, but as illustrated by the tenor of my last sentence, I think you know that I chose the latter.

Sadly my aim proved faulty, and I ended up spitting on the rim of the bottom most portion of the urinal. Let me pause a moment to describe the spit in question, and let you know why this situation destabilized so quickly. It was quite thick, and remarkably solid in color, which was a kind of chalk white. In short, it bore a striking resemblance to something else. I decided that I couldn't just leave it there, because I if I had seen it, I would have been grossed out.

So I shook and zipped, and then I stepped into the stall to get some toilet paper, to take care of my mess. Then, all of the sudden the doors flung open, and I heard the unmistakable sound of bro speak. I was faced with yet another choice. I couldn't walk out of the stall, charmin in hand, and go over and wipe the rim of the urinal. So I balled the paper up and threw it in the stall toilet. I left the stall, intending on washing my hands and exiting the scene of the crime.

That was not to be, however. As I strode past the dual urinals the one bro said to the other: "Dude! It looks like somebody jizzed all over this urinal!" Bro #2 responded with expected horror: "Aw shit! That's fucking nasty!" Finding myself standing right behind the horrified bros, I was, once again, confronted with a few choices. I could just keep on walking to the sink, wash my hands and then leave. Or, I could join in with their disgust upon seeing the offending drip on the urinal, saying something like: "Oh snap, that's wack yo." I, however, didn't get to make this choice. The decision was made by my inner 17 year old who decided to snort out a laugh right after they spoke. They turned around to regard my amusement, and I made one last decision.

I bolted. I turned and walked right to the door, and I laughed out loud all the way back to my office.

_

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Greazy Be Travelin'

I logged a hell of a lot of miles this week, and I'm very much enjoying the fact that I'm home. Things started for me a week ago at this time, when I headed south to BWI so I could make my way even farther south to Tennessee. I spent three days in Nashville, and I did a few blog post's there the last few days to let you know what I was up to. After my work was done in Nashville, my traveling wasn't done, however.

Inky had a big event scheduled in New York on Thursday night, so I woke up at 10:00 AM on Thursday and headed out to the Philadelphia burbs to pick her up. We drove to Hoboken New Jersey and took the Path train into lower Manhattan. I've been promising to take Inky a lot of famous spots in NYC for years, and on Thursday I got to make good by taking her to Katz's Delicatessen. My old man used to take us to Katz's all the time for a pastrami sandwich and a Dr. Brown's Cream Soda, but most people know it from Meg Ryan's fake orgasm in "When Harry Met Sally."

After we ate at around 4:30 we walked down to a place called Teany on Rivington which is owned by Moby where we rendezvoused with our group for the evening. This was a group of other writers, some of whom were also set to read their work that night, just like Inky was. So after we had our Tea and snacks, we walked down to a place called Happy Ending Lounge on Broome for the readings.

It was a good sized crowed, all of whom were there to hear the featured writers read their work. Inky was nervous, but did a great job when it was her time to read, which came as no surprise to me. She got a lot of great feedback from the other writers and other people in the crowd, which were greatly deserved. It was nice to find ourselves in a group of smart, funny and interesting people who know how to carry on a conversation, and so we were excited to keep the party going when the readings ended, just before 11.

We grabbed a couple of cabs and went over to the West Village to have a late dinner at The French Roast. Here the conversation continued an meandered through all manner of topics. We were going strong well past midnight, and sat talking long past the time our food, and a few bottles of wine, were gone. Inky and I failed in our attempt to catch the 2:16 Path train from 9th St. Station, so we went back to the restaurant to kill a bit more time till the 2:46 train came.

Even though we had a great time, it was damn late by the time we got back to the car in Hoboken, and even later by the time I dropped Inky off at her Mom's house. I had to get back to York for a work function on Friday, but I didn't make it home till just after 7AM. Needless to say, I was wiped out and I passed out as soon as I flopped into bed. That night I had to work late, as we had a big fundraising dinner at work, so by the time I got home, I was just barley a shell of myself.

So Inky and I have taken it easy this weekend, allowing me to recharge a bit. We went out to dinner last night, and then went and saw a play at the new Performing Arts Center at our Alma Mater. The week that wouldn't end, finally did, but now I'm killing time watching football till another one starts tomorrow. I need a vacation.

_

Thursday, October 16, 2008

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

I posted yesterday about the ups and downs of traveling. One thing I haven't had to deal with in my trips to Nashville, Boston or Chicago is what my money is worth. Sure some of those places are a bit more expensive, but by and large a buck is a buck is a buck, no matter what the Dow is doing. Not so with Australia, where a buck can be a a buck, as it was when Inky and I were there in May, or it can be 75 cents as it was when we were there in '05.

Earlier this week one tiny gold A$1 coin would buy you two quarters, a dime, a nickle and two pennies. SIXTY-FUCKING-SEVEN CENTS! Are you fucking kidding me? To give you and idea, of why I'm so pissed, lets just say I got a speeding ticket in Australia... oh wait, I did. Well at the time I paid it, the A$150.00 ticket cost me $142.50 based on the exchange rate at the time. If I had waited to pay that ticket till earlier this week the same ticket would have set me back $100.50 or $42 less. Or to put it in a more more simple term, if I was at tittle bar where you tip based on the nation of origin, I'd only have tip .67 cents now, vs .98 then.

This well and truly pisses me off. The only upside is the fact that it will be a lot cheaper for Inky and I to order stuff from Down Under for one another for Christmas. Tim Tams anyone? How about some Geelong swag, all at a huge discount! While that sounds good, I can't help but feel a bit pissed off that we could have had that great trip for a twenty-five percent discount if we had waited five months.

_

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pros and Cons

After three days of sharpening my fundraising skills in Nashville, It's time for me to hit the road. I have a love/hate relationship with travel. On one hand I really enjoy being anywhere that isn't where I always am. On the other hand, I don't really like doing it without Inky. After a dozen years of being together all the time, three days apart can really take the fun out of people watching, even in a place as batshit crazy as this is. It's not as fun to take notice of people doing or saying ridiculous stuff if I have to wait to tell her or XL about it later.

Plus, I tire of low pressure shower heads, uncomfortable beds, and the hastles of not having a car. To make matters worse, I miss tivo, playstation, ever present web connectivity and my woobie. It's really a mixed bag when I travel alone. Traveling also has an impact on my overall enjoyment levels. It's one thing when I'm going to Australia with Inky, or on one of my crazy sports trips with XL, then all the ins and outs don't seem to matter as much, because it's all just a means to an end. But, when I travel for work, I have a primary focus that doesn't always allow me to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

In the end, after all saying all that, I've been happy to spend a few days in Nashville. I walked up and down Broadway a few dozen times, ate at a few great places and even watched some live country music, albeit sung by someone I've never heard of before. I walked over to the western part of town and saw the full size replica of the Parthenon, which I, in all my geeky glory found very cool. While I wasn't able to see any sporting events while in town, I did see the Titan's home stadium across the Cumberland River last night.

Now I just have to kill sometime until my flght, so I'm sitting in a Panera using their wi-fi after enjoying my broccoli cheese soup and roast beef sandwich. There's no rest for the greazy after I travel from central Tenn to Central Penn, however. I get back late tonight, and tomorrow I'll be driving out to the Philly area to pick up Inky, and then we are headed into SoHo for her first reading. Then, on Friday night, I have one of those: get all dressed up, smile and gladhand work events. I have a funny feeling that this weekend won't be very productive.

_

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Conventionally Speaking

To say I spend a lot of time on the road for my job would be an understatement. In the last year or two, I've been to Boston, Chicago, Virginia Beach, Pittsburgh, Binghamton, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Washington DC, and all over Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I've been to most of those places more than once, and in 6 weeks I'll be in Seattle. Right now, I am in Nashville Tennessee, once again for work, but this time not in the execution of my actual job, but to attend a training conference designed to sharpen my skills.

Let me digress a moment from my intended topic to say a few word about Nashville. Called NashVegas by locals, to say this town marches to the beat of it's own banjo would be an understatement. I walked down to Broadway this evening for dinner, and I was amazed at all the various Honky Tonk's gearing up for the night of merriment. At a place called Wannabe's there was a sign that beckoned you in to try your hand at singing live on stage, in the hopes of becoming the next big country music star. Fittingly enough, just a few boot scoots away at the world famous Ryman Auditorium there was some huge country shindig a-happenin', complete with red carpet and dudes in Tuxes and cowboy hats. I guess that's the circle of life in Music City, USA.

The last time I was in this town was with Inky and XL nearly 10 years ago. We came down here, to the Opry Land Hotel in December of 1998 to attend the Baseball Winter Meetings, in an effort to get a job in the industry. Now, a decade into my working life, it is career development that brings me back. This time, rather than hoping to land a job while walking around with my name tag on, I am supposed to be getting better at my job by swapping stories with other name tagged individuals. The problem seems to be that everyone else wants to tell you how you should be doing it, because they all think they are the ones doing it right. Something about chiefs and Indians comes to mind.

So, what's a guy to do when confronted by all this? Well, having a bit of fun never hurt, and so I decided to make one of Inky's dreams come true, and I turned her into an Aussie. I've posted before about how I like to make shit up on occasion, when I am with a group of strangers that I will most likely never meet again. (Oddly enough, I can't link that post right now, since the hotel's computer has blocked my blog, saying, rightfully so I might add, that it's content might be harmful to children.) So when asked by some people from California and Canada about my wife, I mentioned that she is Australian, and had come to the US to play basketball in college. For those of you who know my wife, I'll allow you a moment to laugh your ass off hysterically at that.

All done? Good. When further asked how we met, I informed my table mates that my she and my sister had gone to school together, and that was how we were introduced. I made jokes about her only wanting me for the greencard, and shot down ideas that just because she is a basketball player then she has to be very tall, saying that every team needs a pointgaurd. I even had to fight back fits of laughter, spurned on by images of XL in a devil suit on my shoulder when I made reference to her "magnificent ball handling skills" which I proudly boasted "continue to this day." It helped to pass the time between sessions, and put a smile on my face as I rode the elevator back to my room at the end of the day.

_

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's R vs D, Not Good vs Evil...

Or Christian vs Muslim, Jedi vs Sith, Autobots vs Decepticons or The Yankees vs The Redsox. For fuck's sake people, we have got to run a bit deeper than 'my guy' vs 'your guy' or this country is fucked. But, it is the American way after all, isn't it? We've been trained to believe that there is only one good outcome to any contest, and we have such a deep abiding hate for losing and losers that we can't even focus on substance. All we see is W's and L's or states carried and electoral votes.

The idea of "the lesser of two evils" has become popular in politics in our nation, and by and large, I have felt that way in years past. But that can't turn us into a nation of people who hitch ourselves to one candidate and then spend the next four or eight years hating the other one. We have two men in this race who both chose to serve their Country as elected officials, and that is just about the most patriotic thing you can do. The very fact that political ads purport to question the patriotism of either of them, is what should be considered treason.

What we've ended up with is one candidate who is so desperate to win the office, that he's pandered to the fringe of his party, and in the process whipped them into a frenzy. In doing this, John McCain has watched as people at his rallies have begun to yell things like "terrorist" "treason" "traitor" and even "off with his head" about Barack Obama. These things were audible on the TV coverage of the rallies, but neither McCain or Palin stopped and chastised the person who said it. Finally, yesterday, McCain took a stand against this thinking when he shot down a woman who said that Obama is an Arab. There was the Maverick, and for his trouble, he was booed by his crowd of "supporters."

I really believe that John McCain is a good man, and I believe it's been killing him to campaign on the lowest common denominator, but in the end I think he is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Call it the "Bush/Rove" playbook, and remember that McCain knows all about it, since it was used to great effect on him by those two. They managed to turn his service in Vietnam (which Bush sat out) into a negative, by saying that his time in the Hanoi Hilton turned him into a crazy man. They made phone calls in South Carolina saying that McCain had fathered a half black baby. And the electorate bought it back then, although they seem to have forgotten all that now.

To his credit, Barack Obama hasn't revisited any of Bush's attacks, to try and strengthen his own cause. He hasn't landed any first punches, instead choosing to play defence on the "October Surprise" moments while staying on message about what he wants to do for the American people. He's made his case to the people why he thinks he's qualified to be President, and because of that he has a chance to win. I can't think of anything more worthy of the office, than levelheaded and rational thought, backed by consultation with experts and with an ear toward the voters themselves. That's leadership!

McCain has never really said why he thinks he will be a good leader. Instead, he says "I know how to solve (insert problem here)" without telling us how he would do so, and immediately begins to ask "Who is Barack Obama really?" Rather than make a strong case for himself, he seems intent on playing to people baseist instincts as he tries to paint Obama as unfit to hold the office. I think John McCain is a good man, who has chosen a bad plan to try and win a contest that has become too much about casting a poor light on the opposition rather than a positive light on yourself. And that is sad.

_

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Rare Test of our Economy.

Sure the DOW is down and the dollar is worth about as much as a roll of Charmin. But I won't be convinced that the economy is bad until I see the most important measure of consumer confidence hit the fan, namely the YARFNSH Industrial Average. This is the York Area Redneck Friday Night Steak House metrics to the economy, and it is derived from the number of yokels in my home town who pack area restaurants on a Friday night. As a rule, you can't get a table at one of our many chain restaurants without waiting on a Friday night, but at the steak joints it really kicks up a level. And it's not like we're talking about Red Lobster here either, because you pretty much need to sacrifice your first born to get in there on a Friday, what with it being our only chain sea food place, but more on that later.

When it comes to meat and potatoes places, we have, in no particular order, an Outback, Texas Roadhouse, Longhorn, Charlie Brown's, Hoss's, Embers, and a Logan's Roadhouse just to name the steak only joints. We practically have a "steak district" of our town, and yet somehow, they are always slammed on the weekend. It's not uncommon to wait more than a half hour at any of these places, not to mention Olive Garden, Chilies or any other place that has either named a Bowl Game or sponsored a blimp that flys over golf tournaments. And don't even get me started on the Woodstock like crowds that flock to the various "family feedbag" style buffet restaurants on the weekend. Sure they might feel like they're getting a deal because they can quite laterally eat into the place's profit margin, but they all still end up dropping more coin than if they shopped and ate at home.

But how can this be? Aren't we headed toward a recession? I simply won't believe it until I can walk into Outback on a Friday night and get a table without sitting for a half an hour next to some redneck mouth breather. Plus, since I travel a lot, I can attest that the same thing is going on all around. I'll be in Nashville and New York City next week, and I'm positive that I'll see more of the same. So rest assured, the Chinese aren't taking over quite yet... speaking of Chinese, there's always one of the 90,000 Chinese places to go to on a Friday night.

_

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sometimes the Little Things are Too Big.

Sometimes in this life, not often, but sometimes, we are pleased or interested in strange things. Like this morning, for instance, while I was putting on my Clark Kent get up, when I took notice of how well I tied my tie. Now, I've been tying a piece of cloth around my neck since I was 6 or so, and in that time I've been guilty of a few half assed half windsors, but this one... it was magnificent. I just remarked to Inky the other day how amazing Brian Williams' tie looked on the NBC Nightly News, and I think this one would have gone toe to toe with Brian's any day. The knot was perfectly symmetrical. The length was just right, with the point resting just above my belt, and perhaps most importantly the folds of the cloth exiting the knot formed a perfect teardrop. Quite simply, it was the Mona Lisa of neckties. I was really happy with my handy work, which in turn, made me sad at the state of my life. We all have something like this in our lives, like granite counter tops for XL, or putting bills in the right order for Inky. I've certainly had this feeling before.


When I was in college I spent my summers working in a can factory. It meant long hours, in 120 degree heat and ridiculously monotonous work, but I also made more than $30 an hour to do it, so I had 15,000 reasons a summer to put up with it all. It was oddly enjoyable work, despite the tedium and physical discomfort, in that it was perfectly straightforward. My job was to stack the cans on pallets, using a very cool, yet simple piece of equipment. Along the way I had to check the cans for defects, and in the end, I was really good at it. Maybe it was because I was 20 and in the best shape of my life, or maybe it was because I hadn't been beeten down by 20 years of work, but I would run up and down the line, pulling bad cans from the conveyor belt and shooting them into the recycling hopper like a basketball. When there was a "blank" or a missing can in the pattern, we had to replace them. This was accomplished by simply putting a can in the hole if it was close to you, or by using a long stick to reach a void on the far side. I excelled at this task, often doing three and four at a time. In the second and third summers, I graduated to using the stick behind my back with my left arm while placing cans with my right.

In short, I was the Michael Jordan of can palletizing. But, I kept telling myself that I could never be a lifer in that place like so many of the guys I worked with. I was in College for a good reason, and I had better, more rewarding days ahead. All that aside, I bought-in to my work more in those three summers then I ever have at a job since, and that was all driven home for me in my last summer there.

During the summer of '97, I worked the night shift from 6 PM to 6 AM, four days a week. In that year the company I worked for was contracted by Del Monte foods to make a new can that would better show of their product, namely, canned tomatoes. To that end, someone, either at Del Monte or my employer thought: "hey, why not coat the inside of the can with white rather than clear or gray, to make the red of the tomato really jump out." And that's what we did.

We ran the first batch of test cans on one of my shifts, and since I was the rock star summer worker, the Foreman put me on the QC for the job. I stood with him in front of the huge oven that sealed the freshly painted cans. As the first dozen or so began to trickle out, it was like nothing either of us had ever seen before, and he had been on the job 30 plus years. I held one up and shook my head with a whistle, saying: "Now that's a pretty can" to which he responded, "OK Tony, I think it's time for you to be getting back to College, you've been here too long."

Sometimes, while looking at the whisper marks on the bottom of Progresso Soup cans to tell if they were made on my old line, at my old plant, I wonder if he was right.

.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Modest Greazy Proposal

Let me preface all that I am a about to write by saying that I'm not normally in favor of executing children, but I'm also not big in to absolutes either, so there's some wiggle room. If you haven't heard this story, prepare to be sickened. A 7 year old boy in the Outback town of Alice Springs Australia broke into a reptile park and preceded to bludgeon a number of animals to death, and went on to feed them to the park's crocodile. That's right, he killed reptiles with a big rock, and then threw their lifeless carcasses to the big saltwater croc.

Now, I'm no animal lover, but even I think this if fucked up. Even though I think people who love their animals too much are crazy, I'm not heartless bastard. I don't ever wish pain on animals, I just wish people didn't put sweaters on them. I wish people cared as much about the comfort of other humans as much as they seem to care about that of their pets. Despite all that, I still think it is abhorrent that this happened. I also happen to think that doing this says a lot about not only the kid, but his parents and our world in general.

They say that when kids kill small animals is a sign that they may end up being sociopaths as adults. While I'm sure there are some exceptions, like my brother who loved to kill and burn bugs, this kid seems like he is well on his way to having body parts in his freezer one day. The thing that is so appalling about this story is not just that this kid killed all these animals, but the military like efficiency he used on his spree.

So here's my proposal. I'm calling on the nation of Australia to remove the possible threat that this kid poses on Alice Springs, and all of the Northern Territory. While I can't bring myself to actually call for them to put this kid to death by feeding him to a croc, I do think that they should harken back to the founding of their nation and banish this kid to a small, inhospitable island. Since Norfolk Island is now populated by the descendants of the Bounty Mutineers, I am proposing the Tasmanian outlier of Rodondo Island. There are plenty of animals there for him to bash, and a few that might get him back.

______________________

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dirty Water

A few months ago, I stood in front of the Coke machine in my building with a choice. I could drink yet another soda, which I wasn't into, or I could go with something non carbonated like tea, water or VitaminWater. The tea in this machine is always way to sweet, and I can't bring myself to pay a buck and a quarter for plain old water, so I dropped 5 quarters on the VitaminWater. The flavor that was in my vending machine was XXX Acai-blueberry-pomegranate and I loved it. I figured I should try the other flavors, but none of them quite did it for me like the XXX. And so I've become something of a XXX junkie, a statement that my friends will find especially funny, knowing a bit about my proclivities.

But what really sealed my new love of this purple, flavored water is that it not only tastes great, but it's funny too. Here is the passage that appears on it's label:

"C'mon get your mind out of the gutter. We only named this drink XXX because it has the power of triple antioxidants to help keep you healthy and fight free radicals. So in case you're wondering, this does not cost $1.99/minute or contain explicit adult content or anything considered uncensored. It has not 'gone wild!!!' during spring break, nor will clips of it be passed around the internet like a certain hotel heiress, and it has never been seen live or nude, but it is definitely au naturel." - the center for responsible hydration (aka glaceau)

Now that's a funny drink! I like my beverages to be cold, refreshing and critical of untalented people who just happen to be famous. The best way to be sure that I'm going to use your product is to take shots at Paris Hilton when ever possible. From this point on, I think I will only drink your product if it knocks a famous slut down a peg.

_______________________

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Song Spotlight: Ani Difranco "Your Next Bold Move"

While traveling for work today I was listening to Ani Difranco's new record "Red Letter Year" which just came out this week. Ani normally puts out a new record every year, but it's been two years since her last new one, so I'm excited to hear what she has in store for us in '08.

I've spent a lot of time, recently, reflecting on the situation we find ourselves in as a country in the last few weeks, which means grappling with some pretty huge clashes of ideas, values and political theory. No one has ever put this juxtaposition into words for me like Ani did on her '01 record "Revelling/Reckoning" which was her last pre-September 11th work. Most notably is the song "Your Next Bold Move" which features some lines that hit so close to home with me that it's kind of scary. Chief among them are "Watching capitalism gun down democracy" and "cause your surrounded by a worlds worth of things you just can't excuse" which I think paint a great picture of where we stand today. Take a read, then take a listen:

Coming of age during the plague of Reagan and Bush
Watching capitalism gun down democracy
it had this funny effect on me
I guess

I am cancer
I am HIV
And I'm down at the blue Jesus blue cross hospital
just lookin' up from my pillow feeling blessed

And the mighty multinationals
have monopolized the oxygen
so it's as easy as breathing
for us all to participate

Yes they're buying and selling off shares of air
and you know it's all around you
but it's hard to point and say "there"
So you just sit on your hands and quietly contemplate

Your next bold move
The next thing you're gonna have to prove
to yourself

What a waste of thumbs that are opposable
to make machines that are disposable
and sell them to seagulls flying in circles
around one big right wing

Yes, the left wing was broken long ago
by the slingshot of co-intel-pro
and now it's so hard to have faith in
anything

Especially your next bold move
or the next thing you're gonna have to prove
to yourself

You want to track each trickle back to it's source
And then scream up the faucet 'til your face is hoarse
Cause you're surrounded by a world's worth
of things you just can't excuse

But you've got the hard cough of a chain smoker
and you're at the arctic circle playing strip poker
and it's getting colder and colder
every time you lose

So go ahead
Make your next bold move
Tell us
what's the next thing you're gonna need to prove
to yourself