Saturday, April 19, 2003

In Which It's Just As Important What You Don't Say

A quick up date on the boy who crashed and burned. He's back with this stunning example of how not to ingratiate yourself with the people you've pissed off -

"Now that I've learned a valuable lesson, I'd like to be sincere, it seemed to work better for me." He goes on to ask advice that he once gave so freely himself.

Maybe he's a literary genius. Maybe he just lucky. Either way, it's not that easy to write a sentence that's as sincerely insincere as this one. It shows you how the words you use tell who you are. For example, I'm pretentious and tend towards the quick point based on shaky logic. This guy is, literally and metaphorically, an actor.

"Now that I've learned a valuable lesson..." - Starting off like this, there's a presumption of inclusion, as if it's all been just a frat boy hazing that he assumes he survived. No one really meant it when they called him an asshole. It's just something comics do. He knows this from his "friends who are professional comics". Yes, it sucked, but now that it's over, everybody will love him as he should be loved.

"...I'd like to be sincere..." - This is perhaps one of the funniest things I've ever read! The willingness to be sincere, as opposed to the promise of sincerity. It's like saying "I'm not usually sincere, but I like you guys so much I'm going to break with tradition". And why?

" seemed to work better for me." I mispoke earlier. THIS is the funniest thing I ever read. All of us at one time or another have purposefully manipulated someone or some situation. It may have not been on par with perpetrating securites fraud or bilking a church of it valuable silver, but we have. The key to successful manipulation is NOT TO TELL PEOPLE YOU'RE DOING IT!

A paraphrase of the above might read - "I'm not really sorry and I haven't changed at all. You're all idiots but I'm going to pretend that you're not since that's what you seem to want. Does that work for everyone?"

A simple "Sorry" would have sufficed. Or not bothering to post at all.

Friday, April 18, 2003

In Which The Rhetoric Oddly Jumps

It started with one car outside of my house. The bumper sticker is yellow. There's a peace sign and, in black lettering the words, "The Footprint Of The Great American Chicken". When I first saw it, half asleep as I took the kids to school, it struck me as one of those "Visualize Whirled Peas" kind of things - a goofy and slightly clever twist on an old bumper sticker; nothing political, just fun. It wasn't until the second time I saw that I got it. "You fuckin' commie peace-nik fuck! You just don't like the war because you're a PUSSY!" Well. How did the rhetoric jump to protesters being cowards? There's no draft. For the most part, nobody hates the Army. The argument, up until now, was that the protesters were unpatriotic, not cowards.

The key is, oddly enough, recycling. Hollywood recycles horrible half-hour cartoons into live action features (The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo). Celine Dion recycles Cindi Lauper tunes that weren't that great to start. The protesters are too lazy to invent new slogans and spend their parents money on recycled 60s-ish clothing. Why shouldn't the warmongers be as uninventive as everyone else? This fight between factions doesn't really need to stay focused since it's just outright disgust and loathing. Any port in a storm will do. So why not recycle a bumper sticker from the Vietnam war?

The funniest thing is I only started seeing the bumper sticker after the war ended. No wonder they're chomping at the bit to get to Syria, the war was too short to allow the 4-6 weeks for shipping. Already, the bumper sticker is outdated. That's how fast the world changes.

Someday when I feel like getting my ass kicked, I'll ask the owner what the bumper sticker means and see if he knows that's it recycled. Patton said that the point of being a soldier was not to die for your country; that it was to make the other dumb son-of-a-bitch die for his country. Sounds like a Great American Chicken to me.

Here's a new bumper sticker idea - A picture of a ICBM with the words "Footprint of the Great American Dick".

Thursday, April 17, 2003

In Which I Count My Blessings

Sometimes, just the simple act of making dinner (breaded chicken breast w/butter and capers, pilaf and brocolli) gives you perspective on things. As I pounded out the chicken, I started thinking about the war and the pain that the Iraqi people have gone through; whether it will be worth it for them in long run; about the people that I know here that have been affected by the war - families thrown into turmoil. Hundereds of thoughts bounced around in my head, each more depressing than the next. I searched for a silver lining hidden in the cloud of this egregious act of self-justification disguised as liberation when the though occured to me -

At least no whiny, overly sincere inde-rock band has done a cover of "Where Have All The Flowers Gone".

And I felt better.
In Which Rainy Days And Mondays, More Often Than Not, Get Me Down But For A Different Reason

"What I've got they used to call the blues", croons Karen Carpenter.

What do they call it now? This question has bugged me ever since I first heard this song in 1971. This kind of songwriting drives me up the wall. Maybe it's because I wish I could write lines that don't mean anything. The number of songs that I've written that died because I couldn't make logical sense out of the lyrics would fill a good sized notebook. This stretches to sketches and standup. There's a difference between writing a non-sequitar that adds to a piece and writing one just because you need to fill space/time.

Also, these kinds of definitive statements about something always making something else happen make me cringe. And it always makes me think of the song "Always" by Irving Berlin. George S. Kaufmann commented that the lyric "I'll be loving you/Always" was unrealistic and suggested that it should be changed to "I'll be loving you/Thursdays."

Lastly, there's a wonderful tribute album called "If I Were A Carpenter" that you should pick up if you ever come across it. Sheryl Crow's version of Solitaire was on my mp3 player for many, many months. Plus, you can hear just how good a pop song writer Paul Williams really was/is.
In Which I Swear I'm Not Lying

I was driving back from the radio show, dropping my guest from the evening in Harvard Sq, when we stopped at a red light. I looked in my rearview mirror. hear about this kind of stuff all the time and you never believe it. Many have see the Pamela Lee Anderson/Tommy Lee video, so there's documentation and all, doesn't really happen. I mean...people just don't...not that I'm adverse to it...but...

The woman in the car behind me, and there's no delicate way to put this, was giving head while they waited for the light to turn green. And to push your incredulity even farther, she was driving. If I didn't have a witness, I would question what I saw. But I do.

Speaking as an American Male, having seen this I can now feel even more inadequate than ever. It's just not fucking fair. It just confirms my suspicions that there's an alternate porno world where porno films(like the WWF) are actually documentaries. Now that I think about it, that wouldn't be a bad idea for a porno movie.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

In Which I Consider Becoming An Actor Or Model

The Wilhemena Modelling Agency, according to commercial I just saw, is holding auditions in my area for actors or models. Some of their clients, they rightfully boast, have acted in Legally Blonde 2! Please don't tie up the line (1-800-Modelling). They are waiting for me to call.
In Which Someone Self Destructs Before Your Very Eyes

It was really quite stunning to watch this poor kid sink deeper and deeper into a hell of his own making. After only two open mics, he somehow got the idea that, like Alec Baldwin in Malice, he was god. His descent is fast and furious. He miraculously pissed off one of the nicest and most senior guys on the Boston comedy scene. One post was apparently so venal that it was deleted from the board. How can someone manage to do this in the space of one day? At one point, he offers this explanation - "People say I take things too far some times." HA!

Is he a cokehead? He is simply a sociopath? Is there something about growing up in Portland that twists a person into behaving this way? Portland does have an odd vibe. For years, every time my wife I drove through Portland we would get into an argument. By the time we reached the end of the city, we wound up in a better, stronger place. We refer to it as the City Of Processing.

I feel almost sorry for him having made a different but no less career crushing mistake in my twenties. He's scrambling frantically to repair the damage done. At best, he's metaphorically spit on for the foreseeable future. At worst, phone calls are made to the casting agents who hire him for commericials and, mysteriously, the demand for him drops to nothing.

It would make a helluva documentary, though.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

In Which I Defensively Point Out That I'm A Unitarian Universalist

Here's a fun bit of something! Apparently, if you reverse the "s" and the "p" in no matter what you put in before the first "dot" brings you to the page for Aaron's Bible! How clever are they! You can put anything! ANYTHING! Who said Christian were dull and unimaginative?!

And maybe it's coincidental (I'm too lazy right now to test the theory), but it looks like Aaron's Bible does a cute lil full screen pop-up windows for NBC Gas Masks! The moral? Have fun, fellow Christians, but BE SAFE!
In Which It Never Ceases To Amaze Me

Yesterday morning, my youngest got it into her head to buy to go to KB Toy And Hobby and buy something. After she thought about it, she decided on a Micropet. She had eight dollar bills and a ton of change. Where she got the change from, I'm not sure. I know that she saves her nickels from lunch. Milk is forty-five cents. She became convinced at the beginning of the year that she had to give the milk lady two quarters or else she wouldn't be given milk. Thus, she always has a nickel left over, which she defends bitterly. "It's MY nickel!", she'll wail. Trying to explain to her that, while I don't mind her having the nickel, that it's still in reality not really her money, is useless.

Micropets are $10 so, being short a couple of dollars, we sat down to count her change. We emptied it out onto the bed, got a couple of bowls and sorted it out. I told her that I'd convert her coins into dollar bills. She seemed fine with that. I counted the 273 pennies. How she got these pennies, I'm not really sure. She must pick up anything she finds on the floor. I threw the pennies into the milk bottle that I keep my change in. She looked a little worried about something. I wrote down $2.73 on a piece of paper. "When we've counted your change, we'll add it up and I'll give you the dollar bills." She still looked a little odd.
"Everything ok," I asked?

"What happens to my change?"

"I'm putting it my bottle."

This didn't seem to clear it up for her, but she just kind of nodded. I started counting the dimes and her bottom lips started quivering.

"What's wrong, honey?" She now looked on the verge of tears.

If you don't have kids, it's hard to describe how hard it can be for them to tell you what's going on with them. In some respects, they're like ESL students. They know what they want to say, but can't find the proper English words to get their point across. When my oldest was four, it took a half an hour to figure out that she couldn't find her lunchbox. She just couldn't remember the word. "The pink thing with the girl", she kept saying. At six, the youngest just gets so wrapped up in her emotions that words fail her.

Finally, we figured out that she thought I was taking her money and not giving it back. She saw it coming out of her piggy bank and into my change bottle. Irregardless of the the fact that I was giving her dollar bills, she couldn't make the connection that the dollar bill I had given her was equal to the 100 pennies I'd take from her and put in my bottle. That was her money! And now I had it! In my bottle!

What amazes me is that my oldest did the exact same thing at almost the exact same age. She got a dollar for allowance, but we only had a five. So, I took four dollars out of her piggy band and gave her the five. I did the whole transaction very slowly and explained exactly what I was doing. I didn't matter. I had taken four of something from her and given her one of something back. It was unfair.

It's completely understandable. But there are sometimes, as a parent, when you just don't expect your kids NOT to understand something.