Thursday, April 30, 2009

Indecent Proposal?

Did you know that Keith Olbermann of MSNBC challenged Sean Hannity of Fox to a water-boarding competition? It's going to be called The Internetwork's First Annual Whacky Water-Board Whack-Off! This year's competition involves the water-boarding of Sean Hannity while Olbermann watches with heated sex sweat on his brow.
Contest Rules and Conditions:
Because Hannity so easily suggested his willingness to undergo water-boarding for charity or for "the troops," Olbermann has generously offered to donate 1,000 dollars (for every second Hannity endures the procedure) to military families. If the MSNBC anchor maintains a full erection while Hannity chokes on his own idiot words, Olbermann will sleep with Greta Van Susteren and Geraldo Rivera. If Hannity taps out and admits that water-boarding is torture, the Fox anchor must convert to Islam, repeat the phrase "Obama is my soul brotha" at least 15 times the following business week, and pay for six months of Rachel Maddow's testosterone supplements.
This is mostly true, folks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Read Me

Because there's no God, I'm having issues finishing the books I start. Reading that is. The ones I've started writing are a whole other problem. The trouble most most recently began with A People's History of the United States. I was enjoying that one, but after 200 pages of historical tyranny, the 500 more was a far horizon of pessimism, even for me, and I put it down with the promise of further reading during toilet sit-downs. I tried reading Wicked next because I like when writers take a classic and create something from a secondary character's perspective (Grendel, for example, is amazing). Wicked is about the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and while it was written very well, I suffered through 56 pages before realizing that the book was actually making me dumber. As I've said before, I'm just not interested in fiction for entertainment's sake anymore.
The latest book I've failed to complete is The Once and Future King. In my defense, I've already read this one, and since between readings I'd read Le Morte d'Arthur, the 15th century original, I was enjoying the discovery of all I'd missed in the modern retelling. What I was not enjoying was the 650 decaying pages of tiny print that disintegrated between my fingers and irritated my sinuses. So I quit 250 pages shy of *King Arthur impaling his son Mordred and being dealt a death blow to the noggin immediately after.

This brings us to my current potential failure: Overthrow. So far, Overthrow is the exact poison my proverbial "soul" needs to fuel its insatiable contempt for humanity. The book catalogs the direct and indirect influence of the United States in the overthrow of any foreign government that has stood in the way of American ambition. It's pretty ugly, people, and though we don't learn this stuff in American-History Pie 101, Nicaragua remembers and so does Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq. God only knows why Cuba is even considering letting the United States peek at her economic under-dainties. Shake hands with America and risk losing the rings on your fingers. There's a whole continent called Africa that doesn't understand this yet. China's doing the United States a favor by doing business with fledgling African nations. Pretty soon, they'll be economically strong enough for American export, and when they are, we'll squeeze the shit out of each one until there's nothing left to feed back to them, and we'll move on or own them completely.

I guess what this posting has turned into is a 5-star recommendation for Overthrow. Read it. Whether you finish it or not, **it'll make a good toilet stack.

*By recalling this scene, I've re-sparked my interest in The Once and Future King and have decided to add it to my shit-can reading list.

**Do not, however, hold me responsible for your legs falling asleep after half an hour of pants-less reading. Any diphterial sickness due to prolonged exposure to your own filth is also not my problem.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Down With AT&T

So, I cancelled my text messaging service in protest to AT&T's exorbitant prices. Folks, we should be paying zero cents a text, not ten. How costly is it really to send a single kilobyte of data to a communication satellite that's being shared with a bunch of other corporate assholes? Surely, these phone companies signed a sweet government contract for turning their collective cheeks the other direction while the CIA sifts through my personal archive of drunken booty-texts.
So, I'm boycotting, alone and stubborn. The problem is that I like texting. I can convey a short message and get a short response without having to suffer the formalities of telephone etiquette. Par example:

Carlos- "What's up, dude." (I don't actually care "what's up" because I know the callee will say "nothing much" anyway)

Callee- "Nothing much. What've you been up to?" (Callee doesn't really care about what I've been doing either but will ask in order to complete the process and get to down to business)

Carlos- "Oh, nothing much. Listen, we're going for booze tonight at Longbranch if you want in."

Callee- "What time?"

Carlos- "Probably around 11."

Callee- "Sounds good. Give me a call before you head out."

Carlos- "Will do." (A future call has the potential to birth this horrible sequence all over again, and Carlos weeps at its potentially wide crown)

This is a man call by the way. If our hypothetical Carlos were speaking to a woman, we'd naturally have to tack on about 6 six hours to the exchange. The texting equivalent is simply this:

Carlos- "longbranch 2 nite @ 11"

Callee- "c u there"

Voilà. All is conveyed and most people don't wan to carry on a volley of texts because it's a pain in the ass.

I know what you're thinking: "Why don't you just get unlimited texting, Emperor Carlos?" Well, you jerk, my phone bill's 50 bucks a month, plus a rape tax 15 dollars. AT&T's unlimited plan is 20 bones extra, making my total bill $85, not counting the overage of "anytime" minutes I enjoy during my brief phone calls. I'm assuming they're called "anytime" minutes because I don't have them at any time. As a result, I'm charged more for going over, and every month, I count out 90-100 crisp clean American greenbacks for using a shitty service on a shitty non-iPhone. A muscular AT&T man usually collects the payment from my home, shouldering his way inside, and adding humiliation to financial burden by requiring me to wad my reluctant 20s into his stars and strips G-string while he strips to the month's most popular ring tone.
So, I'm boycotting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Olympic Stair-Stepping

In a half-assed attempt at exercise, I decided to climb the six flights of stairs to the tutoring center, where I work mornings. With my nose in the air, I strutted confidently past the first floor's corridor of elevators, a book in one hand, a swinging bag of sandwiches and fruit in the other, and entered the dungeon-like stairwell to begin my aerobics. It started off swell. I went with a springing step and even resisted the urge to gallop up, two at a time. But by the third floor, I was holding the cold hand railing with white knuckles and panting as though I'd just run 26 miles to Athens. I arrived at the tutoring center with white splotches in my vision and my nostrils flaring for oxygen because in the presence of students and coworkers, I'd closed my mouth and pretended not to be experiencing a mild heart attack. By high noon, I had lost the unflattering green hue I'd achieved during my early morning workout, and the beautiful roses of in my cheeks were back in gorgeous bloom.

The whole ordeal reminded me of a time when a friend invited me to play flag football with a regular group of his friends. I accepted and was prostrate and vomiting on the field within 15 minutes of kick off. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't felt as though I'd embarrassed my friend or if one of his friends hadn't been the brother of an ex-girlfriend (hi Linda).

Lesson learned: 1) it's time to stop shoveling Blue Bell Homemade Ice Cream's delicious "Rocky Road" into my gluttonous mouthhole at 9:30 in the PM and visit my local gym 2) stop blaming my self-diagnosed "heart condition" for my inability to be a real man and visit my local gym.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Nature of Things to Come

Last night, I was trapped on the phone with a sweet old man who, for 45 minutes, bullshat about his trucks and his ranches and fishing and camping and crap. He'd been alive since the Great Depression and was expecting a new Great Depression any minute, so naturally, he had a lot to talk about. Despite my disinterest in his old-man ramblings, I understand why he kept me on for so long. He was bored, maybe lonely, and probably without many people to talk to, so he adhered to the first polite uh-huhs and mmm-hmms he heard from me. Perhaps I'm wrong, but the selfish point is that I'm bored, lonely, and without many people to talk to now. What the hell am I going to do when I'm 150 years old?
It seems we confuse desperation in old people for senility. This guy didn't seem to be lacking any facilities, but I'm sure he didn't have much social fulfillment when he was a young man on the California mountains. Was his endless blathering the pinnacle of his alienation? Had he simply abandoned the self-conscientiousness that keep so many of us in quiet despair? Was I just the next passerby he'd grabbed by the shoulders to shout, "Look at me!"
I'll understand one day, I suppose, but it seems like such a lonely place to be. I hope I'm never there.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tear It Down

All job loss aside, I'm glad so many behemoth  corporations are crumbling. The very nature of capitalism is to compete, but Americans have cut enough competitor throats and then jumped in bed with the rest that the little guy, better known as me, is being held down and crapped on with only the illusion of competitive services. It's wonderful and unfortunate that our pluralist society allows the banding of interest groups to lobby politicians for change. The system's great for actual groups like the NAACP, NRA, or even the Creationist Ass-Clowns of America (CACA), but when these monster corporations pull money from seemingly bottomless pockets, how can anyone but the biggest and baddest make policy? Up until the end of Bush's final term, these corporate dictators seemed unstoppable, but with the dawning of Obama Christ, things may one day change. The Republicans cry socialism and intrusive government whenever they hear the pleasing baritones of our Lord's sweet jive, but people are people, people, and if we're left to our own devices, we break shit.
So, bring 'em down. Shop "Mom and Pop." Shop local. Chop off the heads of the biggest serpents and allow a few budding monsters to offer a little competitive variety. That's quite the opposite of socialism if you ask me. You might save a dollar at the super Walmart, but eventually, Walmart's going to be the only place you can buy the palm tree oil or the Malaysian coffee table that was once the favorite arbor of the almost extinct orangutan species there.
I can go on for hours, folks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Roland Hut

Dear Campbell,

Please have your baby already. Roland Martin is a toad, and I'm sick of seeing him hosting "No Bias. No Bull." It's true I only watch the show during the two-minute commercial breaks of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," but that' all I can stand anyway, and since I'm the father (but not really) of your unborn child, you should be bending over backwards...and donning a pair of crotchless dainties to make me happy. It's not that I don't like Roland; it's just that he wears rings and necklaces, and he doesn't have a neck, and I can't get past his resemblance to Jabba the Hut. He looks like Jabba the Hut, Campbell. Do you really want your respectable show being associated with an intergalactic gangster of such unusual cruelty? On top of everything, it was Jabba Martin, not you, who first informed me of the new First Dog, Bo. Campbell, that was our story. We'd speculated on the animal's breed since Obama announced his intentions to buy his daughters a pup in place of the love he'd be withdrawing after the election.

You cut me to the bone, Campbell, and I can't have a B anchor like Roland delivering important news like Bo Obama. Sort this out, or I'll take may love back to that facist lesbian on MSNBC.

Do it.

C

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Guitar Lesson

In my undying quest to learn the ways of the guitar, I sought out Ray LaMontagne (aka Ray Mountain (egotistical douche)) guitar lessons on Youtube because my friend Squaw tells me the guy's a musical simpleton of sorts. There were a couple out there, I guess, but what I really became interested in was all the videos people have made of themselves singing. There were dozens of them! What kind of people set up a recording device, position themselves in front of it, and start belting out a song exactly like the original? Assholes. That's what kind. "Hey," I wanted to comment, "You have an amazing talent for copying another person's talent! You should check out my blog. I retyped the whole climax of The Stranger. It looks just like it does in the book." Despite my annoyance, I became obsessed with finding the worst, the best, and the most impromptu (based on the amount of dirty laundry in the recording "studio"). I lost quite a bit of time in my research, and I finally stopped scoffing and snorting with indignation when I came to the sad realization that my guitar had been laying horizontal and unused in my lap for over an hour and that I still don't know how to play any songs. Those guys might be hacks but at least they're not sitting in front of their computers on a Saturday night, trying to be hacks...like me. Sigh. My time will come.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Karmic Retribution...IN HELL!

I had to listen to some old bastard complain for an hour last night at work. It’s about what I imagine the exact center of Hell to be like because the customer’s complaint was circular, he was right, and since I’m new to the job, I couldn’t think of anything to counter his unwavering logic. It was like arguing with an angry genius, only he was a raspy hillbilly who happened to know more about the subject than me. I’ve chalked up the evening as pure karma because only hours before, I was in a more outer orbit of Hell at my other job. There, no amount of rephrasing could make my teenaged student understand the theme of Tillie Olsen’s awesome “I Stand Here Ironing.” I first tried explaining in words, then puppets, then primary-colored blocks, but when I finally realized she was chasing butterflies in outer space and not actually sitting beside me, I stared intensely at her in an attempt to transfer my thoughts directly into hers. She stared back, her mouth half open, her expression remote and disoriented, and I knew no wheels were turning behind her pretty eyes. I left her to reflect on our session while I thumped my head against a wall in frustrated privacy.


I guess the universe needed to balance the siphoning of my energy between young and old sources. Well done, Universe. By my highly scientific estimation, I lost a solid week of life during those two exchanges: 3.5 days from the aloof density of a child and 3.5 from the relentless bombardment of a crotchety old man. I'd rather have been shanked and robbed crossing the parking lot to my car.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What Birds Have Shown Me

1991: It takes exactly fifteen minutes for a baby bird to asphyxiate to death. As a child, I watched wide-eyed as the one I had “rescued” choked on the food I’d just served it.

2003: Small birds kill other small birds and eat just their heads. I watched this, again, wide-eyed while parked in my car, listening to the radio before work.

2009: The diameter of a grackle’s vagina is approximately 3mm. I saw one as it post-coitally closed after her mate dismounted. The experience was less traumatic than 1991 and less unsettling than 2003, but it was strange and pornographic, and I almost wrecked my car.

After the bird vagina, I had to speak out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back to Comedy

People, don’t watch I Love You, Man. It’s a chick flick disguised as a...dick flick, and it’s a piece of rancid garbage written by and for stupid morons. Granted, I walked out a little over an hour in, but what I did see was enough to make me nearly lose all respect for Paul Rudd and that guy from Freaks and Geeks. Why, you ask, was it so bad? Well I won’t tell you. To answer that question is to validate the movie as a legitimate something to consider seeing, and I can’t in good conscience do that. Just know that I rarely peace out in the middle of a movie, and I never try to drown myself in a bath tub immediately afterward. Apparently, I Love You, Man was the perfect storm because I did both.

On a completely different subject, I’ve added some wonderful new features to my gorgeous blog. They are as follows:
1. You may now demonstrate your love and devotion to me by becoming one of the “Really Cool People” who walk in the long shadow of my brilliance, but only if you’re Googlers, I think. I’ll probably remove it in a few weeks out of shame and embarrassment for not having any more than one subscriber (thank you, Sharon, for standing bold and alone as my one and number one fan). We’ll see. I plan to launch an aggressive campaign to capture all you readers still on the fence as to whether or not you want to commit to the sheer comedy I represent.
2. I also added some generic advertisements that are spawned by gremlins in my computer whenever a page is loaded. The content of these beauties is based on the foul things I write about, so the more creative I get, the more intrinsically precious my blog becomes. Needless to say, the entertainment value of what’s been generated thus far has outweighed the initial disgrace I felt over trying to profit from what I consider a hack business (blogging). But now, you too can locate single black women in even a rural area, and if you’re a Christian housewife, there’s a butt-load of cash to be made by simply converting to Judaism and writing a memoir of your sacrifice.
It’s all there, folks, in the tight column to your left.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Death Letter Blues

Six years ago today, a young person I knew died. Her brother emailed me the news and asked me to come to Quebec to stay with his family during his sister's funeral. I like to think Son House wrote this song to romanticize my own personal experience, but despite the song's shocking resemblance to what happened in the days following Valérie's death, I know that pain is simply universal.



"Death Letter Blues"
I got a letter this morning. How do you reckon it read?
It said, "Hurry, the gal you love is dead"
I got a letter this morning. How do you reckon it read?
You know, it said, "Hurry, hurry, because the gal you love is dead"

I grabbed up my suitcase, took off down the road
When I got there she was laying on the cooling board
I grabbed up my suitcase, and I said and I took off down the road
I said, but when I got there she was laying on a cooling board

Well, I walked up right close, looked down in her face
Said, the good ol' gal got to lay here 'til Judgment Day
I walked up right close, and I said I looked down in her face
The good ol' gal got to lay here 'til Judgment Day

Looked like there was 10,000 people standing 'round the burying ground
I didn't know I loved her 'til they laid her down
Looked like 10,000 standing 'round the burying ground
You know I didn't know I loved her 'til they began to lay her down

Well, I folded up my arms and I slowly walked away
I said, "Farewell, honey. I'll see you Judgment Day"
Yes, I slowly walked away
I said, "Farewell, farewell. I'll see you Judgment Day"

You know I didn't feel so bad, 'til the good ol' sun went down
I didn't have a soul to throw my arms around
I didn't feel so bad, 'til the good ol' sun went down
You know, I didn't have nobody to throw my arms around

You know, it's so hard to love someone that don't love you
Ain't no satisfaction, don't care what in the world you do
Yeah, it's hard to love someone that don't love you
You know it don't look like satisfaction, don't care what in the world you do

Well, I got up this morning, the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where she used to lay
I got up this morning, about the break of day
You know I was huggin' the pillow where my good gal used to lay

Got up this mornin', feeling round for my shoes
You know, I must-a had them old walkin' blues
Got up this morning, feeling round for my shoes
Yeah, I know by then, I must have had the walkin' blues

Oh Hush! Thought I heard her call my name
It wasn’t so loud so nice and plain.
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