Mar 31, 2006

(Whatever I'm Going To Call It) Friday!

Since I do something fun (for me at least, I'm not sure how fun it is for you guys) every Tuesday with Talkies Tuesday I think I'm going to add another sort of meme for myself on Fridays, so as to give you, my Gentle Reader a little glimpse into a personal exercise of mine.

I always tell my daughter "Your mind is just like any other muscle--the more you use it the stronger it gets." I subscribe wholeheartedly to this belief, and as such I do various things throughout each day to keep my mind sharp, my mental reflexes on their toes, and my Peculiar Bump well aired. VW might argue the sharpness point (no pun intended) but with word games, puns and strange ideas I manage to keep my mind right where I want it--teetering as if in a rocking chair that is about to fall over backwards.

So now I'm taking it public.

Without further explaination (after all, it is MY blog, and if I want to discontinue the superscillious apologias and &c. or extend it indefinitely I shall) I give you

Whatever I'm Going To Name It Friday!
in which
I shall endeavour to come up with the first line of an imaginary book, making it as monstrously peculiar and/or entertaining and/or convoluted as I can, and still have it make some semblance of sense.

As the smoke curliqued from the twin barrels of Sidney's 12 gauge shotgun and the last of the crystal shards pattered onto the Persian rug from the destroyed leaded crystal serving set that had resided on the antique Peppersnort serving board which had squatted darkly in it's place of honour in the Gran Salon of the Van Schnicker's ancestral home for seven generations the youngest Lord of the manor, epilleptic five year old Buchblister Van Schnicker cowered behind the bandy, kilted legs of the family's Norwegian gamekeeper Olaf and whispered in a tiny voice that barely carried across the room "But wot about the gazelle in the drawing room, Uncle Sidney?"

Feel free to add on if you'd like, or just roll your eyes in derision.

Moving Of Computer Related Equipment

This company is dynamic. It's my bragging point. And sometimes we need to do something like move a computer to another desk, or hook up another workstation at another location. This is ordinarily effortless, except when we have to involve our IT department in Baton Rouge.

Earlier in the week we had fax machine troubles, as well as network problems with our printers. We exhausted all our options in-facility, which are not negligable in the least, but we couldn't make things work, so we had to involve IT. We try to avoid this option at all costs because, as we all know, once you involve our IT department everything will come to a grinding halt. Everything.

We have gotten calls from them on trouble tickets that are, I kid you not, two months old. Problems that we have already fixed OURSELVES.

So this morning, upon receiving a cocky, snotty, holier-than-thou email from our IT Spport Manager I feel inclined to write.

Screw you jerks. Let me list the ways:

  • It's your fault that this entire network is as frail as a train bridge made of popsicle sticks.
  • It's your problem that you cannot open more than three windows on a system that by it's very name implies that it is designed to have multiple programs (in separate windows) open at once without bringing the whole office to a crashing halt.
  • It is your fault that after 9am here, when the next time zone's employees comes into their offices at their 8am the entire network trembles like an old man's neck wattle in a high wind.
  • Everyone in this company knows that if we have to call you guys we will

    • not get a human being on the phone
    • not get a call back for at least 5 business days
    • more often than not get a prickish tech when they DO call back
    • not get an answer until you talk to your supervisor
    • will not get the problem fixed on the first try

And the next time you send an email saying " policy dictates that approval must be requested from and granted by the {IT} Department PRIOR to the movement of any computer related well as moving items within the same office...policy is in place to insure uninterrupted productivity, as well as to prevent down time to the company's employees...and damage to the {Company} network" I will reply with an email of my own telling you all to fuck off because some of us know how to handle most problems in the office, know how to plug in a Cat5 cable and can even handle small office networking, as well as knowing when to call in the hardware guys when we need to, without having to come begging to you for permission to get a cable strung to another outlet, and the only down-time we experience is due to you hiring people to work on our system who are nothing more than a bunch of mouth-breathing mono-syllabic ball-scratching Neanderthals with wildly distored ideas of their own self-importance and a propensity for soliciting syphillitic $5 whores, who are headed up by a moron whose presence could screw up a wet dream and whose professional skill set is more inclined to his leading lemurs to the ocean than the Information Technology Department of a billion dollar a year compay, and whose head would collapse if he picked his nose for more than five consecutive minutes.

So. I'm going to go back on my work-induced-ulcer diet of poppy seeds, wheat chaff and meadowlark's tongues until our IT department either pulls their heads out of their collective asses with an audible "POP" or their wing of the building along with the server farm simply slides off the corporate tower into the hell that they so richly deserve: one without electricity.

Mar 30, 2006

What Were You Thinking?

The Scientographists I'm sure have some sort of explaination of insects and how their place here is evidence (to their sad, sick little minds,) that there is some sort of Superior Creator flying around somewhere in a mint condition 1937 Packard UFO that put them here. Me, I'm divided on the whole issue.

There are two insects that I want to bring to your attention which both support and destroy the idea that some Flying Brain Guy put bugs here with us naked monkeys for some rational reason.

Point: The preying mantis. The preying mantis is the ultimate design for quickly and efficiently turning other insects into fuel to make more preying mantises. Fast as lighting, a variety of subspecies designed to blend in with every conceivable background and incredible speed combined with natural weaponry make for a package that is superior in so many ways that it's hard not to imagine some Ultimate Being sitting up there in It's workshop peering myoptically into a magnifying glass, carefully gluing yet more razor-sharp barbs on those front legs, mumbling to Itself something like "Oh yeah, that's more like it. Booyah!"

Point Two: The June Bug. The June Bug is prime proof that there is no Superior Being, unless you take it as proof that there is a Superior Being with a profoundly sick sense of humour somewhere out there.

The June bug is ridiculous. What sort of Ultimate Creator would design a bug that cannot right itself on any surface other than very thick grass? A lovely colour in a sort of bronze-brown, six little useless legs that reach just far enough that the insect cannot walk properly at any time on any surface, and wings that are just strong enough to propel the insect at high speed into the hardest surface available. They've got incredibly strong little legs, a clamping strength that rivals that of most modern stainless steel hemostats, and yet they cannot use those marvelously strong legs to do anything other than flail miserably while the bug is trapped upside on it's back.

When they are done flying, their wings still hang outside of the hard wing cases.

When they hit things they do so head first, at high speed, like a small copper-brown bullet.

When they lie on my front porch by the thousands, six thousands of little armoured legs flailing in the air, wings hanging out of their wingcases all I can do is shake my head in amazement--who in their right mind would have designed an insect so very incredibly poorly, except as a joke?

June bugs. Living proof that if Gawd is up there then He's asleep at the wheel. Either that or She's one really sick punk.

Mar 29, 2006

I Sing The Body Ecclectic

My mood not to blog has passed, at least temporarily. Let us gather one to the other and revel in my incoherent and oft'times very vague thoughts.

My mood is as variable as the wind. It always has been thus. I used to make myself smile by telling myself that I had "an artist's temperment." This may or may not be true, but since I have never been in the habit of holding my paintbrushes bristle-first in my mouth, I cannot, like Goya, confess to brain fevers caused by lead poisoning. I don't even write letters to my brother, so I cannot admit to that august personage that I am wracked by depressions and manic episodes, as Vincent Van Gogh did to his sibling, Theo. I'm not even in the habit of working in any way with my menstrual blood (since I'm a man, for a start,) so Annie Sprinkles has nothing to fear from me, while I sure have plenty to fear from her.

I do, however, know where some of this black blood springs from. It fountains up from me, from dark springs deep inside. It boils up from actions and events which at the time I had no control over, and at times didn't even understand.

I remember an incident that happened very long ago; I might have been all of 5 or 6 years old. I was lying on my parent's big four-post bed, and my mother was working at the sewing machine making clothes for one member of the family or other. We were that poor. She had all her tools layed out on the bed, and I was, as a curious child, digging through all those myriad strange tools, most of them homemade.

There was one unusual item there, made of a rolled magazine that had been taped into a cylinder then placed inside several consecutive white tube socks, the kinds with three coloured bands at the calf. I still don't know what it was for, but it looked sort of plain lying there amongst the patchwork pincushions and colourful threads, so I managed to find a red felt-tip pen and put a big smiley face on it's plain white furry surface.

Big mistake.

Apparently this tool was to be inserted into material that needed to be ironed in a round shape, or at least that's what my memory tells me the reason was, and the ink would transfer onto material if there was the slightest heat and moisture involved and my inking it had ruined it's effectiveness as a tool, but whatever the reason I received a truly profound verbal blistering from my mother when I proudly, innocently, showed her my masterwork.

I don't know if she was tired, hot and bothered from the summer weather, I don't even know what she had on her mind at the time, what sort of stress was preying on her, but she let loose with a lot of anger that I know now wasn't earned by me, but I sure cashed that particular check.

It scarred me pretty deeply. I've never realised that until, quite frankly, these past few weeks. I have inside me a deep need not to let let down those close to me. A profound need. And when I feel that I have done that which I think is best, or helpful, or gentlemanly, I feel better inside. I feel I have done my part. And if that gesture or behaviour is not received well, or earns me some mis-placed anger or a verbal lashing that rightly should have been poured onto someone else's head it brings back that 5 year old boy, standing beside that bed weeping, unable to understand why my gesture of love and goodwill has earned me beration and anger.

And then I get furious, with that white-hot anger that only that 5 year old boy can feel, the pure rage that is uncontaminated by intelligence or social desires or superego. It is the cry of a young boy who feels that he has been wronged deeply and has no words to set it right. It feels powerless, it feels empty and it feels abandoned, and it feels animal in it's intensity. It is pure and burning and now all it does is lead me instantly into that sort of depression that not even drugs can blunt entirely.

I can only hope by that lancing it thusly with my words I have drained it of some measure of power, because I know full well and with eyes wide open that it is I who am going to have to change, because chances are pretty slim that anyone else is going to change just to give me a little contentment of spirit.

Mar 28, 2006

In The Time Of Chimpanzees I Was A Monkey

A DJ on the local rock station played just the opening bars of Beck's "Loser" this afternoon, citing the first line as being one of the coolest in rock history. I agree with him. Never listened to the album, don't know that I ever shall, but I like the song a lot, and love the idea behind the lyric.

I'm in a mood to write, but I don't want to blog.

This is an interesting place to be.

There are times when I am deeply unhappy with myself. I have no one else to blame for this but me, but that doesn't make things easier to bear.

Sometimes it seems that there is a huge, slumbering beast in me, somewhere in the dark caverns of my heart, and while it takes a great deal to wake this dragon it's not impossible. When it stirs it makes dust shower down from all the rafters of my mind, and that dust swirls and clouds and obscures the paths I'm accustomed to, so that I wander lost and confused in the corridors of my own thoughts.

These past few months have found me wanting to blog about the things that define me as a person, things that might categorise me so that perhaps you as my reader can see me better, but when I get close to talking about things like fountain pens and fedoras and my pipes I always seem to gently steer away at the last moment, so that I end up writing about things that are funny, or are obscure, or simply don't fit too close, and I don't know why. I don't know why I am suddenly spending time closing and locking the shutters of my persona.

I have sepia ink for my fountain pens, but I cannot write.

I have Frog Morton tobacco for my pipe, but I don't want to smoke.

I have no place to go, so I do not need my fedora.

Talkies Tuesday (Revisited) - The Protonix Mk. IV

this is an audio post - click to play

And yes, let me just state for the record that posting and editing from work IS just as problematic as you might think it is.

Talkies Tuesday - Ma Bell Strikes Back

Yes, it seems Talkies Tuesday is destined to be delayed this morning. Audioblogger seems to have stopped taking calls. Either that or they have so many Talkies Tuesdayites calling in each morning (five of us) that their phone lines are hopelessly backed up.

So--Talkies Tuesday--hopelessly delayed.

Join us today as:

Irrelephant discusses the relevant issues surrounding what it means when they say "All circuits are busy."

Vulgar Wizard delves deeply into "The number you have reached is no longer in service."

Hannibal The Hamster answers your burning questions about "Please check your number and try again."

Strange Cousin Susan quests for "You must first dial the area code."


Leesepea gives us her always unique viewpoint on "Please hang up and try your call again."

Are you happy with your Long Distance Service?

Mar 27, 2006

The Triumphal Entrance of Spring

Spring is here, no doubt about it. The weeds are growing faster, the chores are piling up, and I look forward to the days that I have to go into work, because that's the only place that I can find rest anymore.

If you have noticed that my blogging frequency has dropped like an Enron executive you aren't alone. You see, I've noticed it too. I love to write, always have, from letters to emails to manifestos, I enjoy the interplay of words. And much like my motorcycle riding time, my writing helps my ongoing mental health as a safety valve. When that valve is unused I notice it pretty fast.

I can only say this in my defense: Bugger but I've been busy, both at work and at home. Having lost the Toblerone to company-wide cutbacks we're all suddenly having to run that much faster just to stay in one place. And fortunately, the weather has finally become clement enough that working outside is not a matter of how many layers of clothes you can fit on, nor is it a concern as to who might see you nekkid trying to survive the heat. Right now the weather is perfect for hoeing in the garden, or cutting grass, or weeding in the flowerbeds, all of which I did this weekend and then some. The weather is also just right for cleaning leaves and water out of the pirogue, planting some forgotten gladiolus bulbs, blocking the chimney with a piece of screen so the house wrens don't decide to set up housekeeping again, checking the air pressure in every single piece of yard equipment I own, and masterminding a complex and subtle series of maneouvers intended to implement the disassembly, loading, delivery and subsequent reassembly of an old (and excruciatingly solid steel) Soloflex machine that the wife's boss wanted O-U-T of her shed. And then some.

So here I am back at work, wading through the piles of paperwork that seem to pile up like snow in January if you happen to live somewhere cold, or like dead leaves in the front yard if you're from around here, and I realised that the big empty spot in me that has been hollering was not my stomach wondering if my throat has been cut but was in fact the very frustrated writer that I keep locked away behind my ribs.

And even though this is not the post you were looking for (it's a Jedi mind trick you see *waving my hand in a manner intended to look both sorcerously enchanting and effortlessly cool*) you'll be happy to know that I do fully intend to get back in the saddle with the Picture of The Moment which has not changed in weeks and with more current, interesting, and otherwise Irrelephant posts.

Muy grasses.

Mar 23, 2006

Mea Culpa

It's been busy here at work, busy like a one-legged man at an ass kicking contest busy. And here of late my Muse has evidently been too busy helping Pete Timbertoe there, because she sure hasn't been roosting on my shoulder.

I had to share this, though--Vulgar Wizard managed today to crash one of her accounting programs so bad that not even the IT guys in the home office could fix it. Seems this whole thing is Java, and there's supposed to be a little pop-up console to finalise POs and things. It started with VW yelling at me for help because she couldn't get the window to pin down; it refused to do anything except float one virtual inch above her mouse pointer. After some determined mousing she managed to make it dissapear off the top of the screen, but that's where the problems REALLY began--it refused to come back from wherever it went.

So a fast call to IT in Baton Rouge leaves their entire department scratching their heads, taking turns ghosting VW's workstation machine, trying to make the reclusive window return home, but thus far no luck and we're already half an hour into the drama. Stay tuned for late-breaking developments.

Perhaps her window went to cyberspace to help Tron and Flynn out in the battle against the Master Control Program. Failing that perhaps they can go and overthrow Atari.

Mar 22, 2006

Inquire Within

Help Wanted: Parent. No experience necessary, hours are 24/7, no holidays. Pay is nil. Must be willing to sacrifice entire life to job.

I wonder sometimes if I'm going to survive this job. I also wonder if I really have a choice. My daughter is in the middle of LEAP testing at her school this week. This morning she wakes up puking like she's been on a 72 hour drunk. She tells us she's been puking all night, but never bothered to wake us up.

Actually she said she puked 11 times throughout the night, and tried to wake us up 5 times, but I think I know better than that. I don't sleep heavily, and I think a sick child would have made me sit bolt upright in bed. It has before.

So here I am, a very muddled, confused parent of an 11 year old girl who is a frightening mix of me and...someone. Not her mother, who is long gone, and nobody in my family that I can tell. When she was growing up I always tried to treat her like a little person instead of a child, and I think that paid off. I have always tried to instill in her that honesty is the only way to go, and I don't think that has particularly stuck. I have tried to help her be independent and self-reliant, and I think I've created a monster. This is twice now that she's woken up sick in a year and instead of waking us up to help her or to offer any sort of assistance she simply goes and gets a trash can and deals with it.

Admirable in a child of 11 years. Also kind of frightening. I keep asking myself 'What if she was REALLY sick, and thought she could just take care of herself when in fact she really NEEDED some help?' And what happens when she's almost an adult and finds herself in a stick situitation and needs help and decides that she's going to rely on herself when she's hopelessly outdone and doesn't realise it?

It's that sort of thing that freaks me out about parenting. I rarely know if I'm doing well. I seem to always know when I'm doing poorly. And the end result won't be known for years and years yet.

When she was born, I had two children--her and an ulcer by the same name.

Mar 21, 2006

Talkies Tuesday - Or Is It?

this is an audio post - click to play

Talkies Tuesday already--where DOES the time go?

Join us today as:

Irrelephant discusses the relevant issues surrounding just exactly what day it really is.

Vulgar Wizard delves deeply into Partial Nudity Wednesdays.

Hannibal The Hamster answers your burning questions about Menstrual Mondays.

Strange Cousin Susan quests for the perfect Stick It To The Man Fridays post.


Leesepea gives us her always unique viewpoint on audioblogging in general for Supercillious Saturday.

Spank Me Sunday sound inviting? Bend over, big boy.

Mar 20, 2006

It's Raining, It's Pouring, B. F. Skinner Is Snoring

It's the first day of Spring. You can tell it's the first day of Spring in Louisiana because it's black as the inside of a cow at midnight down a coal chute, it's raining like a blind cow pissing on a flat rock, and it's cold. To continue the southernisms, it's colder than a welldigger's balls in winter.

And it's also B. F. Skinner's birthday, the man who invented the science of behavioural psychology, so when you get home this afternoon be sure and give your wire-frame monkey mother-surrogate a big hug and kiss.

Mar 19, 2006


The trick lies not in owning the tool, but in knowing how to use it. And once you know how to use it, after you've mastered it entirely, then the trick lies in knowing how to move beyond it.

Mar 16, 2006

Soylent Green It Ain't

The Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM) wants you to not eat meat March 18th, a day they're calling "The Great American Meat Out." I'm not sure why they want us to do this--perhaps it's to raise awareness of our dependance on animal flesh. Perhaps it's to make us see that a vegan lifestyle can be enjoyable and healthy. Maybe they're just trying to make us understand that tofu can be just as good as red meat. And I have just one thing to say to these folks:

The hell with you.

See, I'm a confirmed carnivore. I evolved this way for a reason, and I LIKE the taste of red meat. Medium rare for steak, lightly charred for chicken, same for pork. Humans as a species evolved brains so we could eat more protein so we could move further up the food chain. How much brainpower does it take to sneak up on a blade of grass, after all?

So. FARM? Screw you. I think this Saturday I'm going to have a barbecue. Steak, some bratwurst, sausage, maybe even a few chicken leg quarters. And not a veggie in sight.

And tofu is right OUT.

Mar 15, 2006

The Things They Don't Tell You In Microsoft School

I know this is not going to be a big eye-opener for a lot of people out there, but I know it will be for some, and so here is a little fun thing you can do with your blog/website and your favourite search engine.

I've always been of the opinion that people like HP and Dell and Microsoft are assholes because they won't tell us entirely how to use their machines. Granted, knowing entirely how to use your machine would probably take a manual the size of Saturn and a lifetime of training classes, but I've always disliked how so much information about you and your computer has to be gleaned from drunk friends, helpful if vague websites and pure random "oops I just deleted my D drive" luck. I've spent a lot of time telling people cool little things to do with their computers, so here's one for the few folks who read here.

  • Go to your favourite search engine--I'm assuming it works everywhere, I know for a fact it works on Yahoo! and Google.
  • Type in (without the quotation marks) "link:" and then a web address that you'd like information as to who links to it on. I know, that's strange sentence structure. Try this--

Going to Google and typing in "link:" on the search bar shows me a list of every page that links to my site. Kinda cool, it's interesting, and you get to see folks who have linked to you whom you might not have known about otherwise.

Thus endeth Step One of the tearing down of the Gigantic Wall Of Esoteric Knowledge that our enemy the computer lives behind.

Things That Lead You To Me

A fast check at Google World Domination Headquarters tells me that this is how some of you have found me:

vw cranks but doesn't start
I can see that. VW from Vulgar Wizard, who gets more props from me in this blog than most anyone else. And VW can be fairly cranky, too, but she often starts. Starts fights, starts shit, starts a ruckus...*lol*

Yeah, I've mentioned them a few times, but I certainly hope you weren't looking for anything other than "My gawd the azaleas are too tall."

woid boys
Wha? I don't even know what brought that one on.

john krisfalusi
Oh yeah, I miss Ren And Stimpy. Seasons 1 and 2 only, please; I'm a purist.

magna blows grey exhaust
Man, that blows.

William Butler Yeats essay World War I symbolism "The Second coming"
Whoa. Symbolism, here? Maybe I said something about some rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem.

ovipositor cricket
Yeah, that's pretty easy. I recall an entire three month period during the Great Cricket Invasion of 2005 wherein I wrote about once a day about crickets. I'm starting to see them again already, so it should be pretty interesting for you cricket-fanciers out there.

Again, that's another interesting stretch. Renegade from Renegade Knits, my syster's rarely-updated blog, and motorcyles, that's pretty straight forward. Spinning wheels? Uhm...that's more Renegade's balliwick.

animals that start with the leter q
I thought "animals" started with the letter "a."

all riddles.. i have an apple i can't cut, a blanket i can't fold and so much money i can't count it...what am i?
Eat up with the dumbass? Heck if I know. How did that get you to me?

lessee bon temp rouler, that's not it. Maybe Carnivale had something to do with it. It's past Fat Tuesday now, though, so times they be lean, mon.

what's blue and doesn't fit
Uhm, perhaps a size S Speedo?

bowled o'dinga
I hope they were looking for Monty Python references, because the only cricket I enjoy is usually pretty short, dark, and multi-legged, and has nothing to do with wickets.

large + sexy
Why thank you, but I didn't buy you anything.

what is a crickets ovipositor
It's that little pointy bit at the end of a cricket's arse. I certainly hope you weren't working on your grade school science project.

graphs on Flemish Giants - Growth
Okay, so this one beats the hell out of me. I don't even have the vaguest clue as to what I wrote about Flemish Giants. I don't even know what a Flemish Giant is. Perhaps I need to Google it.

handy andy antique two wheeled garden tractors
Yes, I know I write about tractors a lot. I deal with the family International Harvester a lot, but two-wheeled? Wha?

Show me about the Elephant skills
I've got MAD Elephant skills, let me just tell you now. As to showing you? For that the rates are a little higher.

miami ink cat tattooed a painting on a guys back puzzle pieces
Whoa. I like Kat von D a lot and all, in a sort of creepy Goth BBW pale skin sort of way, but the only puzzle piece guy I can think of is The Enigma (whom you really should Google up, he's interesting) and so far as I know Kat hasn't tattooed him on Miami Ink.

give you a group of three. One is sitting down and will never get up. The second eats as much as is given to him, yet is always hungry. The third goes away an
I give up, Bilbo. Why don't you finish your sentence first, then take the damned ring and get the hell out of my cave.

gray matter canned corn
Whoa. Brains in a can? Corn growing out of your skull? American Idol?

what is the difference between ibex adnd gazelle
Well, an ibex has a cooler name, a shaker hood scoop and a pair of racing stripes. Gazelles are almost like Impalas, but they're four door sedans, and have a more comfortable ride. And you spell "and" with one less 'd,' you mook. Again with the hopes that you aren't doing a school science project.

What's the most semi-aquatic weasel used in fashion?
Uhm...the Peruvian Boot Weasel?

boot weasel
See? Told you so.

The Fur Bike
Oh yeah, someone knew about The Fur Bike and went looking. Good on ya!

and lastly but not leastly, and strangely enough in the same post as The Fur Bike above,

Zen Flakes
I still haven't found Enlightenment, you bastards, and I swear I've eaten a jillion and a half bowls of the stuff. I'm crapping sandalwood beads here.

Mar 14, 2006

How To Land A Job: Part XVII - Personal Grooming

So far we've decided what kind of job we want, what sort of job we're trained for, and how to keep annoying things like flowers, banners and hearts from our resume. Today, we'll discuss personal grooming.

If you'll recall, two previous points need to be revisited first:

1) Do not apply for a job when you don't have the slightest idea what they're hiring for, or if they're hiring at all.
2) Do not apply for a job with your Baby Daddy sitting in the car with your two kids blasting the ghetto bass loud enough that the HR person's water glass vibrates.

When applying in a professional office:
Do not apply if your hair matches your nails and your scrubs. Especially if they're all hot pink.
Do not apply if your pink hair has more spikes than an angry porcupine.
Do not apply if you stink of Kool Menthols.
Do not apply if you appear to be under the age of 12.
Do not apply if your parents are still dressing you. Badly.

Please, please don't even apply if you don't know what you're applying for, and don't apply if you plan on putting "Full Time" for employment opportunity and then write "Mornings only" on your availability.

Talkies Tuesday - Red vs Black

this is an audio post - click to play

Okay--for some reason Audioblogger did not let my three audio posts thus far this morning appear until some time this evening, so my apologies for the long delay.

Believe it or not, it's another Talkies Tuesday! I know, you just wet yourself from the excitement, but don't worry, because today's Talkies Tuesday is a Special Report on the newest controversy over Sheryl Crow's wait, it's on the new controversy over red and black toilet paper!

Join us today as:

Irrelephant discusses the relevant issues surrounding the red and black toilet paper black market: "How does quality vary when you buy your black toilet paper from shifty-eyed Italian gentlemen in small bistros and is it proper etiquette to ask for a test drive?"

Vulgar Wizard delves deeply into the toilet paper industry--Do today's advanced dyes really do all that for your turd cutter?

Hannibal The Hamster answers your burning questions about poo poos and drowning mudhens.

Strange Cousin Susan quests for the perfect toilet paper: leather or vinyl when cleaning up after a Cleveland Steamer?


Leesepea gives us her always unique viewpoint on toilet paper: Should you be using organic substitues?

Taking The Kids to the pool? Then join us!

Mar 13, 2006

The Ultimate Test Of Cerebral Fitness

You know, there are times when I am profoundly glad that I live in the most advanced nation on the Earth. Then there are times when it makes me utterly sick.

This has to be the highest achievement of our civilization.

And I mean that as the two-edged sword that it is. On the one cheek hand it's the pinnacle of fashion and a perfect statement of wealth and "I have arrived" panache. It's cool as hell in a way; it makes me want to have a three-thousand dollar fire-engine red Kohler spaceship toilet and bidet to match, or an entire bathroom done in reds and blacks, so I could swap out rolls every few days and still match.

On the other hand it's utterly, pathetically ridiculous. What kind of (if you'll excuse the expression) assinine nincompoop (again with the puns) thought they'd be clever enough to manufacture toilet paper in red and black and sell it. And probably get disgustingly rich over it. Most of the world's population gets by on the equivalent of a plate of beans and rice every day for a family of four and doesn't even have clean drinking water or a house to put a toilet in, and yet in our country we wipe our asses with FASHION TOILET PAPER.

Jesus wept.

Mar 12, 2006

I Hope You Like Audioblogging

Because I may be doing a lot of it this next week, having, I think, pretty much ruined the use of my fingertips for the next fortnight or so.

There are times in everyone's life when we do something Dumb. We've all been there. Tried to get in a car in the parking lot that is identical in every way to our own except that it belongs to someone else. Done something profoundly ignorant while trying to impress that beautiful someone. Stepped on that jellyfish on the beach even after someone has pointed it out to you.

Then there are times in everyone's life (yes, I'm still going to drag you along on this one) when we do something Profoundly Dumb. And don't get that "Who, me?" look on your face, because you know you've done it. I won't even cite any examples, partly because at this point the stunts we pull are pretty unique in most cases, and partly because it's getting hard to type. You'll see why in just a few minutes. See if you can spot

Irrelephant's Truly Major Fantastical
Profoundly Dumb Boner

We're going to have barbecue tonight for supper. Notice I imply that we ARE going to have barbecue tonight. If it harelips every cat in the county. I started not ten minutes ago by filling the lower pan of my smoker with a hefty dose of natural wood charcoal. None of that briquette stuff for me, no sir. Natural wood charcoal tastes better. I place the grill on top of the smoker body, and liberally dose the hardwood with lighter fluid.

Now yes, I hear you screaming that you're not supposed to use lighter fluid with natural wood charcoal, and instead just light it with fire and let it burn, but sometimes expediency is more important than proper ritual.

Knowing full well the explosive qualities of lighter fluid, I quickly toss a burning kitchen match into the pit, with my face well back. It poofs into flame and beings burning merrily.

I notice that the wind is up a bit, and I have the pit just a little too close to the garage, so I push it away from the eaves with my foot.

I managed to push the pit a good two feet (Hah! A pun!) away from the eaves before the topheavy pit's peg leg hangs in the driveway and tips over. Knowing that there was a lot of loose fire rolling around in there I let it fall instead of diving for it which was my first tendency.

After it had stopped rolling I gauged the wind direction, crept up behind it, grabbed the wooden handle of the pit with my tongs and pulled the can upright. See, I can be smart sometimes. That's what makes the rest so bad; the fact that I was being so smart the majority of the time.

The pan, naturally, had emptied all over the driveway in three major burning piles, plus the charcoal pan which was still covered in burning fluid. I moved the can out of the way and, in a fit of brilliance, simply turned the burning pan upside down over a major pile of burning charcoal, thereby depriving the fire of oxygen and making a safe and secure place for the fire to burn out, as well as extinguishing the bowl itself. 'Bravo on having a cool head and thinking things through,' I thought to myself.

I found the second, unused bowl in the garage and covered the second major conflagaration with it, thereby keeping two of the three major fires under control and due to be extinguished.

The third I struggled with for a few moments, trying to figure out what to use to extinguish it, as I only had two of the metal pans and nothing else non-flammable that size. I didn't want to use the hose, because I knew I could re-use the charcoal once it was out. I toyed with the idea of using an old plastic cat litter pan, but discarded that as being too flamable and likely to ignite before it put the fire out. So, in a towering fit of stupidity, I figured that the first fire I had covered would be out by now, so I reached down and started to pick up the first pan I had used.

Anyone see the flaw in my plan?

I realised mere nanoseconds before I touched the curved melamine-covered metal pan that it would still be scorching hot if not still on fire under there. My hindbrain screamed like a little girl and pulled the Emergency Full Stop cord, my muscles ground together like rocks in a bag in a desperate attempt to stop the endangered hands, but it was all too late. I touched the surface of the pan barehanded, all my neurons started shouting "FIRE!" at once, rather like a bunch of neurons shouting "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, and I ran for the house wondering if I had left any skin behind on the sizzling metal surface.

Soaking my fingers in ice water to minimize the no-doubt incipient blisters on eight of my ten most favourite fingers, I carefully scanned back over the high and low points of my barbecuemanship. I scored pretty high points overall for not panicking, for not exposing myself to open flame when righting the can, and I even awarded myself five bonus points for using my brains for something more than a hatrack when I covered the burning piles of charcoal with the pans.

When I pushed the can over in the first place and when I touched the pan barehanded, well, that's where I lost pretty big, thereby earning me that big old smoking "D" for Dumb.

And so now I'm going to watch blisters form on my still-tingling fingertips while I finish barbecuing some delicious burgers. With kitchen-mits on. And an asbestos apron.

I hope I don't have to be fed them by someone else.

Mar 9, 2006

Icarus Rising

So why is it that everyone remembers Icarus but nobody recalls Daedalus?

If I remember my mythology correctly, it seem to me that Daedalus was the smart one. It was he who envisioned his and his son escaping from their prison, it was he who gathered the materials, the wax and what must have been mountains of feathers, and most importantly it was he who fabricated those wonderous wings for himself and his son. And of course it was Daedalus who kept a level head throughout what must have been to him a miraculous time--winning his and his son's freedom as well as the overwhelming pride that he must have felt when he realised not only that his invention was working properly but that he had given all of mankind the gift of flight. He could join the realm of the birds, but despite this heady discovery he was certain to think clearly and logically about the potentially fatal implications of his invention.

And having warned his impetuous, hedonistic son Icarus about the dangers of flying too high, Daedalus made a perfect, sane, and level flight all the way to his goal. His son the git decided that fun was to be had, and started playing the fool. This of course lead to his soaring too close to brave Helios, whose radiant and life-giving warmth melted the wax, releasing the feathers from his father's incredible discovery and dropping Icarus straight into the sea, where he drowned. Drowned, that is, if she survived the several thousand foot fall from the sky. Why? Because he was too much of a block head to listen to his father.

What a doofus.

So why is it that everyone still remembers Icarus' flight? Why does everyone recall the flight that didn't succeed? He died, as we just discussed. He died a miserable death, all because he didn't have his father's gift of thinking ahead, didn't have the desire or the ability to realise that all actions have their reactions, that every stone tossed in the pond is going to cause ripples. So what is it that makes us recall Icarus and not Daedalus? Is it our desire to root for the underdog? Icarus was not the underdog, he was an equal to his father. What he needed was GIVEN to him, he didn't even have to work for it. Is it our appreciation and love of those who fail bravely? Icarus didn't fail bravely; he failed foolishly. It was his own foolishness that killed him, his failure to listen to the warnings. So perhaps it is our need to, as a certain young man once said, "Live fast, die young, and have a beautiful corpse."

I don't know about you, but I plan to live for as long as I possibly can. Not hiding myself in a cave where I can be safe and secure, but out in the real world, with all it's attendant dangers, toils and snares. I might see you there. I'll be the one listening to the warnings, taking at least a passing heed to them.

I wrote all that several days ago, and abandoned it when I realised that it was going in a direction I didn't care for--a direction that seems to point me out as a uber-cautious Casper Milquetoast of a man, and that's not the case, but I had gotten too far into the hole to climb back out, so I'll present it as is, and let you make your own call.

Pundits, Rapscallions and Ruffians, Oh My!

People are strange. It can't be said any plainer.

People are the cheapest entertainment. I can spend an entire day sitting in the Mall just watching the people walk by. That is, if I have an entire day to sit in the Mall, which I haven't in forever, but still.

When I worked at a local home theater store, I would eat lunch across the street at the Mall's food court. There was a horrid, Tammy-Faye Bakerish girl who was there every single day with her boyfriend and parents, and every day she'd be dressed like a $5 hooker on Nickel Night. And every day I'd watch her, feeling revulsion at someone who could behave like that. I still wonder who was judging the other. And all things considered, she was just a girl.

When I was working at Toys Backward R Us I met a guy named Frank who was the grizzliest of the grizzled. If someone had told me that Frank had killed and eaten a rat out of his house just as an object lesson to the other rats I would have believed them instantly. If someone told me that Frank had chewed his wife's foot off one evening after a drunken fight with her I'd have asked him what toenails taste like. But he was just a guy.

I know a guy who, when he was a young man was an opinionated, snot-nosed punk. He grew up, had a bad relationship, had a good one, had a baby, a good job, went to war and came back again. Now he's a changed man; you can see the grown man in him now. Underneath it all, though, he's no different from a million other guys.

We're all just people. Famous people, rich people, people of note mostly fail to impress me these days. They're just people. Granted they're more often than not strange or interesting, but they're just people. They crap just like we do, they fight with their spouses just like we do, and in the end they're nothing more than a heap of carbon, water, and some minerals, all animated by a small charge of electricity.

Just like we are.

This Space For Rent

A Paid Political Broadcast On Behalf Of The Vulgar Wizard/Firnk Party:

Required. Man-boy to do my bidding. Salary commiserate with experience. All applicants mail their resumes to my P.O. Box, as employer is far to busy doing her own bidding to screen the undoubtedly enormous amount of applications this ad will generate. Upon examination (seems I'm to be doing the examining...rubber glove, please nurse,) please be sure the applicant can read, write, and touch his/her nose with his/her tongue. The latter will be EXTREMELY important for completion of my bidding.

Thank you,

Garfunkle P. Chickenlips, M8

Here Endeth The Lesson

Mar 8, 2006


Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Department of Motor Vehicles
19249 Pissoir Ave.
Lower Slobovia, LA
Re: Restoration of driving priveliges

To Whom This May Concern:

On the 21st of February this year, I was accosted on the motorways of this great state of ours by a jack-booted hooligan who claimed to be a State Trooper. This thug made several disparaging comments concerning my parentage, my vehicle, and my driving ability, and then proceeded to write a total of seventeen tickets concerning my operation of said motor vehicle (a 1943 Nash Roadster convertible, license # 1P00NK7) and then proceeded to impound my vehicle.

I wish to complain most sincerely that I was entirely in the correct by operating my vehicle on the sidewalk, as the road was torn up for construction and it was only by inadvertant misadventure that I drove through the multiple water-filled barrels and orange-striped roadblocks. I am prepared to testify that I never saw the large "Bridge Out Ahead" sign.

Furthermore, I find myself in a large iron kettle over medium heat, with some shallots, anchovies, salt and vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.

Arthur J. Prawn, M7

Mar 7, 2006

Talkies Tuesday - Jack Dingoskidney

this is an audio post - click to play

Be sure and join us today for what promises to be an extraordinarily exciting and deeply biological day! Today's Talkies Tuesday will deal primarily with the socioeconomic and psychodynamic impact of dingo's kidneys on the development of Modern Man. Be sure and join all the Talkies Tuesdayites as we delve into this exciting and unfashionable bit of knowledge.

Marvel! as Irrelephant discourses on the beauty of the simple dingo's kidney.

Gasp! as Vulgar Wizard delivers a shocking expose' on the thriving Ethoropian trade in dingo's kidneys and kangaroo chaudrons.

Heave! as Hannibal The Hamster takes on a dozen bloodthirsty dingo's kidney fanciers at a fashionable British restraunt.

Gargle! as Strange Cousin Susan composes yet another of her epic masterwork operas, this one entitled "Dingo's Kidney Lands On Free Parking."


Explosion Evasion Tactic! as Leesepea delivers a scathing rebuttal against Senator Andrew "Slack Jaw" McHugebig's inflamatory seventeen hour filibuster concering allegations of levees in New Orleans being constructed entirely of substandard dingo's kidneys.

Filter poisons out of your bloodstream, Mister?

Mar 6, 2006

No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

It's a modern paraphrasing of a very old Zen koan, or short parable. It's been pretty well used to death in the modern age, unfortunately. I've heard it in places as diverse as coffee houses and on Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. It's been used so often that it's lost it's original meaning, having been covered in a kind of common-use-polyurethane varnish, like the grain of sand that's been long since hidden under the layers of a pearl, only the koan hasn't survived half as well as that grain of sand.

This weekend: there I was. Saturday morning I physically exhausted myself by walking three miles in the company of Vulgar Wizard, helping our company represent itself in the American Heart Association's Heart Walk. Three lovely miles sweating along brick-paved streets (we still have a few of those here) through the lovely Garden District of the city, and then back to the starting point. Helped very briefly with taking down our banners and table, and then home.

Ordinarily, I would have crashed for the rest of the day trying to recover from pushing myself too hard, but this time, due perhaps to a regular diet of oatmeal, bananas and sweet tea, mixed with vitamin supplements and regular light exercise, my body decided to keep on moving. So, I worked in the yard. I ended up spending several back-breaking hours cultivating (by tractor) and rowing up (by hand) a good-sized garden for my wife. Four neat rows, each about twenty five feet long, ready to be weeded and sown and reaped.

If that wasn't enough I decided that I needed to tackle all seven loads of laundry, so off I went into a domestic frenzy; sorting, washing, drying, the works.

Not happy with that being underway, unappeased by fingers that refused to uncramp from around the hoe and eyes reddened from laundry detergent dust in the air, I decided that I needed to do more. I dragged twenty cinder blocks from various hiding places in the shed out to the yard to line a ragged bed full of azaleas.

Now that the bed was nicely defined, I decided that I wanted to drag out that antique single-row cultivating plow that's been lurking around the storage shed for lo these thirty or so years. I found the old handle and decided that what this old plow needed was a good sanding, some fresh paint, and a new pair of wooden handles. Losing the light, however, I decided to put that project ahead to next weekend, and displayed what there is of the plow in my rose bed, there to await the arrival of next weekend.

Having gotten all this accomplished, and feeling that strange tightness in my chest, and those shooting pains down my left arm I decided that I had done enough to be satisfied, and it was time to stop and take stock of what I had accomplished.

That's when it got really good. Physical labour is, for me, a wonderful therapy. The feeling of accomplishment makes everything better, makes all the troubles seem distant. So I poured a big cup of tea, lit up a Puros Indios Churchill cigar, and took a rest in my favourite chair out on the patio, there to sit, smoke, and watch the cats play. I sat and watched the birds, the squirrels, the cats and everything else that came my way, much to my heart's content. And that's when it happened--I realised that since that morning I had stopped TRYING and had started LIVING in the Now, finally seeing the goal of all my years of studying meditation and the Zen Buddhist ways. All throughout the day I had been living each moment for what it was, not trying to live in the future, full of "I wish I could's" and "Maybe tomorrow I can's" and such. And I wasn't living in the past, remembering glory days and trying to be there again. Granted I had fallen in and out of it, but I had finally seen the goal, seen what it could be like if I keep striving.

For the first time in a very long time I was right where I needed to be: in the present. Fully rooted, fully content. It was an astounding feeling.

And then about an hour later Life kicked back in, but that's okay. I got a taste of what I have been striving for all these years, and having once seen the door I think I'll have an easier time getting back there again.

Mar 3, 2006

Buck Rogers You Ain't

A friend brought up a thought recently that had been on my mind quite a bit as a child, and I think it's fit fare for this venue: Where are our flying cars and personal jetpacks?

And his father had an answer for him that's about as accurate a statement on the human condition as any I have ever heard: People can't drive CARS, what sort of damage would they do with airplanes? And as much as it shames me, he's got it right. Dead on. Traffic accidents are numerous, homicidally so. Road Rage has bloomed like flowers in the Spring, and it's gotten to where children can't even play on the sidewalk for fear of drive-by shootings and drunk drivers.

So what's the problem? you ask. No problem, honestly; I realise it fully and truly. People for the most part have no conception of what it means to keep their attention on anything for more than five seconds straight, and their level of caring is just above nil unless there's blood involved, in which case it'll draw interest like a WorldCom executive. I have no qualms about saying this, because it's true. What really slays me, though, is that all the technology is here for it, as well as technology that can open the doors for other Golden Age Sci-Fi operations like driverless cars and automated highways.

You've seen all the Discovery Channel shows--we've currently got:

  • Heads Up Displays
  • Collision sensors
  • GPS units
  • Steerable headlights
  • Full time all wheel drive
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Multiple impact protection airbags
  • Super light metals
  • Alternative fuels
  • Fly By Wire Systems

So why in the hell aren't we flying around? Because people are too stupid to use ground cars correctly. Most of them shouldn't even be WALKING on city streets, much less operating a half ton of metal and glass.

This depresses me so much. My god people, look at what we're missing! Our Gernsback Future is ruined because you feel you've got to put your makeup on while driving, or you've got to knot your tie and talk on the cellular on the interstate. Because you can't be bothered to pay attention to the important things.

Maybe highway patrolmen and women need to simply start shooting second-occurance drivers. First wreck? A ticket and a fine. Second? A 9mm round to the head, point blank from the nice officer.

Sure would cut back on the road rage.

Mar 2, 2006

What Light Through Yon Window Breaks?

I caught sight of the sunrise a few days ago, and I entertained some peculiar thoughts.

What a wonderously bland and yet enticing way to open a blog. Wow, this one is showing some promise already.

I always wake up before the sunrise because I've got to get dressed, get my family up and going, and eat breakfast before heading to work. I've missed the sunrise, however, for years now. I know in some remote corner of my brain that there has to be some sort of transition from full dark to full light, and it involves a lot of interesting colours and patterns that vary from day to day, and I daresay there is never a pair of sunsets that match each other, and from an estetic point of view it is usually a beautiful event, but I haven't actively watched one in, well, in a depressingly long time.

I happened to see this one quite by accident, really. I was early into the kitchen that morning, and glancing out the window into the east I saw the lovely maroons and pinks that the rising sun was making in the morning cloud cover, and I was moved enough to take the camera out into the freezing cold and take a picture. Which was an utter failure.

Or not horrible, I should say, just lacking. It fell so far short of the real thing that I was let down beyond words over the camera's utter failure to capture what turns out to be billions of minute shades of the same colour. The digital simply wasn't up to the sort of receiving and recording ability that my eyes are capable of.

So then my thoughts turned to how many sunrises and sunsets I've missed, what beauty I've simply overlooked, and to thoughts of how easy it would be for some superior intelligences to leave messages in the sunrise that only a select few would see; those willing and able to be up in time and with the leisure to watch this otherworldly caveat in the sky.

And I quashed that thought, because that way lies paranoia and love-me-jackets.

So then my mind turned to thoughts of Brian, the upper classman in college whom I looked up to while I was working on my Art degree. He was a painter in oils also, but his canvases were of a much more serious scale. He would, you see, paint on old military pup tents, stretched onto wooden frames. And usually he'd put several together, to make a 10' or so wide square upon which to record his passage.

I remember specifically one huge canvas, all covered in dribbles of Red Devil black enamel paint, overlaid with huge swaths of a bloody magenta colour. He told me it was from his memories of living in Baton Rouge. It seems that they have the most magnificent sunrises there, where the sun turns the morning sky a livid pomegranate red, a colour that is seldom if ever seen elsewhere, people would tell him.

His reply to this effusion of feeling? "It's the pollution." It seems there is a certain chemical or combination of waste chemicals that, when suspended in the sky from smokestacks and exhaust vents difracts the rising sun's rays in such a way as to make this incredibly exotic colour.

So much for Mother Nature.

Mar 1, 2006

Funny, That

Life can pour it's black liqours all over me, can do it's damnedest to make me crawl, make my head pound with unshouted words, can beat on me until I want to bow my head, but there's one trick I know that can vanquish the sharpest of life's slings and arrows. Her name is Miranda.

My bike's new pipes arrived, compliments of a friend, almost two weeks ago now. I carefully brought them home, just as carefully installed them, and that same cold morning I turned the key on, flipped the ignition switch to RUN, and started her. She idled for a few minutes, I blipped the throttle to hear her bark through her new lungs, and then I turned the key off. It was far too cold and wet to be riding that morning, and I still had tools to put up and chores to do. When I returned to let the wife listen to Miranda's new voice, she wouldn't speak. Battery too weak to produce a spark, she was silent, and I was crushed.

A huge wad of money changed hands, and I waited a very impatient week and three days to get my new battery in. Vulgar Wizard and I endured a good morning and a terrible evening today, full of whiny shouting and supposedly overworked aides making noises with the holes in their faces, and when I heard that my battery was in my surrogate daughter/current boss lovingly let me leave that miasma of anger and bitten-back words so I could retrieve my prize.

Arriving home the trip through after-work traffic had done nothing but make my anguish heavier, my headache worse. With tired fingers I stuffed battery into battery tray, tightened straps, installed bolts, covered compartments up, and reinstalled the seat. With fearful expression I turned the key, hit the starter, and Miranda rumbled into life with a sound like a pot of boiling lead set to full heat.

Wearing naught but a t-shirt and sweats, knowing full well what I intended I threw one leg over and walked her backwards out of the garage and into the driveway. I eased her out onto the road, hunkered my 72" frame into a racer's crouch and hammered the throttle. Lovely Miranda, my redheaded demon roared off down the road, barking through each gear shift. Miranda screamed, the wind screamed, I screamed for joy and the sheer love of a thing, mindless love, living-in-the-moment enlightenment. Thoughts for nothing but the immediate sensation, the thump of the engine, the roar of the wind, the howl of the pipes. I reached the end of the lane, turned and did it all again, then turned again at the other side and returned home.

There is a thing that happens when I ride. When I ride, the wind plucks at me, pulls my clothing, twists the hair on my arms, yanks at my jeans. The wind reaches through me, reaches cool tendrils into my darkest hurts, reaches and pulls with determined but gentle fingers until my worst biles and blackest humours are in tatters and strings, pulled from my body like mud cleared from a streambed. As I ride, the black streamers are left behind me to tumble and roll in the wind of my passage, left on the side of the road to tremble behind plants, hide in the shadows of beer cans and empty bags, lurking in empty cigarette packs, there to perish in the sun's light and heat.

I walk inside a lighter being, made light from inside and out, the remains and tatters hanging from my bones like thread pulled from a sweater, there to blow softly in the gusts from my lungs, powerless to hurt me anymore.