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Tuesday, 29 April
We'll Take A Short Break . . .

I just got out of a particularly mind-wrecking meeting where jargon was hackey-sacked around; I sat, numbed, while people said things like "HIPAA" and "correlative sciences leadership committee" and "de-identified" and "marker results" and "aliquots" and I thought to myself, Jesus Christ in a calfskin coat. I have no fucking idea what they're talking about.

Which was fine, since it gave me time to come to the realization that things are progressing towards this weekend with a rather crazy speed, so I'm just putting the word out there that my hiatus is starting, uh, now. If I get some free time, I'll throw something up on the site, but don't count on it, since it looks like my next patch of free time will start right about the time my feet hit Belgian soil.

Be back soon. Take care, be well, send me checks, you cheap bast--er, just be well.

Monday, 28 April
A Spiritual Bond And Its Appropriate Government Form

I left work a little early today, so the fiancee and I could zip down to one of the county administrative offices and procure our marriage license. There's nothing like the clumsy oafishness of bureaucracy to kind of kill the whole mood, you know? It's like watching a romantic movie with your loved one, the lights low and the wine half-gone, and all of a sudden your flatulent brother-in-law wanders in and asks for ten bucks.

But what are you gonna do? We fought the awful downtown traffic and made our way to a Eastern Bloc-looking building looming unattractively over 4th Avenue; it was the kind of building that Tom Wolfe would go out of his way in order to primly vomit on it. At the last moment, we also realized that Our Modern Government required that we pay in cash and CASH ONLY--$54--because apparently, credit cards are a little too racy for Uncle Sam to deal with, and as for a personal check, screw you buddy, we're not those pussies at the IRS. We don't trust you. So we did a quick cash-check.

We had about thirty bucks between us. Of course. I noticed a lonely-looking ATM sitting in the cheerless vestibule, and was immediately plunged into clammy sense of gloom, because it couldn't be a normal ATM, one that actual people would ever be moved to use, no, it was from The Bank of Great Neck or something like that, where nobody banks, least of all in Seattle, and of course it was going to gouge me stupid, being a non-Great-Neckian banker, and on top of that, my bank was also going to gouge me later for being the kind of hopeless schmoe who has been reduced to begging some hick machine from the fiscal sticks for a couple of tattered twenties. But I had no choice.

Then we went into the licensing office, which I noted was also where you got your pet licenses. Handy! And kind of sinister and subtle; the implied question seemed to be: "You guys look kind of stupid. Are you sure you wouldn't rather get a dog?" But on the other hand, the public employee there was genuinely helpful, even when we immediately displayed our vast incompetence by filling in the bride's info in the groom's fields and vice versa. Feeling purest form of dumb that can only come by failing to correctly fill out a government form, we asked for another; she looked at it and said, "No problem, people do that all the time." She scrawled in the margins the correct genders, and I thought that they were uncharacteristically malleable about the whole thing. I wondered if for kicks, they sometimes made other marginalia: "Groom is a silverback ape." "This couple was resoundingly ugly." And then it goes into the permanent file. What's anyone going to do about it?

But of course we got it, after a silly affirmation--complete with raised right hand--that we had not lied on our forms. This struck me as less than rigorous: we couldn't even fill them out correctly. Did she even check the form? No. I could have wrote that I came from Barsoom, Mars. In fact, next time, I will. You know, when we go back for the dog license. I imagine they will greet us like old friends: "Look, it's the resoundingly ugly couple!"

That's not true, of course. The fiancee is quite stunning. And me, I'm pretty good-looking for a Silverback ape.

Friday, 25 April
Thoughts Can Snowball In Your Head And Lead To Unfortunate Results

A while ago, for not-entirely-clear reasons (other than maybe, "I'm a dick"), I was moved downstairs a floor, and now occupy cube-space with a bunch of programming geeks. They regard me sort of with a kind of wary good cheer, like I were a pet chimpanzee or something. You know, usually pretty cute, but you never know when the little fucker will launch himself at your face. Plus, they really don't know what the hell I do in the first place: who questions the motives or methods of a chimpanzee? And that's cool, since I haven't the vaguest idea what they do either. I mean, apart from "programming," but that's just a tautology. Some of them are on "AppDev," others on "CompServ," and still others on "Helpdesk," and I can never keep straight who is who and where, but fortunately, there's no real reason for me to give a fuck, either.

They entertain me, though. They are a pretty spectacularly diverse collection of nationalities: my immediate neighbor is Croatian, and the guy behind me is a Spaniard. Across the room are a French woman, two Japanese women, an Israeli, and one Chinese gal.

The Croatian and the Spaniard are the best, because they seem to work in tandem on a lot of problems, and rocket back and forth between their cubicles, and as they get more worked up and excited about (whatever), they naturally start speeding up their speech and pretty soon neither of them can understand one another, and if I'm really lucky, they kind of wig out and start speaking their respective mother tongues. It's really great and I have to basically hunker down so I can laugh delightedly without making them stop. It just sounds so cool!

It happened a while ago, and it didn't seem that the problem was going away, so they were chattering chattering chattering! and going nuts, and I guess someone decided to call in reinforcements. So some of the others were brought in, and more heavily accented English was added to the mix, until pretty soon about half the floor was running around from cube to cube, each one straining to be heard and understood, and the cackling din was just tremendous. I was enjoying myself immensely; it was like the coolest audio collage ever, and I got to thinking, "This must be what the UN sounds like!"

For hazy reasons, this thought really busted me up, and I got a little carried away with it in my own weird head, because the next thing I know, I've stood up and while they were in mid-crescendo with the babbling, and I said, "I CONDEMN THE FILTHY AMERICANS AND THEIR UNJUST WAR!"

And they all stopped and looked at me. I was the scary chimp making unintelligible noises. I made a weak laugh and said, "Uh, never mind," and sat down. They gradually returned to their problem while I silently burned to death in my chair.

I guess it's really lucky that I didn't follow my first impulse, which was to pound my shoe on my desk and yell "We will bury you!"

Thursday, 24 April
Chewing Many Things, Including The Fat

Tonight a very generous friend treated us to a meal at a tapas joint called "The Harvest Vine." Being the worldly fellow I am, my first comment was, "So . . . what are tapas?" Of course, until recently, I thought "Hugo Boss" referred to one of the enemies to be defeated in Sonic the Hedgehog, so this is not very surprising. Delightfully, it turned out to mean "tiny plates of stuff," so that if you hated something, you just had to wait a couple minutes for it to be whisked away and replaced with something else. Which I did when we were presented with some sort of whitefish gruel cruelly jammed into roasted red peppers, all sitting ghoulishly on some sort of blood-paste. No thanks.

Everything else was, happily, fucking great, seriously great. We also charged through two bottles of excellent 1994 rioja, which didn't hurt our mood either, not even when an extremely pregnant woman at the next table got the vapors and had to be rushed out of there in an alarming hurry after a quick hot-cloth rubdown by the staff. She probably had the whitefish and peppers.

We started out with some paper-thin slices of cured pork loin, which was wonderful, despite the haunting awfulness of the word "loin." I think it's been spoiled by too many romance novels; whenever I encounter the word now, I inevitably imagine that I am eating hunks of Fabio's crotch. Then we dug into some otherworldly cheeses, two courtesy of sheep's milk and one of cow; I comforted myself with the idea that while we ate ritzy, mold-shot delicacies, somewhere baby farm animals went hungry. It's a wonder I can get out of bed in the morning.

Then came the deluge. Golden beets--again, surgically sliced--coated in a garlic vinaigrette and sprinkled with kosher salt. Lucifer's manicured toenails! They were incredibly good; knee-buckling in that mouthgasmic way where you sort of shit your mental pants. Green beans in some tomatoey hummina blummina sauce were almost as good, and then we scratched ourselves like luxuriating apes as more DELICIOUS DEAD PIG was served up to our maws--garlic pork sausage in some sort of fuck-you sauce. Ridiculous.

Because my imposing 150-lb. frame needed a rest, I skipped out on the aforementioned whitefish goo, and waited all of five minutes for the impossibly good scallops to come out. Perfectly prepared, they tasted like Artemis' nipples, provided you ignored the sort of rough-fucked caramelized onions they came served on. Up yours, onions! And finally, gorgeous duck breast slices (replete with bits of fat, of course) made an appearance, wearing a fetching reduction made from port, meat juices (read: blood), and possibly centaur musk. Jesus God.

Finally, the ladies opted for desserts, while I continued to swill the toe-curling wine and moaned softly into my collar. The ladies butchered the chocolate torte with wine-soaked cherries as well as the assortment of cookies with chocolate ganache, and our waitress, apparently either mistaking us for the Japanese Shogunate or simply appreciative of our culinary ranginess, poured us each a complimentary glass of really good port.

Tomorrow we'll probably have frozen pizza. I could just cry.

Wednesday, 23 April
Battlefield: Mother Earth

Last night the fiancee and I were out at a bar eating a nice sedate dinner; the lights were low, the mood was mellow, the drinks pleasant when . . .

AAAAAAAHHHH! MARAUDING HIPPIE ATTACK!

Jesus, we didn't know what hit us; suddenly the place was fucking overrun by like fifty youthful hippie beings. The table next to us rapidly filled up with unfortunate dreadlocks that clamored for beer; the bar was suddenly three deep with people clutching guitars; flannel was fucking everywhere. It was like a very relaxed storming of Normandy. The bar staff reacted as if they were blood cells suddenly facing some dire histological attack, and the fiancee and I sat rigidly, paralyzed by the sudden awfulness of the scene. One guy twirled over to my table and leered down at me and my steak. "Wow, hardcore carnivore!" His eyes pinwheeled. "Let me sanctify your meat," he whispered mystically, and rubbed his beard into my steak, as if performing a sacrament. I was galvanized. "Get the fuck away from me!" I screamed, and shanked him with my butter knife. He buckled, clutching his pancreas and moaning.

The others took notice. "Eric's down!" one of them yelled, "Get his stash!" They advanced, teeth bared, and I brandished my bloody knife menacingly. "Back, you jackals!" I howled, and thinking quickly, I grabbed a nearby Buffalo Tom CD and threw it into their midst; they fell upon it like hungry weasels on a lame chicken. While they were distracted, I stuffed Eric under our chairs and covered him with his battered duffelbag.

I sat down again, pretending nothing had happened, figuring that the others' impaired short-term memory would allow me my gambit. I stared at my ruined steak, covered in matted clots of hair and faintly smelling of Eugene, Oregon. I shoved it aside and reached for my beer; there was a marijuana seed in it, which I defiantly ignored and slugged it down. I felt very alive.

"You were brave, darling," said the fiancee, "I was frightened of these strange folk. They look like trolls."

"They are," I said grimly. "I had forgotten it was Earth Day."

Tuesday, 22 April
Let's Not Root For The Home Team

Lights up on EDGAR MARTINEZ, who is reclining in an easy chair. His legs are covered in ugly casts.

Edgar: Hello! Pardon me for not getting up; I seem to have broken both my legs this morning as I put on my pants. Say, I wanted to introduce you to some of the 2003 Mariners! It's going to be an exciting season! Isn't that right, third baseman Jeff Cirillo?

The camera pulls back to reveal JEFF CIRILLO on all fours, acting as an ottoman for Edgar.

Jeff: I'm batting .163!

Edgar: You sure are!

Jeff: No HRs yet and none in sight!

Edgar: Ha! Ha! Ha! Shut up, Jeff. Anyway, we're a little banged up, for sure, but that's what happens when you're sixty-three years old. Isn't that right, phenom closer Kazuhiro Sasaki?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI enters the picture.

Kaz: You can say that again, Edgar! Hey, think fast!

Kaz hurls a mighty fastball at Edgar and misses by four feet. It impacts the skull of CARLOS GUILLEN, who happens to be passing by.

Edgar: Oh, no! You pulverized some guy's head!

BRET BOONE enters the picture.

Bret: That wasn't just some guy! That was our shortstop! Our mediocre shortstop!

Kaz: Hey, my arm fell off again.

Bret: Well, here comes Ichiro! Maybe he can carry us through the whole season!

ICHIRO flies at high velocity into the picture. He performs a series of complex ballet maneuvers and then leaps from wall to wall to wall like a deranged jumping spider. Finally, he comes more or less to rest, and stands vibrating madly.

Ichiro: Let us now meet some of our other players! Here's Randy Winn!

Randy: Hi. I'm bald.

Ichiro: And here's Mike Cameron!

Mike: I am also bald.

Ichiro: And here's Mark McLemore!

Mark: I'm almost bald.

Ichiro: Good for you, Mark! And of course we can't forget catcher Dan Wilson!

(Pause.)

Ichiro: Where's Dan?

Bret: We forgot him. He's back at the clubhouse.

Ichiro: Well, then it must be time to introduce our bullpen! Come on out, guys!

Several ANONYMOUS STREET BUMS enter.

Bum: Uh, we were promised showers and omelets.

Edgar: You know, these guys have real heart. And arms! Two apiece!

Ichiro: Well, folks, that's about all the time we have. We hoped to have Freddie Garcia here today, but unfortunately according to certain contractual nuances, he's busy being ground up into sausage, but we're hoping he can rebound from that setback and start not living up to expectations for us again.

Edgar: You said it, Itchy. So from all of us to all of you: thanks for being loyal Mariners fans! Good night!

As picture fades, JOHN OLERUD is seen jogging into the frame.

John: You guys are real dicks. I'm a gold glove winner, you know. Hey, what happened to Carlos?

Edgar: Who?

Blackout.

Monday, 21 April
Definitely Not Losing Perspective

As many of my tens of readers might know, two weeks from today, I will be married and in fact on a plane to wonderful Belgium for a two-week honeymoon in the land of BEER! and CHOCOLATE! and MUSSELS! and FUCK YOU, AMERICANS! We anticipate that it will be quite restful in between effigy-burnings, but for now, we are in full crazed mode, and spend our days holy-fucking around between various oh-shit thisses and my-god thats. But the really important thing to remember is, soon I will shut the fuck up about the whole thing and we can get back to the real crowd-pleasing stuff, like my frantic mutterings about earwigs or something.

Today we made a big decision about the processional music: we didn't want the traditional "Here Comes The Bride" glop, and we agonized for a while, but we finally went with "Mony Mony." That makes it kind of interactive! And it will really get us in the mood for later in the evening to see our parents' smiling faces in the audience lustily shouting "Hey! Get laid, get fucked!" as my bride makes her way down the aisle.

The other thing to iron out is the vows, which we are writing ourselves. Now, the fiancee is keeping things to herself, but I can let you guys in on what I'm working on, because she doesn't read my "horseshit website" anyway, as she puts it. See what you think so far.

My love, as I stand here with you in this Applebee's conference room, I am overcome with my feelings of love and my nausea. Give me one moment, my darling.

HARF! HARF! EEEUURGH! HARF!

Thank you, sweet.

We came to this fine family dining establishment as two; and we will leave as one. Not because I am fusing our bodies together at a molecular level as I originally anticipated--technological advances have not been all I had hoped--but in the metaphorical sense. And legal sense. And expectations-of-friends-who-have-bought-us-gravy-boats sense. But can our gravy-boat-buying friends know our hearts? Our souls? Our bank accounts? No, they cannot, because they aren't very good friends at all. This is why we poisoned the ham.

Only we can know us, and us is what allows we to know you and me, and we are all together. Do you understand, my umpky-pumpkin loaf? We are to be as one from this date on, my urple-wurple, one who is stronger than the two we were mere moments ago when we were not one and I had no legal access to half your stuff. But this is not the time to discuss massive financial insolvency, my woogie, tomorrow can wait for that. Tomorrow is for . . . oh, many things . . . darling, a murderous bookie rambling about runaway gambling debts is for tomorrow; we are for today.

Today, I vow to give you my all, my dearest. Will you give me your all? I really, really need it.

Sorry, ladies. This one is taken.

Friday, 18 April
Being And Somethingness

Tomorrow the fiancee gets the whole bridal shower treatment, only I know that it's not going to be the usual deal, knowing my friends. She'll be gone the whole day, which leaves me more or less on my own for entertainment. I'm merely speculating, but let's visualize the two days:

11:00

FIANCEE and fearsome bunch of wild-eyed girls head out for mimosa-fueled brunch. There is much squealing.

SKOT remains in bed. There is hopefully no squealing of any kind.

1:00

FIANCEE and entourage sack an unsuspecting glamor-y place and loudly demand mud baths, manicures and "some fucking red wine wouldn't killya." They wave twenties around until the staff snaps to.

SKOT, finally unable to ignore the activity of the rest of the fucking world, gets out of bed.

3:00

FIANCEE et al. head to the waterfront and commandeer a boat. They spend the next few hours chasing terrorized seals around Puget Sound while shrieking "Cute! Cute!" By now tequila might have materialized.

SKOT, wearing ratty bathrobe, stares emptily at a baseball game, casually noting the deathly performances of his fantasy league players.

5:00

FIANCEE and her roving band of madness descend on an innocent restaurant for much-needed nourishment. They look like a band of deranged, but adorable, harpies.

SKOT, wearing ratty bathrobe, stares emptily at a baseball game, clutching a Bloody Mary, coming to enjoy his fatalism.

8:00

FIANCEE and the rest whoop it up at a male strip joint, and howl madly at all the dancing sausages. The dancers twitch nervously at the group of maenads, and caution each other backstage, "Watch out, man, those crazy bitches are fast."

SKOT, noticing that his body has started devouring its own tissue to live, reluctantly showers and goes to find fast food. Tragically, he finds it, and ruminates on the depressive qualities of the phrase "Taco Bell."

10:00

FIANCEE, possibly half-crocked, wanders home and begs for a glass of water. She sprawls limply on the couch and tosses a tattered, purloined g-string on to the floor. "What a great day," she sighs.

SKOT, having just finished up around nine hours of sedentary inactivity sprinkled here and there with cocktail breaks, says, "Same here."

Thursday, 17 April
Help Me With My Insane Plans

Trying to decide who on earth is the world's worst person is a matter necessarily of some arbitrariness; after all, there are a lot of candidates. There are awful world leaders, horrid serial murderers, etc. etc., which after a while can lead to a kind of overload paralysis. So at some point, we each have to choose, based as I said partly on pure arbitrariness combined with our own irrational preferences and predilections. Personally, I've decided that it's Shaquille O'Neal.

And I don't even care about basketball. In fact, I'm one of those perverse people who so aggressively doesn't care about basketball that I get a sort of twisted pleasure out of when the Sonics do terribly (it's been a good few years). So it may seem odd to pick on some galoot who plays a sport I neither watch nor care about as World's Worst Person, but Shaq is so clearly a person of such distinctive putridness, I had little choice. He barely edged out Donald Rumsfeld, but if Rumsfeld starts pimping for cheeseburgers, I could go the other way too. (Can I confess something weird? You know what creeps me way the fuck out about Rumsfeld? His gums. I'm not kidding. He wields those creepy pink horrors like weapons at news conferences. Those gums aren't human.)

Anyway, I've decided that Shaq is so impossibly unpleasant that measures should be taken by our government. I've decided that Shaq should have his own government agent who accompanies him at all times, and periodically--specifically, whenever Shaq does something crappy, like talk or move--this agent would do something crappy to Shaq. For instance, when Shaq makes a comment in which he mocks another player's foreign accent, the agent would jab Shaq sharply in the asshole with his thumb. We'll see how long that keeps up. Or if Shaq made some insulting reference to the "Queens," say, the agent would pipe right up. "Let's go, Shaq. I'm taking you to look at some Chihuly art." "What's that?" Shaq might respond. "It's hard to explain, but trust me, it's an unbearable experience."

We're talking operant conditioning here, I know, and it sounds a little cold and clinical and, uh, unconstitutional probably, but remember, we're talking about the worst person on earth! He made Kazaam! for Christ's sake! Just for that little heartstopping stunt, he should be sentenced to one month of listening to Mary Louise Parker speak. Let's see the fucker make a movie after that. He probably wouldn't be able to speak after that kind of earfuck.

I know he this seems draconian and pretty narrow in the scope of the law. I know he has his fans and supporters too, but they are clearly deluded pyschopaths. Maybe we can get them some help too, but for now, we have to address the root cause. Shaq. Stand with me, people; united, we can make this a better world.

For me. And isn't that what's important?

Wednesday, 16 April
A Love Poem, And Then Some

Beneath the spreading boughs of the elms; kindly
Arbor above, we repose, and the gentle breeze carries
Blossoms of some kind of flower whose name I know not
Yet are still pretty. Maybe they are poisonous, so do not eat them.

Lie we there with one another, and I nuzzle softly your
Ear, your precious lips, your outstanding bosoms, and
Tremble to know you even this intimately, for you have
So far denied me anything else, and really, that is okay, honest.

For I am content to leave aside the base carnality, shun the
Ugly rough animal pleasures that other, lesser people race
Crazily to, as if possessed by ravenous and horny demons. I
Know that while my shirt is itchy and hot, it should stay on. Darling.

Sultry day begins to turn into cool evening, and I coax a blanket
Over your sweet, juicy form, and I am careful not to cop a feel, sweet.
O I am careful of all things, lest I do something icky, lest you
Never let me . . . I shall change the subject now. You are pretty.

Oh let these long days never end, here under the trees that see not,
Know nothing, and would certainly never mind anything that might happen!
Anything at all could happen, at any time, here in this sexy, sexy grove!
Yes, love, anything you choose! And I see you have chosen: a Fresca.

Tuesday, 15 April
Stately Melodies That Will Not Be Heard

After work, the fiancee and I met up with the wonderful band who is playing at our wedding (the cooler-than-piss folks in Saeta, whom you should check out if you're in Seattle or anywhere else in the universe) to discuss, uh, the music for the wedding. It went pretty well, although I sure find myself getting shot down a fucking lot. It doesn't seem fair. Who wouldn't want to hear some of these songs at a damn wedding?

Fear's "Beef Baloney," for example. I've mentioned this before, but it just sticks in my craw that this one gets so many veins popping. Why shouldn't I be able to croon this to my new bride as we glide along the mosh pit?

She don't like salami, she don't want pastrami
She don't want a chicken, she don't want a roast
She just wants her double dose of

Beef, beef, beef! Beef baloney!
Beef, beef, beef! Beef baloney!

I mean, what the fuck is the problem? Is it wrong to want a classy wedding?

Or something by legendary Manchester outfit The New Fast Automatic Daffodils. I was thinking one of their numbers for the processional, like "You Were Lying When You Said You Loved Me." That would be impressive. Then some goob would stage-whisper, "Jesus, what the hell is this awful music?" And I'd scream, "It's the legendary Manchester outfit The New Fast Automatic Daffodils, you tool!" Then he'd feel pretty stupid, and I'm totally aces, because I clearly know my shit, or at least behave as if I do when in fact I don't, which is just as good.

Another one that went into the dumper was The Holy Modal Rounders' "Boobs A Lot," which I just don't fucking get, and it saddens me, because it speaks to the truth in my heart: I do like boobs, a lot. Why must we hate the truth? It's a crying shame.

They all beat the shit out of Pachelbel's Canon in D is all I'm saying.

Now More Worthless Than Ever!

Listed on BlogShares

I was anxious about posting this before, because it made me feel kind of icky, but now that my "stock" has rocketed straight into a toilet near you, I could hardly resist.

INVEST IN ME! I'M A FIDUCIARY VAMPIRE!

I have no idea why it tickles me so that my valuation suddenly went all shit-eaty. I haven't seen this kind of shocking ghastliness since my last three fantasy league teams.

Monday, 14 April
The Tooth of Crime

Because I am (a) a smoker, and (b) a willing pawn of the sinister global dental network, I went in today for my thrice-yearly cleaning/exam/ritual humiliation. For those of you who do not smoke, you can probably only imagine the terrifying psy-ops practiced on those of us who do by our dentists. "Still smoking, eh?" he says, staring intently at wriggling me. I respond with an obligatory sheepish look of the sort commonly found on those caught drowning kittens in a river. "Yeah, I guess . . . " I don't get to finish this thought because my dentist has curtly interrupted. "I guess you don't care that your mouth is a fetid puke-hole suitable only for stuffing with dead herrings. You are dead to me, DEAD TO ME!" he thunders, "Until your next visit. Bye!"

But anyway. Today's cleaning was like most others, with Heather, the voluble woman who is my regular tooth-shiner. We have a nice rapport; she tells me about her kids and asks me about upcoming events, and I reply with inarticulate glugs and periodic whimpers of agony. She always starts things off peering around in there with a tiny mirror, searching, I guess, for the most clearly tender spots. "Still smoking, huh?" Jesus, not her too. "Nga," I say, mounting a defense, but she's not having it. "It's hell on your gums!" she exclaims remorselessly. I concede defeat: "Ylar."

She gets down to real business and grabs at her movable tray of horrors; she selects a pencil-shaped thing with a tiny barb on the end of it that madly vibrates seemingly at her will. She lunges into my mouth and plunges it deep into my mesquite-flavored gums. "YAIG!" I yelp, but she is deaf in her labors, and she extracts various items from my cringing flesh: a hunk of popcorn, a pair of pliers, a Rumpole of the Bailey DVD and Mare Winningham were all lodged in my gums, but now they sit forlornly on the office floor. But she's not done yet.

Next comes a non-motorized device that I like to call Archimedes' Boathook; it's another alarmingly pointy thing with a cruel hook in it that she uses to pry barnacles off of the surface of my teeth. In order to get proper leverage, she crawls on top of my face and stands bestride my mouth, really putting her shoulder into the fucker. She's straining mightily away on one molar when a large crack! is heard; she's broken my jaw. "Yep, that'll happen; might need pins for that. So, you're gettin' married soon, huh?" "Agao," I say, kind of getting into this. I consider become a professional "bottom" in the S/M world. And my broken jaw looks kind of jaunty in the mirror.

It's like she's reading my mind! She flings away the Boathook and climbs down from my face. Then she flips a switch and the lights turn down low; I can hear "Venus In Furs" playing over the loudspeaker. She selects a riding crop from her tray and begins furiously whipping my groin, while I writhe and wonder about the orotherapeutic values of genital torture. After a few hours, she stops.

"That was more for me than you," she pants. Was she wearing leather when I came in? I don't know; I'm barely conscious. "Well, back to it." She picks up yet another device, another spinner with a strange fuzzy head on it; she applies a thick coating of goo to the tip. "Whazza?" I ask. "Poison," she grimly replies, and darts again into my maw, beginning to grout my teeth. The spaces between them quickly become accreted with a gritty paste that tastes like vaguely minty graveyard soil. When she has applied a couple of centimeters of grout to my teeth, she then uses a vicious needle-spray of water to wash it all away again. I would like to question the point of the whole exercise, but she pulls me up short by saying, "Don't move your head; this little fucker will burn a hole clean through your skull if I miss." Terrified beyond all clarity or reason, I sit rigidly while she works, and note desparingly that she is occasionally consulting an instruction manual as she proceeds. "I wish I could read Japanese," she sighs. I close my eyes and think of what kind of estate I would leave behind: right, none whatever. So that's taken care of.

Suddenly, she's done. She releases me from my four-point restraints, and I stagger groggily to the door. "Just sign the papers at the desk," she says, suddenly gloriously bored. "We'll see you in August." "Glabe," I say, wincing as my shattered jaw works. I stop at the desk to sign mysterious, frightening papers, and the desk clerk says, "See you soon!" and hits me with a boat oar. I crawl outside into the hall and weakly make my way to the elevator, and to outside.

Thank God. I was really hurting for a cigarette after all that.

Friday, 11 April
This Post Is Dedicated To My Friend Claxy, And His Hat

As usual, I stopped in to get my morning cup o' joe (for three dollars--I'm a tool) at my normal place, and was jabbering mindlessly with the barista guy. He's a nice, hyperactive fellow, has a kid, and is in a band, and possesses admirable, complicated sideburns, and is always good to me. I like the guy, and he entertains me sometimes by playing tapes of his band, whose music is a sort of indelibly ear-mauling skronk that wouldn't sound out of place in some Pigface outtake tapes. He's fun.

So it was with sad alarm that I happened to notice this morning that he has no ass. That just sucks, you know? He turned around to grab my yowling scalded milk, and there it wasn't: his jeans just kind of hung defeatedly off his waist, like the sails of a ship at dead calm. It depressed me terribly, especially when I realized that I was inadvertantly mentally evaluating some guy's ass.

This, naturally, caused me to speculate about my own ass. I pondered it as I walked to work, which isn't all that easy, because it's not like it's readily available for inspection. My mental picture of my own ass is probably imperfect, not only because it's on the back of me, but also because: who wants to carry around a clear image of anyone's ass around in one's head? So I can only speculate.

I think it's a pretty good ass. Feisty without being overbearing, I would say. Certainly downy, though this worries me a bit, for as I get older, there is the chance that the hair will coarsen, but I can't start worrying about that now. I also perceive that my ass has a charming heft and carriage.

And I do have some evidence to back me up, though it's less than empiric: in college, during the run of a particular play in which the cast wore very little, I was voted "best ass of the cast" by the actresses. Then again, none of them would have sex with me, so this might have been a mollifying sop to my ego.

I really shouldn't post on Fridays.

Thursday, 10 April
I Have Neurolinguistic Maladies

Is there a word for the sensation of suddenly feeling surprised about not previously feeling surprised about something? The Germans probably have one.

Anyway, as I left work today, I walked out the door and noticed that one of the buildings across the street was a store with a gigantic sign that advertised CORNED BEEF. I mean, I'd noticed it before, I wasn't uncognizant of its existence, and of course I'd read the giant sign before, too, but this time I stopped and really noticed it, and actually digested the fact that this place sold CORNED BEEF. And that's when I got surprised that I hadn't been surprised by this before.

I mean, I guess there's weirder things to sell than corned beef, but it's kind of a funny, single-minded thing to stake your business on. And, it's not like I work in a retail core or a street traffic-heavy area; the place is surrounded by a few office buildings, a hotel, and a nightclub. "THIS MUSIC IS REALLY GREAT!" "IT SURE IS!" "YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD MAKE THIS EVEN BETTER?" "WHAT?" "CORNED BEEF!" "YEAH! LET'S GO GET SOME RIGHT NOW!" I don't think so.

So it's just this odd place, but it's been there, like, forever, so I suppose that it has a decent steady supply of corned beef customers who make a point of traveling there regularly to stock up. And that surprises me too; and I start to imagine a small but quietly dedicated Seattle underground of culinary mavericks who steadily produce unlauded masterpieces based on the Holy Food, corned beef. And then I unfortunately find myself genuinely upset that I don't know who those people are, because that sounds pretty cool--I mean, nobody's thought of that before, and by now I'm actually torturing myself with angst over not being able to pierce the shroud of secrecy that cloaks this ultra-cool group of people who I just fucking made up in the first place.

And of course that can't be the end of the weird, echolalic behavior, no. Not this guy, because now I'm kind of obsessed with the phrase itself, and already I'm investing it with all kinds of incantatory subtleties, this fabulous phrase CORNED BEEF. I'm whispering it to myself as I walk home, because it's kind of making me chuckle, but also partly because it makes me feel sort of like a superhero, like Captain Marvel's transformatory "SHAZAM!" only instead, I imagine that when I call out "CORNED BEEF!" I will transform into a corned beef-powered superhero, and then those snooty fuckers in the corned beef cabal would have to take notice of me, by God.

There's going to be all kinds of problems, because I've become obsessed with little phrases before, and it takes me weeks to get rid of them. I am not lying to you when I say that once I spent two weeks utterly fascinated by the phrase "hot beans," and I would frequently yell it out in mid-conversation, because it amused me (and nobody else) to do so. The meaningless phrase "Ak mak" (I found out later it is a kind of cracker) lasted for months, long enough for my friends to get infected; "ak mak" became sort of shorthand for "whatever." So this might be trouble all over again. I can just see it.

Fiancee: Do you want to watch a movie?

Skot: CORNED BEEF!

F: What?

S: Heh heh. Nothing. Sure.

F: What sounds good?

S: CORNED BEEF!

F (she's seen this before): Oh, god.

S: Hee hee hee!

(Long pause.)

F: I'm so not marrying you.

Wednesday, 09 April
I Might As Well Say Up Front That This Is An Angry Rant

I'm just so pissed off I can't stand it.

Slate has a piece out today by Christopher Hitchens that's a real peach called "Giving Peace A Chance" that I had the massive misfortune (or overriding idiocy) to read. It's a real bummer, actually, because I used to like Hitchens, particularly his crit stuff; but since he's started beating the war drum, he's become intolerable, churning out hectoring poison pen letters to the anti-war faction, calling anyone not hopping in line to pave Iraq a bunch of fucking gumboheads either too stupid or too cowardly to toe the line. I appreciate that there are many points of view in this world, but malicious bullshit like this is really not the way to win people over to one's side, not that he fucking cares, I don't suspect. I think he just wants to score points.

Case in point with this piece of tripe. Hitchens has a good time in the first paragraph taking bits of typical leftie sloganeering and then turning them inside out to make his overall point that rah rah! it looks like we're winning the war. Let me repeat that: he spends his time making fun of the slogans. Yes, Mr. Hitchens, it is dumb and disingenuously reductive to scream "No blood for oil." What's your point? Just because it's dumb doesn't automatically make your arguments right. Never mind. Even if people think that it's a fun thing to say, what Hitchens says is worse: " 'No Blood for Oil,' they cried, and the oil wealth of Iraq has been duly rescued from attempted sabotage with scarcely a drop spilled."

Ha. Ha. Ha. To be honest, I can't tell if he's seriously claiming that not a lot of blood has been spilled, which would be incredible, or if he's turning it on his ear to make a funny--"we rescued all the oil, don't worry!"--which is kind of a reprehensible joke to be making in light of the corpses lying around.

He goes on for a little while longer taking easy potshots at the predictions that did or didn't come true, as if hindsight were a talent unique to himself, while conveniently omitting any number of stupid-ass things that the pro-war faction claimed in the prelude to the invasion; or would he have it that nobody on the right ever said anything stupid or less than oracular prior to the war? But to stress again, he's not really interested in making any cogent points with this piss-dribbling; he's just being a prick.

And the end is worth discussing, as he heroically takes on another leftie rallying cry, "Not in my name." It's worth quoting in full:

But these are mere quibbles. We should celebrate our common ground as well as the gorgeous mosaic of our diversity. The next mass mobilization called by International ANSWER and the stop-the-war coalition is only a few days away. I already have my calendar ringed for the date. This time, I am really going to be there. It is not a time to keep silent. Let our voices be heard. All of this has been done in my name, and I feel like bearing witness.

No smarm here. Can't you just take a bath in the radiant goodwill he exudes here? Don't you just want to buy him a new puppy? Really, the only good response here is "fuck you." Yes, it has all been done just for you, Mr. Hitchens, the whole goddamn thing. They are still doing it just for you, and we as a nation think it's important that you take your victory lap, because that's what's crucial: not that you were necessarily right or correct in your beliefs (and maybe you were, I don't know everything), but that everyone appreciates that you certainly think you were. What an achievement of self-satisfaction! And to top it all off, you got to spend a little free time pointlessly belittling your opponents. Take a bow, it's been quite a performance.

Tuesday, 08 April
Win, Lose, Or Drawl

Did anyone see The Practice last night (and why, why am I forever addicted to cops 'n law shows)? Anybody? No? Yeah, that's part of the problem.

The Practice is pretty obviously desperate of late for eyeballs, because there's been a few troublesome things happening. One, they changed its broadcast day and time slot, never a good sign. Then, David E. Kelley tried to go back to the well one more fucking time with the pathetically pandering Girls' Club, a show featuring dynamite little hottie gals who were, um, let's see, what shall they be . . . lawyers? Yes, lawyers, says the indefatigably inventive Kelley. Fuckable lawyers! The show was on for about ten minutes and was seen by half that many people, one of whom was emphatically not me, because I pronounced it beastly from the moment I saw the first ad for it, and decided I'd go into ditchdigging before I'd watch it. So Mr. Kelley's TV cred took another kick in the sack.

Also, they're trying to manufacture some oompahs by having Lindsey leave Bobby. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, let me try and capture some of the nuance that this plotline has revealed. Give me a second. Okay, I've got it: Lindsey is leaving Bobby. Yes, it is that exciting. I think I need a fucking shower.

However, the really bad sign was last night, when they had a guest appearance by Andie MacDowell. Andie MacDowell? This is clearly the work of people with brain fever. Anybody who has any mind at all knows that this woman cannot act. She couldn't even act in a role that almost literally required no acting: I cite St. Elmo's Fire. All she had to do was stand around and be lusted at from afar by Emilio Estevez, which I grant is an alarming prospect in itself, but she didn't really have to do anything. Yet, incredibly, she was terrible at it, and everyone who's ever seen it has the same reaction: "How can she be so bad at doing nothing?" Somebody who can't act while doing nothing is likely going to be problematic when called on to do, ah, well, anything. So, not a good sign.

A worse sign was early on when somebody described her character as "incredibly smart." OKAY, EVERYBODY OUT OF THE POOL! I'M SORRY, OUT OF THE POOL! IT'S BEEN CALLED TO OUR ATTENTION THAT IT'S FILLED WITH BULLSHIT! I mean, I'm sorry. Look, Ms. MacDowell may be whip-smart in real life, I don't know her. But her acting has all of the depth of an onion skin; asking her to play "smart" is like asking Courtney Love to play "The Magic Flute." (I'll pause here a moment to ponder that startling arrangement of words and then quietly move on.)

So of course the episode was a fucking disaster, and it twitched bewilderingly from Bobby and Lindsey who-caresing us into the grave and then horribly moving to some ghastly scene featuring Ms. MacDowell clawing her way all over the set with a ham sandwich caught in her fangs. I think we know what has to be done. We take Andie MacDowell, and we seal her in a crate, and then paint the crate with terrifying biohazard symbols. A message will be painted on it: DANGEROUS MATERIALS INSIDE. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OPEN UNLESS YOU ARE STEPHEN SODERBERGH.

Monday, 07 April
Windows On A World

I oversee a magical realm.

(Don't look so surprised. I do have a treacherous, magical homunculus, after all.)

Courtyardia. Often do I stare out my window and survey my lush--albeit small--dominion; it soothes me to do so, and to view the lesser forms of life that reside there, and their small, charming habits. They (not counting the plants, of course) are three in number.

There is the tiny princess. She is very beautiful, and loves to cavort in Courtyardia, free in those precious moments when she has escaped the grasp of her wicked parents, the Bylding Managyrs, dark entities with whom I do battle too regularly; monthly it sometimes seems. Not physical battle, of course; mystical beings such as myself do not sully ourselves with crass, fleshly touch, but rather on a more mystical plane; what some call the Phiscal Levelle. I am, sadly, no doughty warrior here nor even there. I lose every battle, and they sap my essence, feasting like ghouls, denying me the pleasures I could otherwise achieve with this Phiscal Currencie: expensive meals at the ale-house, perhaps, or even a motor-bicycle. Alas.

So it remains puzzling how such a dark, twisted couple could have produced such a fine little tow-headed lass, who skips around Courtyardia, tra-la-la, feet kissing the ground, and often her face as well. "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" sings the princess on her many trips to the ground, and it tickles me to see such carefree play. "YAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Over and over she does it, the pretty thing! How she loves to greet the earth so intimately, with all of her face.

The princess has a companion, a mighty protector in the form of a dog. But what a dog! A champion without question, he runs by her side at all times, save when distracted by a bug, or a mail-man, or a cloud, or his own heroic ass, but at all other times he is very much mostly wholly vigilant to his charge. The mighty beast, in aspect, is a fair four-pound or so, with fearsome bug-eyes and a sharp, pointed face that all who are knowledgable recognize as of the Chijua-jua breed. And when danger approaches (or, truly, anything at all, for it must be confessed that the dog is blind), all quiver to hear his throaty cries: "erk! erk! erk!" It curdles the milk of the soul to hear the sound; and I hear it every day. But small price to pay for the spectacle of the lovely princess, once again embracing the ground. "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" And the dog, perceiving something, or possibly nothing, joins the chorus: "erk! erk! erk!"

Such is the music of Courtyardia.

Only one other makes his way in the verdancy of the land, and that is the proud cat. The cat is older than both the princess and the dog, and remembers the Long Days, back in time when he roamed Courtyardia alone; seeming master of the place. The cat is older now, and probably grateful for the company, though he keeps his own counsel, and spends much time relaxing atop the picnick table, viewing the goings-on of the princess and the dog. I am sure that he welcomes the pleasing din of the child and her companion, though some foolish souls find his gaze murderous and cold. I do not see it; what lonely beast would not welcome such frolicsome sights, such joyously piercing noise! I prefer to think of him as perhaps in the grips of some digestive malady; and if he cuffs the dog roughly from time to time, or bites him viciously, or leaps on him savagely as he would a blind, idiot, ratlike thing--well, that is just play, I suppose, and the dog participates enthusiastically, howling with a mad panic that comes across as quite authentic.

These are the three players on my little stage, but alas, I see far too few of these springtime hi-jinx. Too quickly, too quickly by half, the princess always attracts the ire of the Bylding Managyrs, and her faceplay is quickly halted. They race out-of-doors (they hate the light) and scoop up the princess and the dog and scold her with fierce words. "Time to come inside," they hiss, and the princess resists futilely. Summoning inner reserves of strength, her body goes rigid, arms and legs sticking straight out, and she experiments with incantations. "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" Well, I allow, only one incantation thus far, but she is a young lass, and will learn. "erk! erk! erk!" cries the dog in protest, or pain, or mere confusion with the tilting world.

Daytime starts to leave Courtyardia, and only the cat is left, lonely and no doubt sad once again at the departure of the Songs. But the cat does not easily betray his feelings; he masks the sadness with a kind of relaxed enjoyment, and feigns as always a satisfaction with his solitude, and wanders the darkening Courtyardia, a king without subjects.

I turn from the window, my vigil over for the eve.

I know I shall hear it again tomorrow, though, and that gives me small comfort. Perhaps if I am lucky, I shall hear them sooner than that, in my dreams: "erk! erk! erk! "YAAAAAAAAH!" And might I smile as I sleep? I might. Or I might not.

Friday, 04 April
Guest Host: e e cummings

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me
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pity this busy writer, movabletype,
not. listen:there's a hell
of a good website next door;let's go

Thursday, 03 April
Creature Discomforts

I have an evil homunculus. He lives with me. He has powers. He uses them whenever he can.

I've never seen him, but I feel him, and sometimes hear his sour-milk voice. I can detect his workings.

He has odd, misshapen teeth. In the morning, before I shower, he runs into the bathroom and gnaws on the soap, turning the nice symmetrical bar into a lumpen, raggedy thing that falls apart in my hands. When I bend over to myopically pick up the slippery pieces, he directs a jabbing spray of water right at my asshole. I yelp, and I hear his tiny laughter.

While I'm drying off, he runs back to the nightstand and repositions my glasses to ensure that I will pick them up by the lenses instead of the temples.

When I walk to work, he's with me. He rides, clutching the small of my back with one hand while reaching down with the other to slowly, stealthily, inexorably pull my boxers up into the crack of my ass.

He has this thing about my ass.

When he tires of that, he scampers down my leg and pulls my socks down to my ankles. I pretend it's just the socks, and I scold them loudly. "Quitters!" I yell at them as I pull them up again and again, "You socks are fucking quitters."

He has a prism that he carries with him, pure and transparent as winter ice. When the mood strikes him, he climbs onto my shoulders and plays it across my field of vision. It is then when an ordinary sign reading "PISTON & RING SHOP" transforms in my mind to read "PIMPIN' RING SHOP," and I wonder for a moment what sane person could possibly have opened a jewelry store for pimps. The homunculus' laughter echoes inside my head moments later.

He flits about my desk at work. On my lunch break, when I am searching for airfares to Europe, he is inside the wires, riding the luminous ether of the Internet, and fouling the messages back to my monitor. My airfares repeatedly display staggering, idiotic figures like "$739 per person," over and over, while I know full well that the airlines are all mad with fear because their profits are Greg Louganising all across the board; people everywhere are getting plush plane rides across the Atlantic for fifty bucks a head, and that's with a gourmet lobster dinner and an enthusiastic handjob from a pneumatic stewardess thrown in to boot, both ways. I stare at my horrible, obviously fictional airfare quotes and I silently curse the homunculus.

The homunculus dashes downstairs to the deli, right before me, and throws all the bagels into the dumpster before I can get there. All except the onion bagels.

When I stop for a drink on the way home, the homunculus does not rest. He is the one who scampers to the jukebox and evilly preprograms the selections. I will hear only Bob Marley and Santana on this visit, and every other. The twenty-year old fake hippies all bob their heads along with the rhythms, as if in thrall, but I know that they are pawns of the homunculus, mindless and obedient. They will ask me for cigarettes before I leave, and the homunculus will jab me violently in the asshole with his sharp little thumbnail if I refuse them.

When I get home, he deviously manipulates the cable channels. Tonight, every channel was either playing Pootie Tang, M*A*S*H reruns, or hockey. All three hundred channels. Pay-per-view would only offer America's Greatest Tumor Biopsies.

Before bed, I retire to the bathroom, and the toilet seat is clammy and searingly cold; my startled flesh screams and tries to contract all at once, causing my posterior to sort of sieze up on itself; a spasmodic, hypothermic clench that will only ebb after a few minutes of sluggish bloodflow. I sit patiently and wait for abatement, and again I hear the chittering of the homunculus in my ears. I know he is with me forever.

I wish he'd leave my ass alone, just once.

Wednesday, 02 April
Naked Women I Have Not Known

As the wedding day approaches, I get asked one question quite frequently, and rightly so, because it is, of course, the most important issue surrounding a man about to embark upon the great adventure of marriage: Are you going to have strippers at your bachelor's party? I've discussed this many times with my best man, and I can assure you that the answer is, Christ, no. For a lot of reasons.

There's two ways to go about the whole stripper thing, of course. One is to hole up with your buddies at one of their houses and then hire one to come over. This, while workable in theory, is utterly impossible to even countenance in practice, because, you see, I would die. There we would be, gripping our beers and smoking our cigars, because hey, you need to max out on the oinkery on these solemn occasions, and then the stripper would come in and start doing her thing, peeling off her cop costume or French maid's costume or Freemason costume or whatever, and then she'd come over to me and look me right in the eye while I looked her right in the anything else and then with a noise not unlike that of a bursting champagne cork, my head would blast right off my neck as the backpressure of shame and embarrassment sent it through the roof and into a graceful parabola over the Seattle night before plunging unceremoniously through the windshield of some innocent traveler. Story at eleven: Stripper incident kills two. So that's out.

The other obvious method for stripper-viewing is, duh, going to a strip club. Well, that's not going to happen either, because I live in the dumb State of dumb Washington, whose state law ridiculously prohibits the presence of alcohol in its strip clubs. A strip club with no alcohol. That makes a lot of fucking sense; it's like building a church and then prohibiting the presence of bibles. Look, morons, guys who are willingly paying money to go watch naked girls that they cannot touch don't want to be lucid. Lucidity spoils everything! We know we don't get to fuck these girls, so all we are now is just mopey assholes sitting dolefully with $7 soda pops and the creeping, unblottable realization that you're actually just a bunch of guys all sitting around waiting to masturbate later. Neat!

It wasn't this way in Oregon, where I attended college. They have sensible strip clubs in Oregon, and since I was in college, I of course went to many. Some of the most horrible things happened to me in these places, and you know what? They were fun! You know why? Mostly, booze! Booze simply allows you to dull that part of your rational mind that, unimpaired, keeps reminding you of the fundamentally weird and perverse fact that you are in a room with a bunch of beautiful, naked women, some of whom are doing some very odd things indeed. For example, my friend N. and I were in some charmless boob-hole one night, watching a fetching lass do her thing. The dance floor was ringed by a raised bar, where N. and I sat drinking our beers and watching, and for some reason, the fetching lass caught my eye. I put my beer down and put a tented dollar in front of me--yes, ma'am, here is my money. She ambled over. "Kitty looks thirsty. Thirsty kitty?" I jauntily replied, "Ah heh heh heh. Ah ha." "Thirsty kitty! Here, kitty kitty kitty!" And then she swiftly leaned down towards me, her face six inches from mine, and casually dunked her right breast right into my lager glass. Straightening up just as quickly, she then flicked the beer foam off of her nipple into my face. "Thirsty kitty!" she squealed once more before grabbing my buck and moving on. The bar roared while I sat, shocked into stillness for a moment, before joining in the laughter and audibly, and unsuccessfully, wondering if perhaps I could get a new beer.

If this whole episode had happened with, say, 7-Up, I probably just would have shot myself in the head outside the bar, with a note pinned to my chest reading, "TOO LUCID TO DEAL."

Another episode on a different night will back me up on this. It was the night I simultaneously jeopardized and saved my own life. And it was in a strip club. I was with N. again--he was my roommate--and we were just hanging out watching the flesh. Next to us were some easily identified frat apes, decked out in their Greeky sweatshirts and ball caps, howling like hell and living it up. Whatever. But then I noticed that the guy sitting right next to me was keeping his wallet on the bar. His attention, of course, was on the dancers, but mine wasn't, at least not all of it. I drained one beer and started another. The wallet was still there. I drank. I watched.

Then I simply took the wallet and put it in under my coat. Easy as pie. I drank another beer. I was cool as a cucumber; I could have walked out any time, but I just sat there and watched the strippers and waited. At one point, N. finally noticed me smirking and raised an eyebrow at me, so I head-jerked towards the guy sitting next to me and then flashed N. the wallet. He stared for a minute and then said in a low tone, "Jesus Christ. Are you fucking nuts?" I laughed and shook my head, while N. developed a startling case of knuckle-whiteness as he clutched the bar. "We've got to get the fuck out of here!" he hissed. Probably not a bad idea, I thought.

"HEY! MY WALLET'S GONE!"

Too late. N. looked like he'd just swallowed a mouthful of spinal fluid. I remained serene, the false calm of the pickled, that ethereal bonelessness that comes with just the right number of beers, and swiveled over as if concerned for the young man's plight. He was steadily careening down the Purple-Faced Path of Pissed-Offedness, and making a good ruckus. "My WALLET was RIGHT HERE! SOMEBODY grabbed my WALLET!" Fortunately, the din of the place was monstrous, so the scene he was making was pretty much inaudible to anyone not within about eight feet of us, but it wouldn't be long before someone was summoned, searches would be made, etc., so something had to be done. I stood up. And tossed his wallet back onto the bar in front of him.

He shut up, stared at the wallet, and then looked up at me, clearly Not Getting What The Fuck Just Happened. I could feel N.'s body temperature drop several degrees behind me. The other frat guys were kind of doing a complicated basketball game-watcher's head routine, their eyes going from wallet to other guy to me and back again, cycling. This only lasted a second or so.

Then I put on a huge easy grin and, not quite believing it myself, clapped him on the back with hideous bonhomie. "HAW HAW HAW!" I laughed, "You should see your face! Sorry about that, man, I couldn't resist! You gotta keep an eye on your wallet, you know? Didn't mean to freak you out, I was just playing around." Friendliness and hail-fellow-well-met good cheer all over the fucking place, and I swear to God that for all that was happening, I was calm as hell. The guy had his fists bunched up, but I think that was residual from the loss of his wallet. He was still staring at me. "You took my wallet?" he said, with the tone of a child asking if unicorns were real. "I was just playin', man. I didn't go anywhere with it!" Big grin. "C'mon, I'll buy you a drink!" N. was still asphyxiating behind me, for good reason: there were five of them and two of us, and we were total wusses to boot. The guy stared a tiny bit longer and then said, almost truculently, but not quite, "You shouldn't grab a man's wallet, dude." He sat down. "I know," I bellowed, "it was just kind of funny!" "I guess," he said, his attention rapidly returning to the dancers. He put his wallet in his back pocket. I bought him a beer. And then N. and I left.

We got in the car and sat for a pallid moment. N. said, "I can't believe you just did that." I said, "I know." He started the car. "You're fucking stupid," N. said, "but that was pretty cool."

Try that with 7-Up.

Tuesday, 01 April
Emmitt Smith Commands You To Purchase Liver Pills

Now I can't be positive about this, because I'm too lazy to check, but I'm guessing that as long as man has been around, so has advertising. Darwinian evolution is, after a fashion, advertising in many ways: a peacock's plumage, a warbler's song, a balding old guy's Maserati. As long as barter and trade have been around, so has advertising, in some form or another. So we've been doing this a very long time. These days, the large media companies feed us our steadiest diet of advertising: TV ads, radio ads, billboards, pop-ups, whatever. So you know there's a towering amount of money that goes into not only making these ads, but also in tirelessly researching them, ostensibly to maximize their effect. So knowing all of this, realizing that for millenia, mankind has studied, refined, and flogged the holy fuck out of all things ad-related, the stupefying question remains: how come they all still fucking suck so bad? I mean, Christ almighty, what's it going to take?

Take, for example, the baffling existence of a band like Smash Mouth. They were clearly grown in a vat somewhere, molded out of protoplasm and programmed with the DNA of bong-huffing frat boys, and then unleashed upon an unsuspecting world with a mission to concoct terrible, derivative, limp cock-rock suitable only for: advertising. And of course their appalling music gets used in every fucking car ad, every soda pop ad, what have you. Never anything good, of course, nothing funny, like, say, Fleet enemas, maybe just what-the? nonsensical, like Heinz tomato paste. Wouldn't that be fucking great? You could show a whole bunch of fresh-faced teens gamboling merrily on the beach or something, while "All Star" plays boisterously, and they all ecstatically wave their cans of tomato paste around.

(Incidentally, the only way I can survive that particular song any more is to mentally change the lyrics to "Hey now, you're a crack whore, get your game on, go play/ Hey now, you're a crack whore, get the show on, get paid." I recognize that this is crass, and hope I don't hurt any crack-whorish feelings out there.)

There is an ad that plays here in Seattle pumping a local "oldies" radio station (I hate the term "oldies" for stations that play things like the Beatles--play me some fucking Gregorian chants or something) that features "everyday people"--just like you and me!--singing along to the radio, only they mess the words up! It's so cute! Except it's not; it's a horrendous soul-fuck, because the"oopsies" are just mind-bogglingly stupid. One guys starts it out, singing along to "Pretty Woman:" Pretty woman, walking down the street/Pretty woman, a candle on her feet . . . " Oh ho ho! Those aren't the lyrics, sir! Why, that makes no sense at all! But oops, here's another one, and this time it's a cute widdle moppet in the back seat of a car, singing along with her mom to "Ticket To Ride:" She's got a chicken to ride, and it's in her hair!" Ma'am? Your child eats lead. The ad concludes with some asshole in the shower mangling the lyrics to "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch": Sugar fried honey butts! His bulldog looks on while the viewer mentally pleads with the it: Please destroy him. Tear out his jugular. Needless to say, this ad fills me a bracing terror and firm loathing: I assume not what KBSG was going for. "How are our rage-inducement numbers?" "Stellar!"

Speaking of needless affliction of rage on a populace, what in the holy hailing fuck is up with our nation's phone companies? Just off the top of my head, here's some of the ghastly visages they've wrangled to hawk various phone-related products or services: Carrot Top. David Arquette. Mr. T. Alf. Mike Piazza. Terry Bradshaw. Alyssa Milano. Howie Long. Jesus Christ! It's like Lucifer's own fucking talent show! What sensible person would arrange for this dismal assemblage of z-talents to shill for their products? A sociopath couldn't come up with a more awful set of names. It's saying something incredibly ominous when you survey the whole lineup of phone company spokesthings and discover that the most charming presences are Ving Rhames and Vanessa Williams.

Jesus, the phone companies even bone the dog when they don't use ghastly, wraithlike uncelebrated uncelebrities. Five* illustrative words: "Can you hear me now? Good." If you aren't gnashing your teeth at that, you're either a hermit, and congratulations on that; or you've already succumbed to death, and are just a gritty husk. I won't congratulate you on that, but at least you won't have to hear "All Star" any more.

*Where "five," of course, means "six." I've been drinking all day.










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