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Monday, 29 January
It's Always Time For Poetry!

A morning's disturbing dreams
Where I thought
My wife was leaving me

I awoke in a tangle of confusion
And woe
And horror
And a t-shirt that was twisted around my
Arm-pits
And, turning to my sleeping wife,
I held her, and she said
Muzz?

I had no words.

The dreams we have
As children, as adults,
Or in those wrenching middle-
times when we are
Chi-dults

They are boring and irritating.

Once, as a boy, golden-haired,
A real puss-boy
Who would cry at
Anything
I once dreamed

"What if--what if (I was in my bed
in my dream, wondering)

What if Frankenstein walked in?"
So Frankenstein walked in
And I screamed.

Because Frankenstein is scary
I guess
Except he doesn't do much
And he's pretty slow and stupid
So I felt--I felt
Stupid

Stupid Frankenstein.

But I screamed anyway
For my mother

I hope that if the day ever comes
That I face Frankenstein
I don't really scream for my mother

Maybe I can scream for an
Ombudsman or a
Notary Public and he or she
Can assure me officially
That there is no Frankenstein
And he's so slow anyway

Frankenstein
blows so much

Ombudsman!
Notary Public!

Be there for me

Be there

Be honest with me
Don't tell my mother I screamed for you

She will just tell you about when I got scared of
Water

But even she does not
(Nor you, ombudsman, nor anybody
Nor even Morpheus himself--
It's not in the comic book)

Know about the time I--
I dreamed--
It was such a thing--

Of having sex with a loud, abrasive baby
In a top hat.

Nobody must ever know,
And nobody ever shall.

Thursday, 25 January
Cheney Shoots You In The Face

EVERYWHERE, Jan. 25, 2007--For the second time in one year, Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in a gun-related incident once again after shooting you in the face with a shotgun earlier today.

Reportedly enraged with the media and public reaction to President Bush's recent State of the Union address, which was described as "imbecilic", "insulting" and "full of tainted meat" by its nine viewers, Cheney embarked on an ambitious project to shoot every American in the face, including you.

"We're running terribly low on blood supplies," commented Dr. Henry Bendix at Harborview Trauma Center in Seattle, Washington. "We desperately need donors." Dr. Bendix was about to expand on these comments, but was then suddenly shot in the face by Mr. Cheney. Nurses, orderlies and security guards converged on the bloody scene, and were all immediately shot in the face by Mr. Cheney, who paused after the carnage to dip his fingers in his victims' blood and stripe his cheeks with the salty gore. "That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die," panted the Vice President enigmatically before loping off into the distance in hunt for more victims, such as you.

According to White House sources quoted prior to being shot in the face, Mr. Cheney erupted with a killing rage immediately following press reaction to President Bush's puzzling State of the Union speech. Bush had declared the state of the nation to be "strong" and "nicely scented" before going on to declare his plans to "hunt down some prime snartch." Bush also spent time detailing his plans to reform shoe sizing in this country, which he described as "inconsistent." "I buy a twelve at Kinney's and it's like, it's like, a ten and a half at Thom McCann's. It's all fucked up," he said, resulting in scattered, confused applause from the audience.

Cheney reportedly bridled at the intense and widespread disapproval of the speech, which Cheney reportedly insisted was "fucking boss" to anyone who would listen, including aides and White House junior staff, all of whom gibbered insensibly with mortal fear prior to being shot in the face by Mr. Cheney.

At press time, you are currently listed in critical condition at your local hospital or hastily-assembled triage tent, loitering impatiently at death's door. Had all medical officials--and every other citizen in your region--not been shot in the face by Mr. Cheney, your prognosis would be listed as "Oh, man." You are a resident of where you live, and would be described by friends and family, had they all not been shot in the face, as

Note: Just prior to filing, this reporter was shot in the face by Dick Cheney.

Monday, 22 January
The Jason Statham Of The Union

STOP THE I-PRESSES! Lo! Big news!

At least two of my tens of readers have alerted me that I have been heralded as one of "The 12 Funniest People on the Internet!" That's nice.

I do have to confess that I do not know these fine discerning people at Valleywag, but I thank them for their vote of confidence. I also note that they quote me making a dick joke, so that's heartening; the world clearly needs more dick jokes, and so I fill a niche. With my dick, apparently. Enjoy, niche! (Hey, it's another dick joke! Worship me.)

But really, if I sound slightly uncomfortable here, it's because 1. I am generally uncomfortable, because I am a neurotic trouble case; 2. I feel like kind of a tool because I don't know over half of those other people (but hey, Hiya, Matthew!); and 3. To be honest? Reading something like this makes me feel sort of like people who say, "Oh, you're a comedian! Say something funny!" And all I can come up with is some stammering nonsense like "Your boobs smell" or an extended riff on canned beets. Or more dick jokes.

OR, PERHAPS, MORE DREADFUL COMMENTARY ON THE AWFUL MOVIES WE WATCH

Oh, most of you know what's coming. This week, stop right here if you simply can't bear to have plot elements ruined for you for fine films such as Crank and The Covenant. Also . . . are you okay? Anyway.

The wife and I settled into watching this object with no real hope at all, but we came alive when the screen lit up with the magic phrase "Directed by RENNY HARLIN." Like sedentary Kool-Aid pitchers, we looked at each other and yelled "OH YEAH!"

But sadly, there were no resounding "yeahs" to be had from this nothing of a movie. It's about a bunch of rich white kids who are actually witches who essentially wield some dull brand of pickup magical powers that can be passed around and dribbled like basketballs, and digitally-rendered spiders that enjoy crawling up people's noses. It suffers chiefly from: well, did you read any of that? I'm actually not really making much up. It also suffers from Indistinguishable Young Actor Syndrome, which I first identified when I saw Black Hawk Down, and I realized that a bunch of young white kids with shaven heads and fatigue uniforms were completely indistinguishable from one another. "Was that the helicopter guy? Or is it the sniper guy? Or is it . . . fuck, I don't know who anybody is." Similarly, in this listless ass-wave of a movie, I found myself asking, "Is that hair guy? Or is it basketball-force-guy?" In the end, I wound up eagerly hoping for more digital spiders crawling into digital nostrils, and, well, as low as my standards are, that's just kind of a bummer.

Our disappointment in that film was leavened by our delight with the pugilistically inane Crank, a movie with the pleasingly and frankly idiotic premise that an assassin--Jason Statham, the man with a face and emotive range of a dented shovel--has been poisoned by a nemesis with some sort of Ancient Chinese Secret potion that will kill him if his adrenaline levels drop too much.

The actor playing the villain in this delirious movie is worthy of note; when he's not leering maniacally, he's punching innocent pillows as he awaits the sure death of the deathlessly energetic Statham; his overacting is so spine-tingling that I contracted meningitis early in the film, right about at the point where Statham Shovel-Face addresses the camera to announce that "It's time to kick some black ass!" BRAVO!

Also in this awesome spectacle is the fresh young girlfriend Amy Smart (who I do miss from the not-very-lamented, short-lived "Smith"). I would be genuinely interested in the conversation she had with her agent when she accepted this role, since right in the middle of the movie, she and Statham have a fight out in public Chinatown, which kind of turns Statham on, so he attacks her, and in one of those Hollywood moments, she initially resists, but then gets SO WEIRDLY TURNED ON that she can't help herself, and blah blah blah, and then he bends her over a newspaper vending machine.

But then he can't get it up. Weird! I've fucked so many hot chicks in Chinatown in broad daylight, and I'm always walking funny. "You can't get it up?" she screams. Statham looks embarrassed, not that you can tell. He looks like he lost a book of stamps. "This is just like you!" Smart wails puzzlingly. It is? Who are you, lady? What is your miserable life like? Can we have a movie about her? After a few excruciating moments, Statham presumably manages to ring up his long-lost hard-on, and finally puts the boots to the still bent-over Smart, while she's stuck with dialogue like "Oh, baby, you're so big!"

Later, in a car chase scene, she gives him a blow job, only to hold up before the inevitable. Statham protests, of course, shovelly, and she says "So you can fall asleep like you always do? I don't think so." Okay, really, at this point I must demand that a movie be made about this woman's backstory. She sounds like Oriana Fallaci and Jenna Jameson on a meth bender. Fittingly, this woman-positive movie includes a scene in which Statham asks another character, "Do I look like I got 'cunt' written on my head?" At this point, the moviemakers cleverly put the word "cunt" on his head in white letters, possibly just in case that their fears that this movie might make people's ears fall off were justified.

In summary, Crank is the finest movie of 2006. You're insane if you don't watch it.

Tuesday, 16 January
A Driving Force

Seattle has recently been enduring a TERRIBLE COLD SNAP where it has occasionally dipped below 30 degrees and dumped a couple of noncommittal inches of snow on us for the past week or so. Naturally, this has basically shut down the city.

The Seattle schools have shut down, for instance, and the day care my wife works at also has been shut down. Inexplicably, she went in to work anyway to do some crummy paperwork; she also spent a little time in our purple Plymouth (sexy!) sliding backwards down a hill. She's okay, she's fine, she didn't hit anything other than a frozen homeless guy. Sensibly, she threw his frozen carcass into our trunk, because, in these times of extreme (-ly mundane) weather, you never know when the meat riots will start.

I, however, am a fucking ninja for snow driving. I grew up in Idaho, motherfucker! I took driver's ed in eight inches of snow. How do I know it was eight inches of snow? I measured it with my dick. RAR!

I must confess, though, that this did not keep my teenaged self free from autovehicular mishap. I've written about this before.

I will even confess that I myself once or twice got caught out by bad weather conditions while driving. For instance, driving my car back home one particular evening--my awesome '75 Chevy Monza--following my father, I managed to induce the vehicle into a 180-degree spin on a gravel road. (It should be mentioned also that I was 14 years old; you could still get "daylight permits" that young when I was that age, which seems like about as good an idea as giving infants blowguns to play with.) My father stared at me afterwards with the kind of look that seemed to say, "I wonder which mailman my wife fucked to produce this dubious specimen of humanity."

Other times, in those halcyon years, no weather was required to produced on-road theatrics. Often times, all one needed was "friends." Out of my hometown on the way to the storied town of White Bird (but more importantly, on the way to the river) was a tremendous, windy, steep highway grade that required attention and caution to navigate, two traits that are surely present in all teenaged boys. My pals delighted in a certain prankish activity involving reaching over to the car key and switching it off midway down the mountain. This would cause me to scream, invariably, "YOU FAG!" and then, instead of gently switching the engine back on with one click of the key back to its "On" position, rather overcranking the key nervously into "Start" mode, causing the starter to grind horribly and cause mechanical stress. Hilarious. An even better trick was to swifty reach over, turn off the key and throw it onto the floor somewhere, resulting in me (the driver) scrabbling around under the dash while coasting majestically down this horrifying twisty maze of cliff death. Once, one of my idiot friends removed the keys in this manner, but instead of flinging them to the floorboards, he dangled them out the window for a while. Had he dropped them, we all would have been smoking meat. Are teenaged males the only life forms on the planet that have such an incredibly focused drive towards self-eradication? The lemmings thing was proven to be a manufactured myth, but who needs lemmings when you have four guys in a car, all of whom are wearing mullets and parachute pants? And who, chances are, are drunk?

Another time, the four of us--there were always four of us--were sitting at a simple T-shaped turnoff, again to the highway. I don't remember where we were going this time . . . possibly to the golf course to piss in all the ball washers, or something, or maybe just to wash our balls. Who cares? Anyway. For once, I was responsible; I looked left. I looked right. All clear, and so I sedately took my left turn; we were listening to Hysteria by Def Leppard; all was right with the world.

As I was halfway into the left, a semi truck materialized I swear out of fucking nowhere. It simply hadn't been there two seconds before. But here it was, right on top of us, ready to smear us like a wayward rodent. I remember the stiffened stance of the driver, and I remember the Gabriel trumpet blast as he jerked maniacally on his air horn. "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" screamed all the boys in the car, incipient masculinity all lost instantly in the moment; sopranos every one. I stomped on the gas, and the trusty Monza responded exactly as usual: like a fat-assed Corgi on a hot day. Please let it hit the back of the car, I thought. Kevin's dumber than me. Kevin was sitting right behind me.

We made the turn, of course. It seemed like the truck missed us by inches, but I can't really say. It might have been feet, or yards. I am pretty sure that no matter what the distance was, the driver of the truck came close to a power shot to Mars based on the force of his startled excretory reaction.

And what was our reaction? After a few obligatory "Oh man!"s and "Holy shit!"s, I seem to recall someone saying, "Let's go to Kevin's place. We're going that way anyway."

Why?

"His sisters are so hot." Kevin's sisters were 16 and 18. Yes, they were hot.

Kevin: "Shut up. You're a fag."

We didn't die. We didn't reflect. We listened to Hysteria. We went to Kevin's. We ogled his sisters. And we all lived forever, just like we always knew we would.

Right?

Thursday, 11 January
The Ten Most Embarrassing Songs On My iPod

So this Christmas the wife brought me screaming into 2002 and bought me an iPod. (I had owned an off-brand MP3 player before; it was a blocky little doodad that held about five songs and died in as many months. It was the Benjamin Harrison of MP3 players.) So I've been having a ridiculously good--by which I mean "stupid"--time pillaging my CD collection ("I forgot I owned that! I forgot this band existed!") and iTunes. The latter in particular is very insidious. For 99 cents, you can find practically any stupid fucking song ever recorded . . . sort of. For example, looking up "Maybe I'm Amazed" brings up . . . Jem. From the soundtrack to "The O.C." What? Who cares! It's 99 cents! How bad could it be?

Well . . .

Anyway, like I said, I terrorize iTunes now and again, because, as you will soon see, I'll buy practically anything. Much like, well, everybody.

You know how everyone likes to claim that their musical tastes are "eclectic?" "Oh, I like everything, really." Which is complete bullshit. People may have affinities for certain genres, but by and large, since music is so broad and people are so weird, chances are that they're going to like a lot of other stuff here and there as well. So the fact that I enjoy Lyle Lovett and Alison Krauss a lot does not make me a country fan; it makes me a guy who normally despises country music that happened to find a couple of singular countryish outliers. Everybody has "eclectic" musical tastes, to the extent that everybody can be pleasantly surprised by something unexpected, but it's essentially a meaningless thing we tell ourselves to fool us into thinking we're more broad-minded than we actually are.

This list will also give the lie to any claim I could try and put on the "eclectic" label (and it's a line I've used in the past--it's practically required for college students). I'm pretty obviously just a fan of pop. Oh well. But here are the songs that I am most embarrassed to have on my iPod. And I'm not getting rid of them soon.

10.
"I'm No Angel," Gregg Allman.

It's mainly only embarrassing because, as you will come to see, it's entirely emblematic of my penchant for falling in love with inconsequential, little-heard minor pop near-hits. I don't think it's a bad song qua song, but it's not got a lot going for it either. Fuckers like "I'm No Angel" is why iTunes is so lethal, and why it might ruin some of the coolness of radio in the long run. Over the past ten or fifteen years, I could count on one hand the times I heard this song on the radio, squealing, "Oh, man, I love this weird tune!" Now I can play it whenever I want. That's somehow . . . lamer. I won't again be surprised by this little not-much of a tune, and if I am, it will only be to note, "Oh, weird, I'm hearing this somewhere other than my iPod."

It's kind of charming, though. It's a song about a guy--a guy much like Gregg Allman--who is wooing a woman clearly out of his league. "I might steal your diamonds but I'll bring you gold," he sings, which is not only alarming, but also arguably not a strong economic argument. But my favorite line I find sort of touching. "Come on, baby," he sings, "Come and let me show you my tattoo." Awwwwwwwww. You know he really means it.

9.
"Switchin' to Glide," The Kings

Canadian one-hit-wonders ahoy! Another example of a song I probably heard like five times over the past twenty years, but now I can listen to it over and over until I get some sort of Canadian ear disease. (Though true story: I karaoke'd this song once, and all the plants in the bar died.) What can you say about the Kings? You can say that band members included such names as David Diamond and Mr. Zero! Most bands can't say that! In fact, their keyboard player was named . . . Sammy Keyes!

Another thing you can say is that they recorded this song!

It's just straightforward power pop, but that chorus is some hook, boy. It's mostly that I don't know what I'll have to say to someone if they, for some reason, examine the songs on my iPod and ask me who the fuck the Kings are. You have to realize that I think about things like this.

8.
"Govinda," Kula Shaker

One of the worst things about being an up-and-coming British band must be the realization that, sooner or later, the British musical press might sink their teeth into you. How many shellshocked English bands litter the historical battlefield of musical journalism, lionized by the British press one moment and then eating off-brand dog food a year later? This is what happened to Kula Shaker, an amusing if derivative bunch of fellows who made the sort of music George Harrison would have enjoyed if he had taken a temporal and stylistic left turn and joined Winger. "Govinda" is, typically, an Indian-smushed-into-Beatles vulgar mess, overwrought and overstuffed and overloved by me, at least for a few months at a time.

5-7.
"Since You're Gone," The Cars
"Since You Been Gone," Rainbow
"Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson

So! Did I download these all at the same time or what? Ha!

Yeah. I did. And yes, I do like all these fucking songs.

I don't know if it's some weird neuronal thing, but my brain loves to find stupid connections like this, which leads me to wonder if there's something else going on behind my inexplicable love for songs by a New Wave-y pop band, a metal-ly pop band and a cockapoo. There must be. Once I excitedly called a radio station--who at the time was playing a gimmick set of songs that shared the same title--to inform the nonplussed DJ that Midnight Oil, Depeche Mode, Erasure and My Bloody Valentine all had songs titled "Sometimes"!

"We don't play any of those bands," he said.

4.
"Attack Ships On Fire," Revolting Cocks

Ah, my fake-industrial years. This song is the version from the live CD You Goddamned Son of a Bitch, whose album art features a Wheel of Fortune wheel littered with barely-redacted porn shots and the immortal liner note, "Remember, RevCo is making the world a better place for you and your hog bitch girlfriend."

I was too much of a wimp-o to really be a true industrial fan. (I felt so tough buying an Einst├╝rzende Neubauten album, and secretly hated myself when I found it to be utterly unlistenable. The cover art of an ejaculating horse probably didn't help.) I instead opted for the industrial-lite metallic bleatings of grouches like Nine Inch Nails, Nitzer Ebb (Hi, Rory) and the Revolting Cocks. This song is pure nostalgia for me, and it has the dork appeal of taking its title from Blade Runner.

3.
"Black Betty," Ram Jam

This is actually a Leadbelly song, which is what makes this so deeply embarrassing: I have this and not the Leadbelly version.

Honestly? I could give a shit about the blues. Most of it I find to be a total bore; all those scratchy old recordings, all that tinny warbling over fumbling guitar strangulation. I'm one ignorant motherfucker, I know. I just can't get into it. It's embarrassing.

It's particularly embarrassing, because admitting that you don't like the blues means that you have no appreciation for the basis of rock, and it's embarrassing because it seems vaguely racist, at least to certain way-too-into-it white guys who self-consciously revere their old blues vinyl by unheard-of artists like No-Shoes Davey and Lacks-Proprioception Gavin.

Fine. I admit all of it. I'm a philistine and a schmuck and I have the ears made of wool. Whatever. I just don't care for the blues. I said it.

And as if to prove my worthlessness, I like this idiotic song. I know it's idiotic. I can hear the idiocy. And yet.

2.
"The Difficult Kind," Sheryl Crow

Is there anything quite like the dawning horror of realizing that you really like a song by an artist that you normally wish would just fall off a tall building? Admit it, it's happened to you. I can't even talk about this.

1.
"Find Your Way Back," Starship

Ah, this is hard. Is there any other group that so eagerly and so energetically betrayed the astounding amount of talent and prowess that it exhibited in its early years than Jefferson Airplane? (I also have the fucking outstanding "Volunteers" on my iPod, just to balance things out.) I suppose one could make a case for Rod Stewart, but he's not a group, and plus, after only a few minutes of trying to think about the whole thing, you will probably become a heroin addict.

Why do I like this awful cheese log of a song? Something must have happened to me beyond my conscious level to make me like it, since it is utterly schizophrenic and sounds like the love song a dog would compose after humping a Mr. Potato Head. I truly do not understand it on any level. It's like four horrible songs all taking the same desolate onramp to damnation, with Grace Slick screaming like someone jammed an airhorn into her snatch.

How embarrassed about this song am I? I once skipped past it while I was in the grocery store because I was afraid that someone would figure out what I was listening to from the earbud leakage. But I didn't erase it.

I probably won't for a while. Sigh.

It's not on the list, but "Jane" is on there too. Shit.

Monday, 08 January
Are You There, God? It's Me, That Intolerable Griping Pud

Well, I have to say that 2007 so far has been a REAL PILE OF SHIT, people! Did I not demand not so long ago that the world needed to get better? Well, it hasn't. Stupid world.

Don't get me wrong. Nothing that horrible happened to me or anything. But there was a definite lack of awesomeness this weekend that frankly I resent. It's starting to piss me off.

For one thing, as we often do on Friday evenings, we rented a couple of horrible movies. My tens of faith-ish readers have long known about my near-fetish for appallingly bad movies, and so we figured we were in for a banner night with a double bill consisting of the remake of The Wicker Man and the screamy-meme-y Snakes on a Plane.

Snakes on a Plane featured things like a soon-to-be-dead chick with great big naked tits and a guy getting his dick bit by a reptile.

What does it say about The Wicker Man when I tell you that it could have been vastly improved by both of these things?

I never saw the original Wicker Man, but I am reliably informed that it featured all kinds of gratuitous nudity. WELL, NOT THE REMAKE, BUSTER! And the reason why is clear: director Neil LaBute, famous for such life-affirming works such as In the Company of Men, simply loathes people. All people. Only a colossal misanthrope could take a cult movie noted for its gratuitous nudity and remove all of it in favor of scenes with the ham-scented Nic Cage pointing a gun at a pagan on a bicycle, screaming "STEP AWAY FROM THE BIKE!"

You'll note that I didn't warn you about possible spoilers. That's because I don't want anyone to watch this movie. If you read that and got pissed off, thinking, Well, shit, I'm not going to watch that now, then good. Don't watch it! Nobody should watch it! Ever! It's fucking horrible! It will make you shit out your soul!

Here's another movie-ruining moment! You'll never believe who the Wicker Man is! It's Nic Cage! They burn him at the end! You can hardly see it coming, especially if you're dead or stupid or in a coma or have never once watched that VH1 show that counts down all those old horror movies and gives away all the endings anyway! You'll be shocked and stunned! Mostly at the incredibly laughable acting! Remember Vampire's Kiss? Compared to this film, Nic Cage was sleepwalking in that fucker!

Jesus fucking Christ. When they burned his stupid ass at the end, all the pagan chicks didn't even do that crazy-ass dancing. They just stood there and grinned. God.

Things didn't improve on Saturday when the wife and I went to, Lord help me, Target. (Look, don't ask.)

This required, for one thing, driving up to a section of town known as Northgate, home of the hideous and unspeakable Northgate Mall, which is where fun goes to die. I have it on good authority that at Northgate Mall, the Orange Julius outlet takes pride in pissing in each and every drink. They recently tried to spruce up the place for the holidays by putting in video monitors playing footage of three-legged dogs fucking, but the customers didn't respond well, and there was a nasty streak of suicides as a result. So now the monitors just display text messages like "WHY?" and "YOU ARE ALWAYS ALONE."

Across the street from this Gehenna is Target, and we joyously crawled up the clogged parking driveway, dodging hunted-looking customers and erratic cars before we finally found a parking place at the C3a1B level, darting into a space that was unfortunately occupied by a crack-smoking indigent; we crushed his pelvis against the wall. "YA CRUSHED MY JUNK!" he screamed, and I threw a traffic cone at his head as we locked the car, bip-bip! "Don't scratch our fender!" I yelled. He died moments later, causing a Target employee to rush out and staple a "FLOOR MODEL SALE" sign to his chest, and a minor bidding war broke out among onlookers who all wanted a discounted, slightly damaged, slightly dead junkie corpse at post-holiday prices.

Inside this horrendous place, row after row of denuded racks faced us, and blank-eyed shoppers pushed carts to and fro (and up and down--Target features a shopping cart-sized escalator, lest we consumers be forced to actually ever lift anything), loaded down with things like blister-packed six-packs of extension cords, blister-packed spousal battery complaints, blister-packed blister cream and blister-packed fake blisters. Near every checkout counter was a shocking pile of undifferentiated merchandise, all either returned, rejected or simply dumped incorrectly by some second-thought shopper, and the employees clambered over the heaping mounds of horrible crap like second-string Sherpas, calling to each other in their retail dialect: "Munchin' Purple pants 14! Three-oh!" "That's Joanie. Send it to teen humpwares."

After a long time, we got home. We of course immediately went to the nearest bar. "You guys aren't watching the Seahawks game?" asked our good bartender. "It's halftime," I said hollowly. "I really hope they do it this year . . . " he said, and I snapped, "Are you kidding?" I let him trail off into more feeble nonsense. We had two drinks apiece while I thought about how 2007 was really twisting my dick already. When we left, our bartender said, "Gonna go watch the fourth quarter, huh?" "Yeah," I replied gloomily.

Which we did. And you know what? That was pretty funny. I feel better already.

Thursday, 04 January
It's The Most Prejudging Time Of The Year

The holidays are over and summer is nowhere in sight! Woo! It's time for everyone to sit glumly and realize that there's absolutely nothing to look forward to for months. I mean, honestly. Valentine's day? For couples, it's a bunch of fucking stress, and for the loners, it's an opportunity to resent the couples.

Hollywood feels our pain, of course. In fact, they enjoy exacerbating it. This is the most horrible time of year for moviegoers, so I feel fortunate that I don't go out to see movies any more. Instead, I sit at home and prejudge them.

Smokin' Aces

Awwww! I always have a soft spot for movies with lousy titles, mainly because they are almost always 1. like the titles, horrible and 2. doomed. (There are exceptions. I cite, for example, Forrest Gump. It was massively popular. I suspect it was also horrible, but I cannot say for sure, as I never bothered to watch it.)

Like the similarly horribly-titled and horribly doomed Lucky Number Slevin, this seems to be another hitman/mobster movie. Which is fine. What's less fine is that the star of the picture is Jeremy Piven. I mean, I have no real beef with Mr. Piven--in fact, that's kind of the problem. I actually don't think of him at all, including whenever he's onscreen. I know I've seen him in a dozen movies or so; it's just that he's so workmanlike and efficient, I never even notice him. He's like the washing machine: it makes noise, but you don't really pay any attention to it.

Maybe the supporting cast can help out! Let's see, there's Ben "Remember me?" Affleck, Peter Berg and Jason Bateman! Now, those are . . . other people who exist in the world!

Oy.

Miss Potter

Who pitched this?

"Okay, check it out. It's like Finding Neverland, only instead of J.M. Barrie, it's--"

"Who's J.M. Barrie?"

"The Johnny Depp guy. Anyway, this time it's Beatrix Potter!"

"Who's Beatrix Potter?"

"The rabbit chick. Uncle Wiggly or some shit."

"What the fuck are you--listen, gimme the bullet."

"Oscar bait. We've got Renee Zellweger and Ewan MacGregor and that pinched, pasty English chick with the limp hair."

"Kristin Scott Thomas?"

"The other one."

"Emily Watson?"

"Bingo."

"I love it."

The Hitcher

Anyone get the feeling that Hollywood is kind of scraping with the whole horror remake thing? The original 1986 movie with C. Thomas Howell, Rutger Hauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh was memorable mostly for the infamous french fry scene and the slightly toe-curling ending. This film was hardly crying out for a redo, except possibly for Howell, who must surely be asking, "Uh, can I try that again?"

I can't wait for pointlessly gore-filled remakes of such timeless classics such as Lifeforce (with Patrick Stewart and an always-naked Mathilda May!) or Knight Moves (with Christopher Lambert, Diane Lane and a thankfully not-naked Tom Skerritt!)

Epic Movie

You know, I'm sorry if you're one of these people, but I kind of want to take people who go see things like Scary Movie and Date Movie or whatever and shake them until their teeth fall out. Why do people put up with this fucking shit? Why do they pay money to watch this depressing crap? Jesus Christ, man, SNL is just as horrible, and it's free and comes right to your TV.

Whatever. This latest sewage attack features a bunch of no-name fuckholes (and, depressingly, a couple of genuinely funny people in Fred Willard and Jennifer Coolidge) listlessly gumming the half-erect jokes that are to be had by lampooning such cinematic events as the Harry Potter films and that wretched Narnia movie.

IMDB lists one character as "Breast Bite Girl" (and boy is that actress' listing . . . something) and another as "Manboobs!" Another is "Crotch Bite Guy" and poor Coolidge is apparently "The White Bitch of Gnarnia."

Look, I like potty humor and blue jokes well enough--hell, just look at my last entry. But is this the best we can do? Is this what people are crying out for? Maybe they can work in some Britney Spears jokes? Some dwarf footage? Maybe someone can just take a shit right onto the camera lens.

Please don't see this fucking movie. I'm begging you. Don't give these jackholes your money. I know it's the dead of winter and there's nothing in sight to look forward to, but I'm telling you . . . we can get through this.

Tuesday, 02 January
Ass First Into The New Year

Hey! Did you see what I did there? I took a big old break from posting during the holidays, and I didn't even mean to! Welcome to 2007, a year that hopefully might suck fewer balls than some previous years I could mention (I'm looking at you, 1971.)

I wish I could say it was pure holiday bliss that was keeping me busy, and there was some of that, but really? I, uh . . . well, I guess I didn't feel like it. Lame, I know, but there you go: between a lot of time off and (let's face it) a lot of drinking, well, I just didn't.

In truth, I also didn't have a lot to write about. Don't get me wrong, the holidays were great. But it's not exactly blog fodder when I spend Christmas with the in-laws and totally fail to do something spectacularly awful like inadvertently screaming "FUCK!" in front of them during a trivia game after mixing up Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. No, this year we sipped wine and sampled cheese before genteelly attacking our stockings. (Mine contained things like a travel toothbrush and an apple. You see?)

I must say, however, that I rocked it pretty good with some of my gifts. For the wife, I got a pretty swell little digito-camera, the better so that she can take high quality photos of me as I work out on the stripper pole that I had installed in the bedroom. She already has some great closeups of my winker as I do the inverted flying V down that puppy.

And for the brother-in-law, well, I outdid myself. He's a music fan, as are a lot of the young people, so I got him some pretty awesome CDs. I did my research into the current music scene, and I must say, while it's kind of confusing, there are some pretty neat new genres out there that I'd never heard of, so I got him some really spankin' music by bands who are cutting it up pretty monkey: I got him some strum 'n bass (singer-songwriters who play their instruments with fish), some bad-ass cornhowl (countrified gay death metal), and this really exciting platter from some cats who rock it all electrocoustic. It's an amazing genre: these guys play acoustic instruments, such as guitars and pianos, but with lots of electric processing, distortion and effects. They're named Boston, and all I can say is, I think the brother-in-law has been waiting "such a long time" to hear these new sounds.

What else? I did find myself in a ruminative mood over the holidays, and spent a lot of time thinking about the impending new year, and how I could improve myself. But then I thought: Why the fuck am I always having to improve myself? I'm getting old and brittle. Fuck improving myself. Why don't we ever ask: How can the world improve itself, specifically for me? I mean, we're Americans, here. (I'm speaking to my American readers, of course. For the rest of you, you should have thought to ask this question before we Americans got to be so awesome.) Why can't the world shape up and stop fucking me? I think if we all stopped and asked ourselves this on a daily basis, we'd . . . oh, wait. I'm being told that we already do this. So what the fuck, world? I'm still occasionally unhappy. Get your shit straight.

Oh! I do remember one very fond holiday memory from 2006. I found myself, you see, thinking of things that do not go together at all. Like, say, "Jonathan Silverman" and "exposure to film." Have you fucking seen that this rancid fuck has gotten himself a new sitcom? Who keeps giving this one-expression mope work? (Check his resume on IMDB if you enjoy feeling vertiginous nausea, since in his long list of horrors, there is not one creditable entry to be found. It's like the anti-Schindler's list, in that you're unhappy that any of them survived.)

So one day I found myself musing about what other things just didn't go with certain other things. And one thing in particular kept coming up in my mind: shitting. There's a lot of things that go great with shitting: reading, idly shaking the jar of bath salts, staring at patterns in the floor tiles. And there's a lot of things that just don't go with shitting. Eating came right to mind. It just doesn't make sense. To confirm this, I took a bucket of popcorn with me into the bathroom one day, and it really didn't feel right. You just don't want to touch the stuff, so I resorted to trying to dump the stuff into my maw right from the bucket, but the snowdrifts of corn that accumulated around my ankles were also discomfiting.

I won't go into the pickle episode. Pickles should only be eaten at home while standing in front of an open fridge. Let's just leave it at that.

I also did not countenance the whole juvenile thing about fucking and shitting, blah blah blah, Cleveland Steamers and all that. No. I am not a sniggering frat boy. This was a genuine Gedankenexperiment, and I would not tarnish its integrity with schoolboy fripperies.

But shitting still remained on my mind. And after hours of holiday meditation, I had it. The two things that simply do not go together at all. I now present my findings.

One simply must not take a dump while flossing. This is, I submit, much worse than eating while crapping, if only for the terrible periodontal intimacy that accompanies flossing. (This thought originally sprang from the ur-idea of simply picking one's teeth with a toothpick while shitting was unacceptable--which it is--and then evolved. For you see, I am a thoughtful man.) I would further posit that--I confess that I have not actually tried--it is, in fact, impossible for one to floss while defecating.

And there my thought experiment reposed for a few days. Until I mentioned my theories to the wife. She made a moue and then, I like to think, was inspired to deliberate. She seemed to consider my conclusions for a few moments. Then she said:

"What about taking a shit while I flossed you?"

You see why I married this perfect woman?

Happy belated holidays, everyone. Don't forget to floss!










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