Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Insight derived from random associations using mp3 players

So, there I am. I just finished feeding (and cleaning up after) the dogs, and am about to settle in to watch Stripes on DVD, when I get a wild hair to check me some email. I do that now and again. Check email, I mean – not play with wild hairs (not that there’s anything wrong with that. Actually, it can be a lot of fun, depending on how wild that hair is. One time, when I was in college, this guy we called Barnfart on account of the vague odor of livestock which hung about him like a heavy pea coat, got this stupid idea to Vaseline the doorknobs throughout the dorm. The problem was, none of us had any Vaseline (we used saliva for our needs back then), so we had to improvise. Barnfart, who had already imbibed more than a few bowls of some puro indo, reasoned that there must be grease to lube the workings of the washing machines in the laundry rooms, so he went into one and began to dismantle a machine. Of course, as he was halfway through his destruction, the RA walks in to do a load. She sees Barnfart wedged behind the machine, giggling like a schoolgirl and assumes (rightly) that he’s totally wasted. By now, Barnfart has completely forgotten why he’s taking a washing machine apart, and when he hears the RA calling him, he tries to get out only to discover that he’s now trapped and can’t move. The RA, who is a bit of a hysteric, begins to panic, and in an act of desperation spurred by Barnfart's cries of panic and fear, pulls the fire alarm, figuring this would be the best way to summon help. Of course, this sets off a dorm-wide alarm, and students pour out of their rooms (many half-dressed), running for the fire exits. The sound of the alarm further panics Barnfart, who is now thrashing wildly behind the washing machine, causing damage to both him and it. The RA is pleading with him to remain calm, and that help is on the way, but Barnfart, now in the grips of the paranoia which normally accompanies a good high, thinks she’s narced him out, and that he’s looking at a long prison sentence, so he begins to cry. The RA, thinking he is seriously injured finally acts in desperation, and goes to get a broom to use as a lever. She positions it behind and underneath the washing machine, and, using Barnfart’s prone body as the fulcrum, starts to try and move the washing machine. As she works the broom, Barnfart wails in pain with each depression into his side. Of course, the RA doesn’t realize that the machine is bolted to the wall (to prevent idiot students from screwing around with it), but fortunately, the bracket holding it in place is weak, and after a few more tries (and a few more wails of anguish from Barnfart), she manages to tear the machine loose from the wall, and actually topples it over. At the same time the machine crashes to the floor, the broom handle breaks, and one of the shards grazes Barnfart, scratching him and drawing blood. By this time the Fire Dept arrives and finds Barnfart in a state of near psychotic breakdown, with a bloody scratch on his side, and the RA, sitting next to him, stroking his head and cooing soothing things into his ear. Around them is a broken broom, a few bits of washing machine guts, a machine lying on it’s side, and a wall with a huge gash from where the mounting bracket was bolted. After all was said and done, Barnfart was given a bandage, the RA was severely reprimanded for her performance in the whole matter (and not unexpectedly she wasn’t re-hired for the next quarter), and both Barnfart and the RA were billed for the cost of a new washing machine and the repairs to the wall.). So, I open my email and there is something from someone named Tim. I don’t know any Tim, so my first impulse is to just trash it. But it says Tagged as the subject line. Tagged? What kind of punk would do that? Tag a Monkey? Balls, I tell you. Huge swinging ones. So, I open it, knowing it was a dare. And what do I find? A threat. This swine tells me I have to do this thing where I use my mp3 player to try and bring some random association between song titles and answers to deep, probing philosophical questions.

Well, I’m all about the grand mysteries of life, and how seemingly unrelated and completely random events could often be combined in such a way as to bring clarity and purpose to my existence. It’s how I go about every day. I keep a random number generator in my desk drawer, and use it to determine my actions. It’s complex, but it works for me. Actually, there was a guy I knew when I was a kid whose mom was like that, only it was later found she was mentally ill.

Anyway, this is also grand justification to use the Zune I bought not two weeks ago. Yes, I said Zune. Screw all of you iPod clones. Here’s a bit of a splash of cold water on your ultra-hip attitudes: You can’t be a fiercely individualistic rebel if you have the same toy as millions and millions of other zombies, despite what those Apple commercials want you to think. You’re just another brick in the wall, son. Deal with it.

But I digress. Without any further ado, here are the "rules":

1. Set the mp3 player on Shuffle or Random.
2. Use the titles of the songs that play to answer the questions below.
3. Laugh at how silly some of the answers seem, scratch your head and look stupefied at how completely nonsensical some of the answers seem, and cower in fear and begin to believe in astrological coincidence and the elders of Cthulu at how accurate and prescient some of the answers seem.
4. Find other suckers and ask them to play as well.

=====================
1. IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
My Pal’s Name Is Foot-Foot – The Shaggs

2. WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
The Eton Rifles – The Jam

3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Wouldn’t It Be Nice? – Beach Boys

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
El Ayudante – Mariachi Vargas

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
King’s Lead Hat – Brian Eno

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Run Run Away - Slade

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Up on the Sun – Meat Puppets

8. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Isrealites – Desmond Dekker

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
(Stuck in a Pagoda with) Tricia Toyota – The Dickies

10. WHAT IS 2+2?
Joe’s Garage – Frank Zappa

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Limelight - Rush

12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
My Name Is Michael Caine - Madness

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Bhindi Bagee – Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Market Square Heroes - Marillion

15. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Crawling To The USA – Elvis Costello

16. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Ruby Soho - Rancid

17. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Yellow Coat – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

18. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Supernova – Liz Phair

19. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Common People – William Shatner

20. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Once Bitten Twice Shy – Ian Hunter

21. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Zero Hour – The Plimsouls

22. WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS?
White Girl - X

Okay, so there it is. My contribution to this communal jerk off. I’m a bit surprised that more Elvis Costello didn’t show up on the list, as I have a considerable amount of his stuff, and very relieved that nothing overtly embarrassing popped up either. Yes, I have Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers on my machine. Like you don’t have anything un-cool on yours. I do wish Rubber Band Man or Lowrider made it, though. Those songs are cool. But I am glad Slade made it. Gotta love the Noddy.

I’d go ahead and pick other geeks to play, but anyone I’d choose has already been hit by someone else. I don’t have many blogfriends. Come to think of it, I don’t have many real friends, either. Good thing I don’t mind spending my hours alone, in a dark corner of a cold, damp room. Friend! Friend!

Ook ook

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rock Star

Last night, at around 1AM (PST) there was yet another in what is basically a series of endless earthquakes in the LA area. It was small, short, and one of those that natives and long-time SoCal residents view as more fun than frightening.

It measured 4.5, which means it felt as if someone had bumped into your bed, or your neighbor had his subwoofer turned way up and was listening to some serious bass.


LA Rocks!

However, this is LA, and everything here has to have some over-the-top PR and hype.
Seriously. I mean, minor rainfall is breathlessly reported on the news with headlines like “Stormwatch” and other apocalyptic monikers. So, when the gods of the underworld start rumbling and tossing the surface dwellers around, the local media breaks out with some good old fashioned Wagnerian Gotterdammerung stuff. The TV news is filled with images of frightened people describing their terror (“it was so sudden!”) or steps they took to ensure their safety (“we all jumped out of bed and stood under doorways”) and there is the inevitable yokel declaring they are “leaving LA tomorrow.”

Good riddance.

Anyway, sure as night follows day and Bush will blatantly and openly lie next time he speaks, after the sensationalist coverage the news team will turn to their more sober “analyst” to put the quake into perspective. Which means the appearance of my most current crush, Dr. Kate Hutton, seismologist over at Cal Tech.


Kiss me, Kate.

I love love love love me some Dr. Kate. That unapologetic dyke with the premature grey hair and pointy-headed intellectual glasses warms me right up. She is known here as the Earthquake Lady because for close to 20 years, she has been the one to step in front of the cameras and throngs of terrified idiot reporters to tell them that we just had an earthquake.

What I really dig about Dr. Kate is her open and complete revulsion at having to deal with the simpering press. She despises them their stupidity, simplicity, and plasticity. She answers their repetitive and juvenile questions honestly, completely, and concisely, but with a sneer and barely concealed contempt. And with good reason. See, Dr. Kate is an educated, intelligent woman. The press are a pack of telegenic mannequins who would collectively make Ted Baxter look like a Nobel Laureate.

Good night, and good news.

During these conferences the press shouts questions in a state of hysteria, asking the same thing every single time: “Was this the Big One?”

Was this the Big One.

And our intrepid Dr. Kate will look at the reporter with an expression somewhere between pity and disgust, and, as if trying to explain quantum physics to a hillbilly, will calmly say that this, in fact, was not the Big One. She will then explain how the Richter scale works (it’s a logarithmic scale, where every increase in a point equals a tenfold increase in strength), how quakes are measured, basic tectonic theory, and so on. She will use simple words, sort of like someone trying to explain global climate change or Mideast politics to a rabid conservative, and gently calm the reporters who by now are ready to spread Fear and Panic throughout the populace.

Her press conferences serve as sharp relief to those of our Idiot Boy-King: Dr. Kate uses technical and complex words as a matter of everyday discourse. They flow effortlessly and when she speaks, she just assumes you can follow. When Prince George uses complex words they stick awkwardly in his mouth, like he’s trying to eat the rind of a pineapple, and when he says them it’s with a tone of smug undeserved pride commonly associated with a four-year old trying to show off to a mathematician that he can subtract four from seven.

Her mere appearance on the tube will serve as a balm for the terror-stricken rubes, because if Dr. Kate says something, we know it’s true and things are Good. Afterwards, the news anchor (now dripping with relief) will incorrectly summarize what Dr. Kate just told us. That this minor little shake was not the Big One; that quakes of various size happen all along the many faults throughout California every day; and that it was not the high-sign for the Four Horsemen or The Beast to come and feast on our eternal souls.

And Dr. Kate can go back to Cal Tech and do her research and teach. Until the next minor tembler, when once again she will have to come before the cameras and tell the press everything is okay while secretly wishing they would all fall into a very deep and very dark hole, never to be seen again.

I’m with you, Dr. Kate. You rock!

Ook ook

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Even better than the real thing

There’s a saying that holds true – particularly here in Ellay – which goes Perception is Reality.

There are countless variations on this, depending on context. One of them is the Sizzle is more important than the Steak, which is used by soulless Marketing geeks to describe the importance of branding. Branding, of course, means the creation of perception about something that trumps reality. Like Nikes improving your sports performance, BMWs making you a better driver, or Chanel clothing making you sexier. It's why you see so many label whores walking around.

And it’s the axis around which the capitalist world revolves, Skippy. If you don’t like it you can shove off to Cuba to be with the other godless Pinko scumsuckers.

Anyway, given this culture of Branding, it’s not really surprising that a recent study shows kids presented with the exact same foods believe that the ones served in McDonald’s packaging tasted better.

Perception

Yup. The same exact food. Even if kids were served raw carrots or plain milk, they believed the ones decked with McDude’s logos were tastier. I'm lovin' it because they tell me I do.

Reality

Astonished? Then you haven’t been paying attention to life for the past few decades. Particularly not American politics. Nixon was a master at it, though he wasn’t subtle (his Pink Lady smear campaign was a ham-handed bit of slander). LBJ also had an instinctive understanding of it. (Most elegantly expressed in an anecdote from an early, local campaign. Johnson, facing stiff competition, ordered his minions to spread a rumor that his opponent fucks pigs. His staffer replied that no one would believe it, but Johnson, understanding the power of perception, replied, “Yeah, but make him deny it.”) Kennedy, Clinton, Reagan - they all knew it too.

Perception. Packaging. Illusion. Style over substance. Hype. Whatever you want to call it, Americans have pretty much perfected the art of putting lipstick on a pig, or pissing on your shoes while claiming it’s sweet summer rain. I mean, how else can one explain the mad rush and overwhelming public support for our Idiot Boy-King’s invasion of Iraq? It was all sleight-of-hand Marketing manipulation. George Orwell got nothing on Karl Rove. Oceania is at war with Eurasia, and the GOP MiniTruth put out the right branding about Iraq & Saddam. And even though it was plainly evident that everything our government was saying was all bullshit and lies and manipulation, the perception of Iraq's connections to Al Qaeda & 9-11 was more convincing and the rubes continue to believe it to this day. Reality didn't come close to being as real as fantasy. It still isn't. Oceania has always been at war with East Asia, after all.

And so anyone who dares point out the Emperor’s shriveled and vestigial doodle is visible or 2 + 2 = 4 will be considered either a traitor or deluded. Invading Iraq was a legitimate and necessary move in our battle against Al Qaeda. War is Peace. Arbeit will Macht Frei. And those damned carrots do taste better when served in a Mickey-D’s bowl.

God Bless the United States of America

If you can’t see that, well, then the terrorists have already won.

Ook ook

Friday, August 03, 2007

It is a kids' game, after all.

Every now and then some sort of argument will arise regarding athletes, salaries, and privilege. It's inevitable with every round of new high-power contract negotiations, or whenever some kid announces he's either leaving college after his freshman year to "pursue his dream" or worse, declaring as professional after graduating high-school.

In the US, this phenomenon of kids becoming pros tends to be restricted to the NBA. However, abroad, particularly in Merry Olde England, it's the realm of football. Oh, it's had it's appearance in soccer here in the US, with underage phenom Freddy Adu signing with the DC United at 14. But England is showing us that we, when it comes to speculating in kiddie-athletic prowess, are mere pikers.

Manchester United, the Montreal Canadiens of the Premier League, have signed 9-year old Rhain Davis, to a contract.

Yep. 9. A kid that still cries if he skins his knee, and who believes that crawling completely under his bed covers will protect him from monsters at night.

Oh sure, the kid's got skills. Check out the YouTube video below to see him shred defenses and leave other 9 and 10 year old boys scattered on the pitch, embarrassed, ashamed, and at the mercy of heaps of humiliation at the hands of their over-competetive fathers.




The thing is, while this kid is obviously ahead of the curve, it seems that he merely looks amazing in comparison to kids who are obviously still kind of new to this whole idea of kicking a round ball.

And it makes sense. See, this kid is a Pom living in Oz. Now, soccer is not the big thing in Oz. As my mate from Melbourne tells me, Cricket, Rugby, and Aussie Football are the kings down there. In fact, soccer has only started to gain any real traction as a result of the surprising showing the Socceroos had in Germany last year. So, the chances are most of these kids are in their first or second year playing, while Rhain hails from footy-mad England, and has a father who would run him through dribbling, passing, and shooting drills for hours since the boy could balance on his two feet, and who would withhold both food and clothing, while threatening to force the boy to eat Kidney Pie and other British "cuisine" as punishment for mistakes.*

The punch-line is, this isn't a rare occurrence. According to a Man U spokesman, "[Man U] signs about 40 players of Davis's age every year [to it's developmental academy] and, as is standard, will decide annually whether to renew his contract or release him."

Reports that Davis is better behaved and less prone to tantrums than Wayne Rooney are as yet unconfirmed. Though nobody doubts it.

Ook ook

---------------------------------------
* That's just a guess on my part, but having met a few Englishmen, I would venture to say it's probably accurate.

I Love Little Girls

Q: What's the best thing about taking a shower with a 15 year-old girl?
A: Get her hair wet, slick it back, and she looks 11.

Yeah, I know, kind of creepy. And disconcertingly, there are guys who are even creepier, and who would substitute 10 and 7 for the ages in that joke. In fact, one of them is causing quite a stir in our normally tranquil Ellay.

The guy is Jack McClellan, and for those of you who don't know, he's a proud, self-proclaimed pedophile whose preference is for pre-pubescent girls, and he's been spotted sliming around the greater LA area for a couple of weeks now - everywhere from Santa Monica to Santa Clarita.


Hey little girl, wanna piece of candy?

The thing is, he's not even trying to hide it. He's actively courted publicity by appearing on national news programs; he's started a website in which he rates parks, amusement parks, etc according to the amount and quality of little girls present and posts pictures of those that have given him a chubb; and he has openly defied public sentiment and wrath by not apologizing for himself. The police and courts can't do anything because, well, aside from being almost thoroughly repulsive Ole Jack hasn't actually done anything illegal. His website does not feature pornographic images or fantasy tales of children, and he has not been caught or accused of molestation.

It's a bit of a dilemma for the good people of LA, because they know this guy is a scumbag, but they can't do anything about or to him.


Surprisingly, politicians (who normally shy away from these easy, unequivocal, hot-button publicity-heavy issues) have been very vocal in their condemnation of Jackie-boy, and local community groups have taken to demanding that something be done to stop this guy. Unfortunately, seeing as how there's been no crime, posturing, shouting, and grandstanding are about all that can be done.

Unless some new laws get passed. Which is what some of the more aggressive folks are advocating in order to be sure that guys like Jack are stopped before they start. Now, I'm not convinced it would be double-plus good to start making what a guy thinks or any perversions he holds deep in his bosom a reason to make them an un-person. While the MiniTruth may assure us that only icky guys with icky thoughts would be busted this way, I just get uneasy having to trust O'Brien with the choice of who gets sent to Room 101 and who doesn't.

Big Brother loves you

The problem, however, is that in this age of ambiguous rainbow threat-levels, wild-eyed islamic boogeymen hiding in the shadows, nefarious illegal aliens coming to steal our jobs and destroy our language and cultural heritage, minorities daring to complain about things that offend them, homosexuals wanting to be allowed to marry thereby threatening to subvert our children and convert them to bestiality, and godless liberal traitors working to overthrow our Good and Pure country by not supporting our president during wartime, people are willing to allow laws passed which would criminalize thought. After all, it will help keep us safe, and besides, if you don't have these icky thoughts, you have nothing to fear.

Right?

Ook ook

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Noble Spirit Embiggens the Smallest Man

I've been a Simpson's fan since their days as ugly line drawings in three-minute shorts on the Tracy Ullman show. I taped every episode since the very first one, bought the action figures, read the books (even the "real" ones like The Simpson and Philosophy, and Planet Simpson), and have devotedly obtained the DVDs.

Yeah, I'm a geek.

So naturally when the opportunity came to see what I would look like as a Springfieldianite, well, how could I refuse. Here is me, Simpsonized:
The Simpsonized Monkey

Now, when I saw this, I didn't think it was right. I always fancied myself as being a bit more ruggedly handsome than this. I mean, this guy looks like a dork. However, when the MonkeyWife saw it she burst out laughing and assured me this was almost frighteningly accurate. My friends agreed. Now, not being our Idiot Boy-King, I don't blindly cling to a belief when all those around me say the opposite, so I have come to embrace my cromlulent, Simpsonized self.

You can do yourself at Simpsonize Me.

Ook ook.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The difference between cats and dogs

I know, it's an eternal debate with no resolution.

I know, it's completely subjective.


I know, it's an invalid comparison, and only serves to start arguments.

I know, it uses absolutes to discuss nuance.


Still, there is a difference between cats and dogs. Setting aside the oft remarked personality traits of aloof versus social, cunning versus borderline brain-damaged, and regal versus sloppy, there is another difference between cats and dogs.


Evidently, dogs save lives -


Good dog!

While cats take lives.


I is the angel of death

Now, any dog person wouldn't be the least surprised to learn a 5lb speck of a dog would leap to the rescue of a piece of crotchfruit and take rattlesnake bites, but even the most rabid cat-haters would do a bit of a double-take at hearing about a cat moonlighting for the grim reaper. Personally, I never thought of cats as being bloodthirsty killers - I just thought they weren't as much fun as dogs. Now, it seems, they are also far more dangerous. I mean, a Pit Bull has to put in some effort and actually maul someone to kill them, but this cat just has to lay down in bed next to you to bring about the final curtain.

So what's the deal with this cat? Is he in tune with the supernatural realm, or is he the feline incarnation of Ted Bundy?
If Oscar were a nurse in this institution he'd be up on mass murder charges and facing a crowd carrying pitchforks and torches screaming for his head. Whatever the case, if I were around him I would be sure to keep as far away as possible. Just having this kitty circle your ankles while purring could mean a broken hip, or a heart attack.

If only there were some way to ship Oscar to the White House and have him sleep with Georgie, Dickie, and Condie ...

Ook ook

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It really is the thought that counts

Evidently, Prince Charles of the ludicrous ears and eternal child's title, presented the love of his life with a rather special and unique birthday gift: two rare sheep, one male one female.

The bleaters were said to have cost 300 Euros each, which I guess is a bit high by sheep standards. And, evidently, Camilla was very happy to receive them. Or, as the British press remarked, "Camilla is in fact, absolutely chuffed to bits."


Camilla being chuffed.

Side note, I have to admit to an almost pathological affinity for these UK colloquialisms: Chuffed, Knackered, etc.

Back to the point, the press goes on to explain that "the royal family have so much already that they don't actually give wildly extravagant presents." In other words, the eternal question finally has an answer. What to you give the person that has everything? Rare sheep. I suppose you can give rare mutton or leg of lamb to the person who has almost everything.

In any event, this has helped me out in a big way. The MonkeyWife's birthday is coming soon, and I have no idea what to get her. However, now I'm thinking a couple of guinea pigs, packaged as "Filigree Hamsters" might do the trick. Maybe she'll be chuffed too.


Filligree Hamsters in the act of chuffing

Ook ook

Friday, July 13, 2007

Beckhamania

There is a slight buzz of excitement here in LA (though some would call it more a tectonic shift while others a waste of money and effort) as some athlete in an unpopular sport with a funny accent and hot C-List celebrity wife officially announces he will be playing for the LA team. At the press conference he'll mutter a few unmemorable lines about how excited he is to be in SoCal; list the expectations, goals, and plans he has for the team and the sport; deny that this move signals the twilight of his career; and say how much he is looking forward to playing with his new teammates and representing the organization. Then cameras will flash as he holds up the newly re-designed team jersey and smiles, and reporters from all over the world will breathlessly remark in extreme hyperbole about how this is a new beginning for the sport. Critics will be vicious in their condemnation of this move to the backwater of the sport, doubters will openly question the sanity of the money paid to this guy, and fans will faint by the dozens, while the franchise counts the profits from sales of their newly branded souvenirs.

Excuse me if I don't join the parade, but I’ve gone through this before.

About 20 years ago, to be exact. Back in the summer of 1988 it was some skinny geek with a big nose and a goofy smile named Wayne Gretzky announcing his move to the LA Kings. Suddenly everyone around was not only a Kings fan, but a hockey aficionado, willing to offer their unsolicited opinion on every facet of the game even if they didn’t know a fore check from a crosscheck, and looked like a pithed frog if you mentioned two-line pass. LA suddenly became "hockey central" and Kings games, which used to be lucky to see 5,000 fans in the stands, were suddenly the hot commodity. Hipness and style were associated with black and silver, and so-called celebrities were suddenly as much a part of the background of games as protective glass, beer, and foul language.

The Great One's coming out party

Fast forward to today, and it’s some nasaly-voiced pommy bastard with a heroin-chic wife and constantly evolving hair style named David Beckham bringing the media circus to Hollywood. And now, everyone will be a soccer expert, even if they pretend to be temporarily deaf when asked about their opinions about the 4-5-1 vs 4-4-2 formations, or have no idea what constitutes an offside. Soon we'll be seeing wanna-be starlets and tragically hip poseurs sporting the #23 Galaxy replica jerseys, and corporations will hold meetings at the Home Depot center to impress clients.

Becks bending it

Which is fine, I guess. I mean, the Gretzky experiment did result in a huge PR boost for hockey, and was directly responsible for new teams in San Jose, Florida, Tampa Bay and Anaheim, and franchises relocating from Quebec to Denver, Winnipeg to Phoenix, Minnesota to Dallas, and Hartford to Caronlina. But then, Gretz had an easier path of conquest, what with the NHL already being an accepted sport here in the states. Still, there is great hope that Becks can do what Pele, Johan Cruyff, George Best, Georgio Chinaglia, and Franz Beckenbauer couldn’t do back in the 70’s: make soccer popular.

Of course, those poor bastards had a harder field to till. In the 70’s when the NASL was around, soccer was most definitely a fringe game reserved for foreigners with unpronounceable names and ridiculous accents. I know because my dad was one of those foreigners, and we had regular seats to the LA Aztecs. Real Americans were not only openly contemptuous of the game, but at times almost hostile toward it. But the Beckster is coming in during a new era. Soccer, while still ridiculed, is not nearly as much a sport for the outsiders. Real Americans now beginning to watch and play. So maybe he can bring in the next age of the sport.

The only downside is now having to listen to innumerable ignorant dingbats offer their uninformed opinions and having to battle the curiosity seekers and bandwagon fans for tickets. It used to be I only had to put up with this once every four years. Still, if it works, it works.

Ook ook

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Madness of King George

Prince George and his gang of cheap thugs and felons rejected a subpoena today demanding they turn over documents related to the whole clusterfuck about the fired attorneys in the DOJ. Evidently, our idiot boy-king is claiming "executive privilege" as an excuse to hide the truth.

For real.

The last time we had this sort of culture of omerta in the White House some oily scumbag named Nixon was soiling the rugs and polluting the air. At this point the level of lies, greed, deceit, and complete disdain for almost every basic principle behind the philosophy on which this country is based is just staggering. There is nothing these brutal swine won't do. How they can sleep at night through the collective nightmare of their vile nature is astounding. This sort of lack of conscience is usually only seen in the sort of sociopathic mass-murdering zombies who torture and mutilate victims for years before being caught. It amazes me that the ghouls who haunt our government can even be considered human.

Anyway, I saw this little comic which seems very apropos. It would be quite funny if it weren't so damned depressing.


Ook ook

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fourth and Goal

Thank god someone in Washington is tackling the big issues. I mean, given the pressure of terrorist blitzes, and the constant fear of being caught flat-footed when our opponents launch a bomb, it's really very reassuring to know that our congress is huddling up to call effective plays.

I think I need to poop.

Ook ook

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A pounding on the door in the middle of the night ...

Hmmm.

Didn't they assure us we didn't have anything to fear from the Domestic spying progam, warrant-less phonetaps, and the PATRIOT Act, and that there would never be any illegal or un-necessary personal information collected by government agencies?

I guess they weren't telling us the entire truth.

Ook ook

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

iPost

Others can get away with a post that requires no effort ... why can't I?



Ook ook

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Crimes of Paris

You know, there’s a reason LA is the entertainment capital of the world. Nobody does sappy and over-the-top melodrama like we can.

New York’s grittiness? Feh. Rome’s history and culture? Bah. London’s sophistication? Dull.

We got a screaming and crying Paris Hilton being dragged back to jail, about 36 hours after being released for some really nebulous reason:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paris Hilton was taken from a courtroom screaming and crying on Friday after a judge ordered her returned to jail to serve out her entire 45-day sentence for a parole violation in a reckless driving case.

"It's not right!" shouted the weeping Hilton. "Mom!" she called out to her mother in the audience.

That's hot!


Yeah, baby.

But it got me thinking. Despite the opportunity for orgasmic schadenfreude here, I am actually finding myself almost feeling sorry for our femme fatale. No, strike that. Not sorry, but somewhat sympathetic toward.

Don’t get me wrong, when the judge first smacked her smug, vapid, privileged face (complete with wonky eye, nose more fitting for a swordfish than human, and face long enough to serve as landing strip for small planes), I thought it was good.

That's not

And she deserved it. She seemed to believe that the law didn’t apply to her, as she was caught twice behind the wheel of a car after having her license suspended. And, the 23 days of her initial jail sentence, while on the long end, certainly didn’t seem extreme. I wonder how 45 must feel.

However, what has happened in the last two days is just the stuff of pure mondo bizzarro. And I don’t blame our beloved little Paris at all. If any of us were in her shoes, and our slick, $5000 per hour mouthpiece managed to spring us after only three days, we would jump at it. Nor do I blame her lawyer. That bastard gets his fat salary because he’s good at what he does, and what he does is vigorously and rabidly represent his client.

The blame falls on the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department for being so completely stupid as to think no one would care that little miss “that’s hot” would be let out because she didn’t like jail. If anything, the mensa member who concocted her release should be made to serve the 45 days along with our delicate little Paris.

LA Sherriff's spokesman, Steve Whitmore, pissing on our shoes but trying to tell us it's really just rain

This sort of backdoor shenanigans might have flown 10 years ago, but the public, even here in LA, is finally tired of seeing so-called celebrities get away with things. And poor little Paris, perhaps the perfect example of everything wrong about LA (stupid, rich, uncaring, self-absorbed, spoiled, and utterly clueless) was made the metaphorical pi├▒ata that we finally were able to beat to a pulp.

Still, I can’t say I’m not grinning at least a little. In a way this is really just a small adjustment, where Karma has finally decided to wake up and take charge. The sad thing is, you know none of this will actually reach the depth (if there is one) of Paris and have the effect of her reconsidering her life and her actions. More than likely she’ll be even more a little brat, and is convinced that all this totally unfair, and is happening not because her actions warranted some sort of punishment, but because everyone else in the world is just jealous of her.

But she’s back in jail, crying and wailing, and wondering why god has abandoned her, and I’m getting ready to enjoy a perfect LA weekend.

Now that’s hot!

Ook ook

Friday, April 27, 2007

When is a sandwich NOT a sandwich?

Today was one of those rare days I didn’t bring lunch to work. It’s a long and boring story, but the point is when lunch time rolled around, I was sitting here lunchless.

Being lunchless in a lunchy world is no damn fun.

Fortunately, the building in which I work sits next to several fooderies, so I had my selection of places to go and spend $12 or so for some over-salted grub.

The problem was, each of these places were packed lips-to-ass with people. The Daphne’s had a queue stretching well out the door; the Baja Fresh looked like the cowline entering an abbatoir; and the fish place, Pismo Grill, was as packed as a bait-bucket.

I decided to go elsewhere, and took a stroll up the street to the local Quiznos. Now, as franchised sandwich shops under strict corporate guidelines go, Quiznos isn’t bad. I don’t know if it’s their bread dough recipe or that they blend their sandwich dressing with meth, or what, but their sandwiches tend to be the least objectionable.

Anyway, I think the woman working the counter is a little sweet on me. I say that partly because she is really cute and it would do wonders for my ego if it is true, but also because she not only recognized me, but asked if I wanted my “usual.” The reason that stands out is because I haven’t been there in over a month, and at my most frequent, I would go there only once every other week or so.

Now, being me, I had to stop and make a bit of small talk with her. Did I mention that she’s cute? Big brown eyes, long dark hair with some highlights pulled into a darling ponytail, a really gentle smile with these adorable dimples, and her nose crinkles when she gives a playful laugh. Not that I was paying attention to any of that.

So, after my clumsy attempt at flirting (making some self-depreciating jokes and offering a sincere but transparent compliment) I move along to the manager guy to pay. I sensed he was miffed at our little interaction, because when I paid he had this odd look on his face I had never noticed before. The look was one of being torn between wanting to be upset with her for chatting with me and slowing the line (time is money), and one of being pleased that she was excelling at customer service (maintaining loyalty and ensuring repeat business). It was either that or he had some bad seafood recently, and it was coming back on him.

After getting my sandwich I waved goodbye to my new crush (she waved back and smiled), and walked back to the office. Unwrapping the sandwich proved she likes me. She packed that thing with at least double the contents it should contain. So, either she thinks I’m cute, or she thinks I’m not eating enough and is worried about my health. My pudding belly makes the latter highly unlikely.

The problem is, she put like a ton of mushrooms into the mix, and I really hate mushrooms. So, my conundrum is how to tell her this without making it sound like I’m some stuck-up jackhole?

I’d ask the MonkeyWife, but I don’t think she’d really help me out.

Ook ook

Trojans: They're not just condoms any more!

So, I recently started re-reading The Iliad, because I felt my life required an injection of dactylic hexameter, and nobody gives dactylic hexameter like Homer. I mean, an hour of that and you’re left limp and spent.


Hey big boy ... wanna verse with me?

Actually, this is the first time I am reading the Iliad. I thought I read it in my World Lit class in high school, but as I’ve discovered, I had really only read some heavily edited excerpts. Evidently Homer was too NC-17 for us.

In any case, I’m about halfway through it, and it has not disappointed at all. Loads of blood, lots of immortal lust, treachery, and petty vengeance, and sweaty Greek men engaged in exactly what you’d expect sweaty Greek men to do.


Let's get Greek

Now, I happened to mentioned that I am reading this to an old friend of mine we lovingly call Merlot. We call him that because he tends to whine a lot. I mean a lot. The other thing about Merlot is that he fancies himself a bit of an intellectual. And it gets really annoying. He’s the sort of guy who will quote Fouccault out of context, and who loudly claims that War and Peace is the greatest novel ever written. You know the type – has an opinion on everything whether informed or not.

And he has a very high opinion of his own intellectual capacity. Once, in college, Merlot was reading Paradise Lost for class, and he though he found something completely new that would change the entire meaning of the work. He enthusiastically pointed out to anyone who would pay attention his discovery in the famous quote by Lucifer:

"Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n"


I'll be back, baby

Merlot was convinced that what Milton really meant for Lucifer was that he had plans of ruling hell first, then return triumphantly to heaven, contrary to the arrogance usually implied by that quote. See, Merlot believed that generations of Milton scholars had missed this point, and he envisioned his name now proudly placed among the pantheon of academics.

He brought this to the attention of the professor, his chest bursting with pride and self importance. The professor looked at him as if he was a retard about to eat mud and said, “What you’ve discovered is what we in the profession call a typo.”

Anyway, Merlot hears I’m reading the Iliad, and so he has to ask, “Oh, are you reading it in the original Greek?”

Yes, he really asked that.


It's all ... well, you know

So, I looked at him and replied, “Yes I am. Though it’s pretty hard going since I don’t understand Greek.”

He looked at me blankly, so I continued, “I figured I could start to pick it up after about 50 pages, but this alphabet is so bizarre.”

He had the same look on his face after that as he did when the professor killed his buzz all those years ago.

Ook ook

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just another day in America

Note: I initially wrote this a couple years back, after some insane geek shot up some high school somewhere. I think it was in Kentucky. I can’t remember, since there have been so many of these incidents. Anyway, thankfully it isn’t plagiarism if you re-post your own work.

Ho hum. Another day, another slaughter in America. Come on, can this really still be a surprise?

Look, I am not making a joke of the fact that 31 kids died and a dozen or so more were wounded at Virginia Tech when yet another unbalanced geek with vengeance on his mind opened fire at school, but at this point I am just not surprised anymore. In fact, if a couple of months go by without a report of a disgruntled teen, or disgruntled worker, or disgruntled citizen trying to mow down others -- THEN I am surprised.

So, on April 16 an awkward kid showed up to school with two pistols and began shooting into a crowd of students during class – after first killing his girlfriend and her lover. Just another misfit finally snapping and exacting his revenge on others. We’ll probably learn that this kid was a loner, likely shy and an outcast, possibly even picked on and insulted by his peers, etc etc etc. The same litany of 20-20 hindsight with which we now could recognize him as a maniac while he was still a baby in the cradle. Nothing more to see here. Move along. Just another Monday in America.

Of course, the NRA, the political right, and other gun fetishists and apologists began their spin about this before the last victim gasped their last breath. They trot out the same old stale line that guns are not responsible for this tragedy, and began to dole out the blame to the kid, his parents, his friends, and of course, popular culture, while effectively absolving gun owners, lovers, manufacturers, and users of all guilt. And the gun lobby was quick to shrug their shoulder and wag their fingers in a paternalistic "I told you so." After all, guns don't kill people, people kill people. Not only that, but they’ll patronizingly tell us that the only sure way to avoid this sort of thing from ever happening again is if everyone carried a weapon. Because we know that the safest society is one in which everyone packs heat.

But the gun lover's rhetoric begs a very interesting question. How can we, as a society, point the finger at music, movies, books, and games for the slaughter in schools while the instruments of the slaughter remain beyond blame? Isn't that sort of logic flawed from the start? I mean, the violent aspect of pop culture that the far right continues to blame for these incidents tends to always revere guns as almost holy objects. There is a sick symbiosis at work here. The basic fact of gun existence breeds the sort of elements of pop culture that gun fetishists then claim is the cause of death. Surely, if a video game in which the player gets to use a variety of guns to get rid of virtual enemies is partly responsible, then the weapons that the player uses in the game must also be held to that standard?

Yet we continue to hear that guns are not the problem, sick people are. After all, gun fetishists always remind us how responsible they are with their weapons, and besides (all together now) if guns were outlawed only outlaws will have guns. Yeah, right. Here's a newsflash to gun fetishists: Most tragedies (including the shooting yesterday at Virgnina Tech) are not committed with illegal guns. Most of the workers who snap and go a-shootin' at the old office own their guns legally. The fact that gun fanatics use those tired old excuses day after day is a testament to their myopia.

But the biggest flaw in the old "Guns don't kill, people do" argument is simple. This kid could not have done what he did if he didn't have a gun. The two wild bastards in Columbine could not have done what they did with knives. The kids who shot up Paducah, KY, Conyers, GA, Bethel, AK, San Diego, CA, and others could not have done it without guns. None of the recent massacres could have occurred if the killers could not get their hands on guns. It WAS the guns, Sparky. Guns provide the freedom to kill with only the squeeze of a trigger, and from distance where the target is defenseless. Without guns, this angry boy who went on a killing spree wouldn't have been able to let his rage out and the 31 dead students would likely still be attending classes. This kid wasn't a criminal before he got the gun. He is a criminal BECAUSE he USED a gun.

But nothing will change. Gun fetishists will continue to bombard us with propaganda telling us how guns are not the problem while hypocritically placing culture on trial. There will be more cries for personal responsibility from the NRA, while they side-step the issue of responsibility for promoting a tool whose only purpose is to kill. We'll have another wave of laws and restrictions on the virtual renditions of violence in movies, music, games, and books while the objects that make real violence and shed real blood will continue to be marketed, sold, and loved.

Long live the gun.

Ook ook

PS: The punchline to all this is, of course, the reaction of our idiot boy-king. Not 24 hours after this event he is there attending a memorial service, wearing his concerned face. Yet, it was nearly four days after New Orleans was drowned before this douche flew over the city, and almost another week before he stopped by to have some pictures taken.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tag: I'm it.

So, I got “tagged” recently by the mysterious and exotic Miss Lucy of Falling on a Bruise fame (nee Lucy’s View). At first I didn’t have any idea what it meant, and so I just naturally assumed she was flirting with me. Naturally. And who could blame her, eh? I mean, let’s face it, this is some Grade A, US Choice, Prime Monkey Meat sitting here. It's no wonder she wanted to take a bite of Monkey. My charisma and raw animal magnatism penetrates the ether of the internets, and the poor woman just got snared in my musky charms. It's a gift. And a curse.

The only thing that concerned me was that a London – LA affair might be a bit tough to maintain. I mean, with any consistency anyway. But, Lucy … if you’re game I certainly could be persuaded to give it a go. Just the thought of hearing that accent in the throes of passion is enough to get me standing at full attention (ba-zing!). Let’s just keep things stum so the MonkeyWife and any BruiseHubby don’t get wise. Wink wink.

Anyway, as it turns out I was wrong about the message behind the “tag.” Partially anyway. See, this “tag” was actually was her way of asking me to participate in some sort of communal blog thing. The nature of this one is listing 20 songs I would play if I were a program director at some radio station. The catch, I assume, is that they would have to be Punk songs. Evidently it's something started by a radio station called Rage, which I've never actually heard, but I'm sure it totally rocks, man.

Anyway, the Monkey is always game for one of these things, even if I sometimes think they can be a bit silly. But then again, silly isn’t bad.

So, here are my 20 songs. Oh, and I have to actually justify five of these, or something. Anyway, the songs (in no particular order):

  1. The Clash – White Man in Hammersmith Palais: This was tough. I mean, there are so many really great Clash songs; London Calling, Tommy Gun, Magnificent Seven, I'm So Bored With the USA, etc. But any song that manages to integrate a line about picking up Hitler with a limo has got to make this list.
  2. XLos Angeles: This band not only announced the LA punk scene, but legitimized it and paved the way for such bands as The Blasters and Los Lobos. Plus Billy Zoom was just so freaking cool onstage, and Exene rocks in an ugly way.
  3. Black Randy – I Slept in an Arcade
  4. The Weirdos – Helium Bar: A strange song, full of early energy and nonsense. It was bizarre, fast, and potent. Like a jackhammer. Insatiable. Bob’s Helium Bar, indeed.
  5. Dead KennedysCalifornia Uber Alles
  6. Black Flag – Rise Above
  7. Circle Jerks – Wild in the Streets
  8. Crass – Big A, Little A: These anarchists made their point pretty clearly in this little ditty. It’s not as ham-handed as Nagasaki Nightmare, but it encompasses the political angst of some punk.
  9. The Clash – London Calling: Perhaps the single best song written in the 80s
  10. Fear – I Don’t Care About You
  11. The Germs – Manimal: Darby ate an Oki Dog and died.
  12. Elvis Costello – Pump It Up: At one time Elvis was considered punk. Really. On account of his glasses, I guess.
  13. The Who – My Generation: Without this song, there would be no punk. The Who is like the drunken, abusive, whoring, absentee father of punk. They're the damned pater familias.
  14. Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen
  15. Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead: Okay, it's not technically punk, but it is pretty damn cool - and the progenitor of Goth. It's cool anyway.
  16. Generation X – One Hundred Punks
  17. Iggy Pop – Nightclubbing
  18. Rancid – Roots Radicals
  19. Social Distortion – Story of My Life
  20. The Vandals – I Want to be a Cowboy
  21. The Clash – Know Your Rights
So there's the list. Okay, it's 21 songs long, but The Clash do deserve three spots. Screw all of you. Honorable mention to The Gears, The Plasmatics, The Dickies, The Damned, The Toy Dolls, GBH, The Ramones, Nirvana, the Offspring, The Adolescents, and others.

Now the rules say I need to “tag” other bloggers. The problem there is, well, I don’t know that any other bloggers really want to hear from me, much less participate in any of my reindeer games. But, on the off chance they do, I tag Joe, Beelers, O’Tim, and Paula. I don't think you have to do a punk list, but it sure is fun.

Consider yourselves tagged, bitches.

Oh, and Lucy ... call me about our date. You bring the bicycle helmets and billiard balls, and I'll bring the soy sauce. Woof, baby.

Ook ook

A Clockwork Bush


Gather round, oh my brothers and sisters, so that I, your droog and humble narrator, can govoreet with you about my jeezny, which is to say, my life.


I had all the comforts of a very respectable domy and the love of my very respectable pee and em, that is to say my papapa and mum when I was a wee young malchick growing up. My pee, which is to say my papapa, was some great bolshy chelloveck in the government, and as such had some advantages. I don't need to tell all of you that as a young lad I was also given these advantages and used them as best I could.


Oh, slushy well the slovos that I speak, as my pee, that is to say my papapa, showed me very early on how to use the rookers of the government in a real horrorshow way. I never had want of pretty polly in my carmans, nor suffered from lack of the attention of weeping young devotchkas, nor of having to restrain myself from indulging in tolchocking random malchicks or engaging in a bit of the old ultra-violence. All this was made free to me, and thanks to the job my pee had the millicents never dared lay their vonny rookers on me. And did I ever use every bit of my freedom, oh my brothers!


And it wasn't just in the area of play that I had such freedom. My pee, that is to say my papapa, also made sure that no matter how poorly I did in that grazhny, vonny, malenky skooliwool, I would always be sure to advance higher and higher like. I soon had to itty to a big University with all these vecks who like studied hard and learned all this cal from bookiwooks. At first all these vonny lewdies were all like upset with your humble narrator, creetching like how I was so gloopy and did not deserve to be there with them and how like I must have kupatied my way in. But as soon as they found out who my pee was they stopped govoreeting all their malenky cal, and all wanted to be my droogs and best friends like. I spent my time in University peeting vino and scotchmen, and finding young devotchkas for a bit of the old in-out. I had no need of polly nor fear of millicents. If something happened my pee would make a call, and govoreet with the lewdies in the cantora, and it would be taken care of.


But all this freedom has a price, my brothers. At first I couldn't believe it myself. I thought that not having to worry about the millicents when my droogs and I would peet a bit too much vino, or when we would razrez a ded for some spare cutter, or when we would go tolchocking some malenky sick malchick would make me like tire of all the ultra-violence. But it actually made me want more. The feeling and need had like settled all warm in my guttiwuts, and I soon viddied that I could not satisfy my like new-found lust for the red red kroovy in a regular jeezny, but needed something like my pee, where I could like be in charge of as many vecks as possible. So I thought, oh my brothers. I rabbited my poor old rasoodock and tried to think of what it was I could do to get all that like horrorshow power over lewdies, while still never letting me want for pretty polly.

I then viddied it well and clear. My path like was to follow in my pee's nogas and get a real horrorshow job in the government too. So I called my droogies together and we tried to figure a way to show all the lewdies that I was like a respectable chelloveck, and that they should want me to be their droog and leader. We started small, my brothers. Small, that is, for us. We decided that I should become the main droog in all of Texas. The current leader was this like starry old ptitsa who had been doing a real cally job. She would govoreet about the rights of the malenky vecks what didn't have any polly, or how the millicents needed to be more like kind to the regular lewdies. My droogs took care of that starry devotchka and I was soon like the leader of Texas.

Oh, my brothers, this was a time filled with radostoy and gorgeosity and the like. As the leader, I was able to make sure that many vonny, cally vecks got just what they deserved. I had many malchicks and prestoopnicks thrown in the staja for things that I had done, and less. And I made sure that the plennys knew that I was like in command, and I would have them like oobiyated regularly. I can still see the red red kroovy flow, and see their malenky rots begging for like mercy. I was able to tell the millicents who I wanted tolchocked, and if I needed to go out for a bit of the old horrorshow ultra-violence, or to see about having a bit of the old in-out in-out with a weepy young devotchka, well the millicents wouldn't mind.


But would you believe, oh my droogs, that all that still wasn't enough for your humble narrator? Indeed, even though I had everything a malchick could dream of I still wanted more. My pee, who was by now a starry old moodge, told me that I could have it all and be like the leader of the whole country. He govoreeted a razkazz in that starry old goloss of his, with beautiful slovos so clear that I could like viddy myself standing over the whole of the land like. Me, your droog and humble narrator, as the like leader of the entire world.

Oh, my brothers, this suited me well as I always knew I was destined for greatness. So after some time as the leader of Texas I decided I wanted to have it all. And do you know what? I got it. I became the leader of the whole world. It wasn't easy, as I had to have a lot of help from like friends and other vecks who owed my pee, that is to say my papapa, a lot of like favors and such. I also had to make sure that many vonny lewdies were not able to like vote, but my bratty who was like the leader of Florida helped with that, and leader of the world I became. The first things I did, oh my dear friends, was to like accuse some vonny old bratchny chelloveck what had nothing to do with some reall horrorshow ultra-violence in New York, of being a part, so to speak. And so I told some tales and scared all the lewdies in my land so me and a bunch of starry old moodges could invade this country and crast their oil. Many lewdies were killed and maimed and the red red kroovy flows even today. But even though there are many in the land who are all bezoomy and going gloopy about this, the ultra-violence continues unabated-like.

I've now been like the leader for years and years, and I can viddy my path all clear as crystal-like. There is nothing I can't do now. I can razrez and tolchock and oobiyat whoever I want. I can have the millicents throw anyone into the staja, and I can make sure that my droogies make as much cutter as they can. There is no stopping me now, oh my brothers. I have the whole vonny, malenky world in like my rookers, and there is nothing you, or bog can do about it.

______________

Original artwork created by the Fez Monkey