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

Friday, April 06, 2007

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

It's been about two years, and I still can't get enough of this.