Monday, May 28, 2012

Yes, It Is Hot Enough For Me, And Other Euphemisms For 'Moron'

Co-Worker had a dilemma. Basically, she was at a loss for words. Technically, she had one word, a very specific and--for the occasion--a most appropriate word, but she's too nice and polite to use it, especially when the person (in this case, yours truly) to whom she wanted to apply the word was in her presence. I had simply just made one of my pun-ilicious, borderline insane remarks, which was accompanied by what may liberally be interpreted as a dance move, and punctuated by a snippet of an Abba song sung in my pitch imperfect falsetto. The disapproving shaking of her head was not quite side-to-side, but kind of a diagonal swirl thing, and she just uttered, "You're a ... a ... ugh ... I can't say it."

"Ah," I surmised. "But it's simple: say, 'RRRR-tist!' Easy enough."

"Moron!" she replied. "There, I said it, the word I swore I'd never call anyone. So you're a vow-breaking-inducer, too, on top of being a moron!"

"I'm a multi-tasker by nature, I can't help it."

What amazing things the most appropriate word used at the most appropriate time can accomplish, though. The ice now broken by her calling a moron--me--a moron gave way to a flood of mutual understanding and, I daresay, mutual respect. Soon we were discussing the intricacies and nuances of calling someone a moron who rightly deserves the appellation. Such learned philological colloquies are a good third of what I live for in these lean times.

Of course, in crueler, less enlightened times, the word moron--sanctioned by all sorts of psychological nabobs--was used to describe a person of a certain, well-defined, low IQ. There was actually a specific ranking using such words as moron, imbecile, and idiot. Thankfully, we as a society aren't as offensive anymore. Doubly thankfully, because now those words are unshackled from their "scientific" meanings and free to be used on the millions of more people who--regardless of their IQs--are unqualified idiotic, imbecilic morons, or who just--from time to time--act like one. How great is this: defines moron as "a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment." God I love that "notably." Today not only being a work day for me but also a holiday (oxymoron), I don't really have the time to peruse the whole dictionary to confirm my suspicion, but I'd bet a grilled cheeseburger you can't find more than five definitions in the entire tome that utilize the word "notably." And what an apt benchmark. "Is that guy a moron or what?" "I don't know, Herm, he's pretty stupid, but I wouldn't go to the extreme of calling him notably stupid. So, no, he's not a moron. I think we need to go to our British cousins to aptly describe him as a 'silly git.'"

Anyway, the discussion between Most Polite Co-Worker and me soon evolved into list-making. So, for all of you genteel folks out there still a little too nice to call a moron a moron, here's a list of the best euphemisms we came up with. Next time you need to call some notably stupid person a moron but just can't get your tongue around the syllables mohr-on, try one of these. You're welcome.
  • I'm sure you mean well, but ...
  • Thanks for the input, Newt.
  • The wind get your beret, sir?
  • So how are your Red Sox doing this year?
  • If you only had a gently used copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, you might be worth my time and money.
  • Gosh, no, I've never seen a Canadian dime looking like that. Tell me, do you rent that metal detector or own it?
  • Yeah, Skynyrd, man!
  • It's getting cold in here. Can I borrow your copy of Going Rogue?
  • Yes I do work here.
  • It took me a minute, but yes, I do get your vanity plate. Clever!
  • Want some pizza with those mushrooms?
  • No, I didn't hear Rush say that.
  • Um, the "little boys room" is just down the hall on your left.
  • What do you mean you hate his singing voice?
  • So how's the weather been in Pittsburgh?
  • Thanks for the offer, but I think taking a ride on your Segway PT might activate my notoriously vile motion sickness.
  • That's not Shinola, Sherlock.
  • Hello, Mr. Trump.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

For Bob On His Birthday: An Overlooked Greatest Hit

Happy 71st Bob Dylan. In your honor I'm posting a poem I wrote a few years ago about what to me is one of your greatest overlooked hits--the time you scored a free Andy Warhol painting as a gift and then later traded it away for a sofa. Genius. May today bring you all the comfortable gifts wise men and women may bring.

A Good Sofa Trumps a Work of Art Any Day

Practically speaking,
A good sofa trumps a work or art
Any day.
I mean, really, who wouldn’t trade
A Rembrandt
For a good nap or a nice quickie?

January 1966,
Zeitgeist summit meeting
At the Factory, New York City.
Bob and Andy,
Fifteen-minute shaded avatars
By way of Hibbing, Minnesota,
And Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, respectively.
The yin and yan of ‘transcendent’ artifice
And iconic hair
—dark and tornadoed
—white and, uh, straight.
By all accounts they’re both nervous,
Circling each other—“a solicitous kind of dance”—
Like effete boxers,
Bob seeing what he can wrangle out of Andy,
Andy actually fawning, a fan,
Fingernail nibbling.
Perhaps they’re looking at one of the
Double Elvis pictures,
The gun-slinging silkscreen that
Andy—fawner extraordinaire—
Gave away to Bob that day,
Then watched Bob tie Double Elvis
To the top of his station wagon
And drive him home to Hi Lo Ha,
Bob’s house in Woodstock.
Riding with the King, indeed.
Did Andy chomp his fingers to the nub
With visions of Bob
Hanging the work of art
Upside down in a cupboard?
No infinity trials there.
Did his hair turn whiter
When he learned that Bob
Eventually traded the Double Elvis
To his manager, Albert Grossman,
For something ‘practical’ for Hi Lo Ha,
A sofa?
Grossman, Big Bear Landlord, would say,
“I hope Bob found a lot of change
under those cushions.”
His widow Sally, in 1988, sold
Double Elvis for 720 thousand pieces of silver.

Change under those cushions.
Perhaps Bob wrote or dreamt or received divine dictation
—however he comes up with his songs—
“I Shall Be Released” “Tears of Rage” “All Along the Watchtower”
“I’m Not There” “Apple Suckling Tree”
—all songs written around that time—
On that sofa.
Certainly “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.”

Give me that third-hand sofa
For my attic museum.
A good sofa trumps a work of art any day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In Dreams I Talk To You

The other day (aren't they all other days?) Co-Worker marches up to me and tersely instructs me (might have been wagging a finger at me too, I can't remember), "Stay out of my dreams!" Seems as though the night before, my dream cohort, Angelina Jolie, in the guise of Lara Croft, and I had invaded Co-Worker's dream. Angelina was chasing Co-Worker and me in a rather (to Co-Worker's dreamy subconscious) terrifying scenario. I acted surprised and chagrined, as one should, and did my best to assure Co-Worker that I would commune with my dream-rep and tell it to cool its heels and not mess with my co-workers. But really, I've been in this situation before, people telling me I popped up in their dreams uninvited. Invariably, I hear the sentence, "It was such a weird dream." Hey man, it's news when you have a dull dream, ain't it? You're welcome for the attention. What can I say, my dream doppelganger is a rather mischievous, footloose character. Alas, though, I can't control him, really. Who can? But wouldn't it be great if we (or more to the point, I) could control in whose dreams (and in what manner) we show up?

Off the top of my head (and there's an expression that is woefully in need of some renovation; perhaps a little more badly-needed creativity in this world would be sparked if we started thinking out of the sides of our heads, or from the bottom), here are a few people's dreams I would visit if I only had the power to control my dream envoy: 1.) Angelina Jolie: Since she's found it amusing to drag me along into invading Co-Worker's dream, I think it only fair that I show up regularly in her dreams. I picture me dressed in mismatched dark socks, wrinkled white boxers, and a stained tank undershirt, mildly jumping up and down and chanting, "Brad's a schmuck; look at me!" 2.) Boutrous Boutrous-Gali: I'm a marketing genius advising BB-G (hey, a two-in-one replacement for Robin and Maurice; the Bee Gees live on!) on possible re-branding of his name, the better to cash in on his global icon status. "Well, we could go with Boutrous Squared, but getting that little, elevated 2 can be a problem for a lot of people to wrangle from their word processors. How about Boutrous Etc.? Boutrous Ditto? Boutrous X 2? Kind of hip-hop sounding, that. Bou Bou? Boutrous Reiterated? Work with me here, B." 3.) Newt Gingrich: No words. I just sit there in his dreams, loudly slurping a dripping, never-ending Fudgsicle and picking my ear. 4.) Nipsey Russell: I don't care if he's been dead seven years. Think of the doors this sentence could open: "I was in Nipsey Russell's dream the other night." 5.) Sting: I would keep moving in on him and taunting, "Close enough? Is this close enough? Huh? Closer? Is this good?"

Oh well, a man can dream, can't he? 

Friday, May 18, 2012

How To Get In Shape For Golf? Seriously?

I admit that there are tougher jobs than blogging. Attendance counter at Cleveland Indians games comes to mind. But still, this job does offer its occupational hazards, if more on the mental anguish side of the ledger rather than the physical one. I bravely scour the internet in search of the inane stories that scream for my trenchant analysis, often boldly clicking on links no sane human would ever dare. You're welcome; my reward is not of this world. An intrepid blogger, though, must still have standards. Thus, while I saw a particular web headline yesterday, I did not click on the link, because, well, because some stupidity should remain ignored. The guilty headline was this: How To Get In Shape For Golf. The first, I can only imagine, in a series of How To Get In Shape for things that require no shape, like taking a nap, lying on the couch (as opposed to the grammatically incorrect, but probably more often used, "laying on the couch," which is another matter entirely and might call for some rudimentary physical training), or drinking a glass of water. Where would it end? How To Get In Shape For Listening To Yanni? Golf, in general, with no adjectival qualifier, requires no specific shape into which you need to get. One cursory drive by any local golf course will confirm that statement. Now if the headline link said, How To Get In Shape To Play Damn Good, Consistently Breaking 80 Golf, then, of course, it would have been worth clicking, especially for me who's never quite managed to round (or more probably hone) myself into that kind of shape. But the more general How To Get In Shape For Golf is pointless. But, as one of the avowed missions of this blog is to scrounge for points for the pointless, here goes, a pretty definitive to-do list of

How To Get In Shape For Golf

  • Stretch: Well, sure, I guess some physical stretching can't hurt you. Stretch your fingers to make that frustrated digging into your bag for an extra ball or two when you fail to clear the pond on No. 3 less painful. Stretch your arm (or both, if you have both) to ensure better success when your playing partner has to help pull you out of and off a creek bank you're rapidly sliding down as you search for your provisional ball. Stretch your legs so you don't pull a charley horse jabbing extra hard on the golf cart brake to prevent the cart from creeping backward down the slope of the adjacent fairway. But really, the essential stretch you need to work on pre-golf is the verbal one. "Stretchers" as I believe Mark Twain called them. Stretchers are as much--if not moreso for most of us duffers--a part of golf's vernacular as "birdie," "par," and "nice shot." Read a collection of fish stories to get in the mood. Since today's round usually is not so good (read "sucks," in the modern golfer's argot), the skilled, "in-shape" golfer must rely on previous rounds (ones played without the present playing partners) for the source of much of his "banter." "Well sure I haven't come close to hitting a fairway (if you're not going to count fairways of holes I'm not presently playing) today, Ron, but you should have seen me last week at Hollow Run at Fox's Glen--nothing but the short grass, all day." The most significant type of verbal stretch in this vein is the numerical stretch, though be careful to make sure you stretch both ways: "Yesterday I didn't hit a drive less than 325 all day at Hickory Oak Elm Chase, I walked them all off (this is a particularly nuanced, wonderful verbal stretch: "I walked it off"), and I had more 3's on my card than I've had anywhere since I last played Putt-Putt! Gosh, I don't know where all these 6's are coming from today. Must not have stretched properly this morning on the range." 6 being perhaps the golfer's greatest stretcher. It's not a good score by any means, but not a killer, either. Despite the number of whacks one takes on a hole, everybody's satisfied, including you, trust me, if you just mumble a self-chastising "gimme a six," at hole's end.
  • Flex: The tongue is an often over-looked and under-valued physical component of one's golf game. Proper use of the tongue (in addition--or subtraction--to the stretchers above), however, while probably not lowering your score any, could and should result in your playing opponent's ballooning score, which really is even better: you win with less real effort. As far as I can tell, the French are lousy golfers, but they did come up with a great phrase, bon mot. Now a non-stop talker on the golf course can easily find him- or herself wearing (not too fashionably or comfortably) a six iron by the turn, the subtle, well-placed little comments, sprinkled every few holes or so, could go a long way to ensuring your opponent has an awful round. After said opponent makes an early putt, casually, and with a bit of awe in your voice, say, "Do you always exaggerate your alignment like that when putting?" He/she will be praying for three-putts by the end of the round. And yes, cliches are boring, but really, can anything be more effective than the old standby: "I'm no pro, Ralph, but it seems to me like you sure could swing a lot harder at the ball on your shots"? Oh the variations on the usual cuss words you'll be hearing after that one! A personal favorite is the generous-sounding, "But you sure put a good swing on that one," after an especially errant shot by your opponent. A well-meaning, "Watch out for the poison ivy in there," is a nice addendum.
  • Lift: Gimmes, as any seasoned golfer knows, are an essential aspect of the game, and usually the difference (with a plus/minus margin of about 9) between breaking one's "number" or not. Show some respect for the hallowed traditions of the game, though. That quick casual swiping of the ball away from the hole is genuinely rude. In addition, the straddling-the-other-guy's-line, half-hearted attempt to "hole out" an obvious gimme is frowned upon; miss a couple of those early and by the back nine your opponent will be quickly at the ready with his pedantic, "I'm gonna have to make you putt that out, Ray," before you can even say, "I guess that'll be a four." Sure it's more physically taxing, and maybe a tad awkward at times, but the authority you exercise by simply bending down and picking up your un-holed-out-yet-but-obviously-will-be-if-we-waste-the-time-for-me-to-line-it-up-and-stroke-it-so-I'll-just-pick-it-up ball is definitive. Hell, some unsharp opponents may think you're marking your ball, and by the time they finish holing out their three-putt from six feet, might even forget all about you. Just bend over, lift that dimply orb, place it in your pocket, and stride confidently to the next tee. A plummeting handicap will be your reward.
  • Run: I know it sounds anathema, let alone oxymoronic, to put run and golf into the same sentence, but never lose sight of the utility a quick sprint can have for you on the course. There's the cute beer-cart girl, who, owing to the look of your playing partners, simply ignores your foursome and buzzes down the fairway. There's the alligator/crocodile potential menace. There's the wayward shot that finds itself rattling the skull of the guy a fairway over who flouts the "shirts must be worn at all times" rule, and besides, from a ranger-cart distance, his tattoo-age kind of conceals the fact anyway. There's also, let's face it, as we age, the bladder issue. No need to get all Kenyan about it, but the ability to quickly be able to approximate a running gait is a valuable asset for any in-shape golfer.
  • Biorhythm: You may have to channel that long-lost seventh grader in you, and it might require some unsavory practice, but never underestimate the efficacy of a perfectly-timed raucous fart as your opponent starts his downswing.
There you go. A thorough, though not too demanding regimen for anyone serious about enjoying a successful golf season. Shape up now or be a hack all summer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I Want

For a split second this afternoon, I had it. Pure bliss. Coming out of an inconsequential dream during a luxurious nap on this cool, great-sleeping-weather day, I told myself to wake up. Immediately upon waking I told myself to go back to sleep, but it was too late. But still, for that one second when I was conscious that I was asleep, I felt divine. Naps are one of the true pleasures of my life; unfortunately, I'm hardly ever awake enough to enjoy them, like I was for that split second today. It seems a cosmic joke that as wonderful as sleep--especially a mid-day nap--can be, you're rarely able to experience it fully, being asleep. So as I lay awake today, post-nap, basking in the glory of the memory that was that one-second conscious sleep, I thought, wouldn't it be great if you could bottle naps somehow, and imbibe them at will, while you were awake? Yeah, well, man-made flight, potato chips, and pantyhose were all once just crazy figments of somebody's delusional imagination. A man can dream when he's awake, you know.

Take it all around, I believe I'm a reasonably reasonable man, who doesn't crave much of what he can't have, but the mind does reel at times. That panicked, OMG I'm untethered in the universe feeling of tipping back too far in a chair? Wouldn't it be great if that feeling could be compacted into a stick of chewing gum, to be unleashed at will with every decisive chomp? Or the wheeeeee feeling in your innards when the down elevator accelerates too quickly and then stops abruptly? How about putting that in a discreet inhaler, to be hoofed whenever life gets a little too mundane? In my teens I skied a lot. I was never an elegant, parallel shush from side to side down the hill type, but I could hold my own on the rather tepid slopes Ohio's topography allowed. I loved racing down the hill knowing that I probably wouldn't fall, but also knowing that at any second a little mistake could send me sprawling. I did sprawl a few times, and always laughed my way giddy through the fall and for a minute or so after. Thrilling. Today I'd probably wrench a few muscles just getting the ski boots on and break a few bones getting on the chairlift. But man I'd pay a good price if that not-gonna-fall-maybe-might-just-fall feeling could be transformed somehow into hand lotion, or maybe an underarm roll-on thing. That moment just before a sneeze, when the whole world stops and concerns and obsessions vanish as your entire being is concentrated on just one thing--the sneeze? Put that feeling in a pair of socks, and I'll walk happily to the ends of the Earth. Really, aren't drugs and alcohol and all matter of obsessive diversions just pale attempts to recreate these everyday, ineffable, transcendent moments?

That awake-yet-still-asleep feeling, though--that is the best. It might take a face mask/gas mask apparatus to deliver that sensation, though. Get to it, inventors.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Doing The Swim At Prom

Am NOT fat, MaRISSa! Besides the cracking came from the other side, right after MaREESa and her nerdy date got on it. I know Josh said  Justin was the one who heard it first, but really I did. I was like, "Oh my God, Jason, this dock is like freaking breaking." I mean, I was like actually THERE, Marissa, okay? So go ahead, complain about your broken strap all night long some more. At least you don't have like Lake Oconomowoc plankton all over your dress. And who gets their prom pictures taken on a stupid flimsy dock at Lake Oconomowoc anyway? Stacey's backyard is much nicer, and she didn't even get wet. Bitch. But no, we had to go all the way out to Lake Oconomowoc just because LaRISSa was like, "Oh, it's so pretty, it'll be so romantic and my mom knows this really great photographer." Total skeeve, btw. I bet Larissa's mom's separated husband, who isn't even really Larissa's dad, you know, I bet he doesn't know about the photographer. I wouldn't be caught dead across a big lake from his dark room. And Josh is such a BSer. First of all, all the guys were NOT just laughing. You should have heard Jordan squealing like a ninth grader: "I can't swim, I can't swim!" I was like, even with my dress soaking wet, I was like, "Dude, it's like a foot of water. You actually don't have to swim." And I did NOT spend all week getting ready. Just like four days. Well, five if you count my chin job, which wasn't really just for prom, actually. Besides, I blame it all on Jonah. Did you look closely at the picture? He doesn't have a date. There's like one more guy than girls. Yeah, trust me, Marissa, I know that's your idea of a party, but really, what was he doing there? I know Clarissa is technically in our class still, and yes, I know "she would have wanted it this way," and all, but what is it, like, two and a half years since she's been in that coma? You think Jonah might move it along a little and maybe go to prom with somebody else instead of showing up in a stupid tux alone and "reminding you all" that Clarissa's here "in spirit." Bumming us all out actually. Take him off that stupid dock and I bet it doesn't crack up and get at least some us--can you believe LISSA, she never suffers, anything; being right there and not getting a drop on her dress, which, btw, no one's supposed to know this, but her mother and her actually flew to New York like six weeks ago and had that dress like custom made for her, and her date, you know, Jonathan (yeah, me too, I'm like, hello!) he's like an engineering major at Northwestern or something, he could have easily rigged that dock to break up like it did actually, don't put it past Lissa you know--wet!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Welcome To Mr. Rourke's Fantasy Diamond

His name is Henderson Alvarez. Not familiar with him? Ha, you're an amateur. Although, to tell you the truth, I was unaware of Henderson Alvarez's existence 48 hours ago, but since then we've bonded quite tightly, Henderson and I, and let me tell you, the pleasure has been all mine. Henderson Alvarez happens to be a baseball player, a professional, Major League baseball player, a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays (yes, folks, Toronto has a major league franchise, since 1977), and while Henderson might not end up being a Cy Young hurler any day, or even a piece of meat the New York Yankees ever covet, he is mine, and in the future I might just look back and call him a tipping point in my life--whether he ends up tipping me to glory or to a 12-Step Group remains to be seen. But what a ride it's gonna be!

Back in late March I wrote about a momentous decision I had to make: dog sit for friends for a few days, or join my first ever fantasy baseball league. Although seemingly unrelated, the two choices were for me an either/or proposition. I chose fantasy baseball, a diversion whose temptation I had resisted for more than twenty years, mainly because I don't trust my obsessive tendencies. Well, six weeks into the baseball season (it wasn't until the third week that I finally figured out how the points system works in fantasy baseball), I believe I am now officially obsessed, and the realization came last night when, after three minutes of intense research on ESPN's website led to my putting a guy named Danny Espinoza (a fine young man, I'm sure) on waivers and claiming the esteemed but obscure Henderson Alvarez off the scrap heap that is the free agent pool, for ten minutes I sweated and palpitated over each one of Alvarez's third inning pitches against the Minnesota Twins brought to me via ESPN's wonderful Gamecast service. I'm mad, I thought, loco, as Henderson might say, round the bend, straitjacket-eligible, Kurtz-up-the-river, whatever--but Praise Bill Veeck, it felt wonderful. Wonderful even moreso when my boy Henderson got out of the third with minimal damage and went on to hurl seven solid innings and pick up the win. His WHIP could have been better, and I would have liked another coupla K's, but Espinoza for Alvarez is looking pretty AOK right now. I'm hooked, happier than Charlie the Tuna could ever be in similar circumstances.

I named my team the Cellar Dwellers, insurance, I thought, in case the obsession never happened and I allowed my team to founder in the Big Sky League with scant concern. I like the name even more, now that I'm committed (vs. I've been committed, which might be the case by the All-Star Break) and watching my team steadily climb the standings--a solid fourth place out of ten teams; six measly points out of first, 25.5 above last place--and thinking about all those other teams below me cursing, we're getting beat by a team named the Cellar Dwellers? Yes I hope and expect to win it all come October, but internally I've made my goal more to the point--beat the Oklahoma Dirtbags at all costs. Nothing against the guy who "owns" the Dirtbags, I just love the name and have some sentimental (i.e. musical) attachment to Oklahoma and Tulsa in particular. It's the irrelevant ambitions that prod me most crazily.

So, now I'm sending nightly offerings to the baseball gods that Rafael Soriano settles in as a capable replacement for the legendary Mariano Riveria as the Yankees's closer, that Joey Votto lives up to his ridiculous new contract, and that the perpetually damned Jhonny Peralta hits a few dingers and gets off his ass and actually steals a base or two. Box scores have long been my kind of beach reading pleasure; now they're my Ulysses-like crack-the-code-and-reach-nirvana obsession. Mr. Rourke, in a tell-tale muddied white suit, still searching for a little guy gofer though he might be, is pleased, fantastically/fanatically pleased.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Grumpy Bona Fides

Feeling rather uninspired and a bit achy on this gray cold misty morning, I trolled the internet looking for something to spark my writing mechanisms. Nada. Then I found ">this, a rather ho-hum list of the Ten Grumpiest Living Writers. Imagine my near-chuckle when the second scribe on the list was Maurice Sendak; seems the list was published April 25, less than two weeks before Mr. Sendak grumpily departed this mortal coil. So much for the relevancy of that list. But wait a minute, I thought. There's an opening. And while my name is not nearly as famous as the other still-living (as I write this, I assume) nine typists on the list, I do write, damnit, and today I'm feeling rather grumpy, so what the hell, here's my application.

I have never seen the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, so my grumpiness comes uninfluenced, naturally, if you will. I'm sure the other nine writers on the list haven't seen a rejection letter in dozens of years, so I've got them beat on that point--how artificial is your grumpiness if you know with assurance that whatever grump you pen will be published? I'm so grumpy that apparently I don't seek empathy for my grumpiness--to date, and I imagine in perpetuity, I have read a total of 1 5/4 books by the ten authors on the list: all of The Corrections (mainly out of spite for Oprah), about three-quarters of Less Than Zero when it was allegedly all the rage nearly thirty years ago, and maybe half of one of Martin Amis's sour missives years ago when I actually thought being well-read included familiarity with his work. Looking over the list of these supposed grumps makes me so grumpy that I'd rather reach for a three-month-old copy of US magazine in a random dentist's office than pick up one of their books. And my coffee's cold but I'm too grumpy to walk the six steps to refresh it, and even if I wanted something cold to drink right now, nope, because the fridge is on the Fritz and I'm too grumpy to click the few buttons to find out whether I've grumped about the phrase "on the Fritz" before in these pages or, if not, to click a few more and discover where that phrase came from and wax grumpily on the original poor Fritz, and did I mention that the first floor toilet is out of service too so that I now have to climb the stairs every time my coffee gets the best of my bladder, which--my bladder--feels its age more and more each day, and sure I love that the Indians are in first place but mainly because I know that they'll crash and burn eventually and at least I can console myself all next winter remembering that back on May 8 they led the division by two games (and isn't it pathetically grumpy that that will be one of the highlights of my winter?), and isn't the word grumpy too colorful to waste on a bunch of sad sacks? And poor Beverly Lewis, writer of dozens of Amish romance novels--I bet she's never made anybody's grumpy list, and I'm sure she feels a bit grumpy from time to time too, but no one ever notices I bet because if you're the James Patterson of the Amish romance genre, everyone must assume your life is nothing but perfectly raised barns. I feel your unappreciated grump, Beverly.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Would You Like Some Kant With That?

Trust coincidence. Or at least, recognize it. I roused myself early--I thought--this morning, to pen this philosophic-culinary post before concentrating the rest of my day on Doug's Famous Derby Party. Little did I know that Manic Landlord was up much earlier doing some, um, work in the kitchen. When I straggled downstairs and made my usual beeline for the coffee maker, I was greeted by a large open space where I could have sworn an oven had been standing less than nine hours ago. "What the --" before I could even finish my generic morning greeting, Manic Landlord looked at me and smiled. It was too early in the morning to decide what had me more incredulous: the fact that he had somehow managed to remove from sight (and from a very tight space) an entire hulking stove (getting to one of my points here, I know nothing about the differences between a stove and an oven, so I use them interchangeably) without waking me, or that he hadn't wakened me to help him remove an entire hulking oven from sight (and from a very tight space). "But how --" to which Manic Landlord dramatically quoted Archimedes: "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth" (not to be confused with Barry White's boast: "Give me a furry-covered bed with mirrors on the ceiling, and I'll rock your world, baby"). My God, I thought, Greek thinkers and stoves, what a coincidence! To blog, with haste.

It's a toss-up for me, which one I know less about--the culinary arts or philosophy (though my knowledge of both laps my scientific acumen, by kilolitres)--but I know a lot of names and terminology, if not all the biography and definitions, and it's not as if a paltry bit of knowledge and a ton of balderdash ever stopped me before, so here goes. The other day I had to shelve a book titled Kant--A Brief Introduction. Now mama didn't raise no dummy dumb enough to shelve such a book in the self-help section, but as I walked over to the philosophy section, I glanced down at the book again and noticed that the little computerized price sticker said this: Kant--A Brie. Hmmm, I thought, I'm not much of a brie man myself, and I surely can't quote you no Kant, but I think I'd steer clear of the Kant Brie at a party just on general principles of sound alone. Got me thinking, though, of what a spread of Deep Thinkers Finger Food would be like. Unfortunately, as I've made clear, I don't know enough about deep thinking or deep frying to really pull off such an investigation in a nudge nudge kind of way, but maybe the marriage of the words will be enough to salivate your funny bones. I guess if you're strange enough to savor pate, the Kierkegaard Pate might sound pretty divine. Epictetus Bites make me scream, "I'm staying!" Hume Balls I'd try on a dare, but I, like most rational people, I assume, would pass on the Nietzsche Nosh. "Did you try some of the Kafka? Sandy made it from scratch. It's over there next to the baba ganoush and hummus, right before the couscous." Hegel Bagels, naturally. Hobbes Knobs. Proust Souffle? Cherry Pie ala Zola? Sartre Tarts? Fine, I'll just go to the Derby party and eat some salsa and Swedish meatballs and drink Mint Juleps.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Prayers Of Thanksgiving

On a superficial level, I find it kind of superfluous that today is the National Day of Prayer. The facts that my beloved Cleveland Indians are in sole possession of first place in the AL Central this late in the season (I thought they'd be about 8 1/2 games out by now) and that there is no snow in the foreseeable forecast pretty much confirm to me the power of prayer and make me feel a little greedy asking for more. Add to this the "wow, could it really be, this is some real news" announcement a day or two ago that Newt Gingrich is dropping out of the presidential race--thank God, my prayers were answered on that one (maybe Newt can get back to writing his alternate history books; here's an idea, Newt: you won the 2012 presidential race but before you could even accept congratulations, your head swelled that extra centimeter and finally exploded; although with this new Tupac-inspired hologram technology, something tells me trend-happy Newt will be running for president in perpetuity).

But anyway, I do believe in prayer, and think it's nice that we have a National Day for it. It's a little bit of a temptation, what with the National Day of Prayer occurring always on the first Thursday of May, which often--as this year--precedes the first Saturday of May, not to spend all one's prayers on getting a divine tip for the Kentucky Derby (this humble tout picks Creative Cause; you heard it here first, folks). But even though we dedicate a full day in November to giving thanks, I think we should spend this National Day of Prayer in thanks, too. Thanks that we as a nation still survive despite all the naysayers and nabobs of gloom. More directly, I thank any and all readers of this irregular nonsensical blog. And thank you GOP primary voters.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Count Your Blessings, If Not Your Teeth, Buddy

I'm sure by now you've all heard about the Pole, Marek Olszewski, who a mere few days after dumping his girlfriend, Anna Mackowiak, a dentist, went back to her seeking treatment for a toothache. Well, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned who's equipped with anesthesia and a pair of pliers--she put him under and proceeded to remove all of his teeth. The man's new girlfriend (those Poles move fast, I guess) dumped him because she couldn't be with a guy who has no teeth. Some true stories don't really need any comment, but still, this one is just so good it does cry out for some kind of artistic attempt, doesn't it? Don't worry, though, I won't go down the easy, did you hear about the Polack with a toothache route; that would be a rather toothless endeavor. Besides, I kind of sympathize with both sides here--poor Marek, poor Anna--and being in a rather optimistic mood this morning, I prefer to address this story from a more positive perspective. The tried and true, it could have been worse one. Here goes.

Oh Marek
Your plight
Begs a lyric
Tho lack bite it might.
While you gum your victuals
And sip your soup
We'll cue the sad fiddles
And let you re-group.
It makes for a good curse:
'May you date only dentists
With cruel recriminatory penchants,'
And it could be much worse:
She could have been a proctologist
With needle and thread
Or a urologist
With injectionary lead.
She could have been a cardiologist
With a super cattle prod
Or a neurologist
With dynamite Oh God!
She could have been an ophthalmologist
With fiery tongs
Or a psychoanalyst
Who'd smoked too many bongs.
A podiatrist
With hot coals in store
Or a sex-change surgeon
With ambitions galore.
So dear Marek,
Count your blessings,
If not your teeth,
And while you change
Your dressings,
Make this your belief:
It's okay to play doctor with your girlfriend
But your life you'll rue
If you ever let your ex-girlfriend
Doctor you.