Friday, April 30, 2010

O! Bama!

Heffalump. I just like the sound of that word, or non-word, as it actually is. Like the sound of a car door being shut with a full can of Coke in the map pocket that continues its trajectory after the door meets the seal, together with that sinking feeling that you'll be stepping into, or sitting on, a sticky mess when you finish up at the mall. Another compelling reason to drink diet. Heffalump.

The action figure shown here is being marketed later this year by Hong Kong company Hot Toys. A visit to Hot Toys' website shows some of their truly amazing stuff. I checked around and, lemme tell ya, it ain't cheap. Some of the movie-based figures are in the $200 range. Michael Jackson fetches around $100.

Although the marketing material doesn't seem to refer to Obama as being the model for Model TIM-15, African American, Advanced Ver., he does have, according to the description, a "real-like head".  Personally, I think his feet are too small. There are also two sets of hands included, one pair suitable "for holding a gun" and a different style of neck. Also, wait, get this, the thigh muscles are removable.  Suggested retail? About 38 bucks. That's one dollar for each of the figure's 38 points of articulation. Boy, oh, boy, but the Tea Partiers are gonna have fun with this one. And yes, I put in my pre-order . . . I can't wait till the Michelle version comes out!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Set A While

I have a string of things to write about as long as your arm. I've had one particularly vexing article that I've been writing for, I guess, almost a month now, when something I read drove its steely fangs into my brain. I gone through six revisions and, frankly, it's all sh*t. This is one time that I can't phone it in, no matter how tempted I might be to get lazy.

So, when I get stuck, I do what any self-respecting, part-time slacker might do - I surf. The internet, that is. Or, the interwebs, which some smarter-than-average kids, like my very own Star Child, like to call it. Them. The 'Net, for gosh sake. You know what I'm talking about.

Anyhow, I use StumbleUpon and I Google research and I look at patents and I look up case law and tunnel through eBay and check my mail and then, check it again and basically do everything except what I'm supposed to do, which is, write. Sometimes, I find Pearls of Wisdom or articles on the Perils of Wisdom. Sometimes, I bump into clever blogs that are so vertical, interest-wise, that my interest is in how there could be a fascination with such a specific thing, like owl tattoos.

I appreciate good writing, of course, from non-pros, especially, since the pros are busy writing their novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories and poems. Occasionally, I'll find a bit of something interesting in an unexpected place. I found this description from an auction on eBay for a pickup truck:

"THE WIND-UP: Nice old 1963 C10.  The original motor and transmission was pulled some time ago and replaced with a 292 and 4 speed out of a 1965 C20.  The truck has seen a lot of action and has the usual dings accompanied with daily ranch life.  There are no major mechanical problems that I am aware of.  The odometer shows 110,000 miles but I wouldn’t attest to the accuracy.
The truck had been sitting for a couple of years and was running rough on the old gas when I brought it home.  I did clean it up a bit and looked it over.  The cab was full of rubber bands and the box was littered with fencing staples.  The previous owner was a rural letter carrier in addition to being a cattle rancher.  It still runs ruff; the truck does need a full tune-up.  The tires are weather checked but it will go down the road and you can drive it onto a trailer.
  THE PITCH: I purchased this truck from an acquaintance back home, sight unseen.  I paid him too much, but what the heck.  My original plan was to use the motor/transmission in my 1946 2T Chevy and part-out and junk the rest.  When he sent me pictures, I changed my mind.  There were a few dents but it would work great for hauling scrap parts to the salvage yard as well as junk to the dump.  I could then save my baby (1967 K20) from such duties.  Well…in the mean time I found an even better rig for hauling and need the cash to get it.  The little beauty is a 1949 Chevy 6100 with dual cylinder hoists and dealer equipped air-brakes!  It runs like a dream and is screaming, “Buy me Kevin, buy me!”  Now I have more rolling tin than money (and sense), and need to part with this pickup.  HELP!
 THE SWING: My reserve is less than what I have in it (Gas is getting expensive again…).  I have cleaned it up and checked it over.  I have clear title, air in the tires and gas in the tank.
Please help an old fool and buy the truck you always wanted…and make us both happy."

Can you guess where this truck is located? That's right - on a ranch in Montana. I can hear this being spoken by Barry Corbin . . . you know, the guy who was the rich guy, Maurice Minnifield, in Northern Exposure? Kinda makes me want to buy that truck. Wait. Isn't Brokeback Mountain in Montana? Or was that Wyoming? Steers and queers, boys, steers and queers. Heck, now we're talkin' Texas. And, as you know, everything's bigger in Texas . . .

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Women Want

I thunk this up last night:

What are the two things that women say to men at the beginning and the end of a relationship that are the same? "You make me laugh."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ommmmmmmmmm . . ..

I love a good joke. Sometimes I even think 'em up on my own dime. Here's one:

The Dalai Lama (sort of like the Pope, only Buddhist) finally has a chance to visit New York. He's walking down Fifth Avenue and he sees a hot dog vendor. Although he's normally a vegetarian. he's heard so much about the divine nature of New York franks that he absolutely has to have one. He asks the vendor for one with everything on it and gives him twenty bucks. After he takes a bite, he says to the hot dog guy, "So, what about the change?" The vendor looks at him with a little smile and says, "Change? Change comes from within . . ."

Ahhhhh, ha, ha, ha. God, that was good, if I do say so myself. And here is my favorite joke of all time - I'll keep it short, rather than take my humor-killing, novelistic approach for which I'm known:

A dog walks into an employment agency. He jumps up on a chair next to the desk of one of the agents and says to the guy, "Hey, pal: can you help me out? I'm looking for a job." Astonished at hearing a dog talk, the agent drops his sandwich and starts fumbling through his Rolodex. "Um, ah, yeah, well, I don't know what I can find for a . . . for a . . . TALKING DOG!" he blurts. Calming down, he says, "Look, I don't think I have anything for you. Have you tried the Circus?" The dog looks at him narrowly and say, "Circus? What's the circus gonna do with a plumber?"

Oh, gawd, tears are rolling down my blouse. Oh, that is so hilarious . . .
Hey, hey: did you hear the one about the penguin on vacation? Okay, here it is: A penguin finally gets tired of freezing his ass off at the South Pole and decides to take a vacation. Where else to go but somewhere sunny and glamorous, so he packs his bag and heads out to Hollywood. While enjoying Rodeo Drive, a friendly sales clerk tells him that he simply MUST visit Las Vegas since it's only a few hours' drive. So, the penguin rents a car and heads into the desert. At exactly the half-way point, his rental breaks down and he's soon rescued by a small-town tow truck. The penguin and the driver make it back to the garage and the mechanic, feeling very sorry for the Antarctic bird sweating up a storm in the desert heat, suggest he go down the street to the ice cream shop for a nice, cool treat. So the penguin ambles down the street, enters the shop and orders up a jumbo dish of vanilla bean ice cream. Unfortunately, being a penguin and all, he finds it impossible to hold the spoon and he makes a terrible mess getting the ice cream into his face, but he's so refreshed that he doesn't care. Cooled off, he heads back to the garage to check on his ride. The mechanic is under the hood and hears the penguin come in by the ding-ding of the station bell. He doesn't look up from his work and he says, "Well, looks like you blew a seal . . ." to which the penguin quickly replies, "no, no - it's just ice cream."

I'll leave you to ponder that one. Cousteau, table for one!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't Make Me Stop This Car

I've been writing this thing for four years. There's a lotta funny, tragic, angst-ridden stuff in here. Where's my BOOK DEAL, dammit?!

Pussay! Me, Yow!

Yes, just as you thought this blog was getting soft, your observation is confirmed, unlike your reservation on the Stuttgart-to-JFK that was supposed to *#*)(@! leave last night.

Imagine Will Smith as Hancock, saying the following, although it's really me saying it. Okay? "Nah, see, like, I really like cats, you know. I mean, I kinda really like 'em. Maybe some people might think it's kinda a little unnatural, but that's okay, y'all, I ain't got no problem with that."

So, right, I really like cats. I like the idea of them, actually. The smelly cat poo and peeing on door-jambs and the like, not so much. But I've had cats as familiars for most of my life. I don't have one now. Rather, I'm not amusing one at present since it's pretty much impossible to "have" a cat.

Therefore, I have to get my cat fix somehow. Often, I lurk around for LOL cat pictures taken by cat mommies and daddies (blech-oh, god, why did I write that, god, ech!) When I've exhausted the new entries there, I root around on YouTube, hoping to find something that isn't the 100 millionth retread of a America's Funniest Home Videos bootleg from 1996. Once in a very great while, I discover something that's actually surprising. See here:

This is an interview with Helmi Flick on, the website of the magazine of approximately the same name which I've read since I was yay high. It talks about how she got her start (when she was 50!) and her approach. Whatever. It's interesting, but the cat pictures . . . OMG! Lucious.

Simply brilliant. Close in, intimate and absolutely purr-fect. The lighting and color design is without flaw. Thanks, Pop Photo, for showing us this masterful photographer's work. And thank you, Helmi, for not only understanding kitties, but to somehow magically translate that essence into a still photo.

Here's the photographer's gallery of work. As you browse, notice the flow of textures, the glamour lighting, the captured moment.

I'll stop gushing now, but I'm now convinced that Helmi Flick is the most wonderful, brilliant, genius, excellentistest person in the whole wide world! Or, as Howard Dean would put it, "Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggghhhhhhhh."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunset Red

Red sky in morning, sailor's warning; red sky at night, sailor's delight!

Walmart Reads My Blog

Good news! Latinos no longer have to subsist on small appliances alone.

I covered this in a post a little while back. This particular placard had been in place for months. Is it coincidence that my item appeared and within a relatively short time, Walmart corrected the sign? No, of course not! Clearly, Sam Walton reads my blog. Er, from the grave, since he died in 1992. It could happen, right?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

That Really Blows!

Yes, dear friends, the end is nigh! There has been a massive volcanic eruption in Iceland that's delivered a column of ash 20,000 feet tall into the sky. Now God won't be able to see us and we are lost! Repent, sinners - it's not too late.

And by the way, if you were planning to travel to or from Europe today, forget it. Airplane engines don't like volcanic ash - it makes the spinning parts inside go all grindy-grindy and then the big silver planes fall out of the sky and all of the people inside go "aaahhhhhh" and then they drown in the sea. The End.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heroic Measures

Take this, scenario lovers: your Uncle John's in the hospital. He told his girlfriend, Tina, that his chest felt tight and that he couldn't breathe around two o'clock last night. These things always happen in the middle of the night, don'cha know. She drove him to the hospital rather than call an ambulance because he was pretty sure it could be the combo of stromboli and Viagra that did it to him. When they got there, the triage nurse immediately put him on a gurney and started O2 because he looked flushed, then white and pain started.

Poor John. Looks like the stromboli together with fast living in general caught up with him far sooner than he expected. Well, he thought, this sucks. His girlfriend was just glad they were in the hospital because she knew, though no one had yet told her in exact language, that john was having a heart attack.

At the moment their thoughts met at this temporal intersection, John's heart stopped dead.

Alarms rang and nurse and doctors rushed to revive John. Tina backed away from the medical melee until her butt met the wall. He was well on his way to zombie-hood when fate intervened. Nature decreed that the electrical stimulation being applied to John's ticker was sufficient to get the sucker beating again. And beat it did, but not quite the same as before.

Valium was applied, since death has a funny way of exciting high levels of anxiety in a patient. Anxiety elevates adrenaline production and adrenaline increases the heart rate - not good for someone with a damaged heart that stopped once today already.

The next step was to perform tests. Blood panels, an echocardiagram, more blood panels, an angiogram and finally, a consult from the attending cardiologist.

"Bill, it's looking a little more urgent than is typical," started Dr. Frost. He was a fit-looking, shorter-than-average fifty-something with longish, thinning hair that allowed a sun-browned scalp to shine through. "First off, do you feel pain?" John said, "No. No pain. And my name is John." The doctor leaned in with a wan smile and touched John's shoulder, "I'm sorry, John, we've just met and I'm terrible with names. But, I'm good with hearts, okay, so this is what you need to know: two blood vessels that bring blood to the left side of your heart are blocked. They were probably blocked for a while because there's some old scar tissue that we can see in the pictures we just took from your last heart attack." John gripped the bed with both hands. "I never had a heart attack before. What are you talking about?" Dr. Frost continued, "Okay, that's good to know, so what probably happened was that your attack was asymptomatic, that is, no pain, no shortness of breath, or maybe, you had unexplained back pain once, a few years ago, didn't connect it to your heart and anyway that part of your heart is permanently damaged." John wasn't taking it well. "So, I'm going to die from this?" Tina whimpered from a corner of the room. She wasn't taking it well either. The nasal cannula that was providing oxygen to help enrich the levels in his blood made him sound nasally and whiny. "Well, John, I don't know that for sure. But there are some things that we can do to prevent another heart attack right now, which, in my opinion, is pretty certain unless we take some steps." "What? What do I have to do?" John practically begged. Dr. Frost lowered his hand to John's arm now, the other hand in the pocket of his white lab coat, his body perpendicular to the bed. "First, I want you to understand that what I'm going to talk about are procedures that we do all the time but still, the results aren't certain because everybody is different, okay?" John nodded. "Okay, here's what we can do. The two occluded, or blocked, blood vessels can be replaced with vessels from another part of your body. You probably heard of 'bypass surgery'?" John nodded again. "We can do this," the good doctor continued, "but you have to know the risks."

Dr. Frost knew that certain patients, very few, however, declined to have surgery even after his accurate and thorough description of the procedure itself, the opening of the ribcage, the scarring "zipper" in the chest, the scar in the leg where the veins would be harvested, the recovery process which included a complete lifestyle change, including things like yoga, daily walking and no more stromboli. And there was one more thing. There was a significant risk that John would die during the surgery. There was a risk that he could die from infection. There was a risk that the transferred veins bled before a graft was complete and that they would have to go in again and fix it. There was the risk that John's genetic make-up made him much more prone to artery-hardening and plaque build-up.
And there was one more concern that Dr. Frost had - John's age. In this scenario, Dr. Frost is going out on a bit of a limb because John is only three months short of his seventieth birthday. Survival rates for elder patients are much more grim than those patients who are a decade younger. And since declining health in other areas is likely for such a patient, that is, one that's older than the mean for this kind of procedure, such a patient is much more "brittle" and is likely to decline very quickly if something lese happens - like diabetes, cancer or even the flu.

The risks aren't only medical. John may have insurance, but the upper limits of his insurance might be tested by the cost of the hospital stay taken together with the surgery, medications, aftercare and therapy. The event that I've described above, that one day in the hospital, would easily top twenty grand in billing. Easily. Heart bypass? Another thirty-five to fifty thousand dollars. Medication? Perhaps three grand a year, depending on the underlying cause of the patient's issues.
But the other side of it is this: should John receive this care? There's no doubt that we all want our loved ones to get the "best" health care, but at what cost to society?

There is somewhat new thinking being posited by bioethicists and contemporary philosophers, such as Peter Singer. In brief, it's suggested that since end-of-life care comprises the bulk of medical costs in the western world and especially in the United States, perhaps it's time to rethink our application of extraordinary measures. Is there a point at which extreme care exceeds a desirable or even tenable level of quality-of-life, as a utilitarian concept?

The application of extreme life-saving measures can be cruel and harmful, in fact, to the patient and it's been shown that such measures don't significantly extend life expectancy. But, as a society, we elevate life to a level at which it's to be preserved by any means and at any cost. Perhaps this is a bad idea, given the downsides which are significant. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but it's certainly something to think about.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I need some new ones.

This inadvertently turned into a de-motivational poster, for which I apologise.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Scott Simon of NPR's Weekend Edition was discussing a play during a White Socks pre-season game with the phrase "as if they had seen a dolphin playing a grand piano" in describing the reaction of the crowd.

I thought this a very clever turn of phrase that yielded a fabulous mental image. I Googled for a matching image. Not a thing.

I really enjoy NPR and this time, I will become a member of my local station. You should too.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Heart Aphorisms

Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with everything they have.


Never give up on someone you can't go a day without thinking about.

You know who you are.

Big Dick!

Just because we're all American an' sh*t, doesn't mean we've cornered the market on silly marketing that's culturally insensitive, outdated or just plain wrong. Visiting with some German clients, I was offered a taste of this:
The Krauts tell me that this means "Really Big Fat Man" versus what it used to be called, which was "Neggerkusse", which, they told me, translates loosely as "Negroe's Kiss" but more accurately and literally as "Nigger's Kiss." Don't get all excited and kill the messenger. I'm only reporting what I was told. I also verified this with a little research and found that this isn't the only product in the post-Jim Crow millenium that has a speckled, or rather, "dark" past - and present. He ha.
But first, let me describe this confection. It's a kind of creme marshmallow, much less sweet and less spongy than American-style mallow, really more cream-like, but I said that already, covered with a thin coating of semi-sweet, but not dark, chocolate, yet, not milk chocolate, a lot like what might be on a Funny Bone, but thinner, all sitting on a communion-wafer-sized, well, wafer-like. On the whole, not bad. A little big for my mouth, but, just the same. I kinda made a fool of myself, trying to jam the whole thing in my mouth. How women do it, I just don't understand.

The other thing I don't get is why it was called "N-word Kiss." They don't look like lips. They rather look like short, squat dicks sporting shiny brown condoms.
(image sourced at The Museum of Public Relations site)

At least the Germans did something about it. According to an article on, Finnish confectioner Fazer is presently refusing to alter their unpleasantly retro (to put it very nicely) packaging for a licorice product called Lakritsi which features a Sambo-like graphic. Another Finnish company, Brunberg, had been forced to remove the slogan "Nigger's Kiss" from one of their candy product lines but has refused to alter the imagery, shown here.
So, chuckle, chuckle, Super Dickmann, huh? What a hoot. Only, the Germans weren't laughing. I explained that the product's moniker and suggestive product shape kinda more evoked a box of disposable sex toys than midday treat. On the other hand, come to think of it, a midday treat could be a sex-toy. Huh. But I digress from the groggy path this tale takes. They looked at me in uncanny unison and beseeched me to eat one. Which I did. Case closed.

The thing is, and there is a thing here, one should recollect a few things. Until the last few decades, there just hadn't been many black people hanging out in continental Europe. Yes, I know, someone will cite some statistic that indicates that I'm not quite right, but they can blow me. I can tell you from personal experience in two decades of intermittant travel in Europe that seeing a black person was as likely as seeing a penguin in a leper colony. I remember visitng West Germany in the late eighties nineteen-eighties, wise ass) and observing the very white Germans in Cologne's banking district literally staring at a very nattily-dressed black man in a Burberry suit and bowler walking down the street. He was the only black person I saw in more than a month in Germany and he might as well have been naked.

So, I'm kinda excusing all of Europe, except for England and Paris and maybe Marseille and most of Spain, probably, for having these images persist into the twenty-first century. Black people were nearly a novelty. The homogenization of culture worldwide has only really come underway in the last twenty years with the mass availability of television and then the internet. But, yeah, they should probably get on the stick at this point. And, please, Euro-dudes, please don't take us Ugly Americans as your example because we're still crass and loud and xenophobic and we still have Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima, sans kerchief, as nationally recognized brands woven into our psyche.

Eventually, it will all go away. That's not to say that patently offensive images and language should be ignored. Indeed, those who are offended should be allowed to voice their opinion and move to have their agenda satisfied. But, lest we forget the reaction to that Danish cartoon, no has to mean no at some point. Political correctness can and often does go too far, like the case this week of the teenager who wore a "I (heart) Lady Gay Gay" t-shirt to school in Greenbrier, Tenessee and was sent home because of the word "gay." This amongst a school filled with kids wearing Confederate flag and "Jesus Is My Lord . . . and Yours Too, Byotch" t-shirts. Some might be offended at that, but if it's the cultural norm, then who is to say?

That's easy. The community decides whether porn is obscene or simply smut, for instance. The community decides based on its culture and values. And when it comes to products with offensive packaging, the community votes with its collective pocket-book. So, if the Finns don't really care whether they offend the 2% of their population that's classified as black, should we? Well, yes, we should be aware that cultures vary all over the place and that what we classify as racist or sexist or ageist is how their very homogoenous society defines itself, in part. We need not be the Ugly Americans in that sense, at least.

But still, Super Dickmann's . . . ah ha ha ha ha ha ha . OMG, LOL. That absolutely cracks me up.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Wish

I wish I knew what happened to you, my friend. I saw you last in the worst of circumstances, the point at which one friend loses another to a bad choice, a misstep, an ill word, a forgotten rendezvous. I miss you. I miss you all - father, mother, brother, cousin, wife, daughter, lover, friend.

J'ai des remords à la perte, mais je le supporter car je l'ai fait. In the absence of judge, jury and peers, I do the right thing and punish myself.

Or am I just a lazy lout?

Today, my house is filled with the smell of fish. Swordfish to be exact. There can be nothing more pervasive than the smell of fish, except, perhaps, the smell of skunky roadkill.

My daughter forwarded me this Tweet: "How long do I have to sit on my Easter egg for my Jesus to hatch?"

A baby is born, an elder breathes his last. This is the myth of redemption and resurrection that we, as a Christian society, cherish.

Yes, I wrote that in a fit of pique, in an attempt to prove that I could too ignore the panoply of the subversive uberlords who insist on dominance by exclusion. No, I will not have a Happy Easter, you presumptive pricks, because that is not my holiday. Bastards. Guess what? It's not a Christian World and while I will defend your right to worship in the way you choose, I know full well that you would not reciprocate, content to inaction, leaving me and those of my kind to perish forever. But my religion, even in the absence of my religiosity, embraces all whereas you will accept only those who are "right" like you.

Choke on your Easter ham, you exclusionary dipsh*ts. And, by the way, Chirst is not an excuse for murder, rape and the theft of nations. Christ would be appalled. Shame on you.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Clash of the Titans

299 seats and the only one i could snag was 11 feet from the screen. Sam Worthington's begrizzled mug was huge and in frightening 3D.

Clash of the Titans gets much right and a few things very wrong. The pacing overall is good and the acting is nuanced. The action sequences are far too speedily cut, making them somewhat incomprehensible. The color scheme of the film's design is very bland, almost British, limited to hues of sand, brown, granite and grey. Very depressing.

But they do get the story right and this movie is very family-friendly. No blood, no cleavage, no nipples poking through diaphanous gowns, even. On the other hand, 8-year-olds will be squirming through the long, complicated narrative of the classical mythology.

Still, it's a mostly intelligent film and the actors do a good job of expressing their art with limited face-time. Thank the Gods there can't be a sequel, though.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oh, God

I just finished working outside. I'm getting too old. Muttering to myself. My neighbour across the road is a landscaping contractor. He is corpulent, with a shock of gypsy-white hair and has yet to return the de-riguer land-owner hail-wave, let alone offer either his advice or his services.

Maybe he thinks it would be rude to sell a neighbor. But the nice lady next door, who I think of as an "old lady" in the parlance of my time but in fact is probably only ten or thirteen years older than me. In other words, she could have been that lusty babysitter i had when i was a wee lad, is a customer. Maybe he doesn't like the cut of my jib. Maybe my hedges disgust him.

I am worried.

Well, now i shall enjoy a shower and then solidify. Ow. Ouch.