Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Renowned Metaphorical Meteorologist Sarah Huntzinger Imagines She'll Be Cool Someday, Is Wrong

As of today, civil unions between same-sex couples are legal in Colorado. In March, the state legislature finally managed to pass the Colorado Civil Union Act, granting gay couples access to most (but not all) of the rights and protections enjoyed by married, straight couples (before they get divorced because they're different people now). It was a few years in the making: Republican House members managed to kill similar legislation in committee in 2011 and 2012, presumably because Republican House members are total assholes. Luckily, just enough of these presumable assholes lost their jobs last November to tip the House to the Democrats, and here we are.

It's a nice victory for sanity in a state that has leaned toward the stupid side of history on the issue. As recently as 2006, Coloradans voted to amend the state Constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. And in 1992, Coloradans passed Amendment 2, which was eventually ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court (Romer v. Evans) and described by moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy as "motivated by animus towards homosexuals." So... yeah. The fact that we're now electing mostly people who (at the very least) support civil unions for gay couples is probably a step in the right direction.

Sarah Huntzinger, mother of three from Parker, would disagree. Sarah Huntzinger's creaky hip-barometer is on the fritz, and of course that can only mean that a big gay storm's a-brewin'. And so we were treated to a Denver Post "Guest Commentary" voicing her Christian displeasure with the Act. (By "the Act," I mean the Colorado Civil Union Act, and not the act of homosexual intercourse, although I think it's safe to say that Huntzinger's Christian displeasure applies in either case.)  It's titled, "Heterosexual marriage is, like, so uncool," and sweet Zacchaeus is it terrible. If the Denver Post is willing to print shit like this, I have to wonder why I never heard back about my well-reasoned "Restaurants should have 'Fish' and 'Non-Fish' sections" editorial. But me digress.

Huntzinger has exactly two weapons in her bellyaching arsenal, and we've already seen the first in the title: sarcastically likening gay rights proponents to vapid teenage trendchasers. (Because, yes, striving to be treated equally and fairly under the law is pretty much the same thing as planking and pet rocks.) You might recognize Huntzinger's brand of sarcasm from every parent-teen '90s sitcom interaction, in the form of:

Teenage Girl: But Dad, my friends are all going! This is, like, so lame!
Dad: Like, totally lame, dude. Cowabunga! Hang ten! But I'm your father - being lame is kind of in my job description.
(Strings swell for "Dad Loves You" speech) it's not exactly groundbreaking.

And Huntzinger wastes no time in busting out her overarching, here-comes-trouble metaphor:

A perfect storm has gathered over Colorado. The prevailing winds of value-free politics, the decline of authentic debate, and the increasing global warming of relativism will collide with the upslope of secularism and the denial of religious liberties to converge with individualistic notions of freedom absent responsibility, producing powerful thunderstorms of hypocrisy, and the rain of radical liberalism.

Oh no! Batten down your metaphorical hatches! The metaphorical forecast calls for 8-to-12 inches of radical liberalism, and if you aren't careful it'll get in your metaphorical mouth and run down your metaphorical chin!

But what an unwieldy, strained sentence. This is awful to read. I like that it's "the prevailing winds of value-free politics," and "the increasing global warming of relativism," but for some reason "the decline of authentic debate" doesn't get a weather-phenomenon pen pal to call its own. Or maybe all three are supposed to be lumped under "prevailing winds". But then how is global warming a prevailing wind? Whatever the case, this is not a promising opening paragraph. It's the verbal equivalent of an Escher staircase, inasmuch as Escher staircases are inscrutable and never-ending and really offended by gay people. And storm imagery is fucking tired, anyway. Me? I'd go with breakfast:

The smell of delicious quiche is wafting over Colorado. The farm-fresh eggs of equal opportunity for all have been cracked and whipped together in a bowl with the flour of progressive thinking and the half-and-half of separation of church and state, then mixed with the fresh tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms of acceptance, poured into the pie crust of human empathy, and placed in the white-hot oven of homosexual fidelity for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serves 2.

Pull out your umbrella. You're going to need it for several generations.

I agree:

This is the kind of opportunity that traditional marriages never expected. It's finally our time to be counter-cultural. Get your tattoo now. I heart T.M. It's cool to be counter-cultural — just ask the '60s radicals, who, even if confused about fixed points of truth on occasion, knew what a good rally was about: romance.

The romanticism of the civil union debate and resulting legislation has the mystique of modernity on its side. Heterosexual marriage, however, is just so, you know, traditional. I'm encouraged though: If it's not cool now, it will be one day. We just have to endure a little bit longer as constitutional rights are eroded, in the name of progress and tolerance.

Man. If you were reading this horseshit without any knowledge of the situation, you'd think that Colorado just outlawed traditional marriage. Just to recap: this is a state that has a gay marriage ban in its Constitution, because its voters -- a lot of traditionally-married people, I'd assume -- dickishly and preemptively put it in there six-and-a-half years ago. Colorado's legislature just now got around to granting committed same-sex couples -- who still can't get married, mind you -- rights and protections almost-but-not-quite on par with those afforded to people in traditional marriages, and yet somehow in Sarah Huntzinger's suburban Christian mind, traditional marriage -- the only kind of marriage that fucking exists in Colorado -- is now counter-cultural. Amazing.

And which "constitutional rights" are being eroded? Is Huntzinger talking about the part of the 14th Amendment that's all, "No state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"? Probably not. That one seems pretty gay.

The passage of Senate Bill 11 by the Colorado General Assembly allows same-sex civil unions while it denies religious and conscience protections, promoting anti-religious discrimination in its failure to consider exceptions for faith-based adoption agencies.

This is what really gets Huntzinger's goat: the Colorado Civil Union Act won't let faith-based adoption agencies discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. My favorite part is that the 2011 and 2012 versions of the Act -- the ones that Republicans killed in committee -- did allow for faith-based exemptions. But this year, when the House shifted, Democrats realized that they didn't have to kowtow to shitheads anymore on the adoption issue. So Huntzinger is left to whine and gnash her teeth and lament the "anti-religious discrimination" of a law that won't let religious adoption agencies discriminate. It's anti-religious discrimination in that it's anti- religious discrimination. I love this very much. Skipping forward a bit:

The law is ripe with constitutional infringement, and serves same-sex marriage proponents in their strategy to silence the faithful from full and meaningful participation in the public square, striking at faith-based charities providing adoption services.

Yes, Sarah, faith-based adoption agencies in Colorado must now consider gay and straight couples equally, just like they must consider short and tall couples equally, or interracial couples equally. What a howling shame, huh? What an egregious abridgment of your right to deny rights to other people because your magic book thinks those people are icky. Also, the law is not "ripe" with constitutional infringement. It's not "rife" with constitutional infringement, either, but at least then you'd be using the right motherfucking word. Do you know what are ripe? The vegetables I used to make that metaphorical quiche up there. Delicious!

That about does it. Sarah Huntzinger is terrible, but at least she never compared her make-believe persecution to an actual, centuries-long struggle for freedom and equali--

If traditional families and faith-based charitable organizations can suffer this persecution long enough (and, believe me, Catholics know something about suffering), they may have their Rosa Parks moment in the future.

Well, fuck.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A (Serious) Post!

My feelings about Christianity are roughly equivalent to my feelings about lead: I know that people have gotten a lot of use out of it over the past few-thousand years, but I still don't want anyone to ball it up and shoot it at me. Also, I wouldn't let my kids around traces of it. Also also, I don't want it to be in my paint.

Basically, I just want people to be happy that they made what they're sure is the right choice, to live their lives according to whichever cherry-picked literary passages they like (just not the stoning-to-death-for-sins ones, please, thanks!), and to quit trying to force it down everyone's throat like a megachurch preacher in an Applebee's men's room. Back me up here, St. Peter!:
"But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15)
Cool. That sounds pretty reasonable. It sounds here like Peter just wants Christians to live virtuous, Christian lives, and to engage anyone who seeks them out, and to do it with a spirit of what might be best described as "non-dickishness". And truth be told, most Christians - including my parents - live this way. I don't know why the rest of them are so--Wait, what's that, Jesus?
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  (Matthew 28:19-20)
Fuck. I think we all know that Jesus trumps Peter here the same way the Ace of Spades trumps the "Rules of Poker" card that someone forgot to take out of the deck before the game. So instead of convincing people to maybe come to Jesus by basically being groovy, a lot of Christians tend to feel like they ought to go on extensive obnoxious evangelical roadtrips, with Jesus always riding shotgun. A lot of Christians hear Jesus say things like,
 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned," (Mark 16:15-16)
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," (John 14:6)
and their minds immediately (and rightly) turn to people in countries that aren't Christian - people who might have never even heard of Jesus, much less chosen to worship him - and they (the Christians) are filled with empathy and pity and maybe shame because those poor people are going to get anally penetrated by fireswords after they die, all because they didn't get a chance to high-five Jesus while they were alive. And instead of maybe questioning why Jesus would want to fuck these non-Christians over like that, or why he would give some people a head start/free pass simply because they were raised as Christians -- instead of asking why Jesus would be such an obdurate asshole, or wondering whether a savior like that is worth worshiping, they just accept it and decide to do the right thing given the circumstances: they set about saving as many Jesus-ignorant souls as possible from bullshit damnation (see comments). A lot of Christians do that.

Christians like Tim Tebow, inchoate quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Tim Tebow isn't so much modern Evangelical Christianity's spokesman as he is its mascot - a carefully-crafted, cartoonishly-idealized best face for the whole movement. And he happens to stand at the intersection of Evangelical Christianity and professional football - an intersection that I would go a few miles out of my way to avoid because I don't like pickup trucks.

 All of which makes it sound like I really don't like Tim Tebow, when honestly I don't mind him very much, and actually kinda feel for him (which I'm sure he is grateful for, as a millionaire who is more successful in his field than I will ever be in anything). Still, I am about to talk shit about some things pretty close to Tim Tebow's heart, so I'd like to temper that and prove my non-disdain by first saying a few sorta-charitable interpolatory things about #15:

Sorta-Charitable Thing #1) Tim Tebow is good at football. Whatever you think of his pro prospects, the guy is one of the greatest college football players of all time, and I have to say that he showed more than a small amount of potential in his late-season audition with the Broncos. Unorthodox mechanics aside, he acquitted himself a lot better in his short stint as starter than most rookie quarterbacks do, and better than I thought he would or even could.  And though he probably tucks the ball away and runs too quickly and often, he is a powerful and surprisingly slippery runner (even if that slipperiness is attributable to the fact that he is all greased up from five years' worth of jizzbaths from nearly every conservative white Christian male in America). In my decidedly non-expert opinion, Tebow could become a very good NFL quarterback.

Sorta-Charitable Thing #2) He feeds the homeless. The McDonald's on the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver might be the saddest McDonald's in Colorado, which would pretty much automatically make it the saddest non-trailer structure of any kind in Colorado.  It's not so much the place that hope goes to die as it is the place that dead hope goes. It is a place of bearded schizophrenic fistfights and garbage bags as suitcases, a place where you might walk by a guy scribbling what looks from ten feet away like a bunch of Vitruvian Man/time machine sketches, then while you're standing in line someone might offer you an almost-definitely-stolen iPod for 20 bucks. It smells like antiseptic and despair. Here is what it usually looks like, sort-of:

But not on Monday, December 27th, 2010 - the day after Tebow rallied the Broncos from a 17-0 Halftime deficit to a 24-23 victory over the Houston Texans, capped by a double-pump-fake, six-yard touchdown run in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. Unbeknownst to me until I was in line for an iced coffee, he had in victory earned a free Big Mac for anyone who presented some plastic keychain thing on Monday. I don't know the specifics of how to get such a keychain thing, but it can't be too hard, because every scraggly-bearded gentleman and nearly-toothless lady within a square mile was now milling about in line brandishing keychain things that were almost never attached to keys or anything else. It was chaos. McDonald's couldn't make Big Macs fast enough. No one was buying anything else, so the ringing-out process consisted of no monetary exchange whatsoever. But the sadness quotient was at an all-time low. There was a fresh energy in the air that belied the stale smell. And it looked more like this:

God bless you, Tim Tebow.
Sorta-Charitable Thing #3) He has the best-selling jersey in the NFL, and while you pretty much have to ascribe a good portion of those sales to the aforementioned Christian jizz-dousing, it's hard to deny that he seems like a likeable guy. I reserve the right to disavow this statement if he turns out to be some Tartuffe-level fraud who smokes meth and plows through hookers like undersized cornerbacks, but he just seems like a friendly, super-gregarious dude who mostly walks the unreasonably-high-standarded walk of his wacky religion. Fundamentalist women want to be with him as he reads his Bible and abstains from sex, and Fundamentalist men want to be him as he reads his Bible to keep from thinking about it. Also: hard worker, heart of a champion, intangibles, blah blah blah ad infinitum/nauseam/absurdum/something-else-smart-sounding-and-Latin-in-the-accusative.

Sorta-Charitable Thing #4) And this is the big one, the one that hopefully ties in to what I already said about Evangelical Christians and what I'm about to say about Evangelical Christians: I am not sure how to blame Tim Tebow for being a ridiculous, proselytizing, Bible-verses-on-his-eye-black, fundamentalist Christian. Because Tim Tebow's father is Bob Tebow - famous in his own right as the founder of the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, and a man who, in a Sports Illustrated profile of Tim when he was still in college, was quoted as saying,
"When I was out in the mountains in Mindanao, back in '86, I was showing a film and preaching that night. I was weeping over the millions of babies being [aborted] in America, and I prayed, 'God, if you give me a son, if you give me Timmy, I'll raise him to be a preacher.'"
...Which is crazy for a lot of reasons. My favorite part is that Sports Illustrated had to change Tebow's verb-that-is-happening-to-babies to "aborted" from something unknown. My best guesses are "killed" and "murdered", but my favorite guesses are still "tickled" and "swaddled" and "taken to the zoo".

But yeah, I can't help but think that with a father like Bob Tebow, Tim never really had much of a choice other than to be a devout Evangelical Christian, the same way that a kid who grows up in a village that is never exposed to Christianity has no chance (again, see comments), according to the evangelists, of getting into heaven without some expository intervention, and the same way Jesus grew up a carpenter because Joseph was a carpenter, even though Joseph was only a carpenter because he figured he should be nailing something. There is a certain inexorability to these things,  because whoever has control of you during your formative years gets to for-better-or-worse decide a lot of things about who you are. Of course, ultimately  you have the nominal choice to do whatever, but there is no doubt that we are a lot more likely to choose what we have been primed to choose. Christians tend to raise Christians (and Baptists Baptists, and Catholics Catholics, etc.), Muslims tend to raise Muslims, Scientologists tend to raise Scientologists, liberals who are going to hell tend to raise liberals who are going to hell, and tornadoes tend to raze barns. It's the fucking way of things. And the, like, I guess underlying unfreedom of it all makes my head hurt.

So what I'd like to do rather than come to some sort of empathetic conclusion, or rather than just shrug my shoulders and say that life is crazy, is to quit trying to understand and instead just dismissively make fun of Bob Tebow's life's work a little bit. And I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm straight up mocking these people. I'm trying to just mock their crazed ideas, but when your crazed ideas are by your own admission central to who you are as a human being, it's tough to avoid some collateral damage. Anyway, Bob Tebow's life's work is
"to preach the gospel to every person who has never had an opportunity to hear the good news of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Most of the world’s population has never once had the opportunity to hear the only true message of forgiveness of sins by faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone."
The current epicenter of the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association is mostly just the Philippines, a country composed of over 7,000 islands and 92 dickloads of people (where one dickload = one million), making Bob Tebow's task a pretty goddamn daunting one, to say the least.

Good thing he has a lot of volunteer missionaries willing to cross oceans and rivers and climb mountains to spread Jesus' word. A lot of these volunteers are young, Tim Tebowish people, brimming with enthusiasm and megadoses of the holy spirit, and also willing to write little snippets detailing their most memorable evangelistic moments for yearly newsletters - newsletters which I love for their absolute tone-deafness. Every testimonial snippet is great in its own way, but here, in bold, are some of my favorites, arranged from awesome to most-awesome (my mean responses are in plain text):

7) Charles S.: One day at McDonald’s in Thailand, three college students were eating at the table next to us. They spoke English; so, I shared the gospel with them. They were very attentive and even asked some questions. Though none of them openly prayed with me, I will never forget the hunger in their eyes, as I talked about the peace in my heart that Jesus gives and the gift of eternal life. I pray that we can go back to Thailand and preach in the villages. With so few Christians, there is a great need for Christ there.

I'm not sure why this is the experience Charles decided to put in the newsletter, because to me it just seems like he bothered some college kids who were patient enough to engage him, then the students sat and watched blankly as Charles started praying by himself in the middle of a McDonald's. (As someone who has obviously seen some crazy shit in a McDonald's, I can confidently say that seeing this would have ranked right up there with the best of them.) And I think Charles hasn't considered the possibility that the "hunger in their eyes" could be pretty easily attributed to the fact that THEY ARE IN A FUCKING MCDONALD'S.

6) Michael C.: I noticed a couple of Muslim girls in the crowd at one of the schools I preached at. They were easy to spot because of the headdress they were wearing. I thought to myself, “They are about to hear a better message.” As I was preaching the gospel, one of the Muslim girls started to cry. She was hearing a better message - a message of love and hope, a message that changes lives. When the invitation was given, both Muslim girls accepted Jesus as Lord. “For God so loved,” is the best message ever told.

I don't really know what to say here. This story seems kind of unbelievable, but assuming it's true, I guess these girls went home and told their parents that they would no longer be wearing hijab or subscribing to any other inferior-messaged mumbo-jumbo. And I'm sure their parents were like, "That's cool."

5) Courtney S.: One morning, I went to a high school with 1,200 students (…)
While I was speaking, I noticed a boy in a wheelchair. After I finished, the principal
took the microphone and spoke to the students in Tagalog. I walked over to the boy in the wheelchair and found out that he put his trust in Jesus! (...)

And afterward, she ran around to her missionary friends, shouting, "I got a wheelchair one! I got a wheelchair one! Double points!"

Speaking of weird wheelchair fixations, here's Peter Tebow (Tim's older brother):

4) One day, I was preaching at a small elementary school when I noticed a young boy who had to be carried in a makeshift wheelchair because he didn't have the function of his arms or legs. I got to the part in the message where I asked if anyone wanted to put their trust in Christ, and he almost fell out of his chair because he was trying so hard to raise his hand. After the message, I approached him and told him that he would have a perfect body when we got to heaven and that we would have lots of fun.

Man. That's what you told him? Man. I'm not a very politically-correct person, really. But man. You looked at that kid and all you saw was the disability. Then you dangled in front of that little kid the notion of a perfect, functioning body in heaven in exchange for his faith. And then you said you'd have "lots of fun" in heaven, presumably by doing active things like throwing a frisbee across clouds or something. Man.

I like to imagine a heaven where Peter Tebow comes bounding up to the pearly gates in Under Armour, all pumped to just play sports for all eternity, and then God is like, "Hey Peter, do you remember Isaiah 40:4?" And Peter's like, "Sure thing, God! 'Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low,'" and right when he says "low," God goes, "Bam, dickhead!" and Peter loses the function of his arms and legs and has to watch former wheelchair kids do cartwheels for ten years, then run up to him and say that his body will be perfect someday in MegaHeaven. And Peter Tebow will know deep down that MegaHeaven doesn't exist, and he'll cry and cry and cry. That's what I like to imagine. That and What if I were Spider-Man.

3) Angela L.: While playing basketball one afternoon, I met a young man. Through small talk, I found out he was Catholic. I wanted to explain the good news, and before we left, I got the chance. I took a friend with me, and we were able to explain the love of Jesus. He asked Jesus to come into his heart and to be his Lord and Savior!

My word, a Catholic! I've heard of this tribe! Let me tell it of Jesus and His exploits, that this primitive beast might be saved from its flesh-eating ways! But I fear this is a task that cannot be undertaken alone, for the Catholic is not, under any circumstances, to be trusted in a one-on-one situation, lest you find yourself sacrificed at the altar of the Kennedys in hopes of a bountiful potato harvest!

2) James H.: It is an amazing feeling to preach the Gospel and see most of the people place their trust in Christ. I long for the day in heaven when I will see tens of thousands of Filipinos with tears of joy rolling down their faces saying,“Thank you, James, thank you.”

I am not a Bible expert, but I feel like James might not be getting into preaching for the right reasons.

#1 By A Million Miles) Ben R.: As I shared at a school, the roar of the rain on the tin roof was hard to talk over. Out of the crowd came the face of a first grader, who was seemingly innocent but inherently sinful. She cried as I explained sin and the punishment we all deserve. I had nothing to comfort her with on my own; so, I shared the grace of God. It is incredible how God used our feeble English presentations to extend his grace and glory to the uttermost.

This made my brain melt. This is horrifying. This guy scanned the crowd like RoboCop, locked his '80s-graphics crosshairs on a six-year-old girl, and SINNER: CONVERT flashed across his field of vision in big green block letters. So he busted out the most kid-friendly conversion method in his arsenal: describing the eternal damnation in a sea of hellfire that we all, as sinful humans, inherently deserve. And then she cried because she is a child, and children tend to cry when threatened by adult assholes. I guess she stopped crying when he shared God's Hell-Evading Rocketship Of Grace, even though he never actually says that she seemed to feel better, and it seems like he would mention it if she did. Pretty much, he sliced someone open for no good reason, then clumsily stitched up the wound he created, then said something crazy about God's glory. Amen.

...All of which is to say that I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around why people believe the things they believe. I really don't want to hate anybody in a world where I'm not sure to what extent people ultimately have control over how they see things, but I still have to say that whatever crazy interplay of circumstance and brain chemistry and generational conditioning led to the modern Evangelical Christian movement...that interplay is a dumbass.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"I want the truth!" / "You can't handle life's responsibilities!"

As a frequent walker of the 16th Street Mall in Denver, I've naturally witnessed my fair share of change-centric interactions between the homeless and the homed, and for the most part they are surprisingly respectful on both ends. Sure, most of the homed do the cursory pocket-pat for change they very likely have, followed by "Sorry, I don't have anything," but you can't give to everyone, and at least they're not being assholes about it. And plenty of people do stop and give something, which will typically prompt the homeless person to say "God bless you" as a kind of metaphysical receipt for the kind gesture (a receipt which can presumably be used as a tax write-off in front of Jesus someday to counteract the time you accidentally made the toilet overflow in that bookstore and then just ran away like some cowardly, plumbing-destroying bioterrorist). It might not sound all that heartwarming, but considering that I've heard the following interaction between a Greenpeace canvasser and a guy walking the Mall...:

Greenpeace Canvasser:  Hey, bro, can you stop and chat for a minute?
Guy Walking the Mall: Go fuck yourself.

...I'll take it.

Generally, I give my change away freely, not only because I know I don't need it as much as the other guy, but also because I don't fucking want it. I hate change. I hate the jingle every time you step, and how it makes your hand smell all metallic every time you reach into your pockets, and how it always finds a way to trickle out any time your legs aren't at a 90-degree angle to the ground. I'll sometimes give a few dollars when I have cash, but I'll give all of my change every time. I would give my change to a serial killer and think afterward, "Serves him right."

So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I - fresh off of giving a guy the remainder of my change on my way to lunch - was approached on my way back by a different guy, asking if I could spare something for the bus. "Sorry, man. I just gave all my change to someone across the street," I said, pointing in the general direction of my earlier benevolence. Foolishly expecting this to be the end of the interaction, I started to walk away. Then, behind me, I heard an accusatory "Where? Where?", and I turned around to find the homeless guy surveying the area to which I had just pointed, looking for a panhandler he obviously presumed to be fictional. "I don't see him. Where is he?" And I will grant him this: the other guy wasn't there anymore - a fact which to him seemed akin to catching me contradicting myself on the witness stand. If he had suspenders he would have been tugging on them and rocking back on his heels, but he settled for the kind of supercilious smirk that you rarely see on a homeless dude. I wanted to point out to him that human beings are not typically bolted down like mailboxes, and are in fact capable of a good deal of movement in a ten minute span; or that it's pretty audacious for a guy who just used the old "for the bus" line to call ME a liar; or to maybe just pull out my pockets and show him my empty wallet for his edification. But then I realized that I was about to flout one of the absolute truths of life: it is never worth it to argue with someone who has fewer teeth than you have fingers. So I just walked away. And in case this story makes you think that I behaved like an adult, you should know that later on I wondered whether he was off somewhere telling this story to his friend and making me sound like some colossal dickhead whom he put in his place for being a liar. Then I imagined that his friend was a dirty mop in an alley. Which is kind of a mean thing to think, because mops are very bad listeners.

Friday, December 04, 2009


The other day, for the first time in years, I found myself walking alongside a particular wooden fence that I used to pass every day on my way to elementary school. And before I even realized what I was doing, I started to give that fence a super-wide berth, and I found my steps picking up a little bit, and my heart started beating a little bit faster. Because years ago, friends, that rickety assemblage of crappy Home Depot wood was the only thing that stood between me and a gruesome death-by-dogjaws.

If you walk by enough fences in your life, you pretty quickly build up an immunity to the feckless posturing of people's pets. For the most part, the murderer has been bred out of pet dogs, and you just know that once you get past the fence they nod their adorable widdle heads in self-approval at the inspired performance they just gave, lick for a few seconds the area where their nutsacks used to be, and trot back inside to get a hard-earned bellyrub and eat some food from their prissy, fire-hydrant-shaped bowls.

But not this dog. No one could love this dog. This dog was Hannibal Lecter, and his owners probably trapped him back there through some last-resort magic spell designed to restrain the abominations that we create but can't ever destroy. This dog longed to murder the outside world, and settled in the meantime for sodomizing any rabbits or raccoons that were dumb enough to wander into his accursed domain at night. But I just knew what the real prize was, and it was me. Then the world.

Anyway, every day for 50 feet of my walk home this dog would just go insane on that fence - barking and growling and snarling and baring his teeth through the wood's numerous knotholes, sprinting back and forth looking for some opening he might have missed the last thousand times he looked, knowing that if only he could find it, he could finally eat me and sprint down the street in freedom, frothing at the bloody mouth. And for the last 10 feet of fence, when he knew that I was about to be out of his jurisdiction, he would get even more frenzied and resort to just straight trying to knock the fence down, running up and kind of jumping into it, standing on his hind legs and pushing. And goddammit if every day that fence didn't wobble a little more. Of course, I imputed method to his madness. I pictured him toiling purposefully for years in anticipation of a future that must have initially seemed light-years away, like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption (I was a cultured little kid to think of this reference, especially because the movie wasn't out yet). I pictured him in a lab coat running leverage tests and shit, and circling the day on his calendar that all of his hard work would finally spring him from his penury. And then I imagined that he would plan to make it happen at the most fortuitous moment of that day, and that naturally he would choose the time when I was walking home from school playing with the yo-yo I bought at the assembly. He would just sit there calmly like an asshole of a dog statue while all the other kids went by. He would nod at the other kids, as if to say "Carry on." And when it was just me he'd topple the fence in one swift motion and tear me asunder, taking my tibia as a trophy to hang on his mantle in Mexico. And I was not Benny the Jet. I would not be able pickle the beast.

I can safely say from the adult world that it was kind of a quaint fear, at least compared to my current concerns, which include getting health insurance, figuring out what to do with my life, the ethical implications of accepting any comfort in a world where kwashiorkor is a thing, and Sarah Palin. But at 6 or 7 years old or whatever, worrying about being killed by a fenced-off dog actually represented a firm step in the direction of reality for me. Other items that would have appeared on a Threatdown in my early childhood:

1) The Jibboo

Of all the things you might think a child should be afraid of, I am guessing that a Dr. Seuss drawing would be in your bottom 5, and creepy pedophiles in the top 1. Enter cognitive dissonance, care of the Jibboo from Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!:

I think you'll agree that the Jibboo is not one of Dr. Seuss' more lovable characters. Sure, the friendly wave says "You can trust me," but the fact that it comes from a horrible shadowy birdthing wandering the barren streets at night effectively finishes that statement with "to touch your butthole." And the marks in the dirt behind his feet suggest to me that he has been dragging them, possibly due to the exhaustion of a long journey undertaken to beat the rap in some far away prosaic land. Here, he has stumbled upon an uncorrupted, whimsical Seussian utopia to which he doesn't belong, and that little kid knows it. And that little kid was me. When my parents used to read me this book, I would apparently scream at them in a panic to skip the Jibboo page (and it is just this one page - Seuss never offers an actual answer to the question). I will leave it up to you to decide whether that made me a sissy or a smart kid. But keep in mind before you answer that throughout my childhood I never got molested even once. Would this have been so if Dr. Seuss hadn't implied that you should never to talk to birdthings? Something to think about. So what would YOU do if you met a Jibboo? My advice, then and now: Fucking run.

(And luckily, my parents never sat me down and took me through Dr. Seuss' political cartoons, because this springmonster would have kept me up for weeks:


2.  Deinonychus

What is Deinonychus, you ask? Take it away, "Wee Sing Dinosaurs" lyrics that triggered my fear!:

One of the most fearsome hunters
Wasn’t big at all,
He measured close to ten feet long
And only five feet tall.

CHORUS (forebodingly, guys)
With his powerful jaw,
With his terrible claw.

Stalking quickly through the woods,
He hunted with a pack,
When they spied a likely foe,
They’d race to the attack.


Here is Deinonychus engaging in dinosaur parkour. His mouth is open like he is roaring. It is of course impossible for people to determine for sure what color dinosaurs were, or what their voices sounded like, but to me this drawing suggests that Deinonychus' roar sounded like the opening scream from "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who.

Oh, but once upon a time Deinonychus scared the shit out of me, or at least that song did (the Deinonychus one, not The Who. Though speaking of pedophiles...). Which is admittedly very stupid, because even the dumbest little kids with the worst kind of irresponsible parents know that dinosaurs haven't roamed the earth for like 5,000 years, ever since they obstinately refused Noah's efforts to get them all on the boat. You can blame Noah if you want, but you just can't help a superorder that doesn't want to help itself, and dinosaurs were the Amy Winehouse of superorders.

I think the phrase "terrible claw" is what got me, though, because are there really two scarier words to put together? In fact, "terrible claw" is what "Deinonychus" means in Greek, which is much cooler and scarier than, say, what "Hadrosaur" means ("sad existentialist duckbilled pussy").

                  This is the "The Thinker" of dinosaur art. Suck it, Rodin.

 If you're anything like me, you have by now wondered what it would be like to live in a world with Deinonychus. And thankfully, Wikipedia has a size chart that captures approximately how it would go:

Man: (jolly, Flanders-like) Oh, hey there Deinonychus. How's Brenda?
Deinonychus: (opening scream from "Won't Get Fooled Again," dashes forward)
Man: Well, I had a good run.

3. Bees

Actually, I guess this one is reasonable enough. But it's pretty rare that you can pinpoint the exact moment a fear developed, and I can do that with bees. I have a vivid memory of being in preschool in Ft. Meade, Maryland, and our class was doing the bees unit. And somewhere in the course of the unit, my teacher, Mrs. Dennison, made a point to tell me that bees are attracted to the color yellow, and by extension they are attracted to blondes: a dubious claim that I still don't know the truth of (though it would be funny if all bees are always having mid-life crises and chasing blondes), but one which nevertheless made me paranoid about bees for years until one day in my early 20s when I suddenly realized that I am at least 6 times their size (and also that life IS pain, and bees are the smallest of the small-time merchants, trading in a particularly fleeting and meaningless brand, y'know?). But still, there are times when any given bee will freak me out and I'll make some goofy noise and run away as if I'm doing it to be funny and over-the-top when in fact I'm doing it out of self-preservation and terror.

At first when I thought about it, I concluded that Mrs. Dennison was a horrible crone for messing with me like this, in spite of the fact that she gave us all seashells on the first day of school, and seashells are awesome. Then I remembered a few things from my preschool report card:

"Shawn is going through a fisticuffs time. He needs better negotiating skills."

"Shawn has trouble with rules. He sometimes thinks they are for 'the other kids' (his words). Therefore [they] don't apply to him. He forgets and acts on impulse."

 And I remember a few times during recess or whatever when I was forced to sit in a chalk circle that she would exasperatedly draw on the ground because I was being an asshole to the other kids. In other words, I was the terrible person. I apparently tormented this woman and her class, and she probably used bees to give me some small measure of comeuppance. And I respect that. After all, I can't say that I am unhappy that bees supposedly die when they sting you, or that Deinonychus is extinct, or that the Jibboo is serving consecutive life sentences in a prison for imaginary pedophile birds no one cares about anymore. They are jerks, and that's what they get. And do you know how the dog story ends? I took a few steps away from the fence, then realized that there was no barking from which to recoil. Then I felt this weird, swelling sense of triumph. Because in that moment, I realized that though it may suck getting older and having less-fun fears and such, at least time also killed that fucking dog for me.

What an asshole.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Validation, Or Why Paying Downtown Parking Prices Is Worth It

Here is an annotated timeline of my Denver-to-Aurora lightrail trip yesterday:

6 PM: I finish work and wander out of the building, taking my time to chat with coworkers about various inanities, because I am both affable and collegial.

6:07 PM: I get on the crowded 16th St. MallRide.

6:12 PM: The MallRide creeps up on the Stout St. Station, stopping at every block like your tiny-bladdered, biodiesel-powered grandfather on a roadtrip. I am a little nervous, because the H-Line leaves at 6:14, and if I miss this one I have to wait 15 minutes in the cold for the next one, which will cause me to miss my bus when I get off at Nine Mile, which will in turn relegate me to another hour in the cold. I dislike the cold. I lament the fact that I have a long-standing policy to never again run to catch buses and trains and stuff - a policy I adopted because I hate the feeling you get when you run and still don't make it, when you're left standing there like an asshole and everyone around you knows they just saw you fail at something you wanted, and they get to sip that delicious pity/schadenfreude cocktail on your dime. And that is one cocktail I will not fucking spring for. No sir. Not me. Also, I have always thought that there is just an inherent sadness to running for the bus/lightrail, because when it boils down to it you are sprinting like an action hero just to get on a dank, smelly thing that will get you to your job as an insurance underwriter on time. I will gladly run to get on a rocketship to the moon. But not for the bus or the lightrail. Unless they are going to the moon.

6:14 PM: The MallRide finally gets to the Stout St. Station, and I see my H-Line to Nine Mile already sitting there, looking antsy to depart. Fuck. I get off the bus and sprint across the street like a dirty hypocrite, showing the congregated panhandling homeless what pathetic desperation really looks like. I pull out an express pass as I run, planning to turn this lame betrayal of my principles into a cool-looking win. I will slip the ticket in the validator in one magnificent thrust and bolt inside the closing doors like a deadline-conquering megachampion. (Oh, hyphenated adjectives.) But of course we all know that even the coolest-laid plans are foiled by the goddamn validator. So I end up standing there trying frantically to get this little piece of asshole paper stamped as the train doors start their customary "It's go time, bitches" beeping. I feel retarded, but to be fair it's like if at the end of the 100 meter hurdles, every runner has to pull out a wrinkled up dollar and get a vending machine to take it in order to win. Shit gets hard. This simple motherfucking thing all of a sudden feels like trying to slide a brick under a door. Having already abandoned my plan to be the awesomest lameass in the history of running to catch things, I figure I might as well abandon the desire to be a dignified adult who rides legally. I take a few hard steps, shove my hand between the closing doors, and trudge up the stairs. I am a stupid out-of-shape freeloader. I briefly think about how much we implicitly trust door-sensor technology, to the extent that we go around shoving our hands inside things that would fuck us up if the sensor were broken. I picture the lightrail dragging me by the arm screaming into a wall. In the outside world, which is thankfully not subjected to the stupid things I think about, the automated female voice reminds everyone to get away from the doors so the train can depart, and I know that she is talking about me. I plop down next to some lady who probably saw my whole sad ordeal. We leave.

6:16 PM: We pull up at the Convention Center Station, the only station on the route where the automated voice says "Remember, you must have a valid ticket, transfer, or pass." I get paranoid that the enforcement dudes are going to get on and embarrass me. I'll be sitting there talking to some pudgy 50-year-old guy in a fake cop uniform, trying to explain how I really tried to validate my pass, but the train was leaving, and I couldn't miss this lightrail - not again. Not for you, not for anybody. I will show him my blank pass, and try to reason with him that I wouldn't carry one of these around and not validate it. That would be dumb, man. I will tell him it's cold outside. I will start crying and ask him what he would do if I were his son. And he will give me a ticket and kick me off the lightrail because he doesn't talk to his son anymore because his son is "a homo". And everyone on the lightrail will be whispering about me, judging me, with their fucking laminated monthly hologrammed passes that you don't ever have to validate. Then they'll get home and have beef stroganoff and tell their spouses over dinner how some guy got caught without a ticket on the lightrail today and wept like a girl. I can't handle this. I will not be the "Oh, something actually happened today that was different from my affair-inducing day-to-day drudgery" story. So I decide to do something about it. I bolt the train as soon as the doors open, looking left and right and left for the green glow of the validator thingies. I see one that's kind of far away, and I start to sprint for it. But I hear the beeping start, and I realize that I have no shot. I hop back on, defeated, dodging the doors exaggeratedly as if they're picking on me. I am now on the next car over. This time, I just stand in the doorway, muttering to myself and waiting for my next shot.

6:19 PM: Colfax at Auraria Station. The busiest stop. Lots of commuter students, and it'll take them a minute to get on. This is it. I bolt again, running down the line, weaving through sane people and looking for the goddamn validators. I don't see them. I get like 100 feet from the lightrail, whipping around in circles. I mutter "Where the fuck?" three or four times. The doors beep. I turn and run again, catching them and prying them open like I am strong. But I am not strong. I am weak and sad. I am also in the same car I started on. A few people seem to notice that I have now sprinted up and gotten on their train twice within three stops. I hope they just think I'm really fast.

6:25 PM: Self-loathing. I ask myself why I even care if I get caught. It's probably 50 dollars. I don't really care about money. And RTD inexplicably does not check tickets very often, in my experience. So my main concern really is what these people would think of me on the off chance that I got caught. These people. These coughing, sniffling, dead-eyed people. Why? I decide to abandon my original quest for validation (deep double-meaning alert!) and just look around for anyone who stands out and makes me less bummed that I'm concerned about what everyone thinks of me. There is a serious, distinguished-looking old man in a suit and tie writing something in a notebook. There's a guy whose respect it might be reasonable to give a shit about! I really want to ask him what he is writing, but I am not really a talk-to-strangers type of guy. But still: Is he one of those people who writes a daily poem or something on the lightrail? Is it about me? A haiku? Can he capture the universality of my predicament in 17 syllables?

Or iambic pentameter?

But I never ask him, so I'll never know, and I'll never talk my way into a surprise internship with JP Morgan Chase, and I'll never get to date his granddaughter if he has one. That's what I get.

Also around me are two college-aged Asian girls with designer bags and rhinestone-peppered cell phones. Their conversation flits between how guys who wear pants for multiple days in a row need to make sure they wear underwear or the pants will smell disgusting, and an in-depth discussion of Tiger Woods (his wife: "pretty hot"; mistress: "ugly skank"). They laugh a lot. I get off at the next stop and walk one car over again. When I get on, I see a woman I saw earlier. She chuckles at me. I wonder how much she knows, and whether she can be trusted.

6:44 PM: It's been a while now since I actually got off the lightrail seeking the elusive validators, but I've still been looking out the window at each stop, just in case I might be able to see one, or at the very least catch a glimpse of the RTD cop waiting at a station, allowing me to step off as he got on. But at Southmoor, I finally see my chance. The validator is 10 feet from the door, glowing a friendly green. I take a deep breath and step off. I walk over, slide my pass in, hear the telltale beep, and stroll back aboard with a newfound sense of belonging and ownership. I am finally legal. I have my green card. No show today, assholes. I am valid.

6:47 PM: Regret. I made it all this way, then I validated my ticket two stops from Nine Mile? I'm such a pussy.

Conclusion: I am incapable of being happy with myself. But maybe someday, blah blah blah, find the kind of validation that lasts. The End.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Thing About Simplicity Is DORDORDOR!

The other day, I overheard a conversation that included this snippet:

Guy: The women run the show here, dude. Everyone in charge is a woman, except for Robert. And Robert is a fag, so he's basically a woman, too, y'know?

So Guy posits here that one's true gender is basically reducible to one's sexual preference: if you have sex with men, then you are a woman (and vice-versa, presumably). And I think you'll admit that it's both a hilarious joke AND a pretty persuasive argument. Because gay men sometimes have high voices and love shopping! You can't debate that! Sure, it would be a different story if gender were about something more than the kind of genitalia a person prefers to play with. I mean, if you're one of those people who says shit like, um, "Gender is an unfathomably complex bundle of nuanced behaviors and motivations and thoughts and desires governed by what must be millions of constantly-shifting little rules, some of which govern us and compel us without our knowledge or conscious consent - just ingrained somewhere in the tens of billions of interconnecting and alternately-firing neurons that make up our brains - while other rules are borne out of the brain's insane ability to be simultaneously capable of adjusting on the fly throughout life - of adapting to the circumstances into which that individual brain is born and raised, sometimes accepting circumstance as immutable law in an effort to just get by in this world, other times thinking critically about whether the herd is going in the right direction, and at every second determining what a man/woman/person is and isn't, and what they should and shouldn't be. It's this crazy, always-changing process - an interplay between being bound by our biological encoding to be a certain way, and empowered by that encoding to choose who we want to be, and what it means to be male or female, and what the importance is of these lines that we are continually compelled to draw in the sand..." if you're one of those people, then you might think that gender is more than the junk-diddling thing I was talking about 700 words ago. But if you're one those people, you're gay and wrong and shut up.

But then I was thinking about it for a second, and I was like, "Wait. But if anyone who has sex with men is basically a woman, then whenever a man has sex with a man, they are each having sex with a 'woman.' And if they're each having sex with a woman, then that makes them both men again. But if a man has sex with a man, he is having sex with a 'woman,' so he's a man. And so on into infinity! Man! Woman! Man! Woman! Infinity!" Then I imagined two people having sex and constantly shapeshifting between male and female forms, and I thought it could be like a trippy screensaver. Then I got angry. Then I got aroused. Then I got angry. Then my head started hurting, and I realized that we live in a breathtakingly complex world, and it's easier/better to just call gay people fags, kick them out of my gender, and move on.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Hey, ghouls and 'goyles! Also, hello to the guys and girls. Happy Halloween! What are you going to be tonight? A girl in a Women's Studies class I was in once posited that everyone goes as themselves on Halloween. It's a provocative point, and one that seems trenchant (or at least amusing) in the context of cross-dressing frat boys in which it was made, but I just can't for the life of me figure out how to expand the theory to apply to the guy who shows up as an M&M. I don't really like most people very much, but I am willing to give M&M guy the benefit of the doubt on this one, that there is more inside his soul than a peanut.

In case not doing it will cause something terrible to happen to those they love, some people brush their teeth for exactly 123 seconds. And similarly, in case you were wondering, my favorite Halloween (in retrospect) is when I was four or five years old. I went as a hobo (Correction: No I didn't. See below.), because there is really nothing funnier than dirty homeless urchin children. But that isn't what was most awesome about it. Nate went as a pirate, complete with an eyepatch, skull-and-crossbones hat, and painted-on mustache. Obviously we cut a fucking adorable figure, but as the night wore on, it became apparent that Nate was struggling. He was stumbling around the entire time and falling repeatedly - and not in some precocious attempt to portray a pirate loaded up on mead and opium because he wants to forget the treachery of the sea. My Dad was obviously perplexed, but when we got home Nate was fine, and my parents just chalked it up to some combination of the dark night and the lack of depth perception with the eyepatch and general fatigue from walking around with short little 2-year-old legs. It was only a few years later, at Nate's first eye exam, that my parents learned that Nate had, and probably always had, like 20-500 vision or something in his right eye, and was walking around that night with an eyepatch over his left eye, blind as a blind pirate's blind parrot's devotion. Which is just hilarious to me. I guess my parents kicked themselves for missing it at the time, but hindsight never wears an eyepatch.

Left: Nate as a fearsome 3-foot-tall blind pirate. I imagine that he tells all the other pirates that he puts the patch over the eye that works just to give the sorry scurvy dogs a fighting chance. Then he kills them anyway. Right: Me as a fearsome 3-and-1/2-foot-tall hobo wearing man-sized clothes and a fedora. I have retroactively named this character Basement Mraz. Also, when I went to get these pictures, I discovered that I actually went as a clown the Halloween Nate was a pirate. But I really don't want pictures of me as a clown out in the world, no matter the age or circumstances. A vagrant I can deal with, especially since I'll probably be one for real someday. If you want pictures of me as a clown then you'll either have to steal mine or drug me and dress me up as one. But let's be honest: you don't give a shit about it.

I will admit, though, that it's been at least a decade since Halloween was my kind of holiday. After retiring from trick-or-treating at the reasonable age of 13, I for years looked down upon the postpubescent dipshits who tossed on half-assed costumes and ran around the neighborhood carrying pillowcases, just daring adults who were shorter than they were to deny them their fun-sized Twix bars. It was just weird to see teenagers - who otherwise devote so much time to looking cool and independent - willfully engaging in an activity in which they must roam the streets surrounded by mommies and daddies shepherding their snot-costumed kids from house to house to obesity. And I hated that the teenagers would travel in packs and laugh their Jimbo Jones laughs like they were only doing it to be hilarious and ironic. Pretend all you want, but you and I both know, motherfucker, that when you get home tonight you're going to pour out that pillowcase on your bed and sort the contents just like you did when you were eight years old: full-sized vs. fun-sized; chocolate vs. non-; Snickers over here, Butterfingers here, Spree over there, Good 'N' Plenty in the trash. So come on. Give me a break. (Give me a break. Break me off a piece of that BULLSHIT. Boom.)

But recently I've softened my stance, as two simple facts of life have become more clear (or at least relevant) to me: kids can wring happiness out of almost any situation, and adults out of almost nothing. If Halloween were set up just to maximize everyone's general happiness above baseline levels, the kids would be handing shit out to adults - candy or chocolate liqueur or coupons for free haircuts or whatever it is that might help them to forget their day-to-day miseries and feel, for at least a few hours, that life is something more than a cruel vitality sieve. And if the kids feel left out, the adults can just throw them an ill-conceived party the next day, and they'll dig it. Because these are the same people who can pump pure distilled joy out of shit like finding eggs hidden under couch cushions or going to Casa Bonita or driving through the car wash. They will make it work. So it's cool, Halloween. Just because I got an irreversible Halloween vasectomy doesn't mean that the postpubecent shouldn't be able to use you as an excuse to make some funbabies. Or real babies. Or punch.

So Happy Halloween to all - M&Ms and Eminems and slutty RNs and slutty M&Ms alike (I'm looking at you, green one!).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why Dicking Around On YouTube Is Justifiable

Hey guys. Sorry I haven't been around much. I've been killing myself trying to get this guy to let me be his agent:

Can you say, "Voice of a generation"? This has like 32 views, and five of them are me. It should be viral. THINK people, THINK!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Template, Same Bullshit

After over three years of lighting up the blogosphere at a blistering rate of one little-seen post every three weeks, I have decided it's time to mix things up a little bit. I've actually been meaning to change my template for a year or so - an interval that a scientist might call "A fraction of a microsecond in terms of geologic time," but that normalfolk call "A super-long time to put something off that takes 5 minutes to do." I think deep down I am hoping that renovating my blog will inspire me to write more, like a husband who buys his aging wife breast implants in hopes of maybe being able to achieve a natural erection in her presence.

Whether this comes to fruition or not, I cannot say. But the template switch has already paid dividends for me in the real world: You see, it felt so good to cross something off my Inconsequential To-Do List that I just went ahead and did something else - something much more important than a two-bit blog update or a hacky banner. Today, after several years of hemming, hawing, and foot-dragging, I finally threw away the pair of boxers that my penis always slips out of.

It's been a long, checkered journey for me and my short, checkered pair of Hanes 34-36 waist boxers. From the day they came out of the package, my package came out of them with disturbing frequency, the slightest movement causing a penis jailbreak through the shorts' canyonesque, apparently defective front flap, forcing me to readjust covertly so often that anyone paying close attention would think me incapable of going ten minutes without fondling myself. Don't get me wrong: I'm all about giving my penis a sporting chance to break free, but I was tired of my boxers making my junk look like the Harry Houdini of genitalia.

Eventually, I dropped the boxers from my rotation, relegating their Adam Eaton-style implosions to mostly long-relief and mop-up duty. But since I am an idiot who never does laundry until he's out of clothes, the boxers kept getting spot-starts. And unlike my penis they never, ever came through. I'm sure they would blame their slipshod performance on being out of practice, but look at the stats and face facts, man: you have always sucked, and I'm in the playoff hunt. And so it is that today, August 30th, 2009, I grant my worst-performing boxers their unconditional release. I wish them all the best, and hopefully they'll be rescued off the garbage heap and latch on with a hobo in rebuilding mode.

Here's to change!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Twitter Post 2: The Fallout

As a result of my last post, I now have two followers on Twitter. Let's meet them:

Follower #1

Name: Ryan Garde

Dossier: One of my best friends and a fellow Dervish (who drove in the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the last inning on Sunday in our colossal Battle of the 10-0 teams, paving the way for an epic extra-innings victory that I might write about in the next few days if I feel like it. And he's single, ladies!). Enjoys cars, golf, Chipotle, Derving like it's 1999.

How he came to follow me on Twitter: This very blog.

Picture on his Twitter Profile: A parasailer. Parasailer may or may not be Ryan. I will ask him.

Follower #2

Name: rimming__guy

I don't know the gentleman, but according to his Twitter Bio his interests include "gay porn," "gay porno" (BIG difference), and being sent gay porn/o. And one of his tweets informs me that he is "hung and looking".

How he came to follow me on Twitter: Not sure, but if I had to guess I'd say it has something to do with the fact that I wrote a tweet for my last post that said "Having gay sex!!!!" Just a hunch.

Picture on his Twitter Profile: A man fellating another man. (Warning: Link contains...guess.) Unclear whether rimming__guy is the fellator, the fellatee, the cameraman, or none of the above. I will not be asking.

Welcome, both of you!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

@everyone: Hi!

Here is a list of the three things that I think probably suck the most about getting old:

1. You get wrinkles (Yuck!)
2. Your hair goes gray or falls out (Icky!)
3. The world around you slowly-but-definitely turns into something you neither recognize nor approve of nor have the time, energy or desire to try to understand - a strange, throbbing abomination ruled (at least culturally) by a younger generation that seems to you morally bankrupt and dismissive of its elders. It is as if the very ground you walk on slowly tilts downward, shifting incrementally over time from a very slight decline into a difficult-to-manage slope that at any moment could (and inevitably will) become a freefall from existence, as if time knows life's nature and seeks to expel you from a world that is no longer yours.

In no particular order. Going bald is probably the worst. Sunburns on the top of your head? Ouch!

I am 24, and I already find myself waging an internal war against the dickish old fogey that I know is lurking somewhere inside me, overmatched and largely-dormant for now, only occasionally rearing his liver-spotted head to curtly dismiss a new fad or ask some teenagers a series of inane questions about how XBox Live works, slipping in anecdotes about how he played paleolithic online games like NFL 2K1 on the Sega Dreamcast using a 50-foot phone cord to take advantage of its 56k connection and dealing with the 2-second lag between flicking his finger and seeing Marshall Faulk execute the move on the screen. But just about the time the kids are resolving to egg his/my birdfeeder later that night, I overpower him and right the ship by showing them a viral video. Still, his occasional appearances remind me he's always there, reading Harper's and whittling, biding his time, and that the balance of power is always shifting in his direction, and eventually he'll be all that's left. Until he/we are dead.

And that is why I recently joined Twitter. Because truth be told, my old fogey and I have always thought it was pretty dumb. "But isn't Twitter just a glorified facebook status update?," we'd ask/declare. And the young people would just scoff, the little pricks, the way we did years ago when people wondered how facebook (back when it was "," dagblastit) was any different than myspace. Or the way we heard people reacted to the notion of myspace with an incredulous laugh, saying "We don't need a website to tell us who our friends are! And we can keep track of them just fine with email, thanks!" Or the way we heard people say that people said people reacted to email, objecting to how impersonal it all was, saying that they much prefer to write letters, if it's all the same to you. All the way back to "No sentences. We rape." And further!

So, while I still can, before my inclinations crystallize into an insurmountable Great Wall of Codgerdom, I have decided to give Twitter a shot. And I have to admit, just from my first impression I can tell that it is not just like a facebook status update. It is different enough to justify its existence. If you don't believe me, ask me how on facebook or something and I'll tell you, you old bastard.

I'm not quite off the ground floor yet. As this blog has made it abundantly clear, I can't really be bothered to do much in the way of self-promotion or networking. And I haven't felt the need to follow anyone yet. I'm looking at it as a beta version, so I can work out all the kinks and "I just farted LOL"s before I actually have any followers. All of this means that I look like the loneliest bastard in the illustrious lonely bastard history of the internet. So no one was around to read 140-character nuggets like these:

Or so I thought. Check it out!
This guy digs what I'm laying down. The first thing you might notice about this fellow is that he is posing in front of the American flag. Or maybe you'll notice the cowboy hat. Or maybe you went straight for the words and you saw that he considers Barack Obama "the biggest Racist (CAPITAL R!) of all." Whatever the case, I hope you're with me when I say that my first impression of this gentleman is that he appears to be something of a dick. Here's his page:
I love my new friend. Reasons:

- Fighter jet tiled wallpaper!

-"Regan (sic) Conservative"

(Simple mnemonic device for spelling "Reagan":
otbeingabletospellthelastnameofthepatronsaintoftheirdouchebagparty. Try it!)

-"Supports Isreal (sic)"

(Simple mnemonic device for spelling "Israel": A before E, except after drinking paint.)

-"Ok i'm a Redneck"

(You are the world's foremost redneck. The Greek God of Rednecks. Your neck is burgundy.)

- Forwards messages like "Is this the smoking gun of Obama's Kenyan Birth?"

(Simple Answer: No. Longer Answer: Nope.)

- Fighter jet tiled wallpaper!!!

I think there is a strong chance that this guy added me because I facetiously said "I blame Obama" in one of my tweets (ugh), and he did a search for tweets containing the words "blame" and "Obama" together or something (maybe even the exact phrase "I blame Obama"), choosing indiscriminately to follow the writers of each hit he got. Maybe he even has some program rigged up to automatically follow people whose tweets meet his deranged criteria. I have no idea if that is even possible, because I am old. At any rate, I doubt he found me by searching for "This American Life." Though "Crunchwrap Supreme" is a possibility.

I thought it would be funny to start writing tweets like these until he deleted me:

But I'm an impatient man, so then I just blocked him. And now I have no friends again. But maybe the lesson here is that there are more important things than being popular. Like not being stupid. On that, my fogey and I can agree.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wherein I Demonstrate How Badly I Suck At Photoshop

I think I was built for highway driving. But not by some shithouse loser-ass American company. By Honda. If Honda made a machine that drives machines that drive on highways, I like to think that it would be a lot like me, but with a less-chiseled jawline. My ability to stay within the lane? Legendary. Those "You're going to die if you don't adjust!" grooves would have nothing to do if the highway were full of Mes. My endurance? Iditarodian. My bladder? Well let's just say I was walking by an oil tanker that moonlights as a CT scanner the other day, and HE was like, "God-Damn!". I saw a lot of tough-looking sumbitches drivin' them big rigs on my cross-country trip - dudes with laughable mullets and hunting-catalog outfits. And as I - a northerner without any questionable facial hair and with a penchant for conjugating correctly - passed them, there is no way they could have known that they were being passed (courteously and always on the left) by their future champion. I will be the Jeff Gordon of big rig drivers. They will adorn their rides with cartoons in which my call number receives a golden shower, but they will soon find out that I am unflappable - I will drink their metaphorical golden shower like it is lemon-lime Gatorade, and drive past them as they metaphorically vomit in disgust.

What's so great about highway driving, though, is that it masks my weaknesses. For instance, many of you know that I have the poorest sense of direction this side of a game of pin the tail on the donkey. If you were to drive me and a dog around randomly for an hour and then kick us out of the car, I would blindly follow the dog with my arms outstretched like a two-year-old until one of us got run over, and if it were him I'd start looking for the nearest place to make a new life for myself. But the highway is pretty straightforward. Take I-70 East for a thousand miles. Got it.

As you might have surmised if you have been paying very close attention, I just got back from a roadtrip - a whirlwind east coast jaunt with my Dad to attend Nate's graduation from Penn, and to bring him back to Colorado, whereupon he may Derv mightily. (Speaking of the Dervishes, we are 3-0 now, and have summarily ass-whipped every team we've played thus far. Bandwagon-hoppers, your time is now.) It was a good trip. When I think about all the shit we got done in one week - visiting with all of my grandparents, attending an Orioles-Royals game in Kansas City (on Ladies Night, no less. My attendance was a surprise treat for them) and a Rangers-Tigers game in Detroit (and witnessing my first live one-hitter. Fuck you, Michael Young.), and attending Nate's various graduation clusterfucks in Philadelphia, all sandwiched between a shitload of the highway driving for which I was maybe built by Honda - it really makes me appreciate what a week can be. As a gentleman who has on multiple occasions failed to put on pants for three straight days because it looks a little bit cloudy outside, an eventful trip like this one is both an edifying and a shaming experience. At any rate, here are a few thoughts I've had in the past week:

- I found out on this trip that the tired waitress schtick of mock-seriously denying customers some basic perquisite is not endemic to Colorado. I hate this schtick very much. Only one of these lines did not happen:

My Dad: Could I get another napkin?
Waitress: Nope. We're not allowed to give out extra napkins.
(Very Short Pause)
(A unicorn trots in and orders a black coffee)
Waitress: Haha! Did you see his face?
Me: (murders her)

- A 17-hour car ride with one other person presents a lot of opportunities for conversation and for silence, and I appreciate both. I especially like when a period of silence is so long that your thoughts can swim off in some random direction for twenty minutes, which is always hilarious when you come up for air. For instance:

Dad: Who is this (playing on my iPod)?
Me: This is Flight of the Conchords.

(20 minutes of silence)

Dad: Is it possible to extract DNA from bone marrow?


- And in case you don't have anything to talk or think about, the highway is littered with thinkpieces. For instance (I didn't take this picture, but I'm pretty sure this is the exact billboard I saw):

At first when I saw this I missed the point and was like, "Probably Cabo." Then I thought about it for a second, and I was like, "Well, wait. I'm dead. I don't think incorporeal souls can get tans. Or drunk. Can souls date? I mean, you always hear about 57-years-married Eunice and Herbert meeting up in heaven, but if you die single, can your soul mingle? Because Cabo would be no fun without the potential for intercourse. Souls don't seem to care. Souls are asexual creeps." Then I thought about it some more and I realized that this isn't one of those hypotheticals where you get to have fun choosing. This isn't graduating from Penn and having infinite possibilities. It's graduating from the Air Force Academy and wondering where your ass is being sent. So I thought a little bit about Thomas Aquinas and came to the following conclusion:

This sign is more direct (I didn't take this picture, either, but this sign is probably everywhere):

Actually, Christians pretty much dominated the pedantic billboard market across the Midwest. "Hell Is Real," "An Abortion Stops A Beating Heart," "Thank Your Mom For Not Aborting You" - the fuckers are everywhere. Rush Limbaugh loves to talk about the drive-by liberal media, but it only seems fair that the media lean left to balance the large and important drive-by billboard disparity. When I get rich by inventing a locker system for theme parks and zoos that is capable of transporting your items to any other same-numbered locker in the theme park/zoo (patent pending), I am going to combat this disparity. And yes, the billboards I put up will be hacky photoshop jobs, too. And they'll all have pictures strapped awkwardly on top.

- Do you know why Philadelphia is called the City of Brotherly Love? It's because that's what "Philadelphia" means in Greek. It certainly isn't because people in Philadelphia are nice to one another. Philadelphia is a miserable place, populated by miserable people who cannot get over their own misery long enough to treat each other with even a modicum of respect or common human decency. With the notable exception of the waitress I may or may not have murdered earlier in this trip/blog post (how do you know unicorns don't love coffee?), I am always effusively nice to strangers, and generally they are nice to me, so Philadelphia is a bit of a shock to the system. I'd imagine that spending a month or so there would be long enough to batter my spirit to the point that I would become one of them, and I suppose that's how the city stays so mean. Fuck that place...Maybe they've ruined me already.

- And you might assume that Ivy League parents would be relatively mature, thoughtful people, but Nate's graduation ceremony put the lie to that bullshit assumption you might have made. One guy in particular, every time someone with the last name "Hu" was announced, was cracking himself up by saying "Who?" and looking around expectantly, likely hoping that someone in the area was a talent scout or a voting member of the Comedy Hall of Fame. I was annoyed, but I'm probably a hypocrite to complain about him, since this billboard is the only one I could be bothered to take a picture of, and looking at it makes me laugh every time:

The Right Parts.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


The Tigers' Jim Leyland is my favorite manager.

To wit:

After all the day’s bad tidings, Leyland jumped at the chance to say something positive. When someone mentioned a recent published report that suggested Cabrera was out of shape, Leyland quickly came to his player’s defense.

“He looks great to me,” he said. “There’s no issue. He’s a big kid. To me, he’s perfect. Maybe shedding a little weight might be to his benefit, [but] I’ve seen too many people that are big guys like him, people say, ‘Oh, he’s too big,[’] they [expletive] lose weight and look like [expletive] Twiggy, and they’re not worth an [expletive].”

Three things:

1) You know Jim Leyland is awesome when he can drop two apparent Fuck-Bombs and one mystery expletive (more on that in a second) in one sentence and the reporter still deems the comment positive. The swearing is simply a non-issue because Jim Leyland could not say "fuck" more casually or often if his name were Bob Fuck and he were running for city council and he had just embarked on an exhaustive door-to-door effort to get his name out there because name recognition is everything if you want to unseat an incumbent as tenured as Cheryl Cunt. Which is a convoluted way of saying that Jim Leyland is cool. If Joe Torre gave this quote in response to questions about Jonathan Broxton's weight, reporters would be tripping all over each other to get the first "Torre (bristles/snaps/chafes/freaks out/plotzes) at question about reliever's weight" article out. I imagine them doing pratfalls trying to get to the rotary phones to call their editors, but I guess they'd just sit there and e-mail them.

2) I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what the last expletive is supposed to be. The first two are, as we've established, easy: "they fuckin' lose weight and look like fuckin' Twiggy". But "and they're not worth an ________" is perplexing. It turns out that not many common expletives begin with a vowel. Assfuck? Astrofuck? Otterdick? Invisichode? Nate suggests commonsensically that the reporter probably used "an" by accident in order to fit with the word "expletive," and this seems like a reasonable explanation. If this is the case, the most likely candidates are the old standbys "shit" and "fuck". I guess "damn" is also a possibility, but I'm ruling it out because I don't think it would warrant censorship. Anyway, I would root for "fuck" in this scenario to complete a pretty hilarious trifuckta. Or maybe he really said "invisichode". I dare to dream.

3) I honestly think that Jim Leyland should volunteer to talk to teenage girls with body image issues. I'm serious. At this point, people are desensitized to being told they're beautiful just the way they are, but I feel like Jim Leyland could get through. He should narrate Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" commercials.

Leyland: (voice-over) Fat? What the [expletive] are you talking about? Who told you that? Horse [expletive] Cosmopolitan? Those little [expletive] [expletives] wouldn't know [expletive] beauty if it [expletived] in their mouths. You want to look like those Twiggy little [expletives]? I wouldn't [expletive] those [expletives] if I had cancer of the [expletive] and my doctor told me my [expletive] had 24 hours left to [expletive]. [Expletive]! To me, you're perfect.