Friday, September 30, 2005

Breast Feeding Nazis 

As a husband and father, I have developed a new-found respect for mothers. Because mothers are damned if they breast feed, and mothers are damned if they don't breast feed. Allow me to explain.

Comments the breast feeding mother receives:
"Oh, I didn't even try that. It's gross."
"Doesn't that hurt?"
"Why are you doing that? Formula is just fine."
"You're STILL doing that? What, isn't he like six months old now? Oh, my God, you must be one of those weirdos."
"You can't work while breast feeding. You need to choose between your family and your job."

You see, there are two kinds of mothers -- the feeders and the formulators. And the formulators -- because of some, odd combination of societal pressure and inner consciousness -- feel this tremendous guilt over having not breast fed. And they relieve this guilt by criticizing anyone who decides to breast feed.

As a guy, I honestly don't see where these people are coming from. What's their bag? So they didn't breast feed? Big frickin deal. Why dump on everyone who does? Personally, I think all these people need to be gathered together, brought to an open field, and shot.

Comments the formulators receive:
"Don't you know the incredible health benefits of breast feeding?"
"You can become closer to your child this way."
"Why don't you at least try it?"
"Don't you know how expensive formula is?"

Some feeders are normal. Others are not. Others feel an exponential rise in self-righteousness, and they live to expose this to others, especially the formulators. Beyond the above comments, feeders are known to have uttered:

"You can't feed him with a bottle. Only the breast."
"Don't even let your husband feed with a bottle. I wouldn't let a bottle get between me and my baby while feeding."
"Breast feeding should be accepted anywhere. Women should be allowed to breast feed at any restaurant, park bench, department store, street corner or elevator."
"There is no limit on breast feeding. Some doctors say two years, but my six-year-old still loves his mommy's num-num."
"Breast feeding mothers should stop working. The child is the most important thing in the world. Work can wait until the child goes to college."
"Can you imagine what kind of world we would live in if only every woman breast fed her children?"

Obviously, these people are gonzo, bonkers, deep-end, 9 cigs short of a pack, and just plain wacky. I guess my outrage toward both the feeders and the formulators comes from -- why? Why is it anyone's business? Why can't everybody just shut up about everybody else's breasts. Let's all just leave the fucking breasts alone for a while. OK?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Feet on the air, Head in the ground . . . 

Mr. Rogers said today: "And did you know that each person you see has their own life story? I think that's just amazing. That all of us are different. We are all our own person. It's almost hard to imagine, isn't it?"

I agree with Fred. And I think the concept is too big. This is the only explanation I can reach for why people constantly carry on the same conversations. Same words. Different content. Same structure. Varying tone. Same conclusion.

I've never understood writers who can't write dialog. It's all I can write. Just think -- is that how people sound? Simple. In fact. That's how I'll finish my chapter tonight. Come home with some coffee and biscuits, sit down to the computer with the dog, open everything up, and have my characters talk their way through to the end.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Now That You Made Yourself 

My wife and I have an agreement that if I win a million dollars at something, I don't have to work ever again for the rest of my life, so help me, God. Given that I make, even with my new job, very, very little money-- STOP.

Let me just emphasize here: if you are reading this website, odds are you make more money than I make. So feel happy. Look up. The sun is shining upon you, for you can say: "I make more money than that poor, SOB. Oh, happy day!"

So. Even with the new job. Very little money. But enough to get by just fine. So basically, what I would do with my million dollars, after paying off all our debt, would be to take my current salary, multiply it by 1.5, and wah-lah! That's what we have to live on for the year! For the rest of my life. I would be dee-lighted with that.

Now is the time when I go to bed thinking about how I will win a million dollars at something.

True or False 

I once recited the Wayne's World conversation to a history professor, stating I was from Milwaukee, which is Algonquin for, "The Good Land," and she nodded her head seriously and said, "Oh, is that so? How interesting and knowledgeable you are."

I once spent an evening at a restaurant/bar, listening to some folkie guy sing and play guitar; while I was there, I befriended this group of people who were either friends with or engaged to the singer. As the night wore down, I decided I had to go. Things were winding down. So I told them I was going. Then I went. I took the back door to get back to my apartment and decided to take a leak in the alley. There was a big old trailer van there for cover . . . until all those people I hung out with came outside to jump into their van.

After following our installer's guidelines to dump a couple bottles of Drano down our new sink to get the drain working, we walked downstairs to the basement to find our metal pipes had softened . . . like wet paper. After calling the guy, he said, "Oh, yeah. That can happen."

Sometime before leaving for college, we were driving down North Avenue and passed RC's; my mom got all sentimental, saying it was a place she and my dad used to go to when they moved down here. I nodded, not telling her it was where the guys from Upper Crust recently took me for beers to break me in before college.

This kid will not stop crying.

I really like my new job, and I'm really happy at work. But I still don't want to go to work today.

"Don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

Saturday, September 24, 2005

11 Most Obvious Post-Hair Metal Album Titles 

After Nirvana and Pearl Jam brought quality back to the musical world, the hair-metal bands could either retire quietly with whatever cash and cocaine they'd earned . . . or they could trudge on. Here is the story, via their album titles, of those who trudged on. Faithfully presented in no order:

Warrant: Dog Eat Dog

Yep. After grunge, it was a dog-eat-dog world. And Warrant got eaten.

Cinderella: Still Climbing

Further down the charts, that is.

Skid Row: Thickskin

Ahhhhhhhh, not thick enough.

Tesla: Into the Now

All right, the title may not be great, but no one rips on Tesla. Not even me on my own website.

Twisted Sister: Still Hungry

I have no words for this. "Still hungry"? Look in the mirror. Take off your makeup.

Slaughter: Back to Reality

Sadly, the first stage is denial.

Nelson: Because They Can

I don't know if there was a worse hair band than Nelson.

Extreme: Waiting for the Punchline

And they're still waiting.

Quiet Riot: Alive and Well

Further evidence of denial.

Scorpions: Unbreakable

And after denial comes projection.

Danger Danger: Dawn

Yes, it was the dawn of a new day for Danger Danger -- the day the record company called and said, "Come and get your shit out of the studio."

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Weight is a Gift 

. . . is the title of the new Nada Surf album. It's right up there. What's struck me is how they've changed from their first record, which gave them one-hit-wonder status because of the single, "Popular". They've mellowed with each album. But the lyrics have also improved and they no longer sound like a garage band trying to grind out an easy melody as hard as they can because it's all they can do.

There's a guy I know who sends out a monthly "newsletter" -- we'll call him "Mean Joe" -- who should buy this album. He's been on some introspection-what-is-love kick. And he wrote this long explanation that eventually led to: "to find someone you love, you've gotta be someone you love". Well, he phrased it a little differently. The above quotation is the Nada Surf lyric that closely resembles Mean Joe's attitude.

I happen to not disagree with that sentiment; I just think there's a bit more to it, and again Nada Surf comes to the rescue with the final line of the first song -- "to find someone to love, you've gotta call your own bluff". That, to me, it much more important than the former lyric. But that's just me.

I've got another friend -- we'll call him Li'l Davy Lee -- who may like the album. We used to have a philosophy called "Fuck it". The essential idea of stated philosophy was a happy, drunken, untruthful version of nihilism. Good ol' Nada Surf comes through again in a song entitled "Blankest Year". Their lyric: "Oh, fuck it. I'm gonna have a party." And it's not so much the brilliant lyric that strikes me. It's that they harmonize to "Oh, fuck it." Yes. I can see this song not working for a lot of people. And that's OK. But to this listener, any band that decides to harmonize to my ethos . . . hat's off, boys.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lap Dog Lunacy 

I occasionally read Ain't it Cool News, Harry Knowles's film and TV site. It's a decent site, but brimming with opinion. And normally, I would be the first to say that's OK. But it appears Harry, who is getting into the industry as a producer, has been spending a lot of time with one of his idols, Quentin Tarantino.

I'm OK on Tarantino's films. They're interesting, intriguing, fun, and thoughtful. Not grand masterpieces, but memorable.

But as so often happens, when someone meets or hangs out with his idol, this person stops thinking for himself. This happened when Harry recently professed his unadulterated love for Psycho II. And that's fine. I don't share the opinion, but that's fine. Where I draw the line was when Harry stated he thought Psycho II was better than Hitchcock's original.

Them's fighting words. As I emailed Harry, PII is popcorn schlock. The original is sheer brilliance. Perfection in every frame. To defend my point, then, I present -- didn't I say some time ago I would post a college paper? -- my college paper on the themes of Psycho. Please don't write in saying it's sophomoric. I know. I was a sophomore when I wrote it. It needs work. But then, even in its current state, I think the paper succinctly gives enough firepower to my argument. Without any further ado--

The Themes of Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is often seen as the first true horror film in the genre. It is not difficult to ascertain where this view comes from: the film is famous for its grisly plot, frightening music and shocking shower scene. But to limit the scope of this film to the flimsy genre of horror would be a mistake. That is because few people recognize that Psycho is a solemn moral statement. Hitchcock uses strong symbols to criticize the practice of judging others based upon only visual understanding. In addition, he attacks sex and families'’ use of money and power. Thematically, Hitchcock proposes that the result of this immorality is that people lead hidden, entrapped lives, where death is the only outcome. By utilizing sharp symbolism and manipulating his viewers, Hitchcock created a truly great work of modern art.

Psycho begins with horizontal lines racing across the screen to form the opening credits. The music sets the tone for the entire movie. It is harsh staccato, and played entirely with string instruments. The lines eventually fade in to the skyline of Phoenix, the city named for the mythical bird that symbolizes sudden, fiery death and then rebirth. The camera focuses on a building, and then seems to pan randomly toward a window. Inside the window there are two lovers who are taking an "“extended" lunch break in a hotel room. The audience learns the two cannot get married because the man, Sam Loomis, still has alimony debt to pay off. This is an obvious strain on both Sam and his lover, Marion Crane. Marion then returns to work at a real estate office. As she speaks with a co-worker, her boss, Mr. Lowery, enters with a client. The client, a man named Cassidy, is buying his daughter a house; he pays in cash --– $40,000 (the year is 1960). Marion then leaves early, taking the money with her. But instead of depositing the money at the bank, she flees to California, where Sam lives.

On her way there, Marion stops at the Bates Motel for the night. She meets the innkeeper, Norman Bates, and learns he has a sick, elderly mother. After the two have dinner in his office, Marion retires to her room. The audience then watches Norman spy on Marion as she undresses. As Marion showers, she is brutally stabbed to death by someone who appears to be an old woman. Norman rushes in to find Marion dead. He is shocked, and he agonizes over what he believes his mother has done. Nevertheless, he cleans up the mess, and even goes so far as to sink Marion and her car in the nearby swamp.

A private investigator named Arbogast is hired to find Marion and the money (which is now in the swamp). After speaking with Norman, Arbogast leaves dissatisfied. He later returns to Bates Motel, only to be killed by someone who appears to be an elderly woman. Again, Norman dutifully cleans up the mess. Now Sam and Marion'’s sister, Lila, take up the search. Posing as man and wife, they check in to Bates Motel. Working on a clue they received from Arbogast, they attempt to speak with Norman'’s mother. Lila makes it into the house, which is located behind the motel. After a search, and then a struggle with Norman, they find Mrs. Bates, long dead, in the basement.

A psychologist then explains his theory of what happened to Sam, Lila, the police, and the viewers. It seems that ten years prior Norman killed his mother and her lover out of jealousy. Guilt ridden, he recreated his mother in his mind. Since Norman was so jealous of his mother, he assumed she would be just as jealous of him. Therefore, whenever Norman was attracted to a woman (like Marion), the mother half of his brain would go wild with jealousy. The film closes with a look at Norman, where the mother half of his brain has completely taken over.

Since Psycho deals with some very intense topics, Hitchcock uses a piece of imagery to link them all together --– a mirror. As Donald Spoto writes in his book, The Art of Alfred Hitchcock, mirrors are used to symbolize a split personality. They also represent self-awareness and the need for introspection (Spoto 317). Thus, a careful viewing of Psycho reveals mirrors are everywhere. For example: at the beginning of the movie in the hotel, Marion looks at herself in a mirror; at the office she looks at a small make-up mirror; before fleeing with the money, Marion stops at her home, where she again looks at a mirror; driving to California, she looks through the rearview mirror; before arriving at Bates Motel, Marion sells her car, and buys another --– she counts out the car payment in a bathroom with a mirror; at Bates Motel there is a mirror in the lobby and in MarionÂ's room; finally, inside the Bates’ house, Lila is startled by a mirror in Mrs. Bates's’ room. These mirrors are not in the film by accident; they serve an important symbolic purpose.

I noted that one of the symbolic meanings of mirrors was the presence of a split personality. This is not to say that everyone who looks into a mirror has a split personality. But it does suggest that people have split minds. There is evidence to prove this. Marion is indecisive on whether she should take the money; this is seen as she paces nervously in her home. She does take the money, but during dinner with Norman, she changes her mind (she decides to return to Phoenix and give back the money). Norman is the character best represented by the mirrors because he truly does have a split personality. But the most interesting person whose mind is split is not even in the movie --– the viewer. As viewers, we know stealing is wrong, yet we want Marion to get away with it. We are frightened by the killing of Marion; but when Norman is sinking her car in the swamp, we desperately want it to sink all the way. By manipulating his audience's trust, Hitchcock has effectively split our own personality; the irony of it is that most of us (at least upon the first viewing of Psycho) don'’t even realize it.

Previously I stated that mirrors represent self-awareness and the need for introspection. This suggests a split mind is the result of unclear vision. There are three points in the film where faulty perception is attacked. The first is after Marion and Norman finish dinner. Marion'’s room at Bates Motel is adjacent to Norman'’s study. As she prepares for her shower, Norman spies on her through a peephole, which is covered by a picture. As Mr. Spoto keenly notices, the picture covering the peephole is of a biblical story, "“Susanna and the Elders" from Daniel, chapter 13 (Spoto 322). The story'’s moral is on the deadly nature of voyeurism (sexual gratification received by looking at sexual objects). So Norman removes the symbol of sin, and then engages in it. In a surprising twist, Hitchcock then shows the audience the peephole. In doing this he has manipulated the viewers again by forcing us to become voyeurs. The second attack on faulty perception is more subtle; Arbogast is killed by being stabbed in the eye. The final attack on misperceptions directly involves a mirror. As Lila Crane searches the Bates’ house, she is startled by a mirror in Mrs. Bates's’ room. She is actually disturbed by the double reflection of herself. She sees this double image --– this split person --– and is frightened.

The mirrors and the stress on faulty perceptions state the classical immoral theme of perception based solely on vision. To show the result of a world where sight rules perceptions, Hitchcock has every character hide something. Marion hides money. Her coworker hid tranquilizers on her wedding day. Lowery hides a bottle of whiskey in his desk. Cassidy doesn'’t declare all his assets. Bates Motel is said to have looked as if it was "“hiding from the world" (it was off the main highway). Norman hides his mother. In this dark and confused world, no one can be trusted. Perceptions based on sight mean nothing because nothing is what it seems; face value is merely a facet.

In addition to hiding something, many characters in Psycho find themselves trapped. Perhaps this is a form of retribution for the characters'’ actions. Norman laments to Marion that he couldn't ever leave his mother and the motel. Sam is trapped by his ex-wife'’s alimony payments. Marion gets into a trap by stealing the money. Norman even remarks on how people get caught up in their "“private traps". He says this while in the parlor, surrounded by his stuffed birds, who are, as Robin Wood notes, forever caught in a trap (Wood 116). Just as importantly, Marion's last name is Crane, and her fate is the same as Norman'’s birds.

With the stress on faulty perception, Hitchcock attacks two other concepts: the use of familial power and money and the effects of sex. The power and money of families abound in Psycho. Marion'’s coworker has a prying mother. Cassidy purchases a house to buy off his daughter'’s unhappiness. This dependence on money eventually leads to death. The familial power of Mrs. Bates is the strongest. At the end of the film she is the dominant, and only, personality within Norman. Sex is also attacked in Psycho. Marion'’s relationship with Sam leads her to steal the money. Later, she is killed because Norman is attracted to her. Norman'’s mother built the motel because of a "“hotel man from the East who could have tricked her into anything." Their relationship eventually pushed Norman to kill them; this act then forces him into madness. Power and sex are two concepts these characters take for granted, and which eventually lead to trouble.

The result of all this immorality is death. In this, Hitchcock leaves no doubt; that is why this film is so powerful. The moral tone and message are backed up by a completely uncompromising ending. Death is obvious in the two murder scenes: the shower scene is one of the most shocking in film history, and the death of Arbogast was equally unsettling. But the most important focus of death is at the end. The final shot is of Norman, whose personality has been annihilated. In place of him is the mother personality --– the mother who has been dead for ten years. In this world Hitchcock has created, death is the only victor.

Psycho is a film that excels in all categories --– it was a critical and financial success. Over thirty-five years after production, it is still studied in film schools. What stands out in this film is its dark tone and powerful message. More importantly, this message is not confined to the plot of Psycho, but is meant for everyone. In the beginning of the film the camera pans as if it is choosing a window --– as if it could choose any window. This suggests that under the shadow of normalcy, we are all immoral, and anyone could suffer the consequences of this immorality. Never has any "“horror" film been so deeply layered with symbols decrying sin. Never has a mainstream film been so strong in its conviction that death is triumphant.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Today . . . 

I had a nice conversation with a police officer who was willing to stuff the ticket inside my cracked window so I could get to work on time.

I paid even more money to get our kitchen working again. Originally, the kitchen was going to cost a few thousand dollars. Now there are not enough keys on this keyboard to describe the price of our kitchen.

I started a new job. God, I hate knowing nothing, just having an idea of how things should be.

I smelled the rank milk my tenants spilled into the subfloor of our house. "Oops."

I had a conversation with a four-year-old about existence.

I downloaded many browsers.

I drove conservatively.

I had a late lunch.

I stared a long time at the mail.

I tried to compose all this to one song 3:31 long.

I didn't make it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Baby, You're a Rich Man 

You're getting screwed.

I'm not getting screwed.

Well, if you're OK with it, I'm OK with it . . .

Heh-heh. My time will come sooner than later.

This IS your time. You're not seeing that.

I could say something about it, but that would be classless.

See. That's just like you. And they know that.


Don't let them take advantage of you.

I don't think ______ is trying to screw me.

It's not like that. It's not personal. A meeting wasn't held to discuss it. They just want to see what they can get out of you.

Well, frankly, I'm just worried -- just focused -- on producing right now.

That's fine. Nothing's wrong with doing a good job. Just don't think they don't know you're a nice guy. And don't think that doesn't influence what you got.

No, no--

Don't give me that humble bullshit, Will. Wake the fuck up. They've found somebody who won't raise a fuss. They found a nice guy. So they gave you a nice-guy offer. Did you agree?

I was lucky to get the offer.

I think that's where your whole problem starts. Right there. That thought right there.

On The Unexpected 

Every now and then, I hit the 24-hour grocery store by my house. Tonight, we needed Drano, so I picked that up and then wandered into the deli. Egg salad on marble rye.

And it's terrific. I'm eating it right now, and I gotta say . . . this is the best egg salad on marble rye I've ever had. I just got to the back of the first half of the sandwich, and I think I detect a hint of mint in the final bite! Holy shit! Who thought to place a tiny sprig of mint at the back of the sandwich?! Brilliant! Leaves my mouth all fresh and ready for the second half.

As of a couple days ago, Jessica and I have been married a whole three years, which is less then half the time it takes for most marriages to break up. Getting married on a beach in the Bahamas without any friends or family will go down as one of my better decisions in life. I wonder if Paul McCartney will sing "When I'm Sixty-four" any differently next year when he turns 64. Here's predicting that every newspaper editor in the country will think they're impossibly clever by incorporating that song into the title of McCartney birthday story.

Another mint sprig! Unbelievable!

This is the best grocer's sandwich of all-time!

Free Ideas, Volume 1 

It's time wrfarah.blogspot.com gave back to its community. What does that mean? What is my community? Fine questions. I grant you.

I guess I won't be supporting the whole community today. Just a part of it -- but an INTEGRAL part that affects me and many other hungry residents of this fine, hungry city: Chinese restaurants.

For decades, Chinese restaurants have been competing against each other, namely with their chicken dishes. They've got their sesame chicken, Gung Pao chicken, cashew chicken, almond chicken, etc.

So I put it to you, fine Chinese restaurateur-- why just have cashew chicken or almond chicken? Dishes built around the idea of one nut? Rather, why not put both of them together to create . . . NUTTY CHICKEN! You could even toss some non-salted peanuts into the pints. Go wild with it. Your idea. Free. Courtesy of yours truly.

Gonna get sick worrying 'bout my health. 

I think you go too far with things sometimes. Like today's post. I think you pushed it for more than it was really worth. So he's a dirty old man -- doesn't necessarily make him a pervert.

I know all that. But like I said, it wasn't just the 'dirty old man' thing that bothered me. It was his lack of vision or tact. So take 'dirty old man' and 'stupidity' as singular qualities and there's not much to get upset about. Put them together and . . . for some reason it struck a nerve with me. Plus, he was really loud about it. And this place would be far less interesting if I didn't go too far with things.

Why isn't your address oneofours@blogspot.com?

A while ago I thought about changing my address, but I found out some idiot beat me to it by like a month. Now it's not even updated anymore. Still, changing would be a shame because I couldn't mention wrfarah.blogspot.com as if it were really some catchy address when it's really the least catchy address in the history of addresses.

So you won. How does it feel?

It's a guilty pleasure, though short-lived.

Monday, September 12, 2005

"Look at you. Look at you now." 

In the middle of the last, quiet, late hours of work the other night, a woman came into the call center looking for a credit card she'd lost. Just for the record, she was young -- oh, maybe 20-ish or so -- and pretty. "Barry", who works behind me, and I checked to see if there is a supervisor or some person of authority around. There was not. She thanked us and left.

Several minutes later, the quiet of the call center was cut open; someone's shift was nearing its end and calls weren't coming in, so it was time to stand up, stretch out, and shoot it. I still had enough shift left to be depressed about, so I continued to work. But I couldn't not hear the conversation of "Warren", the 50-something guy who sits a couple rows behind Barry. After a few minutes, Barry joins the conversation, giving Warren the opportunity to say this:

"Barry. Dude, what I would've given to be sittin' in your shoes when that pretty young thing came walking through here."
"I woulda given her MY credit card, heh-heh. No money on it, acourse. I -- she could take any one a MY credit cards! Course. No money on 'em. Wife's got all that. But she could take 'em, all right. That was some pretty, young little thing, all right."

I know I've become a lot less fun and interesting than I may have once been. Because I didn't turn around and say what was on my mind:

"So this is what you've got? You're the new guy in the call center, and you want to bond with another guy, so this is how you do it? Loudly drool over the woman who walks through? Classy. And the "Dude" greeting -- that was an interesting choice for you. You're 50. Barry's 28. Way to get down with the kids, man. Of course, you didn't really notice how Barry didn't respond to you, did you? Guess you didn't think too much about it being weird that a 50-ish married guy would drool over someone his daughter's age. Or maybe Barry didn't respond to you BECAUSE HE'S GAY, YOU IDIOT. Nice strategy. Get to know people better by pointing out hot chicks to gay guys. Brilliant. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?"

So a few minutes later, on his way out, Warren walks by and says, "Will, you're so quiet over here." And normally, I would come out with some sort of smart response. But sometimes I'm just so disgusted by somebody that I don't make the effort. Laziness via disgust. To me, it's not just that Warren revealed himself as a dirty old man. He's a clueless, stupid, dirty, old man. So I just said, "What can I say?" and went back to work. Instead of saying:

"Look at you. Look at you now. Strutting out of here like you run the place. When you get home tonight and jack off to that 'pretty young thing', do so in front of the mirror so you can get a good look at yourself to see what you've become. Dude."

Excited About a Hammer 

I spent the weekend in hardware stores. While walking around, pretending to know what I was looking for, I made my way through the hammer aisle. And while I couldn't find what I was looking for, I admired the hammer selection. I even thought to myself, maybe I could use one like that; never had one like that before.

Which reminded me of a time when a friend of mine asked me for a hammer. When I gave it to him, he said, "Wow. This is a fine hammer." He made eye contact with me. He was serious. What made it an odd statement was this hammer is what we'd always had in the house. We'd all used it.

So another friend, who was at about the height of his powers for dialogue at this point, said something to the effect of, "Goddamnit, Dave's got to get back into school. He drops out of school to work construction, and all the sudden he's checking out hammers. Like they were important. Jesus Christ."

But I guess everybody's got to get excited about something.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Only Conclusion (OR) How My House Will Envelope the Entire World 


A.) My house represents a limited space.
B.) I can never find my wife's keys because she never puts them in the same place.
C.) She always puts her keys inside the house.
D.) I am always looking for the damn keys.

Given A, there are only so many places for these keys to be. Take into account B, one can only deliberate that after enough time, there will be no place in the house for the keys to be. Yet when we consider C, the keys must be in the house. Therefore, we can only conclude that the house will expand to include new places which I do not know. After all, the keys must be someplace. Truly frightening, however, is D. Given an increasing average lifespan for guys in my age and socio-economic category, and my never-ending quest for keys, our house could very well expand without limit.

The New Neil Young 

Holy Christ, is it good.

His last three or four CDs have been solid. This one knocks it out of the park. His best since Sleeps With Angels. Sits alongside (if not atop) any of his acoustic work -- Comes a Time, Harvest, Harvest Moon, Silver and Gold, Freedom.

My lineup of year's best CD just got a shuffling.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Description:_________ ________ 

I got a new job. Same company. New job. Actually, I can't talk about it yet, but I guess I can write about it. Honestly, though, I never know how to respond when people ask me what I do. I try to get people to understand how I spend eight hours a day, but then they get bored, so now I just try to tell people really fast, but that doesn't work either. So I've tried to either create my own description for the job or change the topic. For example:

Upper Crust Pizza: In high school I had a job as a pizza cook. But that didn't sound good or attract women, so I called myself an Advanced Production Engineer Specialist.

National Business Furniture: Because I took sales calls, took customer service calls, did marketing work, did database work, did copy writing, and handled list changes, they called me a floater. That's not too extravagant, so I just ended up telling people, "I do everything there." That was until they cut me. Then I did nothing there.

GE: I didn't even know what I was doing at GE. So I just told people, "I play around with Excel spreadsheets. Then when I'm done, I go on the Internet." I miss that job.

_________: My current job is just customer service, but that doesn't sound sexy, does it? On top of that, people don't always understand what it is we do. So I've just been saying, "It's very boring and cryptic." Most people respect that answer.

_________: My new job . . . . I think I may have to make something up again. Something about dealing with problems, tracking problems, communicating problems. Any suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Vikings Still Suck 

It's time, with the regular season upon us, that I came clean with my predictions for the Packers this year. We've got a diminished offense: aging running back, aging QB, aging FB, two new guards who are liabilities, and only one legitimate TE. That's the upside.

The downside is we've got a poor special teams coverage unit, and a defense that doesn't boast one member who could start for another team. "What about Kabeer?" you ask. I say Kabeer is a passing downs end. That's it. "What about Al Harris?" you ask. I say Al Harris is a decent number three corner. "What about Nick Barnett?" you ask. OK, I'll give you Nick Barnett can start. And maybe Diggs if he gets healthy -- and he's not.

I guess we have a bit more of an upside. The schedule isn't terrible. The coaches are all solid. Our kick-off returns are average (but not punt returns). And the kicking unit -- even that punter! -- is dependable . . . if the new holder works out.

So here it is -- this year's schedule. Here is what the Packers SHOULD do this year:

Sun., Sept. 11 @ Detroit Lions 3:15 p.m. W
Sun., Sept. 18 Cleveland Browns 3:15 p.m. W
Sun., Sept. 25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12 noon W
Mon., Oct. 3 @ Carolina Panthers 8 p.m. L
Sun., Oct. 9 New Orleans Saints 12 noon W
Sun., Oct. 23 @ Minnesota Vikings 12 noon L
Sun., Oct. 30 @ Cincinnati Bengals 12 noon W
Sun., Nov. 6 Pittsburgh Steelers 3:15 p.m. L
Sun., Nov. 13 @ Atlanta Falcons 3:15 p.m. L
Mon., Nov. 21 Minnesota Vikings 8 p.m. W
Sun., Nov. 27 @ Philadelphia Eagles 3:15 p.m. L
Sun., Dec. 4 @ Chicago Bears 12 noon W
Sun., Dec. 11 Detroit Lions 7:30 p.m. W
Mon., Dec. 19 @ Baltimore Ravens 8 p.m. L
Sun., Dec. 25 Chicago Bears 4 p.m. W
Sun., Jan. 1 Seattle Seahawks 3:15 p.m. W

SHOULD Finish: 10-6

Here's how I think the Packers WILL do:

Sun., Sept. 11 @ Detroit Lions 3:15 p.m. L
Sun., Sept. 18 Cleveland Browns 3:15 p.m. W
Sun., Sept. 25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12 noon L
Mon., Oct. 3 @ Carolina Panthers 8 p.m. L
Sun., Oct. 9 New Orleans Saints 12 noon L
Sun., Oct. 23 @ Minnesota Vikings 12 noon L
Sun., Oct. 30 @ Cincinnati Bengals 12 noon W
Sun., Nov. 6 Pittsburgh Steelers 3:15 p.m. L
Sun., Nov. 13 @ Atlanta Falcons 3:15 p.m. L
Mon., Nov. 21 Minnesota Vikings 8 p.m. L
Sun., Nov. 27 @ Philadelphia Eagles 3:15 p.m. L
Sun., Dec. 4 @ Chicago Bears 12 noon W
Sun., Dec. 11 Detroit Lions 7:30 p.m. W
Mon., Dec. 19 @ Baltimore Ravens 8 p.m. L
Sun., Dec. 25 Chicago Bears 4 p.m. L
Sun., Jan. 1 Seattle Seahawks 3:15 p.m. L

WILL Finish: 4-12

Oh, it's going to be a long year.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Only a Fool Would Say That 

"It's such a tragedy. And you know what no one's talking about?"

"What's that?"

"How all the victims are poor, black people."

"Mm. I think 'survivor' is more accurate."

"Whatever. The point is, no one seems to care that they're all poor and black. There is such a racial divide in this country. If any silver lining can be found to all this, it's that maybe, just maybe, the country can be made aware of how different our lives are. How divided we are by race."

"I guess OJ didn't bring that to light ten years ago, huh?"

"Well . . . it should have."

"So maybe all we need is a few more murders and disasters, and that'll bring everyone together."

"No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that something needs to be done about it."

"Yeah, let's start a new government program to fix it. Good ol' remedy."

"We need something."

"After all, the government's sure proven itself lately, hasn't it? So understanding, so prepared, so efficient. Only a government program could lead us to the promised land of racial diver--"

"Oh, shut up, Will! You don't understand anything!"

Over the Limit 

It was The Strokes that did it. I was over 5,000 songs, but I had to keep pushing. Like a driver whose needle is on "E", I just had to keep adding songs. 5,087 songs is not enough. It just isn't.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sustained Relief 

Today is the day when most of America is starting, or has started, the new school year. It's been five years since I graduated from college. Two since I completed an additional major.

But the day still arrives when everyone else starts -- and I remain the same -- and I still remark how great it is. I think this is partly because so much of school is useless bullshit. There's really no solution. I'm not an answer-man in this respect. All I know is the busywork is rampant and numbing. There are other factors, of course: the parking, tuition, boredom, late nights, and worry.

I only miss two things: the learning and cross country. Throughout the bullshit, real learning did eventually trickle in. Not in every class, of course. It's funny that I'm in business now, yet all the business courses I took were the most useless, wasteful hours of my life.

And September just doesn't seem right anymore without cross country. It would be no different if I coached. Once you're not running on a team of friends, something is forever lost. It's a source of palpable embarrassment to me, the kind of shape I'm in right now. But the bottom line is I could train my ass off; I still couldn't reach the shape that I could with a team around me. Ideally, I'm sure it's possible. But it's one of the few things I can guarantee: my fastest days were nine years ago.

So good luck, kiddos. Don't believe your parents: it's really as bad as you think it is. I am sorry for that.

Pulling Off the Blanket 

It's time to pull off this security blanket we Milwaukeeans have wrapped ourselves in. I hear it all the time, and I'm tired of it. It's a lie. And there's a time to comfort oneself with lies. That time is not now. Let's be clear:


Stop saying Chicagoans and/or Illinois folk are bad or crazy drivers. The facade is over. WE ARE JUST AS BAD AS THEY ARE. There was time when I would jump onto the freeway system here and run into the occasional asshole driver. I yearn for such times. First, allow me to define "asshole driver":

1.) Only he/she matters.
2.) Speed better be 20 over the limit or get out of their way.
3.) What turn signals?
4.) This shoulder is for passing.
5.) Yellow means accelerate.
6.) What blind spot?

There is no more "occasional asshole driver". There is ALWAYS an asshole driver present. Often, there are MANY asshole drivers on the road. WE are the bad, crazy drivers. We are the assholes. Stop pushing the onus onto our fellow assholes to the south.

Against Green Day 

I recently saw The Neverending Story 2: The Next Chapter. Yes, it was so bad that I won't even link to it. Yes, it was so bad that I worked up a whole diatribe of a post, tearing apart lead kid actor, Jonathan Brandis . . . until I found out the poor guy killed himself several years ago.

So I guess that puts the ol' KI-bosh on that post.

Rather, then, I will merely state that Green Day, currently at the height of their career, represents (aside from Milwaukee traffic) the greatest source of discomfort, disgust and alienation I endure at the moment. I have taken a stand against Green Day that I usually reserve for boy bands, lip-syncing chicks and Milwaukee traffic: I avoid it.

Oh, yeah, I've heard enough of the latest album to know that, despite popular opinion:

1.) It's still a Green Day album.

2.) It ain't no masterpiece.

3.) It redefines "overrated".

4.) Besides being, well, a Green Day album, it's just plain boring.

5.) I can still be appalled that so many can be duped by such obvious corporate rock.

So I'm avoiding it. I refuse to listen anymore. I don't care how many awards they've won. I don't care how important a political statement it makes. I know the music sucks. Please fade back into oblivion, Green Day. Take your money and your MTV spaceman awards and go. Please.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?