Sunday, July 31, 2011

What I Spent Money On Today

Today was a day for running errands. Of course, when it's over 100 degrees, you don't really "run" anywhere. You sort of ooze from the car to the store and back again, grateful that there's air conditioning on either end. Because here in Dallas it's hot enough to melt a Jell-O mold.

Those yellow things, however, probably would survive a nuclear bomb.
Anyway, when there are things to be done, that means there's money to be spent. Today wasn't a very expensive day, but I wound up with an eclectic collection of purchases. I thought I'd share them. Because I got nothing else.

First stop was the drugstore. I was out of fluoxetine, better known as generic Prozac.
I have a bad habit of running out of it and then not refilling right away. You never know, maybe my hormones finally decided to balance themselves out and I no longer need my shiny happy pills. That's what I think. I'm always wrong. But I don't know I'm wrong until I go a week or two without them and inevitably have a meltdown. The meltdown was yesterday. I'm pretty sure Beloved Spouse still loves me. I'll ask him when he comes down off the roof. Anyway, now I have my pills again, and life is buttered popcorn and unicorns.

You know what I love about my prescription? Other than being 42% less crazy and not wanting to go Norman Bates on loved ones and/or strangers, I mean. This is what it says on the back of the bottle:

Well, duh. Of course I experience mood changes, sadness, depression, and fear. That's why I'm on Prozac. My doctor doesn't want me calling her for that shit. That's why she wrote the damn prescription.

So. Next stop was the music store. Precocious Daughter is starting clarinet lessons this year. It's time to rent an instrument and soundproof her bedroom. In the clarinet rental department, we were assisted by the charming, British, and adorable Colin at Arts and Music in Lewisville, Texas. Did I mention he's British?

Actually, Colin looked nothing like Thin White Duke-era David Bowie. Good thing, because the accent alone made me sign up for online guitar lessons in additon to renting the clarinet. I would have bought a tuba and a full drum kit if he'd asked me to. Did I mention he's British?

So here's the clarinet in its little box, wrapped in plastic like so many lampshades in your grandmother's house. And there it will stay until PDaughter's music teacher instructs her on its care and feeding. I know she wants to take it out and put it together and make horrible squawking sounds with it ASAP. I figure there will be plenty of time for her to induce level-5 headaches. For now I prefer the clarinet shiny and dismembered and unable to launch an offensive against the tranquility of the house.

From the music store we hopped over to the mall. I'm thinking of redecorating PDaughter's room. I'm thinking, and she's obsessed with the idea 24/7. She wanted to look at comforters. Unfortunately, not one of them met her aesthetic standards, which are, in her words, you know, sort of, and like, all kind of, but not, only more like that. With purple stripes.

So we didn't find a comforter, but I bought a hat.
I love hats. I look great in hats. It's literally my only talent, looking great in hats. This one flew off the wall onto my head and refused to come off until I agreed to buy it. Seriously, that's what happened. Since it was on sale, I couldn't say no. Also, it pulled a gun on me. I bought this hat in self-defense, is what I'm saying.

Then I went grocery shopping and bought a bunch of food and toilet paper and things that aren't at all exciting. Unless you're all, Ooooh, cling peaches in syrup. In that case, it was the Best Shopping Trip Ever. But I did buy a lipstick.

It's from L'Oreal and it's called Tropical Coral. And I love it because it actually looks the way I want my lipstick to look: Like the color of my lips, only not gross. I have a lot of lipsticks that make my lips look bright pink, or bright pink, or bright pink, or, you know, bright pink. Never mind that their names include words like "mauve" or "plum" or "totally not bright pink, trust us." No matter what they look like in the tube, they look like a Disney Princess sleeping bag on me. My body chemistry must closely resemble the formula for Pepto-Bismol.

But this one looks good on me. Sort of peachy pink and natural. Sort of the way PDaughter's lips look without doing a damn thing. Which is so unfair. On the other hand, it's a good thing she doesn't need to wear lipstick. That stuff would be a bitch to get off a clarinet reed. I'll bet Colin would be happy to help. I'd probably walk out with three new boxes of reeds and a left-handed ukelele. Hey, if that's what it takes to get our economy moving again, I'm willing to make the sacrifice.

Did I mention he's British?

Bender Placeholder

OK, folks, I've got a post coming up later today, but first I've got to rent a clarinet and take some Prozac and fold some towels. A day jam-packed with fun. So by way of putting up something until I can write a realy Sunday post, here's a picture of my personal hero, Bender from "Futurama."

Until we meet again...bite my shiny metal ass, my darlings.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Jack Saturday

One of my all-time favorite videos, from way before MTV.

Speaking of Emma-Tee-Vee, the channel that used to be Music Television turns 30 On Monday. Not as traumatic somehow as "Jessie's Girl" turning 30, but still, I feel I ought to commemorate the occasion. I'll think about it and try to whip something up for tomorrow. Maybe a lyrical ode to Mark Goodman's afro, I don't know.

Anyway, until then, here's another pre-MTV video from the Who, looking modtastic and reminding us all how cool music sounds without Auto-tune or synthesizers. And why Roger Daltrey should have just said no to Dippity-Do.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do You Mind If We Make You Less Ugly?

The big celebrity story this week is about a L'Oreal ad featuring Julia Roberts getting banned in the U.K. for being overly airbrushed. If you haven't seen it, here it is, next to a picture of the "real" Julia.

I know it's hard to tell, but the picture on the LEFT is the retouched image. Or maybe it's a wax dummy from Madame Tussaud's. Except I think Tussaud's attempts to make its statues look less like wax than this picture does.

Julia Roberts is a lovely 44-year-old woman. Which means she's got a beautiful face, along with a few crow's feet and smile lines. Thus we share a 66% resemblance. And while I guess it's good to know that I too could look like a creamy-skinned goddess with enough digital manipulation, I don't really see how it benefits a makeup company - which makes products that we slather all over our skin - to feature pictures of a woman who looks as if her skin has been removed entirely and replaced with stretchy flesh-colored latex.

The British Advertising Standards Agency shared my puzzlement. It ordered the Julia ads pulled on the grounds that they're misleading and a little creepy. I think the ASA is doing L'Oreal a favor. As much as I'm willing to be seduced into believing that Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation will make me look younger, fresher, and somewhat less organic than I do now, that's just not the message these ads convey. Here's what I'm hearing from parent company L'Oreal, based on the meticulously airbrushed image above:

1.  Our product doesn't work!
2.  Julia Roberts is old and ugly!
3.  Women are gullible!

Of course, airbrushing is epidemic in popular culture. There are entire websites devoted to showing off horrific examples of models and celebrities Photoshopped to make them appear younger, prettier, thinner, and more like our alien overlords (Photoshop Disasters is a personal favorite). I know photographers and art directors think this stuff gives them a leg up on the competition...

Get it? Leg?
...but please.

Sometimes a heavily retouched photo will just make me mad, as when it depicts one of the most beautiful, gracefully aging women in the world - Diane Keaton - as a much younger version of herself.

Diane Keaton didn't even look like this when she was younger! I think the platinum-white teeth are supposed to deflect our brains from noticing that.

Some pictures successfully erase a woman's most distinctive features, which leads me to wonder why they bothered hiring her in the first place and not, say, the guy who does caricatures at the State Fair.

When I think of Kim Cattrall, I think of those big baby-doll eyes and her adorable heart-shaped face, both tweaked out of existence here. If someone really wanted to show off his 'shopping skills, he could have lopped about four inches off those earrings. They make my earlobes throb just looking at them.

I'm sure that many of these models have little or no say in how their photos are manipulated - they sign a contract and show up for a photo shoot, and that's it. Although if I had to sit in a makeup chair for three hours to be beautified, only to have every recognizable trace of my features obliterated in post-production, I'd start throwing shit like an enraged gorilla. Still, you just know some of these images are produced with the complicity of their subjects.

You think Madonna doesn't have editorial control over every frame shot of her famous face? Don't tell me she didn't sign off on this hot mess:

Strike a pose, indeed. Ms. Ciccone Penn Ritchie will turn 53 years old in August. And in the picture on the right, she looks it. Frankly, she looks ghastly in that getup, which is at least two decades too young for her. Again, she's a beautiful woman, and her body is absolutely slammin' - not just for her age, but for almost anybody's age. But I'm afraid Madonna has drunk the Kool-aid here. She's allowed a photo of herself to be turned into that of a completely different woman. Unlike that photo, Madonna, like all of us, is not a moment frozen in time. Like all of us, she changes, she grows, she ages. She's built a career on being dynamic, a chameleon. But this artificial moment of perfection does a disservice to a life brilliantly lived in real time.

It's easy to say that all this airbrushing reflects the pop-cultural belief that youth=beauty. Except that the Photoshop monkeys do their work on young women, too.

Scarlett Johansson is 26 years old! That's egalitarianism at work for you. If ScarJo needs this much retouching, then obviously women are born not being pretty enough. (By the way, don't even get me started on toddler beauty pageants. Just don't. It is to weep. And then kick things.) Ironically, the headline of the LA Times article from which I copied the above left photo is "Scarlett Johansson Less Photoshopped Than Usual in Latest Dolce & Gabbana Ad." Yes, really.

These pictures of unbelievably attractive Jennifer Aniston, who at 42 is literally getting more beautiful every year, are from 2002, when she was in her early 30s:

When did the beauty community decide that hair color and skin tone must match? It was prior to 2002, anyway. My guess is that some stylist way back when had a huge crush on Andy Warhol, and the fashion world has never been the same.

Would you believe this is a full-color picture?
But nothing tops this last one. If you have kids or are addicted to TMZ (or both, like yours truly), you probably know the saga of Demi Lovato. She's an 18-year-old singer and actress who until last year starred on her own Disney Channel show, "Sonny with a Chance." Like most Disney ingenues, she was cute, bubbly, and dating a Jonas Brother. Then she went on tour, had a nervous breakdown, and punched out a backup dancer for allegedly looking at Joe Jonas without permission. If it had been Kevin Jonas, I would have done exactly the same thing. But that's another story.

Before you could say "Supercalifragilisticcopyrightedlyric," Demi landed in treatment to deal with a full platter of physical and emotional issues, including eating disorders, self-mutiliation, and post-starring-in-"Barney" syndrome.

That's messed up.
Since leaving rehab, Demi has been upfront about suffering from poor body image and low self-esteem since girlhood. She's on a long road to recovery, and I wish her all the best with that. Recently she released a new single, "Skyscraper," which is about rising above adversity. For someone who has struggled with so much, it's a fitting ode to self-respect and empowerment.

And on the left is the promotional picture from the single:

Excuse me, I have to Botox my brain now. If you need me, I'll be looking for a paper bag that will mimic a youthful glow when I wear it over my head.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Five Reasons I Won't Attend The Response

You've probably heard about The Response, the big God-rave happening at Houston's Reliant Stadium on August 6th. Texas Governor Rick Perry (not to be confused with my personally endorsed 2012 Presidential candidate Dick Perry) has officially proclaimed that day to be a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation. He's invited the governors of all 50 states to join him at the air-conditioned shindig in Houston "on behalf of our troubled nation."

I'll bet the 283 million of you Americans who don't live in Texas weren't even aware Gov. Perry had the authority to issue proclamations for the entire United States from his $10K-a-month rented mansion in Austin. Well, he does. Because he is the Lord's megaphone. And everyone knows that the best cheerleaders are in Texas. Noah dropped them off here right after the flood waters subsided. I believe God's exact words at the time were, "Well, this is the last good rain they'll see for a spell, but these surgically enchanced blondes in tight costumes should make up for the lack of fresh produce and drinking water."

A few governors from other states will be attending the event - the ones whose 10-foot poles are in the shop for repairs, I believe. The actual number of governors who will be at The Response is a bit hard to pin down, however. While some have RSVP'd a definite "no" - like Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Snyder of Michigan - there seem to be a lot of "undecideds" on the guest list. I surmise that these governors are privately praying for a minor natural disaster in their state or a case of the sniffles that will enable them to gracefully send their regrets just prior to the event. (Don't pretend you've never used a mild earthquake as an excuse to skip your second cousin's wedding. We've all done it.)

I will not be attending The Response. It was a tough decision - who doesn't enjoy cramming themselves into a sports venue with a bunch of sweaty hypocrites to shout about how humbly and meekly they love God for seven hours? But in the end, I had to follow my conscience. And my conscience doesn't like to hang out with lunatics. Oh, yes, there will be lunatics aplenty in attendance at Reliant Stadium on August 6th. Trust me on this. Or don't. I'm happy to supply specific reasons why I must regretfully decline Gov. Perry's invitation to join him a day of quasi-religious tomfoolery.

1. No pets are allowed. That's bullshit. I love my pets, especially my Darling Dog. To me, he is proof that God is loving and has a wicked sense of humor. I'll stay home and feed him biscuits and pretend it's doggy Communion instead.

2. These people don't know how to fast. Food will be sold at the event. That's right, they're selling concessions at a FAST. I understand that some people can't really fast for medical reasons, and that it may not be practical to ask kids or the elderly to go without food for an entire day. In those cases it makes sense to bring a cooler of snacks for...Oh, wait, you can't bring your own food. If you're going to break your fast, you're going to do it by purchasing six-dollar hot dogs and plates of toxic nachos. As the Lord would want you to.

Get your loaves and fishes basket! Only $12.95!
Add a souvenir cup for only five dollars more!
3. That song. If you look at the website for The Response, you'll see a picture of a crowd of young, attractive Christians with their eyes squeezed shut and their hands in the air. They look as if they all just reached orgasm simultaneously after chasing a Muslim family out of their gated community. I would bet Internet dollars that these people are singing "Awesome God." I would further wager that this song will be sung at some point during the event. And I would rather spread peanut butter on my private parts and swan-dive into an enclosure of hungry baboons than listen to that song. 

Four out of five baboons would prefer it, as well.
4. Assholes make my head explode. The Response is being put on by the Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association, the notorious "Christian" group that is anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-free spech, and likes to organize boycotts of companies that don't cram Christian holidays down your throat in their advertising. These activities are carried out in the name of decency and Jesus, who of course kicked the money-changers out of the Jerusalem Target because they were singing "She-Bop." Another "endorser" of The Response, John Hagee of San Antonio, likes to refer to the Catholic Church as "the Whore of Babylon." These guys all love Rick Perry, who has famously responded by saying, "I appreciate their endorsements but [that] doesn’t mean I endorse what they believe in or what they say.” Except, presumably, what they'll say at Reliant Stadium on August 6th. My skull is experiencing tremors right now.    

5. I know what "apolitical" means. And I'm pretty sure a public rally called by a sitting governor on official letterhead and held just before an expected declaration of candidacy for President of the United States is a textbook example. See, because it's "a political" statement. Right? Maybe I don't know what it means, after all. But that's OK, because Rick Perry doesn't either, and it doesn't seem to bother him a bit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Sick Muse

I'm uninspired today. Can't think what to write about. I don't really feel snarky, and I can't get up any righteous rage about the idiot politicians and their earnest attempts to ruin the economy in the mad pursuit of re-election. Celebrities aren't doing anything interesting. My family is not providing its usual loopy inspiration.

In short, I'm stuck.

Fortunately, this blog's muse, Charles Baudelaire, has provided relief in the form of commiseration. Even moody French poets suffer from paucity of inspiration sometimes. Chuck wrote about his own drought of creative juices in the poem "La Muse Malade" - "The Sick Muse." And since I'm suffering from the same thing, I'm just going to nick his verse for today's post. Stealing is the sincerest form of flattery.

Doesn't he look flattered?
There are a lot of different translations of "The Sick Muse" floating around. I like this one best; you can check out some others, as well as the Frenchie original, here.
Take it away, Chuck.

La Muse malade

poor Muse, alas! what ails thee now? for thy
great hollow eyes with sights nocturnal burn,
and in thy changing pallor I descry
madness and frozen horror, turn by turn.

did rosy sprites or pale green succubi
pour love or panic from their dream-filled urn?
did the mad fist of despot nightmare try
to drown thee where the fiends of hell sojourn?

I would that thou wert always filled with health
and manly thoughts undaunted; that a wealth
of Christian blood were thine, which always flowed
in calm broad rhythms like a Grecian ode,

now echoing forth Apollo's golden strain,
and now great Pan, the lord of ripening grain.

— tr. Lewis Piaget Shanks, Flowers of Evil (New York: Ives Washburn, 1931)

funny gifs
And now I shall do my
"I hope my muse returns tomorrow" dance.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This Post Is For Old Broads Like Me

This is too good/awful/awesome/depressing not to share.

Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl," one of the world's greatest pop songs in the world ever recorded ever, was the number one song on the charts this week in 1981. 

That's 30 years ago this week.

I don't know about you, but I was just about to start 9th grade that summer, and this was the song that everyone was singing. One of the most vivid memories I possess is rocking out to this song in Kathy Metz' bedroom again and again over the course of an evening, every time it came on the radio, which it did at least once an hour. I remember that night because it was the first time I, never mind that. Still, amazing song.

Of course, it helped tons that in the summer of 1981, everyone was addicted to "General Hospital" on TV, and Rick Springfield was playing eye-candy doctor Noah Drake at the time. Check out this trip-way-down-memory-lane clip of Dr. Drake and frizzy-headed hero Luke Spencer bonding the way only male soap-opera characters can: By talking in a series of lingering close-ups designed to make women viewers not give a crap what they're talking about, not that it matters because they'll have the same converstion 40 more times over the course of the storyline:

Sigh. For a whole lot of reasons that I'm not going to go into here, 1981 was a pretty important year for me. "Jessie's Girl" was one of its many watershed moments. And it hit number one thirty years ago this week. Just in case that statistic didn't poke you hard enough the first time.

By the way, have you seen Rick Springfield lately?

This man turns 62 years old next month. Holy...are you serious? If I looked as good as he does, I would chase that downtown right now. Woof.

Anyway, "Jessie's Girl" and Dr. Rick Noah Springfield Drake Hottie hold a special place in my heart. And they have done so for *choke* 30 years now. Wow. You're welcome.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The McNugget Dream Is Over

You may recall that a few weeks ago I was jonesing for Chicken McNuggets. And a McNugget jones is not a pretty thing.
Not McNugget Jones, fool, a McNugget jones.
She's gorgeous.
On Saturday, Precocious Daughter and I finally made our pilgrimage to McDonald's. We were running errands, and she had a birthday party to get to, and we had to shoehorn lunch in there somewhere. The stars aligned, and there we were: Willing supplicants on the sacrificial altar of fast-food worship. It was time to get our nugget on.

Fortunately, the line moved pretty fast.
We each got a Mighty Kids Meal. Hey, I like Apple Dippers, OK? Besides, they had Star Wars toys! I wasn't going to pass that up. Actually, the Star Wars toys were the "boy" toy option; the "girl" toy du jour was Strawberry Shortcake. And while it would have been way fun to pummel a toy Blueberry Muffin with a toy lightsaber, PDaughter and I both decided to get the non-girly - and much cooler - choice. 

I'd like to reiterate: This would not have been wrong.
So our entire order consisted of: Two Mighty Kids McNugget meals with Apple Dippers, one milk, one Diet Coke, and Spicy Buffalo dunking sauce. Simple. And I was really looking forward to that Spicy Buffalo sauce. This is what is called foreshadowing.

We took our cardboard boxes of happiness to a booth and followed standard Happy Meal etiquette of ignoring our food in favor of the toys. PDaughter got a blue lightsaber. Mine was purple. Joy! Well, almost. My purple lightsaber was kind of a ripoff. The blue one, you see, was hard and straight and lit up. The purple one just collapsed and didn't do anything else. And I couldn't even explain to PDaughter the aptness of this perfect metaphor in plastic form. Because she's eleven. We're years away from having that conversation.

Would you like me to explain it to you instead?
So while the blue lightsaber glowed at the touch of a button, when you turned it off you just had this tube of plastic sticking out of the handle and ruining the illusion, which has been the dilemma of toy lightsaber designers since 1977. Maybe now that we've killed the manned space program, our out-of-work aerospace engineers can devote themselves to the problem. Meanwhile, the purple lightsaber retreated into the handle with a flick of the wrist and then with another flick came out ready to fight, just like in the movies. Except that instead of coming out as an awesome fiery shaft of death-dealing laser light, it was just an inert hunk of plastic that tended to collapse every time I tried to whack PDaughter with it. So an imperfect toy on both fronts, but that didn't keep us from giggling and making lightsaber noises through the entire meal. I'm sure the lovely Asian family hunched together over a laptop at the next table thought we were charming.

Eventually we got around to unpacking our food. Those Apple Dippers were going to be great. Except that they were fries instead of Apple Dippers. Now, McDonald's fries are a paper pouch of yummy. But we really wanted crisp apple slices with a sweet caramel dipping sauce. And I wanted our arteries to stay open for the duration of the day. So I took the Happy Meals up to the counter, where the fries were swiftly exchanged. Except for a few straggler fries that stayed in the bottom of my box. Score!

The ones that fight for survival always taste the best.
 Now we had our toys, our Apple Dippers, a handful of bonus fries, and our tasty golden nuggets of chicken-like substance. And no Buffalo sauce. No dipping sauce at all. Sigh. PDaughter was perfectly happy; she eats her McNuggets with ketchup. Disgusting. I mean, I'll put ketchup on almost anything, but I draw the line at Chicken McNuggets. Nuggets and dipping sauce are a sacred combination. Together, they are more than the sum of their many, many ingredients. If you're going to have Chicken McNuggets with ketchup, you may as well take Communion with grape juice. (Oh, I went there. Jesus was not sipping Welch's Concord Grape Cocktail at the Last Supper. Get over it.)

Oh, snap! Judas, did you put grape juice in here?
And where's my damn honey mustard?
So I got up again to request my Spicy Buffalo sauce. Why don't they just put those sauce tubs out for the taking, the way they do with the ketchup packets? Are they afraid people will just make off with dozens of them for home use? Well, yeah, I totally would. I would stuff enough of those little tubs in my purse to marinate an ostrich. McDonald's may commit horrendous crimes against nutrition and taste, but they sure can do a nice tub of dipping sauce.

Anyway, this time there was no one at the counter, and three people ahead of me in line. Maybe all the employees were in the back, pistol-whipping the one who had messed up our Happy Meals. If so, this little missing-sauce trick was not going to help her out. Besides, my McNuggets were getting cold, and a cold McNugget is a...well, it's basically a less appetizing version of a warm one. And no one goes around telling people, "Why, that looks as appetizing as a warm McNugget," if you get my drift. Reluctantly, I decided to forego the dipping sauce.

Turns out ketchup is not bad on Chicken McNuggets. Not really surprising. I'm thinking you could take an old pair of shoes, and put ketchup on one, and Spicy Buffalo sauce on the other, and you would still wonder what possessed you to take a bite out of a disgusting old shoe. Same principle.

But I did enjoy my McNuggets. Because - life lesson alert! - it wasn't actually about the processed chicken lumps after all. It was about having a toy lightsaber fight in the middle of a crowded fast food restaurant with my favorite kid. It was about putting our heads together and gasping over how many grams of fat McDonald's can stuff into a double cheeseburger...and wondering why they would print that information on the back of the placemat you're eating on. It was about evenly dividing six precious french fries and trying to steal her last apple slice when she wasn't looking.

That stuff was wonderful. But it was good to get the McNugget monkey off my back for another year or two, as well.

I was getting tired of seeing this in the mirror every day.
I do, however, have a growing craving for spicy Buffalo ostrich wings. I'm going to have to look for a place that sells those. I hope they come with a toy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

For Norway

For the parents who have lost their children...

For the childrern who have lost their parents...

For the nation that has lost its sense of tranquility and security...

For all of us who want to offer help but can't offer explanations...

...let us pray.

Tell your loved ones they're precious to you. Fight hate. And remember...unspeakable tragedy isn't something that only happens somewhere else.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Placeholder Walrus

Today is my day off, and I don't have time for my usual afternoon post. So I'll try to write something brilliant later. For now, here is a walrus:

Goo goo goo joob. More later!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


One of the things you're supposed to have when you're a beloved and widely read blogger is an FAQ or "About Me" section on your blog. But I decided I should have one, too.

Of course, since I don't even use my real name here (first question: Is Chuck Baudelaire your real name? Answer: Right, I'm 19th-century French poet Charles Baudelaire come back from the dead to rant about candy bars), one might surmise that I desire a modicum of anonymity. One would be right. Mostly because I don't want my employer to find out I do most of my writing during working hours, having been hired to fill a position for which no job duties were actually established. Really. It'll all be in my book (second question: Do you hope to write a book based on your blog? Answer: Nobody who writes a blog wants to become a published author. Duh. Are you from Mars or tiny Montenegro or something?)

There's also the issue that very few people ask me any questions ever, let alone frequently. I'm universally reviled, apparently. But this is America, and I'm not going to let the lack of frequently asked questions keep me from answering them. So I stole a bunch from other sites I enjoy. Just the questions, not the answers. I'll provide the answers here, thank you very much. I don't much care what other people think. This is the key to my enduring popularity on the blogosphere - my charming and gracious nature. (You can't see it, but I'm making a very rude gesture now.)

I'll get around to posting these questions and answers to a separate FAQ page. In the meantime, here are several things you didn't even realize you were dying to know about me. Oh, and links to the pages whence I nicked them. Oh, and some of the answers are lies. Read on.

"Always Drunk" Frequently Asked Questions/About Me

Do you have any advice on writing a blog? (

For God's sake, learn to spell. Also, know the difference between "it's" and "its," or you'll bug the hell out of those of us who do. Write what you love and success will follow, although it helps to remember that the most popular websites feature pictures of women dressed as anime characters or fat people swapping Halo cheat codes. And they will never, ever click on the link to your adventures in homemade jam-making.

You obviously have a liberal bias. (

Conservatives think I'm liberal, liberals think I'm conservative. The truth is I'm mentally ill and unable to form a coherent world view. That's right, when you disagree with me, you're mocking my handicap. Asshole.

If I submit a photo, will it be posted? (

No one has ever submitted a photo to me, so I have no idea. Probably. I mean, sure, why not? Can I draw a mustache on it first? That would be fun.

Green olives or black olives? (

Olives are disgusting in any color.

How long does it take you to carve a pumpkin? (

True story: Every year at Halloween we buy one of those cheap pumpkin carving sets with the skinny knives and a little book of carving designs that absolutely cannot be created using them. Every year we wash off the knives and put them away so we can use them again next Halloween. And every year we can't find the damn things and have to buy a new set. Somewhere in my house there must be 300 of these flimsy serrated pumpkin carvers. They're the perfect size for rats to use as tiny swords, so if the rats ever decide to revolt, I'm afraid they'll be well-armed. I know that one time I used a pumpkin carver to cut my Siamese kitten out of the garage wall after she got stuck in there - long story. I'm pretty sure that one got lost, too.

I've never timed myself carving a pumpkin, so I don't know how long it takes.

My favorite variety of GOOD SEASONS Salad Dressing Mix is no longer available at my local grocery store. What happened? (

Holy crap, there are millions of people who don't have fresh water and die from mosquito bites and little girls who aren't allowed to read or write, and you're all up in my face because one of the other 37 varieties of goddamn salad dressing mix still on the shelf isn't good enough for you? You sicken me. Seriously. You should ask the store manager if the kind you want can be special ordered.

Why should I buy local? (

It doesn't make a lot of sense to drive three hours to buy a gallon milk instead of popping down to the corner convenience store, for one thing. Also, if you don't buy some local person's cheese or soap or quaint decorative item, they are never going to stop nagging you about it, whereas the cheap labor in Phnom Penh is not going to send you a thank-you note for purchasing the products that keep it in perpetual economic slavery. Kind of a no-brainer, really.

Why don't you have a donation button? (
I don't want money. I want power. And that can't be donated, but only violently torn from the regime that wields it. At least that's what PayPal told me right before they blocked my e-mail address.
Do you have legs? (
As far as you know.
How do you handle critics of your work? (
WHO DARES CRITICIZE MY WORK? Kidding! I welcome constructive criticism. As for how I handle it, I find that curling up into a fetal position for 16 hours, burning everything I've ever written, and drinking until I puke are effective outlets for the perfectly normal levels of anxiety I sometimes experience upon being critiqued. 
What exactly is wrong with your brain? (
Why, what have you heard?
Do you offer studio tours? (
I used to, but the people who owned the studio got really upset. Now I live like a hermit, shunning human contact. It may seem as if I'm going out to eat with my family or posting things on my Facebook page, but I hire stand-ins for those things. Meanwhile, I'm holed up in my room, watching the world by endlessly cycling through the vast network of surveillance cameras I've hacked into. I eat crackers and cry. My fingernails have grown to alarming lengths. And all because of those damned studio tours. I hope you're happy, local CBS affiliate!
Why do bad things happen to good people? (
Oh, I'm here to tell you that bad things happen to bad people, too. The good people don't get to have all the fun. Of course, sometimes good things happen to bad people, and I guess that's equally unfair. If you're expecting an insightful, reassuring answer, you've obviously started reading this FAQ at the wrong end.
Hey, all of those websites are real! Support them! Yes, even Fox News. The world needs fringe opinions, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dick Perry for President

It's early going, but I'm pleased to announce that I'm endorsing a candidate in the 2012 Presidential election. I'd like to back President Obama for a second term, but I just can't. After careful deliberation over what to write about today, I've decided he just doesn't have the combination of moral rectitude, patriotism, and love of meat that America so desperately needs to carry it into the second half of the second decade of the first century of the new millennium.

So who does?

Why, Dick Perry, of course!

He's charismatic, down-to-earth, and he's got great hair. Plus he looks like a character from "The Simpsons" for some reason. I'm pretty sure that's all anybody needs to lead this great nation of ours.

Now, some of you might take a look at Candidate Dick's official portrait up there and get the idea that I'm actually shilling for someone else.

Au contraire! I could never support Ted Nugent. The guy's a gun nut.

No, Dick Perry is my man. I'm pretty sure he's straight, and I'm almost positive he's an American citizen. Why?  Because he says so! And that should be good enough for all of us! Unless you're some kind of a tree-hugging Lame-o-crat. But that's OK, too, because Dick Perry loves trees. You can't make walnut rifle stocks without trees. Or makeshift gallows on the outskirts of town in the dead of night, for that matter.

Dick Perry has permanent five o'clock shadow, because he's trained his facial hair to stop growing past stubble length. That's the kind of tough discipline we need in the White House. After all, the last American President with a beard led this country into civil war.

Dick Perry loves diversity. He's been both a Democrat and a Republican. In fact, so as not to be bound by a particular political ideology, he's made up his own, one that is not tied to any special interest group or conventional definition of logic. He loves all flavors of vanilla ice cream, every Southern Christian Conservative Protestant religious denomination, and most people who give him money. That inclusiveness guarantees that Dick Perry will be the President of the people who are just like him.

Dick Perry is a Texan, and Texans have always made the best Presidents. Ask any citizen of Vietnam or Iraq, and they'll be proud to tell you what they think of our past Texan Presidents. I can't understand what they're saying in those jibber-jabber tongues they speak, but I'm sure it's glowing praise. Dick Perry promises to pick some other sovereign nation and put his tank-shaped stamp upon it, just as his predecessors did. And that nation surely will return the love in kind.

Now, it's true that Dick Perry is a tad more conservative than other candidates I've supported in the past. But I think the time is right for a shift to more traditional values. And no one is more traditional than Dick Perry.

He loves tradition, including the traditional two-parent,
single-color family and the traditional refrigerator
crammed with booze.
We're all under stress nowadays because of divisive issues such as civil rights, taxes, a crumbling infrastructure, foreign wars, poverty, and political corruption. Dick Perry doesn't want the American people to have to worry about these things. He doesn't want us to even have to think about them. In fact, with Dick Perry as President, these difficult issues will be banished from public discussion and never addressed again.
We'll be too busy for such talk, anyway.
The goal of Dick Perry's campaign is to bring the message of American strength and independence to the American people. To do that, he'll have to get all those non-American people out of the country, so they can't listen in. It's only fair. America is a land of law-abiding citizens, not a bunch of down-on-their-luck immigrants. And to make sure illegal immigration is stopped, Dick Perry will crack down on corporations that illegally hire undocumented workers to skirt minimum-wage and fair-labor laws. And...

...excuse me for a moment...

...I apparently was reading from the wrong notes...I'm being supplied with an amended version...

...ah, here we go...

Dick Perry is a staunch supporter of free enterprise and entrepreneurialism and believes government should get out of the way of businesspeople trying to maximize their efficiency and productivity in the free market.


Well, I'm sure if Dick Perry believes it, it's a good thing. And that's why I support Dick Perry for President.  Because he knows what's good for us, whether we believe it or not.

And to help kick off Campaign 2012 for Dick Perry, I'd like to present the first limited-edition Dick Perry for President campaign button!

Remember: Democracy, like strychnine, works best in small, measured doses. Support the candidate who will dole it out in the tiniest amounts possible. Pick Dick.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No Resurrections Without Receipt

A couple in South Carolina has seen the image of Jesus on a receipt from Walmart.
So this is what South Carolinians who believe
they see Jesus in a Walmart receipt look like!
Here's a news story about this...uh, news.

I love our national obsession with the idea that Jesus Christ chooses to manifest Himself to His followers on household objects.

Tortilla Jesus

Rocking Chair Jesus

MRI Jesus
And now, we have Thermal-Paper Discount-Store Receipt Jesus!

I find this particular Christ fascinating. Most "I Spy Jesus" artifacts feature a King of Kings in Jeffrey Hunter or Ted Neely mode: The kind of Savior Stephen King once described as "looking like He was about to bat cleanup for the New York Yankees." You know, the All-American Jesus.

But Receipt Jesus looks...well...Semitic. You know, Jewish. I know, right?

Everyone knows Jesus is Catholic. *ducks*

But look. I've got a couple of issues with Walmart Jesus. First of all, I don't think He would be down with Walmart. I'm sure He was a frugal guy (that episode with the foot oil notwithstanding), but given the company's history of disastrous labor, economic, environmental, and ethical policies, I think Jesus would choose to shop local rather than save a couple of bucks on Chinese-made lawn chairs. I won't even shop there, and Jesus is way smarter than I am.

He planted dinosaur bones to test us, after all.
 Also, I don't think that's really Jesus. It doesn't look like him. In fact, I could name a dozen people this image resembles more than Jesus. In fact, I will.

I can see where the confusion comes from. The figure on the receipt is obviously Jewish. Like Jackie Mason.

Or Steven Spielberg.

Or Lenny Bruce.

Personally, I think it looks a lot like Lenny Bruce, who, like Jesus Himself, was persecuted for his teachings. It's an honest mix-up.

Of course, Jesus was only Jewish on His mother's side, so I can understand how someone would mistake Receipt Jesus for someone who is half-Jewish, like Joaquin Phoenix.

Jesus was probably a better rapper, but since all we have here is a visual, I'm going to let that drop.

You know who else is half-Jewish and kind of looks like the image on the receipt? A young Harrison Ford, that's who.

Hubba-hubba and nail me to the cross. If he were a Walmart greeter, I'd let him check my packages.

Ahem. Jesus Christ has a very recognizable and often-depicted visage, but so do other historical figures who could be the man on the thermal paper.

Like, say, 17th-century pirate and rum spokesman Captain Henry Morgan.

Or really hard to kill crazy-ass Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin.

They weren't Jewish, but they have that same smoldering gaze and eccentric facial hair as Receipt Jesus.

For that matter, so does Hangover star Zach Galifianakis.

Heck, so does the World's Greatest Spokesman in the World.

So he's a fictional character. Some people think Jesus is a fictional character. Put away your blasphemy sticks - some people do, that's all. At the very least, He can be considered mythical. So our Receipt Jesus may actually be a magical creature from a legendary domain. You know, like Middle Earth.

He could so too be Gimli the Dwarf! If you never read the Bible but read a crapload of Tolkein, you might look at that Walmart receipt and be all "Hey, it's Gimli!" Or maybe "Check it out, dude, it's totally Frodo!"

If you were a total dork growing up, you might even say "Looking good, Mr. Kotter!"

Yes, I admit it: I immediately thought of Gabe Kaplan in "Welcome Back, Kotter" when I first saw Receipt Jesus. (Beloved Spouse, meanwhile, provided the idea of Rasputin, because he's a much bigger fan of crazy Russian mystics. We are what you call complementary types.)

All I'm saying is, you see Jesus in a Walmart receipt, I see Hobbits and movie stars. My vision is no kookier than yours, except that yours gets national media coverage and mine gets written up here on my puny blog. Fine. I'll just have to start looking for common items that bear an arbitrary resemblance to a Christian icon.

Hey, look, it's Judas on a TV screen! Oh, wait, that's just the debt ceiling talks on C-Span. My bad.