Thursday, October 30, 2008


How hard is it to say "Italia?" Not very, yet English speakers insist on calling the country "Italy." If you go around calling it "Italia" people think there's something wrong with you. Unless you happen to be Italian, in which case they assume you're in the mob.

It's all part of the linguistic xenophobia that makes people of all nationalities invent their own names for other countries. Spanish speakers, for instance, refer to the United States as "Estados Unidos," which translates the words and reverses them to conform to the language's grammatical standards. They call us "E.U." rather than U.S." much like we called the CCCP the USSR, despite the clear CCCP stenciled on those frightening red 1980s Olympic basketball and hockey jerseys.

The most egregious of these cross-language bastardizations is what the rest of the world does to poor Deutschland. We call it "Germany," Spanish-speakers call it "Alemania" and Poland calls it "those occupying bastards of the 1940s."

This is all nonsense and in today's global economy there's no excuse for these misnomers to continue. I propose an international summit in which world leaders gather and agree to call each country exactly what it calls itself.

If that idea fails and every country insists on calling all others whatever the heck they please, can't we at least get a little creative? If we won't pronounce "Mexico" "Me-hee-co," let's just go the full nine and call it "Churroland," naming the country after its delectable export. "Canada" shall be "Eastern Oregon" and England shall be "Losers of the Revolutionary War." Or LRW for short. Russia of course will be "Putinstan" and Iraq will be "Mission Accomplished."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oh no

I wish this email had gotten to me before I cast my early ballot for Obama:

Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 5:59 PM
> Subject: Scary
> Truly scary!
> This will make you re-think: A Trivia question in Sunday School:
> How long is the beast allowed to have authority in Revelations?
> Revelations Chapter 13 tells us it is 42 months, and you know what that is.
> Almost a four-year term of a Presidency.
> According to The Book of Revelations: The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40's, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with
> persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace,
> and when he is in power, will destroy everything.
> Do we recognize this description??
> As I was listening to a news program last night, I watched in horror as Barack Obama made the statement with pride. . .."we are no longer a Christian nation; we are now a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, . . ." As with so many other statements I've heard him (and his wife) make, I never thought I'd see the day that I'd hear something like that from a presidential candidate in this nation. To think our forefathers fought and died for the right for our nation to be a Christian nation--and to have this man say with pride that we are no longer that. How far this nation has come from what our founding fathers intended it to be.
> I hope that each of you will do what I'm doing now--send your concerns, written simply and sincerely, to the Christians on your email list. With God's help, and He is still in control of this nation and all else, we can show this man and the world in November that we are, ind eed, still a Christian nation!
> Please pray for our nation!

And who says right-wing fundamentalists don't have a sense of humor? They're the funniest people around.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Highlights from tonight's World Series game

(Note: This post would have been the same had they actually played the game.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pac-Man's biography

I wonder what kind of animal Pac-Man is. Is he a decapitated jaundiced human head? Or an amoeba mutated to giant size? Or maybe a decapitated jaundiced shark head?

The answer to this question is none of the above. Pac-Man is clearly a space alien who is visiting the uninhabited planet of Neverendingmazes. He's tripping on acid, and that's why he thinks he's always being chased by ghosts. They represent the mistakes he's made in his pre-alienstronaut days, when he was a hired killer for the alien mafia. As for what the pretzels and apples represent, I'll leave that to the historians to decide.

The acid is laced with pot, hence the rampant munchies.

Ms. Pac-Man, meanwhile, is Pac-Man's lost soulmate, who also became an acid-addicted alienstronaut who also happened to visit Neverendingmazes. (They used to sit next to each other in alien math class at the Pac-People School for the Academically Gifted but Unlucky in the Ways of Love, and neither ever mustered up the courage to ask the other out). As fortune would have it, she landed on a different part of the planet. The part with better graphics and more cleverly designed mazes.

They will never meet one another again, trapped in their own private hells of panic-tinged solitude.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The World Series of Boredom

I'd rather watch the world series of quilting than the Rays play the Phillies in a worst of seven. So, so boring. Actually makes me look forward to the NBA season. And NHL. Or the LPGA senior tour.

But not NASCAR, because hey, nothing's worse than NASCAR.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008




Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time travel

I'm convinced that conventional time travel - the sort that involves kicking DeLoreans up to 88 miles per hour - doesn't exist. If it did then everything in our day would be all messed up from the meddling, and someone from our era would have stolen the technology to use it for their own nefarious needs, for instance stealing a sports almanac to win enough money to build their own casino and demand Marty's mom get a boob job.

If I'm somehow wrong about this than I'm at least certain that time travel is only possible in an observational sense, and not participatory. Like watching a movie. Maybe the beings we think of as ghosts are really just time travelers who want to scare us. If so, thank you time travelers for making Halloween more fun.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Laptop battery

Laptop battery, why must you overestimate yourself so? Ten minutes ago your power bar was completely filled. Five minutes ago you were alarmingly down to 63 percent, but assured me you had well over an hour left in you. And now you're just about drained, and I'll take your insistence that you've got 32 minutes of you with a few shakers of salt.

Honestly, battery, how hard is it to give me an accurate estimate of the energy you've got left? If you've got 17 minutes total, just give it to me straight. None of this surprise attack nonsense. But no. Lies, lies and more lies. Not sweet little lies, either. Big, nasty ones that catch me unawares.

You sit on my lap, stare into my eyes and just mislead me with all sorts of empty promises and inflated dreams. I just can't trust you now. Sorry, but things between us will never be the same.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thank you, Microsoft Money

For crashing and erasing all of my financial information. You made me reload an old backup file that reminded me my 401(k) was worth $5,000 more than it is now back in February. If only I'd decided to retire back when I was 29 and rich.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So that's settled

At this point it's clear that the next president is going to be Barack Obama. Running against John McCain is like drawing Arizona in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament. Even if Obama somehow managed to squander his mammoth cumulative swing state lead, for instance declaring he'll raise taxes for anyone whose last name starts with an A-M, McCain will probably figure out a way to stay irrelevant.

The thing is, no one really wants McCain to be president. His base just doesn't want Obama in the White House. It's a losing strategy, and exactly why John Kerry wasn't able to get past Bush. McCain is a placeholder, a patsy - nothing more than a harbinger to the truly frightening prospect of a 2012 Palin presidential run. Watching the debate tonight I sort of got the sense that McCain is starting to understand his lot. He's done, and just running out the clock, putting on a good show so all his donors don't feel like they wasted their money.

So now we just have to hope that there's some substance behind Obama's rhetoric. He'll get the job because he talked a good game and has the appeal of a wildcard. After dealing with eight years of rotten hands, we're collectively pushing everything into the discard pile and asking for a new deal. Obama could be a new JFK, or at least a Bill Clinton, or he could lead us into another Depression.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not my type

I'm convinced that writing will never be as good in the computer age as it was in the days when everything was done by typewriter. Back in the day, when you wanted to write something, you had to mean it. You had to think things out a bit, plot out a course of action and be damn careful as you started tapping away, each button press ruining your ink ribbon a little more.

My time with that halcyon age was brief. A few reports in elementary school. A pretty good three-page, triple-spaced fourth-grade biography of Leonardo da Vinci and a blistering fifth-grade treatise casting doubt on William Shakespeare as the true author of the plays that bore his name. (It was a lightning rod for its time and a definite precursor to Jen Carrell's "Interred With Their Bones.")

After that, everything went to crap. But it's all just a part of the natural evolution of things. I'm sure someone chipped a similar rant like this into a stone tablet, lamenting the bygone era of cave paintings.

It's true that the era of instant word processing allows for swifter revisions, but I doubt the upside offsets the fallacy of second-guessing yourself and mucking around with your voice. When no sentence you write is ever permanent, how can it mean as much to you?

When Truman Capote read Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," he dismissed the blistering stream-of-consciousness epiphany by saying "That's not writing. That's typing."

And now we don't even have typing anymore.

Monday, October 13, 2008

No regrets

One quick way to get me to lose whatever respect I have for you is to utter the phrase "no regrets." If someone above the age of 7 looks back at his life and is sure he wouldn't change the way he did anything, he's either lying to himself or is actually Joe Montana in disguise.

The fact is we all make mistakes. You're making one right now by reading this instead of doing something more productive with your time. And if you refuse to acknowledge the errors, at least in your own mind, and act differently in the future, then you may as well die right now because you're only going to continue behaving in the same idiotic manner until you're invited to the proverbial great tea party in the sky with Jack Ruby and Hunter S. Thompson.

The next time someone tells me they have no regrets, I'll respond "Oh, really? What about failing to complete the fourth grade?" They'll respond indignantly that they did pass fourth grade, and that's when I'll catch them in their lie. See, anyone who's been to fourth grade has wasted valuable paste-eating time picking their nose while paging through "Where's Waldo" books, and thus of course regrets it.

Stunned at the moment of self-reflection, my adversary will instantly convert to my way of thinking and probably offer a large sum of money for the lesson I've just given them.

Should they insist they were happy with their booger-picking "Where's Waldo" reading, I'll punch them in the mouth. After I use smelling salts to revive them from the knockouts, I'll ask them if they have any regrets now, as in regretting they talked to me, which led to their getting punched in the mouth. The question, of course, will be rhetorical. Unless the guy I'm talking to is Joe Montana, whom I'd have no chance against in a fight.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Atlas clapped

"Yay Cardinals! Cardinals Football!"

That's what 1-year-old Luke said to celebrate Arizona's epic 30-24 overtime dispatching of the Cowboys today. He watched the game with me for three hours and didn't understand a thing he saw. Neither did his dad. What happened at University of Phoenix Stadium was a rip in the space-time continuum, a tilt in the axis and sweeping maelstrom of liquid bliss that quenched the parched Sonoran desert's two-decadelong spell of NFL futility.

It was almost worth Arizona's sickening squandering of a 10 point lead in the final 130 seconds of regulation, including Dallas' miracle long bomb and 52-yard-field-goal as time expired, for the bum-rush blocked punt that sent the bad ship Cowboy to the bottom of a hellfire ocean.

I glanced at the score strip atp[ the TV screen, rubbed my eyes and confirmed that it was indeed true. This was no fever dream, acid trip or head injury. This had truly happened. Arizona is atop the NFC West, two games ahead of its closest competition and a million miles better than dreaded 1-4 Seattle. No matter what happens from this point out, it has been signed, sealed and delivered that 2008 is the Cardinals' year. Playoffs are in store. Maybe even a visit to the Super Bowl. All dreams are possible after you've slain the most savage of NFC beasts, depantsing the school bully than making out with his girlfriend while the rest of the school watches.

I looked over at Luke, clapping for no reason at all. "Yay Cardinals! Cardinals football!" To him these are not scalawags clinging to their one barnacle of sustenance. This is no surprise, no breaking of tradition, no cause for Atlas to ease his strained shoulders to whoop it up in stunned celebration. The Cardinals win, and they always have, ever since he can remember.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Why Hasselhoff and Rocky are the 'dream ticket'

I'm done with the 2008 election. It's time to shift my attention to 2012. I'm already disappointed with the current administration, whether or not it turns out to be led by McCain or Obama, and looking for change I can believe in. Or maybe a maverick who will buck the system and shake up the establishment.

My point, I guess, is that David Hasselhoff should be our president. His veep, of course, should be Rocky. Not Sylvester Stallone. Rocky. In full character, Stars-and-Stripes boxers and an oversize rob sponsored by a Philadelphia butcher. Could you imagine the things these guys could accomplish if we had the courage to let them come to power?

The visionaries who collectively brought us Baywatch, Knight Rider, six (six!) Rockies and four Rambos could so wreck that White House. Of course it would be only natural that Rocky would scheme to knock Hoff off his pedestal, maybe framing him in a scandal to get him to step down so he could assume the throne, but that's to be expected. I, for one, sure don't want a vice president that doesn't want the top spot.

Besides, can you imagine how great a negotiator Rocky would be? No one at the U.N. - not even that crafty weasel in Venezuela - could stand up to that death glare of his. He's not a man, he's a piece of iron.

And Hasselhoff could accomplish even greater things. Hasselhoff wakes up every day to an alarm clock radio that screams "Born in the USA" (OK, he has questionable taste in music), flosses with world peace, showers with wisdom and takes a morning dump of coherent foreign policy. He would rescue the world in the same way he and his band of buxom lifeguards once rescued foolish swimmers.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gabrielle Giffords owes me $1,000 a year

Thanks so much, Gabrielle Giffords, for your valiant work in getting FEMA to reconsider its flood plain classifications in Marana.

Your tireless effort has saved lots of homes from having to pay flood insurance, but guess what? The "study" you supported determined that random houses in my neighborhood, including mine (Cortaro Ranch, behind the IHOP at Cortaro and I-10), are now considered susceptible to floods. (In FEMA's earlier slapdash assessment, my 'hood was in the clear.) The house across the street from me is all good, as is my next-door-neighbor's neighbor. It's a relief that when the fearsome, Katrina-style cataclysm comes along to sweep us all away, I know I'll only need to swim a few feet to safety.

Anyway, this shenanigan means I'll have the pleasure of forking over more than $1,000 a year to an insurance company for no good reason. Gabrielle, I'm sure you're good for helping me out with the cash, right? Feel free to stop by and drop it off whenever you like.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pun control

Forget the dangers of firearms. What we really need is legislation that cracks down on bad puns.

Nevermore should anyone be allowed to utter the phrase "the right to arm bears" in reference to the second amendment.

No omelette should be permitted to be referred to as "eggs-cellent."

For no reason may someone begin a question with the word "orange" as a substitute for "aren't."

No citizen shall refer to one's garden as his "best-laid plants."

Congress shall severely limit the right of people to use poker terms when speaking of the Arizona Cardinals.

And henceforth no blog posts should be titled something as bad as "pun control." After this one, of course.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bear market

There are certain things you realize when you become a parent, and one of them is how perverted all the kid-aimed bear mascots are. Here is my evaluation of all the bears out there that are a little too child friendly.

Paddington Bear - British and proper. Has a thing for marmalade, which could signify some sort of buried food-involved kinks I don't want to even think about. The creepiest thing about him is his outfit - a trenchcoat with no pants. Prototypical flasher.

Snuggles - Just think about it - the guy hides out in bedsheets. He's a little, no, a lot, too obsessed with hugging. Arms to yourself, creepo.

Teddy Ruxpin - There's a reason he's no longer sold in stores. Ruxpin was no doubt convicted and tossed in jail. Think about it - he was designed to sit in kids' laps, pretending to read books to them while robotically opening and closing his mouth up and down in barely concealed lust.

Winnie the Pooh - Wears a half shirt and no pants. Yikes. And he's always sticking his hand into "honey pots." Getting it stuck, asking his little friend Piglet to help him out. You don't need to be Robert Langdon to decipher the symbolism here. Ugh. Poor, poor Christopher Robin.

Yogi Bear - One word (or maybe two). Boo Boo. That's one codependent relationship that's even more eyebrow raising than the Batman-Robin dynamic.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Yay, bailout

Since the deficit and national debt are so low there's no problem at all with this... bad borrowing to get out of a problem caused by bad borrowing. America is its own payday loan officer. And the best thing about it is that racetrack owners, pillars of the economy that they are, get loads of free money outta the deal!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The hate kiss

You see it all the times on movies and TV shows. A man and a woman shout it up in a heated argument, then stare dumbfounded into each others' eyes and start making out.

It's obvious that the writers only come up with such scenes because they base them on personal experience - personal experience, in this case, being movies and TV shows they've seen.

My question is whether one real-life hate kiss has ever actually occurred. If it has, it was likely sparked by two people who got the idea while channel surfing. I'd like to see one in action just once. It would be like Halley's Comet, Mary-Kate Olsen chewing a bite of food or an Arizona Cardinals playoff appearance.

In fact, I propose a reality show - "Hate Kiss Monthly" - that culls footage of hate kisses worldwide from all the Google Earth spy cams and plays them in a montage. Sadly, there probably wouldn't even be enough material for one episode.