This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

X-Rated Topic, PG-Rated Post

Just ruminating:

Like I don't already have enough to do, sometimes I want to start another blog.

No, not another post, another blog. An uncensored one, where I can write about topics of a more "adult" nature. And without any of my cutesy little asterisks replacing some of the letters in a "naughty" word. (I mean, really, when I write a word like "bulls**t," I know that everybody knows what I mean. It's like when they bleep out profanities on TV, and we in the TV audience know what was said anyway.) True, sometimes I eschew the asterisks, usually when I'm really pi... umm... really ticked off about something...

And back in 2004, at my old blog address, I actually used the uncensored "F" word by saying "F**k you" to none other than Babe Ruth! That was on the historic day that the Red Sox effectively ended the Curse of the Bambino by winning the World Series.

I detest censorship. But generally, when I write, I use a bit of restraint. (Hm. Mental picture when I mentioned "restraint... " Never mind.)

However, having said that... Once in a great while, I want to make a so-called X-rated comment on one subject or another, whether the subject itself is X-rated or not.

Once in a great while, I want to be out-and-out crude.

Once in a great while, I want to be juvenile. Incredibly juvenile.

Once in a great while, I want to be kiddingly -- and I stress "kiddingly" -- misogynist. ("Misogynistic?" Ahh, who gives a... darn?)

I realize that, theoretically, I can write about any topic here. But what small audience I have might object to anything really explicit, even if it's just a lot of profanities and vulgarities. Even if one or two people object, I'd feel like I'd f... *ahem*... that is, that I'd betrayed them, in a small way. So I'd set up a new blog which would be designated as being strictly for adults only, and any of the regular David'Z RantZ readers could pretend the new blog didn't even exist.

Kinda like watching all of the different Star Trek TV series, and all of the movies, too, but ignoring the novels and comic books.

What this proposed blog would not be is one of those blogs wherein the author regales you with detailed anecdotes about his or her sex life, for two reasons:

1. I'm actually not that much of a kiss-and-tell guy, and

2. Who'd really want to read about my sex life? Even I wouldn't.

Anyway, I may or may not do this someday, but if I do, I already have the title: David'X RantX. (Just pronounce the "X" like the "X" in the word "xylophone," and there ya go!)

But beware, boys'n'girls! I'll still probably end each post with...

Thanks for your time.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Time Scurries On

"Gimme cookie, damnit!"

One of the online newspapers I subscribe to via email is the British Telegraph.co.uk. Reading a British newspaper gives me an idea of how another country -- a similar country, one which doesn't (yet) hate us, and one which more or less speaks the same language -- views the USA. Sometimes I even learn about things going on in the USA before I read about it in an American paper.

Plus, I'm entertained by their obituaries. They're generally dedicated to 1. World War II heroes, 2. lords or ladies with hyphenated names, or 3. American celebrities. But I digress.

Anyway, a day or so ago, my eyes were immediately drawn to the headline of an article entitled, "Mutant threatening to wipe out grey squirrel."

(Clicking that link will open a new window -- or tab -- featuring the article itself. I'll be using only the briefest of quotes, to stay beneath the umbrella of "fair use." I actually contacted the Telegraph.com.uk to obtain permission to reprint extensive quotes, because I love you that much, dear readers! However, they would have charged me to do that. And frankly, I don't love you that much!)

My first thought was that they'd announced another sequel in the X-Men movie franchise, and that the plot was conceived by some moronic studio exec during the recent writers' strike. But no.

The article begins by telling us that the grey squirrel -- and I know that in the USA, "gray" is preferable to "grey," but I like using "grey," so freakin' deal with it -- is being supplanted in various areas of Britain by its "faster, fitter, and more aggressive black counterpart." The grey squirrels were themselves "introduced" to Britain more than 200 years back, and began "forcing out" the native red squirrels.

Well, I think some of us have already figured out what's really going on here, haven't we?

As always, we humans are projecting our prejudices onto these poor furry tree rats. Suddenly, a minority population is increasing, endangering the status quo. "They" are taking over. The humans are pissed, and as for the squirrels themselves?

They probably don't care too much.

But, you wanna know something? If I didn't know better, I'd say that this whole squirrel business was going on here, in the United States. I almost wondered if this was an actual news article, or an allegory dreamed up by a British novelist.

Look at what we have here. The minorities are beginning to outnumber the greys, or "grays." (And in this country, "gray" is right up there with "honky" and "cracker" as an ethnic slur against white people.) And these "greys" had originally taken the land from the "reds?" History does indeed repeat itself, dunnit?

(Okay, let me check again. Yup. This is going on in Great Britain, not North America.)

These uppity black squirrels first showed their dark & furry faces in Britain less than 100 years ago, but now comprise "half of all squirrels in some parts of the country" (emphasis mine), a confusing percentage, at best.

Yup, they're "taking over." Pretty soon all of our -- I mean, Britain's -- squirrel signage will have to be written in red, grey, and black squirrelspeak.

These black squirrels evidently have higher levels of testosterone, too, which makes them more aggressive and "territorial." Furthermore, the always fashion-conscious female grey squirrels are apparently lured toward the blacks' pigmentation. That makes me think of the looks I see on some people's faces as they pass interracial couples on the street. Some white-bread blonde babe -- and yeah, I prefer the word "blonde" with the final "e," too -- walks by on the arm of an African-American or a Latino, and there's usually some whitey nearby who is giving them a dirty look without even realizing that he or she is doing it.

Geneticists warn that the ever-expanding black squirrel population will probably "overrun most of the eastern counties" within ten or so years. And, horror of horrors, they're genetically able to interbreed with the greys, which would result in fuzzy little black or brown babies!

Blacks and browns? Oh, no! Miscegenation!

And not only that, but the blacks' impending takeover could further impact the dwindling population of red squirrels. One scientist was quoted as saying, "The small pockets of red squirrels that still exist already have to be protected because of the grey's dominance."

(Pockets? Or reservations? Hmm?)

Lindsey Maguire of the National Squirrel Rescue team -- and yes, Virginia, there apparently is a National Squirrel Rescue team -- says that the greys may eventually "get their 'just desserts' [sic]," no doubt meaning that it would serve us right after what we did to the Native Americans.

Wait, wait, wait! Scratch that last crack. I'm thinking of the United States again.

Ms. Maguire also wonders "how long it will be before we see a 'save the grey' campaign," as well she should.

I can see it now. Disgruntled groups of humans and grey squirrels, racists all, uniting to form a society of sorts. And they can come up with some sort of freakin' handbook simply by rewriting some White Supremacist literature.

Well, all I can say is... Nuts to you, you bigots!

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Go Forth and Multiply

Gallagher, comedian and former California gubernatorial candidate, used to do (or, for all I know, still does) a routine where he talks about sports which he calls "dumb." His remark about skiing was (and I'm paraphrasing here, because it's been at least fifteen years since I heard the routine) "Put a couple of flat boards on your feet and try sliding down a mountain covered with snow? Big deal. Try not to."

"Try not to."

That phrase comes to mind whenever a talk show audience applauds someone who says he (or she) 1) has a child or children, or says 2) (and this is more important to the thrust of this particular rant) that he/she has just had a child. I always wonder, what exactly is it that they're applauding? Coincidentally, it reminds me of yet another Gallagher routine. Referring to the way politicians regularly trot their wives and children out for public scrutiny whenever they're running for office, Gallagher asks aloud what our reaction is supposed to be. Are we to say, "Oh, good. His d**k works," and then vote for the candidate, for that reason alone?

Folks, let me tell you something: With the exception of those relatively few unfortunates who want to have children but -- for clinical reasons -- can't, conceiving a child is so remarkably easy that it happens quite often, many times purely by accident! (And please don't act surprised by that last little tid-bit!)

And before anybody gets in my face about the trials and tribulations of the birthing process itself, or the headaches involved in supporting & guiding a child to adulthood (and often, beyond) ...I'm only talking about conception here, folks. And once Mr. Sperm meets Mrs. (or Miss) Egg, the actual squeezing-out process for the little puppy is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

To repeat: I'm only talking about conception here, folks. That part is relatively easy (unless the two of you are into sexual gymnastics... but I digress). Preventing conception is, generally speaking, much more difficult. "Try not to," indeed.

So, be forewarned. (I always liked the term "forewarned," by the way. What other kind of warning is there, other than one that comes before something occurs?) If you ever tell me that you or your significant whatever just gave birth, I'll probably congratulate you (although, depending on your individual circumstances, such a response may not always be appropriate), but don't expect any freakin' applause from me. I'm pretty darned sure you didn't get any kind of appreciable ovation while you were making the little diaper-dumper, so don't expect one now.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ A lot of pressing appointments today, boys'n'girls, so I'm afraid the preceding post was recycled from November 6th, 2003! Gotcha!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Write On, Brother!

Wanna confuse the hell out of someone? I mean, personally, unless I've totally f**ked up someone's mind during the course of a day, I feel that I've wasted that day. Anyway, assuming that your answer is "yes" (or why would you be reading something called "David'Z RantZ?"), here's how I do it:

I tell anyone who asks what I do for a living that I'm a writer. (And I've been saying that ever since I finally got the nerve to kiss my crappy day job good-bye for good.)

No, really. It's that simple. Tell them that you're a writer -- well, if you are one -- and it'll mess 'em up for sure.

Of course, I don't know why this confusion exists, but it does. And I started noticing it with my very first paid writing gig, which was editing a restaurant menu to include cute little jokes among the descriptions of the food that they offered. (This was a Victorian-themed restaurant which wanted to appear fun rather than austere, hence their name, "Tom Foolery's.") Maybe not the kind of thing that would have Spielberg banging down my door, but somebody was giving me money to write!

During that early period in my on-again/off-again writing career, I did a lot of freelance work, mostly for print shops, doing everything from proofreading to what I call "low-grade advertising." (To my date, as we dined out: "See this card on the table, inviting you to 'join us for happy hour?' I wrote that!" And boy, was she impressed. Or not.) And initially, I described myself as a "freelance copywriter," which was evidently far too many syllables for the average person to comprehend. Hence the following exchange, which I endured a handful of times:

Him (or Her): "Oh, you're a copyrighter [sic]? Good, I can use you! I have some really good ideas I need to have copyrighted."

Me: "I think you mean patented, not copyrighted... But anyway, that's not what I do. I don't copyright; they have a whole office in Washington for that kind of thing. I write copy."

"Huh?"

Yeah, I always got the "Huh?" accompanied by a blank stare. So I figured it would be a lot easier for everyone concerned if I simply said "writer."

Wrong.

Early in my freelance career, my writing partner introduced me to a young lady who ran a printshop in her basement. (This was shortly before the computer era had really gotten going, so anyone running a business like that was automatically deemed quite industrious.) When she'd discovered he had a friend who was a writer, she enthusiastically decided she had to meet me. I assumed she had plans to put me to work doing the so-called low-grade advertising jobs I was used to, but no. She thought "writer" meant that I could do things like calligraphy. Taking the word "writing" a bit too literally, I thought...

Okay. In typical "David'Z RantZ" fashion, all of the above was just an introduction. Here's the real story I want to tell:

A few years later -- well after I'd had a few articles and what I call "half a handful" of comic book scripts published -- I received a call from the very same print shop that had given me my first writing assignment. According to the owner of the shop, the former manager of Tom Foolery's was now embarking upon a new venture, a franchise called Croissant du Jour, and was looking for a writer. (A while back I'd polished up the business plan that Tom Foolery's manager, Michael Kent, sent to the bank which he hoped would finance this chain. Apparently, his figures and my written organization of same had worked.)

I called Mr. Kent, and was a bit disoriented by what he said he wanted. He wanted graffiti painted on the walls of Croissant du Jour's restrooms. Nothing obscene or even suggestive, but rather, little expressions that somehow reflected the overall dining experience.

In the restrooms.

Anyway, he further unnerved me by mentioning twice during the phone call that he also wanted Croissant du Jour's logo painted on an awning in front of the building. I told him both times that I wasn't a painter, or an artist, so logos were not something I did, but it was almost as if he wasn't hearing anything he didn't want to hear.

The site of the new restaurant was about an hour away from my home, which meant I had to deduct a small chunk out of my anticipated profits for gas money. I drove out there with a long list of suggestions for this "tasteful graffiti." He glanced at the list, and then looked at me as if something was missing. Not "Missing" on the list. "Missing" on me.

"Where are your paints?" he asked, all too matter-of-factly.

"My what?"

"Your paints," he repeated, with a tone of voice that implied that he'd actually wanted to say, "Your paints, stupid." He continued. "Your supplies. How are you going to paint these walls without them?"

I couldn't believe I'd driven an hour for this conversation. "I'm not a painter. I'm not an artist. I'm a writer."

He looked at me as if I'd just told him I was a photographer who didn't own or use any kind of camera.

I got a sinking feeling when I realized that here was another person who was taking the word "writing" too literally. I thought he'd hired me on the strength of my work on his original bank proposal. Obviously not.

He wasn't very interested in my written list of suggestions (and I knew he wouldn't like the new suggestion which I was aching to tell him!), so I realized that the only way I was going to get paid for this gig at all was if I myself painted my cute little sayings on Mr. Kent's bathroom walls.

One of his employees gave me directions to a local art supply store so I could buy paints, brushes, etc. Yeah, that's right, more money out of my pocket, and thus, my profits.

It was a long walk. I went there, wondering if I could charge him my hourly rate from the very instant I arrived at his restaurant (which would naturally include this walk). I had several other thoughts on my way to and from the art supply store, but... nothing printable.

Using a combination of brushed-on sayings and a couple of witticisms which were sprayed on with a can of spray-paint, I dutifully defaced his walls.

When I was done, he invited his employees to view my work. "What do you think?" he asked them.

"It looks like the bathroom's been vandalized," said the one person who wasn't afraid to admit that he agreed with what I myself was thinking.

Mr. Kent gave the boy a look that implied "I meant to do that!" or, in his case, "I meant to have that done!" I couldn't believe he really liked my handiwork. I don't think he did; I think he just wanted to save face.

I decided to charge him for every minute I'd spent there since my arrival, including my walk to and from the store. What I should have done was charge him for my travel time to and from home as well, plus the cost of my gasoline and the cost of the freakin' paints and brushes. But I was younger then, and certainly not as arrogant as... well not as arrogant as he struck me as being.

As he wrote my check, I asked him to make sure he included my middle initial, and I then began to spell my last name for him. (My last name is almost never misspelled, but I always tell people how to spell it anyway. Just to be safe.) As I was spelling it aloud, he waved his hand dismissively as if to say "I know how to spell it!"

As I walked to my car, carrying the paints and brushes which, obviously, I would never use again, I looked at the check he'd written.

My middle initial was missing, and my last name was misspelled. But at least he wrote the amount correctly, which, I suppose, is what really matters.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. -- Those of you who remember my April 3 post, entitled "Just In Case," may recall that I often think of people for no apparent reason, after not having thought of them for ages... And suddenly, I run into them somewhere, or learn that they've recently died, etc.

Just for the hell of it, I decided to do a Google search for "Michael Kent."

Mr. Kent, whom I'd met only once, back in the late 1980s, and rarely thought of until I began mentally drafting this post, passed away on December 21st of 2007. Kinda close to now, I thought.

Maybe I do have The Power.

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Five Days, Five Days"


Five Days, Five Days

(One day, two days, three, four, five)
A-that's how long that she's been gone
And that's a long time
Five days, five days
Since you walked out the door
Won't you please come home
I couldn't stand five more
Well the first day after she left me
I laughed and told my friends
That she'll be back before
The sun is settin' low again
Five days, five days
Since you walked out the door
Won't you please come home
I couldn't stand five more
Well, the second day after she left me
I started to have my doubts
I wondered if she was comin' back
Or really had checked out
Five days, five days
Since you walked out the door
Won't you please come home
I couldn't stand five more
(One, two, three, four, five days more)
Well, the third day after she left me
I started to watch the door
Before the day was over
I began to walk the floor
Five days, five days
Since you walked out the door
Won't you please come home
I couldn't stand five more
Well the fourth day after she left me
I really began to sweat
She should have been back days ago
But she ain't got back yet
Five days, five days
Since you walked out the door
Won't you please come home
I couldn't stand five more
(One, two, three, four, five days more)

(by Gene Vincent ~~ written by Rhodes/Willey/Franks, © Screen Gems/EMI Music, Inc.)


Change every "she" to a "he," and that's about it...

Thanks for your ti-- Wait a second...

UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

At approximately 6:30 p.m. on the very day of this post, I was leaving my apartment to go to a play rehearsal and locking my back door. Suddenly I heard a series of plaintive cries, kitty language for "Don't close that door, there's food in that house!" and bounding across the parking lot and onto my back porch came Orson, looking like Calista Flockhart on a bad hair day. I don't think he ate in the five days he was gone. Serves him right, the single-minded little fuzz-ball. I poured the remainder of a can of Friskies -- about seven or so ounces -- into his dish, along with a huge amount of dried food next to it, and left.

When I returned, it was about 10 p.m. I'd bought a rotisserie cooked chicken and some previously-fried pollack. The canned food was gone, and so was about half of the dried food. Orson had also rummaged through the trash and stripped the remaining meat off of Monday's Kentucky Fried Chicken bones. He ate a few bites of fish, and about one-third of the chicken. He still looks anorexic. At least he doesn't seem to have gotten his little kitty ass kicked, this time. But tomorrow he gets a bath.

Right now, he's laying belly-up on the corner of my bed, which is almost touching my computer desk's chair. He's purring loudly, and it must be true that animals mostly respond to a human's tone of voice, because he's purring contentedly in response to such terms of endearment as "you little idiot," "you furry little f**k-head," and "ass-face."

Now...

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Speed Freaks?

Somewhere between those geological eras known as the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic -- or, more specifically, before the widespread use of the "call waiting" function -- one of the most irritating things we humans had to deal with was the following scenario: 

You want or -- even worse -- need to contact a friend, relative, business associate... whatever. So you walk to the nearest phone, and...

(Excuse me? No, no, I said "you walk," not "you reach into your pocket!" Cell phones as we know them hadn't been invented yet! The only "mobile phones" to speak of were a special kind of electronic appliance that was installed in your car, and was large enough to comfortably seat your three smallest children. The kind of telephone I'm talking about using here was on a cord that was actually attached to a wall, like a cable TV line. And although so-called "telephone jacks" did exist, most telephones stayed in whatever room they had originally been installed in, and...

Can I please get back to my story?)

So, anyway... You call your friend, and get a busy signal. Remember, this example pre-dates "call waiting," so you get an annoying buzzing sound in your ear that tells you that the person you're attempting to call is already talking to someone who can't possibly be as important as you are. So you hang up.

Ten minutes later, you call back. Still busy. ("Geez, how long does this guy talk, anyway?") 

You wait another ten minutes, and call again. Still busy! ("Okay, he has to be off soon!") 

So you call again, five minutes later. Still busy?!? ("Oh, for... !")

This goes on for another fifteen or twenty minutes. Your calls are now spaced about one minute apart. Plus, to add to the aggravation, at this time in mankind's history there is no such handy feature as an automatic "re-dial" button on your phone, either.

On your penultimate try, you dial, hear the grating busy signal once again, slam the phone down, lift it up again and immediately dial your insensitive friend's number once more, even 'though you know in your heart of hearts that if he was on the phone four seconds earlier, he'll still be on it now.

However...

The phone rings. It rings! He's finally off the phone, and can receive your all-important call!
 
Except...

There's no answer. There's no answer!

Why? Well, because your friend isn't home, of course.

So, you ask yourself, "How the hell could he hang up the telephone, and then vanish immediately?"
You're understandably furious. You promise yourself that the next time you see him, you're going to grab him by the front of his shirt (let's hope your friend is a "him" if you plan that approach, by the way), lift him a foot or two off the ground, and scream, "What the f**k do you do after an hour-long phone call?!? Hang up and immediately jump out the nearest window?!?"

But you don't... You do what we all do, or did. (I'll now drop my pretentious use of the present tense, describing a scene ostensibly taking place in the past!) You calmed down, and forgot.

So we never learned just how these people "did it."

You know, until now, I never appreciated "call waiting" very much. (Probably because I'm usually the one who's put "on hold" while the person I'm speaking with takes a call from someone else who, as in my example above, can't possibly be as important as I like to believe that I am. I resent it enough when a corporation puts me on hold, but I really hate it when a friend does it!) But after reading what I just wrote, I suppose I should admit that "call waiting" really does have some advantages.

But I digress.

The passage of time, coupled with minor technological innovations like "call waiting" and the "re-dial" button, have all but done away with instances like the above. Ah, but technology can be a double-edged sword! The oh-so-wonderful internet has given us something equally annoying in the place of my telephone horror story!

Here's the new variation: While you are working at your computer -- specifically, checking your e-mail -- an e-mail arrives from a friend (or relative, or... hell, you know the drill). You don't even take the time to sign on to Yahoo Messenger, or MSN Messenger, or AIM, or ICQ, etc. Nope! You just dash off a quick e-mail in response, and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And this waiting is made even more irritating if you employ services such as MSGTAG, as I used to (a little thingamabob that e-mails you as soon as your message is actually read), because the absence of a notification such as theirs proves that your e-mail has not been read. And I don't mean "read, but not yet replied to." I mean, not even seen!

So, you ask yourself, "How the hell could he send an e-mail, and then vanish immediately?"

And you're frustrated (but at least you're not furious!), frustrated to the point that you promise yourself that the next time you see him, you're going to grab him by the front of his shirt (and let's still hope your friend is a "him" if you plan that approach), lift him a foot or two off the ground, and scream, "What the f**k do you do after you send an e-mail?!? Unplug your computer and immediately jump out the nearest window?!?"

But you don't... You do what we all do. You calm down, and forget.

So we'll never learn just how these people "do it."

I'm pretty sure this is what they were referring to in "The Lion King" when they sang "Circle of Life."
But... hey! Y'know somethin'? As John Astin (as "Buddy" on "Night Court") used to say... "I'm feeling much better now." This "RantZ" page beats the hell out of tranquilizers, any day!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. -- The preceding blog (minus edits) originally appeared at my old blog URL, on December 17, 2003 . Gotcha!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Take My Wife... and My Wife... and My Wife...

(Hey, I've had a busy weekend, blog-wise. Hope you haven't missed any entries, folks!)

Over the past few months, I've seen a lot of articles about fundamentalist Mormons, the ones who practice plural marriage. Personally, I think the Powers That Be were pretty much content to ignore the whole issue in hopes that it would eventually go away -- fat chance -- but with the 2006 debut of HBO's "Big Love," people suddenly realized that stuff like this was still going on.

I'm not going to discuss my views on the morality (or immorality) of polygamy. I've got enough problems of my own. Nope, this time I just want to respond to a few people... Okay, a few guys... that I've talked to about the subject. They all seem to think it'd be great having more than one wife, so you could basically sleep with more than one woman and yet, not be cheating on any of them.

Okay, reality check here, gents: These aren't just multiple sex partners. They're multiple wives. There's a difference.

Old joke: "Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same thing."

You think you'll be getting more in the way of sexual variety, and plenty of it? Dudes, what you'll be getting is married-people sex. Way different. Like, "What's the definition of foreplay once you're married?" "One hour of begging." That kinda different. Between kids and day-to-day stress and the idea of "doing it" with the same person in (generally) the same position, day after day after day... Variety? No. Taking a bad situation and multiplying it times... whatever amount? Yeah, probably.

Okay, some of you are saying, "My marriage is different. My partner and I still have a healthy sex life." Really. Congratulations. You six people can stop reading now. Everybody else? You're stuck with me until the end of the page.

"Marriage is an institution. I'm not ready for an institution." -- Mae West.

Think about it. By that token, having three wives is like serving three concurrent jail terms. In fact, since Mormons frown on divorce, it'd be more like three concurrent life sentences.

Ohhh, yeah. Sign me up.

You guys are picturing orgies. Uh-uh. Try picturing -- for just one quick example -- three times the nagging. "Aarrgh! I just got this one to shut up, and now the other one starts!"

But please don't misunderstand me. I'm not putting down women, here. No, really. Marriage... well... maybe. But women? No.

I actually have a great deal of respect for women, if for no other reason than this:
They're much too smart to want multiple husbands.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, April 11, 2008

"You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" Part Two!

(Please read my previous post from today for Part One.)

*sigh* And here I was, just trying to be a smart-ass about one historical kid in particular...

At this writing (slightly before nine p.m.), I've received one comment so far on my earlier post, entitled "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," and it took me far enough afield of my originally-intended topic that I'm gonna milk it for a whole new RantZ entry!

Here's the comment as originally printed and credited to one "Kranky-McCrankenheimer" (which may be an alias. It's so hard to tell, sometimes, y'know?), a kindred spirit, I think:

1. "If you LOVE the children, you'd spend ten-times more money on their education!"
2. "They are our future!" (I don't think so...they're self-absorbed, lazy kids who's major accomplishment on an average day is "winning" at some video game.
3. It's mostly the fault of the parents who praise almost everything their spoiled kids do..."Oh look! 12 year-old Johnny walked all the way across the floor without falling down! You're SO special!" Nope, sorry...he's really not even "average"...
I say, "Off-'em" early before they grow up." Logan's Run had some good ideas...they just needed to start earlier.

Ah. [David does all-but-endless amount of time-wasting Ed Norton-inspired gestures as he "prepares" to write the rest of his blog]

Well, Krank -- may I call you Krank? -- here are my thoughts on your thoughts (And be sure to give my best to Mrs. Krank and any and all little McCrankenheimers out there.):

1. Right. I've got a better idea for those who suggest that. Let's spend ten times more of their money. Make it an opt-in program. Leave my damned taxes alone.

2. I hate to disagree with you, there, but children are our future. It's just that sometimes -- largely depending on the child at whom you're looking -- said future is a scary, dystopian one.

Collectively, each generation seems to be getting worse. And I'm not trying to absolve my own generation here by saying this is a recent trend. It's probably been going on for about two thousand years! You know, since the generation that thought crucifixions and pitting gladiators against lions and tigers and bears (oh, my!) were such neat ideas? Face it: Looking at humankind in general... We suck.

3. That's being done under the guise of "equality." Saying that any child excels in any way, like scholastically, or in sports, is now being seen as bigoted, or elitist.

We're so quick to diagnose our kids with things like ADHD -- which is a real condition, but (I believe) not one that's anywhere near as prevalent as physicians and pharmaceutical companies would like you to believe -- when some of them would be better classified as what we called 'em in my day: BRATS. And the parents are too quick to accept these diagnoses because it's better than thinking we're failing by being too permissive. Society won't allow us to discipline our kids, because there are too many idiots out there who can't draw a line between discipline and abuse. So we err on the side of caution, because parents can't be trusted to make the right decisions.

There is a good argument for the whole "retroactive abortion" thing, some sort of ultra-judgmental "do-over" of sorts. Like, let's allow abortion up until the thirty-third trimester -- yeah, that's the ticket! -- or just revamp it so there's virtually no statute of limitations at all. The current administration would love having an excuse to institute yet another program to infringe on the rights of people in general. "Yeah, we examined this guy's life, and decided his mom can have him aborted now... at forty-seven... "

As I said above... We all suck. It's not just about the children. Maybe we should sterilize the next three generations -- I say three, because you just know that several would slip through the cracks if we assumed it'd work in one generation -- and leave this planet without any further dubious "improvements" from us. Nothing but happy raccoons, cockroaches, and old Styrofoam McDonald's containers.

Thanks for your time.

[David sits back, eagerly anticipating comments]

"You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby"


This world is very concerned -- some would say too concerned -- with the welfare of children. I think people in general may be carrying things a bit too far when I hear news bulletins like, "Half the world exploded today, killing roughly four billion people, including six children," and I think, "A tragedy like that is tragic for all concerned, not just the friggin' kids!"

But it's true. We are overly concerned with the so-called "innocent ones."

Like that cutie-patootie up top, there. What an adorable little thing, huh?

I say we kill him.

"What a terrible thing to say, you heartless bastard!" you scream.

Are you sure? ( Click here! )

Thanks for your time.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Two Things You Need to Know About Massachusetts

(And no, this has nothing to do with the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, the Boston Bruins, or the New England Patriots!)

I was born, raised, and live in Massachusetts. This rant is aimed at those who don't live there, and never did. It may also be appreciated by those who do or did.

1) Admittedly, Massachusetts is a relatively small state (in terms of acreage, not population), when compared to Texas, California, etc. However, the state is not so damned small that everyone in it lives in, or near, Boston! So if you ever meet someone from Massachusetts, save your insipid "Beantown" references for those who actually live there, and not for those who live an hour or more away!

2) People from Massachusetts do not talk like the Kennedys. Hell, people who live next door to the Kennedys don't talk like the Kennedys. Only the Kennedys talk like the Kennedys!

And if you, in your "I'm not from Massachusetts" ignorance, decide to say something to the effect of, "You guys all say, 'paaaaahk the caaaaaah' instead of 'parrrk the carrr,' right?" ...save your breath. We've heard it before. It's not funny.

And you're not one of us.

When Rob Morrow played Richard Goodwin in the film Quiz Show, he used a pseudo-Kennedy accent to play the Brookline attorney. (When he remembered to speak with an accent, that is.) Whenever an actor or actress in a major motion picture tries to sound like he or she is from Massachusetts, he/she usually sounds like -- you guessed it -- a Kennedy. Or like someone from Maine. Maybe someday one of them will get the Massachusetts accent right.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. -- The preceding blog originally appeared at my old blog URL, on November 2, 2003 -- Gotcha! -- but I haven't posted anything in three days, and I figured my regular readers were sick of seeing Charlton Heston's name at the top of the page. And by the way, all but like, six people on the internet -- myself included -- have made a reference to prying Heston's gun from his cold, dead hands, so we can all stop now. It's been done -- no pun intended -- to death.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Short Shorts

Six different topics today, boys'n'girls, so if you weren't a big Chuck Heston fan, you might wanna just skip down to #2!

1) Charlton Heston, 1924-2008, R.I.P.

Bad news, emailed to me early this morning, was that we lost actor Charlton Heston (often misspelled as "Charleton" for some stupid reason). I've placed my brief tribute in a "Short Shorts" column rather than in a separate entry because I don't have a whole lot to say about him, other than that I respected him as an actor and, as is the usual case with me, I appreciated him more in his lesser-known films than in blockbusters such as Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments. I'm referring to movies like Touch of Evil (in which Heston was improbably cast as a Mexican, the heroic nemesis of the always imposing Orson Welles), The Buccaneer, The Last Hard Men, and Khartoum.

Of course, that doesn't mean to disparage any of the many other Heston vehicles I also enjoyed, including Planet of the Apes (and its first sequel), The Three Musketeers (and its sequel), The Greatest Show on Earth, and the cult favorite Soylent Green.

Strangely enough, the last film in which I saw him was his very first film, Peer Gynt, released relatively recently on DVD.

However, due to the short attention span of people nowadays, I just hope Heston will be remembered more as an actor than for his stint as the conservative president of the NRA. (Or is placing "conservative" and "NRA" in the same sentence rather redundant?)

2) The other morning, I went out for breakfast and had, among other things, a "Country Fried Steak." In case you don't know what that is, it's a steak -- kinda/sorta -- that's breaded -- again, kinda/sorta -- like southern fried chicken and cooked Lord-knows-how (I never ask -- and no, "fried" isn't specific enough in this case). And this time, I wondered how and why "country fried steak" ever came about.

Think about it. Meat prices being what they are (and have been for years), I know of a lot of people who "settle" for chicken far too often, when they'd rather have a nice steak!

So, why on earth would someone who can afford a steak want it to be prepared like cheap chicken?

I guess it originated down South -- I'm only assuming that because of the whole Southern-fried aspect, and not relying on any regional prejudices -- when some guy walked into a diner and said something to the effect of, "Hey, Bob, I just made a killin' sellin' off my crops this year! And I'm gonna treat myself to a nice, juicy steak dinner for a change!" And the counterman/cook leaned forward almost conspiratorially and said, "Sure thing, Billy, but you better let me do it up like the fried chicken you usually get, just so's it won't be too much of a shock to your system."

3) I'm certainly not the type to push my religious views on anyone, but once in a while, I experience something that convinces me that there is, indeed, a God.

For example, up until very recently, McDonald's was offering their Filet-O-Fish sandwiches at the incredibly low price of two for only three dollars!

Does anyone really need more proof than that?

4) Well, I ended my Blogger poll a bit early, and it looks like I'll be keeping the re-vamped version of my South Park-ish profile icon. For those who care, a) I changed it because... well, because I could, since the computer table background wasn't available when I designed the original, and b) I actually liked the first version better, and was considering changing it back, but gave "myself" a slight Grecian Formula treatment instead, and decided that I like the third version best. So much for that.

5) I love oxymorons. Probably at the top of everybody's list is the oft-mentioned "military intelligence." But I also like to list "disco heaven," "happily married," and... Billy Mays.

6) Why the hell do most radio stations insist on having so-called "morning shows?" I listen to my car radio so I can hear music, not a bunch of pointless talk. There are stations officially designated as "talk radio," y'know, so if you really want to hear a bunch of jibber-jabber on your way to work -- or on your way home from wherever you passed out last night -- feel free to listen to one of them. Let me have my music, okay?

If I want to put up with an endless supply of words before getting down to the actual entertainment, I'll... I'll...

I'll read my own blog, that's what I'll do!

Thanks for your time.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Paper or Plastic?

The other day, I was at the supermarket, standing in the check-out line with only five or six items.

One of the clerks walked over to me and said, "Sir? We have an express lane over there." My gaze followed the direction in which he was pointing. It was one of those "do it yourself" check-out lanes that many stores have now.

"Do I get a discount?" I asked.

"Sir?" said the clerk. It was clear that I'd confused him.

"A discount. Do I get a discount for doing all the work myself?"

"No... "

"Well, I realize that this isn't the 1800s, when you could walk into the grocery store and tell Cora that you needed a pound of sugar, whereupon she'd weigh it out for you, and so on... But the whole self-service aspect has gotten out of hand. I mean, I don't think I've seen a stockboy help an old lady to her car with her carriage full of items since the Reagan years... " (Total look of disorientation on the teenage clerk's face.) "He was a US. president," I explained semi-patronizingly and sotto voce. "Don't worry about it, kid, he's dead anyway." I continued. "Anyway, as far as ringing these items up for myself goes, if I'm going to be doing that much of your work, Price Chopper should give me a discount."

It was then that the clerk and I realized that everyone in my line -- as well as in the two lines on either side of us -- was listening to our conversation. Someone muttered "He's right," to someone else.

At that point, the cashier asked the lady in front of me -- who was now being waited on -- if she would swipe her debit or credit card through the machine. "No," said the woman, smirking a bit while proffering the card to the cashier, "I think that you should run it through. That is what they pay you for, isn't it?"

And most of us laughed. Someone, somewhere, even cheered.

And later that night, I received a congratulatory telephone call from Governor Deval Patrick.

And...

Okay, okay, okay! Not buying the bulls**t, huh?

I confess. I made up everything that came after "Do I get a discount for doing all the work myself?" But that, I did say. And at some point soon after that while you were reading, I'm sure you started wondering, "Hey, did all of this really happen?"

But until that point, I'll bet you were rooting for me, and the rest of the supermarket customers. Weren't you?

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Just In Case...

My car radio has four pre-set tuning buttons. One of them is set to a 1960s-1970s oldies station. Two are set to classic rock stations, and as you're no doubt aware, "classic rock" just refers to oldies with cojones. The fourth is set to a station which plays some new stuff, but mostly older stuff.

In other words, I listen to a lot of oldies.

Keeping that in mind... In and of itself, it naturally didn't surprise me that a classic rock song -- in this case, Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" -- was playing on the radio when I got home and shut the car off (with the radio still on).

However, the next day, when I went out to my car and started it, "White Room" -- also by Cream, of course -- was in progress. The coincidence struck me as more than a bit odd. Did it mean something? Probably not.

On the other hand...

Once in a while, things happen in my life that seem like they were somehow foreshadowed by other thoughts or occurrences. You know, like when you suddenly think about someone whom you haven't seen or thought of for years... and a day or two later you coincidentally meet that person somewhere.

Several years ago, I was living in a one-room apartment -- the term "apartment" is being charitable -- in a rooming house. Upon leaving late one afternoon, I paused and looked at the door, thinking that it would be all too easy to break in, although no one had ever done so during the years I'd lived there. I worked third shift at a supermarket at that time, and when I returned the very next morning, it was to a room that had been burglarized.

Another example? One of my "tribute" entries was in honor of entertainer Hamilton Camp. Among Camp's many accomplishments was a catchy little song called "Here's to You," released in the late 1960s. And although I hadn't thought about the song -- or the artist -- for quite some time, one day I found myself singing the song at work. I casually wondered what had ever become of Mr. Camp, and that night, I found out. A website I visit daily said he had just passed away.

So, what, you're probably wondering... Am I claiming precognitive abilities, or something similar?

Aw, heck no!

On the other hand, I'm posting this column just in case an upcoming news bulletin reports that Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, or Ginger Baker has died, or that something else newsworthy and related to Cream has happened.

So I can literally say that you read about it here, first. Kinda/sorta.

Like I said, just in case.

Thanks for your time.

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