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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harvey Korman and Earle Hagen, R.I.P.

My current plans are for my next seven posts (starting June 1st) to be a lengthy & true story called My Island. Something radically different from David'Z RantZ, to be sure. Comments are welcome, but for various reasons, all comments on My Island (and only on My Island, from June 1st to June 7th!) will be "screened" by me before they actually see publication.

In the past few days, we lost both actor/comedian Harvey Korman and composer Earle Hagen. I've not a lot to say about either gentleman, but I had to note the passings of each, albeit briefly.

Harvey Korman (1927-2008) was best known for being... well, it's a toss-up, actually. A lot of people would say he was best known for his work in several of Mel Brooks' films, especially "Blazing Saddles." Others knew him best as a regular on Carol Burnett's variety show of the 1960s and 1970s. I'll remember him primarily from the latter, cracking up during numerous Burnett sketches, especially when paired with Tim Conway.

Earle Hagen (1919-2008) was the composer of countless TV show themes (not to mention the composer of scores for several TV shows and several movies, as well). These included "The Andy Griffith Show" (in fact, that's Hagen himself doing the whistling), "I Spy," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Mod Squad," and... oh, hell if you want an exhaustive list, go here! My personal favorite by Hagen was "Harlem Nocturne," which Hagen co-wrote in 1940. Lyrics for the song exist, but it's probably best known -- there's that phrase again -- nowadays as the gritty instrumental which was used as the theme for "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer."

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Short Shorts

1. Since so many states and even countries are now instituting all-out smoking bans in their restaurants, we should turn their old "smoking" sections into "cell-phone" sections, and segregate those loud & annoying bastards.

2. Two things you need to know about "In the Air" by Phil Collins:
  • Every single story you've ever heard or read about how that song came to be written is bullshit.
  • If you're sitting alone when that song is playing, and you don't play "air drums" when that big-ass drum roll comes in the middle of the song... well... you're, like, the only one who doesn't do that.
3. Dick Martin, 1922-2008, R.I.P.

Dick Martin, the funnier half of the Rowan & Martin comedy team, died a few days ago. Dan Rowan and Dick Martin are best remembered, of course, for being the hosts of the then-cutting-edge TV show, "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In."

I'd
been a fan of theirs since early childhood. (They were a team long before I was even born.) I used to love watching them on various variety shows and talk shows. Dan's character was that of the straight man, and Dick's was a mildly lecherous, slightly-smarter version of Gracie Allen, with his own off-kilter view of the world.

Once they'd started doing "Laugh-In," their outside appearances -- well, those I saw, anyway -- were annoyingly infrequent. In fact, if memory serves, the last time I saw them perform as a team, it was on a talk show. The talk show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It was around the time of the 1972 presidential election, and once they'd sat on the panel, they pretty much ignored Johnny and the other guests for about four or five minutes while they discussed, among other things, Democrat George McGovern's running mate, Sargent Shriver.

Predictably, the difference between "Sargent" and "sergeant" was lost on the dull-witted character Martin portrayed. He referred to McGovern's proposed vice-president as an "old military man. Sargent Shriver."

Rowan, of course, was quick to correct, "He's not in the military. That's his name. Sargent Shriver."

"What kind of a name is that?"

"It's an old Yankee name!"

"You don't name a kid Sargent... "

"Well, maybe I don't, but... "

"You name a police dog Sergeant!"

As the laughter began to die down, Carson interjected with, "You know... it's a shame you guys didn't prepare any material for tonight... "

I just threw that in because the "Laugh-In" stuff is readily available, but how many of you ever heard that routine before?

4. I am so glad they've finally come out with a "Sex and the City" movie!

No, I'm not actually going to go see it, silly! I never watched it during its original HBO run, and have no desire to catch up now. And if I just want to see Kim Cattrall act like a slut... Well, I think I must still have her number around here somewhere... I mean, everybody else does...

Besides, isn't "Carrie Bradshaw" that bald, ex-football player who keeps trying to act?

No, I'm just glad the the title "Sex and the City" is now being emblazoned across everyone's television screens at the end of the ads for the flick. Because now, everyone will finally learn that the freakin' title was never "Sex IN the City!"

(Yeah, right. Sure they will. There are still people out there who think that Leonard Nimoy played a character called Doctor Spock on a show called "Star Track!")

But hey, if it'll make you feel any better, I might pick up the soundtrack CD -- if I can find it discounted on eBay or Amazon -- for mood music when I have an overnight guest.

5. Update #1, involving my "Buyer Beware!" post of 5/16/08:

To date, all three of these scumbag internet companies...
  • PAY-ACWM
  • WWW.WEBFILEHELP.COM
  • BILLNET-ONLINE.COM
...have refunded my money. However, they are still scumbags. Stay away from all of them. Also, I have been able to buy things online with my debit card, contrary to BILLNET-ONLINE.COM's threat.

6. In the "Profile" section you get to fill out when you have a blog on Blogger, they give you the option of answering a random (silly) question. The last time I asked them for one, it was "Lionesses have no manes. How do they know when they've grown up?" My answer was "They get boobs, and they get alcoholic beverages served to them in bars."

But then I thought about the male lions. In live-action movies or animated cartoons, we always see male lion cubs (that have no manes) and/or adult male lions (with their impressive, full manes). I wonder... What do the male lions look like around the time when they hit puberty? I mean, there has to be some in-between point, right?

I'm sure I could find the answer on the internet, but I refuse to look for it. Finding out the truth would dispel the mental image I have of an "adolescent" male lion with a mohawk-style mane. And I rather like that.

(I just got this weird brain flash, singing, "I've been through the desert on a horse with no mane... ")

7. Update #2, involving my "Short Shorts" post of 2/21/08 (fourth subject):

I finally got around to asking a waitress why so many restaurants give people who are dining alone (as I was this evening) teeny-tiny empty plates along with the plates the appetizer is served on.

She said there are people who may very well be dining alone, but may not finish their appetizer and want to bring the unfinished food home to someone else! And that "someone else" may be so anal (and yes, she actually used the word "anal," a ballsy but otherwise unfortunate word choice for someone working in a restaurant) that he or she may not want leftover appetizers that were on the same plate that someone else was eating directly from earlier. Kinda like how you have to take a new, clean plate for every trip to the food bins at a Chinese buffet.

Wow. And they say I over-analyze stuff.

But as far as I'm concerned, if I'm bringing you free food, and you're worried about whether or not it briefly shared "plate space" with food that I did eat... F**k you, you ingrate, go buy your own.

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The "Crappy Day Job" Town (An Exercise in Not Getting to the Point)... plus a bonus!

I've lived in Massachusetts all my life. I was born in a Worcester hospital back in nineteen-fffrfrfhhff. For the first couple of years of my life, my family and I lived in a town called Sutton. Then we moved to Oxford, where I resided for approximately seventeen years.

I liked Oxford a lot.

Then I moved to a town called Southbridge, and frankly, I never really warmed up to it. People would say, "Oh, you're from Southbridge?" and I'd issue a verbal disclaimer to the effect of, "Uhhh... no, actually, I'm from Oxford. I've only been living in Southbridge for about two years," or whatever the time period was.

I kept doing that.

"Oh, you're from Southbridge?" "Uhhh... no, actually, I'm from Oxford. I've only been living in Southbridge for about four years."

"Oh, you're from Southbridge?" "Uhhh... no, actually, I'm from Oxford. I've only been living in Southbridge for about seven years."

"Oh, you're from Southbridge?" "Uhhh... no, actually, I'm from Oxford. I've only been living in Southbridge for about twelve years."

Yeah, I know, I know. By that point, it was getting pretty freakin' lame. But I still kept on doing it, to the point where, at thirty-eight years of age, I was actually saying, "I've only been living in Southbridge for about nineteen years," and one day I realized, "Dude. You've been living in Southbridge half your life? Start saying you're from Southbridge, or move."

So that's the story of why & how I moved to Webster, Massachusetts, where I've lived since I was thirty-eight years old. Webster is a relatively quiet little town in the southernmost part of the state, right on the Connecticut border. It's also the location of a moderately famous lake named -- take a deep, deep breath, here -- Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.

No. Really. That's its name.

Most people think that the name translates as "You Fish on Your Side, I Fish on My Side, Nobody Fish in the Middle" -- a translation which even made its way into an episode of Gilmore Girls! -- but it doesn't. That's a lie. Well... a story.

It actually stands for "Englishmen at Manchaug at the Fishing Place at the Boundary," but since that's not nearly as colorful, nobody likes it. Or repeats it. Ever.

"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Ya think?

But I digress. What the hell else is new, right?

Anyway, just a handful of years after I'd finally "escaped" from Southbridge and moved to Webster, I left my crappy day job (also in Webster) for what began as a much better day job. (This "much better day job" eventually morphed into The Granddaddy of All Crappy Day Jobs, but that's a story for another time. Maybe.)

There was a slight drawback to this "much better day job," however.

I was stationed in the company's Southbridge branch office.

But now that I've left The Granddaddy of All Crappy Day Jobs, you may think that once again, I've been able to "escape" Southbridge. And, unfortunately, you'd be wrong. My mother and sister live in Southbridge. Not only that, but a theatre group I've again become involved with -- after a hiatus of over 25 years -- is located in Southbridge, as well.

So, for me, anyway, there really is no escaping this town!

(Congratulations. In the tradition of Arlo Guthrie's "but that's not what I came to tell you about" -- from "Alice's Restaurant" -- and Bill Cosby's "I told you that story so I could tell you this one," you've just been suckered into reading what is possibly the world's longest introduction for a relatively short anecdote. But it was necessary background info to now and forevermore explain why I am cursed to keep going back to the town I have hereby designated as the "Crappy Day Job" Town. In other words, it was stuff you'd kinda/sorta need to know anyway... I mean, if I hadn't filled in those details, it would be a perfectly natural response for you to say, "Well, if you dislike the freaking' place so much, why do you keep going back there?" So... now you know.)

Anyway, here's my real story.

Neither my mother nor my sister (who both live in Southbridge, remember?) have internet access. And although my last Crappy Day Job (which was also in Southbridge) did supply me with internet access, it prohibited my visiting things like personal email sites. Therefore, I was -- and occasionally, still am -- forced to go to Southbridge's town library to check email, make PayPal payments, etc.

At the time I started doing this, their policy was that you had to have a Southbridge library card if you wanted to use a computer. If you didn't have one, you had to leave your driver's license or other form of ID with them while you were online. At first, I didn't have a Southbridge library card because I didn't live in Southbridge, but I eventually applied for and received one, just to expedite matters when I wanted to use one of the library's computers.

That was the theory. However, as I've pointed out numerous times in this post, I don't live in Southbridge, and since I'm the type of person who hates carrying an abundance of ATM cards, ID cards, business cards, supermarket cards, etc. in my wallet, whenever I "clean house," as it were, things like out-of-town library cards are the first to go.

So, one day, my travels and necessary errands brought me to the Jacob Edwards Library (the official name of Southbridge's library), where an exchange approximately like the following one took place:

Me: "Hi, I'd like to use a computer."

Librarian: "Do you have a library card?"

Me: "Yeah, but not with me."

Librarian: "No problem. May I just see your ID instead?"

Me: "Of course." [The librarian began to explain that she merely needed to hold onto my ID while I use the computer -- in other words, the policy I was formerly subject to -- and I politely interrupted.] "Oh, I thought you just needed it to verify my ID so you can check that I have a library card on file here, and... "

Librarian: "No, we can't do that."

Me: "You... can't."

Librarian: "No. So we need to either hold your ID, or have you fill out an application for a new library card."

I opted to leave my ID with her. That time.

The next time, months later, I once again explained (to a different librarian, one who was just as agreeable as the previous one) that I did have a library card on file, but I didn't have it with me. I was once again told that I could leave my ID with her -- something which, I should stress, I had no objection to -- or fill out an application for a new library card.

"Look," I began, "I'm fully aware that you don't set policy, but this" -- "this" being the license I was waving in the air -- "proves who I am. Can't you just delve into your system and see that there is a library card already on file in my name?"

"No, I'm sorry. You either have to leave the license with me or fill out an application for a brand new card."

"Again? Doesn't that strike you as being a waste of my time, your time, and your money?"

"Our money?"

"Well, it must cost something to print those little plastic library cards and their little protective paper envelopes, which you do every time I fill out another application." She nodded. I continued, thinking aloud, "Thank God my bank doesn't do this. I mean, what if I wanted to discuss my checking account, but left my checkbook at home, and the teller said 'Oh, then we can't discuss that account at all, even with your picture ID... But we'll be happy to open a brand new bank account for you... '"

She smiled while I rambled, and when I finished, said, "Well, sir, as you were nice enough to point out earlier... I don't set the policies here."

Usually, in similar instances, I find myself dealing with retail clerks who don't really understand what I'm ranting about. Librarians, due to the nature of the job, tend to be more intelligent than other types of service personnel. Usually, when I attempt to go off on one of my polite, public mini-rantZ I get a look from the clerk or cashier like, "Dude, I just work here twenty hours a week, after school. I really don't care, okay?"

I guess all I'm saying is that it's nice to be appreciated, even in small ways.

Just an observation.

Now... Before I thank you for your time, I want to give you a totally unrelated bonus. Just call it your reward for having made it all the way to here without giving up and leaving:



And now... Thanks for your time.

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Can't Have It Both Ways

I understand and accept that the English language is a "living" language and, as such, is constantly being reinvented by those who use (or misuse) it on a day-to-day basis. So someday in the very near future, I expect grammarians to throw up their hands in collective surrender and say, "Fine! You want to make a word plural by adding an apostrophe 'S' instead of just an 'S?' Go ahead! That's the way you freakin' idiots have been doing it for the past few years anyway!"

But if you're going to change things, at least try to be consistent, willya?

Throughout most of my life, I've seen people write "mike" when they want to abbreviate "microphone." And in terms of what we laughingly call the "rules" by which the English language is governed, that spelling makes perfect sense. It rhymes with "like," "hike," "bike," etc. However, more and more, people are abbreviating "microphone" as "mic." That's wrong. Sorry, but I don't care if you're one of the increasing zillions who write it that way, but you're wrong. "Mic" should be pronounced "mick," as in "Mick Jagger." It should not rhyme with "mike."

Stop arguing with me! You're wrong! Shut up. Shut up! (Will somebody shut off his mic? I mean, his mike?)

I've mentioned this annoying trend to at least one person who seemed to think it was merely the new way of doing things, and that it would soon be a universal practice, and that I should just get over it.

Okay, then riddle me this, Batman:

Another trend I've seen developing over the last few years, especially where internet usage is concerned, is the tendency for people to use the term "pic" (short for "picture") in lieu of "photo" or "photograph." I'm not sure why "photo" is suddenly finding such disfavor. Maybe with the advent of digital cameras, people don't think the term "photo" should be used unless film is specifically involved, kinda like the "CD" versus "album" argument I discussed here?

But I guess it doesn't matter, since "pic," of course, is pronounced "pike," so it rhymes with "like," "hike," "bike," and...

Oh, it isn't? Really? It's pronounced like... well, like "mic" ought to be pronounced?

Well, whattya know about that!

Like I said, folks. All I ask for is a little consistency. But I'm not holding my breath.

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Short Shorts

1. You know, they've been making automobiles for well over a hundred years now. In all that time, why the hell haven't the car manufacturers gotten together and said, "Okay, everybody, once and for all: We put the gasoline tank filler pipe on this side!" It would save so much time and confusion at the gas pumps if we could all drive up to the pumps the same way. The federal government loves regulating all things concerning cars, like emissions devices, safety features, and what have you... Why don't they step in and say, "From 2011 on, all gasoline tanks must be filled from the left [or the right... or even the center, behind the license plate]. We hated to pass this law, but it was painfully obvious that the moronic auto companies were never going to get around to it."

2. On a related note, I will never believe that the government is truly serious about protecting automobile passengers until someone steps in and protects the children we send to school in those death traps we complacently call "school buses." When a school bus gets in an accident, its cargo of young lives is about as well-protected as a dozen eggs would be if I placed those eggs in a plastic bag and threw said bag against a nearby wall. "Save the children," indeed.

3.
Will Elder, 1921-2008, R.I.P.

Will Elder, one of the founding fathers of MAD Magazine, died on May 14th.

MAD began as a comic book in the early 1950s, but had changed to magazine format long before I first encountered an issue in the early 1960s. However, in the mid-1960s, my sister purchased every single MAD paperback reprint collection, which had all the old MAD comic book stuff. Thus, I was introduced to such artistic paragons as Wally Wood, Jack Davis, and Will Elder.

When I first read those MAD collections, I was just at the age where I was beginning to notice the "credits" in comic books and magazines. Years later, when I was old enough to read Playboy and first encountered "Little Annie Fanny," I wondered, "Is this the same Will Elder who used to work for MAD?" And of course, it was.

Will Elder's "Chicken Fat" school of cartooning, which literally filled the panels with goofy signs and other sight gags, made sure that the reader got more than his -- or her -- money's worth. I can't even guess how many hours Mr. Elder entertained me.

I just wanted to say thanks.

4.
Johnny Five


Wall*E

Okay, good...

I just checked. It's not just me. A lot of people on the 'net have been struck by the similarity between Pixar's Wall*E, and Johnny Five from the two "Short Circuit" films produced in the 1980s. (With maybe a splash of E.T. thrown in for good measure.)

5. I love it when an article talks about "the surviving members of The Beatles," like there are three or four dozen of them floating around the planet. Folks, there are two surviving members. Half the group. Period. There were four in the real core group -- John, Paul, George, and Ringo -- and that's not trying to insult Pete Best, or Stu Sutcliffe, or any of the people who've variously been referred to as "the fifth Beatle" someplace because of their amazing contribution where blah-blah-freakin'-blah was concerned...

And no, no fair counting Yoko.

Let's face it, if you were one of The Beatles, you were one of the coolest people in the universe, ever. Or at least you were cool for a period long enough so that you'll be indelibly stamped in the minds of Earth's citizens as a "former Beatle," and nothing you can do -- not even a stint as Mr. Conductor -- can take that away from you.

I mean, if Paul McCartney -- I'm sorry, I meant Sir Paul McCartney -- were to be elected Prime Minister of Great Britain, you just know that even if he were assassinated in office we'd read this: "British Prime Minister and former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was shot today outside of... " Hell, Ringo could become an astronaut and a serial killer, and the eventual news article would read, "Ringo Starr, former Beatle, astronaut, and accused mass murderer, was apprehended today... "

6. Hey, that bit about "Sir" Paul McCartney reminds me...

What in the world possessed Great Britain to start knighting pop stars? I mean, sure, I think The Beatles were incredibly cool, and even said so above, but... Sir Paul? And... Sir Mick Jagger? Sir Cliff Richard?

Can you see King Arthur trying to defend Merrie Olde England with a Round Table comprised of Sir Paul, Sir Mick, Sir Cliff, and... Sir Elton?

7. Finally...

For as long as I can remember, I've heard jokes and complaints about how the airlines lose people's luggage.

I can fix that. Right now.

What the airlines need to do is to remove a few unnecessary steps from the whole process. Each company needs to hire someone who is currently working for a bus company like Greyhound, Trailways, Peter Pan, et al, quadruple their salaries, and let them tackle the way things are being done.

Within weeks, these new consultants will have instituted new systems where, after going through baggage security checks, each passenger brings his (or her) own bags directly to the plane he'll be flying on. Then he'll watch as it's loaded onto the correct plane, so he'll know it'll fly to the same destination he's going to, at the same time that he does.

What could be simpler than that?

(Pay me.)

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts!"

Hey, whattya know? These things aren't new!

[Mild profanity alert today. Deal with it.]

This time around, boys'n'girls, we're going to talk about two of my favorite subjects:

Breasts.

Actually, I'm going to talk -- or write -- because this whole "blogging thing" has yet to be made interactive.

But I digress.

One of the places I frequent for late-night suppers is a nearby sports pub. I generally hate so-called "sports pubs" because I'm not a huge fan of sports in general. But this place offers really good food, and perhaps the best boneless buffalo wings in this general area, so it's pretty easy to tune out the forty-seven televisions playing whatever that evening's Big Game (or Big Games) is (or are). Plus, it doesn't hurt that 90% of their wall decorations feature old-time Red Sox memorabilia, and when I follow sports at all, it's generally the Sox.

I was dining there recently, and couldn't help overhearing a conversation taking place at the booth behind mine. A young woman was telling a male friend (apparently not her boyfriend) that she wished men would stop looking at her breasts.

Needless to say, I soon found an excuse... that is... I mean... I decided to turn around to face the kitchen as if I was impatiently awaiting the arrival of my meal.

Yes, I looked. Of course I looked. I looked at her, in toto, and I looked at "them" immediately thereafter, objectively (perhaps arrogantly?) judging whether or not she and her breasts were legitimately "lookworthy," from an arguably average male's point of view. She was very attractive in her way, and they were attractive in theirs. Just what Gurney Norman would call -- if I remember the exact quote correctly -- "just a couple of nice-looking boobs on a nice-looking girl."

I should add that the blouse she was wearing was what I'd call "stylishly revealing," meaning that it was low-cut enough to show a good amount of what we call "cleavage," but not showing so much that she was in danger of falling out of her clothing.

If memory serves, necklines plunged drastically in the year 2006. Suddenly, the average woman -- and not just those on television, or in the movies, or otherwise in the public eye -- was wearing outfits that drew attention to her breasts.

And men -- "men" being defined as "post-pubescent heterosexual males" for the remainder of this article, okay? -- appreciated this new fashion statement, and looked upon it with favor. Let me stressed "looked upon it." Or perhaps, "looked upon them" would be more appropriate.

And that's because, yes, ladies, we are going to look. Men like women. Hell, men love women. We love being with women, we love "doing the nasty" with women, and whether or not we have any chance of doing the nasty with a specific woman, we still love looking at that woman, or any other. And "looking at women" means looking at the stuff you women want us to see, and the stuff you women don't want us to see.

It's all in how we men look at women. It's a game we ("we" meaning men and women) play, basically. I think I'm safe in saying that it's taken for granted that a man will "check out" a woman. The important thing is that the man be discreet about it, especially where the more "intimate" parts are concerned. If I, being male, look at any part of a woman, and comment on it to the woman in question, her reaction to my comment is in direct proportion to the part or parts of her body upon which I'm commenting, right?

Scenario #1
Man: "Hey, you have really pretty eyes."
Woman: "Thanks."

Scenario #2
Man: "Wow, you've got great legs."
Woman: (doesn't reply; feels slightly uneasy)

Scenario #3
Man: "Whoa! Gorgeous tits!"
Woman: "Pig!"

Keep in mind, the comment and the reaction in Scenario #3 would be the same whether the woman was wearing a low-cut top, or a turtleneck sweater. Unless a woman wears bulky, concealing garments, a man -- or a woman, too, of course -- has a pretty good idea of what the woman's figure looks like.

So, as I said, it's a game we all play. Men "check women out." Women (at least, those whom I've discussed this with) realize that fact, and hope that the men will do it discreetly and quickly. You know, just "get it over with." Like married sex.

Which brings me back to the young woman at the restaurant, the one who said she wanted men to stop looking at her breasts. It would have helped if she'd been more specific with her terminology.

If, by "looking," she'd meant "staring," well, yeah, that's understandable. Every woman -- even one who's flat-chested -- is familiar with the type of guy who can't make eye contact with a woman while he's talking to one. Nope. He's staring at the Devil's Pom-Poms, and that's regardless of whether the woman he's talking to is wearing the above-mentioned turtleneck sweater, or something she's practically falling out of. And that's just rude.

However, if by "looking," she'd meant "glancing," well, that's different. That's definitely going to happen. Even polite, discreet guys will do it, and that's still regardless of whether the woman is wearing a turtleneck sweater, or something she's practically falling out of. (Although, in this case, the more skin the woman shows, the longer the guy is likely to "glance.") Nevertheless... Get over it. It's going to happen.

And while I'm not one to advance the theory that women "ask" for & deserve poor treatment of any kind, I would like to add this: If you really don't want me to look at part or parts of you for too very long, please don't go out of your way to call attention to it or them, either with over-exposure or (especially) attention-drawing signage!

You know what I mean. If the seat of your pants has a word like "princess" or "precious" or "expen$ive" emblazoned across it, guess what? As you're walking away from me, that word will catch my eye, and I'll take time to read it. If you turn back and "catch" me, sucks to be you. It's your own fault. You made the decision to have everyone -- male and female, from kindergarten on up -- read the little sign on your ass when you put those pants on. So don't say or even imply that I'm a pig, because that would make a pig out of everybody else who sees you walk by as well.

Several years ago, I was standing in one of two lines at the local post office. In the line next to mine was a young lady of (IIRC) average looks. Her t-shirt had a rather longish expression written on it, which read:

Sticks and stones
May break my bones
But whips and chains excite me.

As soon as I finished reading it, I looked up and saw that the woman wearing the shirt was staring at me, and not looking very pleased. Did she think I was checking out her chest? "I was reading your shirt," I explained, although unnecessarily, I thought. She still looked upset. I suddenly felt like I was on the defensive, and spoke accordingly. "Well, if you don't want people reading it, don't wear it."

Sometimes you have to wonder what's on people's minds when they get dressed in the morning.

Thirty years ago, when such things were considered much more offensive, I saw a man walking from table to table at an outdoor flea market wearing a t-shirt that said "Harley Riders Eat More Pussy." And this guy was with a woman whom I assumed was his girlfriend or wife. If I were classless enough to wear that shirt in public, I'd like to think that virtually every woman I know -- friend, lover, relative -- would refuse to be seen with me.

A couple of years ago, when I worked in the office of the local cable company, I waited on a young lady -- hmm, make that a young woman -- who was wearing a t-shirt which read, "I have the PUSSY so I make the RULES." Well! That was about as classy as something I'd expect from Courtney Love...

And I can't even limit it to wondering what's on people's minds when they get dressed in the morning. How about when they dress someone else?

By that I mean, what would possess a parent to dress a five-year-old daughter in a t-shirt featuring a drawing of an anthropomorphic, cartoony penis wearing a condom, accompanied by a caption reading "Keep me covered! I'm going in!"

I've often mentioned that I prefer restraint to censorship, which is why I usually write words like "s**t" instead of "shit," when everybody knows I mean "shit" anyway. Maybe I'm the only one who still believes in restraint. I don't know.

What I do know is that this was originally supposed to be a very light-hearted post. Something changed between the top and the bottom, obviously, proving that sometimes, even I don't know where I'm headed with these things.

So, to restore this post to its originally-planned uplifting (no boobie pun intended) tone, I'm going to do something I almost never do, and embed a YouTube video...



And then provide a link to a fun thing you all may enjoy, here!

Thanks for your time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Buyer Beware!

PAY-ACWM 661-705-4282 GB

WWW.WEBFILEHELP.COM 866-636-1104 GB

BILLNET-ONLINE.COM 408-454-7093 CY


(Remember those three names, willya?)

*sigh*

This is an all-new post. However, this is not the subject about which I'd originally planned to write. It probably won't even be all that entertaining. But you might want to read it anyway.

Years ago, when I started blogging at my old web address, everybody and his mama did not have a blog. (That's changed, as you probably know. Nowadays, I think there are people who have internet access who don't even have electricity.) Being a relatively fair-minded kinda guy, I promised my friends that I would never attack them on my blog. In those days, most of them didn't have recourse to fight back online. Plus, I wasn't really planning on airing much of my personal so-called "dirty laundry" anyway... But the point is, I thought it would be a bit childish to write a column whining about how my buddy George was pissing me off that day, knowing that I'd only have to delete it later, when we'd made up, unless George read it before that making up took place, and he got insulted to the point of writing me off for good! (By the way, I specifically used the name "George" for an example because I don't have any friends named George.)

Just as a rule of thumb, that promise still holds true.

However, that same promise does not extend to celebrities, organizations, or companies that somehow incur my wrath.

For example...

I don't do a lot of buying online. Most of what I do buy online is from eBay dealers, or, to a much lesser degree, from Amazon.com. And as you're probably aware, most of the dealers on eBay can be paid through PayPal. I go through PayPal whenever possible.

(Special note, here: I know that a large number of people have had horrific experiences with PayPal. Hell, there are even entire anti-PayPal websites out there. But I personally have been dealing with them for seven or eight years and have never had a problem with them. So please do not bother filling up my "comments" section with your personal negative PayPal experiences, okay? At this very moment, I may sympathize with you in theory, but other than that... I really don't wanna hear it.)

Some websites make your online payment go through a billing service. And that can be tricky.

Let's say, for example, that David'Z RantZ is not a free weblog on Blogger, which anyone can read without paying a cent, but is instead a full-fledged website of its own, which we'll say is located at www.davidzrantz.com. To become a member, you have to pay a monthly fee of, oh, $29.99. Also, in this example, I run two additional paid websites, one devoted to cute things my cat, Orson, does -- Yeah, like I'd ever!!! -- at www.idiotcat.com, and an inspirational, self-help website -- "Yeah, like I'd ever" and then some!!! -- at www.ohquityerwhining.com. Those two are each $29.99 (per month) to join as well.

So you're about 90-95% sure you want a membership to www.ohquityerwhining.com, and while you're looking through the small print about your probable purchase, you're told somewhere on the page that for that same 29.99 you're (hopefully) about to commit to anyway, you'll receive free memberships to www.davidzrantz.com and www.idiotcat.com. "Oh, boy! I just love cutesy-wootsy widdle kittycats... and I don't know or care what the hell www.davidzrantz.com is, but who gives a crap, it's free, too... so now I'm sure I want to spend that thirty bucks!"

Yeah, I was hoping those two free sites would push you over the edge.

So, you have to enter all your credit or debit card info, and there's a notice somewhere saying your card will be billed by a name such as "We Got You Now", or whatever. Quite often, We Got You Now would be my "parent company," but in this example, let's pretend instead that "David'Z WebsiteZ" is my parent company, and We Got You Now is a billing service that takes care of all of my websites, and scores of other websites belonging to dozens of other companies and/or individuals.

Anyway, you make the purchase and receive a confirmation email. Chances are, the email in question won't specifically mention any of the individual sites you joined, meaning www.davidzrantz.com, www.idiotcat.com, or www.ohquityerwhining.com, but will instead congratulate you for becoming a member of David'Z WebsiteZ. You may scratch your head wondering what David'Z WebsiteZ is, exactly, since you may not have even seen that term while going through the sign-up process and filling out your credit card info, but you'll probably figure it out before very long.

That confirmation email, by the way, may or may not mention We Got You Now. That, you may not see again until you receive your bank statement or check your account online, and see the 29.99 charge.

Okay, here's where I stop what-iffing and discuss my personal trials and tribulations.

I hate committing to anything that automatically (and without notice) charges my debit card -- I don't "do" credit cards, y'see -- on a monthly basis. There's a good chance I'll forget a payment is going to be made until after the fact. And as far as websites go, although I have been known to "tip" sites which I frequent, I'm not one who'll readily sign up for any site costing $19.99, $29.99, $39.99, ad infinitum. Hell, if David'Z RantZ was a paid website, I wouldn't even sign up for that, and I love that guy's stuff!

However, one thing I will do is sign up for trial memberships. Those are deals which give you (to list a few examples) three days for $2.99, or $1.00, or even for free, with the stipulation that if you go beyond those three trial days, then and only then are they entitled to charge you for a full month's rate immediately thereafter. I've been known to buy a trial membership just to read an archived article or two or three from, say, TIME Magazine, or the New York Times, or whatever... And as soon as I've done that, I'll cancel my membership so I don't forget and go over my three-day trial period.

A couple of weekends ago, while looking for a few items of interest (which may or may not be discussed in a future post), I signed up for four or five trial memberships. And all of these memberships were canceled before my three days were up.

Nevertheless, a week after I canceled all of these memberships, not one, not two, but three of these billing services charged my debit card for a full month, regardless of the fact that those charges were, in effect, unauthorized. Contacting them was reasonably easy in two cases, and a pain in the ass for the third.

On Monday, I spoke with customer service representatives from the first two (listed on my online bank statement as PAY-ACWM 661-705-4282 GB and WWW.WEBFILEHELP.COM 866-636-1104 GB). Both CSRs immediately agreed with me that the charges should never have been applied. The former said I'd be reimbursed in 7-10 days; the money was actually credited as of Thursday morning, three days later. The latter claimed the money had already been returned "yesterday" (meaning Sunday!), which was not the case, but my refund from them showed up in my online bank statement on Thursday, as well.

(By the way, that does not let these two companies off the proverbial hook where this blog post is concerned. The fact remains that neither company should have charged me the full monthly rate in the first place.)

The third company (BILLNET-ONLINE.COM 408-454-7093 CY) said they'd return my money, too, if I really insisted -- Don'tcha love it? -- but that doing so would force them to put me on a list of fraudulent credit card users, and all my personal information would be forevermore on an internet database, and I could, in effect, never buy anything online again.

You may wonder how a guy who writes a column called "David'Z RantZ" would react to something like that.

And the answer is, "not too freakin' well."

The third paragraph of my lengthy email to BILLNET-ONLINE.COM (an email which, by that point, had also mentioned my misfortunes at the hands of the other two internet billing services) went as follows:

"[Y]ou are telling me that if I want money that is rightfully mine returned, I will pay the penalty of being added to a 'fraudulent transaction' list which will prevent my doing any buying online for pretty much the rest of my life? Amazing. That sounds one step short of blackmail to me. There was nothing "fraudulent" about any of my transactions, as opposed to three billing companies' actions after the fact. Also, I don't believe that issuing a refund must automatically enter my data onto this list, and that your people are powerless to prevent it, as is implied. Be that as it may, I want my refund as soon as possible, and I would greatly appreciate an answer to this email confirming that said refund is forthcoming. If these are the kinds of experiences I will get by buying things online, I'm probably better off taking my business elsewhere. However, I should apprise you that I am one of those people to whom the principle is more important than any monetary amount involved. I once spent several dollars in toll calls and postage to secure a $2.00 refund from an eBay dealer who had tried to cheat me. Therefore, in that light, I will fight this attempt at credit card 'blacklisting' with the aid of a lawyer, if necessary."

Damn. I forgot to add, "So there."

I wasn't fooling, y'all. I really am one of those nuts "
to whom the principle is more important than any monetary amount."

Plus, in the meantime, my bank was investigating all three of my newly-instituted complaints. (In the interests of fairness, I gave them a call on Thursday and told them that two out of the three situations had been resolved.)

So, sometime Wednesday afternoon, I sat there thinking, "Hm. How else can I strike back?"

Obviously, I thought of one more way. You're reading it.

(I should add that when I first thought of writing this post, I hesitated, wondering if I should bother making it public. I mean, it's not like I'm going to send these companies into bankruptcy by bad-mouthing them here. A few hours later, I told a friend of mine the whole ugly story of this financial mess, and she suggested that I blog about it, without my having mentioned that I'd considered doing just that. I felt vindicated. So, here it is.)

Anyway, gang, to sum up, as they say: If you ever want to become a member of any website, whether it's a full membership or (especially) a trial membership that you require, watch for the notice saying the name of the company which will actually bill you. And if it's any of the following three...

PAY-ACWM 661-705-4282 GB

WWW.WEBFILEHELP.COM 866-636-1104 GB

BILLNET-ONLINE.COM 408-454-7093 CY

Think twice before joining! (Particularly where that last one's concerned!) Hell, think thrice! Or think...

(Hm. What the hell's the word you use when you mean, think four times? "Frice?" Nahhh, that can't be right. Oh, never mind.)*

Also, the phone numbers accompanying each name probably won't be included, nor (I assume) the "GB" or "CY" (whatever those mean).

*sigh* (he said again)

Okay, boys'n'girls, that's all (finally). Just a friendly warning.

And I am so proud of myself, by the way! I made it all the way through that entire RantZ post without once using the term "scumbag motherfuckers!"

Oops.

Anyway, thanks for your time.

*I looked it up. After "once," "twice," and "thrice," there are no other terms in the progression. You're stuck saying "four times," "five times," etc. Now aren't you glad you're learning so much today, you lucky ducks?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

Lordy, lordy, lordy, I've been busy. Most of my extra-curricular activities seem to be winding down finally, so I'm seeing a bit of light at the end of that proverbial tunnel. My current plans call for an actual, honest-to-goodness all-new post (Oboy!) sometime before this weekend. But *ahem* in the meantime, I've pooled together two related posts from -- yeah, you guessed it -- my old blog address, meaning that I'm gonna stick you with a recycled post, one more time.

Actually, it's not the newer readers to whom I'm really apologizing for "reprints" which (as I keep saying) most of you have never seen before anyway. I'm apologizing to any and all of those who used to read David'Z RantZ at its old Diaryland URL. Y'see, about three months ago, I emailed a whole bunch of people telling them about my new location, as it were, and these poor trusting souls have been coming here only to be treated to what amounts to being yesterday's news.

By the way, if it'll make y'all feel any better, one of the many things that's been keeping me so busy is a seven-part series of posts I've been writing, which I plan to have ready for publication by June 1st. Yup.
Every single day from June 1st through the 7th, there'll be a new chapter of a true story I promised a friend I'd write, slightly over fourteen years ago! Therefore, those who always want new stuff from me will get much more than what they've ever asked for, although my so-called "regulars" may be more than a bit thrown by the (relatively) serious writing style of this little novella!

Be that as it may, the following rant was originally published on July 5th, 2004.

So Much for Freedom! (or... The Day After Independence Day!)

As you're probably aware by now, these blogs originate from the state of Massachusetts.

A few months ago, this state made national news by sanctioning gay marriages. This was done against the wishes of Governor Mitt Romney, a/k/a "The Man Named After a Piece of Athletic Equipment."

Now, we've done something else that's noteworthy, although we're not the first state to do it: We've instituted a state-wide smoking ban, which prohibits smoking in all work places, restaurants and bars (except for private clubs and "cigar bars"). This was passed with the support of Governor Romney.

Personally, I'm an ex-smoker. (I am decidedly not one of those annoying, militant anti-smokers, however.) As of this entry, it's been two years, three months, and seven days since my last cigarette. (But who's counting?) So this new law won't complicate my life, except in theory. And by that I mean... If you want to ban smoking in certain closed spaces, like airplanes, elevators, theaters, buses, and restaurants, or around your children, fine. I can "get behind" all of those. But... bars? F**king bars?!? If you want to stay healthy, why sit around swilling hooch?!?

We Americans are so damned health conscious (and self-righteous about it!), it makes me sick! Ironic, that.

Let me make myself clear, here. I'm not trying to defend smoking, per se, nor did I even when I was a smoker. I'm defending the right to smoke. In most places. But I digress.

So. I have absolutely no issue with the state saying that gay marriage is okay. I do have misgivings about the government (state or federal) taking one more right away from us.

"But what about my right to breathe clean air?" you may ask.

Dude. In a bar?

If you're that afraid of second-hand smoke, stay home, where you have every right to control your own environment. And atmosphere.

"Stay home? But why should I give up my right to go out and have a good time, doing what I like to do?"

Good question. I suppose smokers can ask the same thing, now.

So, what have we learned, Dorothy?

In Massachusetts, gay marriage is okay. Smoking is emphatically not okay.

The moral of the story, boys and girls, is that you can put virtually anything you want into your mouth...

Just don't light it.

Thanks for your time.

Funny thing, but since the above article originally appeared, I resumed smoking. However, I stopped yet again last July 15th, meaning that I'm rapidly approaching my ten-month "anniversary." Let's see how far I get this time, shall we?

Anyway, gang (as Don Rickles would say), here's the follow-up article, from August 6th, 2004:

Butt-Heads (and a Historical Aside)

The other day, as I was walking to my office from where I'd parked my car, I passed the back door of a restaurant. Two men, one of them the restaurant's owner, were standing outside, talking.

And smoking cigarettes.

They had to smoke outside, y'see, due to Massachusetts' handy-dandy, spankin' new state-wide smoking ban, which took effect on July 5th, fittingly one day removed from the day we Americans tend to celebrate our freedom.

(A rather lengthy aside, here: Why does the United States celebrate its independence on July 4th? That's not the date we became independent from England, it's the day that -- with a revolution already in progress -- we kinda sorta made a public stink about just how much we wanted to be independent from England. And I won't even get into the fact that not all the signatures were actually affixed on July 4th. That document, in and of itself, had about as much effect as a thirteen-year-old who screams at her parents, "You're not gonna ground me! I got a concert to go to this weekend!" Before we could truly call ourselves independent, we had to fight the rest of that whole war, which didn't end until... well, that's a little muddy. In grammar school, I was always told that the Revolutionary War ended with the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, but a quick click here will show that it really lasted until 1783. Oops. Make that January 14th, 1784. Damn!

Things took so long before e-mails, friends...

Anyway, maybe I've just answered my own question. Maybe the date we declared our independence is just much easier to determine than the date we actually won it! But then again, I always wondered why our country's so-called "birthday" doesn't fall on September 17, 1787, the date we actually made the whole mess official by ratifying the Constitution. Of course, they didn't really get a majority of the individual states to make that official until late June of 1788, and the actual announcement of same was held until early July, for some reason, and...

Happy Birthday, America! July 4th! You bet!

Damn! Things took so gosh-darned long before e-mails, friends... )

Anyway... !!!

As I passed the two smokers -- You do remember the two smokers, right? -- it occurred to me that since the indoor "no smoking" law went into effect, I'd seen an awful lot of smokers standing outside of bars. And restaurants. And almost every other indoor place you can think of.

And then it occurred to me that most people would never think of throwing a candy wrapper or other piece of litter on the ground, but that same rule of self-control generally does not apply to an outdoor smoker who's finished his cigarette, and needs to dispose of the butt.

So, like the guy or gal in a horror film, who wants to look at something, but doesn't dare at first, and then does so anyway... I looked down. And saw just what I expected to see.

There are a lot more cigarette butts on the sidewalks, in the gutters, etc. than there used to be on any given day. Not only are there people forced outside to smoke and discard their butts, but there are even more people simply walking around smoking because they've "gone without" for so long that they just have to light up now that they're on the sidewalk. Nope, can't even wait until they make it home, or even to their cars.

At this rate, in no time at all, we'll be up to our... well... butts... in butts. Non-biodegradable butts, I might add.

A couple of old quotes come to mind. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." (Sir Isaac Newton) How about this one? "When you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp." (Anonymous)

So, my congratulations to all of those militant anti-smokers who lobbied for this great new law. On the plus side, I now know that if I go to a bar, I'll be breathing clean air. (Let's not count the beer breath of the lush on the stool next to me!) Sure sounds good.

However...

You've turned my state into an ashtray. Thanks a bunch.

And, Dear Readers... Thanks for your time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Short Shorts

Hey, don't hit me! I'll start posting all-new material very soon, I promise! I've just got too much other crap going on in my life right now, and for what this thing pays...

Anyway, today's offering is a greatly-edited combination of the first two "Short Shorts" posts from my old blog address, which appeared on October 11th and 14th, 2003, plus an October 17th entry from that same year called "The Curse of the Bambino," which was short enough to warrant its inclusion here. And hell, I'll even throw in a little bonus from yet another old blog in a footnote, you lucky ducks!

1) I can sympathize somewhat with the whole solidarity thing, that "we're in this together" attitude, but I still think it sounds ridiculous for a couple to declare "we're pregnant." Folks, no matter how cute a couple you are, the truth is that one of you had a passably good time a while back, and the other has really got her work cut out for her during the next nine months... and beyond. And no amount of empathy is going to put the man on that delivery table, screaming his lungs out and begging for last-minute meds.

2) "Bad" is an adjective, not a noun. I can't do a "bad." I don't have a "bad." Saying "my bad" or "your bad" instead of "my mistake" or "my f**k-up" sounds... well... bad. Whenever I hear someone say, "My bad," I want to ask, "Your bad... what?"

3) On a similar note, although the word "attitude" is a noun, it almost always used to be accompanied by an adjective. When did "attitude" no longer need said adjective to imply that the attitude we're talking about is a negative one? "He had an attitude." "She was giving me attitude." Hell, Pollyanna had a freakin' "attitude," folks! Hers was just a sunny, pleasant, eternally-optimistic one! Who makes these new grammatical "rules," anyway? And why can't I be consulted once in a while?

4) Am I the only one who thinks that combining the names of two romantically-involved celebrities into one (as in, "Brad + Angelina = Brangelina?") is totally freakin' moronic?!? What the hell is this, "The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant?"

Remember "Bennifer" (Ben and Jennifer... the other Jennifer, that is)? What, were we too lazy to say "Ben & Jen?" That would have been kind of catchy, in a sappy sorta way. Ask the ice cream guys. They've always done well with "Ben & Jerry's." And "Ben & Jen" has three syllables, just like "Bennifer." (Granted, it won't work that way for other names, but, hey... )

And as far as "TomKat" (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) goes... well, actually, that one is admittedly a bit more clever than than "Tatie," or whatever the hell else they could have come up with...

But I digress.

It's not just "Brangelina" and "TomKat" that suffer this indignity. For several years, fans of television couples have subscribed to this nonsensical practice, as well. About four or five years ago, ABC's "One Life to Live" had a couple, Troy and Nora, who naturally became "Trora." There are many more examples, like "Trory" (Tristan and Rory) during early episodes of "Gilmore Girls."

Folks, one of the scariest things about a romantic relationship is the chance that you and/or your "significant other" (another silly term, IMHO) may lose your own identities. And this name-combining madness implies that you've done just that!

The rule seems to be that the male in these relationships gets top billing. So, if I, like Ben Affleck, ever date someone named Jennifer (which is very possible, because I certainly have in the past, and I know several women named Jennifer), I guess those brave-hearted souls willing to risk my ire would call us "Dennifer?" ("David + Jennifer = Dennifer") Hm. I suppose, then, that if I were to date someone named, for example, Denise, we'd become... umm... Denise?

Wow. Then I'd disappear entirely! Now that's scary.

5) (Remember, the following is from October 17, 2003!)









Okay, now that the Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees ALCS series (which the Red Sox lost) has ended, here's a quick plea from an admittedly "fair-weather" Red Sox fan: Next time, could we just let the above-pictured bastard sleep?*

Just a mini-rant, here, folks, directed at those who win any sporting event: Please don't give "the good Lord" credit because your team won a freakin' game, okay? Assuming there is a God, do you really think He cares who wins? And if so, why can't He make up His all-knowing, all-seeing mind? Lemme get this straight: He wanted the Yankees to win tonight, but wanted the Red Sox to win the night before? Or maybe the Red Sox only won on the days when God was elsewhere, like maybe, causing an earthquake in Argentina?

Or do you think that He and Pete Rose are taking bets on the side?

*Yup, 2003 sucked for Red Sox fans. However, as all the world knows, in the following year, they fared a little better. On October 28, 2004, I re-printed the above photo and posted the following entry, under the title of (naturally) "The Curse of the Bambino, Revisited":

Umm, excuse me, Mr. Ruth? Umm... Mr. Ruth?

Sorry to wake you, but, I'm a Red Sox fan, and with all due respect...

Fuck you.

(Sorry, just had to say that.)

Thanks for your time.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Open the Door, Richard!

I probably should apologize for the amount of reprinted material I've been offering lately, but since hardly anybody read the stuff posted at my old blog address, it's all "new" to most of you. (Believing that lets me sleep at night. That and the fact that there isn't much I give a f**k about lately, anyway.) But if it'll make you feel better, I've got about six or seven all-new posts I'm working on simultaneously.
The following entry was first published on October 6, 2003. It was my very first "real" blog post after two kinda boring, introductory, "what-to-expect-from-David'Z-RantZ" type posts. The only edit I made was changing the word "butt" to "ass" because I'm even more ornery now than I was then.
Here's the scenario: You are walking a few feet behind me. We are both walking toward a manually-operated (i.e., non-electric, non-automatic) door, one with an automatic closing device attached. I open the door (I should add that this door opens away from me, toward the direction in which I'm headed, so I don't have to stop and back up to open it!), and begin walking through its doorway. Glancing back over my shoulder, as I instinctively do in such instances, I notice that you are only a scant distance away from reaching the door yourself. (And let's assume here that your hands are empty.) I pause, and hold the door until you catch up, since I am polite enough not to let a door slam in someone's face. ("Slam" isn't really the right word, because these doors actually close slowly. But you know what I mean.)
Now. Do you:
A) Place your hand against the door, thank me, and glance back to see if you need to repeat my action for someone close behind you?
B) Scoot around me and say "thank you," leaving me to hold the door for the next person as well, if there is one (or more)?
C) Scoot around me without saying "thank you," leaving me to hold the door for the next person as well, if there is one (or more)?
If you picked A, I thank you.
If you picked B, I don't particularly like you.
If you picked C, and they someday find your corpse in an alleyway, with a printed copy of this blog pinned to your back with a hunting knife... I have an alibi already, so I hope the police don't waste their time questioning me.
A note to those who would pick B or C: What you are, is rude and inconsiderate. What I am not, is "the doorman." Or doormat, for that matter. My politeness has often placed me in these circumstances, where two, three, or even more people brush by me as I am forced to play doorman. And eventually, I just say aloud, "Folks, I'm not the doorman, so somebody had better grab this thing!"
But things shouldn't have to progress to that point.
Maybe the reason so many people are impolite nowadays is not through lack of education or good upbringing, as I tend to believe ordinarily. Maybe it's just that they don't feel there's a sufficient appreciation of, or emotional payback for, their efforts. So they don't bother.
And you, Mr./Ms. "I Picked C," are part of the problem, because you sure as hell are not part of the solution!
So keep this in mind: If you are a rude person, and some total stranger is unnecessarily rude to you someday, maybe that's just Karma giving you a well-deserved bite on your ass.
Thanks for your time.
A Very Private P.S. -- Well, as private as anything can be on the freakin' internet! -- for Sparkle Plenty:

If you're not Sparkle Plenty, please stop reading.

No, I mean it.

Stop.

Stop!

Stop, damnit!

*sigh*

Just ignore these rude bastards, Sparkle. Here's the HTML you wanted:

[A href="URL" target=_blank][FONT color=turquoise]WORD[/A>][/FONT]

First of all, every single time you see a ] above, replace it with a >, and every time you see a [, replace it with a <. Blogger's composing automatically converts HTML whether I want it to or not.

To continue:

Let's say you're going to write "I read a really good article the other day," and you want your reader to click on the word "article" to magically open another window or tab. Your HTML would replace the word "article." In the body of the HTML itself, you would replace the term URL above with the URL of the link you want to send people to, of course. (Keep the quotation marks!) Replace the word WORD above with the word "article" or whatever word or phrase you actually use.

(The whole "FONT color=turquoise" thing -- and its follow-up "/FONT" -- is just because that's how I make my clickable links show up as such.)

I really apologize if my instructions sounded like I was talking down to you at any point. I don't know what level of expertise you have, PC-wise, and "it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Musical Notes (A "Short Shorts" Entry with a Unified Theme)

This week's devoted to rehearsing for, and performing in, a theatrical production ("Just say 'a play,' you pompous ass!"), getting sleep, and getting...

Well, the last one's kinda personal... *ahem*

Anyway, I'm sticking you with a hastily-edited version of a post which appeared at my old blog address on June 21, 2004. Gotcha!

1) Almost ten years ago, when I was in my early forties, I met an adorable young lady of around 20 who gave her name as Layla. My response to "My name's Layla" was "I'm David, nice to meet you." She paused for about three seconds (waiting for the "other shoe to drop," I assume) before saying an enthusiastic "Thank you!" "For what?" I replied innocently, and she answered "For not singing that f**king song to me!" We hit it off immediately, and dated off and on for about a year.

*sigh*

It's always best to ignore the obvious remarks. Too many people think that they're the first ones to think of something that virtually everyone thinks of!

2) I love arguing with people who say "it's not an album, it's a CD," when I talk about some artist's latest release which is only available on CD, or on CD and cassette only, and refer to it as an "album." I explain the origin of the term "album," and how it is a "time-honored misnomer" (That phrase always disorients them!) hearkening (So does that word. It's an effective one-two punch!) back to the days when albums weren't 12" vinyl LPs (which didn't even exist yet), but rather, collections of brittle 78 rpm discs in a binder similar to a photo album. (That's even before my time, 'though!) Really messes their heads up when I point out that technically, by that logic, either everything is an "album," or nothing is, including Joss Stone's latest release, whether it's on CD, cassette, or both!

3) Speaking of albums (the 12" vinyl kind), I'm reminded of when I worked at a comic book/record/misc. collectibles store. This customer spent several minutes looking through the LPs in our extensive "M" section, and finally asked where we kept "the Morrison albums." "Jim Morrison, or Van Morrison?" I asked, and his blank stare when I said "Van Morrison" answered me better than any verbal reply could have. "Umm... look under 'D,' for 'Doors?'" He gave me a "Wow, never would have thought of that!" look, and off he went.

4) Don't you hate it when musicians' names (or anybody else's, too, as it's a trend I've seen with increasing frequency) are alphabetized by their first name? I mean, in that case, couldn't "Bob Seger" (for instance) be under "R" for "Robert," his proper given name? But then again, if one argues that "B" is correct because "everybody" calls him "Bob," how about Michael Jackson? Should he be under "M" for "Michael Jackson," or "J," since almost everybody (at least, in the tabloids) has been calling him "Jacko" for the past few years? However, if you did file him under "J," people may think that he's really there because his name is actually Michael Jackson, which means that he alone is being alphabetized by his surname, and...

I am so confused! Maybe Liberace, Cher, Madonna, and Beyoncé had/have the right idea, after all.

5) I had a friendly argument approximately 30 years ago with my friend & (then) bass player (I was lead singer in a few bands in those days) named Brian. He and I both organized our LPs alphabetically, but he filed Led Zeppelin under "Z," the Rolling Stones under "S," etc. I pointed out that those weren't the names of people, they were the names of bands. I said you should file David Bowie under "B," but Led Zeppelin should be "L," and so forth. Brian replied, "Well, people always say 'I just got back from the Stones' concert,' or 'Did you hear the new Sabbath album?' No one ever says, 'The latest Rolling Stone Magazine has an interview with Led...'" Good point, I suppose, but I wasn't convinced.

It gets worse.

"The Beatles?" Easy. File under "B." (Anyone who files groups like that -- or book titles, or song titles, whatever! -- under "T" for "The" should be shot and hung on a meat hook for public display like they did to Mussolini.) And Buddy Holly and the Crickets? Well, he was kinda/sorta the headliner, even before he went solo, so I'd file all his recordings under "H." But there are gray areas. Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. Jay and the Americans. J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. Without Frankie, Jay, or J. Frank, the nominal back-up groups almost didn't matter, unlike the Crickets, who continued on to their own career, as the Belmonts did when Dion left them.

And what about... The Dave Clark Five? Tough call! Under "C?" Well, if Buddy Holly and the Crickets got "H..." But wait. It's not "Dave Clark and the Five," it's "The Dave Clark Five." So, "D," then? (That's how I do it... )

Then there was that irritating tendency in the late '60s to take perfectly innocent group names like "The Supremes" and "The Four Seasons" and turn them into "Diana Ross and the Supremes" and "Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons." Thanks a bunch, guys.

I guess the easiest group to file (of those whose name mentions their lead singer) would be Herman's Hermits. (And of course I know that "Herman" was actually Peter Noone, but they really did call him "Herman!") Again, like the Dave Clark Five, it's not "Herman and the Hermits," it's "Herman's Hermits." But whether you file it under "Herman's" or "Hermits," you're still pretty safe. (I remember a band called "Mac's Mob." Would that be an "M - A" or an "M - O?")

Then again, if you have so many LPs that you get all the way past "H - E - R - M" and it still matters whether you file according to the "A" in "Herman" or the "I" in "Hermits," you have so many damned albums that you're never going to get your whole collection organized anyway.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, May 2, 2008

"Two Words for You..."

"So, here come two words for you: Shut the f**k up."

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the phrase "shut up" is being taken way too seriously nowadays? I have seen people get very upset when it's used, even if it's not specifically directed at them. Very upset... extremely upset... all-too-upset... I mean, upset in an over-the-top, overreacting, outright "ballistic" way! (And by the way, in my never-ending quest to discover when and why words take on whole new meanings, since when did "ballistic" come to be used as... well... the way we've all been using it for the past few years?) I've seen parents whose young children use the phrase react as if little Johnny had just dropped an F-bomb on Great-Grandma. On more than one occasion during the last ten or so years, when I was still working at my last two Crappy Day Jobs, I saw a co-worker (with backing from management) demand an apology from another co-worker for the use of those same two words.

I realize that some words -- some of the more vicious ethnic slurs, for example -- can really hurt in their way, but for the most part, words are only that, just "words," and don't (or shouldn't) have any more power than that which we ourselves give them. So why are people suddenly so affronted by this particular phrase?

Of course, it is rude to say "shut up," and arrogant as well, especially if you're really expecting it to have any effect on the target of your "shut up." (And it's even worse if you're Bill O'Reilly, and actually shut the other person's microphone off after saying "shut up"... ) But there are certain phrases which we say that aren't necessarily meant to be taken literally anyway, like when someone says "I'm gonna kill you" (presuming that said someone doesn't have a weapon, or a history of -- or tendency for -- violent action) or its more laid-back alternative, "drop dead." I always assume that someone who angrily suggests that I kiss his ass isn't really expecting me to pucker up and kneel while he turns his back to me. Nor do I think that, just because someone yells "F**k you!" at me toward the end of a verbal argument, I have a better chance of getting lucky tonight.

"But...but... someone who tells me to shut up is infringing on my right to free speech!" you may say. (Well, you may, if you're a whiny little puke, that is... ) The point is, no one is forcing you to shut up. So don't shut up; lighten up, dude!

For a comparative example, let's pretend that I tell your children that I've decided that their bedtime should be nine p.m. Is anyone going to listen? No. So should anyone be really upset? No. (Well... maybe a little. It would be rather overbearing.) Therefore, just for future reference, if I ever decide to make a rule for your kids, without consulting you, please don't get all bent out of shape. Instead, just look at me and disdainfully shake your head, and possibly add "Hey, mind your own business!"

Or better yet.... Tell me to shut up.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ Minor confession time, folks. I'm fairly busy this week, mostly because of a theatrical production I'm in, so I recycled the above from August 03, 2004, and it's probably the last post you'll see from me until after the weekend. Gotcha.

Related Posts with Thumbnails