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

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Crisis on Earth-RantZ, or, "Let's Get Serious (Mostly)!"



I wouldn't be surprised if, sometime while you're reading today's ultra-long example of self-indulgence, you get bored and I "lose" you. And frankly, I'm okay with that. I think I'm writing this one pretty much for myself anyway, truth be told.

And if you want and/or expect me to get to the point in a relatively brisk manner...

Hello! You're
new here, aren't you?

* * * * *

"Turn Around, Bright Eyes!"

As do a lot of people, around the time I reached my middle twenties, I started developing nostalgic feelings for my childhood. I actually had a pretty good time as a little boy.

My parents bought me almost all the toys that I wanted when I was a little spud. How cool is that?

I greatly enjoyed the TV shows which I chose to watch and the comic books and "real" books which I chose to read. I had a field and a huge hill as a playground, and a lack of neighbors which insured that most of my outdoor playtime consisted of my exercising my imagination.

I was a good student, although admittedly lazy. Too many assignments during my high school years earned a "B" when they would have gotten an "A" or an "A-minus" if I hadn't begun them the night before they were due.

In retrospect, whatever "problems" I had during grammar school were because of occasional episodes with bullies, or one third grade teacher who was -- even looking back objectively -- one serious f**king bitch. "Miss Cahill" would be around 70-75 today, if she's still alive. Yet if I were ever to meet her again, I'd probably give in to the devilish urge to kick her cane out from under her and laugh like a freakin' maniac as her ancient, withered form sprawled on the sidewalk or, better yet, in the gutter.

(But don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter or anything...)

Of course, although they claim that hindsight is 20-20, our younger days are often viewed through rose-tinted lenses, as the saying goes. Scientific studies have claimed that our minds process negative thoughts differently at different ages. Or maybe it's just that whatever problems you dealt with then -- outside of those that are truly traumatic and damaging -- don't seem as important as whatever you may be facing now. Those you're facing now are right "in your face," but the pain that exists in your distant memories is far-enough removed to seem lesser in nature. It's one thing to say "When I was seven, I broke my leg, and boy, did it hurt!" However, recalling that doesn't make you actually feel that pain again, does it?

From the time I was nine or ten or so, on any night that wasn't a so-called school night, I had no assigned bedtime. I could stay up until three in the morning -- or even later when we moved to a location with such a high altitude that my Massachusetts home could pick up late-night broadcasts from one or two New York stations, which never signed off! -- watching horror flicks and other classic films on TV! Too cool!!!

Anyhoo, after spending twenty-five years or more looking fondly back at my pre-adolescence, I suppose it was inevitable that I'd eventually progress to the point where I would become fixated on the period of my late adolescence. My high school years, and shortly thereafter.

For me, that would be the period when -- in no exact order -- I started drinking beer, entered the work force, started fu dating, bought my first car, and did enough informal research into the history of comic books (and comic strips) to realize that there might actually be some real money in those yellowed, old, saddle-stapled paper pamphlets.

And I found this in a bookstore somewhere circa 1972-1973:

(Overstreet? Never heard of him! But after having read this little baby, I knew I'd be able to keep up with the relatively-new comic book back issue market and be a multi-kazillionaire before I hit thirty! How could I miss? The thing had the word "official" right in the title! If I recall correctly, they even predicted that golden age comic book prices should show a steady increase of about 5% per year. That sounds about right. So, a mint condition Action Comics #1 ought to be worth somewhere around fifteen or sixteen thousand dollars today? Wow! I sure wish I had two or three perfect copies to sell at that price!)

So. That's what's been going on in my head for the past few months. I've indeed been looking back at my high school years, especially the latter part of my high school years.

I suppose it started when I re-lived my Labonte's Supermarket days in the first three chapters or so of My Island.

My multi-part story about the creation of my "Aero" character (on my "Lair of the Silver Fox" blog) figures into the mix as well, seeing how -- as I mentioned in passing -- the entire series was actually a flashback from the night of Charlie "Aero" Farrell's 1974 senior prom!

More recently, my little reminiscence last December 31st about my having been a big fan of John Denver in the mid-1970s helped, too, as did telling the story of my high school creation of OHO!

Of course, all of this "looking fondly back" that I've been doing has only been intensified by the fact that last year, 2008, started off relatively well for yours truly, but more or less turned to shit in short order, in several respects. Oh, woe is me, and all that crapola.

* * * * *

"A Jaded Faded Mandarin"

As I've stated so many times before that you're probably getting sick of it, before "David'Z RantZ" found a home on Blogger, I had a sporadically-updated blog -- named, oddly enough, "David'Z RantZ" -- on a site called Diaryland. I was constantly allowing the pressures of the real world (and a brain-draining "Crappy Day Job") to intrude on my creative time, and sometimes weeks or even months would go by without a post. In roughly five years, I posted less than sixty RantZ. The last couple of years in particular on that site were really a joke, in terms of keeping the blog current.

After leaving the Crappy Day Job, I realized I'd have more time to write, and so I moved to Blogger, where I'd be able to put advertisements on my blog page. I mean, even those of us who aren't all that mercenary would love it if our internet presences generated some sort of income, right?

Visit most blogs, or browse a bunch of websites, or even check most email accounts, and you'll see all kinds of ads.

I'm no exception. My webpages have all sorts of banner ads for Google-sponsored AdSense links, and Amazon links, and other, similar links... And I know these things pay off, because I've made almost fourteen dollars from them since February of last year!

Anyway, to say that my blogging presence has increased would be a gross understatement. During the past year alone on Blogger, between "David'Z RantZ," "The Lair of the Silver Fox," and October's short-lived "joke" blog ("The New David'Z RantZ"), I've posted well over 200 entries. Granted, a few of them were "recycled" from the Diaryland version of "David'Z RantZ," but even those were usually edited and/or expanded somewhat.

Some of the entries in question were admittedly "phoned in" -- I can think of a handful which consisted of little more than an embedded video and a "Thanks for your time" -- but recently, I'd felt that the overall quality of this blog had been suffering. I'd also catch myself "buying time" by posting little "quickie" posts here while devoting more serious writing time to entries for "The Lair of the Silver Fox."

Lately, too, I seemed to be constantly referencing my earlier posts via links, which was not only lazy expedient, but was also right on the verge of redundancy, in my opinion.

It's not just me saying this, either. My cat, Orson, has noticed it, too, remember? And I'm sure he wasn't alone in feeling this way... but he was the only one who's had the cojones -- which is rather odd, because he's been neutered -- to tell me that this blog, and perhaps the other one as well, had been going downhill.

Or maybe the rest of you were just being nice? Yeah, that's more likely the case.

However, just for the record, today makes three full weeks of daily David'Z RantZ posts. I did it mainly to prove to myself more than anyone that I still "had it." And I've been fairly pleased with the lot.

Having said that... You wanna know something else? The internet in general just ain't what it used to be lately, it seems. Not to me. And it seems like a lot of other Blogger-bloggers have felt the same way, although none of them that I read regularly have been as introspective as I have and actually mentioned it.

Additionally, there's the fact that I have too much to do lately outside of endless hours of web surfing.

That "too much to do" includes tackling an apartment I've often described as looking like the warehouse in the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I have an abundance of shit collectible treasures which need to be catalogued and sold off... and the fact that the economy is more than a tad shaky right now, which may mean that some of my stuff will go for less than it should, doesn't really bother me. My investment in most of this stuff was made years ago.

I have enough medical issues going on right now to make me give serious thought to the fact that if something happens to me, some poor bastard could get stuck going through literally dozens of boxes looking at item after item, saying "Is this thing actually valuable, or is it something virtually worthless that he kept just because he thought it was cool?" I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

So I've been organizing collectibles (and tons of paperwork, too), deciding what to sell, and throwing and/or giving lots of stuff away.

Before disposing of certain books, records, and videotapes, however, I also need to find the time to read, listen to, or watch them, respectively, for once and for all.

Plus, of course, I've been spending more and more time taking care of my mother. You know, stupid, inconsequential stuff like coordinating her doctors' appointments, reading legal correspondence that her eyes are no longer good enough to read, keeping her checkbook balanced, organizing her 47 daily medications, and doing shopping errands for trivialities such as... well... food, for example. I mean, this is getting kinda ridiculous. The woman's going to be 92 next October. You'd think that by now, she would have developed some kind of independence, right?

Anyway, all of the above means much less time on the internet. That's my goal. And since I gave up watching regularly-broadcast TV shows several months ago, I'll have time to catch up on the things I mentioned two paragraphs ago.

It also means that the blog you're reading will officially take a back (farrrr back!) seat to "The Lair of the Silver Fox," once I revive that blog any day now (probably on April 1st, just to be a smartass). I still plan on posting there at least once a week.

I guess I kinda/sorta lulled y'all into a false sense of security by posting so much lately, eh? For the past couple of weeks, I've had about ten RantZ written & scheduled ahead, at any given time.

So. From now on, fewer RantZ.

Okay, practically no RantZ.

I'm about "RantZ'd Out," actually. It's certainly not that everything in my life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Oh, hell no. There's just less than I have to rant about publicly, accent on "publicly."

Again, I'm not stopping "David'Z RantZ." Well... not completely. David'Z RantZ is just going on hiatus. And hopefully, that won't be as fatal as it tends to be whenever they apply that term to a TV show.

I know, I know. This isn't the first time I've said that I'll be cutting down. However...

(UPDATE, May 6th, 2011: The "sequel" to this post can be found here, fellow babies!)

* * * * *

One More Thing -- like I needed one -- to Keep Me Occupied

So, what do "Turn Around, Bright Eyes!" and "A Jaded Faded Mandarin" have in common, besides the fact that they're both lines from songs? (And if you can name both of those songs, you'll win... well... absolutely nothing. But I'll think you're kinda cool.)

In addition to those things mentioned and not mentioned above as far as things I need to do or would rather do than "David'Z RantZ," there is one other thing, something that I began back in my junior or senior year of high school that I'd like to try again. And this time, damnit, maybe I can get it right.

As far as what that "something" is... Well, as the saying goes... "That would be telling."

(I can't believe I just wrote that! Actually, I've always hated the smugness of that non-answer of an answer. "That would be telling!" "Well, no shit, Sherlock! That is pretty much the reason I asked the question in the first place, you moron!")

I may tell you later, of course. In fact, if this "something" works, or even if it doesn't, it might just make a great little anecdote!

But not here.

In fact... I'll probably post it on "The Lair of the Silver Fox!"

Heh.

Thanks for your time. And for being my sounding board, if you made it this far. Cuz iffen ya did... Yer one of the good ones.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Vegging Out

(I thought I'd try to keep this one relatively short, to give you a break after the last few posts and before [insert ominous music here] tomorrow's.)

An increasing number of people are turning to vegetarian or vegan lifestyles for various reasons. Some are trying to live healthier lives in general, some are against killing and eating animals for moral reasons, some simply don't like the taste of meat... whatever. More power to them.

(Then again, there are the members of PETA, some of whom are so radical as to make Osama bin Laden look like a pacifist... or so irrational as to make Michael Jackson look normal... But I digress.)

The only uncomfortable thing about vegetarianism is that I don't believe that man, being an evolved primate, was meant to subsist on a totally meat-free diet. Oh, sure, we can. But I don't think it's natural. And by natural, I mean, literally, "of nature."

"But," a vegetarian or vegan would argue, "we have rational thought on our side. We can rise above our primal instincts."

And they're right. We can, of course. But it'll take time. And until then...

We're animals. And who ever saw a ravenous jungle beast rush to eat a freakin' tree when a cowering, defenseless human stood beside that tree?

It's our instinct to eat other animals. And the hungrier -- "hungry" as in "starving" -- we are, the less fussy we are. If you and your favorite pet are ever snow-bound in a cabin for three weeks without food, the only one which eventually walks out will be the larger, craftier, or luckier of the two. "Sorry, Fluffy... "

And it must be quite galling for vegetarians to know that fact. And they do know it.

Have you ever looked through the vegetarian section in a supermarket? I have. I'll occasionally grab one or two of the over-priced items along with earlier choices like asparagus, radishes, or Brussels sprouts. I'm not going vegetarian -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- but every so often, I'm not adverse to putting something marginally healthy into this defiled temple I call a body, either.

Plus it's great when you show up at the checkout with imitation chicken bits, falafel, and imitation chorizo sausage... all stuffed between packages of pork spareribs and boneless buffalo wings.

But, as I said, vegetarians know that we humans eat meat instinctively, and that it'll take forever for most of us to not want meat. Which is why there are things in the vegetarian section like artificial ham, and artificial chicken chunks, and artificial hamburg, and artificial bacon, and artificial cheese, and...

By the way: tofu hot dogs? Boy, do they suck! What kind of word is "tofu," anyway? What the hell kind of name is that for something you expect someone to put in his or her mouth and swallow? Who named that, the same genius who came up with the name "artichoke?" What the hell were they thinking when they named a food "artichoke?" And don't get me started on "head cheese"... !!!

But I digress...

Anyway, I remember when I first heard there was a food called "tofu." My initial reaction was along the lines of "What?!?!?"

I thought they'd said "toe food," y'see...

And actually, having tried tofu hot dogs... I think I was right the first time.

And... thanks for your time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Finally Know What to Say!

David: Hi...

Eddie: Hi. What's wrong? You look like you just lost your best friend.

David: Worse than that. Everyone -- everyone -- on my mother's side of the family -- except me, because I arrived at the airport late and missed the plane -- got on a flight to New York for a big family reunion party.

Eddie: And you missed the flight? Wow, that does suck.

David: No, that's not it. The plane crashed. It went down about twenty minutes after take-off, with no survivors.

Eddie: That's terrible! [pause] I know just how you feel.

David: How could... How could you know just how I feel?

Eddie: Well, while you were on your way to the airport, so was I. Everyone -- everyone -- on my mother's side of the family -- except me, because I arrived at the airport late and missed the plane -- got on a flight to Chicago for a big family reunion party.

David: And the plane went down?

Eddie: Nope. It crashed into another plane, which was carrying everyone on my father's side of the family, all headed to Boston for a big family reunion party.

The preceding conversation never happened, of course, but it'll give you an idea of what conversations with my good friend Eddie -- who died in a motorcycle accident a few years ago -- were often like.

No matter what you told him about, he'd "one-up" you.

Or if you ever started a conversation thread by saying "Somebody ought to... " he'd interrupt by saying "Somebody did," and tell you about it.

Other times, all you'd have to do was introduce a subject. "Hey, Eddie, could you pass me that ashtray?" "You know, when I lived in Chicago, they had a whole museum devoted to nothing but ashtrays! And they said that one of them was the very first ashtray ever made in this country, because it was signed by Pocahontas, and... " "Never mind, Eddie. I quit smoking while you were talking."

It was amazing how he could improvise these stories at the drop of a hat.

And if you ever wanted to lie to someone, he'd instinctively back you up... Not for your sake. He just had to be part of the story.

You could be in the middle of a room full of people, and say something outlandish like, "When I was younger, I invented a drink that made me over sixty feet tall in a matter of minutes. Of course, once it wore off, I never drank it again," and before anyone even had the chance to say "Wow, what a crock!" Eddie would chime in.

"Oh, my God, David! That was you? I read about that in the newspapers when it happened! No wonder your name sounded so familiar when I met you."

Yup. That was Eddie. And Eddie was always Eddie; whether he pissed you off or cheered you up on any given day depended a lot on the kind of mood you were in to begin with. Some days, it was, "Oh, great, here he goes again." Other days it was "Let's see what he does with this one!"

Well, with Eddie, one-upsmanship was an art form. But he's gone...

However, I notice there are a lot of people clumsily trying to take his place.

I'm sure you've noticed it, too. Let's say you've just bought a car for a ridiculously low price. An $80,000 car with 23 original miles on it for... oh... twenty dollars.

I'm willing to bet that almost as soon as you drive it away from the dealership, at least one person will say "Ohhhh!!! You should have talked to me first! I could have gotten you the same kinda car for fourteen dollars! With only twelve original miles on it."

Amazingly, I always resist the urge to say "And why the hell would I have approached you about this in the first place?"

Why do they do this? To show you that they're smarter, or luckier, or somehow superior?

And even though I'm usually quick with a reply, I've never been good with coming up with a good response for this kinda crap. (Until today, that is... but I'll get to that later.)

If I may digress for a bit, I've noticed that nobody wants to sell you a single-function anything nowadays. I was recently looking for a new printer for my computer. Nothing fancy, something that would probably run me $30-50.

But no. That would be too simple. I stood in the aisle at Staples, realizing all-too-quickly that my cheapest option was a combination printer, scanner, fax machine, and... oh, I dunno... a car wash, maybe? All that, and it was only about seventeen thousand dollars.

I don't need a fax machine. And I have a perfectly good scanner.

Luckily, I also have a very good friend named John who bought himself a new printer and gave me his old one.

Recently, I decided to buy a paper shredder to replace the one I burnt out ages ago. I was hoping to find one of those cheap models that sits on top of its own wastebasket, and hoping to spend no more than $30, $40 tops.

But no. That would be too simple. I stood in the aisle at Staples, realizing all-too-quickly that my cheapest option was a shredder that shredded paper. And credit cards. And staples. And CDs. And drywall. And livestock. Prices began at somewhere around eight thousand dollars and went up from there.

Jump ahead to last Sunday. A lady named Shirley has a booth at the same flea market where I sell things. 99% of her items are priced at one dollar each until 11:30 a.m., when prices drop to 3/$1. Shirley does sell a handful of items -- generally really cool stuff -- for a bit more than $1 each. Exorbitant prices. Like... $2 or $3 each.

I found a wastebasket-sitting little doozy of a shredder which looked like it had never even been used, for $3. At that price, I figured that if it lasted me until that evening, it had been worth it.

A guy named Bruce walked up to my stand while I was testing the shredder. I told him about my fruitless search in Staples and elsewhere, and wouldn't you know it? He'd recently been through almost the same thing. Picked up a mighty fine shredder for himself, very much like mine.

For a dollar.

One dollar.

And you know what? It makes smaller shreds of paper than mine does, too.

So I thought about this, and similar instances, and finally have a stock answer for these people:

"Thank you for stealing my moment."

And you can use it too, if you give me proper credit. "Well, as David M. Lynch would say... "

And don't forget the middle initial. You know how I get.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ Now, I know you're all sitting there saying, "Thanks for that great post, but you know what I really need? With all the talk about The Dark Knight, and Watchmen, and the other upcoming superhero flicks, it just occurred to me that I need to know how to make my very own costume so that I can dress up as the coolest superhero of them all... The Flaming Carrot!

Is that all you need? Well, here you go!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Molly Malone... and a Birthday Wish


She wheels her wheelbarrow
Through streets that are narrow,
Her barrow is narrow, her hips are too wide...
So wherever she wheels it
The neighborhood feels it...
Her girdle keeps scraping the homes on each side!
In Dublin's fair city
Where girls are so pretty
My Molly stands out 'cause she weighs eighteen stone. (Spoken: That's 256 pounds.)
I don't mind her fat but...
It's not only that but...
She's cock-eyed and musclebound, Molly Malone!*

Ah, yes, that was Allan Sherman's version of the old Irish ballad.

There's a lot of controversy about dear Molly. Was she even a real person? Did she live in the late 1600s, or during the 1800s? Did she sell... umm... her "charms" as well as "cockles and mussels?" ("Alive, alive o," indeed!) Should her Dublin statue stand "at the end of Grafton Street, around the corner from St Andrew's Church" (where it stands today), or "in the Moore Street area," or even "somewhere in O'Connell Street or near the Halfpenny Bridge" instead?

But my two questions, after having taken a long & loving look at the statue pictured above, really cut to the heart of the matter:

1. With the lowly wages she doubtlessly earned, how'd she afford the boob job?
2. And where did she get it, since they weren't even experimenting with implants until the very end of the nineteenth century?

* * * * *

Today would have been my friend Patty's fiftieth birthday. Patty, whose parents had been planning to name her "Denise" until her March 17th arrival fifty years ago today.

Fifty years. It's very hard to imagine her being that old. (Let's put "old" in quotes there.)

Of course, it's kind of difficult, at times, to look in the mirror and realize that I'm a couple of years older than that.

My mother is 91. I often wonder how she feels at this point, knowing that most of her close friends and relatives are dead. I know that even at my age, I myself have lost enough friends, relatives, and even ex-lovers that it bothers me.

Ahhh... Too much food for thought.

Happy Birthday, Pats.

...and thanks for your time.

*The lyrics -- not the tune, of course -- are copyright 19?? by Allan Sherman, or his publishing company, or... You know something? I really wish all these lyrics sites on the internet would list the appropriate copyright information! This time, I was just too freakin' busy to search for it myself!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'll Bet They Miss Me!

One of the reasons I'll bet they miss me at the ol' Crappy Day Job is that almost everybody else was too stuffy to interject little doses of insanity and off-kilter logic into the normal running of things, like I did.

Those who worked in the so-called "satellite offices" as I did had to trek to the big city for a departmental meeting once a month. Most of the people there had a "let's get this over with" attitude, not because they were all so businesslike, but rather, because they just wanted to get out of there and get home. For the most part, I concurred, but once in a while, I figured, "As long as we're stuck here, it might as well be a little bit interesting."

One evening, I made a short speech about something involving the various branch offices, and how they worked together (or should), blah-blah-freaking-blah... And at the end of my little presentation, I dramatically added "And remember, everybody... There is no 'Q' in 'team'. "

It only took a few seconds for the other shoe to drop, as it were. One of the humor-impaired front end guys stared at me, saying, "Uhhh, don't you mean 'There is no "I" in "team" '?"

I tried to look only at him, and not at the two or three in the room who were smirking, knowing I'd set him up. "Are you saying there is a 'Q' in 'team'?" I asked, all-too-seriously.

Now he looked confused. "Well... no, but... "

I leaned back in my chair and crossed my arms over my chest, wearing a smug look on my face. "Well! I guess my original point was valid, then, wasn't it?"

Yup. I'll bet they miss that kinda stuff...

Even if none of them will admit it.

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Weather" Or Not You Believe It...

Some people call it "global warming." Some call it "climate change." (I prefer the latter. The former term confuses people.)

Maybe you believe in it. Maybe you don't. Maybe you're one of the fence-straddlers who say, "Yes, it's happening, but it's happened throughout the history of the planet, and it'll happen regardless of what the human race does or doesn't do."

You know what? I don't really care which of the three above-mentioned choices you subscribe to. You believe what you want, and I'll believe what I want. After all, as Harlan Ellison says, "Everyone is entitled to their informed opinion."

But I do know this:

In a perfect world (meaning, one where I'm in charge), people would stop doing the following two things:

1. People would stop saying things like, "If the planet's getting hotter, how come it snowed last night?" or "How come the temperature was below zero last night? Huh? Huh?" If you ask things like that, you don't understand the concept.

2. People would stop saying that the whole idea of climate change is something that Al Gore dreamed up. Please. Have a look at this:



That was filmed in 1958. Al Gore was ten. If climate change is indeed "his idea," he must have been a very precocious kid.

Having said all that, the following is in the interests of "equal time":



Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ Oh, crap. I must have leaned the wrong way while I was typing this post; all the damned jokes fell off the screen.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Enough! (An Old-style "RantZ" list)

Todays post contains a list of things that bother me to various degrees. Most are things that only mildly perturb me, while a couple of them (at most) really piss me off. Let's see if you can guess which are which.

However...

I'm feeling a bit lazy today, so here's the deal: I'll throw out the subjects, and you fill in the RantZ! (In your own mind, in the comments section... wherever. I don't care.)

1. The expression, "Meh."

2. "Back in the day," as opposed to "back in the good old days."

3. Referring to males and females who act as "actors." Katharine Hepburn was an actor? Rita Hayworth was an actor?

4. The longish, calf-baring pants they're calling "shorts" nowadays.

(Hm. I've gotta come up with something that'll get a rise out of people. But what?

Oh, wait, I've got one. Heh, heh, heh.)

5. People who insist on using British spellings of words even though they're not originally from Great Britain (or Canada, or Australia, or anywhere else that started out as a British territory). And that's coming from someone who always uses "grey" instead of "gray!" Just trying to generate some kinda s**t here, folks.

6. People who can't insult Ted Kennedy without starting off by saying "that fat... " As someone who is also overweight, if you start a conversation about him like that with me, I'll cut you off with two very crude -- but very popular -- words. (Oops, that was almost a rant!) And please don't leave any predictable memos in the comments section on this one. I'll answer in kind. And I know where you live.

7. Back in the good old days -- I just love the sound of that! -- this nation had creative titles for its political scandals: Whiskey Ring, Bay of Pigs, Petticoat Affair, Teapot Dome... But ever since Watergate in 1973? We've been subjected to endless, unimaginative terms with meaningless "-gate" suffixes: Debategate, Contragate, Travelgate, Koreagate... and that list is far from exhaustive.

8. "I heart this or that."

9. Thin-skinned people who can be as politically incorrect as they see fit on their blogs, but if I do it JOKINGLY on mine... I'm an asshole.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Really HATE This Expression...

...but I really can't think of a better word to use as a caption for the following photo than...

"BOO-ya!"

Thanks for your time.

P.S. -- I left the copyright notice on there. If I'm contacted by Peter Barry Chowka -- or his legal representatives -- I'll delete this post. Until then...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Name Game (or, "There Oughtta Be a Law...")

Politicians.

Don't particularly like 'em. Don't particularly trust 'em.

Not in this country. Not in any country.

I mean, what the hell, a great percentage of them start out as lawyers, right? And what does that tell you?

However, having said that, I must add that while I ordinarily resent the intervention of the government -- meaning the government in this country and the government in everybody else's countries -- in a great many instances... there is one law that needs to be passed as soon as possible, in virtually every country on the planet:

Celebrities Should No Longer Be Allowed to Name Their Own Children.

(And by "celebrities" I pretty much mean actors/actresses and musicians, and other so-called creative types.)

No, really. Look at the freakin' evidence. Just when we thought the worst "crime" Ashlee Simpson would ever be guilty of would be lyp-synching on Saturday Night Live or being an Owen Wilson lookalike, she names her baby "Bronx Mowgli Wentz."

Chris Rock says that a dad's number one duty is to keep his daughter "off the [stripper] pole." ("I mean they don’t grade fathers, but if your daughter is a stripper you f***ed up.”) No. Your primary job as a father -- and as a mother as well -- is to avoid purposely doing anything which will make your child's life rougher than it's gonna be anyway!

It pretty much started in the psychedelic sixties, and wasn't confined so much to famous people. I'm sure that, due to a bunch of over-eager nurses who were taking notes as hippie mothers-to-be were being wheeled into the delivery room, there are more than a few birth certificates proclaiming the arrival of "Ohwowiamsostonedman Johnson," or something similar.

And there are more than enough people out there who want their children to have unique names, although quite often, they achieve that uniqueness by taking a relatively normal name and changing a letter or two.

School Administrator: We'll be more than happy to enroll your daughter, Mrs. Smith. [staring at paperwork on desk] Umm... Three "Z's" and a "Q?" How do you pronounce that?

Mrs. Smith: "Ann."

But I digress.

The following is a list of names I cribbed from somewhere on the 'net. The original list was longer than what follows. I only used the names which 1) I think are kinda stupid or 2) names I have a comment or two about, after the list. Here goes:

Apple: Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
Audio Science: Shannyn Sossamon
Aurelius Cy: Elle Macpherson and Arpad Busson
Blue Angel: U2's The Edge and Aislinn O'Sullivan
Bluebell Madonna: Geri Halliwell
Fifi Trixibell: Bob Geldof and Paula Yates (also parents to Peaches and Pixie)
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily: Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence
Hopper: Sean Penn and Robin Wright
Jazz Domino: Joe Strummer
Jermajesty: Jermaine Jackson and Alejandra Genevieve Oaziaza (previously married to Jermaine's brother Randy)
Kal-El Coppola: Nicholas Cage (Kal-El is Superman’s original birth name)
Memphis Eve: Bono
Moon Unit: Frank Zappa, also father to Dweezil and Diva Muffin
Moxie CrimeFighter: Penn Jillette (also father to Zolten)
Pilot Inspektor: Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf
Sage Moonblood: Sylvester Stallone and Sasha Czack (also parents to Seargeoh)
Satchel: Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

And my snide little notes?

"Apple" is usually the one people think of first when this subject comes up. However, looking at some of the others on the list... Apple doesn't sound so bad.

"Blue Angel" and "Memphis Eve" are the children of musicians who gave themselves weird names, too -- or did you think U2's guitarist is holding onto a birth certificate that actually says "The Edge?" -- so what the hell did you expect? Besides, in their own ways, I think both names are kinda pretty.

I have nothing against "unique" names. What I object to are the ones that are the equivalent of pinning a "Kick Me!" sign on the kids' backs as you send them off to school.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. "Jermajesty?" What the hell were they smoking? Cute play on words, but as an actual name? How about "Jerdadscareerisoverkid?"

"Moon Unit." Hello? Frank Zappa's kid? Again, what the hell did you expect? The man lived in his own universe, fer cryin' out loud. (And that's a compliment!) Slap "Zappa" onto the end of any outlandish name you want, and I, for one, will buy it. (" 'Anally-Probed-By-Aliens Zappa?' That works. Cool.")

"Satchel." Spike Lee named his daughter after the baseball pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige. Woody Allen named one of his kids "Satchel" as well... but his child was a boy. Maybe it's an unusual name, but when it's done as a tribute to someone who already had the name himself (even if it was a nickname), can you really fault it?

I skipped one in the alphabetical run-down in order to save the "best" for last: "Moxie CrimeFighter," Penn Jillette's daughter.

I really hope Penn Jillette and his "baby mama" -- I don't know if she's his wife, girlfriend, or what -- aren't the type of parents who use a child's full name when they admonish him or her in public.

One of the reasons I cherish my own mother is that she never did that to me. She stuck to the first name. If she'd screamed "David! Michael! Lynch!" every time I acted up when we were out somewhere, I know I'd hold a grudge, and probably a permanent spot on some therapist's couch.

And I'm one of the ones who likes his middle name.

Besides, what would you think if you heard some pony-tailed, beefy silo of a man screaming "Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette!" at the top of his lungs?

"Hello, 911? There's some lunatic in WalMart yelling about soft drinks, superheroes, and razor blades! I think you'd better send the police and/or an ambulance!"

Why do I feel so strongly that in twenty years or so, we're going to be hearing about a frightening number of oddly-named adults being arrested for physically abusing their parents?

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Strange Bedfellows

This first video was sent to me by one of "my" many Jennifers. (Actually, this was sent by "Jennifer the First." Never mind.)

Here's an unusual pairing: Mama Cass Elliott (of the Mamas and the Papas) and none other than Julie Andrews... and they're doing a medley in honor of Simon and Garfunkel!



And now, in keeping with the Mamas and the Papas connection, here's the Beach Boys doing "California Dreaming," with guest appearances by the then-surviving members of the Mamas and the Papas! This video was a little eerie, coming out -- IIRC -- not long after the death of Denny Wilson. But I digress.



Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Not-EVERY-Nite Owl, Perhaps...

I haven't seen Watchmen yet. But I've read a few reviews, and more related articles than I care to count.

Most of them make the same mistake: While listing all the ways the superheroes of Watchmen differ from the accepted, "good" stereotypes, they describe Dan "Nite Owl" Dreiberg with the word "impotent."

I first read the story as it unfolded issue by issue in comic book form, and the impression I got then, and have retained until now, was that Dan Dreiberg was less an impotent man than he was one who suffered from one single episode of performance anxiety. We -- the readers -- just happened to be there for that "one episode," as well as its successful follow-up.

We simply were not told enough about Dreiberg's sexual history to assume that he was impotent until the time aboard "Archie" (the Owlship, or whatever they called it).

As it stands -- no pun intended -- the first time he attempted to make love to Laurie, he couldn't perform. (In real life, it quite often happens that way during a first encounter, because the pressure's on, so to speak.) The second time, he could perform, mainly because "the costumes had something to do with it." Kinky little cuss, ain't he?

(I should mention that I am, at this point, assuming that the corresponding scenes in the movie are handled much as they were in the original comic. If not, of course, that could explain why so many of the writers who've talked about Nite Owl's "condition" have opinions which differ from my own.)

It reminds me of when I saw Superman II in the cinema, years ago. After Superman gives up his super powers for a roll in the hay with Lois Lane, the film shows the lovebirds under the covers in that goofy Reynold's Wrap Super-Bed. At this point, I was the only one in the theater who burst out laughing... and not just at said Super-Bed.

After the movie, my embarrassed date asked me, "Why did you laugh at that scene of Clark and Lois in bed?"

I explained that I couldn't help thinking how funny it would have been if, instead of showing the two cuddling in the afterglow of ecstasy, they'd shown Superman whining, "Lois, I'm sorry! I swear this has never happened to me before!"

Well, I thought it was funny. Maybe you did, too. Maybe you didn't. But I'll bet if Dan Dreiberg had thought of it, he wouldn't have laughed at all.

Thanks for your time.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Who Watches the Whatchamacallits?

"I do."

"I do."

"I do... but only if they're in the woods."

"I do."

"Not me! I see
nutt-ink!"

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Trust Me

Ever notice that, unless you're really careful, it's hard to pour coffee from the carafe of a drip coffeemaker (like Mr. Coffee) without spilling some? Or without spilling a lot?

That's because the carafes were all designed by the very same guy who invented the dribble glass!

No, really, it's true. Trust me. Don't Google it. Don't Google it!

Crap.

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"It's All Good?"

"It's all good."

What?

What's "all good?"

Says who?

What the hell does that even mean?

It is not "all good!"

Stop saying that!!!

Thanks for your time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Internet Never Closes

A lot of people seem to think that the internet is, like, closed on the weekends. That would mean that you can't post a blog. Or even read one.

Bulls**t.

Heck, I'll prove it. Without the aid of trick photography or unseen wires, I shall post a RantZ entry today -- and duh, this is it! -- tomorrow, and Sunday!

And they'll be short ones, so if you actually decide to read them, they won't take up the weekend hours you'd rather spend with your family, or friends, or whatever you do that you think is more important than vegging out in front of the PC for an afternoon.

And if you're really dead set on taking off for two days... Oh, hell, they'll still be here on Monday.

Maybe.

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just Wondering...

Captain "Sully" Sullenberger seems like a great guy, but no one is liked by everybody...

Therefore...

I wonder if there was anyone who was actually aboard US Airways Flight 1549 who was stupid enough, arrogant enough, and short-sighted enough to say "I don't like Sully. I hope he can't land us safely!"

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ You don't really think this post was about Sully, do you?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Robert Quarry, 1925-2009, R.I.P.

"Count Yorga" died.

Again...

R.I.P. to the guy who taught Katharine Hepburn how to play tennis.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. (to those who follow my other blog): Happy birthday, "Bella!"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

No, Jim Bouton didn't die, and his birthday
isn't until March 8th -- Happy Early Birthday,
Jim! -- but I just felt that the cover of his second
book was appropriate in relation to today's post!

To Whom It May Concern:

Was it something I said?

~~David
  • If you have absolutely no idea why I wrote that, then it probably wasn't aimed at you. Sleep well tonight, old chum.
  • If you think that it probably was "aimed at you," then maybe... just maybe... it was. Please be so kind as to answer my question. A private email would be nice.
  • If the whole thing leaves you totally confused and you don't know what you could possibly have done to make me ask that but you wonder if it was you just because you're the worrying type... *sigh* Well, that's how confused I've been for the last few days. Sorry to freak you out, too.
  • And today, just this once... I ain't thankin' nobody fer nuttin'.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Anger Management

Just in this kinda mood, once again...



Ahhh, memories! I remember back in the mid-1980s, when Phil Collins was pretty much at the height of his popularity. I was in the habit of telling people it was only a matter of time before the advent of one or more radio stations like my own fictional "WPCR! Phil Collins Radio! All Phil, All the Time!"

For the best effect, you should play this video -- and merely listening to it is fine, you don't need to actually watch it -- over and over and over and over and over again, until you've long since absorbed it into your system, and have begun to get sick of it. (Well, that's what I ended up doing, anyway.)

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