Thursday, July 31, 2008

Leper Pop Straw Poll

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sid In The City

One thing we don't like here at Leper Pop is being told what to do. In fact, we'll be less inclined to do whatever it is we're told. For example, say the Mrs. wises up some day and leaves me. The next week Crystal Bernard moves in next door and asks me to come over and help her connect her DVD and cable and stuff. I do. Then she asks me over to help hang some pictures. Then she comes over for some restaurant recommendations. I might be thinking I would ask her out. But if you told me that I needed to ask her out, then I would not just to defy you. I'd have to be a big creep to her and ask out the pregnant girl with no personality working at the Subway shop down the street. Get it? And don't try that reverse psychology crap, either. Moist Rub has a degree in that shit and will see it a mile away.

Remember when Rock Star ended and everyone was telling us what to write about? Yeah, that's right, the blog could have been huge, but instead we showed you who was boss and tortured you with all this drivel the last two years.

However, after my last post a commenter named Sarah J something posted a question asking why I wasn't showing any love to Sex in the City. It seemed like a legit inquiry and, looking back, it did seem like a rather incomplete post without some detail. So here it is...

Top Ten Reasons Sid Thinks Sex In The City Sucks

1. It’s seems to be heavy on the relationships. I’m a guy. Do I need to elaborate?

2. They’re always getting together and eating and drinking and talking. I don’t enjoy doing that with other people so why would I want to watch them do it?

3. They seem to whine a lot. I have my own problems. Like trying to keep the green sauce off my chin while eating a burrito. I don’t need to hear about their pretend television problems.

4. The guys on there are better looking than me. That makes them douchebags. I don’t find shows with good-looking guys very entertaining. That’s why all the best sitcoms pair the dopey guy with the hot wife. To appease us unmodel types. George Clooney is the exception – he can pull off the good-looking bit without making me suffer from low self-esteem. Hell, even Danny DeVito hangs out with him.

5. Although I find Kristin Davis attractive, I wouldn’t give the others a second look and would even prefer to avoid the first look if at all possible. Guys are pretty stupid, and I will watch a bad show if they put enough good-looking girls in it (e.g. Las Vegas). As long as they don’t whine too much.

6. I like New York City and I’d rather not believe that all the women there are like that.

7. I think they dress in designer clothes and eat at all the hip restaurants. No need to do that unless you make 8 figures a year. I’m not really sure what they do for a living, but I don’t think it’s 8 figures type stuff. Why don’t you skip one of your little bitch sessions and give some time or money to a soup kitchen or something.

8. They never seem to be having any fun. Maybe if they’d drop the drudgery routine they might find a guy who doesn’t want to toss them through the windshield of the nearest taxi.

9. Because it’s not football.

10. Finally, the theme music is annoying. Whatever happened to good theme music like the Theme from Shaft?

There you have it, gentle reader. Hope that answered your question. Just don't expect a movie review.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How To Get Accepted By Juilliard

When we last left our hero, he had taken a Bangles type fall and was watching Julia Stiles on TBS. Hard to imagine, but it got worse after I posted. But before I go on, I’ll digress into my review of Save The Last Dance, complete with spoilers. So in case it’s been on your list of movies to watch for the last SEVEN years and you haven’t gotten around to it because you’ve put off fixing your DVD player or paying your cable bill, you might want to skip the next paragraphs. In fact, you might want to skip them anyway since I’m not a licensed reviewer and it may suck even more than the movie.

I checked IMDB and found that the movie won six awards. Unless it was for Best Movie to Make You Question What You’re Doing With Your Life While Watching It, I don’t get it. Then I found out IMDB counts MTV and Teen Choice Awards. Since MTV viewers and teens are dumbasses by default, it then made sense.

Apparently, being a white kid in an inner-city all-black high school is full of challenges for about 45 minutes, after which one fits right in and can have a grand old time. It can also get you into Juilliard if you pepper your ballet audition with your newfound hip-hop sensibilities. In a movie called Crossroads I think the Karate Kid got into Julliard, too, by making friends with a black guy and peppering his classical guitar audition with some newfound Delta blues skillz. Actually, I think he left Juilliard and applied his classical guitar skills to the Delta blues and saved us all from the devil. Or he defeated the Germans in WWII with only his guitar and a portable practice amp. I can’t remember exactly. What I’ve learned from the movies is that there are not any black people at Juilliard; they just help cute white kids get in by making snooty administrators feel hip or get them kicked out by offending snooty administrators trying to preserve the arts from uncultured urban influences. I've never seen Flashdance so I don't know if she wanted to get into Juilliard or not, but I know she never carried a watermelon. Nobody puts Sid in the corner. But I digress. The only redeeming feature of the movie was that it was set in Chicago, so it’s pretty cool seeing your hometown on the big screen. Especially all the ballet studios and south side high schools I’m hanging around at all the time. I mean, why spend my money or time waiting in line to see the streets of Chicago in The Dark Knight when I can sit in bed and watch Save The Last Dance for free.

Spoiler alert over. Back to my story.

So what can be worse than wasting my time watching that on TBS on a Friday night with a dead hooker in an Ohio hotel room? Well, after the movie was over, Sex and the City came on. And I didn’t change the channel. I must have been suffering from low self-esteem but I didn’t have a straightedge razor in my toiletry kit to cut myself and instead decided to torture myself with that show.

I only watched it one other time years ago, strangely enough in a hotel room. It was possibly the worst thing I have ever seen and I never watched another minute. But with the following it had over the years and all the hype over the recent movie, I thought I’d check it out again. It sucks even worse than I had remembered. It sucks like a turbo-charged vacuum with a homemade tin spoiler attached to the back. It sucks like a whore on the fifth of the month right before the late charges kick in on her rent. It sucks like a hungry baby bonobo on its mother’s teat. It sucks like a black fly in your Chardonnay. Oh, wait, I think that’s merely ironic.

But I promise I won’t ever do that again. Of course that’s what I said the last time I ended up with a dead hooker in a hotel room.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Muzak Filled The Air

It’s Friday night and I’m sitting in a hotel room in Ohio watching Save The Last Dance with Julia Stiles on TBS. This may be rock bottom. As soon as the dead hooker gets here with the black tar heroin, the puzzle will be complete.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mars Day 2008

Well, I've been sitting out here for a few hours in Death Valley licking rocks, trying to raise awareness of the frailty of the environment on Mars. As I've previously stated, we humans have already begun littering that planet with robots. We need a Mars Day and today is the day. I'm here all by myself. Nobody else has shown up. A couple of chuckwallas stopped by and licked some rocks with me, but I have a feeling they were going to do that anyway. Power to the CHUCKWALLAS!

Am I the only one who cares? Where are we supposed to live after we destroy this planet? Certainly not Venus. That planet is a stinky ass pit. Mars is our only hope. But it won't be around if we continue to destroy its environment. The madness must be stopped!!!

Thanks a lot everybody. THANKS A FRICKEN' LOT!

This is the last time I try to throw a planet saving movement. Every human for xeself from now on. That's what I say. Screw all y'all. Good riddance when this planet starts pissing on itself. I'm gonna start building a rocket and collecting canned meat.

And I'm not going to Earth Day anymore, either!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Legend of Chupu A’awi Llakilla

I recently learned that my son likes popsicles. He had never told me of his popsicle penchant, so I never bought any. Then I saw him eating one. He said, “I really like popsicles.” So, I bought some. I ended up eating most of them.

I bought two types of popsicles: the cherry/grape/orange combo pack and the Firecracker pack. Firecracker popsicles are the same as Bomb Pops, engineered with a peculiar, yet suckable, ensemble of an immaculate cherry nose cone, a refreshing lemon body, and the enigmatic blue raspberry propulsion system. Propulsion system – sounds delicious!

Most people don’t know the origins of the blue raspberry flavor. Why, raspberries are red, gosh-darn-me-socks! (as my Uncle Harv used to say) The popular understanding is that the raspberry flavor was doused with blue food coloring (around the time when unnatural looking foods came into vogue – somewhere around the invention of TV dinners and edible sock puppets) to differentiate it from cherry, strawberry and red currant. As is the case with most popular views, this one is wrong. The true origin lies in the early Incan culture and can be explained by neuroscience. The Incas were the first to correlate the effects of the consumption of raspberries with depression.

The Incan people lived on the dangerous terrain of the Andes Mountains in South America. Many of the happy-go-lucky Incans tended to fall off the steep slopes when frolicking with joy. Frolicking became the number one killer in the Incan society. Something had to be done to curtail the senseless, yet joyful, deaths. Some Incans noticed that people who ate raspberries rarely frolicked, because they felt too dismal to do so. Consequently, they were less likely to frolic off a mountain. People are very sure footed when they spend all day inside their huts ruing the day they were born. As a safety measure, King Sinchi Roca decreed that all Incan citizens must eat three handfuls of raspberries a day or else be pushed off a mountain as punishment. The number of deaths by mountain-fall-off-of decreased dramatically. The Incans eventually referred to raspberries as chupu a’awi llakilla (trans. the pimply fruit of sadness). By the time Pizarro got there in the 16th century, the Incan people were so depressed they found it a relief to be pillaged, raped and devastated by sword and disease.

As it happened, Ewald Bonebreak, one of the descendants of a rare surviving Incan, became a chemist for a food additive company in the 1940’s. Luckily, the legend of chupu a’awi llakilla was passed down for generations to him. When faced with the challenge of finding a way to make raspberry flavoring stand up and say “Hey, there are too many damn red flavors!”, Ewald reached into his family bag of heritage . By then the depressive connotation of the English word “blue” had unmasked its dreary face, thus affording Ewald the opportunity to unite the tasty, tongue-staining tandem.

Biological research has since discovered that 99% of a raspberry’s mass consists of bummedoutisol – a chemical greatly associated with depression. The other 1%, ironically, is made up of red raspberry flavoring.

Most raspberry-induced depression goes unnoticed in today’s society. The depression is noticeable, but there are so many other sources of bad vibes, it’s hard to pin it all on the raspberry. Plus, people are fooled by the joy they experience when eating blue raspberry flavored popsicles.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Project Costco

GQ is usually not sitting out on my coffee table. Neither is coffee. Usually there are a couple newspapers, a couple magazines (the ones you read, not the ones you shoot (I need to be careful to differentiate since I’m sure I’m on the FBI’s watch list after mentioning that the Unabomber had some good stuff to say (but again, I’m all against the blowing up people part))), and where was I? Oh, yes, the coffee table… newspapers, magazines, a set of coasters given to me by Mr. and Mrs. West Coast Ray about 14 years ago, an ant farm, some WWF trading cards, and a rape whistle. But I digress.

But it’s a good thing that I don’t subscribe to GQ because the editors would have likely canceled my subscription after they found out that I decided to do my last round of clothes shopping at Costco right in between filling my cart with case of Stoneyfield yogurt and a brood of marinated chicken breasts.

I was on my way to checkout when I passed the underwear aisle. Boxers or briefs, you ask? Both. Boxer, briefs and boxer briefs. I wear them all. My daily choice depends on what else I’m wearing and how my testicles feel that day. There’s no law requiring monosubligculous, so why not play the field? [Ed. Note: monosubliguculous, a Greek word meaning “one who wears one type of underwear” – get out your Latin translators folks] I am truly a polysubligculist. Recently I’ve noticed that my briefs are not as structurally sound as when they were back when I got them in the 90’s. There’s been some scrotal seepage, especially on the warmer days we’ve experienced lately, and I decided I could remedy that problem with a quick purchase at Costco. I found some swell looking boxer briefs that would surely make me look as hot as the guy on the front of the package (no pun intended), called the Mrs. to make sure I wasn’t buying the wrong kind or paying too much, and tossed a 3-pack in the cart right on top of the 24-pack of frozen pizzas.

I also noticed they sold all sorts of clothes there, and thought I could use a couple polo shirts to fill out my weekday daytime generic businessman wardrobe. You see, our company just broke up so I had to get rid of the branded polo shirts I used to employ in the summer. In the Costco polo section, right next to the ponies, saddles and mallets were several brands of shirts at what seemed to be reasonable prices.

Now I’ve been going with the goatee for about half a year, so I haven’t been able to sport the currently hipster accessory known as the ironic mustache. But I did have an opportunity to create my own new look – the ironic golf shirt. I found a couple shiny polyester shirts from Hathaway, made another quick phone consultation, surprisingly got the thumbs up, and tossed them in my cart right next to 55-gallon drum of guacamole. What is ironic is that I don’t play golf. I don’t even watch it – it’s like The Weather Channel for people who just want to watch nice weather on television (disclaimer – I think I stole that last line from a comic, but can’t remember who to credit). The irony was not lost on my co-workers who realize that if I went missing the last place they would look for me is on a golf course, and questioned why I looked like I had just stepped out of a golf cart rather than just off my bicycle. I took an imaginary golf swing just like Johnny Carson, with my scrotum happily contained, and went back to my office to start on that case of yogurt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dinner Conversations During OB/GYN Rotations

Sid: So did you save any lives today?
Mrs F'er: No.
Sid: Did you kill anyone?
Mrs: I don't think so.
Sid: Did you see any vaginas?
Mrs: More than I care to in a lifetime.

Mrs: I get to scrub in on a complete hysterectomy tomorrow.
Sid: So all you have to do is cut and take everything out, tie up the ends and stitch her back up?
Mrs: Something like that.
Sid: So what exactly do you have to take out?
Mrs: Uterus and ovaries.
Sid: Fallopian tubes?
Mrs: Yes.
Sid: Vas deferens?
Mrs: No. Women don't have those.
Sid: I know, it was a trick question.
Mrs: Yeah, I at least learned that much.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Review: CoverGurl

I ate sushi with Chuck Norris. I also played pool with Michael Irvin. Had dinner with Ross Perot, went to a play with John Cusack, ate nachos with Jimmy Johnson, and flew with Ben Stein and Ann Coulter. Of course, none of those people knew I was there because I left them the fuck alone. Sure, I’m not too cool to say there wasn’t a brief moment of awe at Mr. Sushi when my date asked me if that wasn’t Chuck with the pickled ginger stuck to his beard. But other than the somewhat surreal experience of seeing people that only exist in my television suddenly appear in my natural environs, I’m largely unaffected and pretty much ignore them after a few minutes of making sure a ten thousand dollar bill hasn’t fallen out of their pocket within my reach.

So I obviously don’t understand the obsession with celebrities (other than Crystal Bernard or Shania Twain), celebrity babies, celebrity relationships, and hot mustard dipping sauce. The fact that People and Us Magazine and the National Enquirer not only exist, but that people read them unashamedly in public is disturbing to me. They should read them in private, like I do with each highly anticipated issue of Quilter’s World. And there’s nothing more annoying in the newspaper than those gossip columnists. Except for those Nancy and Sluggo comics. But apparently all that gossip and paparazzi shit sells papers, so rather than suffer the fate of decreasing circulation as the newspapers have recently, I’ve decided to embrace the role of gossip columnist and see how it plays at Leper Pop. Here it goes….

Leper Pop attended the Covergurl show at Castaways on Saturday featuring ex-Rock Star: INXS contestant Jessica Robinson, and our photographer caught the drummer from another popular local band (currently without a lead singer) in the audience. Our sources saw them speaking between sets and wonder if this was a recruiting mission… stay tuned!

Okay, enough garbage. In case you didn’t guess I was invited by West Coast Ray to come out to the Covergurl show at Castaways at North Avenue Beach on Saturday afternoon. Rain was threatening, but WCR only crosses the mighty Mississippi once a year so I told the Mrs. that I was going out for cigarettes and then hopped on my bike for a ride down to the lakefront. I don’t smoke so I don’t think I picked the best excuse but she had to read about vaginas and stuff for her OB exam this week and figured she could get more done if I was out of the house instead of standing over her shoulder giggling at the illustrations. I suppose I should clarify – she’s not having an OB exam done on her, but rather is taking an exam on OB material. The last thing this country needs is another unit made from this genetic material running around. But I digress.

WCR and his loyal sidekick Cousin Phil were kind enough to start drinking before noon and secure a table on the side of the boat where Covergurl would be playing. It’s not really a boat. It’s one of those buildings on the beach that’s designed to look like a boat to trick you into thinking that you’re rich and partying on a boat and can afford to drink $6 cans of beer.

I didn’t realize there was an opening band, so a band called C-Factor was playing when I arrived. Anyone with a graduate degree in biochemistry will realize that C-factor, the protein product of the csgA gene, acts as a short-range morphogenetic signal. It is required for fruiting body development of the gram-negative bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. Awesome band name. Except I think it went over the heads of the seemingly dunderheaded crowd who thought the band was named Sea Factor, y’ know, because they were, like, playing on the beach, y’know. Duh.

They billed themselves as Chicago’s Ultimate Party Rock Band! which immediately made me think that they were going to just invite us down to their parent’s basement and play some K-Tel records. Instead, it was just the singer and two guitarists belting out the ultimate in party rock. The bass player, keyboard player and drummer were not there so I’m assuming they had all been arrested the previous evening for trying knock over a burrito joint and were stuck in some holding cell awaiting a bail hearing. Despite only being 50% present, they still put on a decent show. Just like my marriage.

Finally Covergurl took the stage. Their name is a little more convoluted than C-Factor, but I understand it comes from the fact that they play mostly cover tunes and that Jessica (the singer, and a girl) used to put an umlaut over all the vowels in her name to suck up to her German teacher in high school. I also hear that naming the band CoverGirl resulted in a cease and desist order instead of all the free mascara they had hoped for.

As I mentioned before, you might remember Jessica from the Rock Star: INXS season a few years ago. I can’t remember if I was really mean or really nice to her during my time as a pathetic, little reality show blogger boy. But I honestly didn’t have super high expectations for the show. However, the band pleasantly surprised me. I don’t know if it’s just hearing her live, but it seems like she’s singing in a lower key or register and has lost most of the squeaks that the Brothers INXS always seemed to complain about. The band was on target and the set list was a solid mix of songs you knew but were not overly tired. I was only intending to stick around for one set, but stayed for two despite the mass of guys who thought that Castaways was site for the Douchebag Olympic Trials. All contenders. The only upside is that they were drawn there by all the scantily clad females cavorting about in their annoying ways. I haven’t seen that much skin since the last time I was on the Internets. But I digress.

Bottom line – Covergurl gets the thumbs up for a day or night hanging out and having a beer, or enjoying the sun down at the lake. I was going to make a joke about having to track down Brandon Calhoon next, but to my horror I discovered he will actually be in town next month. I’ll let Moist Rub cover that show. Thanks, buddy.

Leper Tech

It seems readership is waning, so we may need to reinvent to blog. Those tech blogs seem to do well and are on the cutting edge, so this will be my first attempt at such a transformation....

iPhone 2.0 Review

Hey, how about that new iPhone! In case you missed the previous 367,427 articles in the past week, Apple released a new iPhone. I didn't get one. I might get one in the future. But I have an old one and downloaded the new software update for it and I didn't have any problems. I'm awesome.

Oh, but when you download the new software it restores all your phone's original settings. Like alarms. I use my iPhone as my alarm clock and didn't know it erased the standing order to wake me up at 6:01 a.m. every weekday. So I overslept today. But I'm still awesome.

Okay, that's it for the first edition of Leper Tech. Hope you found some news you can use.

Wow. That kind of sucked, didn't it? Face it, I'm just lucky I don't break an ankle trying to figure out this tech crap. The last time I tried to look up directions in my rental car, the GPS lady yelled at me and kicked me in the nuts. I attempted to download some KC & the Sunshine Band and now my iPod is somehow stuck on an incessant loop of Bulgarian show tunes. Even the ankle bracelet to monitor my house arrest gave me a rash.

I'm quitting now before I staple my fingers together.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Review: The Hourglass and the Poisoned Pen

Wonder Woman. Batwoman. The Bionic Woman. Buffy Summers. Elastigirl. Juliette Lewis. Isis. Lavagirl. She-Ra.

Face it, chick superheroines rock. And so do tap dancers.

So when I had a free evening on this most recent holiday weekend, I searched the entertainment listings for a show that might satisfy both my fetishes. And suddenly, as if Chicago Tap Theater had read my mind, I saw an ad for The Hourglass and the Poisoned Pen – the all new Superhero Tap Dance Opera currently playing at the Athenaeum Theater. I gathered up my credit card and the Mrs. and made my way to the next showing.

The theater building was cool, but the show was not in the main auditorium. In fact, after purchasing our tickets we were directed upstairs to the third floor – Studio 3. Awesome. When the doors opened it was just the type of theater that I love. Probably no more than 80 seats, some of them ripped and repaired with duct tape and others missing arm rests. A simple plywood stage in front and one large panel featuring our heroine as the set. The director/dancer/co-writer/choreographer/board member came out for the intro telling us to have fun, cheer for the good guys (or bad guys), boo the bad guys (or the good guys), and be thankful you weren’t at the Jonas Brothers show.

What is a superhero tap dance opera you ask? Well, just enough background and plot lines are flashed on the background of the set so you can read along as you would a comic book. But instead of looking at drawings similar to those that filled the notebook of that fat kid you knew in junior high, you had some bad-ass tap dancers bringing the action to life.

You see, sweet Elizabeth loved working in her father’s clock and watch shop until he was killed during a brutal robbery, at which time she received the special power to slow down time. With the encouragement of Daphne, her wacky friend and comic book store proprietor, she decided she needed to fulfill the obligation to use her powers for good over the evil lurking in her town. Elizabeth, after receiving a gift from Daphne containing her superheroine costume of a blue suit, fishnets and yellow tapdancing go-go boots, transforms into The Hourglass, while Daphne captured my heart with her transformation into The Secondhand and her Chuck Taylor tapshoes. Does it get any cooler than that? Hell no.

The rest of the evening was a series of tap dance scenes covering everything from tap dancing muggers to tap dancing street fights to tap dancing workplace skullduggery and general tap vigilante justice.

So if you’re in Chicago, check it out. If not, I feel bad. Unless you’re in New York – they’ve been invited to some theater festival out there later this year, so you can experience the same. As for me, I’ll be super-glueing some taps on my own Chuck Taylors and filling out my application for the Justice Legs of America.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Miley Cyrus Lesson

She’s at it again. Miley Cyrus has infiltrated my parenting world once again. A few months ago I wrote about how Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus hates my baby. She still does. Now she has my son’s interests in her sights. But this time, she is being helpful, not harmful. She has created an educational video lugging a valuable lesson for all the machine-gun-bonered adolescents of the world. Here, take a look..

Pretty amazing, huh? One would think that all I would have to do is show my son this video and all of my boy-girl relationship parenting guidance would be complete. Unfortunately, my son is not bright enough to comprehend the video’s blatant message, and, even if he was, I doubt he could see beyond his hormones. So, I’ll have to spell it out for him and his partners in his gender-age continuum. The rest of you can continue reading, but what follows is for the young men of the world.

At the core, what Miley is telling us is to stay away from girls because they are psychotic. But you won’t. Nor should you. But, don’t blame me when you are sitting in your car with the tires slashed, maple syrup gushing out of your carburetor, fingernail scratches on your neck, all of your money gone and you are wondering what the hell just happened. If this should happen to you, stop wondering. You will never figure it out. Just move on and see what happens tomorrow – it’ll probably be something that will confuse you even more.

To keep it simple, I will not attempt to interpret all of the lyrics. However, I will identify some points of danger in them later on. Let’s look at the song as a whole. What is it about? What is she telling us? (I don’t mean to generalize, but I’m using “she” in a general sense applying to all women. I do this because Miley Cyrus is the voice of all women, from what I’ve heard.) First, she reflects on our prior relationship. Then she tells us there are seven things she hates about us. That’s understandable. It’s no surprise that there would be some animosity lurking after a break up. But then we find out the seventh thing she hates about us is that we make her love us. Sounds confusing, right? Well, it is, so don’t get too hung up on it. It’s confusing on two levels. First, how can she hate us and love us at the same time (unless she has multiple personalities – which she does, but this is not a psychological essay, so we’ll let that go)? Second, we weren’t trying to make anybody love us – we were just doing what our little generals wanted us to do (just so I don’t get into any kind of pedophilic trouble here, I’m using the term “we” and “us” in the general male sense, and it should only be perceived as applying to legally age congruent situations). By this point, we get the idea. We suck. Fine. We can live with that. We’ll go hang out with the fellas. But, no, we can’t do that, because, all of a sudden, without any warning, the second half of the song comes along and she’s telling us about the seven things she likes about us! Well, which is it???!!??

They can do that, you know. They can stop on an emotional dime and turn. One hundred and eighty degrees, if need be. Their emotional output mechanism is fine tuned from all the work they give it. This creates an emotional trajectory resembling a laser beam shot into a ball of uneven mirrors. It’ll drive you mad unless you learn to filter out everything except the important emotions – like the ones that will cost you money or require you to make an effort. We guys cannot be so precise with our emotions. Sure, we have emotions, but they serve us more as an infection than a social utility. When one emerges we try to ignore it hoping it will go away so we can get back to whatever it was that we were doing. We don’t have the means to make it stop and change its course. We have to ride it out until the next one comes along. In this sense, we are very much like geographic locales affected by varying weather patterns. Sometimes I like to think of myself as London, England – basically walking around in a fog. For extra credit, write a paper about your geographic emotional climate city.

Overall, as the song tells us, this is your lesson: Women are psychotic by male standards. The lyrics and the video support this claim. As promised, here are some lyrical danger zones of which you should be aware.

The initial break up has made her scared? What’s that all about? Scared? Scared of what – did the break up move her up on the Boogie Man’s list? Since she is now available, is she committed to follow through with her pre-arranged marriage to Ryan Seacrest? Will this cause George Bush to usurp the twenty-second amendment of the Constitution and stay in office? What the hell is so scary?

:~ Nothing is gonna change until you hear the seven things… ~: ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! Don’t you get it, man? She wants you to change. You can’t be who you are. You have to be who she wants you to be. These seven things are your honey-do list to selfamorphosis as designed by her. Run away. Run away as fast as you can.

“I wanna be with the one I know”. This relates to the prior lyric’s demand for change. The one she “knows” is her archetype for the ideal man – the one she’s been constructing in her head since she was born. If you aren’t that man already, there is no amount of changing you can do to become that man. Besides, you are a guy, so you can’t change, anyway. You’re better of being yourself and putting up with the insults.

Somewhere in the song she asks for a sincere apology. Go ahead and give her one, but it won’t change the fact that she caught you naked in the hot tub with three of her friends. I know, apologies don’t really do anything in the real world, but somehow they make a difference to girls. Just don’t ever let her know that none of your apologies have ever been sincere. The point of this lyric is that you have to apologize because the break up was your fault for not being her ideal man. In her defense, she probably already apologized to you, but you didn’t notice, nor did you care.

“Your friends are jerks”. The people you have let into your life, the ones you’ve palled around with your whole life, the ones who accept you for who you are and still are your friends (sure, there are plenty of things about you that bug them – it doesn’t mean they are going to write a psychotic love/hate song about you and expect you to change), the ones you have shit in the woods together with, well friend, they’re just not good enough. And when you act like them it hurts her. So quit trying to have fun, go sit in the corner and do as you’re told.

There is more evidence if you want to delve further into the lyrics. You can do that on your own for more extra credit. And be sure to explore the purpose for choosing the number "7" as the break point number of love/hate selections (it would be an ideal thing to do). As for the video, try watching it with the sound turned off and concentrate on the girls’ expressions and their mannerisms, especially the stuffed animal clutching. If you didn’t know this was a Miley Cyrus music video, you very well may mistake it for a documentary depicting women in a prison for the criminally insane.

There you have it, young men. Miley Cyrus has given it to you straight. She is very wise with her manipulation of the music video art form. As I said before, this should not deter you from trying to have meaningful relationships with women. Miley Cyrus can only tell you so much. There is much more to learn about them, although, you will find that it eventually comes back to what Miley has taught you in this video. Try to enjoy the good times, and take the blame for the bad times.

As a personal note to Miley Cyrus, I thank you for your help in this matter, but it does not make up for the hate Hannah Montana launched at my little girl. You still owe me for that.

Oh, and just in case any women or Alan Aldas out there take offense to anything I’ve written above, remember, these ideas were all those of Miley Cyrus, not of my own. I was merely acting as a conduit to enlightenment, kind of like a hookah.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Pura Vida, Part V

Steve Martin titled his third album “Comedy Is Not Pretty!” and if you’ve ever tried to relate a comedy bit that you’ve seen another comic do, you know it couldn’t be more true. Well, I’m having the same problems writing about this trip to Costa Rica. Despite my Pulitzer level writing, my Carrot Top good looks, and my Ansel Adam-like photography skillz, I’ll never fully be able to relate what a great country it is and how awesome the people are. So I’ll finish this off with one last tale and just encourage you to visit if you ever get the chance.

Mid-week we scheduled a kayak trip and after a drive back to town we met our guide at the small shack where the tours depart. We met our guide Rudolpho, who spoke pretty good English and started with a tour of the small garden around the building. After that we donned some very fashionable lifevests and took off for the mangroves in our bitchin’ kayaks. Some good wildlife in the mangroves and a lesson in the different types of mangroves and seeds, and how the trees sow the seed, how nature grows the seed, and who eats the seed. If you get that reference, I want to be your friend.

We then paddled ashore a thin strip of beach that separated the mangroves from the gulf, did a little swimming to cool off, ate some cookies and cut up a pineapple that Rudolpho had brought along, and then paddled off to look for dolphins and watch the sunset.

We developed a pretty good rapport with Rudolpho, and I want to be him when I grow up. He lives in Costa Rica six months of the year and works as a tour guide. But the even sweeter part is that he married an Italian woman, so he spends the other six months on the year bartending in Italy making Mojitos. Me, I make spreadsheets six months out of the year, take a one week vacation, and then make spreadsheets the other six months of the year. But I digress.

I was practicing my Spanish with him and at one point he stopped paddling and looked at me and asked, “Where did you learn Spanish, from a book?” Well, I tried to learn it from watching my favorite game show Aprieta y Gana, but kept getting distracted by the cleavage. But that comment was even funnier after what happened when we got back to the shack…

I was in the shower area rinsing off for the ride home, while the Mrs. was getting the rest of our stuff together. She saw him quickly getting a backpack together and found out he was running late for class, and asked what class he was taking. He said he had to take it as part of his job and it was “to learn how to kill people in the water.” After noticing the confused/shocked look on the Mrs.’ face while telling him that’s probably not it, he then said “then how you say, bury people in the water?”

We both had to part ways before she could figure out exactly what class he was taking, but I’m just glad we didn’t book the tour for the following week.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Dreaded Dependent Eligibility Review

The company for which I work has entrusted me with a crucial mission – or at least with part of a crucial mission. My duty is to help maximize the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the company’s health care plans. I feel honored, empowered, determined and, frankly, pissed off and offended. Those human resources people can GO TO HELL!

I’m sorry. I was a little premature with the acrimony there. I hadn’t even gotten to the point of my story before I went off like a boozed-up, gassy hag in a sparsely populated bingo tent. The thing is, I already thought I was helping maximize the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the health care plans. Over the past fifteen years or so, I’ve helped out by agreeing to pay larger, much larger, monthly premiums, while receiving less coverage and enduring greater deductibles and out-of-pocket maximum expenses. How much more could I contribute? They should be efficient out the ass by now. One would think.

My effort hasn’t been enough. Not only do I spend so much on monthly premiums that I can’t afford to use the insurance because I have no money left to pay for what is not covered, which is everything except catching exotic microbial diseases only found at the base of Hoover Dam during a stow storm, I now have to scrape away some of my dignity and give it to them, too.

The dignity scraping came to me in the mail in the form of the dreaded Dependent Eligibility Review form. They don’t believe that my two wonderful children are real. Or if they are real, they certainly don’t deserve coverage because I am a scoundrel and have been lying about their eligibility for the past sixteen years. Obviously, they think my kids must be figments of my imagination because I am too much of a loser to get anybody to have sex with me. That may be true now, but it wasn’t sixteen years ago. And, they think I’m using the benefits for my two fake children to support an underground network of sickly vaudevillians who cannot get insurance because the vaudevillian union is run by a dead magician who is an expert at illusions of life. Look, his eye is twitching. Maybe that’s a cockroach fluttering under his skin. The point is, they think I am a lying son of a bitch.

They did not specifically state these accusations. Instead, and I’m paraphrasing here, --- wait a minute. I’d like to take a moment to discuss the use of paraphrasing in writing. I’m not aware of any punctuation that has been assigned strictly to notating a paraphrase. Quotation marks are used for direct quotes, but what of the lowly paraphrase? Just in case there are no paraphrase marks (unless I’m just too undereducated to know any better), I would like to invent one. Here it is - :~. It is a combination of a colon and a tilde. I chose this combination of symbols because it resembles Alice the Goon from the Popeye the Sailor cartoons.

Most people don’t know this, but Alice the Goon was the first animated character to ever be paraphrased in print. It was in an essay about Goon headwear in a 1930’s issue of The New Yorker magazine. They had to paraphrase her since she did not speak in a language with words. Here’s to you, Alice the Goon! Now that we have paraphrase marks, or for short, pphrase (pronounced “pee-frahz”) marks, there is no need to set up attempts at paraphrasing with obsolete phrases such as, “and I’m paraphrasing here…” or “to paraphrase a blotchy foreigner…”. We will simply use the pphrase marks. Of course, when opening the paraphrase, you’ll use the right facing Alice the Goon (:~) and when closing the paraphrase, you’ll use the left facing Alice the Goon (~:). Like I said, they did not specifically state these accusations. Instead, they said, :~ maybe some employees FORGOT to update their dependent information when those dependents became ineligible ~: and :~ removing these forgotten, we’re sure it was just an oversight, ineligible dependents from the plan will make the benefits more affordable for me, the pissed-on employee ~: (fuck, these pphrase marks are a pain in the ass to type). I’m sure this is all being done to protect me, and the company doesn’t think I’m lying and that this has nothing to do with maximizing profits. This is great news. Because of this undertaking my monthly premiums should be cut in half next year, and I’ll finally be able to get that elbow transplant (I want to get an elbow transplanted onto my coccyx).

When I received the first notice of the Dependent Eligibility Review, I thought it was a joke – some bogus campaign dreamed up by a young upstart HR VP intent on taking an escalator up the corporate ladder. So, I threw it in the garbage. It turned out this upstart was not joking. They sent me another one threatening to revoke my monthly premium paying privileges. I can’t lose that. It’s all I have to brag about to the fellas at the pub. I agreed to send them the requested evidence of my dependents: birth certificates, samples of all bodily fluids from each child, any pictures of them taken at Chuck E. Cheese's, tire marks from a righteous skid on their bikes, three years worth of bowling scores, a hand written promise from each of them that they will not kill me in my sleep (so that the monthly premium payment stream does not dry up), and a video of each of their conceptions (although they can’t tell it is me in those videos since I was wearing an Ernie from Sesame Street mask during the boy’s conception and a welder’s mask during the girl’s conception).

I’m glad I could step up to the challenge set forth by my human resources department. As George Blansey once said, :~ The term “human resources” is just another way of saying “keep the landing gear halfway down and don’t hide under the treetops” ~: I don’t think I paraphrased that properly. It sounded much more appropriate when he said it. Maybe I should have quoted him, instead.

Pura Vida, Part IV

Conclusion: Any activity with “board” in its name is going to involve some level of discomfort.


1. Water Boarding – I’m still not really clear on how this works, but apparently it’s so mean that we’re not even supposed to do it to terrorists. I will however endorse it for use on bratty children.

2. Snowboarding – I tried this a couple years ago. Really. Search the archives because I’m too lazy to look it up for you. Come on, show some initiative. Anyway, it was a lot of fun once I got the hang of it, but it had a very steep learning curve and the first two days were the most painful days of my life since giving birth.

3. Skateboarding – I’ve seen enough youtube videos to determine that this can be a very painful activity, particularly when you land on your testicles.

4. Board Exams – I’ve seen people get so intense in studying for these that you could shatter them with a flick of your finger.

Despite this knowledge, we decided to take some surfing lessons while in Costa Rica. After a briefing on the beach covering the basics – paddle, turn around, wait for a tasty wave, and stand up – we hit the water. Actually there was a specific position to lay on the board and three steps to standing up, but it still wasn’t bunion surgery.

I paddled out, got a push off onto a manageable wave, precisely followed the three steps, and was standing up my first time. I got a little cocky and started playing air guitar to the surf music in my head and was quickly rewarded with a wipeout just short of the shoreline. I was a natural. This was clearly the greatest sport ever and I would make plans to move to Hawaii to join the senior professional surfing circuit and spend my off days giving surf lessons to fabulous babes on vacation.

Then I had to paddle out again. And again. And again. I’d spend about 10 minutes paddling and then fighting the current to get to our instructor to get a push off, at which point I was so tired that the simple three steps to standing up now looked more like an arthritic octogenarian trying to get out of bed without the assistance of his Craftmatic adjustable bed. Quickly followed by plunge into the water, getting hit by the next wave, swallowing a pint of ocean, and then using any remaining energy to climb back on the board for the next round. It was still fun, but with diminishing returns such that when he said it was the last time I didn’t argue.

I paddled out for my last ride and then watched him follow GiGi, the 17 year-old girl in our group, all the way in, clearly forgetting about me and leaving me like a stranded toddler on a swingset waiting for a push. Timing the waves on my own was not nearly as easy and I spent most of the time just paddling my way back in. If this had been a scuba trip, I’m pretty sure I would have just been eaten by sharks.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Meat Joy

Wow. If Sam the Butcher were still alive, he’d have been proud of me yesterday. If you think Sam is a mob hitman and don’t know that he was the one shagging Alice the Housekeeper from The Brady Bunch, then I don’t think I want to know you. Hey, remember when Greg was working for Sam at the butcher shop and he and Bobby got trapped in the meat locker? That was one tense situation. But I digress.

So I’m walking to work and I realize I have a coupon for a free Southern Fried Chicken Lovin’ It Biscuit from McDonald’s that expires that day. Free. So I have to use it. Now I normally drink my 900 calorie breakfast shake every morning, so a mere Southern Fried Chicken Lovin’ It Biscuit might not cut it alone. So I tack on a Sausage Burrito to the order.

Chicken – check
Pork Sausage – check

We had dinner last Saturday night at some Argentinean joint with the Cojones and after filling up on the empanadas I ended up with leftover skirt steak which I brought to work for lunch yesterday. But when I got to work I found that I had half of a bacon cheeseburger leftover from lunch on Friday after I had filled up on cole slaw and fries. So I polished off the burger around mid-morning and stunk up the office with my skirt steak and grilled onions for the noon hour.

Steak – check
Ground Beef – check

Now the Mrs. was on call last night, meaning she goes in at 7:30 a.m. and works through the following morning. She doesn’t even have the courtesy to come home in between and make me dinner. Now she did leave me some leftover shrimp and vegetables, but… The Taste of Chicago is in progress this week. A fifteen minute walk from work and I’m surrounded by 150 tents all tempting me with little cardboard trays of deliciousness. Nevermind that I gorged myself there the previous day. You see, I was with the Mrs. so we didn’t quite make it to the booths serving real down-home animal flesh. Sure we had some good vegetarian tamales, chicken pot stickers, pad thai, beignets, gazpacho, sweet potato hashbrowns, tiramisu gelato, fried plantains, cumin dusted fries with chutney, and some sautéed goat, but other than the goat it was a pretty tame menu. Last night I had to sneak back on my own to satisfy my carnivorous desires.

First stop – Robinson’s for some baby back baby back baby back ribs that would put Chili’s to shame. Next stop, a BBQ Buffalo Burger. I can see why we killed all of them when we took the country over from the Native Americans – they’re delicious! Buffalo, that is. I’ve never eaten a Native American. That wouldn’t be nice. Finally, I topped it all off with the Italian Breaded Steak Sandwich.

Pork Ribs – check
Buffalo – check
Steak (reprise) – check

I then walked over to a bike shop to purchase a couple tubes for my bike. You see, I just invented this thing called the wheel, and I had a flat to fix. After eating some more meat today, I just might see if I can build a fire.