Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Run (from the) Forest, Run

I hope that I shall never (again) see,
anything quite so ridiculous
as me,
falling from a tree
A writing peer of mine from my past once posted a flowery, moving epistle about her personal thing for the beauty of trees. It was so eloquent and poignant, it almost made one want to go out and hug the nearest tree.
Fortunately, I'm still bearing a grudge, and resisted the urge. More on that in a mo'.
Now, as a youth of boundless energy at times, possessed of a lack of knowledge of and appreciation for the laws of Nature and gravity, I didn't initally look at a tree and see something to be either hugged or despised. I simply saw a new horizon. An opportunity to exercise my imagination. And my arms.
If the tree could bear my weight, I'd climb it. I made like a cat and ascended any tree I could. Unlike a cat, I didn't get stuck in them. I was more like a squirrel, cavorting in them. Unlike a squirrel, I didn't seek nuts in them.
I was there.
I have climbed trees for fun, imagination, solitude, height, camouflage (useful at chore time), and for food, in the case of apple, mulberry, cherry and plum trees. Add to those, my conquests of maples, oak, birch, aspen, pine, weeping willow and cottonwood trees. I would have climbed a sequoia when confronted with a forest of them, but had neither the time or reach to do so.
On the other branch, I also saw the downside of trees: trees were fair-weather friends, shedding their leaves so I could no longer use them to hide in at chore time. And the splendor of autumn colors was less splendiferous when it all had to be raked up.
Stupid trees.
Then came adulthood, and I learned other aspects of and issues with trees: issues environmental, economic and political. I was astounded to learn that trees had rights, activists and lawyers, oh my.
But it wasn't until later in adulthood that I considered giving a tree a hug. And it had nothing to do with anything akin to a sappy emotional attachment.
I was falling out of it.
And no, the point isn't that I shouldn't have been in the tree in the first place; I had a perfectly legitimate reason for being where I was, before I wound up where I did. I was gathering firewood.
Oh, shut up.
The campsite was bereft of available wood for the fire. And each tree in the camp had been stripped of branches, up to 10-15' off the ground. But above that, dry and useable fuel for to make with a good campfire -- and roasting good things thereon -- was to be had, by anyone willing to go forth and gather the fruits of the labor.
And challenge the laws of gravity and strength of the branch stubs. I was.
While two of my female friends watched and alternated between "you're gonna fall!" and "just give me the keys and I'll go BUY some firewood" -- rank heresy -- I went up one tree, then another, and garnered a fair collection of wood for the evening's bounty, using my gifts of balance and arm strength, along with a handy hatchet. With success in two trees, I pushed the envelope and elevation in the third, and was just whacking down an excellent specimen about 15' up, when payment for the laws of Nature and gravity came due.
A branch stub protested my applied weight, gave way, and I came down the tree like it was a fireman's pole.
I'm here to tell you, it wasn't built like a fireman's pole.
After my hand was cleaned up and bandaged, I reluctantly surrendered my keys, and the balance of the firewood for the night and next day was...oh, the agony...purchased.
At any rate, nowadays I have no problem standing amongst the splendor of trees. But hugging one? Puh-lease. Not when one humiliated me, seconds ahead of vindication.
Still bearing a grudge. And scars.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009


The Brits have a unique sense of humor. They elect people almost as stupidly funny as we do.
But first, a word about our sponsored scammer.
I was notified via email -- addressed to 'Undisclosed Recipients', meaning anyone with an email address and a pulse -- that I had received a "cash disbursement" of $360,000, the first payment of which was awaiting me at Western Union, (widda tracking # an' ever'thang!).
Usefully gullible (needed to be a scambaiter), I responded with a typically boring reply: No f***ing sh**?? Whoa, dude, you da total f***ing bomb! I'm off to Western Union!!!
That got back an almost immediate reply, letting me know that I had to authenticate myself, and pay a fee *TOING* to start collecting my regular Western Union payments until my allotted $360k was disbursed to me. The fee -- 220 pound sterling -- had to be paid before the first Western Union transfer could be collected.
Story of my life.
My pet rock, Seymour, is sitting off to the side, snidely quoting a favorite movie of mine, "Always widda negative waves, Moriarty...always widda negative waves!" I might have to cut off his DVD watching, but I digress.
What I found interesting about the second and revealing email, was the following passage: the money was sent to you as a result of the G-20 Leaders' Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy that was held in London on 2 April 2009 at the ExCeL Centre. It followed the first G-20 Leaders Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy, which was held in Washington on 14-15 November 2008. After some additionally droll gobbledygook, it got to the rat killing: you were sent a payout of USD 7,500 according to instructions from the HM Treasury, in full Her Majesty's Treasure UK, and at the direction of the British Prime Minister, Mr. James Gordon Brown.
So, the PM of the UK...hisself, Mr. James Gordon Brown..HEY...oops, not THAT James Brown...decreed that I, lil' ol' me, should get, from HM Treasury, $360k, to help in the current global economic malaise.
Dang. Must be due to my ancestral heritage, earlier referenced in this h'yar blog, eh?
Well, I thought it unusual, to say the least. But not one to look a gift ass in the horse, I reckoned perhaps a short 'thank ye' email to Hisself would be in order. Even if the esteemed and sauteed PM, Mr. James HEY Gordon Brown just recently implored the EU to sign the new climate change treaty within 50 days, "or it would be too late".
So I chose to deferentially mix a thank you with a polite WTbloodyF? into an email to Number 10 Downing Street (sent 10/19/09):
Esteemd Prime Minister,
First, I want to express to you my totally surprised but grateful thanks for having designated me a recipient of a drop in the bucket from Her Majesty's Treasury, UK, in the amount of $360,000 USD, at the recent G-20 in London, UK, back in April of this year. I have done every bit as much to deserve this as our president did to get his Nobel-Sysco award, and I can promise you, I will endeavor to continue to do just as I did, since it seems to be working, though danged if I know how. But I'm a lowly former colonial, and it isn't important that I know the 'how'.
But I also did wish to ask you, at the same time -- with, of course, all due respect to a head of state of a long-running empire like the UK, and one to which I am bound by blood and heritage -- WTbloodyF are you doing, aligning yourself with that bloomin' Yankee wanker, Al Gore, in the global warming/climate change fraud and swindle? One of your own, Sir Christopher Monckton, seems to have a firm grasp of the situation, but you side with the bloated colonial buffoon that travels the world, seeking to stamp out carbon-generated man-bear-pig*? What kind of a bloody cock up is that? Respectfully asked, of course.
I mean, with all due respect, Mr. PM, what is this "50 days or else" nonsense? What's the point? Everyone KNOWS we're all balls up on 12/21/12, 'cuz the Mayan Calendar says so.
So eat beans and bangers, and let fly all the carbon and methane one can. Again, respectfully, of course.
I'll send you a copy of the letter I expect from the HRC State Department, regarding my failure of decorum and diplomatic niceities, once it's delivered by broom.
And how many of YOU are 'undisclosed recipients' like me?
* the global warming-created creature that AlGore pursues in a couple of rather amusing episodes of South Park...

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kitchen Con Carnage

Don' know about you, but I get some of the funniest things in email. They're even funnier when a 'worst case' scenario is avoided.
As you've read herein, I am a culinary clusterf*** in the kitchen, bar none. I am the one and only Chef Boy-R-Deestructive: I've killed my share of curds, and in more wheys than most could believe possible.
*ducking boos and throwd kitchen implements*
Personally, I don't see it as a curse; I see it as a gift. One I give sparingly, and only to those who really cross me, but I digress.
At any rate, one might imagine my high level of amusement, when I received the following email from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute:
A career in a growing industry can be your best move in times of economic uncertainty. Our Le Cordon Bleu program at Scottsdale Culinary Institute can help you start a whole new career as an Executive Chef. Earn an Associate Degree in as little as 15 months. Whether it's classical French or modern techniques, the professional chefs at SCI can help you learn with expert, hands-on training in supportive classes.
We offer job placement assistance services and financial aid is available for those who qualify. You'll enjoy SCI's sunny, outdoor lifestyle in the popular resort destination of Scottsdale, Arizona. For the right training and the right experience in the right career, you need the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Contact us for more information.
*bwhahahaha...yer killin' me h'yar...stop it, stop it...*
It would have been so simple to just hit *delete*. But before I could, that "get me in trouble" *TOING* echoed in the vast void between my ears. So I clicked on the link and filled out their application, with tongue buried firmly in cheek. And just in case they didn't catch that's where my tongue was firmly rooted, in the final Comments section, I let them off the hook by writing thus:
Ladies, gentlemen, Wolfgang and Pucks all: I am most gratified that you would choose me for this opportunity. However, I suspect that your spam email program -- see what I just did there? -- has thrown you a faux cordon kaBleu-ee, by contacting yours truly. I am the WMD of the Western Campfire. I am the antipasto of the kitchenary Holy Grail. Smoke alarms burn out in my presence. But it's not too late...you can put down this application, slowly back away, genuflecting with a spatula and crossed bacon tongs. Do NOT allow the culinary equivalent of Pearl Harbor to launch a surprise attack on your pristine destination resort facilities. This has been my official, "Last Chance For Humanity before the Artichoke Apocalypse" disclaimer.
I reckoned that'd take care of things. *Buzzer*
Over the next five days, I received two follow-up emails and two voice messages on my phone (the only implement in my kitchen that I can't use to create a dietary E.L.E.*), urging me to expedite my application process.
Not only did they apparently not read my comments; it was terrwubwy obvious that they don' know me vewy well, either. Maybe I should have sent them my boboli punkin pie con carnage column, instead?
So before they could dispatch a squad of Swedish chefs from The Muppet Show to collect me, I responded to their last, insistent-I-reply email:
Chefs and Chefettes,
First, kudos to your persistence. Second, two thumbs down to your application screeners, who may actually work for a competing culinary school. You might want to look into that after we finish here.
As I said in the original application, I am, quite probably, the anti-chef of cookbook prophecy. I am a culinary tsunami. An F-5 spagetti tornado. The EPA considers me a potential source of domestic WMD. A starving dog won't eat my scraps. Ground beef will reconstitute into a cow, stampeding at my approach. Frozen poultry will fly to get away. I burn water. To a crisp. But not before the Iron Chef rusts at the sweat he breaks out into, at the mere rumor of my approach.
I replied to your application because I initially considered it a prank from my professional chef nephew, who knows well my contraproclivities in the kitchenary environment. I am many things -- including deadly with a salad shooter and unspeakable with a juicer -- but one thing I'm not is a serious applicant for your establishment.
I don't want to be the last class you'll ever be able to have.
My esteemed and sauteed sirs/ma'ams, I am not a serious applicant. Your facility is not me-rated for disaster recovery. It is a crime for me to hold so much as a spatula.
Besides...if I went on to somehow beat odds even Vegas won't take, my local Chinese delivery folks would be forced onto egg foo yung stamps, if I went south to wreak con carnage on your facility.
Again, it's not too late: you can forget you ever saw my application, back away slowly, and leave the disposal of this toxic application to the folks at HAZAPP. Save your kitchens for future culinarians. Heck, Rachel Ray and/or the French might even name a tart for you.
Ciao (no pun intended...well okay, so it was).
And it appears to have worked: the emails and phone messages from SCI have stopped. The world has been made safe from cordon kableu-ee.
* Extinction Level Event

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Around The World In 80 Seconds

And that's about how long it took, once CNN and other networks got ahold of it.
I was at work when this story broke. I was blissfully unaware of it, until an employee -- almost tearfully -- told me about it. My first thought at the time, and very typical of my poker-faced self was, "if true, this kid's got morons for parents". The employee was not very happy with my comment, being a very-concerned parent herself.
That's okay; first instincts are oft-times the most accurate. Besides, my pet rock Seymour will tell you all about my paternal instincts, and seeming lack thereof, another time.
The whole "connected" world knows the story of "Balloon Boy": a claim by a "distraught" parent that his 6 year old got aboard his experimental weather/commuting balloon (pictured here, looking like a runaway Pillsbury DOHboy's hat), and got carried away in the winds toward...wherever the balloon was meandering (S/SE, as it worked out). A vehicle and aerial pursuit of the drift-away balloon by news, law enforcement and even National Guard resources...a vague report of "something falling from the balloon"...the balloon coming down about 55 miles from point of launch, only to be found empty...back to the previous report, and a massive search begun about half-way between launch and touchdown...and five hours later, a report that "Balloon Boy" was home and safe, after hiding in the attic for 5 hours.
A happy ending, right?
*Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzer* *Klaxons* *Lost in Space Robot shouting WARNING...WARNING...Suspension of Disbelief Necessary!*
Turns out, my first instinct was correct: Balloon Boy has real morons for parents. And self-interested scheming ones, too. It becomes more and more (unap)parent (see what I just did there?) that this was a stunt, hopefully intended to become a "launch" of a new TV show, an idea for which may have been shopped weeks, even months, in advance, by parents who'd done a couple of episodes on a so-called "reality" TV show and wanted more attention of the s(h)ame.
Rumor* has it that additional 'special effects', meant to enhance the drama of the balloon sequence, didn't quite come off. For example, an RC** squirreladactyl was supposed to begin attacking the balloon in flight, but the tail kept fouling the aft-mounted propeller, and it squirrelakazed a Fox 31 News van near Platteville, possibly at the behest of Anita Dunn and David Axelrod, but I digress.
At any rate, the Famdamily Heaney was seeking more in the way of publicity like that from Wife Swap, but wound up with the wrong kind: the authorities are lining up charges on the moronic portion of Famdamily Heaney. And search/rescue bills that have reached, and may surpass, $100,000. Add to that the legal bills, since Richard, the 'brainchild' of this stunt, has retained a local legal famehawg as his attorney. And eventually, the potential fines for conviction of any of the pending charges, which may reach $500,000.
But one aspect of the mission was accomplished: world-wide 15 minutes of fame for Falcon Heaney. He reacted by throwing up on one morning news show. Okay, so he's six and new at this. With parents like this, he'll get the hang of it.
On the other hand...the Famdamily Heaney may be in even bigger trouble than they know. After all, their "15 minutes" -- which ain't over -- eclipsed race fraudster Al Sharpton, the prez, Bela Pelosi, the Taliban, Al Qaida, AlGore, and Keith Olbermann's post-rectal drip (aka, his daily rant) in the 'news' cycle.
There'll be hell to pay for that.
Or a future MSNBC fraudumentary.
For me, the balloon had the single biggest, best, and most accurate line about the whole saga up to now, as it descended from suspended disbelief:
* unsubstantiated by the Fox 31 vehicle occupants, who were immediately set upon by black-suited, sunglass-wearing men from a black helicopter, and were forced to watch Keith Olbermann on a video, berating Fox, while the black helicopterians snatched the remnants of the squirreladactyl away to parts unknown...that from an anonymous source, allegedly on medication for a Bob Gibbs impediment...
** remote controlled

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Who Let The Dogs Out

From the website archives...

*the cats demand to know...*

In a previous column, cats ruled. Now, from the more care-free, "let's play" side, an equally important perspective from our canine friends*. And thanks to an article in the March 1999 issue of Reader's Digest, I've found an interesting angle to approach it from: your dog and it's IQ.

Someone once suggested in a prayer -- which I'm paraphrasing -- that he "hoped to be half the person his dog thought he was". While to cats, this strongly suggests that dogs aren't the brightest bulb in the package, it does suggest that dogs have compassion and feelings for their human hosts, if not downright pity in some cases.

Cats treat "pity" as a distinctly human weakness, and one easily capitalized on.

But how do you determine how smart your dog is? Oh sure, there's the tricks you've taught them, or the things they'll demonstrated instinctively. Well, thanks to an IQ test devised by Melissa Miller (The Dog IQ Test, copyright 1993, published by Penguin Books), you can determine a general sense of just how smart your canine is. Miller wrote "dogs are blessed with a well-developed brain, superb physical senses and a knack for learning". While cats will scoff and fake coughing up a hairball at hearing that line, Miller's abbreviated 12 question test in the RD article is alleged to give a dog owner a general sense of just how sharp their dog might be. Granted, Miller adds "this is not a scientific intelligence test, and results should not be used for any personal decisions about your dog!".

So much for getting stock tips from my sister's soccer-playing mutt, Merlin, but I digress. But in avoiding one bad idea, I came up widda worse one: I could adapt Miller's IQ test just a wee tad, to give pet owners a very general sense about the intelligence of dogs...with 'tudes.

Thus, using seven 'tweaked' questions from Miller's original test, I added a few she didn't consider**, and adapted the possible answers to fit a more free-wheeling, brazen breed of cur:

1. With your dog watching, pretend to reach for a snack and eat it. Your dog:

A: gives you that 'what a bonehead' look and bites you

B: immediately grabs and performs the Heimlich Maneuver on you, getting really pissed when it discovers you've duped it

C: rolls its eyes, grabs the cell phone and orders pizza

2. If your dog is near a door and hears a strange noise outside, its first reaction is to:

A: turn on every light in the house, blare the stereo and call 911

B: throw the cat out the dog door to go "check it out"

C: ignore it and turn up the TV

3. If you decide to stop playing with your dog but it still wants to play how will it let you know?

A: by peeing on your shoe

B: by grabbing you by the collar and growling, "not yet, pal!"

C: by breathing a sigh of relief, and resuming it's game of Mortal Kombat on your Sony Play Station

4. If your dog needed water but there was none in its bowl, it would:

A: patiently wait for you to notice the empty bowl flying through the air at your head

B: leave a note in place of your Scotch, letting you know that if you want to see your Glen Livet again, time to make with the full water dish

C: kick the bowl at your feet, grab the cell phone, and speed dial the ASPCA

5. When walking your dog on a leash, you come to a busy road. Would your dog:

A: try and snag a hubcap, taking you with it?

B: remember that cheap dog food you brought home last week, and try leg-whipping you into traffic?

C: hold up a large sign that says "I'm with Stupid"?

6. If you were in the kitchen and began to unwrap food in earshot of the dog, it would:

A: knock you down in a rush to check it out

B: give you what it considers "fair" time to share, then pee on everything in the kitchen until you get the "hint"

C: ignore you, having already ordered pizza on the cell phone

7. How does your dog behave when caught doing something wrong?

A: gives you a "go ahead...make my day" look, while poised over the cell phone

B: gives you a regretful look while pointing at the cat

C: denies any involvement, and blames conservatives

8. The family is gathered around the TV when suddenly, your dog has a flatulent episode. How does it react:

A: it stifles a laugh, knowing the comfy chair will soon be available

B: it glares at the dominant adult male present, figuring on a blame shift

C: it leaves the room without fanfare, to avoid the stampede it knows is coming

9. Your dog recognizes the automobile trip you're taking it on will end with a visit to the vet. Your dog:

A: wrestles you for control of the steering wheel

B: has already sedated and disguised the cat, and is back home, laughing

C: doesn't mind at all, 'cuz it loves the attention from that young babe of a vet's assistant

10. You show up one day with a new family pet (puppy, kitten, Komodo dragon, etc). You dog:

A: establishes the ground rules instantly by slamming your and the new pet's heads together for emphasis after the "how it works" lecture

B: grabs the cell phone and consults the ACLU*** on its rights in this

C: rolls its eyes, sighs, and resumes playing "Chase Kitty into Cactus" on the Play Station, chalking it up to just another of your passing fads

As for scoring the results of this IQ test, it's really quite simple: if you dog gets away with two or more of any of the above, you shouldn't wonder why your cat doesn't respect you.

* Disclaimer: the blogger was not compensated for this effort; the cases of Milk Bones, Gravy Train and Gaines Burgers were sent back to avoid potential conflict of interest charges from the feline version of the ACLU (American Cat Liberties Union). Cash would have been another matter...

** probably wisely

*** American Canine Liberties Union...

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Accidental Bureaubrat

My ticket to Heckydarnpoo is already punched, so I might as well enhance the seating arrangement, whenever the chance avails.
I am infamous at my local grocery store. Not only as the one that got "knighted" by a disorderly conduit pipe at Customer Service (only to ask the manager if he was going to call the paramedics...for the conduit), but also as the regular, "patient customer" (LOL) with the off-the-wall sense of humor.
One bagger -- I'll refer to her as "J" -- learned this of me the very first time she threw me that standard line expected of all clerks to ask of all customers: "did you find everything okay?". I shook my left leg and indicated that I hadn't broken anything, though I might have strained my left lower oblique posterior muscle while reaching for the pickles.
While it drew a smirk from the checker, from "J" it got my first of many-since *eye rolls*.
In the years since I've frequented the place, "J" has nicknamed me "Trouble", and usually throws me a "what...YOU again?" look whenever she sees me. But a few months ago, "J" broke her usual routine (asking questions like "do you need help out?", and rolling her eyes when I'd respond with "I'm beyond help, thanks"), and asked me what it was I did for a living.
For once, I responded with a straight answer, which I think surprised her; for once, her eyes didn't automatically go into *roll* mode.
Maybe that was where her comprehension broke down; my being straight, when being a wiseacre was SOP, was more than she could adjust to. That has to be it, because from that time on, she got it in her head that I worked for the nearby Colorado State Parks Department.
Perhaps I resembled someone from there. Or perhaps all the Parks Department employees are smart arses. Whatever the case, whenever I'd enter the store thereafter, if she saw me, she'd glance at her watch and quip "they let you out this early?", or "who let you out of your cubicle over there?", and "isn't there a park where you need to go do something with?".
And, of course, the signature *eye roll*.
I corrected her the first time, reminding her what I'd told her I did and where, but it didn't seem to take: she continued to lump me in with the folks at the Parks Department. From that point, after hearing one of her usual quips in my direction, I'd just shrug and mutter something about "oh, you know us petty government bureaucrats", get my anticipated *eye roll*, and go on about grocifying.
After about a month of her believing thus, she one day asked me what it was I did for the Parks Department.
Instead of her patented *eye roll*, I heard that tell-tale *TOING* in my own head that suggested I was about to enhance my seating on the train to Heckydarnpoo. And thus, instead of trying to correct her once more, I decided to take the ball and run widdit. The following is a paraphrased recap of the conversation:
Me: I work in the Ecological Equity Analysis and Reclamation Office.
Her: *raised eyebrow*...What do they do?
Me: Well, we see to the evaluation of the ecological balance of the parks in the state. My area of responsibility is here in Lakewood.
Her: But what do you do?
Me *in my best full of crap mode*: I go to each park and evaluate the ecological balance of plants, animals, insects and other ecosystems therein, and where I find an imbalance, I take steps to remediate it.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: Well, let's say that the population of robins in one park exceeds the food sources standards established by the Federal Bureau of Resources. I trap the excess robins, and move them to a park with a lesser population, and greater food supply.
Her: *eye roll*...nooooooo, you're not serious...
Me *in my best fauxsincerity* I am quite serious. You have no idea how difficult it is to keep the parks in Lakewood so pristine and balanced.
Her: Uh...I don't...you don't really relocate birds, do you?
Me *time to reel her in*: Yep, I sure do. Or plants, animals, even insects, if necessary. We have a stinkbug problem in Green Mountain Park, just up the hill here...
Her: *look of astonishment*...a what? You..you can't be serious...are you?
Me: Well, it's not a glamorous or well-publicized job, but it's your tax dollars at work, and someone has to do it...
Her: Wow...
I am so going to Heckydarnpoo for leaving her thinking I was serious. So before I left, I stopped over at Customer Service, and told the clerk there what I'd done. She laughed her butt off.
But I think she blew my story; on my next visit to the store, I got me a crusty look from "J", and a sarcastic "move any stinkbugs lately?".
I told her, with my patented straight face, that I'd be starting that in September.
*Eye roll*

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Silver Lining

There's always tomorrow...
There's coming out -- or it's just out -- a movie about the pending "end of days", prophesized to be coming on or about December 21, 2012. The "transformative events" to the more hopeful, and the "end of days" to the more liberal *wink*, is anticipated on or about that date, thanks to the existence of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, or Mayan calendar, that analysts, scholars, Yoda and others have long analyzed and argued over, as being the finale for life as we might know it on this h'yar orb.
Granted, a growing number of voices are mocking and dismissing the alarmists who run about in chicken suits, holding "the End is Near!" signs at football games, collapsed bridges and plumber conventions. Scientists roundly denounce the alleged prophecy from the aforementioned calendar as "pseudoscience".
How many of them tossed their credibility away by signing onto AlGore's human-caused climate change fraud, is not revealed.
But not only scientists are mocking the 2012 Mayan calendar prophesy; so are researchers of Mayanist history and culture. More on that later.
In a very brief, imprecise precis, the Mayan calendar was designed to run, more or less, 5, 125 years. As best can be determined, that calendar began around 3114 BC, and is therefore slated to turn it's last page on or about December 21, 2012. At which time -- and here you can pick from your personal choice of twits, dorks and/or flakes -- the world will experience a "transformative era", whatever that means. Or, it will experience an "end of days" apocalypse.
For some, that could mean something as traumatic as the cancellation of any future seasons of American Idol. But I digress.
There's a bunch of technological, astronomical and spiritual references to various theories which run the gamut from "galactic alignment" and "timewave zero and the I Ching", to things like "geomagnetic reversal", a collision with the planet Nibiru, blackhole alignment, or possibly even the return of discoesque polyester leisure suits.
Anyway you look at it, like the build-up ahead of Y2K and before the kind of letdown that Geraldo's TV flop on the opening of Al Capone's vaults was, it won't be long before we know if the ancient Mayans were prescient, or just among the first with a sense of humor and eye toward very long-running pranks.
Speaking for me, I have little choice or affect on what comes on or about 12/21/12, assuming I'm still waking up each morning by then. If Uranus finally launches that long-anticipated counterattack -- because of what we named them -- or I wake up that morning and have won Powerball, and the transformative era begins with a 100% tax rate reduction, it's six, one-half dozen the other in my book, though I'd choose the latter, if I may be so mean-spiritedly- conservative bold.
Meantime, I plod on, knowing that whatever the future holds, it isn't prone to bluff with a pair of 2s. Life goes on, until the expiration date on the box is reached.
But that'd be a boring way to end this boring blog entry. So:
I choose to seek a silver lining, in the event the doomsayers prove to be righter than they personally really want to be (aka, the "be careful what you wish for" philosophy). Thus, the Some 10 Things to Consider IF the Mayan calendar doomsayers prove to be right:
10. Retailers will hold pre-post-Christmas sales early in '12, with the greatest bargains you'll never see again. Don't bother saving receipts.
9. If you turn 50 in 2013, no colonoscopy to worry about next year.
8. You can parody the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne, into something like I Go Bang 'n Resign, and sing it with gusto, even if you can't carry a tune in a bucket, like me.
7. For those who are NOT enamored of the current president, no second term!
6. We won't have to "celebrate" the 100th anniversary of personal income tax!
5. If you've been stockpiling Doritos and dip for the great "End of Days" party, you is da bomb.
4. The hellthcare fraud..er..plan that is being jammed down our throats doesn't actually start until 2013...bwhahahahaha.
3. It will no longer matter to David Letterman's female staff what he did with his pants, let alone what was supposed to have been kept in them.
2. What's left of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews that anally morphs in the wake of the cataclysmic explosion, can bitch in perpetuity to the Uranians about Dubya; it's as likely that they, like most of us (look at their ratings), won't care.
1. And the single greatest silver lining about the potential "end of days" on December 21, 2012: we can collectively tell the IRS to go pound glass-infested sand and NOT file our 2012 1040s. Phfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft.
Now, THAT'S change we CAN believe in.
However...assuming that the nay-naysayers prove correct, and we all wake up on January 1, 2013, in the light of a new and unexpected future some of us hadn't reckoned on...eh. At least Seymour won't have to find a new home planet, and *bonk* some poor schlep on their multi-eyed haid, during landing.
And for those who so believed and prepared for the "End of Days" that aren't, and awaken unprepared for a future they weren't supposed to have to worry about, there's a piece of advice from one Mayan scholar to help them with their post this-isn't-supposed-to-be,-dammit depression: "go buy a new calendar, llama lips!"
Those Mayan scholars....what academic hoots.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The 2010 Nobel Winner Is...

My pet rock, Seymour!
Learning recently how little one need do to be nominated for -- let alone win -- a Nobel, made Seymour all excited and expectant. After all, Seymour has long been a proponent of peace.
Well yes, he's been a proponent of that kind of "piece" as well, now that Jane and he are officially "divorced", but I digress and that's for another time.
With the recent news of the further, uh, "easing" of standards applied to Nobel Peace Prize nominations and awards, it occurred to me that now was an excellent time to step up for 2010, and get as good a nominee before the Nomination Committee as possible. So after visiting their online site and obtaining an email address, I promptly dispatched the following to The Nobel Prize Committee:
Dear Nobels,
I was so moved by the continued easing of the standards in your nomination/winner selection process, that I finally must speak up and submit to you a nominee that, based on the standards of 2009, simply and logically MUST be your choice for the Peace Prize in 2010. A nominee that has made peace the very center of his entire existence. One who dreams of peace locally, regionally, nationally, globally, and even cosmically. And toward this dream, he labors as only he can, to make his dream a stellar reality in perpetuity.
From the days he learned of the true nature (and fate) of his brethren of the Persides Meteor Shower, my pet rock, Seymour, has been all about bringing divergent elements together in harmonious convergence and co-existant tranquillity. While folks flocked to the box office to watch Tea Leoni catch the ultimate wave in Deep Impact, Seymour took a harder, more far-reaching look at the relationship of Man and geology, and concluded that there simply must BE another way. After all, why should asteroids try to eradicate Man? Why should Man try to incinerate asteroids, especially with nuclear missiles? It's all about, in the words of the great philosopher of peace, Rodney King, "just getting along", isn't it?
Seymour actively seeks to protect space geology from being brutally savaged by the unforgiving upper atmosphere of Earth, and is working with the labs and other breeds at Bonco, UnInc., in designing the equivalent of an atmospheric "nerph" shield, one that will gently, harmlessly, allow errant asteroids to avoid the flaming finale of inadvertent contact; at the same time, Seymour seeks to protect a simple-minded cosmic leviathan wayfarer, peacefully meandering forever after in the ultimate nature's space walk, from being a victim of a NASA overkill. One that shatters asteroidal identities and integrity. One that tears geologic families asunder. Imagine the countless parental asteroids, floating by helplessly and witnessing their navigationally-challenged prodigies becoming searing, screaming fireballs in the atmosphere of a most unforgiving planet. Imagine the tears of anguish and the deep sense of loss experienced. All because their young 'roids aren't up to speed on the natural laws of Hawking, Einstein and AlGore.
Seymour will not rest until he has achieved peaceful co-existence here. On this, he is adamant.
Seymour is also working hard on the diplomatic front as well, since this is a particular element that you, the committee, so covets in lieu of actual results. Seymour is working not only to reverse a recent celestial wrong, one that cost a member our solar system their planetary status; but also to have officially redesignated, the planet located between Saturn and Neptune, so as to relieve not only that planet of the embarrassment of being named for an orifice, but also with an eye toward preventing a future cosmic war, and all of the associated failures that this would represent in the evolution of peace, when the planet of concern and it's aggrieved populace get word of what we have thoughtlessly called them all this time.
Granted, Seymour hasn't accomplished any of these ends as yet; but as your latest Nobel winner exemplifies, results aren't as important as lofty pronouncements and wispy sound bytes delivered via teleprompter. And I ask you, Nobel Peace Prize Committee, where can YOU, or ANYONE, find any pronouncements more lofty and noble (see what I just did there?), than those of my highlighted and very high-minded pet rock, Seymour?
I will, of course, welcome and be most gratified to receive your early affirmation to this nomination request. And I can assure you, Seymour will be most humbled and rededicated to the fulfillment of his diplomatic and peace-loving aspirations. It is, after all, clear that you value aspirations over measurable achievement in the 21st Century.
As soon as I receive the Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Committee's affirmative response to the greatest possible candidate for 2010, I will post it here. On this you may rest assured.
Yes, I know...there's a chance that Seymour will lose out to Osama bin Laden, or that peace-loving duet of Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez. If he does...I hope Norway likes asteroids. Seymour is rumored to have some connections.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Seymour Valli and the (taken) Four Granites

I think I might need the services of a rock whisperer. Or an ASCAP lawyer.
The other day as I came home from work, Seymour -- my ever-inquisitive pet rock -- had a box of my old audio cassette tapes scattered all over the floor.
When I asked what this was all about, Seymour insisted that he had created lyrics to a new song that he was sure would be a huge hit, and make Seymour a rock star.
"You're already a rock, Seymour. And you were a star at the Moooo! Bar in Japan".
"But that was then; this is now" Seymour insisted.
I asked Seymour that, if he'd just created a song, why all the cassettes scattered hither and yon; he said that he was just making sure no one had "pirated" his idea.
Seymour asked me to transcribe his new lyrics; I blew it off and, managing to avoid crushing scattered cassettes, packed up Seymour's mess and went on about my business, much to Seymour's annoyance.
Come Tuesday morning, I about tripped over Seymour as I headed for the coffee pot. Seymour had some song lyrics he wanted me to see. Don't ask me how he wrote 'em down. Don't ask me much about what this pet rock gets into, period. I just roll widdit.
As I examined the lyrics, fresh-brewed coffee described a parabola of spray across what's left of my kitchen. When I got done sputtering and snorting, Seymour had this, "what, WHAT?" look on his mug.
"Seymour, what you've written here is a parody".
"A what???"
"A parody. You've taken the lyrics of an already-written song, and made a parody of it".
"Did not!"
"Did too".
"Did not!"
We could have kept that up all day -- Seymour's more persistent than a 4 year old -- so I dug into the box of audio cassettes, and found exactly what I was looking for.
"Seymour, you parodied this song", and pointed it out to him on the cassette directory.
"Did not!"
"Seymour, this song was recorded and released in 1962. You just brought me these lyrics".
"I had that song in my head back before 1962...I just couldn't write the lyrics before then!".
I used to be engaged, so I know what an argument like this is like.
I could tell you the song that Seymour has obviously parodied (he's in the corner yelling, "did not!"), but once you read his lyrics, I think you'll recognize it instantly:
Big squirrels
*they don't fly*
Big squirrels
they don't fly
*just what...would make them try*
My squirrel,
My squirrel
was gonna fly
*good f***ing luck*
*Silly squirrel*
shame on you, your mama said
*Silly squirrel*
shame on you, you'll wind up half dead
*Silly squirrel*
shame on you, you'll rue the try
Big squirrels can't fly
Big squirrels
*a big sigh*
big squirrels
they don't fly
*flap your arms, and you'll see why*
(musical chorus, then)
*Stupid squirrel*
told you so, I told you to stop
*Stupid squirrel*
told you so, you just belly flopped
*Stupid squirrel*
told you so, but you hadda try
Big squirrels can't fly
Big squirrels
*they don't fly*
big squirrels
*dumbass..to even try*
Big squirrels
don't fly
Big squirrels
don't fly
Big squirrels
don't fly...
See the problem we have here? Seymour doesn't.
Weird Al Yankovic could probably get away with this. Not Seymour.
"Can too!"
Anyone want a pet rock wannabe star? I'll pay the shipping.
"Will not!"
Shut up, Seymour.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest

October 4, 2009 -- AAP, Washington DC
The Centers for Disease Control confirmed today, through unnamed sources, that yet another strain of influenza has surfaced in the current flu season. This new strain is reportedly exceptionally virulent, and has medical experts and the general public extremely concerned about containing it before it spreads beyond where it has already been identified to have taken hold.
Unnamed sources report that the strain -- dubbed HUA1, and nicknamed the "stupid flu" -- has reached pandumbic proportions in the Washington DC beltway, and is sweeping the halls of Congress and nearby media haunts with a strain renders those infected with symptoms that include delusion, chronic ineptness, laziness, arrogance and simpering incompetence. Worse, exposure to those so infected makes others sick, just seeing what they're doing while in session.
The CDC reports a vaccine is available, but it has been outlawed in the Beltway area -- common sense. Efforts are being made to slip in the serum, but it is being met with resistance from the White House and the leaders of Venezuela, Iran, Libya, NoKo, Berkeley and the Peoples' Repugnant of Massachusetts.
The CDC recommends a strict quarantine by the voters, to cumulate in throwing the lot of them out of Congress in November, 2010, so that the those august halls may be fumigated and purged of all possible re-infections of HUA1.
Unnamed sources also confirm that administration press secretary Baghdad Bob Gibbs is stricken with a particularly virulent case of HUA1, along with most of the operating staffs of CNN and MSNBC.
The CDC advises that the best way to avoid being infected with the HUA1 virus is to follow standard sanitation practices, avoid the DC Beltway during the current pandumbic, and avoid letting your daughters intern for David Letterman, at least until he finds and staples shut his pants.
This has been a public soivice announcement. You may return to your regular blogging.