Thursday, June 30, 2005

I Have a Confession

I have a demitasse collection. I have joked before that I am the only heterosexual male in the country with one, and while this is almost certainly not literally true we can't be a large group (Googling heterosexual male demitasse collector reveals nothing).

The collection started with a few cups I inherited from my family. Over the years I have added a few more, but their ranks have swelled principally due to the kindness of my friends and family. Now I have somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty.

They sit on the plate shelf running around our dining room. After dinner parties, guests choose their own cup for coffee. Each cup is different, and it's always interesting to see what people choose. Some choose big cups. Some choose small. Some choose floral, Victorian confections, others minimalist Japanese thimbles. Someone frequently chooses the Will Rogers Memorial cup.

They're beautiful, and I refuse to be ashamed any more. I'm demitasse-loud and demitasse-proud! I am a demitasse collector. Hear me roar!

Victor Olivier

Chef's Surprise

When I was a kid, my mom packed my lunch. They were generally good, healthy, and utterly respectable. There were, however, two notable exceptions:
  1. A banana-mayonnaise sandwich: My mom and I don't see eye-to-eye on this one, but in my book it's a decidedly funky combo. I didn't bother to examine it before digging in, and the first bite was quite a shock. Sorry, Mom.
  2. A syringe: No, my mom is not a junkie. We raised sheep, and regularly bought syringes from the farm co-op for administering their meds. She was being thrifty, reusing one of the co-op bags, and the last syringe had simply been overlooked. Nonetheless, it caused some alarm and confusion when I discovered it at school sitting in the midst of my classmates.

What's the strangest thing you ever got in your lunch?


Following up on last week's trip, another one of the remarkable sights was this:

Read about it, if you wish.

I had never seen a tornado in my life. Now, I've seen two waterspouts in the past year.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Smash the System! Up with Sperm!

When I was sixteen I rather clumsily tried on punk for size. Since I didn't actually know any punks my principal source of information was the local punk 'zine which I picked up at the record store. This was the heyday of veggie-punk, and tirades against vivisection were a common theme. Unfortunately, my sixteen year-old brain had vivisection and vasectomies slightly confused. While the subject of vasectomies made me squirm in my seat a bit, it struck me as a personal decision, and I couldn't quite understand why it elicited such vitriol from my would-be peers.

It's all much clearer now.


There's a word on my mind right now. The word is:
It means:
mildly sick
not quite sick but not quite well
I don't know if I'm spelling it correctly or even if it has a proper spelling (Google reveals nothing). I picked it up from my aunt, and I'm guessing she learned it from Ga-ga, their housekeeper-nanny-cook back in the day. I'm also guessing that the etymology is African. Annou, any corrections or additions?

It's on my mind right now, because I am kagu right now. Oh, joy. Flowers and bon-bons are welcome.


Annou has three pieces of information to relate:
  1. She would spell the word "cagou" though she can't be sure.
  2. She expects that its origin is not African but French or Spanish. It was widely used by white Creoles.
  3. Ga's description should include the term "saint", because, as she says, "that was the most conspicuous thing about her".

Whistlin' June

My 16 month old daugter can whistle. What does that mean? She started doing it accidentally but now does it on purpose. She's not whistling Tchaikovsky, but it's the real thing nonetheless. And it's even funnier than you think.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Lesbian Urine Porno

I love the internet even more than before. Someone in Brazil was looking for lesbian urine porno and wound up here.

Well, why not? First of all there's the porno neighbors story which also happens to mention our former bedroom that "reeked of wolf urine". And then there's the Miles Davis story with his oh-so-classy "sounds too much like 'lesbian'" quote.

So clearly we were exactly what the individual was looking for. I hope he or she had a nice visit, and I'm glad we could be of service.

My First Memory

My first memory is from when I was 9 months old, and I can prove it.

When I was young we traveled a lot (father in academics). I was born in Australia and lived there the first two years of my life. When I was 9 months old we traveled back to the States for a visit. On the way, we stopped in Kenya (academicish-researchish stuff). Later, when I was old enough to speak I told my parents I remembered our visit to Kenya. Understandably, they didn't believe me.

The memory is very simple. I'm in the back seat of a car. We're pulling into a some sort of parking lot or gas station. I'm looking up out of the window, and I see a tower, perhaps a clock tower, superimposed against the sky. That's it. Just the image and a general sense of where we were. When I eventually told this to my parents they naturally assumed I was just constructing the "memory" from things I had heard them say. My vindication came later.

When I was four we moved to Kenya for a year (more academicish-researchish stuff). One day as we were driving through Nairobi I spotted the tower next to the gas station and eagerly declared that was it. Surprised, they confirmed that we had, in fact, been there during our visit almost four years earlier. Case closed.

I suspect memories from infancy are more common than we realize. They're just hard to identify as such unless there happens to be some sort of clear identifier indicating when they happened, as was the case with mine.

What is your first memory?

Maps I Would Like to See

I like maps. Here are two I would like to see:

The Crack-Baggy Map:
A color-coded, block-by-block map of my city indicating the average number of crack-baggies seen on the sidewalk when making one full circuit of the block. Some neighborhoods would have zero, some hotspots would be littered with them, and large portions of the city would be somewhere in between.

The Fat / Skinny / Rich / Poor Map:
A world map dividing the world into regions where obesity is a sign of wealth and where obesity is a sign of poverty.*

What maps would you like to see?

* This is not unlike a very funny New Yorker cartoon from a few years ago. It was a map of the United States. The entire country was labeled "Too Fat" with the exception of two tiny specks, New York and Los Angeles, which were labeled "Too Skinny".

Monday, June 27, 2005

Horse / Bird / Muffin

A classmate of mine in college introduced me to the Horse / Bird / Muffin system of facial categorization. The system merely states that all faces are some combination of the three elements:
  1. Horse
  2. Bird *
  3. Muffin **
I'm a lot of horse with a little bit of bird. What are you?

* There are both the "small bird" and "bird of prey" varieties of birdishness, but let's not get too fancy yet.

** Telling someone that they have a lot of "muffin" can get a little touchy because people often interpret it as meaning they look fat. It doesn't.

Shocking Exposé! Shirt Lady Revealed!

I mean, um, the contents of her shirt revealed... I mean, um, er, no... oh, you know what I mean! The drunk monkey awoke, and the results are in. What did her shirt say?

I talk to microwaves.
So there you have it. She talks to microwaves. Need a visual?

Life is grand, ain't it?

But you know, there is a dark side to this whole affair. While we're here chuckling at our desks, somewhere out there is a child for whom this is their grandmother. Think about that for a second.


Ok. Now we can start laughing again. And speaking of laughing, you all once again came up with oodles of excellent answers. We got a number of very good takes on the "crazy" theme. There was also an entire category of response, the "titty" joke, which simply hadn't occurred to me (why, I don't know - this is exactly the sort of joke my lewd inner twelve year-old loves).

Now, I don't like to play favorites, and you're all winners (in as much as there are any winners since you all technically got it wrong and are therefore actually all losers), but I do feel the need to mention a couple of my personal favorites. First,

The Award for the Answer Which Most Strongly Appealed to My Lewd Inner Twelve Year-Old:

"Got Milk?" by Wes.
[clap clap clap] Well done! Well done!

and The Award for the Most Accurate (in my Not Particularly Valuable Opinion):

"Medications Have Not Diminished My Sense of Humor" by R J Keefe
[clap clap clap clap] Bravo! Speech! Speech! Speech!

Ok. You can expect your medals for Supreme Slimbological Sleuthiness to arrive in the mail within 6-8 weeks.

Now, if you're anticipating some insightful analysis as to why this is what her shirt said, I apologize because I have none. Do you?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Victor Olivier

Circus Demographics

I took Louise to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus yesterday (enjoyable enough though not, actually, the greatest show on earth). I was struck by the fact that the large majority of performers and employees were Hispanic. This was not the case the case when I saw it the better part of three decades ago.

Why is this? I generally think of the traditional circus as a dying art form. Are circuses still thriving in Latin America? Is it the principal recruiting ground of new talent? Is there some other reason? I don't know. Do you?

Friday, June 24, 2005

24-Hour "Service"

On a recent evening I realized that I was out of tofu for the next morning's breakfast smoothie (yes, yes, I know - how very "earthy" of me - but anyway). It was nine o'clock at night and I was almost certain that the little neighborhood health food store, Eve's Market, was closed, but I decided to call them just in case:
"Uh... hi. Is this Eve's?"
"What are your hours?"
"24 hours."
"24 hours?"
"So you're open now?"
"Thank you."
I hung up and paused to ponder this strange piece information. I tried to imagine them selling organic vegetables to the neighborhood crack-heads at three in the morning but just couldn't picture it. Finally, I decided to double check the phone book and make sure I had called the right number. I hadn't. Who had I called?
Eve's Escort Service
Ah! It all makes sense now. The guy on the other end of the line probably thought the conversation was as strange as I did.

Pink and Grey

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Nature or Nurture?

Ahh! The sights and sounds of South Beach, rich, colorful, and diverse, an international potpourri of excitement and culture - and an abundant source of bloggy-fodder. Oh, and speaking of "abundant", this was one of the sights we saw:

Damn! Sometimes there's such a thing as too much ass! It was exceptional, eliciting lots of covert gawking from Sarah and myself. The butt was not just big. It was startlingly large when compared to the woman’s otherwise petite frame, and it jutted out to the sides in the most remarkable way.

It also sparked the following debate. Is it natural or man made? In other words, is it simply the far upper end of the natural-butt-bell-curve or did the woman have butt implants?* I argued for the former. Sarah adamantly insisted on the latter.

The arguments essentially break down as follows, each starting from the same facts but arriving at directly opposite conclusions.

My argument:
The butt is so exceptionally disproportionate that no one would voluntarily choose it, and, therefore, it must be natural.
Sarah’s argument:
The butt is so exceptionally disproportionate that nature could not possibly produce it, and, therefore, it must be implants.
We still haven’t arrived at a conclusion, and I can think of no other criteria to help break this stalemate. Suggestions?

* In her argument, Sarah is referencing one of my own pet bits of trivia. Several years ago I read an article about plastic surgery trends in South America which said that the most common procedures in Brazil are butt implants and breast reductions, the exact inverse of the United States. I’ve mentioned it on various occasions, and now she’s turning it against me. Damn ungrateful factoids!

Two Things I've Recently Learned From Fox News

  1. There is a young woman missing in Aruba.
  2. There is, apparently, absolutely nothing else happening in the world.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Pop Quiz #2: South Beach Edition

Last time was fun so let's do it again. While on South Beach I saw this woman:

She was a sight to behold: giant visor, big funky sunglasses, a thong (I should mention that she was definitely, er, past her thong-wearing prime), and finally... the shirt. While the entire package was noteworthy, the shirt pushed it over the top. It was an old, threadbare, white, cut-off t-shirt (under which she was wearing nothing else). Most importantly, she had customized the shirt by scrawling a large message on the front in black marker. So here's your question:
What did her shirt say?
I'll give you a hint. It wasn't a giant question mark. I'll give you another hint. Her schtick was, "I'm wacky and crazy."

As always, there are many wrong answers, and yours will almost certainly be wrong, but if there's one thing you should have learned by now it's that here at Slimbolala we don't give a rat's ass for the truth. So knock yourselves out, and may the best Slimbologist win. Tests will be graded by my pet drunken monkey (he was cheaper than a TA) and will be returned promptly whenever he feels like it.

Good luck.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Black and White

My submission to Illustration Friday.


Traveling with small children is fraught with perils, and it's not just the children that cause the trouble (although they certainly contribute their share of difficulties). It's also the huge amount of crap you have to travel with: car seats, strollers, port-a-cribs, etc., and as far as I know there's absolutely no way to get kids and their associated stuff from point A to point B without at least some degree of trauma. We're old pros at this by now, but that doesn't mean we're immune from frantic lapses, frustrations, and blunders.

Allow me to describe our first fifteen minutes at the airport:

We arrive at the airport parking lot and learn that there are no spaces available. After a wait, room is made. When we arrive at the spot, we discover that it is the smallest parking space ever, and even our little Geo will just barely fit. We squeeze in and manage to load all of our passengers and most of our luggage into the shuttle bus. When I go to get the car seats, though, I discover that I can’t open the doors enough to remove them. So I squeeze back into the car and hurriedly backed out of the spot, almost hitting the bus. Finally, I get the car seats unloaded, car re-parked, and the car seats and myself onto the bus, and off we go.

Two minutes later, Sarah, surveying our mound of luggage, gasps, "We forgot the stroller!" I jump up and tell the driver that we need to go back. Hopping off the bus, I frantically try to unlock the trunk of a car that looks very much like ours and is parked very close to ours but is not, in fact, our car. Sarah leans out the door of the bus and yells, "It’s over there!" I dash over to our actual car and successfully unlock its trunk only to discover that it’s completely empty, not a stroller in sight.

Meanwhile, back on the bus, a very nice, considerably less frantic lady has informed Sarah that, "If you’re looking for your stroller, it’s right there behind your other bags". With embarrassment, Sarah relays this information to me, and I get back on the bus trying as hard as possible to not feel like a complete idiot. Really though, the other passengers were all very nice. They were other families who had undoubtedly experienced their own versions of Traveling-With-Small-Children-Hell and were familiar with its profound ability to turn reasonably smart people into idiots. So our cool was lost, but our stroller was found, and away we went.

It wouldn't be fair to say that this episode was indicative of the entire trip. On the contrary, there were many very pleasant moments. Nonetheless, it's nice to be home.

Hola, Muchachos!

The next installment in my Fire Hydrants from Around the World series.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Adiós, Muchachos

Things will be quiet around here the next few days while the gang and I zip down to Miami Beach to visit family. Man! We're gonna be living la vida loca, dancing all night, sipping mojitos all day, and, of course, engaging in the occasional high speed boat chase to nab a villainous drug lord or two. It's going to be great!

Actually, we'll mainly just be slathering sun screen on our fair-skinned wee ones to make sure they don't burn to a crisp, but that's OK. Don't worry, though. I will find a moment to drink a Café Cubano in your honor. And make sure to tune back in next week for more of the same old nonsense.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go buy some spray-on tan and a new man-thong.

Scary Orange Clown Barrista

The lady who just served me my coffee was very tan, but (shhh!) I think it might have been fake. There were two clues:
  1. She wasn't so much "tan" as "vivid orange".
  2. Her "tan" only extended to the perimeter of her face leaving her ears, neck, and extremities completely and utterly white.
What do you think? Maybe she has a hooded swimsuit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Our Worst Neighbors Ever

Sarah and I have lived in many different places over the years, and we've had many different neighbors, some very weird, some very bad. Today I'm going to tell you about our worst neighbors ever.

This couple lived in the house next to our old residence on South Johnson (the apartment had problems too - the bedroom reeked of wolf urine - but that’s a different story), and they were terrible. Why were they so bad? Well, there were numerous reasons. They were deeply paranoid, racist, lazy, and stupid, and they shot our cat in the eye with a b.b. gun, but there was one particular trait that overshadowed all others. They made porn in their living room.

Many of you are immediately thinking, "Eeww!" You don't need much convincing. Some of you, however, are thinking, "Dude! Porno neighbors? That sounds awesome. How could that possibly be bad?" For those of you in the latter category, allow me to disillusion you. Even if porno neighbors might, in theory, be your cup of tea, let me explain that this was not high-grade porn with beautiful people making beautiful love. This was bargain basement porn and the participants were dour, desperate, flabby, pasty, unhealthy people with yellow, nicotine-stained teeth (although I suppose their audience wasn't really paying attention to their teeth). So scrap your fantasy scenario right away (unless, perhaps, this is your fantasy scenario, in which case you’re a very strange person, but I can give you the landlord’s phone number).

And they always left their blinds open (they had hopes of luring us into their glamorous lifestyle – "oh, so nice of you to ask, but I think we’re going to pass on this one"). Our houses were about four feet apart so they were impossible to ignore. We, consequently, made a concerted effort to close our own blinds once the sun went down and porn-o’clock arrived. There were, however, occasional lapses.

My mom was visiting from Virginia. We had picked her up from the airport during the afternoon and grabbed a bite to eat. By the time we arrived at home it was nighttime. Our lights were off. Our blinds were open. We walked in the front door and, boom, there was the lady, feet up on the desk, legs splayed, and on their computer screen was her "bizness" in all of its much-larger-than-life, gynecological glory. "Welcome to our house, Mom! Heh, heh." Eesh!

So how did we finally resolve this problem? The answer is simple. Humiliation (unintentional but effective). We were having a dinner party one evening. As we were all sitting around the table eating and chatting, whup, there go the neighbors getting naked and going at it. I’m not sure if their timing was merely coincidental or if they were putting on a show specifically for our benefit, but if it was intentional the results were certainly not what they had hoped for. After a moment of stunned gawking, everyone at the table simultaneously burst out laughing. Realizing this, the neighbors huffily marched over to their window and lowered the blinds. From that day on, the blinds stayed down.

Who was your worst neighbor?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My Name Is Slim D and I Beat Dead Horses

I've joked on occasion that I have Tourettes, but it is only half a joke (and probably not very funny if you actually do have Tourettes). I do, in fact, have a bit of a compulsive streak that induces me to occasionally blurt out little, personal catch phrases at the prompting of various triggers. It's only distantly related to true Tourettes (perhaps a third cousin twice removed). I don't do it in socially inappropriate scenarios. I don't have to do it if I choose not to. Basically, I only do it around Sarah. But it is real. If the circumstances are right, and I'm not thinking about it, out they come. As Sarah will attest, it can be kind of annoying.

Let me illustrate with an example:

One of the local hip-hop stations used to have a nightly segment called The Nine O'Clock Props with Wild Wayne in which local aspiring rappers would call in to show off their skills. Wild Wayne always started:
"It' the Nine O'Clock Props with your man, Wild Wayne.
You're on the radio. Tell me what's your name. "
The caller would then respond with their rap, always making sure to shout out their neighborhood, often followed by a lot of bragging about gun-slinging and blunt-smoking. I was obsessed with it for a while and made up my own entirely bogus response (although I certainly never called it in):
"My name is Slim D calling from Marrero.
Step in my 'hood and you better beware. Oh,
Watch out! I concoct the glock!
Mess with me and you're gonna get shocked-shocked-shocked-shocked [fake echo fadeout]"
My little rap amused me, if no one else, and I repeated it frequently (again, mainly to Sarah). After sufficient repetition it escalated to "tic" status, and, now, many years later, every time I hear mention of Marrero I reflexively start into it. These days, though, I rarely actually get to say it because, at the mention of Marrero, Sarah has learned to reflexively (and her reflexes are quite good) say, "Stop!", and I do, in fact, stop. See. I can learn. Sort of.

Of course, this is just one example. There are oodles of others, most of which I'm not even aware of, but I can recall a few:

"I see.""'I see', said the blind man, but he didn't see at all."unknown

"Martin""Mart-ANZZ" The TV show, Martin

"the Ritz""Puttin' on the RITZZZZ!" Young Frankenstein

"Calliope""cal-EEE-OPE! Magnolia! Magnolia!" A song by bounce rapper DJ Jubilee

"microphone""Microphone check, 1, 2, what is it? The Phife's gettin' down with the roughneck bizness. Float like gravity. Never had a cavity..." A song by A Tribe Called Quest

"Puerto Rico" or "Haiti""I like 'em brown and yellow, Puerto Rican and Haitian. My name is Phife Dog from the Zulu nation." Another song by A Tribe Called Quest*

"Cockney""'Ello. 'Ow are 'ou?" Christopher Guest's bogus Cockney accent from Waiting for Guffman

"hookah""C'est l'ennui ! - l'œil chargé d'un pleur involontaire, / Il rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka. / Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat, / Hypocrite lecteur, - mon semblable, - mon frère !" Baudelaire's "Au Lecteur", Les Fleurs du Mal
So I like to repeat these dumb little phrases, but my interest in beating dead horses doesn't stop there. I will hum little snippets of songs ad nauseum. I often derive pleasure from jokes long after everyone else is groaning and rolling their eyes. Sometimes you may catch me doing some dead-horse-beating right here on this very blog. But if you do, please, please, don't laugh. Don't mock. Don't ridicule. Just look the other way and pretend you don't know me. It's the kind thing to do.

And give your condolences to Sarah.

* Obviously, rap is a fertile source of tics for me. The number of rap-based tics is disproportionately large compared to the amount of time I actually spend listening to it.

Thieving Bastards

Once again, if you happen to be a New Yorker cartoons/illustrations enthusiast/dork you'll find this* interesting. If you aren't, you won't.

* I knew that Cartoon Caption Contest was rigged. It's the only possible explanation for why I haven't won yet. I'm the most beautiful Cartoon Caption Creator in the whole wide world! Me! Meee! [sob]

Monday, June 13, 2005

Shocking Exposé! Pop Quiz Revealed!

You, kind readers, were recently asked to guess what kind of vehicle this guy was driving when I saw him:

And you came through like gangbusters with oodles of excellent answers. I've been enjoying the answers and so much that I'm almost sad to bring the party to an end with boring old facts. The truth, though, must be told. So what was he driving?

A beat-up, little, nineteen-ninety-sumthin' Geo hatchback*. Color? Metallic Dung.
There you go. Enlightened? Ecstatic? Disappointed? Enraged? I know. I know. It's a lot to cope with. Just let it all out. You can cry if you want to. We're here for you.

Now, let's do a little post-mortem. First, I'll break down the responses into three principal categories:

The Truck: This was a popular and very reasonable answer. It's probably what I would have guessed.

The Seventies Cool-Guy-Mobile: The El Camino and the van fall into this category. Again, very reasonable guesses.

Miscellaneous: The Morgan/Bentley/Jaguar, the dirt bike, the bug, and the red Subaru Outback. I liked imagining him in each of these little scenarios. The perversity of him driving a Bentley was quite pleasing ("Yeah, I got a real good deal on it, but gettin' parts is a bitch."), and I think the dirt bike might just be my absolute favorite (zipping down the street, hair blowing, mustache rippling, bright orange cigarette burning an inch a second - ooh, I wish it was a dirtbike!)
But it was a Geo hatchback. Why? We can never truly know the inner workings of another human being (and this is, I suppose, particularly true if you've only seen them for 2 seconds going down the road at 35 mph), but, screw it, that shouldn't stop us from subjecting him to our bogus pseudo-science. So, what do I think? I think the real answer is that this guy just can't be bothered with anything else.

A truck, at least in theory, implies that the driver occasionally does some form of manual labor, and, having had a look at this guy, I don't think he does any kind of manual labor. Being outside and sweating are not his thing. And a van or El Camino (even a beat-to-hell, old van or El Camino) might imply that he is trying to maintain a certain sense of style (even a beat-to-hell, old sense of style) and that he holds some hope of actually scoring with chicks. This guy looked like he could barely manage getting from point A to point B. Anything beyond that would be just too much to handle.

When you strip away these extraneous criteria, what's left?
  1. Let it be dirt cheap.
  2. Let it have a functioning cigarette lighter.
And what fits the bill? Ta da! A nineteen-ninety-sumthin', Mettallic Dung Geo hatchback.

So there you go. Order is restored. Life makes sense. Q.E.D.

Satisfying, ain't it?

* A close cousin of our own ninety-ninety-sumthin' Geo.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Johnny Cash

Questions Louise has recently asked after listening (obsessively) to Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison:
"Mama, what's 'busted'?"

"What's a judge?"

"What's cocaine?"
All in good time, my dear. All in good time.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Talk About Service!

Get it? Get it?

I'm Comfortable With This... Really!

At the playground, recently, a young boy told Louise that he liked her shoes and would like a pair of his own. They were little white slippers with bows on them. This caused his mother to laugh nervously and explain to him that they were girls' shoes.

She laughed even more nervously when he asked Louise if they came in pink.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Pop Quiz

Pop quiz! Books closed and in your bag. Write your name in the upper right corner. Ok. What kind of vehicle was this guy driving when I saw him yesterday?

This is not a trick question. Be as general or as specific as you like. For extra credit, guess the color.

And remember, there are no wrong answers. Well, actually, there are lots of wrong answers, and yours will probably be wrong. But at least you will get an A for effort. Not that that's really worth crap.

Good luck.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mean Geeks

Generally speaking, I like Geeks. I should. I spend enough time around them (while I am not a true geek, I have geeky tendencies and often find myself in geeky company). Most geeks are smart, funny, and interesting. They just happen to have a few social quirks and are obsessively devoted to specific realms of knowledge that nobody else really cares about.*

There is, however, one category of Geek that I distinctly dislike, the Mean Geek:

These are geeks who have gone to the Dark Side. Hurt and angered by years of social isolation, they have grown bitter and hateful of others, seeking solace in their superior knowledge of some specific little corner of Geekdom. When dealing with others who don't share their interest or expertise, they are haughty and disdainful.

I was thinking about Mean Geeks I know or have known. A couple of examples sprang to mind:
Henry P. (Mean Math Geek): A college classmate who was insufferably rude to other, less mathematically inclined students. In truth, though, his skills weren't quite as awe-inspiring as he thought (I have to confess, I used to derive great pleasure from giving him mathematical smack-downs when the opportunity occurred).

Senor Poopyhands** (Mean Computer Geek): A coworker with a perpetual "I-smell-something-bad"*** expression on his face. He's fond of saying things like, "Do I really need to explain to you the difference between a WAR and a JAR file?", and "Ugh! They don't even know if they're running 9i or 10g!"
There are certainly plenty of others. Any good examples from the public sphere?

What? You say I'm the one who's truly being mean? They're really just broken little children, and need a hug? You're right. I'm sorry. I'm such a jerk. Ok. Big geeky group hug!

Um... you go first. And I'm not hugging Senor Poopyhands.

* I use the term geek broadly. There are, of course, the classic categories such as Math Geek and Computer Geek, but there are also Music Geeks, Political Geeks, etc.

** Not his real name (oh, really?). This is my personal nickname for him based on his personal hygiene habits, or lack thereof.

*** Maybe it's his hands.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yes / No

Witness a moment in the life of our beloved Zack, Star Dork, font of ol'-timey aphorisms, and nouveau Bruiser extroardinaire:

Photo courtesy of Slimboperative "Ana"

Looks peaceful, doesn't he? Lazy-ass drummers. At least he did call me back.

The People Project

I'm collecting people. I used to collect real people, but that caused trouble with the law ("It put's the Tabasco on its body"), so now I'm just collecting drawings of people in my little notebook, which is much simpler. Here's a bunch of them:
Click on a person to see them all big-like.

I'm not particularly concerned with getting an exact likenesses, just the general look with all their quirky little details. Also, I wasn't trying to be humorous, but, for whatever reason, they make me laugh anyway. People are just funny.

If I'm not feeling lazy, I'll post more in the future.

Fizz or Fizzle?

Well, Beth's challenger, the Gin Fizz*, wrenched victory from the dying hands of Turkey Pot Pie in Round 4. Will there be a Round 5? Any challengers?

* I haven't made one yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so. At the very least I got a couple of good drink recipes out of this whole thing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Failure of Doodie

Yesterday we got sent home early because the entire city of New Orleans lost water pressure (what a town). The official reason was fire safety. Without water pressure, the sprinklers don't work. But really, the more immediate concern was what happens when 1200 employees are denied access to functioning bathrooms.

I suppose there's always this option.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bruisers, Circle Bar, Thursday, June 9

My band,the Bruisers, is playing this Thursday at the Circle Bar (for the first time after a long hiatus). We start at 10-ish-ish sharp. If garage-honky-tonk-sumthin'-sumthin' is your cup of tea, and you live in the Greater New Orleans Metro Area, come on by. Or if you live elsewhere but have some sort of brain injury that causes you to make rash, impulsive decisions and you want to just buy a ticket and fly in for the show, that's cool too.

See you there.


Billy gave me another present recently, this beautiful old electric ice crusher (he both shares and enables my obsession with old things). False modesty aside, my Old Fashioneds used to be good, but now they're perfect. Mmm. And I can't wait to make some Mint Juleps.

Thanks again, Billy.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Foxtrots and Fandangos

I've been listening to old 78s recently. I inherited a stack of them several years ago but didn't have anything to play them on until my friend, Billy, gave me a portable record player with a 78 setting. If the faithful reproduction of sound is the only criteria by which you judge them then they sound terrible, but if you judge them more broadly I think they're quite lovely. They pop and hiss as the record spins ("like rain" as my friend, Jason, says). The sound is small and far away, as if you're hearing the sound from across many years. Every three minutes or so the record must be flipped or changed, certainly inconvenient, put a pleasant way to spend an occasional quiet hour.

And the music is so nice. Much of it is from the Twenties. Some is from the Thirties and Forties. Some is opera, but most is popular dance music from the era: Foxtrots, Waltzes, etc. (I love how the label always says what type of dance it is so people will know what to do). Some feature vocals. Much of it is instrumental. It's easy and melodious in a way that most music made today isn't.

I won't be throwing away my CDs, but for certain moments the 78s are just the thing. Thanks, Billy.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Doodie Calls

Does the name really make you want to use their product?


My contribution to Photo Friday (subject: "Rare")

Friday, June 03, 2005

Three Gals

Two Gals

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

We recently feared that we had bed bugs. We don't. The pets merely had a nasty case of fleas (they can be awful here in the summer) and have been duly dipped and doped, eradicating the problem. Now that we know we won't be labeled with scarlet BBs and run out of town, the subject is ripe for mockery. During the unfortunate episode I did some reading and am passing along a few highlights.

I'm not wild about bed bugs. Is this normal:
Of all the pests mankind has had to endure over time, bed bugs might very well be the most hated and disgusting. Unlike the flea or mosquito which feed for a very short amount of time, the bed bug tends to suck blood for 3-5 minutes and in some cases over 15 minutes during it's meals. This in of itself makes people queasy when thinking about bed bugs possibly feeding on them but when combined with the fact that bed bugs are nocturnal and only take advantage of us when we are most vulnerable - asleep - bed bugs evoke a feeling of gross hatred.
I can't argue with that. And how do they reproduce?
The female lays her eggs with a gluelike secretion which enables her to fasten them ecurely in concealed areas where they will remain protected and steadfast until they hatch. Females will be able to lay eggs following blood meals and with good luck will be able to lay several hundred eggs over her life.
Lucky, indeed! But how can I be sure that they're really bedbugs?
Large infestations will acquire a "buggy" smell which has been described as something obnoxiously sweet. Some people have likened it to raspberries but at this time it has not been determined if the odor is from the conditions of the home, the blood excrement from the bed bugs having fed or from scent glands on the bed bugs themselves. Having been in many homes with active infestations, the author is able to determine when he enters a structure which has bed bug activity. However, just what causes the odor is still not clear.
I see (I'm guessing it's the scent glands, because my own blood excrement never smells like rasberries). And what, kind author, do you have to say in conclusion?
At this time the author believes he has done a good job explaining what you need to know about bed bugs to help determine whether or not you have an active infestation. Some of you reading this already know you have them and are anxious to learn how to control infestations. Others are not quite sure at this point so more work and inspections may be needed. Some of you are simply fascinated by this pest and are reading simply for information.
You have done an excellent job. And while I was specifically concerned with learning how to control infestations, I'll make sure to pass this along to all of my vermin-enthusiast friends.

I've learned so much. In a way I'm almost sad we don't have them.


I'm stealing a story from Sarah:*

Sarah studied drama at an arts high school in Miami. Once she and several classmates were attending a thespian conference in Tampa. It happened that Miles Davis was playing in town and was staying in the same hotel. One day, Sarah and her friends were riding in the hotel elevator when Miles (looking utterly freakish) and his entourage entered. He turned to Sarah's friend, Carla**, and rasped, "What're you all kids here for?". Carla responded, "We're here for a thespian conference." Miles hissed back, "Don't say 'thespian'. Sounds too much like 'lesbian'." They obeyed.

* This is legal under the Blogging Bylaws' "Bloggers may steal stories from non-blogging spouses, family, friends, and associates" provision.

** The prettiest and also the only black girl in the group, who later became a Miami Dolphins cheerleader.

Dirty White Man

I've got another story about a different celebrity who called our neck of the woods home:

One evening I was watching a Burned-Out-Middle-Aged-Hippie / Ol' Time String Music / Calypso band play (yes, it's possible) at Miller's, my high school hangout. Between songs the singer announced, "I'd like to introduce a special guest, 'The Dirty White Man'". One of the band members went to the back of the bar and slowly led Sam Shepherd, blind-drunk and incapable of walking by himself, up to the stage. They situated him behind the bongos and then played. He was very good.*

* I later learned that S.S. had been a drummer in his early years, including a stint with the weirdo sixties band, The Holy Modal Rounders (their song, "If You Want To Be A Bird", was on the Easy Rider soundtrack). Still, in the state he was in it was remarkable that he could do anything other than pass out and drool.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Float Like a Butterfly

The part of central Virginia where I grew up was home to several retired celebrities. Among them was Mohammad Ali. He had a farm in Nelson County, not far from ours, and although I never saw him in person, I did hear the following story about him, related to me by a supposed eyewitness to the events:

Mohammad Ali was visiting a local school. While he was talking to the children (about what I don't know - this was well into his brain damaged years) he slowly levitated up a couple of inches off the ground and remained floating for the duration of his talk. When he was done he slowly floated back to the ground. The witness swore this was true. She swore that not only had she seen it but numerous other people had seen it, and they all agreed on exactly what happened.

The story also had an associated theory explaining how this was possible. The theory? Mohammad Ali was so brain damaged that he was no longer aware of the laws of physics and was, therefore, no longer constrained by them.

Do you have any weird celebrity stories?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

"Have a Blessed Day"

The cashier at our corner drug store concludes each transaction with the sentence, "Have a blessed day." She says this in a dead-flat monotone with absolutely no conviction. What does that mean?

Coffee Conundra

Sometimes, when I am most desperately in need of coffee, I am too groggy to effectively make coffee.* This is a Coffee Conundrum. There are many possible scenarios. I've:
  • put the grounds in without a filter.
  • forgotten to grind the beans.
  • poured cold water over the grounds (we have an old-fashioned thingy where you pour the boiling water over the grounds yourself).
  • forgotten to put water in the electric coffee maker.
  • forgotten to put grounds in the electric coffee maker.
  • knocked over the freshly brewed coffee (this is particularly traumatic).
  • knocked over the grounds before brewing the coffee (this is really awful because cleaining up coffee grounds is miserable at any time, but it is exceptionally miserable when one is undercaffeinated).
  • successfully brewed the coffee but then lost it before having a chance to drink it (I did this just this past weekend - I finally found the coffee the next day in the microwave).
Are there others?

* I've reduced the frequency of this scenario by brewing a cup of coffee each night, placing it on my bedside table, and then drinking it in the morning before I get out of bed. There are days, however, when even this is not a sufficient remedy.

Midnight Crazy Child

"Can you turn on the light so I can make sure my hands are the same color?"


"Yes, they are."