Posts tagged ‘headlines’

Bathroom Break!

Dear Friend, Fond Relation, and Gentle Reader:  Welcome back!  I’ve been away a while. I’ve missed a few marks and notes; I missed commenting on my birthday.  Yes, I missed commenting on your birthday, also – sorry about that!

But I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the state of America’s underpants. We seem to have them twisted, bunched up, slightly damp, and certainly uncomfortable. We can’t stop talking about what’s in who’s pants and what we need to do about it – particularly in the bathroom.

So, in my capacity as the final arbiter of sanity, good taste, decency, and gender equality in this country, and speaking as a Real Man, I figured it was my civic duty to take a break from this semi-retirement and assist the country as it grapples with the deep, penetrating question of who should use which bathroom.  What could go wrong?

Without further ado, and in the interest of the complete objectivity for which I am known, I give you the answer to the Great American Bathroom Debate:

The men’s room is for Real Men.

It’s that simple. If you’re a Real Man, use the men’s room.  Now, I know that not everyone knows at a glance if someone is or isn’t a Real Man.  (Someone else, that is.  If you’re not a Real Man, you probably know that.  If you’re wondering whether or not you’re a Real Man, you’re not.  If you are a Real Man, the question just doesn’t occur to you.)

Just as a handy checklist, here are a few things that differentiate a Real Man:

  • A Real Man will ask what you need, not what he can do for you. There’s a difference.
  • A Real Man does not use the words “I promise” lightly.
  • A Real Man cries watching True Grit, but not at the part you’d expect.
  • A Real Man will have a 20-second imaginary conversation with his broker when a 3-yr-old child hands him a plastic phone and says, “It’s for you.” Even if he doesn’t have a broker.
    • This is a particularly American phenomenon:
    • An Real Italian Man will have an imaginary conversation with his mother.
    • A Real British Man will talk to an imaginary member of the aristocracy.
      • If he *is* a member of the aristocracy, he’ll talk to someone above him in station – a Baron will have received an imaginary call from an Earl, the Earl a call from a Duke, the Duke a call from the Queen.
        • It is unknown if the Queen has ever been handed a plastic phone by a 3-yr old, but I think it’s safe to assume she would answer it.  The Queen may or may not be a Real Man, but the Queen is a badass.  A very, very polite badass.
    • A Real Frenchman will have received an imaginary call from his cheese monger.
    • A Real Russian Man will pretend to listen to the phone in stony silence for 20 seconds, say “Nyet!” and hang up.
  • If he walks in and says, “I gotta take a piss,” he’s a Real Man.
  • If he walks in and says, “I gotta take a wicked piss,” he’s a Real Man from Boston.
  • If he walks in and says, “I gotta take a fuckin’ wicked piss,” he’s a Real Man from South Boston.
  • If he walks in and says, “I gotta take a fuckin’ wicked fuckin’ piss, get outta the way,” he’s a Southie and he’s drunk. You really don’t want to ask him about what’s in his pants, because he’s gonna fuckin’ show ya, ya chucklehead.
  • A Real Man is known for complete objectivity.
  • A Real Man walks in like he owns the place, regardless of where he is.
  • A Real Man is only interested in what’s in your pants if he’s hoping to get into them.

You can always tell a Real Man – he’s using the men’s room.  After all, it’s a guy thing.

You might notice that none of these things are affected by physiology, size or shape of genitalia, or sexual orientation. Those things don’t matter, any more than color or religious beliefs matter – not in the bathroom, and especially not to a Real Man.

So, if you’re in the men’s bathroom and you’re wondering if the person next to you is a Real Man, you’re the one in the wrong bathroom. Real Men don’t care.



Fly, Be Free!

12 August, 2014 | | No Comment

Robin Williams has said “Fuck it” for the last time. 

I was all of 9 years old when Mork and Mindy hit the television.  Along with much of the rest of America, I practiced sitting on my head, drinking through my thumb, and answering questions with a cheery “Nanoo Nanoo!”  He was the funniest person I’d ever seen, and I wanted to be like him.

By the time I got to college, I’d been introduced to George Carlin, Billy Crystal, and a dozen more – and Robin Williams was still the funniest person I’d ever seen.  His stand up routines and shows were so far out there, and yet still so close to the heart.  He made us laugh until we cried, and then made us laugh until we thought. 

Last night, we watched Good Morning Vietnam, as a memorial.  The kids lacked the context of the Vietnam War era, but it otherwise stood up well.  (“Da-Nang me, Da-Nang me, why don’t you get a rope and hang me?”) 

There are so many:  The Fisher King.  Patch Adams.  Good Will Hunting – which we would have watched, but no one was streaming it and I don’t – yet – have a copy.  Aladdin – and it became real for the Reigning Queen of Pink when I explained that Adrian Cronauer was also the Genie from Aladdin, and he was dead. 

One of my many, many favorite scenes was actually from Mork and Mindy.  He’s just made Mindy a sandwich, trying to cheer her up and make her feel better, and he turns to offer her the plate.  “Sandwich?” he asks.  She shakes her head, not feeling up to it, and he holds it out again, saying, “It’s very clean – untouched by human hands?”  That bit, it turns out, wasn’t in the script, and Pam Dawber visibly lost it, trying desperately to stay with the role while she cracked up laughing.  Between that and the whole bit with throwing the eggs into the air (“Fly! Be free!”) – only to watch in horrified confusion as they crashed back to the ground and shattered – he didn’t have to say anything.  The look on his face captured his inhuman confusion so well that we all laughed. 

Fly, Robin.  Be free.  Nanoo Nanoo.

Goodbye 2013

31 December, 2013 | | No Comment

So here we are, at the end of 2013. Back in January, I declared 2013 an unruly teenager, and decided to review and assign each month a grade. As I recall, January got a C. Needless to say, my resolve to grade each month lasted about as long as teenaged boy’s resolve to remain master of his domain, to wit, less than 3 hours. But in the spirit, I think it’s only fair that I review and grade the year as a whole. Since I’d dropped it for so long, I’m going to cut the year a break and let it go Pass/Fail. Let’s see how 2013 did, shall we?

We started well, with a Starbucks opening in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It took a long time, but we’ve won, and Jane Fonda owes us all Venti Caramel HoChiFrappaMihnos. Shortly after that, the Almighty tried to pick up a spare when the most powerful meteor to strike Earth’s atmosphere in over a century exploded over Russia, injuring 1,491 people. International reaction was swift, calling for studies regarding the vulnerability of all humanity (with the obvious exception of Keith Richards) to meteor strikes. The Russian reaction boiled down to, “Was that a nuke? Eh, it must be Friday.”

In science news, 3D printers came into their own when scientists were able to print a human ear, and some yahoo shared his plans for to print a handgun. The idea is that someone could someday have an organ printed to order, and then get shot for having funny-looking ears. Also in February, Benedict XVI resigned, and about damn time, and King Richard III was exhumed in Leicester. On feeling the first sunlight on his old bones since his internment in 1485, he was heard to mutter something about the winter of his discontent being made glorious summer by this sun of York; the University of Leicester chaps buried him right back up again.

March came in like a lamb with the first Jesuit pope, and it’s a good thing the weather was nice that day because March also saw Canada become the first country to withdraw from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Because, you know, Canada’s really just inches away from being the next freaking Kalahari. Whatever. March went out like a lamb, too, with the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, and not a moment too soon.

On tax day, two loons bombed the Boston Marathon. I have to wonder, who thinks it’s a good idea to piss off Bostonians? These two failed their history exams, is my guess. April sucked, really – we saw the demise of Roger Ebert, Margaret Thatcher, Jonathan Winters, Richie Havens, George Jones, and Deanna Durbin. On the plus side, in May, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University created human embryonic stem cells by cloning. Can you imagine a clone made from Margaret Thatcher and Jonathan Winters? My head hurts just thinking about it.

In June, Edward Snowden decided that he was smarter than the NSA, and promptly moved to Russia. (The Russian reaction was, “Are you crazy? Eh, it must be Friday.”) Later in June, flash floods in India kill more than 5,700 people. For further proof that nature is better at killing people that people are, Richard Ramirez, who killed around 2 dozen people, died in prison before California could get around to killing him. Just pull the trigger already, you know?

In July, Croatia joined the European Union, which made Greece jealous, and Prince George of Cambridge, future King of England, graced the world with his royal presence, which made Prince Harry jealous. On the downside, Helen Thomas is now attending press conferences in the hereafter. Also in the hereafter are Elmore Leonard, Seamus Heaney, and Frederik Pohl, three great writers who now have being dead in common.

In another example of science advancing the sum total of human knowledge, September saw the publication of a world-rocking study showing that guys with smaller nuts are better dads. The Internet couldn’t leave those headlines alone for a week. October, of course, treated us to a government shutdown, with Republicans blaming Democrats, Democrats blaming Republicans, and everyone blaming the media. They only go through all this because they know we’re watching. If they thought no one was looking, they’d work together and just get things done. Mind you, they’d screw us all, but they’d get things done. October also saw the signing of a UN treaty to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The 140+ signatories of the treaty were promptly sued when Mercury Records stock nosedived the next day.

October was a busy month: Saudi Arabia became the nation to reject a seat on the United Nations Security Council. (The Russian reaction was, “Are you crazy? Eh, it must be Friday.”) Plus, October 22nd was the 16,000th day of Unix time. No one will ever know if Tom Clancy knew that, except for him and the CIA spooks who killed him for his latest plotlines. (You can imagine the Russian reaction.)

In November, Typhoon Haiyan “Yolanda”, proved once again that nature an kill more people faster than we can, with a death toll higher than 6,100. On the plus side, Iran agreed to limit the number of nukes it will try to build if only we start letting them buy food and cigarettes again.

As we round out the year in December, we have to note three deaths: Nelson Mandela, whose name became synonymous with peaceful resistance; Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, whose name became synonymous with armed resistance; and Peter O’Toole, whose name was double-phallic. Finally in December, we saw the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 3, carrying its Yutu rover, become the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon since 1976. There were questions about why China wanted to land a rover on the moon; the Yutu is widely seen as “Me Too.”

And so, despite disasters both natural and otherwise, despite twerking and Justin Bieber, despite deaths both small and large, I think I have to give 2013 a Passing grade – but only just barely. 2014 starts on academic probation, and if it starts skipping classes, I’m going to know about it. I’m happy to see 2013 in my rear-view mirror.

In the meantime, I wish you, Gentle Reader, a fantastic New Year.




3 November, 2013 | | 2 Comments

This does not usually happen to me.  I do not, as a rule, become conflicted about things – do something, don’t do something, make up my mind and get on with my life.  I try, most of the time, to be a person of action – I don’t tend to over analyze or overthink things.

But, Ender’s Game has come out on the big screen.  I’m going to go see it, on the big screen.  There’s no conflict there – I’ve been waiting for this flick since I heard it was in the works.  It has Indiana Jones, for Pete’s sake.  And, oh yeah, it’s based on one of the greatest works in sci-fi history.  Ender’s Game is so good, it’s the only sci-fi book that my mother has read, to my knowledge.   I read it in college, more than 24 years ago, and as I was nearing the end of the book, a really gorgeous redheaded girl that I’d been hoping to go out with some day called me and asked if I wanted to go out right then.

I told her I couldn’t. 

I had 75 pages left, and I couldn’t put it down.  Probably for the best, since I found SOBUMD, but still – the book was that good.  Since then, I’ve stood in line for signings, met Orson Scott Card, and bought all of the books in the Ender series, and many others as well.  Back in the day, before the Internet made everyone as connected as they are now, no one really knew that he held views that were incompatible with those expressed in his books.  It is still amazing to me to find that he espouses such hate-filled homophobic views and yet has written such lovely, loving, and open-minded characters.   I write, or at least I try to pretend that I do, and I’m not sure how I could do that; nor even the other way around and have one of my characters spout nonsensical vitriol and hate without having some other character standing there to point out what an asshat the first one was. 

So, I’m going to see his movie.  I’ve heard a lot of talk about “separating art from politics” and the quote from Oscar Wilde about “The fact of a man being a poisoner is nothing against his prose.”   Mind you, even Wilde, no paragon of virtue there, went on in the same article to say, “Of course, he is far too close to our own time for us to be able to form any purely artistic judgment about him. It is impossible not to feel a strong prejudice against a man who might have poisoned Lord Tennyson, or Mr. Gladstone, or the Master of Balliol.”  In our case, Card is far to much a part of our time to be able to easily wholly divorce his odious and onerous views from his towering literary achievements. 

And so, I find myself conflicted.  I’m going. I’m probably going to like the movie.  I still recommend the book, and its sequel, and the rest of the series.  They’re that good.  But, I feel the need to caveat them to people with, by the way, the author’s a right-wing homophobic nutjob, but if you’re into good sci-fi, you need to read this anyway.  (At least the first two.)

I’ll post a few thoughts, if not an actual review, about the movie once I see it.  Anyone else going?  Not going?  Conflicted?




We’re Gonna Default in the Morning (Left Us In the Lurch This Time)

16 October, 2013 | | No Comment

I know, I was doing the whole Shutdown Countdown thing, but I got furloughed.  Luckily, I’ve declared myself essential personnel, and I’ve brought you, yes, no, that’s right – another song.  You know the tune.  And now look – I sang the last one.  You know you don’t want me to do that again, so I’m asking you to sing this one for us.  Post it to YouTube and let me know, and I’ll update this with a link to your version!  You know you want to!  Come now, sing, and fiddle with me while the Titantic goes down, and Rome burns, and we can mix drinks and metaphors until the sun comes up on the smoking remains of our economy!  After all, there’s just a few more hours….
There’s just a few more hours.
That’s all the time we’ve got. A few more hours
Before we go ker-splot.

There are budget deals all over Washington,
and Congress has to track ’em down in just a few more hours!

We’re gonna default in the morning! Crash bang!
The banks are gonna fail. Pull out the stopper!
Let’s have a whopper!  ‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

I don’t wanna wake up in the mornin’
I sure don’t wanna watch the news prime time.
Europe, come and kiss us;
Show how you’ll miss us.
‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

They’ll take a vote, Roll Call the Floor.
And it will fail, and roll right out the door!

For We’re gonna default in the mornin’
Crash bang! the banks are gonna fail.
Kick out this Congress, Show them the egress;
they’ve left us in the lurch, left us in the lurch,
‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

We’re gonna default in the morning
Crash bang! the banks are gonna fail.

Jail ’em or stone ’em – vote out and disown them!
They’ve left us in the lurch this time!
I’m gonna sleep in, in the morning!
What’s the point of lookin’ at the time.

The Senate ain’t able, to pass a pay bill,
And they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

Because we’re debtors, they’ll grade us down.
And if we default, 
China takes the crown!

For We’re gonna default in the morning!
Crash bang! the banks are gonna fail.

Feather and tar ’em;
Brand and disbar ’em! They’ve left us in the lurch,
Left us in the lurch…
‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

Starlight is reelin – time to vote now.
Midnight is ticking like a bomb.
The markets are waking…
DC is shaking…  Good luck, you fools,
Perhaps you can pass it with aplomb.

No – we’re gonna default in the mornin’
Crash bang! the banks are gonna fail…
One-finger salute ’em – Then haul off and boot ’em…
they’ve left us in the lurch, left us in the lurch,
‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!