Friday, April 29, 2005

Alright, Break it Up, Nothing to See Here…

Just the cartoon. I’ve got no post for today. What?! Why? Because I’m writing….No, sorry, I said that there’s going to be no post today and I meant it. I’m sorry, but that’s FINAL. Why? Because I’m the adult, that’s why.

I know, I know…life is unfair. You want “fair,” go to a carnival.

Just because other bloggers may be posting interesting things today doesn’t mean I have to. If Chez Sarcastica jumped off a bridge does that mean I’d have to…

What did you just say? I heard that! What did you say about me jumping off a bridge?! You better lose that tone.

You’re really cruising today. You’re not too old for me to take you over my knee you know. It’d be pretty embarrassing for you to be the oldest one at school who still gets spanked wouldn’t it?

Quit it. The latest TAM Cartoon is up, isn’t that enough?! Isn’t it "UP-tastic" or "TAM-ilicious" enough for you?!

I work and I slave to bring you that stupid cartoon and this is the thanks I get?!

Go to your room! And if I even smell the TV turn on, you’ll be in a world of hurt.

Don’t make me count to three…

Fun Fact: Fun Facts are for good kids.

You know, fact-starved children in Alabama would kill for a fun fact. Their facts are completely lackluster and dubious in their accuracy. And you don’t hear them complaining.

Did I really do that bad a job raising you?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Sloe Gin Fizz

I mean, slow news day.

Yes, it’s a slow news day. The morning shows were all about the 50 most beautiful people and gigantic airplanes and other useless crap.

Now, if you’re a plane lover, I’m sorry that I called the new Airbus SuperJumbo Jet “useless crap.” I’m sure that it will change the way we love.

But it’s good that it’s a sloe gin fizz…damnit. Slow news day. Slow news day. Because I have to get some writing done. And I’m already distracted by my gay hair. Yeah, I have gay hair. Last night I tried to put in some highlights…

I look like I should be shopping for a loft in West Hollywood. I’m practically blond. Which is weird for me. I’ve never been blond before. And I won’t be again for a while after tonight. Sorry you. You’ll never see it.

But now I have to go. I have an uncontrollable urge to dance to some *Nsync and sip on a nice refreshing, top shelf, slow news day.

Fun Fact: Rob Thomas’ debut solo album has risen to the top of the charts. It’s surpassed anything he released with Matchbox 20. He claims that his former bandmates are happy for him.

Yeah, sure they are. I’ll bet they took one listen to the new album and said to themselves, “Man, what a great album! It’s a good thing he went solo for this one and completely cut us out of any profits, we could never have wrapped our little minds around such groundbreaking music. Bravo Robby!”

Here’s the recipe for a Sloe Gin Fizz:

1 oz sloe gin
1 oz gin
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
3 - 4 oz soda water

Here’s the recipe for a Slow News Day:

1 oz Smoking Chimp
1 oz Buffalo on Tennis Court
1,000,000 lbs Super Jumbo Jet
¾ oz Gay Hair
2 Useless Recipes

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Hello, My Name is TAM, and I’m a White Blogger

I never thought that I would admit to that. But I first must accept that which I cannot control. Only then can I squash my shame into a tiny ball and hide it away from the world.

But my battle isn’t over. Barring occasional overdoses of beach sun and costly spray tans, I’ll always be white. It’s not my fault, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be held accountable.

I must first accept the things that I cannot control.

Why am I bringing all this painful stuff up now? Well, because I was going to write a post about that little 5-year-old girl in Florida who threw a temper tantrum and got handcuffed by the police.

I was going to say how ridiculously overblown the entire thing has become. How I’m tired of everyone acting so “shocked” to see a little girl being placed in the back of a police car. How, nowadays, the school systems hands are so tied that they have little option but to involve the police. How no matter what decision the school administrators could make, it would be wrong.

But while doing some quick research, I found out something about my position on the subject, and myself, that I hadn’t known before.

I’m a horrible racist.

When I do research on this type of stuff I usually just do a Google search. The results I’m after are usually included in the “today’s top headlines” section. I surf for a brief second to get the names right and then I proceed to spout my inane POV.

Today was a little different. The second link on Google News was titled “Two Different Views of the Same Reality.” It looked promising, so I clicked it.

That’s when I learned the awful, shameful truth about myself and my racist predisposition.

The article is from Black News Weekly. And after dismissing the girl’s violent tantrum and punching fit as a “bad ass girl who was cutting-up in class,” it goes on to attack “white bloggers.”

From BNW:

“After reading some of the comments being made over the Internet by these white bloggers, it is easy to see why we as a nation are always at each other’s throats in this country.”

“Black Americans see the arrest of the 5-year-old Black girl as another example of white racism gone too far, and whites feel that the police must bring all Blacks down no matter what the age."

Well, duh. Obviously. That’s exactly it. I never knew that I was turning this into a race issue. It never even entered my mind actually. Well done, reporter Noble Johns!

I can’t imagine the overwhelming amount of research that went into this article. I mean, I’m white, and I have quite a few friends, but even I couldn’t use the vast resources granted by my “whiteness” to interview every white person in America!

I’m impressed.

But not only did Mr. Johns interview every white person born to this great country, he also found the time to get every black person’s opinion as well. Incredible.

Noble goes on to quote the tantrum thrower’s lawyer about the incident. She points out that the girl is “clearly traumatized” by the incident.

I think that’s horrible. Poor traumatized little girl. I’ve seen the video and she was obviously such a well adjusted child before this thing happened.

Look, I’m not saying that schools should go around calling the cops on every 5-year-old that has a hissy in class. But just what are they supposed to do? I saw this girl’s mother, Inga Akins, on television this morning talking about the woman who is seen trying to calm the girl in the video. That woman is the assistant principal Nicole Dibenedetto. And the mother was beside herself with rage at Dibenedetto (who, by the way, never even raised her hand to the child).

The mom kept saying stuff like “she had no business being around my daughter” “I told her before to stay away from her!”

Evidently, the administrator and the kid have a “history.” The Assistant principal wants the kid to behave and the kid doesn’t want to.

The mother’s reason for not wanting the teacher to have contact with her child is because she feels that the assistant principal and the child simply have a “personality conflict.”

I’m sorry, a personality conflict?! The kid is 5 years old. She doesn’t have personality conflicts.

But herein lies the problem. The assistant principal probably should have left the child alone. The mother has already destroyed any authority the administrator had by essentially telling the kid that she’s always right and anyone who doesn’t let her have her little way just doesn’t understand her.

What the hell is anyone supposed to do these days? School officials can’t discipline anymore. Where does that leave us all in 30 years when these kids grow up? How are kids supposed to learn responsibility if there aren’t any consequences?

Some of the fantastic ideas I’ve heard about how to handle this girl include “just leave her alone.” To destroy the school? That’ll teach her! But then she’ll be guilty of vandalism.

Maybe the school officials should just have called the police…

Oh, wait.

I leave you with some parting quotes:

“Unfortunately, with our system of civil justice, the way that we handle these matters, is you have to sue someone in order to get reform. …To get the reform, you have to make them pay, because if you don't make them pay, they're never going to reform themselves. If they don't have to pony up, there never will be any change.” (Inga Akins’s lawyer John Trevena)

Spoken like a true American, John.

“We got to teach them Nigger a lesson, no matter how young; we got to being ‘em down! (Anonymous statement at top of article “Two Different Views of the Same Reality” from Black News Weekly, I assume written by Noble Johns and attributed to every white person in the United States)

Finally, thank you, reporter Noble Johns, for teaching me what a horrible, horrible racist I am. Keep fighting the good fight, my friend. I can feel racial tensions lifting as I type this.

And thank you Google for showing me that there's more to news

Fun Fact: The latest TAM Cartoon is up! Racetastic!

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Wussification of America

Back in the day, going out to eat was seen as an adventure.

It wasn’t really an adventure, of course. Unless you consider being waited on hand and foot by overdressed strangers adventurous. In which case, you may also consider hailing a taxi cab an arm workout.

But it was an occasional treat. A respite from loaf-shaped meats and veggies suspended in gelatin. People were happy to try new things. Sure, it cost a little more, but people were willing to pay the price, if only to avoid having to choke down another creamed corn casserole.

Nowadays, going out to eat is an actual adventure. You might order a grilled chicken sandwich and instead find yourself being introduced to the taboo pleasures of cannibalism.

Back in July, David Scheiding was unwittingly inducted into an unofficial club usually reserved for madman killers and Brazilian soccer franchises. He got his first taste of human flesh. And, of course, he got it at Arby’s.

He bit into his sandwich and soon realized that something wasn’t quite right. He spit his half-chewed food out and discovered a slice of a person’s skin. Complete with a fingerprint.

And for some reason, he wasn’t too happy about it.


He should be thrilled about a couple things. One: he has an amazingly sensitive palette. I doubt that I would be able to distinguish the tip of a man’s finger and the usual flayed carcasses they serve at Arby’s. And two: with the inclusion of the fingerprint, finding the culprit couldn’t be easier.

But, no, old David got sick. Then he did what anyone else would do, he sued. As of today the case is still pending.

He’s suing for $50,000 based on the fact that his health was put in jeopardy…and he’s emotionally scarred. He’s psychologically unable to eat fast food ever again.

Sure, I can understand the first part. After all, the finger came from the restaurant’s manager who accidentally cut the tip off while chopping lettuce (looking at a picture of the filleted skin, I’ll assume he was cutting the lettuce with a meat slicer). He thought that he had cleaned all of it up and threw away all of the contaminated lettuce.

Obviously, he was really wrong.

Which baffles me a little. I’ve actually cut myself on a meat slicer when I worked in a restaurant. Almost anyone who’s ever worked in any kitchen has done the same thing and they’ll tell you – there’s a lot of blood involved. How could you miss a bin of bloody lettuce? They don’t sell red cabbage at Arby’s do they?

So, sure, sue they place because their manager is unquestionably a moron. But Mr. Sheiding’s claim about never being able to eat fast food seems a bit dubious. Count your blessings, I say. Most people, if given the opportunity, would gladly pay someone to put them off fast food. Those fat McDonald’s litigants for one.

But here’s my point. Finally. What the hell do people think they’re getting when they eat at a fast food restaurant? The Four Seasons?

No, it’s Arby’s. It’s McDonald’s. It’s Burger King. It’s Wendy’s.

It’s crap. It’s good-tasting crap. But it’s still crap. And don’t believe the carefully marketed corporate image either. That’s not real, people. They hire actors to do the commercials for a reason.

And it’s not just because all of the “real” people are too busy.

This food is being prepared mostly by low-wage earning drones who really could care crap less if your Chicken Fingers contained authentic fingers.

If these people offered to come to your house and make a nice dinner for you and your family, chances are you’d look at their grease burned and bandaged hands and say “no thanks, I can poison myself just fine thank you.”

And yet, we readily go into a fast food joint and plop our cash on the counter and patiently wait while those same people prepare our food behind the safety of a wall. Free from our prying, consumer eyes. And when our sandwich comes sliding down the stainless steel chute and gets placed on a dirty plastic tray, we take it, smile and shove it in our greedy little faces.

But god forbid, one in every 10,000,000 should contain some human remains.

They way I see it, I’m lucky if I don’t find an entire person in a Whopper. And I don’t care. If I do find one, I’ll politely ask him to remove himself from my sesame seed bun and continue my meal.

Because eating at a fast food restaurant is, finally, an adventure. Like skydiving. It’s not fun if there’s not the lingering threat that the chute won’t open.

Fun Fact: In 1991, during an attempted political coup on Russian President Boris Yelstin, the only way they could get sustenance was to order pizzas from Pizza Hut.

If an alcoholic Russian president can trust the food from a third-world fast food restaurant in such a hostile political environment, then I’d say it’s okay to get that burrito supreme from the local Taco Bell.

And it also puts to rest a common misconception about Russia perpetuated by Soviet comic Yakov Smirnov.

In Russia, pizza does not order you.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Here’s the world’s coolest chimp.

Soon to be the world’s most irritable chimp. The kind of chimp that will rip the face off of any beatnik that comes within 10 feet of his yellow-stained claws of death.

His name is Charlie. He’s a chimp at the Bloemfontein Zoo in South Africa. And they’re going to make the poor guy quit smoking cold turkey. The zoo keepers are concerned about his health.

They’re obviously not too concerned about Charlie’s chimp roommates, though. Now they’re going to have to put up with Charlie’s uncontrollable rage over stupid things like not being able to find the TV remote.

And they definitely weren’t too concerned about his health when they allowed patrons to throw lit cigarettes into his “habitat.”

Yeah, he picked up the habit from observing zoo-goers’ behavior. And then when the funny monkey started acting like he was smoking like a big-boy, the nice South African chimp-lovers obliged him with real-life cigarettes. Pre-lit, of course.

The stodgy zookeepers wouldn’t give Chuck a Zippo.

But Charlie’s days of being the most rebellious and sophisticated looking chimp in the troop are sadly numbered. I feel your pain brother. I too am being pressured to quit smoking. And I too have always relied on the kindness of strangers throwing lit cigarettes at me.

People are great. So many genuine human beings in the world. It warms my little struggling heart.

Fun Fact: I’m writing again today. That’s why you got a lame post about a cigarette smoking chimpanzee.

And it’s Earth Day today! Hooray! Wear some hemp clothing and recycle your gas-guzzling SUV.

The history of Earth Day is fascinating…and long. You can read about it here. Read all about Senator Gaylord Nelson. Fantastic! Plant a tree! Kick a republican! Plant a kicked republican!

Also, the latest TAM Cartoon is up with an unintentionally apropos message about how humans live in symbiosis with the environment. When modern science is unavailable, you can always rely on the wonders of nature! Peelicious!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


That’s French for “shut the hell up!”

I’m writing again today, but I thought that I would leave you with a list of people who I would like to…shut the hell up:

My Next Door Neighbors: Your “band” makes me want to stick 1,000 galvanized finishing nails in my audial canal. The left feet of each of the Rolling Stones are spinning in their graves.

The News Media: We get it! A new Pope was elected. Sheesh, you would think that the entire world actually give a rat’s anus!

The USDA and CDC: For your baffling food pyramids and conflicting information about the dangers of being overweight. For one, exercise isn’t a food and doesn’t belong on a “food pyramid.” I would think that’s obvious. And second, no one ever thought that being 15 pounds overweight was going to significantly shorten your life expectancy. People aren’t as dumb as you are trying to make them feel.

Rampaging Korean Elephants: You think you’re so cool. Look, I could escape from a zoo parade and ransack a restaurant too. But I posses a little something I like to call “decorum.”

George Bush: Just because I have a standing request.

Paula Abdul: Stop incessantly interrupting. Simon is supposed to be the mean one, but at least he has some manners. And, please, get yourself to NA or AA or AFTRA or wherever you need to go...immediately. Vous ĂȘtes un serpent chaleureux froid.

That’s French for…shut the hell up.

Fun Fact: I’m a bit chilly this morning. Not fun, but oh so factual.

And 7-Eleven was the first convenience store to advertise on TV. Their animated commercial ran in 1949 and had a singing rooster and owl [selling cigarettes to minors].

I added that last part.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

TAM I Am…Sometimes

Every once in a while my real self and my cartoon persona split. I really do get scales smashed over my head and think that a bottle of bleach is a cute little gnome, but today there is one very big difference. I’m actually going to write something.

That’s great news for me, but horribly sad news for you. I’m not going to post anything this morning. What will you do? I don’t know, make yourself a nice relaxing cup of tea and try to get by the best you can.

It will all be alright soon.

As you settle down with your tea, try and think of the things that I was going to post about today until I got a flourish of halfway decent ideas. Think about the Carnival cruise ship that was hit by a 70-foot wave causing people to panic and cancel the rest of their vacation plans. Imagine what I would say about that. Picture me writing about what excitable morons people have become to let some broken windows and a little scare at sea force them to live their lives in terror. Visualize me pointing out the fact that there is no such thing as being completely safe when your in the middle of the ocean, no matter how ridiculously humongous the boat is. In your mind’s eye, see me commenting on how outrageously unrealistic the general population’s expectations of security have become. And then picture me getting angry at the news media for calling into question the seaworthiness of the ship. After all, it did get hit with a 70-foot wave and all that happened was 4 people got hurt and some windows were shattered.

Then imagine that me ending the whole post with something side-splittingly hilarious.

Because, man, am I ever side-splittingly freakin’ hilarious!

Fun Fact: The latest TAM Cartoon is up! Imagilicious!

Imagine that this fun fact was “fun.”

Come on, you can do it.


Monday, April 18, 2005

TAM’s Reading Corner

I hope that you’ve done your homework because today I’m going to be discussing one of the great classics from American literature. The May 2005 issue of Glamour Magazine.

As timeless as it is topical.

Yes, okay, occasionally I read Glamour Magazine. Tanya gets it and sometimes I can’t help myself. I have to see those latest Do’s and Don’ts.

But I’m not here to talk about women with black bars over their eyes and ill-fitting swimsuits crawling up their rears. I’m here to take issue with one of this month’s featured “articles.”

Glamour, like all magazines, likes to tease potential buyers by boldly printing their “headlines” on the front cover. Headlines like “Figure Flattery Special! 102 Ways to Dress Your Body Better” and “Better Skin from Head to Toe.” They’re usually fairly generic and the articles are little more than glorified advertisements for high end fashion chains. But that’s what women expect. After all, if a woman needs a boatneck shirt to accentuate her narrow shoulders, then it’s always good to know that you can pick one up at Banana Republic for just under $75.

But headlines like that won’t bring in everybody. Women’s magazines need some edge. They need some sex. And although the O.C.’s Mischa Barton is indeed a cute chick, she can only really hope to sexually satisfy Glamour’s lesbian readership. And from the lack of articles about Ellen DeGeneres, I can only assume that lesbians aren’t Glamour’s main concern. In any case, it’s not like it’s the Utne Reader or anything.

I kid the lesbians.

No, Glamour needs to hook the sexually enlightened 30-something women with engaging articles about the sexual desires of men. Ironically, most of the time the articles are all about how men can better satisfy women in bed. Which doesn’t seem to do the women a lot of good unless the men in their lives happen to thumb through a copy of Glamour. And if a woman’s boyfriend/husband is secure enough to read through his wife’s/girlfriend’s chick mag then there probably isn’t much of a problem anyway (I’ll keep telling myself that). And if their hubby/b-friend refuses to read that “chick crap” or goes out to purchase a copy of his own, then there are bigger issues than some poorly written, one-page article can begin to fix.

Get to the point, you say? Sure. This months sexy foray into the minds of men brings us an article titled “Woah! The 15 Secret Sex Fantasies Every Guy Has.”

Catchy, no? Especially in bold-faced type on the front cover. And the “Woah!” sure does titillate. I mean, there’s an exclamation point after it! It must be steamy! Fasten your seatbelts, ladies! Get ready to gain an intimate knowledge of every man’s deepest desires!

Ben Coates (40) loves to see two women kissing. But only women with “natural breasts.”

Okay, I can dig it. But why qualify it so? Natural breasts? Here’s the real scoop ladies: guys don’t care. It doesn’t matter if the woman has natural breasts. It doesn’t matter if she’s got big breasts. It doesn’t matter if she’s got no breasts…or if she’s missing the left side of her body. If two women start kissing, a guy will watch. Sure, a guy might not fantasize about a horrifically maimed woman, but I doubt that when private time comes Old Ben is going to quibble about his imaginary lesbo’s boob size.

Women kissing, sure. Breast size, why discriminate?

Malo Hutson (31) is really into jewelry. He digs his wife in a toe ring and an anklet…and high heels. And he also likes to lather his woman up in whipped cream and strawberries.

Ah, it’s nice that his fantasy includes his wife. What a guy. Looks like Malo has a bit of a foot fetish. I can appreciate that. Whatever raises your flag. But I wouldn’t assume that this is every guy’s fantasy. I could care less about toe rings and whipped cream.

Besides, I’ve never met Malo’s wife. She could ring bells at Notre Dame for all I know.

Nick Morales (29) Wishes that some random girl would walk into his room and wake him up with sex.

Aside from seeming a little desperate, Nick’s fantasy lacks some serious imagination.

Ret Taylor (26) has a fantasy very similar to Ben’s except that his involves two Hawaiian girls.

Dark Hawaiian girls, by the way.

But here’s the one that really lost me:

Raleigh Murphey (28) wants to have sex on the beach with a beautiful brunette – on a horse!

He actually fantasizes about making it on the back of a horse. He doesn’t specify if the horse if trotting, watching or just waiting for the whole horrible, uncomfortable, messy ordeal to be over with.

I suppose the less I know about the small details, the better.

Raleigh should read Equis.

But my point is that this article is a complete sham! These aren’t the 15 sex fantasies every guy has. These are 15, too specific, fantasies that 15 guys have. I didn’t even go into the pilot’s “stewardess orgy” fantasy.

I mean, sure, some of them seem like good ideas, but for the moist part, I haven’t had fantasies like these. I’m a man.

Glamour Magazine lies to women. Don’t believe their lies, ladies.

There is one fantasy that every guy has.

It’s called “having sex.”

Fun Fact: My neighbors are jerks and the cops are slow.

Friday, April 15, 2005

I Want an Old Drug

One that will make will make my heart explode.

A judge has just lifted the ban on ephedra in Utah. People want their speed, I guess. But the question remains, are people insanely stupid because of the drugs or in spite of them?

When the “supplement” was banned back in 2003 there was a run on the drug stores. Everybody had to have the stuff before it went the way of the Dodo. I know. I was clocking the ephedra industry at the time. I’ve taken it. I took it for about a week. I was desperate to lose weight. Diet and exercise were just too hard for me at the time. But when my central nervous system started to feel like the finalist in a swing dance competition, I had to stop.

Of course, I have a low tolerance. I’m the guy who can’t drink coffee on the mornings that I’m going to draw the cartoon because after two cups I can’t make a straight line. I also can’t drink Red Bull without shimmying worse than my old ’71 Nova for the rest of the day.

I’m a stimulant wuss. Cigarettes and Diet Pepsi, that’s my limit.

Now, the FDA isn’t too happy about the judge’s decision. After all, ephedra has been connected to a number of deaths. I don’t think anyone really knows how many for sure. And was it the drug’s fault or the morons who were taking 5 times the recommended dose?

That’s the problem. That’s why I’ll bet that this drug hits the shelves again soon in your neighborhood. Personally, I don’t care. I’m not taking it ever again. It’s nasty stuff. But it is the most effective “supplement” of its kind. And people everywhere will be clamoring for it. Cocaine and heroin also work remarkably well.

The only reason that I don’t want to see ephedra back on the market is because I don’t want to be inundated with the news of the inevitable lawsuits that will follow. People will take it knowing full well the dangers, die and then their families will clog up the courts with wrongful death lawsuits.

“Wrongful death.” Half the time, the person who died should be the defendant in the wrongful death case. “My son Billy got stoned and drove his Explorer off a bridge into a river and drowned. I’m suing Ford for not making a waterproof SUV…”

But I guess it could be considered “disrespectful to the deceased” to sue them for dying. And you wouldn’t make a hell of a lot of money off it. But, damn it, the record would show that you were right! And being right is priceless. Take that, dead idiot.

These days, if you choose to go swimming with the sharks…the sharks better have a good lawyer.

Some people are just plain dumb. And bewilderingly fickle.

Doctor: Here’s some medication to help alleviate the pain of your arthritis. But you should know that it could make your heart stop beating.

Patient: What’s the matter with you, Doc?! I’m not taking that stuff! My mind numbing pain is no reason for me to put my life in danger.

Doctor: You’re right. You could probably relieve some of your arthritis inflammation if you simply lost some weight. You could diet and exercise…or you could take some ephedra. But I have to warn you that ephedra could make your heart stop beating.

Patient: Ephedra, eh? No diet or exercise? Could make my heart stop beating? ...Oh, well, no one said weight loss was easy…I’ll take the pills!


Fun Fact: The latest TAM Cartoon is up. With a timely weight-loss theme! Fattastic!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Driven to Fail

I wasn’t going to post today. Tanya had a dentist appointment so my morning routine was screwed up. But I was inspired my Mike’s post about the disgruntled postal worker over at the Filthy Scarecrow. Besides, I’ll never pass up an opportunity to bitch about my fellow man. It’s my forte.

As you might remember, I ruined a woman’s morning by calling her a “stupid bitch” in a fit of road rage. An embarrassing and eye-opening incident that prompted me to finally get my driver’s wrath under control.

I’m still working on it.

Admitting that I had a problem was the easy part. It’s not yelling as the moronic, cell phone talking, no-turn-signal-using, SUV driving jerk asses that’s the hard part. But I’ve been doing my best. The frustrating part is that it seems to be a one-sided battle. I’ve been doing my part not to be “stridently honest” with the other people on the road, but they seem to be doing absolutely nothing about their complete lack of intellect.

So, the other day I was driving back from my short-lived job over at Universal. I had already suffered a flat tire earlier in the week and was still a bit rattled by the embarrassment of putting on my donut in the middle of the Universal parking garage. I mean, it’s bad enough that my car is the crappiest – and dirtiest -- car on the whole damned lot but, almost as if my little car was illustrating a point about my neglect issues, it decided to blow a tire right inside the front gates. And then to add insult to injury, I didn’t have a tire iron. It’s not easy to look nonchalant while changing an American tire with a tiny, metric ratchet.

But that was before. The day of my story, I had a new tire. Everything was fine. Except for the fact that I was running out of gas on the 405 in the middle of rush hour. At least that’s what I was guessing. My car’s gas gauge doesn’t work.

I should rephrase that, my car’s gas gauge does kind of work. It’s right at home here in LA. It’s the dramatic type. It sits at “full” all the time – until it gets down to about a gallon and a half, then it starts to plunge to “empty.” And it falls fast. Every inch you drive feels like it could be your last. It’s remarkably stressful.

Anyway, I couldn’t handle the stress of freeway driving with a steadily dropping gas gauge. So I decided to get off the 405 onto Sepulveda and make it the rest of the way home on the surface streets. That way, if I got desperate, I could pull over at the nearest gas station (by the way, there are amazingly few gas stations on Sepulveda).

Of course, there’s a ton of traffic on Sepulveda too. I knew there would be. Somehow, to me, traffic is a little more tolerable on the surface streets. I don’t know why. More escape routes I guess. The freeway can be claustrophobic at times.

I was in my new emotional place. Even though I was running out of gas, I was cool as a cucumber. No road rage. I had accepted the traffic as an unavoidable inevitability of life. My chakra was doing whatever it is that chakra does when it’s doing its “one with everything”…thing.

But I was the only one. The small-minded people around me weren’t appreciating the suffocating beauty of chaos that day. They were in a hurry. People on the road are always in a hurry. So why is traffic so bad you ask? Well, it’s because people are always in a hurry to get home until they’re two blocks from their house. Then, for them, the rush is over. It’s a casual journey to the front door now for them. Unfortunately, we don’t all live at the same address so everyone’s idea of the “end of the road” is different.

That’s why you should race and race until your key enters the front deadbolt, people. Be a pal. Your backyard is my traffic jam.

So I’m sitting on Sepulveda in a mile-long line of people waiting at one stop light. It’s going to take a while. Zen. Finally, after waiting through about 8 turns of the light, I’m the second car in line. It’s not the pole position, but it’s not bad. From my spot in line I can really get a sense of why traffic isn’t moving as well as it should.

There’s a dude selling crap at the intersection. Flowers, oranges, real-estate…everything. And he’s got customers! Seems to me that after spending the last 30 minutes at the same stoplight, the last thing a person would want to do is haggle over the price of citrus fruits…but that’s just me I guess.

So this guy’s making his way through the cars. I’m trying not to make eye contact. But the guy in that car ahead of me – the first car in line – decides that he wants to buy some flowers. Of course, he didn’t make that decision until after the flower/orange guy had passed him.

He made some feeble attempts to get his attention, but nothing was working. The F/O guy was too far down the line to hear him. When the flower dude did finally realize that he had a customer and walked over to the car to make the transaction – the light had turned green.

But the guy in the car wasn’t daunted. He was going to get those damned flowers. No matter that there were 150 cars in line behind him and the drivers were all a little…anxious.

I’m still “the Fonz” at this point.

But the guy behind me was “Mickey Rourke.” He started honking and yelling.

And I got blamed for it.

Now the guy in front of me turned into Mickey Rourke too. He turned around and started yelling at me. And since I couldn’t figure out the universal hand gesture for “I didn’t honk at you, it was the jerk behind me, I’ve been trying to control the impulsive behavior that would cause me to be so impatient” I became the object of his anger.

The guy finally acquiesced to the pressure, gave up on the flowers and pulled into the intersection.

But it didn’t take long before he relented. He stopped in the middle of the street and sat there staring defiantly at me in his rear-view mirror refusing to drive another millimeter.

Now everybody was honking at him. Everybody but me.

It must have been karma. Or a test. I felt those old urges welling up. But I only let out a very quiet string of obscenities when the he finally flipped me off and tore through the intersection…as the light turned yellow.

I’m winning my personal battle.

But people are still dicks.

Fun Fact: I didn’t run out of gas that day. But once, I ran out of gas twice in one week in front of my college – in the exact same spot.

And I ran out of gas twice in one day once in a boat. The first time a nice group of people helped my friends and I get back to the dock. The second time, I felt really stupid. The nice group that helped before were still out on the lake and I couldn’t face their inevitable mockery. So I tried my damndest to hide my stupidity.

It’s hard to keep a low profile when you’re rowing a large motorboat back to shore with a water ski.

That’s a fact.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


But not the good, chocolate kind.

As you may or may not know, most of my blog topics come from the morning news. Now, that’s not because I’m all that interested in the inane details of the lives of strangers, it’s mostly because if I tried to blog about my everyday life, I’d have absolutely nothing to talk about.

Today will be no different. The problem is that every once in a while, nothing very interesting happens around the world. As it turns out, sometimes everybody else’s lives can be just as boring as mine. It’s a nice affirmation, but it’s bad blogging business.

But just because nothing big is going on right now (other than the war and the conflict over the West Bank and the Michael Jackson trial etc…) doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot of unimportant little things happening.

In fact, the Country Music Awards were last night. I didn’t watch them. I never watch them. I just don’t give a fat crap. Not that they’re not good people, but you’ll just as soon catch me watching the Source Awards as the CMAs.

When they were talking about the CMAs on the entertainment news this morning, something struck me. The CMAs and the Source Awards actually have a lot in common. Other than being awards shows that nobody wants to see. As they replayed footage of Gretchen Wilson winning a giant belt buckle, I realized one of the reasons why I’m a huge jazz fan.

Country music is fake. Trappings and pomp. Giant belt buckles? What ever happened to loving cups or those trophies with little bronze people standing on top? Can all country music be summed up with a giant belt buckle?

And why doesn’t the Source Awards give out handguns?

In other news: According to “experts,” 50 is the new 30. And 30 is the new 20. Which means that in August I’ll be turning 24. That will be nice. Now I can go back to college without being made fun of.

Speaking of college, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater undergrad student Johnny Lechner has been attending the school for 11 years. What a loser.

The cool kids only go for 8.

And finally: A recent study concluded that 75% of women say that they’re satisfied with their sex life. I don’t think that’s true. Someone’s lying.

I couldn’t possibly have slept with that many people.

Fun Fact: In another study, 3/4ths of all women were in the top 75th percentile.

And the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Statisilicious!

Monday, April 11, 2005

My Triumphant Return


Sorry about that. My mother was in town. I spent the better part of the week tooling around the greater LA area taking in a little culture.

A very little culture.

Ha, ha, I kid. I like to make fun of Los Angeles and its disposable, movie star mores.

Actually, it’s sad, but it takes a relative visiting for me to get off my sorry rear end and make a trip to some of the wonderful art museums that we are privileged enough to have in this magnificent city.

Unfortunately, whenever I go to an art museum, I get an incredible urge to paint. It’s more than that actually. I want to paint enough to have my own exhibit. I’ve got a few ideas for some really provocative shows. Here’s the bad part. I’ll never actually do it. I’m no painter. I don’t want to have a gallery show. But I still get the urge to do it. And when I don’t, I feel like a lazy failure.

I haven’t become an architect, an astronaut, a jazz saxophone player or the king of my own south pacific island yet either.

I suck.

But, as I was saying, I’m back. The TAM Cartoons will be forthcoming. Have no fear, barring illness or some unforeseen employment (essentially the same thing) they should keep coming for the entire summer. I know what a big deal the cartoon is for you. After all, I’ve seen the spectacular numbers from the TAM too website.

O sarcasm.

Well, that’s about it. Nothing really to say today. Silicone breast implants might be making a comeback in this country. Isn’t that exciting? Some people are up in arms about it. Makes sense to me that they would. I mean, when are people going to learn? Silicone is the devil. When is the medical community going to take the risk out of elective surgery? It’s elective! It should be fun! Right? When a woman chooses to have herself cut open and a plastic sack of goop smushed into her boob, it should at least be safe!

Crummy doctors. Quit making everything so damned dangerous.

Fun Fact: My mother is the best house guest a person could have. She’s very low maintenance. She requires only minimal food, bedding and entertainment. The only thing she really ever asks for…is for me to dye her hair for her.

Yes, I dyed mother’s hair.

If that doesn’t sound excruciatingly lame then I don’t know what does. She claims it’s because I do a good job. And that’s true, I do. It’s a curse. I’m a good colorist. I’m not ashamed of that. It doesn’t make me less of a man. But I really don’t like to dye my mom’s hair. Not because I don’t like her or want her to have visible roots or anything, it’s just that whenever I do it, I get this unsettling “Norman Bates-y” feeling.

And I hate taxidermy.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


It’s here, the latest TAM Cartoon! Woot! Happy “TAM Cartoon is Here Day.”

That is all. I’m spending time with the woman who created me. My mother.

Of course, as I say that I’m struck with a creepy feeling. A realization that human beings are just living, breathing Russian Matryoshka Nesting Dolls that you can take apart but never put back together again.

Thank god for that last part.

Fun Fact: Matryoshka dolls are made of seasoned Linden wood and are made by turning them on a lathe.

That’s the way I was made too!


Monday, April 04, 2005

Have You Heard?

The Pope has died. Have you heard about this? Evidently, the Pope was some kind of big deal. The leader of some kind of church or something? Anyway, he's dead. I thought you might like to hear it from me first.

Okay, enough sarcasm. Yes, the Pope is dead. I'm actually quite amazed at how much attention it's getting. Almost as much as the Catholic priest child molestation scandals. The whole thing has really pointed up the fickleness of the American media. For the last few years people have been clamoring for the Catholic Church's head on a platter. Now the guy who ran that church has passed away and people are already longing for the "good ol' days."

I liked the Pope, he seemed like a benevolent man. Sure, I didn't agree with most of his politics, but I'm willing to cut him a little slack because…well…the dude was old! I couldn't have expected him to be the most progressive Catholic the world has ever seen.

And now he's gone. You can say anything you want about the Pope, but rest assured he was one devoted Catholic. And people loved the guy. On a trip to Manila in 1995 the Pope offered mass to a crowd of over 4 million!

That's like if the entire population of the city of Los Angeles (and some of their friends) decided one day to all hang out in Griffith Park for a couple hours.

That's a hell of a lot of people in one place. Too many people if you ask me. But it speaks to the Pope's devotees. I can't imagine what people were thinking when they decided to fight the crowds that day just to catch a quick glimpse of the guy.

"Hey, Pedring, are you going to go see the Pope today?"

"How many other people are there going to be there?"

"Oh, about 3,999,999."

"Yeah, sure, but we might want to leave an hour or so early to make sure we get good seats…"

No thanks. I can appreciate the Filipinos' love for their spiritual leader, but there is nothing, short of fleeing an atomic bomb being dropped on the city center, that would make me go anywhere with 4 million other people.

Call me a cynic, but the truth is that I'm just too lazy and I don't like to be bothered.

Even if I were to win tickets to a bebop jazz concert at the Hollywood Bowl in which the original four Beatles, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Abraham Lincoln opened for God Himself, all I could think would be "I dunno', I'll bet parking is a bitch."

And, trust me, I would really want to be there just to hear honest Abe's rendition of "A Night in Tunisia."

I wonder who opened for the Pope?

Fun Fact: My dear old mother is coming to town today. She will be here all week. Unfortunately, that means that I'll be neglecting you for a little while. I will try to post as often as I can. But we'll be hitting the greater LA museum circuit, so I might be a little tired.

Don't worry though; a new TAM Cartoon will hit the net tomorrow as usual! Aren't you so glad?

Friday, April 01, 2005

Fool Me Once, Shame on You

Fool me twice…you’re a dick.

It’s April Fool’s Day. I hate April Fool’s Day. How can I get behind any day designed solely to make me look like an idiot? I can look like an idiot the rest of the 364 days of the year. I’m very good at it in fact.

I think they should invent a holiday designed to make me look smart. We could call it TAM is Smart Day! It would be the bestest holiday ever! And we could all get together and sing songs about my brilliance. Sure it would be a hollow celebration. But if we can have Women’s History Month…?

I kid, stop it. I think women have done many great things in history. If there were no women, the greatest people in history…would have dirty wrinkled shirts!

HA! Zammo! Another zinger! I’m just kidding. I think women are great, I think Women’s History Month (which was March, by the way) is very important. In fact, if you love WHM as much as I do, don’t forget that June 14th is Flag Day!

Stop it. I’m not here to display misogyny. I’m here to talk about April Fool’s Day. A useless holiday.

But some people live for this holiday. My friend Tosha, for one. She loves it. Is it because she’s a jerk? Perhaps. But it’s more than that, I expect. In fact, I’d be little sad if she didn’t even try to make me feel like a dumbass this year. I’m sure she’s plotting something as I type this. Maybe not for me. But for some poor sap. If Tosha calls you tonight, you’ll know why. Don’t believe her when she says “No, I swear, it’s true! You’d know if I were lying! I wouldn’t lie about this…” There’s something afoot.

And don’t accept anything she has to offer. Those little powdered donuts are actually coated in baking soda and flea and tick powder. And those delicious looking chocolates? They’re baking chocolate…dipped in strychnine.

I hate not being able to trust people simply because of the calendar. I like to not trust people for other reasons. Mostly having to do with socioeconomics or racial profiling.

But even the president’s getting into the sprit this year. He’s announced that he’s going to get to the bottom of the US intelligence failure that “forced” him to bomb Iraq.

April Fool’s!

I have to admit, the president knows how to commit to a prank. But, as I’ve said a few times, I hate April Fool’s Day. I’ve been pranked one too many times. The worst was by my own, sainted mother.

She decided that a 9-year-old was old enough to understand a cruel joke. But my sister really fell for it. She was one gullible 7-year-old.

We were living in Deer Park, Washington at the time. We had just settled into a new house. A big new house. But an old new house. A creepy house most of the time. There were two bedrooms downstairs and one upstairs. For some reason my sister got the upstairs bedroom. Upstairs there were just two rooms. My sister’s bedroom and a big open room which I loved. The reason was because when the last tenants moved out, they left a bunch of crap in there. And a lot of that crap was toys and stuff.

I used to spend a lot of time up there playing with the dirty leftover toys.

Anyway, one day we’re sitting at the dinner table and my mom starts talking to herself. Mumbling. “Yes…” “Okay…” “I’ll tell them…”

My sister and I were confused. But my mom explained the “sinister” truth. She said that she was talking to a little girl. A little girl that used to live in the house. A little girl who had died in the house!

As if we kids weren’t freaked out enough, mom tells us that the little girl is upset that my sister has take over her old room. And if we didn’t want to be haunted forever, we would have to move Mandy’s stuff out of there before midnight.

Of course we were terrified. Not only were we supposed to move my sister’s crap out of the upstairs, there was also a ghost up there too.

Now, I suspected that something was going on. But my own mother wouldn’t do something as mean as this, right?

Wrong. She did it.

After moving a dresser, a side table and about 6 boxes of Barbie crap, as my sister and I were trying to heave her mattress down the narrow back stairs, my mom finally felt guilty enough to let us in on her dumb April Fool’s prank.

Needless to say, we were not amused. And it took my sister a week to get up the courage to move back into her room.

Thanks mom. April Fool’s Day sucks!

Fun Fact: As you may have already guessed, that last story isn’t true. My mother is a saint! she would have never done that to her young children. Shame on you if you believed it! What kind of person do you think my mother is anyway?!

Besides, it was a really bad story. Obviously fake.

If my mom had decided to do something like that to us, she would never have told us she was joking.

I really do hate April Fool’s Day though. Hate it, hate it, hate it!

Oh, and the new TAM Cartoon is up! Foolicious! And happy TAM is Smart Day!!