Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Blasé, Tedious, Kasual

In a Wichita, Kansas courthouse yesterday, the BTK Killer calmly confessed to everything.

His remorseless demeanor has outraged a great part of this country. It’s the story of the morning; how 60-year-old husband and father of two grown children, Dennis Rader, politely listed his atrocities to a stunned courtroom.

Here’s the thing. Everyone is absolutely staggered that Dennis Rader can be so matter-of-fact about his heinous deeds. But, really now, what the hell was everyone expecting?

He’s a freaking serial killer. He stalked and murdered 10 people in cold blood and then flaunted it in front of the local police and entire country. Did anyone expect a great show of repentance here? I mean, it wasn’t an accident! He didn’t accidentally tie up, torture and brutally strangle an entire family. It’ was no coincidence that when he hung an innocent little 11-year-old girl from a drainpipe in her basement she died from it. His victims didn’t just happen to die of natural causes while he was asphyxiating them.

He’s a vicious killer. He’s a sociopath. He doesn’t show any remorse because he doesn’t have any.

Sure, we’d all like to see him break down into tears, apologize and beg for forgiveness. Not because we want him to repent, mind you. Not because we’re just looking for an excuse to forgive him. It’s just because we all want to see him in twisted, tortured psychological agony.

Yeah, and I want the federal government to forgive my useless student loans.

But here’s the truth: it’s not going to happen.

We’ve been spoilt in this country with far too many colorful serial killers. The kind with “the devil-made-me-do-it” stories.

Or in the case of the Son of Sam, “the devil dog made me do it.”

We want our ruthless murderers to at least attempt some kind of excuse. It doesn’t have to make sense. In fact, the more outrageous the excuse, the better. The more confounding the reason, the more willing we are as a society to accept it.

Let’s face it, for most of us, a compulsion to kill is a bit hard to understand. It’s just not the way we’re programmed. (I hope. If you do have a compulsion to kill, especially me, remember this…I live in New Jersey)

So a ridiculous excuse for killing somehow makes sense. It sets killers apart from us. I mean we’ve all done things “just ‘cause.” But there aren’t too many people out there who have done anything to impress Jody Foster.

Ironically, the problem many people had with the BTK killer’s confession was that it was eerily human.

Any of these excuses would have been a hell of a lot better than “because I wanted to.”

• A kernel of un-popped popcorn told me that the victims all had $100 bills in their stomaches.

• As an alien scout leader from the low-oxygen planet of Kroylon 79, I thought I was doing the over-oxygenated earthlings a favor. Honest mistake.

• I was trying to impress Jody Foster and win her affections. I would have stopped at one if someone would have mentioned to me that she was a freaking lesbian! Boy is my face red.

See, then we could sit back while the “crazy” serial killer spun some bizarre story about butchery for a misguided and completely asinine grand purpose. We would be horrified, but at least there would be absolutely no doubt that he was lunatic.

As it stands, he looks just a little too much like us (he reminded me of a doctor, in fact. And people wonder why I’m terrified of hospitals...). Just remember that he’s an inhuman monster underneath. And in true monster fashion, he’s unapologetic about it.

In my relatively short time on this planet I’ve learned that the more you expect people to behave a "certain way" (read: like you do), the more disappointed you’re going to be in the future. Lets just do what we should do here.

Lock this jerk-ass up and give him less of a crap than he gave his victims.

Fun Fact: Speaking of inhuman monsters. I’ve only seen the commercial once, but I’ve already had way too much of that CG dancing “kibbles n bits” dog.

Way too creepy. I never thought I’d miss that obnoxious bulldog.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tired as Tom Cruise’s PR Rep

It’s been one hectic weekend. I spent all day Saturday and Sunday in a park here in Culver City, sweltering, getting a sunburn and performing half-rehearsed Shakespeare for obnoxious, drunken, dog-wielding passersby.

But, hey, I’m living the Hollywood dream, right?

On top of all that, I attended the premier of director Adam Hodge’s latest indie short, “Captive.” A film well enjoyed by everyone in attendance. Especially, I like to think, the middle part of the film. The part that I’m in.

Here’s my review of the film:

Independent film director Adam Hodge’s latest contribution to the suspense genre, “Captive,” is packed with shocking moments guaranteed to have you so far on the edge of your seat that the person sitting in front of you will be forced to ask you kindly to get off their lap. However, the most terrifying aspect of the short piece is possibly the fact that Hodge chose not to give the film’s real star (TAM) “above title billing,” opting instead to give that honor to the two cast members who actually have the most screen time. In this reviewer’s humble opinion, it’s time to shake off the confining conventions of Hollywood filmmaking. Why not give those with the least amount of screen time the best billing? That would show those formulaic Tinsletown automatons a thing or two! Oh, and the rest of the film was good too.

But, even more than play rehearsals and glitzy red-carpet premiers, Tanya and I are house-sitting. So my days are really screwed up at the moment. And so is my psyche. I’m having more ups and downs than Paris Hilton’s panties at a film producer’s convention.

I’m in charge of caring for a very old dog, as well as the house. So, even if I got to feel a little important at the premier, I’ve always got Max the dog to keep me grounded in my own reality. There’s nothing more humbling than hefting a heavy, stinky, ancient, arthritic Labrador retriever up some stairs 4 times a day.

And the hip massages I’ve been giving him don’t help my allusions of superiority either.

I’d feel worse about it if he wasn’t the sweetest and cutest old dog you’ve ever seen.

Fun Fact: Vince has done it! He’s cracked the “TAM Code!” Now the secrets of the ancients are his to protect. He confided in me that he’s still unsure of the significance of the cowboy hat. But I think that there are some truths that just aren’t meant for this world. The answers may be waiting for us in the next.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Day the Laughter Died

Actually a better title would be “The Day the Confusing, ‘It’s Ha-Ha Strange’ Died.”

That’s even more confounding. What I’m trying to say is that there will be no new cartoon today. I spent all day yesterday learning my lines for the play I’m in at the moment. Now my acting is still mediocre, but my lines are freaking word-perfect.

So please to enjoy the same old cartoon that’s been up there since Tuesday. You can still have fun with it. Be like those idiot doctors who claim to have found a hidden anatomical code in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings.

I’ve also hidden a code in this TAM Cartoon. Now, I don’t want to give anything away, but here’s a hint: if you look really close to the first frame, you’ll see several shapes that somewhat resemble the state of Idaho.

And all my characters have heads that are shaped similarly to baby red potatoes (complete with eyes).

Sure, I know that Idaho is known for its Russet Potato. But don’t count the reds out!

But I’ve said too much already. If you want to get to the heart of the matter, you must first crack the “TAM Code!”

Fun Fact: Tom Cruise needs to hit the old E-Meter some more. The dud’s definitely not “Clear” at the moment. He was on the Today Show this morning throwing a class-"A" hissy about the prescription drug Ritalin.

All I could think was, damn, I’ve never seen someone who needs Ritalin more in my life.

He’s got crazy eyes, man. Tom Cruise has freaking crazy eyes. I would say that the “lights were on but nobody’s home,” however, I think there’s a goddamned house-party going on inside that dude at the moment. Save me L. Ron!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Soul for Sale

With all this talk about Tom Cruise and his engagement to Katie Holmes, it’s only natural that there is going to be a lot of discussion about Scientology.

Personally, I think that Scientology is a joke. That’s my personal view on the subject. But, as I’ve stated many times before, I’m also an atheist, so any “religion” is a tough sell for me to say the least.

But there’s something that really gets to me about Scientology.

It could be L. Ron Hubbard’s dubious 1950s science. Members of the church pay handsomely to go through a series of “Audits” by other, more enlightened, church goers. The goal is to work their way through the “eight Dynamics” and obtain a level of “Clear.” Eventually working up to the grand poobah, Golike status of “Supreme Being.”

Or, it could be their rampant Capitalization policy? Giving every Scientology Term Religious Weight?

Audits are like, biofeedback. The one looking for enlightenment forks over some cash for the session and then grips firmly onto the The E-Meter, or Electropsychometer. A “religious artifact” (according to the Scientology web site). A sort of “spiritual lie detector,” if you will, that somewhat resembles those metal things you grab onto while on the crosstrainer at the gym to check your heart rate.

But without having to wait for the ass jerk who is blatantly ignoring the “30-minutes on all cardio equipment” rule.

Then some stuff happens and if you’ve been a good boy or girl, you become enlightened.

Of course, it’s much more complicated than that. Needlessly complicated in fact. But there’s nothing like needless complication to instill a sense of awe and wondrous bewilderment in your idiotic followers, right L. Ron?

Hey, L. Ron Hubbard was no dummy. He knew what it took to maintain a healthy religious following. Ceremony and secrets. Hell, it worked for the Catholics. And it’s doing a fine job with the Mormons too.

The reason I bring this all up. I mean, other than the fact that I just can’t stand Scientology. Is because there was a Scientology representative on the news this morning. He was asked about the churches “tithing” policy.

As I said, members must pay for religious enlightenment. And it’s not cheap. And the more enlightened you want to be, the more you have to pay. This is what the Scientology web site has to say about it:

“Scientology does not have hundreds of years of accumulated wealth and property like other religions - it must make its way in the world according to the economics of today’s society. When one considers the cost of ministering even one hour of auditing, requiring extensively trained specialists, and the overhead costs of maintaining church premises, the necessity of donations become clear.”

Start big, I always say. Good for you Scientologists. Trying to keep up with the Jonses.

But could there be a hidden message here? Why does the church of Scientology feel like they have to make so much money so fast? A harrowing forewarning of events to come, Hale-Bop style? What do they know that I don’t? Should I join and find out? They offer “free” acting classes to members.


No. Not right now. Back to the guy on the news. I felt that his answer to “why do you charge so damned much for spiritual enlightenment?!” was much more creative.

He said:

“Because people don’t really value things they get for free.”

They're doing it for their member’s own good! Hey, what nice people. But I thought it was because they needed to hire people to clean the sweat off of all those E-Meters? And what about the Freewinds, the 450 foot yacht tied up there in the Caribbean? Couldn’t the money go to take care of that too?

Kismet! See, in Scientology, everybody wins!

But it’s nice to think that when I go to the grocery store to buy a candy bar, they’re really only charging me because they want my Snickers to taste better to me.

Incidentally, this is the same reason my mom used to give me when I asked why the hell I had to take out the stupid garbage just so I could get a lousy $1 a week allowance.

I never knew my mom was a Scientologist. But now it’s all starting to make sense. After all, she has seen some Tom Cruise movies.

But I could go on all day about Scientology. About how they’re trying to take over Hollywood. About their enticing “celebrity building” program. About what controlling asshats they are etc…But as the immortal Geordy LaForge used to say…“don’t take my word for it”

Visit the Scientology web site’s “Answers to Questions Most Commonly Asked by the Media” section.

Fun Fact: According to the web site, The Celebrity Center International is open to all of it’s artistically creative members to help them become masters of art. It’s located in Hollywood and ministers to parishioners who excel in the arts, entertainment and business professions.

Only in Scientology can “business” be considered a creative art form. After all, they did somehow manage to get tax-exempt status. That took some serious creativity, right?

L.Ron had to invent a freaking religion for crying out loud!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

La Mort au Soleil

It’s the Summer Solstice. And I couldn’t be happier. It means that they days are going to start getting shorter again.

I don’t know about you, but I hate the fact that the stupid sun doesn’t go down until 8:00 at night. I like my evenings long and dark. Like my soul.

Plus it’s the official beginning of summer. Which means that we’re one day closer to summer being over. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t enjoy summer as a season, it’s just that I wish it wasn’t so damned hot!

And it gets in the way of autumn. The best season of them all. Someday autumn is going to get fed up as well and kick summer’s ass.

Until that day comes when autumn puts its sweltering interloper in its place, enjoy your summer.

If you can.

Fun Fact: The heat makes you stupid. It draws blood away from the brain in order to cool the skin. It’s a fact.

Which might explain why we always have to remind people – every freaking year – not to leave their stupid kids locked in a 120º car!

Seriously, if you have such little regard for your child’s well-being, why not let your three-year-old practice juggling chainsaws? At least then, if they survive long enough, they’ll have developed a useful skill.

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Sterilizethemoronsational!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Now I’m Walking Through My Front Door *chir-r-r-r-rp*

What the hell *chir-r-r-r-rp* is the purpose of *chir-r-r-r-r-rp* two-way pagers? *Chir-r-r-r-rp.*

Did the people who have and utilize two-way *chir-r-r-r-r-r-rp* pagers flunk the policeman’s aptitude *chir-r-r-r-rp* test? *Chir-r-r-r-rp*. Did they always want to be cops? *Chir-r-r-r-r-rp*. I’m just trying to figure out *chir-r-r-r-rp* why in hell people would want to walk around *chir-r-r-r-r-rp* holding their cell phones two feet away from their *chir-r-r-rp* mouths like walkie-talkies. *Chir-r-r-r-r-rp*

The only thing more aggravating than reading all this *chir-r-r-r-r-r-rp* “chirping.” Is having to actually listen to it. *Chir-r-r-r-r-rp.*

My neighbor is a horrible offender. Whenever he comes home, I feel like I’m being surrounded by the swat team. Because I’m pretty damned sure that my apartment isn’t being prepared for a mission to the moon…over.

I realize that the “chirp” is there to let the moron on the end of the phone know that the other moron is done speaking. And while I’m really glad that the miracle of technology has finally been able to save us all the added effort of saying the word “over” at the end of each sentence…over…does the damned chirp have to be so loud? I’ve heard car alarms with more subtlety.

But seriously, why two-way pagers? People actually want this feature. I guess it’s one way to get attention. It’s simpler than faking your own kidnapping or auditioning for a reality TV show.

Personally, I don’t want everybody at Starbucks to hear my phone conversations. But that’s why my cell phone has this really interesting feature; it’s called – the phone! It’s a lot like a two way pager, but the conversation happens in real time. And there’s no chirping so you can keep the receiver to your ear without the imminent threat of becoming deaf. It’s like some kind of telecommunications miracle.

Of course, I’m assuming that my cell phone conversations are important or private. Of course, they’re not. If they were, I wouldn’t be having them in line for cheap Chinese food at the Panda Express.

And I know that other people’s conversations aren’t any more important. I’ve heard them. I’ve eavesdropped on them.

In college I had this really old and cheap TV set that had a radio-type dial. You had to “tune in” the TV stations. But if you slid the tuner all the way to the top of the bandwidth, you could pick up other people’s cell phone conversations.

My god they were boring.

98% of them were simply a running commentary on what the two people were doing. Seriously, has it gotten so bad that we can’t go on with our little lives without knowing what street our loved-ones are turning onto at any given moment?

Which reminds me…I have to call Tanya so I can listen to her as she reads this post silently to herself.

Fun Fact: Doing little household “fixit” projects can make you feel great about yourself.

But here’s a warning. Don’t snake out the bathroom sink if you’re not prepared for the slimy monster that you’re inevitably going to release from the underworld.

Trust me.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Happy as a Dung Beetle Following a Camel on a high Fiber Diet

About twelve years ago I loaned a CD to a college professor. I never got it back. I never really even asked for it back. I just assumed that I would be in college forever, I guess, and could ask for it at my leisure.

That was almost true. I did pursue four more years of higher education. It just was at another school.

Well, not so much pursue “pursue” as “follow leisurely at a comfortable distance.” In case my bachelor’s degree spotted me coming, I could make a hasty get-away and sign up for another entire semester comprised completely of elective courses.

Anyway, the CD was a great album, “The Best of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker.” A comprehensive compilation of truly iconic performances from the two “west coast” cool-jazzers.

It was one of my favorite albums. And yet, being cursed with extreme laziness (encompassing intermittent fits of extreme pennilessness), I never got around to replacing it.

Until now. Thanks to a charitable grant from the Tanya “will he stop bugging me about stupid Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker” Entertainment Endowment, I now have a replacement for my woefully missed CD.

Of course a grant from the Tanya Entertainment Endowment doesn’t come without a price. I promised that Gerry and Chet would help me get the creative juices flowing while I work on my latest screenplay. So you know what that means I have to do today…

I have to pretend to get some work done.

Thank you Tanya (and the T.E.E.), it’s every bit the cool-ass album I remember.

Fun Fact: Dung Beetles have the uncanny ability to fashion and roll balls of dung that weigh 50 times their own weight. Impressive! I sometimes wish I had that kind of strength. But then I think, “what in the hell would I do with a 9,100 pound ball of crap!?”

And the latest TAM Cartoon is up! It’s a slightly lighter ball of crap. Dung-a-licious!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Intellectual Lullaby

About a thousand years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and man had no choice but to accept the predictable programming of major network television, I ran a secret contest.

I posted a comment on the Cartoon Archives site, TAM too. Whosoever discovered that comment was to win a fantastic prize. A spectacular song written especially for them especially by me.

Well, as you may or may not remember, Julie was the proud winner of said song. I delivered it to her last weekend. And now, thanks to the internet trickery of Kevin Sage (visit his website to hear his catchy über-jingle cleverly entitled “kevinsage.com” written and performed by me) I can now share Julie’s spoils with the rest of geekdom.

Please to be clicking on the link to the right (under “A Little Blog Music”) to hear Julie’s song “Intellectual Lullaby.” In true blogger fashion, I have turned Julie’s song into a song almost completely about myself. And I went a little nuts with the rhyming dictionary.

As an added bonus, I have also included a recently “completed” tune called “Shameless Self-Promoter.”

The files aren’t small, mind you. They’re not ginormous either. They're in MP3 format. I’m just saying that if you have a dialup connection, you may want to wait for the worldwide disc release. Please keep in mind that if you’re waiting for the worldwide disc release…you may be waiting for a hell of a long time.

…I’m just saying…Michael Jackson has a better chance of selling a record right now than I do.

Fun Fact: Michael Jackson’s music video “Billy Jean” was the first video by a black artist to air on MTV.

And…Julie’s album cover:

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flag Me, Baby

Happy Flag Day! Just the bestest holiday of the entire year!

I spent all night last night hiding tiny flags around the apartment. And this morning, before we went to the gym, I put out Tanya’s flag basket filled to the brim with…flags! She thought that the flag bunny had come while she was sleeping. It was adorable. She’s 28 and still gets as big a kick out of Flag Day as she did when she was a little girl.

Tonight we’re going to sip cocoa, listen to some John Philip Sousa, tell scary flag related stories (like the time I accidentally let a flag touch the ground in front of the local military base color guard and was summarily burned alive, right along with old glory. I feel much better now, thanks.) and open up our flag presents. I hope I get a flag again this year! Then I’ll let Tanya scour the apartment, searching for all the little flags I so painstakingly spent last night hiding.

I just hope that she finds them all. I didn’t keep track of where I put them. One year we didn’t realize that we forgot one. Boy, let me tell you, it was quite a surprise to find it the next year, right where I had hidden it! And man oh man did it stink!

You’ve smelled hell when you stumble across a year old flag hidden in an end table, I tells ya’.

Thank you Betsy Ross, for sewing one heck of an iconic symbol. Even if those jerks in Philadelphia didn’t consider it to be “official.” Even if it’s still not considered “official.” Even if there’s no actual proof that you sewed anything at all (other than a ship’s flag once). Who cares, right? History is written by the winners. And you are one of the victorious, lady! Kudos, Elizabeth Griscom Ross. Your possible but highly unlikely contribution to history may or may not have changed the world!

And thank you too, BJ Cigrand, for inventing the greatest and by far the most exciting holiday known to mankind! If you hadn’t asserted your power as a teacher to force your students there in Wisconsin to pay tribute to the stars n’ stripes, I wouldn’t be here today. And you probably would have been forever remembered not for your remarkable historical value but rather for having a name that reminds people of lascivious sex acts.

Yessiree! Flag Day is one special day.

Fun Fact: Flag day had been celebrated for years but it was not “official” until President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th…uh…Flag Day.

1914 Secretary of the Interior, Crazy Franklin K. Lane, said that his flag talked to him. Crazy Frank's flag had this to say: “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”

You should hear what he claims the toaster told him to do.

And the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Eastertastic! Uh...I mean...Flagsational!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Everybody’s a Freaking Genius

At least they are after they pass on.

This morning on the news there was this tragic story about a poor woman who died from a melanoma. It was a surprise to everyone. Especially her. Even though her sister had already battled the cancer.

They made it a point to let us all know that she was an intelligent woman. She had a college education and everything. They were afraid that we, the news-watching public, would jump to the horrible conclusion that she was some kind of cancer-ignorant melanoma-dummy.

I’m sure that no one was thinking that. Even though, even after her sister got skin cancer, she still never bothered to check herself for the very same illness.

Hey, I can relate. I would have done the same thing. My entire family could be killed by skin cancer and, after I got done being incredibly bummed out, I’d hit the beach without even thinking about sunscreen. It’s true. I probably would. Then again, I’m no genius.

Oh, who am I kidding, I am too.

But it wasn’t the terribly sad story that got to me. What happened to this woman was tragic. And her mother’s now fighting the good fight to raise melanoma awareness. Good for her.

The thing that made me take notice was the whole “she had a college education” thing.

Newscasters always bring up a person’s education. I suppose it’s to let all of us college educated folk know that “it could happen to you…yes you…the loser on the couch with a double BA in Theatre Arts.”

It’s like that pretty white girl that went missing in Aruba. They made a huge to-do about her grades. “She was an honor student blah, blah, blah…” “She would never have done something as stupid as get into a stranger’s car…willingly.”

You’re right. Any 18-year-old girl who travels to Aruba in order to be able to get her way into a bar would never do something stupid. And those chaperones that took a group of high school girls to get drunk in the Caribbean – well, I’m sure they’re the most responsible chaperones in the world.

My point is that I wish when people went missing or were horribly massacred or whatever that the news people wouldn’t inundate us with their resumé. We don’t care…do we?

I suppose it’s interesting and all. I suppose if they find that poor Aruba girl alive and well, she can use her impressive credentials and hype to get into a great college.

“Hi, Harvard admissions? Yeah, I’m that girl that went missing in Aruba…oh yeah…I’m fine…sure, I’ll be scarred for life but…anyways, the reason I was calling y’all was – well heck – can I go to school there with y’all? It would make me happier than a hound under the supper table. Matt Lauer said I was really bright and have a stellar future ahead of me. Don’t make Matt Lauer into a liar!”

Her name is Natalee Holloway by the way. I don’t want to appear insensitive. I hope they find her. I hope she’s safe. And so does the rest of the world. After all…she’s Alabama hot.

Seriously, though, would it have made any difference if Natalee had dropped out of school in the 3rd grade?

Yes, it would.

She wouldn’t be all over the news if that was the case. Not here anyway. There would be this horrible underlying feeling that the “idiot-girl” had somehow brought it all on herself. If only she had stayed in school…

Crime happens to everyone. It doesn’t care if you’ve studied the complete works of William Shakespeare. In fact, nobody cares about that. Not even William. He studied his own works and look where it got him! Dead, that’s where.

It doesn’t make the crime worse that it happened to an honor student. And some of the biggest idiots I’ve ever met in my life I met in college. Hell, I graduated with honors…and one time I put plastic in the toaster!

But crime can be made to be sexy. Tragedy can be spun to be somehow more tragic. And irony can be found even where it never existed.

“Tragically, we have another victim of skin cancer to discuss this morning. Unbelievably beautiful, 1991 Falls High School valedictorian Jane Whatshername doubled over one day in pain. She didn’t know what was happening. Sadly, it was skin cancer…and it was too late to stop it.

Ironically, she has had skin all her life…”

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

And a language becomes extinct in this world every two weeks. It's a fact.

Luckily, the random moron witnesses they interview on the morning news every time a cop shoots someone here in LA (about everyday now) are busy creating their own out of the vowel sounds from things they might have once heard someone say.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Operator, Information, Get Me Jesus on the Line

Christians are retaking the world one phone call at a time. Pounding same-sex marriages, gays in general and atheists with the power of the pound key.

If you’re a gay atheist who’s married to someone of the same sex…you’re screwed, pal.

United American Technologies will get you. They’re offering a special phone service for Christians with a…less tolerant…bent.

Check out comedian Eugene Mirman’s encounter with these good people. Make sure to take a listen to the conversations he recorded. I have nothing to add.

I blame the Republicans of course. Granted, I blame the Republicans if the toaster oven burns my pop tart… But that doesn’t mean that the Republicans aren’t to blame for this too.

Whenever there’s a Republican in the white house, the entire nation goes coo-coo for Christianity. It becomes a real social issue. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you’re a Christian.

But lately, it’s been taking a weird turn. I think it’s because George W. Bush is such a nonsensical nincompoop that the religious wack-jobs out there feel more comfortable trying to break into the mainstream.

I mean, if Americans can swallow the war in Iraq, they’ll eat anything. Even bigoted hatred.

Especially if you can piggy-back religion with patriotism. Of course it doesn’t hurt that gays who want to get married love terrorists.

It’s true. Read the bible.

And with the onslaught of Christian-themed TV shows hitting the air lately, and Dan Brown’s conspiracy machine cranking out dubious science and reckless theory, Jesus has become quite a little celebrity.

As with all celebrities, we just can’t get enough of the guy.

We want to know everything! Where did he summer? Who did he date? What was his favorite spa? Is crucifixion really the fastest way to shed unwanted pounds?

And can Jesus’ death teach us all about the perils of pulmonary embolism?

Israeli researcher, Dr. Benjamin Brenner thinks it can. He’s recently postulated that Jesus didn’t actually die from blood loss on the cross, but rather it may have been a blood clot that traveled to his lungs that killed him.

“It is known that the common cause of death in the setting of multiple trauma, immobilization and dehydration is pulmonary embolism,” wrote Brenner. “This fits well with Jesus' condition and actually was in all likelihood the major cause of death of crucified victims.”

How immensely fascinating. I’ll bet Jesus would have liked to know this, huh?

“Mary…Mary…hey hon, look, I’m in excruciating pain up here what with my hands and feet having these huge spikes driven through them…”

“What is it Lord? What would you have me do? How can I make you more comfortable, Lord? Would you like me to anoint something? I don’t know what to do! I’m a wreck here!”

“No, no, hey, don’t worry too much about the anointing. It stings. But perhaps there is ONE little thing you can do for me?”

“Anything Lord!”

“Yeah…uh…could you ask around and see if, possibly, anyone has any HEPARIN on them? It’s an anticoagulant. I’d really be bummed if a blood clot made it to my lungs.”

Who really cares if Jesus had a blood clot? Not religious leaders. They feel that Dr. Brenner’s theory ignores the spiritual aspect of the crucifixion. They say that focusing on the physical part of Jesus’ death misses the point of the crucifixion. The suffering.

Evidently, none of the religious scholars have ever had deep vein thrombosis. It’s nasty stuff.

But sure, it’s missing the point. It’s meant to. But let’s not be pots and kettles here. As an atheist, I think that an argument about how a man claiming to be the son of God happened to shuffle off this mortal coil ignores a few…much larger…points of debate.

Jesus is a celebrity now. He’s not just a deity. Christians want more information than the bible gives. Even if it has to be mindless speculation. It’s fun to speculate. It’s fun to think about Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Were they getting serious? Was it going to last?

If only there had been Oprah of Galilee. She would have cleared things right up. And Jesus could have showed his devotion to Mary M. by jumping all over her furniture.

Personally, I hope that it becomes accepted that Jesus did die of a blood clot. Then we could make it into something sacred.

The sacred blood clot.

“I’m sorry. You have deep vein thrombosis. Soon the blood clot will move to someplace bad and kill you. Unless we operate immediately…”

“Well what are you waiting for…operate already!”

“I’m sorry, we can’t do that. You shouldn’t have come to a hospital with ‘OUR LADY OF…’ in the title. Blood clots are sacred. Like cows to Hindus. But without all the weirdness.”

“So I’m going to die?!”

“There’s nothing we can do. It’s our religion. We can’t remove it. A blood clot killed Jesus you know.”

“But I’m JEWISH!”

“…How ironic.”

Fun Fact: Tom Cruise has a maniacal laugh that would make Hitler cringe in apprehensive terror.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Happy Birthday Tom Jones

Yes, Tom Jones has gotten older today and women everywhere are starting to want their panties back.

Why do I bring it up? Because it’s true. And because I have nothing else to say.

There’s nothing new, Pussycat.

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

And don’t forget to check out the latest additions to the “Blog Music” section to the right. If you haven’t already.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Drivin’ Me Nuts

A pirate walks into a bar with a huge ships wheel attached to his crotch. The bartender asks him, “Hey, Blackbeard, what’s with the steering wheel?” The Pirate replies, “Arrrgh, I dunno, but it’s…(See title of post).”

GMAC, the financial and insurance end of General Motors, did a study on the driving habits of the general population and then ranked them best to worst, state by state.

Needless to say, California ranked very low. #43…out of 49.

I know what you’re thinking. “Aren’t there 50 states?” “Didn’t we force ourselves on Hawaii a while back?”

Well, if you’re saying that second part, you’re probably Hawaiian. And yes, we did. There are still 50 states. But nobody cares how people drive in Hawaii or Alaska.

Again, your math doesn’t check out does it?

Don’t forget that included on the list is that one “weirdo non-state thingie,” Washington DC.

Confused? In that case, chances are you’re from Rhode Island. And a moron. A moron who can’t drive.

That’s right, Rhode Island tested the worst with an average driver’s test score of 77%.

I should clarify here. GMAC re-administered driver’s test to 5,000 fully licensed drivers. A 20 question test with basic driving rules. And the results concluded that nearly 1 out of 10 drivers on the road right now would fail to qualify for their driver’s license if forced to take the exam over again. And a vast majority of bad drivers come from the Northeast.

The study revealed that many drivers find basic practices, such as merging and interpreting road signs, difficult. And one out of five drivers doesn't know that a pedestrian in a crosswalk has the right of way.

One out of three drivers speeds up to make a yellow light, even when pedestrians are present.


Is it any surprise to anyone that so many people would fail? If you want to catch a bad driver in the act here in California all you have to do is look at the street. No one uses turn signals. No one appreciates the basic principals of “right-of-way.”

No one understands that when I flip them off, the need to get out of my way.

But I’m one of the horribly cursed. Cursed with exceptional driving skills. Sure, I only passed the driving portion of my driving test by one point. But to be fair, I was tricked. A half a percent slope in the damned road does not constitute parking on a freaking hill! You bastards!

Sorry, that was for my test administrator more than it was for you. They’ll understand. And I hope they’re ashamed.

But I did get my license in one try. That’s something, I guess.

But my real curse is being one of the enlightened among pagans. See, I was taught to drive in Washington State. #2 on the list. Second best only to Oregon.

All I can say is that, as great driver here in Southern California, sometimes it’s lonely at the (black) top.

Fun Fact: I came across as a little…overconfident…about my driving skills in that post. I don’t like to toot my own horn…except when some ass-jerk is driving like an ass-jerk.

I’m the best driver on the road!

It’s a fact.

Friday, June 03, 2005

For Your Listening Enjoyment

I’ve posted the two tunes that I blogged about in my last post. The stuff from the star-studded gala. They’re in MP3 format.


As always, all rights belong to me.

(For TAM purposes, the poem is read by a Wendie Malick impersonator, but you’ll get the idea)

Click the links on the right under "A Little Blog Music."

Rock Star Wannabe

My music has now been heard by Garry Marshall, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Martin Short, Hal Sparks, Tobey McGuire, Amy Smart, Hootie and the Blowfish and the Bangals.

And a bunch of other talented and charitable folk at last night’s Heal the Bay 20th Anniversary Gala.

And none of them probably had any idea.

But that’s cool. I just wish I could have been there to see if any of them were even paying attention. I’ll try to get the music posted here in the future so that you too can experience the magic of TAM, the surfer rock star.

The other day I posted a cryptic comment about writing a song for Michael Madsen. Well, that didn’t happen. I was writing accompanying music for a poem that he was supposed to read at the event. But he up and got a job.

But that didn’t stop the poetry machine. Instead, the poem was ably read by the lovely and talented Wendie Malick. I also wish I could have been there to see that. Plus I would have liked to meet her. She’s the main reason I watched “Just Shoot Me.” And I would like to have her answer a burning question that’s been bugging me for months…

Why the hell did Disney cancel “Fillmore!”

The best cartoon on television and it got less respect than Lindsay Lohan at the Nobel Prize Awards. Wendie was the voice of Principal Folsom. Seriously, if you get a chance to catch the show, and you like cartoons and cop dramas, watch it.

Congrats, Heal the Bay, on 20 years of cleaning up the coast. You have excellent taste in music.

And congrats Kevin for writing a great show. You have excellent taste in desperate friends.

Fun Fact: The latest TAM Cartoon is up! Rock on!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Trust Me

Why not? What have you got to lose? Would I lie?

Swiss and American scientists have isolated the hormone, produced by the hypothalamus, that induces feelings of trust, oxytocin. This chemical stimulates uterine contractions during labor and induces milk production.

In both women and men, oxytocin is released during sex. Which could explain some of my strange behavior in college.

But the scientists have taken oxytocin one step further and did what any red-blooded capitalists would do; they synthesized it and are planning to market it in the future as a nasal spray.

Soon, pending FDA approval, you’ll be able to shoot “trust” up your nose. The scientists claim that the new drug will have many useful applications. Autistics will be able to take the drug and hopefully begin to make more meaningful human connections. And there’s no better way to stop your head from exploding during an election year.

Plus now that “morning after regret” can be staved off for days and days.

Researchers claim that it really, really works. They took a couple groups of people and administered the drug to some and a placebo to others. They then measured their level of trust by pitching them an investment scheme. The people who took oxytocin invested, on the whole, 17% more in the scheme than those on the placebo.

Which means that oxytocin is effective.

And this could possibly become the most well-funded drug in history.

But there’s always a down side to any drug. No matter what the drug or its purpose, there will always be the asshole who abuses it for “recreational” purposes. (Right now, there’s probably someone out there trying to get high off of Preparation H.)

Dude! What the hell did I do last night? All I remember is that I took like three noses-full of “trust candy” and I start acting like a freaking puppy dog. All ‘Oh yeah, that sounds great’ and like ‘what a good idea’ and junk. But man, let me tell you, I’ve got to stop ridin’ the trust pony, dude. Nylons itch like a mo-fo! And what I was talked into doing next – hurt waaaayyy more than that guy said it would. Where did I put that tube of junk I tried to get high off of yesterday?

Fun Fact: Why not go and visit kevinsage.com. Come on. He’s become a superhero. He actually got a new friend to record a little something on his answering machine.

And a new game!

I call it: “Who am I and What am I selling?” or “What’s my line.”

Not very good titles, but…

Here’s the way you play. I write the inner monologue of a timeless character in a “popular” television commercial. Then you have to guess who I am and what I’m (possibly inadvertently) selling. Got it?


My friends warned me about her. They said the she’ll love you and leave you. Just like that. She has a strange way with people. I should have known by the way she treated her roommate and her roommate’s cats. One day everything’s going fine and then POOF, gone. Not even a “so long sucker.” She said it was different with me. She said she liked my cats. She said “they don’t look like the kind of cats that shed too much.” That was really something coming from her.

She had a strange way with people. She could collect them and throw them away like it was nothing. But that wasn’t going to happen to me. She liked me. And she liked my cats.

But that was three years and one horrible breakup ago. Horrible for me anyway. She didn’t seem to even flinch. One day I’m making a tasty salad and the next thing I know…POOF, I’m gone. Just like her roommate. And her dog. And get this, she said it wasn’t me. It was my CATS! Shallow, huh? She used to say she loved my cats. But love goes sour I guess. And cats that “look like they don’t shed too much” actually do.

But that was three years ago. Now I’m back. As if by magic. She wants me back. Seems that she found something great to help her cope with my cats. And her dog. And her old roommate. And now she wants me back. Like nothing happened. Just POOF and I’m the BF again.

But I’ve moved on. I met Sally. She loves me for me. And she loves my cats. Although she accidentally backed over one with the Surburban. But she felt real bad about it. I can’t just pop back into my old life. She can’t make me. She can’t toy with me like this.

It would be a lot easier if I didn’t still love her so damned much.

She has a strange way with people.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

We Must Rescue the Women Folk

After all, they’re defenseless and…let’s face it…more than a little, well…dim.


That’s why all of us burly men must raise up our rugged, strong arms in a fit of rage at what the tobacco company tried to do to the weaker sex.

They tried to sell them cigarettes!

The nerve of some people.

A recent study from the brains at the Harvard School of Public Health has uncovered a dastardly plan from the late 90s to market cancer giving cigarettes to chicks. The researchers studied insider documents, now made public, and found that tobacco marketers did a study of men and women in order to discern key differences in the sexes.

I mean besides the obvious penis-vagina, Mars-Venus type differences.

They then took the findings from this study and developed a line of nicotine-laced products that would appeal to women. One of which was a chocolate flavored cigarette that curbs the appetite.

The study determined that women are more health-conscious. Therefore they prefer pretentious cigarettes that have lower tar and a sweet smell to mask the promise of a slow, expensive death.

I have to say a few things. First, I’m a smoker. A half-a-pack a day smoker. Secondly, I know that smoking is bad for you. I’m not a complete moron. I just act like one. Thirdly, I don’t condone the underhanded marketing strategies of the tobacco industry.

But what the hell kind of stupid-ass news story is this?

Hate it or tolerate it, smoking is legal. Selling cigarettes and other tobacco products is legal. Marketing cigarettes is legal (unless you do it during a NASCAR event. Leave auto racing sponsorship to the alcohol companies. Don’t smoke and drive, kids). So where is the wrong here? Why is this news?

Because women were targeted, that’s why.

And women are weak. Women need men to protect them. Women need group therapy and support groups and a collection of bestest friends and quilting bees. Women can’t handle the tobacco companies alone.

Women are no match for chocolate flavored cigarettes that curb the appetite.


I’ve noticed a large resurgence in sexism lately. I think it’s a byproduct of…and god do I hate to say this…9-11. Firefighters and “real heroes” and the Iraq war and Jessica Lynch...

Look for it. It’s everywhere, I tell you.

But back to the study. Marketing is marketing. When you have a product, you have to sell it. It’s about money. Everything is about money. Why should the tobacco industry be vilified because they’re trying to find ways to get people to but their products? Because it kills people?

In that case, can we stop marketing SUVs to middle aged women?

See, sexism. Everywhere.

Cars kill people. But they keep making them bigger and faster and more deadly. Alcohol kills people, but now it can be part of your “low carb, active lifestyle

But there is a lighter side to this whole thing, the lead researcher and author of the study, Carrie Carpenter.

A fine woman out to do some good, I’m sure. A pawn to her male oppressors? Maybe. She had some really great quotes. She feels that this marketing plan goes far beyond normal marketing strategies.

She feels that women were unfairly targeted to become hopeless addicts. She also feels that the research done by the tobacco companies should have been used for a better purpose – to help women quit smoking.


I don’t think Ms. Carpenter has a very firm grasp on market research.

Tobacco Researcher: Gentlemen of the board, our studies have been completed and we’ve uncovered a great deal about the smoking habits of women.

President of Some Big Tobacco Company: Good job, Phillips! Lay it on us! *cough, cough*

TR: If we implement the findings of our study, we can help more women quit smoking than ever before! Then we can all close up shop and start a new business! I was thinking we could make and sell teddy bears! Our market research shows that women love teddy bears. Especially ones they can smoke!

PoSBTC: Ummm....*cough cough*

Fun Fact: This news story scrolled across the bottom of my TV all morning.

I’ve never wanted a chocolate, appetite suppressing cigarette so much in my life!

But they don’t make them.

Damn tobacco companies! Where’s the follow through?! Stupid chicks.