Friday, September 30, 2005

Demons Exorcising Demons

I went to the opening night of Knott’s Scary Farm last night.

We have been planning it for a while now. We even got tickets way in advance so that we couldn’t do what we usually do, which is to start dreading the lines and the people and the traffic right before the event, realize how tired we are and spend the evening watching bad television (although we did miss Alias last night). Plus we were going with our friend Steve who is a nut for the Halloween Haunt. He goes every year (more than once). So we had the perfect tour guide.

There was only one real problem with our grand plan: my childhood trauma.

When I was about six or seven my mom took me out to the boonies of Washington State to visit a haunted house. No, not a real one. A walkthrough “maze” consisting of portable buildings crammed together and filled with terrifying scenarios. Add to this, a menagerie of creatures in ill-fitting overalls covered in cow’s blood, brandishing knives.

And then you've got the monsters actually working in the maze.

Anyway, my little heart was already three-quarters yellow at that point. I hated being startled. To the point where I would get very anxious and mad whenever I saw a balloon (those things are just waiting to be popped, and my anxieties weren’t alleviated by the hordes of “friends” that I had who would threaten to pop balloons in my face at every opportunity). I hated fireworks too. Loud and surprising.

But as I was saying. There was nothing more terrifying to me in my early life as a dark walk-through haunted maze (maybe one filled with balloons…and syringes). People jumping out at you left and right. What’s so fun about that? There was many a Halloween where I had to sit outside waiting for my family to come out the other end of a hay-bail maze. And then I had to listen to them all try to explain to me for the rest of the night that the haunted maze “really wasn’t that scary…”

Even my younger sister would try to comfort me. That’s the worst. Being talked down by a 5-year-old.

Castrated. Before I really knew what they were for. So sad.

But that one time (when I was six or seven, you know, back to the story), my mom (maybe my aunt? I’m still repressing some of this) actually convinced me to go in. I was going to cowboy up for once, swallow my fear and face the gaggle of yokels wearing rubber masks.

So we go in. The first room is some kind of Dracula room (vampire room actually, but to the more “earthy people” living on farms in Washington, all vampires are “Draculas”). There was a Dracula in a coffin and another Dracula hissing words of warning at us from the corner.

I was terrified. But still generally okay. If we walked fast I could make it out of there without urinating on something…like myself.

We wound our way to the second room.

The evil doctor room.

Man, these people had my number. But good too. Here’s my list of childhood fears. In order from worst to not-so…uh…worst.

1. (Needles: not technically a “childhood fear” because they still terrify me)
2. Haunted Houses
3. Doctors
4. Dentists (a tie with Doctors. Both give shots)
5. Balloons
6. Fireworks
7. The “Kidnapper Van”
8. FD&C Red Dye No.2

So an evil doctor brandishing a butcher knife is just about the worst thing imaginable. But then to make matters worse, this was the carefree 70s, so the haunts and ghouls were free to grab little children, which one did. And then proceeded to threaten to cut off my ear!

My ear! My freaking ear! I need my ear! To hear stuff!

Needless to say, I flipped out. Like biblically flipped out. Wrath of god type stuff. I’m sure somewhere in some distant sea, the waters parted that night.

And that was it. Never again would I ever go into another haunted house as long as I lived.

I never expected to live to 32 I guess because last night I went through about 10 haunted mazes. Some of them twice. And they were all filled with yokels wearing rubber masks who pound on walls and jump at you.

And I had a great time. I had genuine anxiety about going too. But it was great. If you ever get a chance to visit Knott’s Scary Farm, I suggest you do so. And go on opening night. There was nobody there (if you don’t like getting scared, go anyway, go early and ride the roller coasters without having to wait in a line).

Thank you Knott’s for exorcising my demons.

But don’t expect me to show up for Knott’s Needle Farm.

Fun Fact: I giggle every time I see that commercial for the new osteoporosis medication.

The word Boniva is funny to me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Behold the Awesome Power of God…and Methamphetamines

Ashley Smith’s new book is out. You may remember her as the woman who was taken hostage by an Atlanta murderer and then proceeded to convince him to turn himself in to the police by reading to him from a religious self-help book.

She was touted as a hero. A single mother whose faith in God and willingness to spread the good word put a dangerous madman behind bars. A quite uplifting story actually. It warmed the heart of the nation.

But she left out one small detail. God might have been a big part in ending the murderer’s rampage of terror. But more than likely it was the combination of that and the crystal meth that did the trick.

See, what we didn’t know at the time was that Miss Smith was a tweaker. Why didn’t we know this? Well, because she didn’t tell anyone about it.

The guy broke into her house, tied her up and asked for some pot. Ashley didn’t have any marijuana on her…but she had some ice. So she offered that to him instead. Which he took and then proceeded to become convinced that Ashley Smith was in reality, an angel.

So her book is called Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero.

She’s just lucky that his meth-riddled brain chose to envisage her as an angel. Otherwise things could have been much more awkward.

Who’s going to buy a book called Unlikely Santa Claus?

The police learned about this drug involvement months after the event took place. But the general population is just finding out about it now. Is it really that hard to figure these things out? Nobody questioned the suspect? Nobody smelled the meth in the apartment? None of her friends knew she was an addict? The cops didn’t leak it?

They probably did. We probably could have figured out the truth a long time ago. The reality is that no one wanted to. We want to believe what we want to believe. Does her drug addiction and the use of meth make her any less of a hero? No. She still got the dude to turn himself in. Who cares how she did it?

The Christians, that’s who.

They wanted it to be god and an appeal to basic human emotion and a sense of right and wrong. Hell, we all wanted it to be that. We all want to believe that you can reason with a murder. We want to believe that there’s an inherent moral truth that runs through all of us. It gives us a sense that we’re in control of things. That we can make the wrong right. But the harsh reality is that most of the time it’s just not the case. Sometimes reason needs a little psychotropic help.

The truth of the matter is that she used drugs to manipulate this man. Not spirituality. A chemical compound. She still accomplished something remarkable. But it’s tarnished her achievement. Especially since she lied about it at first. In our rush to create yet another heartwarming story, we’ve gotten it all wrong.

(Speaking of wrong stories, GMA did a story on the “Urban legends of Hurricane Katrina” this morning. People being raped and killed in the Super Dome, roving gangs… Mostly untrue. They had an expert on as they tried to discover just how these kinds of stories get started and spread so fast. Hmmm. It’s a real mystery isn’t it, GMA? I wonder…? Next, I suppose it’s off to help OJ find the real killer. I also like how they used the term “Urban Legend.” It connotes that the problem somehow lies with us, the “Urbanites,” the common folk. Last time I checked, only 50 people a day read this stupid blog. Back to the post.)

But this story (Ashley the Angel) had all the makings. Multiple murders, hostage taking, faith, hope, love and a happy ending. The formula for a network news human interest story.

In a way, I’m happy to learn that Ashley isn’t the angel that she was made out to be. Maybe it will make the media a little gun-shy (yeah, right). I’m getting tired of the heartwarming tripe on television. It’s too much. It’s not even real anymore.

My freaking heart is so warmed that I’m getting heartburn. But it’s so persistent that I’m thinking about consulting my doctor. I’m afraid that I might be suffering from a more serious condition.

Warm Fuzzy-Reflux Disease.

Fun Fact: The wait is over. I’m setting up my TAM Merchandise shop and more great items are being added every day! soon you’ll be able to buy all your favorite TAM merchandise! Won’t that be great?! Be the first on your block to have a TAM coffee mug! Or a TAM mouse pad! You’d be the envy of all your friends…if they had any idea what the hall all this TAM crap was anyway. But see, that’s why it’s so cool, it’s new! Get in on the ground floor of cool. Get in on what I’m sure will be the beginning of a national obsession.

And you can say that you were there the whole time. Man, you’ll be cool.

Did I mention cool?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Someone Needs to Replace the Filter

Is there anything more annoying than a “think tank?”

There is. A think tank filled with idiots. What is a think tank full of dummies? A non-think tank? An anti-tank? A moronaquarium?

The Discovery Institute.

A think tank based in Seattle. The same think tank that has been peddling the theory of “intelligent design.” A creation theory that states that mankind didn’t evolve a-la Darwin, but was rather engineered by a higher power. You know, like…God.

Okay, sure. Hey, I don’t believe in god, but who am I to say that we weren’t all just put here as a test for the afterlife. Like a high-stakes game of survivor for your soul. Believe it or not, I’m not here to argue the origins of man.

I’m here to talk about the idiotic staffers at the Discovery Institute.

They came to their conclusion that man was created by an overachieving deity because “man is too complex to have just evolved out of nothing.”

I hate this argument. I get it all the time. Usually from religious types. And oddly enough, it’s a big reason that a lot of people convert to religion. Thus, it’s often used as some kind of catalyst to get me to convert.

“This all can’t just be some cosmic accident, right?”

“The world and its beauty is just too…well…beautiful…and wondrous (don’t forget wondrous), right?”

“If we all just evolved from monkeys, how do you explain just how amazingly advanced and extraordinarily cool we humans are?!”

First of all, there are a lot of assumptions being made here. What’s amazing to me is that we all acknowledge just how immense, mysterious and complicated the universe is. Even Christians. Yet, most of us automatically jump to the conclusion that we are the be all and end all of creation.

Humans rule! We’re so complex!

Why? Because we’re having a hard time figuring ourselves out? If we perceive ourselves to be complex, we must be complex?

We’ve all seen that one guy at a club who thinks he can dance, right? In his mind, he’s ready for freaking Soul Train. But we all know better. We can see that he’s a lousy dancer. Why can we see it, but he can’t? Because we’re not him. We’re on the outside. Our circle of experience is broader than his. We know what good dancing is. We’ve really seen it. And that’s not it.

Plus, we have a better overall picture of what his horrible dancing actually looks like. While he’s focusing on his cool “Egyptian Hands” he’s not paying attention to the fact his walking is nothing like an Egyptian’s.

Same with humanity.

We assume that the world is complex. How the hell would we know? We’re comparing the earth to itself (or a couple, out of trillions, conveniently placed planet neighbors). We’re comparing different living creatures to each other, but all of those living creatures live on the same planet in conditions that, in the grand scheme of things, aren’t all that different from each other.

We assume that mankind is highly evolved. Why? What the hell do we know about it? Sure, we kick ass here on earth. We’re the dominant life form here. But we could be the most pathetic dominant life form in the entire universe for all we know. We could be the most simply assembled too. Our DNA could be the most rudimentary genetic blueprint in the universe.

There could be other planets pointing and sniggering at us behind our backs right now. And their mothers could be slapping them on the back of the head and telling them not to stare because it’s not our fault that we’re this way and that we’re “special” and all that.

Don’t pity us, extraterrestrial jerks! Never pity us!

Sorry, I was getting all worked up there. But my point is that the Discovery Institute made a severe leap of logic in its assumption that the human being is too complex, too remarkable and too advanced to have simply evolved from single-cell organisms. They chose not to think outside of their own narrow realm of being. And what the hell is a think tank for if not to broaden the scope of consciousness? To shift paradigms?

I’m not to say that they’re wrong. They may have stumbled on the answer to life itself…

But if they did, it was completely coincidental.


Fun Fact: Thanks to some inspiration from Jared, I’m thinking about starting a CafePress store. Soon, you may be able to buy some really great TAM merchandise!

I know, I know, it’s a dream come true.

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Buythetee-shirtastic!

And, hey, an added bonus today! Go here (The Buddy Group) and wait for it to load. You can watch Kevin do his thing. And then find the horseshoe on the border of the page and click on it. You'll get to listen to some really jammin' music. Whoever wrote and recorded that song is a genius!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Perks of Old Age

Weakening bone structure, graying hair and an inability to sleep in past 6:30am. Sure, those things are really great. But there are some other advantages to being an adult.

When I was a kid, I’d beg and beg for things; Matchbox cars, Rubik’s cubes, Hungry Hungry Hippos… But I’d always get the same response, “we can’t afford that right now. I’m not made of money, you know.” And no matter how much I’d beg, my mom wouldn’t take my simple advice, go to the bank, get the money and buy me some cool crap.

Although, I always did appreciate that little “we” she’d throw in there. “We can’t afford that right now.” As if I was a productive member of the family. Like I was bringing a check home from kindergarten (it’s amazing how flaccid the finger-painting market is). Of course, she didn’t really mean we. She just wanted a 5-year-old to feel like he was fruitful.

Either that, or she was planning on selling me to a sweatshop and thought better of it when she realized that I possessed an inexhaustible supply of lazy.

As an adult, I still have to beg a woman for the cool crap that I’d like to buy. But now the woman holding the purse strings is my girlfriend. It’s a very similar scenario. But this time, when Tanya uses the word “we,” she means we. See, no matter how little I actually contribute, we live under the delusion that we’re somehow equals and that I have some kind of say when it comes to spending the money.

So now I have this.

A new keyboard. Sure, it’s not the best on the market, but it’s the best one I’ve ever had. It’s full-sized, weighted and touch sensitive. Besides, I can’t play the piano anyway. But I’m going to learn. Until then, I’ll just keep that piano music sitting on it (Chopin’s “Chanson de L’adieu” Song of the Farewell) so that when people come over, they’ll think that I can play. Why “Chanson de L’adieu?”

Because it has the most notes. Duh.

Now, I’ll be honest. Tanya has fought the piano for a while now. She just didn’t want to get it. Never mind that she actually knows how to play the damned thing. But my persistence paid off.

And now I can’t keep her away from it.

Tanya, stay away from the keyboard! It’s my turn! It’s always my turn! Always! Mine!

I love being an adult.

Fun Fact: The first electric piano ever made was the SuperPiano, first manufactured in 1927. Sound was produced by a hammer striking a metal bar which caused a vibration that was amplified and sent through speakers. It sounded more like chimes than a piano. Which begs the question; “why wasn’t it called the SuperChimes?

Because nobody cool ever played the chimes, that’s why.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Bigger they are, the Harder They Fall

Or, My Big Fat Caucasian Autumn

Yes, it’s the first day of fall. It’s official. The trees have obtained permission to start losing their leaves, pumpkin patches are working their way out of escrow and people everywhere are bundling stalks of wheat and setting them next to scarecrows.

Autumn rules!

Fun Fact: It’s just a good day for me all around. My new keyboard is coming today and I don’t live in the Gulf Region. I win.

And I’ve started painting again. Here is my latest masterwork (given as a present to Keith and Rachel for their birthdays/wedding/being good people present).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It’s Back!

The rain. It’s been a while since we’ve had rain here in Los Angeles. And I have to say that I’ve missed it. I don’t miss the traffic, I don’t miss the fact that nobody seems to remember how to drive when it gets wet, but I miss the rain.

But poor Arrested Development. They had their premier last night (which was fantastic by the way). But today they sat in the park across from FOX in the midst of a huge carnival setup wondering why the hell it decided to rain on the one day they needed to film outside. That’s what you get for listening to the weather people in LA. 20% chance my fat bottom.

Send your condolences to the cast and crew of Arrested Development. And while you’re doing that, tell them that if they don’t want to draw attention to themselves, they shouldn’t park the Bluth Stair Car prominently next to the street. It’s hard to miss that thing.

Fun Fact: Something else is making its dubious return today…the TAM Cartoon!

Yes the tortuous wait is over. After a three-week hiatus, the TAM Cartoon has come back to bring looks of bewilderment to the faces of the world. Notworththewait-a-licious!

Monday, September 19, 2005

West Coast Blues

There was a serious miscarriage of justice last night. We live in a new world that gives the impression of being based on equality and understanding. What was the Emmy’s excuse?

I’m not talking about the snooze-fest that was the show (seriously, the two-day-old decaf coffee that I’m drinking right now has more pep and interest), I’m talking about the time delay.

We here in the Pacific Time Zone live in a hand-me-down television world. By the time any special event airs on my TV, it has already gone through two different airings (you weirdoes in the Central Time Zone get your TV at the same time as the East Coasters…but you probably already know that).

Where does that leave us Californians? Cheering for someone to take home a stupid award long after they’ve won and already renegotiated every crappy contract that their prize affords them, that’s where.

Sure, some may call this a convenience. After all, I can just hop online and see who won without having to sit through the torturous tedium of the actual awards show.

But that’s the only joy of an awards show; seeing who wins as they win. That’s why we broadcast these things live. It’s certainly not because live television is the only way to see spoilt actors get creepy winged-lady statues. Plus it affords us some bragging rights. Sitting through an entire Emmy show makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. In the days before the internet, there was a more prestige in being the only one of your friends who could manage to stay awake for the entire show. Because you would be their poor-mans version of an entertainment reporter.

But nowadays, there’s no special need to see the show…except for the fact that you get to see it happen as it happens!

But no. Not here in California. Never mind that most of the actors on the damned show live here. Never mind that the event actually takes place here. We still have to be the bastard younger step siblings of the East Coast. Taking their tired live television shows, gritting our teeth, putting them on and trying to convince all our school friends that they’re actually new.

I hate the East coast. Screw you all. Where’s my live TV?!

I think we should all be in the same time zone…Pacific Time. New York is the city that doesn’t sleep?

Well let’s see if that’s still true when it gets dark there at 3 in the afternoon.

That’s why we Californians are such new age weirdoes. We have to be. If we weren’t, then by the time we got to see ourselves on TV, we’d be out of style.

Fun Fact: I’m glad that Patricia Arquette won for her role in Medium. I actually watch that show. It’s really the most unique show on television. It's got serial killers, paranormal activity and long stretches of slice-of-life boredom all in one show! I mean, it’s got to be hard to make that show interesting every week.

Here’s a plot synopsis for every Medium episode ever produced.

Something shocking happens
Turns out it was just a dream.
Maybe there’s something to the shocking dream?
There probably isn’t.
Hubby bitches about having to take care of the kids.
Patricia Arquette promises to be a more attentive wife and mother.
Something comes up.
More visions.
Trish bugs the hell out of the DA, trying to find out what her visions might mean.
More hubby bitching.
Trish crawls into bed very late at night/early in the morning, trying not to wake hubby.
Hubby wakes up and complains about Trish’s hours and obligations.
More visions.
Even after an entire season of Trish displaying remarkable psychic prowess, hubby’s still not convinced that Trish’s visions are worth anything.
Trish and Hubby fight about their responsibilities.
The DA calls with news.
Trish teams up with sexually charged cop guy and investigates.
Her vision is important after all, but wasn’t interpreted properly.
Hubby complains about kids and Trish’s job.
Trish solves crime.
Fickle Hubby is happy for her.
Kids remain surprisingly well-adjusted.
The End.

Oh, and somewhere in there, they have creepy marital sex.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Everywhere you go. If everywhere you go is Costco.

Yes, they have Christmas stuff for sale at Costco! As you already know, I love Christmas. Personally, I think that they should sell Christmas stuff at Costco all year long. There’s just something special about 8-foot-tall inflatable snow globes, stackable Santa Claus-shaped boxes and 2000-count packages of holiday greeting cards.

So break out the Dean Martin Christmas collection, brew a cup of festive holiday tea (because of my ruthless hoarding, I still have some from last year), slip It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story in the DVD player, plug in some holiday lights and enjoy the extended holiday season!

I said enjoy it, damnit!

Fun Fact: There are exactly 100 days left until Christmas. That’s less than 1/3rd of the entire year. Time’s a wastin’.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Rachel (yesterday). I hope you had a happy one! Tanya and I certainly enjoyed the free dinner.

You don’t look a day over 35.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This Blog Post May Cause Cancer

Scientists have failed to prove a definite link, of course. But who knows? Read with caution.

We love our sensationalism here in this country. We like our wars to be fantastical and deadly, our alligators huge and mysteriously elusive and our poor people from New Orleans.

There was a power outage here in LA yesterday. A big one. Street lights were out intermittently and there was a general sense of annoyance. Some people even had to go home from work early. With streetlights out all across the southland, in the gleaming sunlight of afternoon, people blindly stumbled about without supplemental electric illumination.

Yet another diabolical plan, fiendishly wrought on the United States by the terrorist masterminds from Al Qaeda.

Let me back up.

Some jerk-ass spoilt kid from Orange County thought it would be a larf to join the Muslim extremists in Pakistan. To add to his fun, he made a tape on behalf of Al Qaeda threatening Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia. Which was taken very seriously, as all those types of threats are.

Then the power went out yesterday afternoon.

Some of us were essentially unaffected by the outage, being white and middle class and all. Tanya did have to reset a clock this morning and I had to reboot my computer yesterday. But others were greatly bothered, losing power for at least a couple hours. And it didn’t take long for the Media to jump to the terrorist theory.

After all, it was the day after the anniversary of Sept. 11th and just a couple days after that dumbass Orange County dude made those stupid threats. So, terrorists? Of course it could be. A pretty lame plan. But okay, fine, maybe terrorists did it.

Nobody was quite convinced that it was terrorists. But the local news media had brought up some interesting points. While, almost fairly certain that it wasn’t terrorists in the classic sense, maybe somebody actually was trying to deliberately cause problems. Okay, local news folks, you’ve got my attention. Before you came along, I just thought that the power had gone out.

Well, turns out that it wasn’t terrorists after all. Just some idiots working for the Department of Water and Power who accidentally cut the wrong cable.

So, apart from the realization that some moron could essentially “unplug” the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, my fears (as small as they were) were alleviated. There was no terrorist activity in La La.

So what does the media do now? Well, they tell us about the real cause of the power failure.

And then do a story on all the hysterical people who thought that the outage was the result of a terrorist attack.

How’s that for synergy, huh? Create a panic and report on it.

I really hate the news.

Fun Fact: I work out. I go to the gym. I’ve got a basic knowledge of gagsta rap to prove it.

I’m not a little guy. 6 feet tall. 180 pounds. Guns like the cannons on a Navy destroyer. But I’m not Superman. Sure, in theory and on paper…But I know my limitations.

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I can’t lift 700 pounds for longer than a couple seconds.

So when Kevin called me yesterday to tell me that he found a baby grand piano for $400 (sure, it sounds like a great deal, but he’ll end up spending a fortune on gigantic diapers) and ask if I would come and help him move it into his Westside apartment from Glendale with nothing more than a U-Haul, himself, and my unnatural strength and good looks I laughed at him…

And said okay.

Man, I’m an idiot.

After getting the piano into the truck, we knew we’d need reinforcements to get it into his apartment.

We got one more guy. And Tanya (who was great moral support and can really move a packing blanket).

3 guys? Well, hey, problem solved.

I hope you like your new piano, Kevin. I missed the gym for that 700 pound monstrosity (200 pounds of it was rust and dust). An adult grand piano would have weighed less.

Why didn’t we think that we might need at least a furniture dolly?

My hernia’s going in for hernia surgery later this week.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Knot Your Father’s Halloween Attire

Tanya has taken up knitting. I think knitting is cool. Sure, it’s not a sunglasses and cigarettes kind of cool. But making stuff is cool. Making stuff out of yarn…├╝ber cool.

However, all I can think when Tanya is sitting and clicking the two wooden needles she got as a gift a while ago is “when they knit, do old ladies curse this much?”

My grandmother never knitted anything for me when she was alive (she doesn’t knit anything for me now that she’s passed either in case you were creeped out or something about me receiving sweaters from the great beyond). But I like to think that if my sainted grandma did knit stuff for me, she would do it with the same copious amounts of blasphemy.

Okay, I’m implying that Tanya is struggling with the finer points of knitting. It’s true. If knitting were easy then handmade scarves would be a hell of a lot cheaper.

With her permission, I’ve posted a couple examples of Tanya’s early works.

This is her first masterpiece. Don’t laugh at it. There’s an old lady mouse somewhere that is going to be much warmer this winter because of Tanya’s rat shawl.

This is her second sample.

Not so much a garment as a yarn representation of an ancient Indian arrow head.

I scoffed at these pieces, I made fun, I teased and belittled Tanya until she was reduced to a quivering mound of shattered self esteem. That is until she revealed their true purpose to me this morning.

She made me a costume! A pink Abe Lincoln beard and an oversized pink novelty Hitler moustache.

And I teased her!? What a heel. Sure anybody can give you a pink Abe Lincoln beard and an oversized pink novelty Hitler moustache. But Tanya knitted these herself. Way better than, let’s say, human hair or felt. Knitting is tedious, tiresome work. When you receive a knitted gift, you’re receiving love. A knitted moustache and beard is all about the love.

‘Cause it sure ain’t about the pink.


Fun Fact: According to a knitting site I found, the origins of knitting are widely debated. Some people believe that it originated in Persia. Others claim Israel, Jordan and Syria. And still others claim that it started in the mountains of North Africa.

I say that it was started in the mines of West Virginia as a way for the coal miners to keep the dust off their caged canaries.

Sure, it’s probably not true. Sure, I’m just fueling the great “origins of knitting” debate. But the way I see it is…nobody cares.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Advice for Squatters

If you ever find yourself illegally living in an abandoned house, don’t go spreading your crazy around at the top of your lungs at 7:15 in the morning as if you’re murdering someone.

Your new neighbors will call the cops on you.

Yes, the house next door, while now pleasantly free of drum-bashing drunken morons, is instead inhabited by wall-bashing mentally ill morons. Well, one moron anyway. A guy who likes to yell at the emptiness.

But I’m glad he did. Tanya has suspected that there was a person squatting in that house. But I hadn’t seen them or heard them until today.

We knew it was only a matter of time before someone started living in that place. The house is a squatters dream. It’s large. It’s unlocked. It has a couple fireplaces. It has running water. And it’s located just steps from every Los Angeles homeless person’s favorite destination – my dumpster.

Do I feel bad about calling the cops and having that unfortunate soul evicted from his temporary $700,000 domicile?

Hell no.

He was nuts.

But I was feeling a slight twinge of guilt while I watched from my kitchen window as the cops arrived. There was a female cop laying down the heaviest guilt trip I’ve ever seen.

And it was very effective. The homeless dude didn’t know whether to shiv her or apologize profusely to the entire neighborhood.

And that’s why we need more women on the police force. Any man with a significant other knows the profound power of a self-righteous woman with the truth on her side.

Fun Fact: While I was on hold waiting to talk to the police, they were playing automated messages in my ear. “All officers are busy at the moment, please stay on the line…” Then, of course, the same message in Spanish.

Fine, okay. I get annoyed at that kind of thing, but I’ve gotten accustomed to it.

What I’m not used to is “this message is for the hearing impaired:”


The loudest, most obnoxious and grating sound since the phone modem and fax machine. And let me tell you, it was excruciatingly loud. Without any real warning. And incessant.

Why do they do that to me? Blast computer signal noise in my left ear? What have I done? I’m the one craving a little law and order! I didn’t call so that I could be attacked by messages for the hearing impaired.

Although, If I have to listen to that deafening noise any more I suppose that eventually I’ll be happy that it’s there.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Phony Holier-Than-Thou Attitude Not Included

The U.S. Customs office is donating seized designer counterfeit clothes to the victims of hurricane Katrina.

The refugees will now be covered in Tommy Hilfiger, Yves St. Laurent, Chanel, and BCBG carrying Coach Bags and treading on Dolce and Gabbanas.

They’ll all look so stylish.

And that’s the problem.

With all those upwardly-mobile-looking peeps running around the Gulf Coast, how the hell will the aid workers be able to figure out who the rich ones are?

How will we know who to rescue now?

Thank god we can still tell the difference between the white ones and the black ones, huh? Otherwise the entire search and rescue campaign could go south and quick.

Oh, satire.

White/Black, white/black, another tragedy has been boiled down to its most idiotic denominator.

Won’t anyone think of the Latinos?

Fun Fact: Tanya and I went over to our friends Rachel and Keith’s house this weekend for a BBQ. A wonderful time was had by all.

That is, until they served me mixed nuts consisting of nothing but peanuts and forced us all to watch their wedding video.

Hey, we were at the wedding! We lived it! I wrestled an undead butterfly at that thing. I can’t forget that. Mostly because my therapist won’t let me repress it.

Sheesh. Some people.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

There and Back Again

In this country we have an obsession with gasoline and crude oil. We used to get our oil fairly cheap.

Thus, the large automobile was invented for people who like to get around while feeling like they own real-estate. People who enjoy spending money on gasoline so as to haul around hordes of people (which they never do) or tow heavy objects (which they don’t own) or have the ability to travel 200 mph on the 405 freeway (which is impossible, you’re lucky if you get to go 35).

But then came pollution and global warming. So we enacted prudent Environmental Protection Agency standards for our gasoline to help curb the issue.

A warmer earth means warmer oceans and warmer oceans mean fiercer hurricanes. A fierce hurricane turned the Big Easy into the Big…um…Real Hard. And now there’s a genuine, in-our-face crisis on our hands. The president must be quick to act!

And act, he has.

He’s promised that this hurricane won’t quash the American spirit.

Because some of our precious oil is now under a few feet of the worst water this side of Mexico, the president has lifted the EPA standards on fuel for the time being.

Screw global warming.

We’ve got SUVs to drive.

The important thing is that we can get our car juice relatively cheap again. And further our obsession with gasoline and crude oil.

Wow, the president has solved another one of our country’s most complicated problems. Good for him.

And he did it all with that crooked smirk on his little face.

Don’t you just want to hug him to death?

Fun Fact: Looters are the carrion feeders of humanity. It’s not very fun, but it’s a fact.

But maybe I’m too hard on the New Orleans looters? I’m sure that some of them just need food and clothes.

And with their houses devastated, the other looters probably lost their entire crack supply.

Crack ain't free people! You got to sell a lot of stolen televisions!

Where’s their celebrity telethon?! Help the crack heads Harry Connick Jr.!