Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Happy Birthday Me

No, it’s not my birthday, it’s Julie’s. But I’m a blogger and I therefore am contractually compelled to make it all about me!

Go me!

I’m also contractually compelled to make her a birthday present (by Tanya. I really need to renegotiate my contract. No, wait! I’d better just leave it the way it is. I’ll paint a few birthday presents if it means I don’t have to get a real job.) My latest “thing” is to paint these “off, off, on” triptychs. The series has grown to four now that Julie has decided to get older today, and it seems that everybody has a birthday, so I reckon that the series will only get bigger…and fast.

Here it is:

It’s a funny thing about gifts. I like to give them (when I can think of something and it’s good) because I’m a pretty narcissistic guy and I like the attention that comes with giving a great gift. Especially giving a gift of “art.” Because the recipient is forced to put it somewhere. At least when you come to visit. And especially if they claimed to like it. So don’t gush over a gift of bad art, you’ll be living with it for eternity.

I know that Julie will probably hang it somewhere in her apartment or at work, and sure, it may be in a cupboard or something, but for years to come, whenever she reaches for canned cut green beans, she’ll be forced to think of me…and her 62nd birthday.

Happy 62nd birthday, Julie.

Fun Fact: Julie is not 62.

And the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Exaggerific!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Video Ribbed the Video Star

This morning I checked my email and noticed that Kevin had sent me a link to someone else’s blog page where a video he made had been posted – unsolicited.

I’m going to assume that the posting was unsolicited since the blogger referred to Kevin as “Peter.” But who knows? Kevin could be living a double life for all I know. However, I’d hope that if he were, he would have chosen a better nom de plum than Peter. Not that Peter isn’t a fine name, mind you. If your parents named you Peter than sure, be proud.

But it is a name better suited for porn stars and “Bradys.”

As I looked at Kevin’s video, sitting there on that guy’s blog page, I felt a little bad for not posting it here sooner. It took an unobservant stranger to introduce Kevin’s creative child to the blog world. That unobservant stranger should have been me. Not because of Kevin, oh no, screw him, he gets enough attention, it’s because I’m in the video too!

What a wasted opportunity to showcase my fine work. See, most people see me as a jobless slob who sits around at home all day doing nothing particularly worth while. Not true. Sometimes my friends call me with a request to videotape them while they dance around the local park lip-synching to Tori Amos’s rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

So there, doubters.

I probably could apply myself to more manly pursuits. But I’m not embarrassed. Well, not now. I was a little at the time. But that’s in the past…and I used to get embarrassed easily. I’m learning to be more secure with who I am. There was time when blasting a Tori Amos Christmas song from an iPod while another man pretended to sing that song from the top of a tree in a public park would have given me pause. But now I can write about that experience while sipping decaffeinated coffee from a mug with a cartoon on it and not feel that my masculinity is at all compromised. I mean, I know who I am. I’m the guy who pulled that dirty cartoon coffee mug from the dishwasher and cleaned it with the same utensil I used to scrub the kitchen window screen last night. All man!

And there are remarkable few bugs in my drink.

And for the record, Tanya was there at the park when the video was made. It’s always good to have a chick around when you’re lip-synching to Tori in public. And it doesn’t hurt to make out with her in front of everyone every once in a while too, just for good measure.

So lets get to the video.

First, let me give the credits since there are none in the video (thanks for nothing, Peter, how am I supposed to put this on my reel?!).

Lip-synching by: Kevin Sage

Cinematography by: The Anthropomorphic Male (Me)

Playback Supervisor: Chez Sarcastica (Tanya)

Directed by: Kevin

Edited by: Kevin

Female Friend (Bench-Sitter): Chez

Male Friend (Bench-Sitter): TAM

Music Performed by: Tori Amos

Awkward Stares and Snickers by: The People in the Park that Day.

Now that the credits are over, let’s start the show. Don't let the fact that it's Christmasy get to you, I know that it's almost February. But who cares?! Don't be one of those people who sais "Oh, I can't listen to Christmas music when it's not Christmas! No. No. No!" But then has no problem eating Halloween candy in March! Hipocrites!

It's a sore spot. Don't be like that. Watch.

“You Tube” is notorious as a place for weirdoes to post their inane crap, but I think that Kevin has proven that when you apply yourself, you can transcend “inane” into the realm of “supremely frivolous.”

I want to make another one.

Fun Fact: The song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” earned Bing Crosby his fifth gold record.

And thanks to a charitable contribution by St. Lawrence U. alum and lyricist J. Kimball Gannon, every time the song is played, the NY University gets a royalty check.

This means that you could make the College rich if you just kept clicking on the play button above – if royalties were being paid…which they’re not. It’s a parody!

Yeah, a parody.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

One Man’s Trash…

…Is another man’s blog fodder.

I don’t make it a habit to pick up random trash on the street, but I do have a tendency to pick up notes and letters. Most of the time, those notes are shopping lists or covered in anthrax, but every once in a while you find something interesting.

The other day Kevin and I were walking down to the local Baja Fresh to get some lunch (yes, some people actually do walk in LA – especially when their car doesn’t run anymore) and I found this in a strip mall parking lot.

I didn’t take a lot of care in scanning it, so I’ll give you the transcription:

Before you go spouting off about what a f*cking [ed] slut I am, or what a piece of trash I am, I suggest you first wipe the old, dry, white saliva thats [sic] caked on in the corners of your mouth, but are too wasted to realize just how nauseating it is to look at you. Especially when those lips are moving. Next, I suggest you dip that piece of road kill you crawled into bed with last night, in a bucket of bleach.


Really, I find this note very interesting. For one, and you can’t tell from the scan, but it’s on a piece of drawing paper. The handwriting is also interesting; it was the thing that drew my attention to the note in the first place. And the grammar and spelling…

I’ve used my immense background in forensic research to determine a few interesting facts about the author of the note.

1. I have determined that the author is an artist. Not only because of the use of drawing paper, but also because of the deliberate and fluid strokes she (I think it was a she) used to express herself with. She has the handwriting of an artist. Now, I’m not saying that she has good handwriting, just that she has the handwriting of an artist. Furthermore, the entire note was written in pencil. And when was the last time anyone but an artist or a grade-schooler use a pencil. I’m going to rule out grade-schooler in a second for other reasons, but the pencil used was also not your standard, scantron-test #2. It was a soft lead pencil. Let’s face it, no one other than artists have a soft lead pencil at hand when they make an impulsive emotional decision.

2. The author is between the ages of 21 and 30 (unless there is significant drug usage going on, then who knows, but I’m going to rule that out later too). This isn’t a note written by a kid. It’s goofy, yes, but there aren’t nearly enough spelling mistakes. The only word that’s spelled wrong in the entire note is the word “that’s,” she forgot the apostrophe, so it’s wrong in context, but not altogether incorrect. Plus there is only one swear word in the entire thing. And since the author never used the term “disrespecting,” not once, I’m going to have to say that it wasn’t written by a stupid kid, educated in the modern public school system.

3. The author has, or is getting, her college degree. It’s not just the spelling. The key here is the use of commas. For the most part, she uses them correctly. There aren’t too many people out there who would write a hate note with such precise comma usage. I don’t use commas right when I take all day to write something.

4. She was incredibly upset. Sure…duh. I know, but more upset than she’s used to being is my guess. She’s a good speller. She has okay grammar. She has decent handwriting. But in this note, she slips a couple times. This note was written impulsively and in haste, and I’m going to guess, placed under the windshield wiper of the recipient (the wastoid with the crud in the corners of his mouth that moves). She misuses a comma toward the end of the note and she has one sentence that takes a little deciphering, “I suggest you first wipe the old, dry, white saliva thats [sic] caked on in the corners of your mouth, but are too wasted to realize just how nauseating it is to look at you.” It took two readings for me to understand that one. But she did manage to work in the word “nauseating” and spell it right. Kudos.

5. She’s a horrible racist. While I think that her anger is justified in this case, no one wants to be cheated on with a piece of “road kill.” I don’t agree with her assertions that the skank her old boyfriend “crawled into bed with last night” should have to be white.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, honey, it’s time to move on.

And finally, if you hang out at the strip mall on the corner of Pico and Motor in LA, like to “party,” have dubious oral hygiene and have recently left your racist, artists girlfriend in favor of a dead, non-white animal…

I have your note.

Fun Fact: The coolest thing I ever found on the ground was an old typewriter. I cleaned it up and it’s now displayed in my dining area…

…Where I think it’s gathered more dust than it did sitting next to the dumpster where I found it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Eye Candy

Yes, as promised, I have a little eye candy for you today – the latest TAM Cartoon! Whatateasetastic!

I hope you don’t get ocular cavities.

Ha! Get it?! Ocular cavities?! It’s funny on many different levels. I’ll explain them. One, because eye candy doesn’t cause cavities; and two, because you already have ocular cavities! Ha, ha! Two of them!

You have two ocular cavities!

Seriously, you should brush you eyeballs better.

Fun Fact: Speaking of eye care; gruff and witty Peter Falk is renown for two things, playing Detective Columbo – and having a glass eye. He’s been known to tap his glass eye with a spoon during conversations as a prank and has even removed his prosthesis at speaking engagements.

It’s only fitting that a man with such a sense of humor about his condition should have lost his eye in a humorous manner.

…Cancer…when he was three.

That’s not funny at all. Thanks for being such a downer, Pete.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Feeling Gloomy?

According to University of Cardiff health psychologist Cliff Arnall January 23rd is the gloomiest day of the year. But he didn’t just come up with this arbitrarily. No! He’s gotten all scientific and devised a formula.

W + (D-d) x TQ / M x NA (as I saw it printed)

Here are the variables: (W) Weather, (D) Debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) Time since Christmas, (Q) Time since failure to quit a bad habit, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

So as you can see, the outcome of the formula is anything but arbitrary. The variables however…

I would plug in my own stats, but I can’t figure out what numerical value to assign my “motivational levels.” But let’s just say that it’s 1,000.

Okay, here goes…

W = 73 (I’m guessing that it doesn’t matter if it’s Celsius of Fahrenheit?)
D = about $300 (I’m not counting student loans, only debts that I intend to pay off in the next ten years or so. And my emotional debts can never be repaid. Which begs the question, is there such a thing as an emotional debt?)
d = 0 (this one’s going to kill me)
T = 32? (do I count today or not? I did.)
Q = 0 (Ha! See that’s why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions!)
M = 1,000 (Obviously)
NA = um, let’s see…5 ( I like the number 5, plus if it’s an “on a scale of 1-to-10” sort of thing, it’s nice and average…like me!)

So my formula looks like this:

73 + (300 – 0) x (32 x 0)/1,000 x 5

Which equals…0!

Gloominess level of 0?!

What a crock! I’m way more gloomy than that! I’m at least a 1. I might even be pushing 2, pal! But my math could be wrong. Bad math! That's someting to be gloomy about!

But if Arnall’s formula is correct, then I’ve discovered the keys to happiness (on day’s that aren’t Christmas). It helps to not have a job, but the main thing is…don’t make resolutions! You’ll always come out with zero. Especially you losers that are clogging up the machines at my gym! Give up! Get it over with! Get out of my gym and never come back!

Sorry, it was a tough morning at the gym today.

But don’t take anything Professor Arnall has to say too seriously, after all, another study of his determined that the people of the United States are as happy as those from Guatemala.

Yeah, right. Guatemala has guerilla fighters, disease and poverty like no one’s business. All we have is George Bush.

I’m sure they’re way happier than us.

Fun Fact:: According to the CIA World Factbook, Guatemala’s terrain consists of mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau.

“Rolling limestone plateau.”

Is it just me or does that sound like fun? And tasty! Limes!

I would like to ride and/or eat it some day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


There’s a new TAM Cartoon up today! Onedaylatesational!

That is all.

Fun Fact: And speaking of Peter Sellers…he once got a fan letter from a fan that read:

“Dear Mr. Sellers,
I have been a keen follower of yours for many years now, and should be most grateful if you would kindly send me a singed [sic] photograph of yourself...”

Being the guy that Peter was, he took out a cigarette lighter and carefully burned the edges of one of his publicity photographs and sent it to the fan...

The fan responded:

“Dear Mr. Sellers,
Thank you very much for the photograph, but I wonder if I could trouble you for another as this one is
signed all round the edge...”

Bad spillers can't appriciate irony. That's a fact.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Two (and a Half) Cents

As I have mentioned on the blog before, I’m working on a new project with my producing partners at the moment (by the way, I’ve finished the incidental music for “The Social Club!” Yahoo! (an exclamation, not an endorsement for Yahoo.com although I’m sure they’re good people)) so I’ve been doing some “research.”

I’ve been forcing myself to watch a lot of sitcoms that I wouldn’t normally view. Last night I took a tour of the “old people’s” network, CBS. So I preempted the Golden Globes (although I did click back to them every once in a while, I just don’t really care about the Golden Globes) to watch CBS’s Monday night offerings while still finding plenty of time to reflect on the good works of the late Martin Luther King Jr.

I skipped “The King of Queens.” I mean, why buck a trend? But I did watch “How I Met Your Mother,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Out of Practice.”

Seriously, this was a big deal for me. 2 ½ Men is the highest rated sitcom on TV right now and last night was the first time I actually sat through an entire episode. I did watch the pilots of “Mother” and “Practice” (but that was an accident so I didn’t really pay much attention other than to notice that I didn’t care for either of them) but last night was the first time I actually watched with interest.

Mind you, not because the shows were interesting.

Now all this exposition brings me to a question. What the hell is the appeal of 2 ½ Men?! Really. I want’ someone to explain it to me. My mother has tried, but she watches NCIS and thinks Mark Harmon is “hot.” So I live under the assumption that when it comes to TV…she’s delusional.

So I want someone to explain it to me who isn’t suffering from primetime dementia. If there is such a person, of course. I mean, if you’re arguing for 2 ½ Men then you probably will be automatically ruled out, which leads to another question “how can I ask a question wherein the qualifiers, in regards to the respondent, rules them in and out simultaneously?”

The answer, it’s easy to ask that question. It’s answering it that’s impossible. Welcome to the wonderful world of demographic research.

But, I’m watching 2 ½ Men and the audience is howling with laughter. And yes, I could detect a slight nuance to the laughter. It was pretty much of the same pitch and quality as the laughter one might have heard at a Victor Borge concert. But it was there nonetheless. Old people laughing at sex jokes. Old people laughing at Charlie Sheen.

He used to frequent prostitutes, you know.

And I can accept that. I mean, older people are a little more understanding and forgiving than they’re usually given credit for. But even that forgiveness and understanding can’t explain why the hell anyone would find Charlie Sheen’s character on the show even the remotest bit charming or likeable.

Forget the fact that his lines are not funny and a little mean-spirited, forget the fact that he delivers every line with the nuance of one of those wooden alphabet blocks; his character is just plain...well, plain.

And he was nominated for a Golden Globe!?

But at least I realized that I haven’t been missing anything. It’s always nice to know that while I’m watching “Antiques Roadshow” there isn’t something “cool” happening without me. It’s just the usual poorly-written sex jokes.

I’ll keep my Antiques Roadshow thank you very much, the old people can have their smut.

Fun Fact When I start watching TGIF on ABC, you’ll know that I’ve taken this sitcom research thing way too far.

And there isn’t a new TAM Cartoon today. I was living Dr. King’s dream yesterday (the dream of a three-day-weekend…without racism) so I’m working on it today. Patience.

Oh, and American Idol starts tonight! But there’s also two new episodes of Scrubs on. Decisions…

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

That’s Entertainment


Often times I feel bad about the way I characterize the public at large as a massive glob of undead baby sparrows, mouths agape, waiting for someone to regurgitate culture into their mouths. I get down. Who am I to generalize like that? My cynicism is unwarranted.

But then the People’s Choice Awards come back around and I’m refreshed.

Let’s be fair though. The Zombie Sparrows don’t come up with the categories. (Categories which are pre-determined to make the voters look like morons.) Best Female Movie Star. Sure, I can dig it. It’s a little nonspecific, okay (which is probably why Sandra Bullock won. She was only in a few movies this year. No one saw “Loverboy.” I don’t count crash because if asked, I’ll bet most of the voters would think it was that one with Keanu Reeves. This leaves only “Mrs. Congeniality II.” Which technically qualifies her because she starred in it and it was a movie of sorts. But really, Sandra Bullock? And I’m actually a fan but…Sandra Bullock?!), but I can understand the Best Female Movie Star Category.

But then things get more complicated. Once voters have wracked their brains trying to remember a single decent performance they watched this year (one that wouldn’t be too embarrassing to admit they thought was good enough to be considered for voting in an awards show, Jessica Simpson in The Dukes of Hazard doesn’t count no matter how few teeth you have) they have to come up with another favorite actress. Favorite Leading Lady. Different from the above mentioned category in…some way.

“Leading Lady” is code for “pretty actress.” So while Sandy might revel in the fact that she’s America’s favorite Female Movie Star, she’ll have to reconcile that with the fact that she’s just not as young as she once was. Not as young as Reese Witherspoon, winner.

The electorate has to cast their votes for 3 female movie stars and 3 male movie stars. Best Female/Male action star is also a category (Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey. In case you’re shaking your head like I was, trying to figure out what action movie Mattie-Boy was in…”Sahara.” Ohhhh yeeaaahhh. I saw it too. Not a bad flick but I could have sworn it came out about three years ago.). Why do they separate action out but not comedy or drama?

Because “comedy” and “drama” is for fags, that’s why. Shut up.

They do have a category for Funny Male/Female Star. Also a little vague. Does their work in the past year have to be funny? The answer: No. Evidently they just have to be funny people. Otherwise how the hell did Adam Sandler win? The Longest Yard? Were movies really that woefully unfunny this year that the dude from The Longest Yard wins Funny Male Star? Or is the public more forgiving and less forgetful than I give them credit for? Perhaps a bit of both.

Definitely less forgetful. Star Wars Episode III won Best Movie and Best Movie Drama. Methinks something was tainting voters' perspective on this film. Something like rabid fandom.


Best Drama?

Don’t be a Zombie Sparrow.

Fun Fact: I was just talking to Kevin yesterday about the “Infinite Monkeys” theorem.

“An infinite number of monkeys typing eternally at an infinite number of typewriters will eventually, randomly, type the complete works of Shakespeare" (or every book in Le Bibliothèque nationale de France or every great work of literature known to man…depending on who’s proposing the theorem).

So Kevin sent me an MP3 of an old bit by Bob Newhart that dealt with this exact subject. As I opened the MP3 I was watching NOVA on PBS, and at the very same instant the MP3 started to play, they began discussing the infinite monkey theorem on NOVA as a part of a piece about the Avian Flu.

Which proves my theorem: “If two dummies who act like monkeys infinitely talk about the infinite monkey theorem, eventually one will send the other an MP3 that will download at the precise time that scientists begin to discuss the same thing on Public Television.”

Look out Journal of Science!

Also, I was going to state that an infinite number of monkeys typing on infinite keyboards wouldn’t need an infinite amount of time to type any of those things. In fact, and infinite amount of those monkeys would have typed all of those things on the first try. Infinity is a big thing to think about.

I was going to say that and be all proud of myself, but in my research for what to call the “infinite monkey theorem” I discovered that I’m not the first person to realize that. Damn. I knew I should have spent more time thinking about monkeys and typewriters in my early life!

That’s a fact.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Whole Load of Something

I’ve got big things doin’ today, so I’m not going to post anything.

Big things. I mean huge. The things that I have to do today make Ted Kennedy’s whiskey-bloated head look like a cocktail peanut! That’s how big they are.

I mean, they’re really important. Oh so very important. Today will be life-altering for me. I think my entire outlook on things could change after today, what with the hugeness of the things I have to do. When you do things this important, it can really make you change your perspective on things, you know?

I’ll stop yelling at traffic, Humvees will seem like a great idea and God will finally and officially become my “co-pilot.” That’s how immense the things I have to do today are.

I mean, I’ve got big things doin’!

Big things.

When did I stop being convincing?

Fun Fact: Even with all of the vastly important things I have to do, I still have found time for the fans. The latest TAM Cartoon is up! Colossaltastic!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Number 2

As I have mentioned on this blog before, I recently finished filming a short feature, a project that I directed and wrote (The Social Club). But now my fellow producers and I (KATR Pictures) are embarking on our second project. But before we could really start, we needed to do a little research.

Now, I talked a lot of crap about a Christian sitcom called “Pastor Greg.” In fact, I was downright mean in my review of the show (after all, it’s a bad show). But I would gladly sit through an eternity’s worth of Pastor Gregs (and if God actually does exist, I may just have to) rather than be subjected to too much of this. It’s a little something I found while researching.

Go ahead, watch some of it. It’s okay, it’s not porn. It looks like porn. It’s not porn. Porn has slightly more nudity…and better acting and plots.

I know, I know, I’ve just gotten done telling you how bad the show is and now I expect you to go and watch an episode or two. I’m just saying that if you don’t watch this show, you’ll be missing out on a truly unique internet experience. After all it is the world’s “first original network-quality sitcom for the internet.” I’m not making that up. That’s the way they bill themselves. It’s also “simply the funniest show you’ll watch in 2002.” Yes it was made a few years ago. But – and my memory is a bit hazy – I don’t remember television in 2002 sucking so badly.

But what am I, a historian?

Go now. Watch the show. It was created by the son of a guy who was an executive producer on All in the Family (Heywood Kling) and wrote a lot of television, including an episode of the unforgettable cartoon “Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch!” Awesome.

Still not convinced?

Here’s the opening excerpt from the first part of the two-part season (and series, I assume) finale “Golf Butt:”

Girl: Hi Q.T. [sic]

Guy: You mean cutie-butt?

Girl: Oh, no, your butt isn’t Q.T [sic] anymore.

Guy: What?!

Girl: It’s un-Q.T. [sic], Q.T. [sic].

Guy: Wha- isn’t my butt the same as it was last week?!

Girl: Nooooo, haven’t you seen what’s happened to your butt?

Guy: (looking) I can’t see my butt!

Girl: (answering an imagined question) Nooooo, last week your butt was round and Q.T. [sic] and this week your butt is flat and un-Q.T. [sic], Q.T. [sic]

Guy: (stepping on line) What ha- What have I done that’s made my butt go flat?!

Girl: Well, um, your [unintelligible] butt must have been hanging around with, uh, flat un-Q.T. [sic] butt.

Guy: Okay, wait, the only thing I’ve been doing lately is playing a lot of golf with – [huge gay gasp] – Justin!

Girl: Aha! (points finger) The king of flat butts!

Hilarious! He, he – he…can’t…see his…ha,ha…own…he,he…butt!

And there’s more! I’m not going to transcribe anymore for you though. I’m not made of iron. Seriously go and check it out. Here’s the Golf Butt Episode. Make sure you at least wait for the (no crap) 5 minute credit sequence! It’s well worth it. Especially to listen to their great theme song (it won some kind of award you know)!

Come on, you got better things to do?

No you don’t, stop lying.

Fun Fact: The above sitcom (who’s name I’m not using) may have billed itself as the “first original network-quality sitcom for the internet.” “But they don’t actually claim to be the first. That title is actually claimed by about three other internet “sitcoms.”

Title of “The world’s first weekly internet sitcom” goes to these guys and their 7-minute shows.

Good work guys! The first weekly internet (really short) sitcom! I see that you’ve taken a cue from network TV and took a hiatus – after three episodes.

Weekly sitcom…

Jesus save me from the morons on the web.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Heresy and Hearsay

Former Italian seminary student (and current “just old Italian guy”) Luigi Cascioli has brought a lawsuit against his former seminary buddy (and current “old Italian priest guy”) Enrico Righi – and the Catholic church at large – claiming that they have broken two Italian laws.

The first is Abuso di Credulita Popolare (Abuse of Public Belief) that was put into effect to protect the Italian people from being conned or swindled. The second is Sostituzione di Persona (Impersonation).

Cascioli charges that the laws have been broken because Righi and the church claim that Jesus actually existed.

So, of course, when I heard about this I knew that I had to put my two-cents in.

The case is going before the court for a preliminary hearing on January 27th to see if the case warrants being heard “for realsies” (legal jargon). If it does actually go before the judge, then finally there will be a ruling on the books in Italy as to the existence of Jesus.


Luigi’s motives for bringing the case stem from an incident that occurred which was not unlike something that might have happened to you – in junior high school. See, Luigi said that Jesus didn’t exist, Righi said “yuh-huh, he did too” and then, using his powers as a parish newspaper editor, published a story about how Luigi was a “dumb old blasphemous booger-head” or something.

Then it was off to the races. (As an editorial note, it’s nice to finally see Italians becoming more litigious. It melts my American heart.)

Other than being called a booger-head, and his devout atheism, Luigi has another motive. He just doesn’t like the church. He said “I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression.”

Now, I’m an atheist, I should tell you that. I agree with Luigi about the church for the most part (and the dude gets points for using “obscurantism” in a sentence. In case you were wondering, the definition is: opposition to the spread of knowledge : a policy of withholding knowledge from the general public). I mean, that’s the reason the church exists isn’t it? To keep the followers in line? To keep them on the path? They’re the shepherds, aren’t they? Or at least the under-shepherds. And you can’t be a good shepherd if half of your flock goes off with a bunch of hookers to a String Theory Science convention in Vegas on a whim can you?

Ponder no more, the answer is no. You can’t.

So, yes, Luigi has a point. And it’s possible that soon an Italian judge will make a ruling for or against the existence of Jesus.

But here’s where my two-cents comes in.

Who cares? Who cares if Jesus lived or not? It’s not really the point is it? The argument is whether or not he’s the son of god, right? I mean, in my atheist mind that seems to be the crux.

See, legally speaking (and I don’t know how the courts work in Italy so I’m basing this on my infinitesimally small knowledge of the American court system), Luigi’s going to lose. He knows he is. He even made a joke about it. “It would take a miracle to win” he said.

Ha, ha. That’s a good one Luigi. But there’s a bigger problem here. In a civil case the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. Luigi has to prove that Jesus didn’t exist. (Although I’m pretty sure that it’s not the case in Italy since Luigi said this: “In my book, 'The Fable of Christ,' I present proof Jesus did not exist as a historic figure. He must now refute this by showing proof of Christ's existence.”) And how can one prove that something didn’t exist? I believe that you can prove a negative, but it gets way more difficult to do when that negative you claim to be able to prove didn’t exist, “didn’t exist” 2000 years ago and has a crapload of stuff written about its existence (even if it is all speculation and hearsay).

So, Luigi’s going to lose. If he goes to court he’ll lose, and if he doesn’t go to court he’ll lose. And then Christians everywhere (United States) will hail the victory as the proof of Christ’s divinity.

A lot of Christians (American ones) love to use this logic: if something is said about something, say “Christ was the son of God,” and Christ actually existed, then Christ is, obviously, the son of god (I understand that by referring to Jesus as Christ, I’m inadvertently implying something, I just got tired of typing “Jesus”). This is obviously flawed logic. And most Christians (Europeans) would agree. But it doesn’t seem to stop them from becoming all self-righteous and smug every time another “lost” location from the bible is discovered.

Hey, they shot a scene from the movie “Gigli” at a pizza joint on the corner here near my house. Now, I can go to that pizza place (if I want to break my diet) and order a slice of their famous New York style pizza (which is delicious by the way, yummy pizza) and bring it home to eat it (damn this diet), but that doesn’t prove that the events that took place in the movie actually happened in real life – and it for damn sure doesn’t prove that Ben Affleck can act.

So what am I trying to say? I don’t know. All I can think about now is pizza.

Oh, yeah! As an atheist, I get tired of other atheists. I mean the ones who try to make a federal case out of everything (leave that to the Pat Robertson crowd). I agree, I don’t think that the phrase “under God” should be in the Pledge of Allegiance (it was added by Eisenhower in 1954. Is it because “we like Ike” so much that it’s become such a precious part of the pledge? Or is it religious exclusionarism? Hint: the answer is “B.”) and I don’t think that we should teach “Intelligent Design” in public schools.

But as atheists, I believe that we have to be as respectful to the Christian’s point of view as they are intolerant of ours. That’s the only way we’ll be able to live together.


Fun Fact: Cats make good pets. Indisputable!

And goodbye Lou Rawls, you performed some good music, man. Sad. Not “fun” at all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hooray! This Isn’t Going to be a Post About Lindsay Lohan!

Tragically though, it is.

Sorry to get your hopes up. I got the headline from a West Virginia mining company.

Did you wake up this morning to discover a giant worm standing in your kitchen, drinking milk straight from the carton while scratching it’s ass and accusing you of eating the last can of green beans which was specifically marked with his initials?

If so, you’re living under a rock – and you need a new roommate. But more importantly, you probably haven’t herd about the 12 WV miners who lost their lives after being trapped in a mine after an explosion (that’s just a great sentence there). And you probably haven’t heard about the magnificent communication fuck-up that gave the family members of the victims just about the worst case of false-hope in the history of tragic mining accidents.

But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m not here to ponder what could make the leaders of a mining rescue operation let people live with elated bliss for three hours, thinking their loved-ones were actually alive, before telling them “you thought what?! No. They’re dead! Well, one dude lived. But the rest are toast….you thought WHAT again?! That they were LIVING? Why? We said we FOUND the missing miners, we never said that they were STILL BREATHING!”

No I’m not here to talk about those morons. Nor am I here to discuss the families of the miners who act like this is something new. Much has been made of miners in the last 24 hours. “Saints of the Soil?” Perhaps. After all, they’re making us infinitesimally less dependant on foreign fossil fuels. But more than that, all morning as we’ve been hearing of their underground heroics, we’ve been entertained with the history of coal miners. As it turns out, coal mining is a family affair. Like firefighting, police work and the mafia. If there’s a dangerous job to be done, chances are that the only idiot your going to find to do that dangerous job is the genetically challenged idiot child of the idiot who had the job before. It makes a lot of sense.

But – and I know that there is a lot of grief talking here – the good people of WV (my home state by the way! According to the famous John Denver song: It’s “almost heaven.” I assume that by “heaven” he meant “Virginia”) act as if they had no knowledge of the dangers of coal mining. Look, I’m not a coal miner, I never want to be a coal miner. I’ve got the lungs of a coal miner, sure, but what I’m seriously lacking is the desire – and fortitude.

It’s hard work to be a coal miner. See, I recognize this. Without one single day of experience. Are you telling me that the people who are steeped in it really expect it to be safe? I’ve learned a few things in my time. Mostly from movies. And I’ve learned a few things about coal miners. One: their daughters can really sing. And two: eventually every coal miner alive is going to be killed in a horrible mining accident.

My heart does go out to the families of the victims. It really does. Really. I know you don’t believe me. I am being a bit snarky and callous after all. But I do feel bad for them.

All I’m saying to the victim’s families is this: your husband/brother/baby-daddy wasn’t getting that fat old check every other week because he scored so high on his GED…

“Hazard pay” is called that for a reason (one that has surprisingly little to do with the “Duke Boys”).

But I’m not here to talk about them. I’m here to talk about Lindsay Lohan. And believe it or not, there is a connection.

Celebrities earn ridiculous amounts of cash for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is because of their talent. Some actors just deserve to get paid that much. Their talents are so unique.

Another reason is the hazard pay I just mentioned. See, eventually most celebs realize that they’re going to fade away and/or need extensive drug and alcohol treatment. And that don’t come cheap. And for the actors who have remarkably little talent, the talent-to-drug-addict-pay ratio becomes shifted against them. Hence, in their prime, they ask for vast amounts of cash and hope that it’ll hold out until such a time as when they finally find themselves face down at a party in Miami Beach lying unconscious in a puddle of Tara Reid’s puke.

That is if the money hasn’t run out. If they hadn’t spent all of it in the days when they desperately tried to write off “retail therapy” on their taxes as a medical expense.

And some celebrities find that day has come sooner than expected. Which brings us to darling Lindsay. In a recent interview for Vanity Fair she admitted to being bulimic and using drugs “a little.” But she insists that her drugging days are behind her. She’s gotten that “out of her system.” Oh, good.

She was really spiraling downhill, what with her stupid daddy and the fame and money and all, but she’s back on track now. She’s putting that all behind her now. And she credits friends for the change in lifestyle. Even SNL producer Lorne Michaels got in on the act, warning her about her health after an appearance on the show (good old Lorne, always looking out, like he did with John Belushi and Chris Farley). Lohan started “crying” because she knew she “had a problem” but “couldn’t admit it” to herself.

But now she’s admitting to everything. Well, almost everything. She claims to have never used cocaine. Sure. Okay, Lindsay. I believe you. The bulimia made you that skinny. Skinnier than any bulimic has ever been? Okay. Whatever you say.

Don’t you fret though. Lindsay’s going to be just fine. She’s not using drugs. She’s fine, just fine. No tragedies here. Nope. And I don’t think it’s too soon to say so either. What harm could come from relaying messages of hope – even if they are a few hours too soon?!

Lindsay’s in the hospital now, sure. But that’s because of an “asthma attack” that occurred at a New Year’s Eve party in Miami. An asthma attack that was definitely not brought on by cocaine dust or whisky fumes or, god forbid, Tara Reid puke.

Fun Fact: There’s a new TAM Cartoon up today! Newtastic!

And all this talk about the West Virginia debacle and Lindsay Lohan made me realize something…

I really want Lindsay Lohan to fall into a mine.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy Birthday, Calendar!

Hey, look here! This is the first post of 2006!

I resolve to use a hell of a lot more exclamation points in the New Year!!

I also resolve to let the grammar-checker force me to capitalize “New Year!”

Happy new year.

Fun Fact: I’ve never been very good about keeping my resolutions.