Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On Filial Piety: Max Goof, Stevo, and Reconciling Individualism with Parental Values



So the other day, I was naked with a finger wedged deep in my ear and snacking on rice cakes soaked in soy sauce while balancing on one foot on a pyramid of delicate china cups and saucers, and I thought to myself, 'Oh my God, I've become my father!'" - Bob Roth


'Do we inevitably become our parents?' It's a question that plagues my dreams at night, somewhat less frequently than the zombie apocalypse but drastically more terrifying. I'm at least prepared for the zombie apocalypse. I own large knives, I can theoretically use a firearm, I am learning to ride a motorcycle (towards and away from explosions), and frankly I'm prepared to die a meaningless death because I don't have the stamina or cajones to survive the fall of civilization. I'm barely prepared to survive the fall of my wireless coverage.
What I'm certainly not prepared for is giving up my humanities degree and becoming a project manager for a huge, multinational telecommunications company. That's what my parents ended up doing. Three bachelors and two masters degrees between the two of them. And what was my father's choice career advice? “Be a stock broker. Work your butt off for fifteen years and retire by forty.” Sage wisdom from a Philosophy/Psych major.
Yet is it natural, after asserting our independence and striking out on our own, to return to the traditions and behaviors on which we were raised? In exploring this notion we have to examine values of both parent and child, and I can think of no more entertaining and accessible way to do this than through the lenses of two films vastly separated in genre and audience, but closely related by the theme at hand: 1999's SLC Punk! and Walt Disney Pictures' 1995 “Goof Troop” spinoff, A Goofy Movie.


Within A Goofy Movie there are two father-son relationships: predominantly Goofy and Max, but also that of their next door neighbors, Goofy's time-honored foil Pete and his son P.J. (Pete Jr.). While Goofy is a caring and loving father, Pete is the martinet, keeping his son in line through fear and discipline, prescribing an endless series of chores throughout their vacation, which exclusively serve either Pete Sr.'s personal extravagances or to reinforce his supremacy. In giving Goofy parenting advice, he refers to this as “Keep[ing] them under your thumb.” P.J. stands at attention before his father, comes when called to perform tasks, but otherwise avoids spending time with his father, in private company going so far as to openly resent it. Pete's strict mode of parenting does not create the same kind or strength of bond that Goofy and Max develop throughout the picture. Contrarily, Pete doesn't even give his son a personal name, instead bequeathing P.J. his own name in attempt to forcibly mold his offspring into that same identity.

Quite similarly, in SLC Punk! we are introduced to protagonist Stevo's father, who–representing a traditional upbringing–encourages Stevo to go to law school and finish his education, particularly the very college and law school he himself intended. His seemingly lax attitude and post-graduation recommendation of “and then do whatever” is counteracted by the on-its-face ridiculous notion to first “try it for four years and if you don't like it, quit.” Stevo's parents duet an advisory call-and-response: “Be free,” “Be practical,” “Go to Harvard,” “But have fun,” “Be an individual,” but he should get a haircut. Politely and honestly, Stevo begins to criticize his parents for abandoning the “Cultural Mecca” of their former home in New York City and with it the ideals of the 1960s, exchanging them for a white picket fence lifestyle in Salt Lake City, Utah. He later calls his father a hypocrite for being Jewish yet driving a German Porsche, for applying to Harvard Law School under Stevo's name and, more seriously, for getting divorcing Stevo's mother, saying “Y'know, you gave up a good thing in my mother, Sir.” Though he admits to “just busting his balls,” Stevo's disagreements with his father's values are sincere.

The major problem with the question “Do we become our parents?” is it inherently holds a bias towards the child's perspective. That is, it assumes becoming like one's parents is of necessity a bad thing: losing aspects of one's personal identity, becoming subservient and filling assigned roles is a loss of both freedom and self for an individual and (partially) a psychological death. It is an imposition few children appreciate as they grow into adulthood.
But rather than accept this value judgement, we should first examine the values of our parents. If, like 98 percent of children in the United States, a child is not abused, his parents can't have been too morally reprehensible. Likewise, if a child lives in the suburbs like roughly half the U.S. population as judged by the 2006 census, she probably does not have much to rebel against other than being as drearily average as P.J. or Stevo's families.
While these are certainly certain parents not to use as role models, that is not to say becoming like one's parents is universally a poor life. Max Goof shares equally with P.J. and Stevo an apprehension becoming anything like his father, or at least fearful of acquiring the genetic and personal traits he has grown to view as embarrassing, unhip or otherwise unenlightened. The film opens, in fact, with a nightmare sequence in which Max's idyllic pastoral plane is morphs into a grove of thorns as he frightens away his love interest, Roxanne, by undergoing a werewolf-like transformation into his own buck-toothed and clumsy, HYUCK!-ing father.
Throughout the movie, though, Goofy's values are not so terrible. Much the opposite, he prides himself on leniency and understanding of his son's feelings, preferring over Pete's rules and harshness family togetherness and traditions like father-son vacations and the family's secret fly fishing “perfect cast.” Excepting perhaps his father's taste in music, Max's greatest issue with Goofy is not his ideals or even his clumsiness, but rather that he feels smothered under his father's constant and frequently embarrassing presence in Max's personal. This, Max feels, hinders his development and growth as an individual and so he comes to view Goofy's ideals, though wholesome, as an imposition of parental will as antagonizing as Pete's.

The issue at hand is really a value judgement placing a child's accrued morals and experience over those impressed upon him by his parents earlier in life. Learning that our parents might be in possession of values not openly hostile to our own, perhaps even well-conceived and tested by decades of experience beyond our own, the question takes a different shape: “Are our values, if different, really any better than those of our parents?” If our values are no better than those of our parents, even in line with theirs, what can be said of our growth as individuals?
Max Goof feels like a nobody in his high school, at worst a loser to be picked on, at best fading into the background. However he also believes that he does have some innate coolness. If he can do something outlandish and cool he would win the heart of Roxanne.1 The act he chooses is to interrupt a school assembly with a pyrotechnic-laden lip syncing performance while dressed as Powerline, his world's most popular pop star among children his age. Quite literally, Max abandon's his own identity and adopted a preexisting, sauve, well-liked persona which is at once rebellion against the role of his father's son and conformist in regards to his peers, which does manage to impress the latter at the expense of the former.
This is of course the impetus for story's main conflict, wherein Goofy attempts to “save” his son's soul from a life of delinquency while Max tries to maintain his own independence and coolness. Yet Max maintains a relatively stable moral framework, managing to enjoy time alone with his father away from social constraints. When Max alters his father's road map to culminate not in a father-son fishing vacation, but at Powerline's rock concert in L.A., it is for him a devastatingly conflicted choice, but one he feels necessary to preserve his identity from crushed under being his father's will. It is an open deception of his father, something Max is not at all comfortable with and its exposure opens an emotional rift between the two.3

SLC Punk! features a protagonist much more openly dislikable by mainstream society. A punk rocker and anarchist in 1985 Utah, Stevo's values are frequently directly opposed to the ordered society to which his parents belong, often seeking it's partial or total dismantlement. He rebuffs his parents' advice for living a normal collegiate life, calling them hypocrites for leaving a societal hub of counterculture, for exchanging their ideals for high-salary jobs and expensive cars, for rejecting through the dissolution of their marriage even the very notion that true love can conquer all. In one of the film's most quotable moments Stevo asserts his contrarian lifestyle: “I am the future of this great nation! … I love you guys, don't get me wrong … but for the first time in my life I can say 'Fuck you!'”
When asked by his father why he even bothered to major in pre-law at community college, Stevo replies, “I studied law because I wanted to learn how completely full of shit your life's ambition really is.” Yet Stevo's actions undercut his mission statement of no-rules rule. The very fact that he did attend college is evidence of this and, as his father points out, even if he achieved success by cheating for four straight years, Stevo cared enough about grades and his status in society to desire and receive high marks in all his classes. Becoming conscious of this duality, he thinks to himself:
My dad was right about one thing. Why'd I do so well in school? I didn't want to. I mean, I tried. I tried not to give a shit. I knew it was all bullshit and they were trying to mold me into cannon fodder for their wars. And I knew that meaning lie elsewhere, but somehow I studied. Somehow I got the grades and now somehow I was accepted to a fucking Ivy League school–the last place on the planet for a guy like me. I mean I wouldn't even go there unless it was to set it on fire.

Stevo further muses that when he actively takes part in fighting the local rednecks he is partaking in a hierarchal system that is in essence a scaled-down version of war, creating the same Us versus Them mentality underpinning nationalism, colonialism and the irrational, self-propagating discourse surrounding Edward Said's “The Other.” He recognizes that this is a system very similar to the one he rejects as being antithetical to his anarchist doctrine, admitting he can offer no explanation for this. While actively engaged in a fight he concedes, “Everything has a system, even me. I was following nature; nature is order and order is the system.”

So what happens if a child's alternative value systems collapses?
In Max's case the act of duplicity he was already feeling guilty about is discovered, resulting in an impassioned argument with his father, wherein Max argues that his negative actions come about only in trying to distance himself from his father and grow as a person. Their argument grows so heated that they begin to ignore the physical world around them that the two, along with their car, tumble over a cliff and into a rolling river. Surrounded by water and cut off from any other 'human' influence, Max and Goofy are forced to deal with each other directly:
Goofy: You even lied to me.
Max: I had to! You were ruining my life!
Goofy: I was only tryin' to take my boy fishin', okay?
Max: I'm not your little boy anymore, Dad! I've grown up now! I've got my own life!
Goofy: I know that! I just want to be part of it!

It is at this Max realizes distancing himself from his father is causing as much turmoil in their relationship as Goofy's attempts to forcibly bridge the divide. Father and son then come to a mutual understanding via a stirring musical number we shall address shortly.
Stevo, however, is a bit older. Having graduated from college and now living outside his parents' homes, we get to see his alternative values play out in the larger world. Out with his casual girlfriend Sandy, Stevo runs into a fellow punk from high school named Sean, who has since accidentally overdosed on acid and, thinking his mother to literally be a Satanic monster, attempted to murder her with a kitchen knife. Following a brief incarceration in a psychiatric facility, Sean is now panhandling on the street, “FUCK YOU” scrawled across his torn clothes and incapable of the basic human interaction necessary to support himself. Sandy's immediate advice, to which Stevo readily agrees? “You should get a job.”4 When faced with real hardship, the punks' first instinct is not to thrash the system and take what they need to survive by force, but to accede to that system's structure.
Seeing what can happen to people close to him who follow his same anarchistic doctrine to the extreme, Stevo muses:
“I couldn't even look at the guy. I felt a pain in my stomach. I couldn't take it so I turned my back, just like everybody else … It really fucked me up. Not Sean, but turning my back. Ignoring the truth. So what'd I do? I dropped acid with Sandy in Highland Park as to further ignore the truth.”

Stevo openly admits to running away from the harsher elements of his lifestyle, implying that he might be cognizant of his desire for some of the protections offered by an ordered society. As Stevo's personal relationships begin to crumble, he sarcastically mouths off to his best friend and roommate Bob for falling in love and considering marriage and a family and running a business. “You're a poseur,” Stevo says. “Only poseurs fall in love with girls. You're a poseur.” While he quickly reneges, the thought has been vocalized. Stevo cannot reconcile his own desires with his current lifestyle.
The final death of Stevo's ideology comes with the untimely loss of Bob, at which Stevo expresses denial, grief, guilt, anger and bargaining all in the space of about ninety seconds. He insists, “Only poseur's die,” but this is a clear fallacy in his belief structure and an argument that cannot resurrect Bob. As realization dawns over Stevo, he laments that he has lost his last real friend, muttering simply, “Oh man. Oh jeeze. Oh my God. I wasn't ready for this. I wasn't ready.” It may be quick, but in this short line of dialogue Stevo has completely discarded anarchism, invoking first Man, then in minced-oath Jesus Christ, then finally God.
Stevo's penance as the prodigal son of family and tradition is to shave his perpetually blue, spiky hair down to a Spartan buzz cut for Bob's funeral and don in place of his usual t-shirts and razor blades a mournful, black suit. “If the guy I was then met the guy I am now,” Steve says, “He'd beat the shit out of me.” In the final voiceover he openly repudiates his former values and agrees to return to traditional society5:
So there it was. I was gonna go to Harvard, be a lawyer and play the goddam system … I was my old man. He knew….We were certain that the world was gonna end, but when it didn't I had to do something, so fuck it. That was me: a troublemaker of the future … You can do a lot more damage in the system than from outside of it … I was nothing more than a goddam trendy-ass poseur.


Though Stevo is pushed through only the most begrudging reconciliation with traditional family values, Max comes to terms with his father in a much happier, prototypically Disney fashion. Following their shouting match atop the barely-floating car drifting down river, Max and Goofy sing a duet through which they learn to respect and even admire each other's differences. Max chimes in regarding his father, “Though he seems intoxicated/He's just highly animated,” to which Goofy reciprocates with, “Your moodiness is now and then bewilderin'/And your values may be–so to speak–askew.” Max concedes that his father acts only out of love and he will honor that, while Goofy agrees to respect his son's emotional space and allow him to experience parts of life on his own. Newly reconciled, Max and Goofy have an (assumedly) cherished heart-to-heart between scenes in which Max catches his father up on his teenage angst and the Powerline predicament. Goofy then decides that the only appropriate way to end their ordeal is to get Max onstage at the Powerline concert in L.A. as promised, thereby negating his son's lie to Roxanne and getting Max some sweet, sweet dog lovin'.6
However, before Max can gain any real reward from this new acceptance and openness with his father, he must first be tested to see if he is deserving of his father's boon. Max needs a trial-by-fire. Or waterfall. A trial-by-waterfall. That works too. They're already floating downstream through a canyon, after all. Goofy cements his place as a good father by getting Max to (relative) safety fairly quickly, but Max has to find a way to save his father from tumbling over the falls. With only a fishing poll and tea set floating nearby, Max saves his father by correctly executing the family's secret “perfect cast,” despite how ridiculous it makes him look in the process. The adoption of family tradition over 'looking cool' firmly plants Max's morality back in traditional Disney soil. Alive and safe the loving father-and-son duo can now go break into a stadium, sneak on stage, ruin tens of thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment and then utilize the perfect cast as an original dance step, bridging old and new generations in mutually destructive and illegal havoc broadcast over national television.

In denouement, Max reveals to the disturbingly nubile Roxanne7 that he does not in fact know Powerline, whereby she informs him that she was instantly attracted to not his faux-suaveness or his looks, but to his hereditary HYUK, the very laughter Max had feared, loathed and attempted to hide from her. This happy Disney ending validates Max's choice of family tradition over contrariness for its own sake, whereas SLC Punk! takes the darker approach of effectively punishing Stevo's reluctance to accept his own parents' values. Though Disney understandably portrays this choice as thoughtful and worthy of praise, and though SLC Punk! rather callously defines parents' values as being akin to the 'lesser of two evils,' both convey the solid warning that values which are old and not well understood by some does not make them necessarily wrong in the long-term. More often than not these values endure because they are things we too will come to believe in time, when we better understand the world and are not immediately terrified of possibly, maybe, slightly, even remotely becoming even a smidge like our parents. But Zeus help me if I turn out anything like my father.
 
1A small sampling of appropriately aged heterosexual middle-class males seems to indicate that Roxanne is by far one of the most common cartoon characters to give little boys funny feelings for the first time. To my knowledge, however, none of these participants have actually engaged in romantic relationships with real dogs.2
2Sub-footnote: Yes, everyone in the Goof Troop universe is a
dog.
Goofy's “raucous laugh” predates his screen debut, but he was in his first appearance credited as “Doofy Dawg.” You see that “W” in “dawg?” Yeah, Walt Disney was a real O.G., son. Word.
3A rift that can only be closed with a car-rafting musical duet.
4Officially the third most parental saying in the English language, right after, “When are you getting a haircut,” and “Ask your mother.”
5So long as he can cause trouble by pissing off judges as a lawyer.
6Remember: they're dogs. Still. This hasn't changed in the last four footnotes.
7Seriously? What's up with that? I haven't been this confused since Clueless. (Paul Rudd is just too awesome. Every man bro-crushes on Paul Rudd.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Travesty and Tragedy of George Zimmerman

The tragedy of George Zimmerman is that he probably really did feel threatened by a seventeen year old black man wearing a hoodie, walking through his neighborhood.

At its most banal retelling, George Zimmerman was a passably inept member of his neighborhood watch, who thought it was suspicious that a dark-skinned teenager would be in the area, walking calmly through the rain. He stalked this man, was confronted by this man, and this resulted in George's gun going off at close range, killing Trayvon Martin.

Media and the public at large are furious that Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges, but trying Zimmerman for murder now in a federal court with hate-crime statutes attached is not really going to make anyone but Trayvon's family feel better. It does not guarantee that actual racists will think twice before casually murdering anyone and then relying on "good ol' boy" regional politics to claim self-defense.


George Zimmerman is actually proof that our society is evolving to hold its members to an ethical standard higher than the bare minimum of the law.

By all accounts, George handled his situation … badly. Let's just say that. He unnecessarily engaged in pursuit of a "suspect," entered what he believed to be a dangerous situation against police advice, and then failed to identify himself while accusing the victim in a generic and contextually racist [in hindsight] manner. George Zimmerman was something of an idiot. I think that's a fair judgement to apply.

But George Zimmerman did not commit a hate-crime, he did not seek to murder a young black man, at least as far as anyone involved in the case can really discern. He was, for all the condescension the phrase lends, playing cops and robbers like a fucking child.

I mean to be profane, I am sorry, for the case calls for such. It is profane that a grown man who claims to suffer from Adult ADHD and require medication to remember things such as the street he lives on can acquire a firearm, or that he be allowed to join even an amateur, volunteer organization dedicated to safety. It is profane that he has come to perceive through media and social stigma a black man in a hooded sweatshirt as "suspicious" for his neighborhood.

I will now stoop to prove a point:

George Zimmerman is half Peruvian, that half being one-quarter African-Peruvian. His father is German Catholic. He is a registered Democrat. A twenty-eight year old Afro-Hispanic Democrat thought that a sweatshirt makes a black man suspicious enough to warrant investigation for recent burglaries. This is a simplification, but the disgusting fact is not by much.

George Zimmerman might have watched a lot of Law & Order, or The Wire, or Saved By the Bell for all we know. For whatever reason, this man thought another man was behaving suspiciously at the very best because he was out looking to find people behaving suspiciously, at the worst because Trayvon's being black was suspicious enough.


The sad truth is George probably really did feel threatened by a seventeen year old black man wearing a hoodie, walking through his neighborhood. He put himself in a stupid situation, handled it poorly, reducing the number of possible outcomes to the one wear he ended up on trial for murder, because what seems to have happened was staggeringly less likely than the idea that he was simply a violent racist.

George Zimmerman did behave like a racist when he profiled Trayvon Martin as "up to no good." He internalized every image of gangbangers or hoodlums or early '90s gangster rappers and he broadened that imagery to include a young black man when he assigned himself the role of a police officer.

That we as a public want George tried in a federal court after a jury found his actions to fall short of either second-degree murder (intentional) or manslaughter (even involuntary), shows that we are "uncomfortable" with this outcome, to say the least. Many wish him tried because they feel his racial profile led to the encounter which escalated into (in)voluntary manslaughter. Others will demand a retrial on grounds that the prosecution handled its case badly, or that local law enforcement was less than equal in the pursuit of justice.

Yet I'm pretty sure a great deal of this unrest lies in the nagging feeling that we have perpetuated even now a culture of casual racism and its acceptance that could allow an event such as the ending of Trayvon Martin's life.

The idea that "urban" means "Angry Black Man in Flashy Clothes."

The idea that "gangbanger" has any real meaning outside the most destitute, war-torn ghettos of American metropolises.

The idea that–let's just say it–black people are criminals. Violent criminals. That white men are gentlemen thieves stacking banking regulations against themselves, but anyone of relatively-recent African descent is automatically predisposed to acts of base ignorance, cruelty, inconsideration, and physical damage.

Trayvon Martin's death was not a murder, though that would leave us all more settled, having a wrong, racist, vile murdered to condemn as out-of-step with the rest of us. If his death was not a crime, by the letter of the law, then that means we have, as a progressive and just society, have allowed social perceptions to skew so terribly and so covertly that a hate crime can be committed in our eyes by accident.

The tragedy of Trayvon Martin was his horrible death. The tragedy of George Zimmerman is that he really was doing what he thought was right, and it was all legal.



Dave Zucker
www.soundadoggymakes.com
Dave@soundadoggymakes.com

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Man of Steel | A Half-Hearted Defence

Alright, it's been long enough. I think we can discuss this without upsetting anybody who planned on seeing the new Superman movie. As an added precaution, *Spoiler-Free* nerd beef with Man of Steel first:

In a flashback, little Clark wore a red towel like a cape and ran around with a dog. Without Superman in this universe since 1938, WHO THE HELL WAS HE PLAYING? Captain Marvel? A fictional superhero? Is this Watchmen, and superheroes were never popular comic tropes replaced by pirates? I know Superman wasn't the first superhero. Batman alone predated his publication by a full year. But if the child-wearing-a-cape-superhero trope every existed, it existed because of Superman. End of story.


Now: *SPOILERY BITS*

Squinting because he's looking into a Lens Flare.


Superman gets his powers from a combination of Earth's yellow sun and gravity, and–more oddly–its atmosphere.

Apparently the yellow light powers him up a bit, but it's the gravity that makes him proportionately stronger and faster: Krypton is far more massive than Earth, so despite being the same approximate size as humans, Kryptonians are more rugged, denser, more resilient creatures. Fine.

Flight is also apparently possible, I imagine along the same mechanics as a mastery of one's bioelectrical field in conjunction with stated weaker gravity. Fine.

But the atmosphere is somehow important?

As a baby, Clark apparently had trouble breathing. But he adapted and is fine now. Bring him back into a Kryptonian environment and he hypoventilates, vomits blood, and then passes out. Not good. Cellular breakdown from toxins in the atmosphere, I guess. Alright, plausible. Same thing happens to Zod/other Kryptonians on Earth. Okay, at least that's internally consistent. Zod even adapts quicker than Kal-El, and even makes a point to note that as a bred soldier, he'd be able to. Thanks for the exposition, I agree.

But then once Supes is adapted enough to be conscious and not blood-spitting on the alien spacecraft, he still has no powers. None. No resiliency.

What? So that yellow sunlight is basically working on his cells, which are the least efficient solar batteries ever. They store now energy. His mitochondria must not exist, replaced by some alien organelle. By this logic, Superman is powerless without direct sunlight. He's a plant. And a lousy one at that. He should go into a coma every night. Or what if Kyrptonians simply have extra mitochondria that work only in the presence of direct solar stimulation? At least then he could move, but he'd still be powerless at night, just like his (Kevin-Conroy voiced!) Venture Brothers parody.


Oh yeah, and Superman has no issue with bystander casualties. Don't harp about that or killing Zod. He had to to save innocents, after so many were killed already. Superman used to kill recklessly back in the day. This horrible invasion, as the producers rightly said, explain easily why from now on Superman would refuse to kill and work tirelessly to save every single life.




Short version:

Man of Steel is a poor rendition of Superman, and the pacing makes it a pretty crumby origin story, actually.

However it's a fun as hell super-brawler, and that's all anyone should ever expect from Zack Snyder for any reason.

Also, Jor-El and Zod pretty much acknowledge that the surpersuit is the Kryptonian equivalent of longjohns. Everybody has them under normal clothes and even armor. So even without the red underpants, Supes is still sporting his jockeys on the outside.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

10 Buzzfeed Lists I Never Want to See Again


1. Anything longer than 10 bullet points



2. Anything 90% videos with grainy, ambiguous stills I don't feel like loading


3. Anything I "Wish I Had"

4. Anything about the '90s that was more a personal than objective experience


5. Lists that say the same thing four different ways, just to get to the right bullet count

6. Lists that repeat themselves

7. Any reasons my mom was "amazing." I know she was amazing. I don't need a list. Shut up.


8. Anything that will "Inspire" me or make me "thankful"

9. Anything you think I didn't know about Disney, history, celebrities, Pokémon, but specifically Disney celebrities



10. Lists that go on so long I lose interest and pray the next scroll shows me the comments 

Friday, May 17, 2013

If I Am to Die on a Trapeze

I will be turning 27 at the end of this year. While 26 fell firmly into the camp of Good, But Dumb Years along with 22, 23, and 24, 27 has a special magic to it.

It's not the square year 25 was, a simple 52. No, 27 is 33. That's three to the third. It's perfect. You could write it in base-3 as 1,000. It's so mathematically beautiful I appreciate it without even comprehending its exact importance.

For the rest of the world, 27 means I am going to die.

No, this is not some preemptive strike à la Logan's Run. The Twenty-Seven Club is a collection of famous and sometimes infamous persons throughout rock & roll history–though it is often expanded to include film and other media–who have all died at the age of 27. Principally among them Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones all within three years of each other, then later Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and a number of other musicians without a J-name.

Just as I had gotten over the nagging suspicion I would be struck to death by a bus before I turned 25, I have discovered a wonderful new sense of paranoia. And a deadline:

I must achieve fame and notoriety in the next 18 months so that my "untimely" death will include me among these delightful degenerates. I must also knock out my bucket list in this time, which means I have to make a bucket list.

Right now, the only thing I want to do before I die is take a $586 ten week trapeze workshop at the end of which I put on a "recital" for all my friends and family.

You heard me. I went for the first a friend's birthday recently and loved every terrifying minute of it, and it turns out I was pretty good. $586 is a lot to lay-out for a couple months of fun, certainly more than a gym membership, but my time is short and I certainly can't take the money with me when I go. However, this does pose something of a problem for me:



That is one hell of a good way to die.

I don't mean to imply any safety concerns, far from it. The class I had was highly monitored and seemed safe as anything else. Batman-level catastrophes would have to simultaneously occur to defeat the safety precautions put in place by this school. I mean to say it is such a fun way to go I almost want it to be my sign-off.

"Dave died? How?"

"Oh, it was an unfortunate trapeze incident."

Yes, please. It definitely sounds better than "drug overdose" or "drunk driver," the preferred methods of 27 Club alumni. You say, "Cancer," and people just make that pitying sigh. "Oh, that sucks." You know what to say about cancer. You know what no one shy of a ring master has ever had a prepared response for?

"Unfortunate trapeze incident."

If I get to heaven and they ask me how I died, and I said, smirking of course, "An unfortunate trapeze incident," they would usher me backstage with my VIP tickets and tour jacket, and tell me that Jimi wanted to meet me after the show.

Or they'd call me a bullshitter, because who ever dies in "an unfortunate trapeze incident"?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Of Things to Come

The Sound A Doggy Makes is no longer a daily.


With the exception of a few sick days which were made up for shortly after I regained conscious wellness, this page has been updated with something, ideally something comedic or amusing, for 1,585 days. That's just over four and a half years, and I figure four and a half is a good time for a kid to realize there's no Santa Claus.

So it's over. The daily updates, I mean. I took a weekend off and I feel better about it. Most updates have been a chore, and the better posts get buried under a pile of in-jokes and funny license plate photos. Here's a photo of a store I live near:

Click to embiggen.
Anything to get that sweet Top-Three listing in the phone book, eh?


… That's not a blog post. That's a tweet. An Instagram. At a stretch, a Tumbl. I deserve to be seen as better than that, and you deserve to have better content.

So now The Sound A Doggy Makes is going to have fresh content when it's damn-well ready and fully baked. Yeah, if I think "Aardvark Insurance" is hilarious, you'll probably get a whif of it on one of my social platforms. If I Photoshop something funny for work and it's a hit, maybe I'll share it here. But this is the last time you're getting "LOOK WHAT I FOUND YOUR GUYS! HURRR!"




TLDR: Sound A Doggy Makes is on hiatus while I work on other projects, and will resume more intermittent posting as I create new, worthwhile things that don't fall under their own banners.

Additionally, the long-term plan is to hopefully start up a new, larger platform that will curate the best material from these last 4.5 years into a more distilled form of awesome, minus the cat pictures and license plates.


I hope we had fun.

-Dave

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Honey, I Broke the Physics




I put Honey, I Shrunk the Kids up on the big screen at work today, then spent about 20 minutes re-researching thr fundamental forces of nature to try and work out how Szalinski's shrink ray operates.

By his own words—either in this film or the first sequel, I forget which—Szalinski states the machine works to reduce the great amount of empty space in what is typically considered "solid" matter.

To achieve this, the device would have to affective lot lessen the coefficient of the Weak Nuclear Force, which governs the behavior of fermions such as electrons. This would allow them to maintain stable orbits far closer to the nucleus of their atoms, thereby allowing molecular bonds to be formed from atoms functionally "smaller" in so far as each atom would now occupy less volumethan previously.

Now, Szalinski says nothing of changing any mass, however it is quite clear from the experimental results that weight has been scaled down proportionately with volume of the shrunken subjects, so it can only be that mass too has been affected. This requires that the machine also interact with the Higgs Field in such a way as to shift down the subject's mass as they shrink.


Notes:

1) Altering the coefficients of the fundamental forces is completely impossible and would likely break physics within the space provided, killing anything within, probably horribly.

2) There isn't actually any "empty space" in an atom to remove. I mean you can't remove a nothing, but the emptiness is really teaming with quantum foam if virtual particles infinitely coming into and out of existence, powering the dark energies and probabilities of the world.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bieber Fever Leads to Chills, Mania, Withdrawal

I almost didn't have a blog ready for today. Then this happened:

Drugs Found of Justin Bieber Tour Bus | BBC

Somewhere there's a joke about him and Selena Gomez writhing on the floor of the bus, pupils dilated and the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack playing in the background, autotuned for some reason, but, you know what?

No.

No, Justin Bieber is about to hit the "Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" stage in his little career, and all I have to do to laugh is sit back and wait for him to start lifting weights and try to star in a movie like Mark Wahlberg, because this train wreck is about to get good.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

On Overreacting



This is the package of bubbles we are not allowed to sell where I work, because it uses the word "colored."

Honestly, if this were an issue, I'd be more upset as an African American that white people overreacted and then denied me the purchase of something purple.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Little Perspective



Sometimes I get a a sense of the actual scale of the universe, or buildings, or just really big plants–sometimes I just consider that a worm has a heart–and when I do this, I get a mild panic attack/bout of vertigo. Douglas Adams described a torture device call the Total Perspective Vortex that drives you insane by giving you an exacting display of your insignificance in the universe in a very similar manner.

The above image has been circling the Internet for several days with varying notes attached to it. It is a still image of the Martian dusk sky taken by the Mars Curiosity rover depicting (from horizon up) Venus, Jupiter, and Earth.

Recall that the small dot seen here is divided infinitesimally by the microbes scurrying across its surface, warring over imagined slights and invisible markers, hording certain mineral elements and trading them in exchange for other elements with which to hopefully damage other little microbe people.

And a few of them are hoping to get up off that small dot and visit other small dots and maybe one day not have imagined slights or invisible markers, so they drove a nuclear-fueled RC Power Wheels they shot out of a capsule in a bullet in a cannon to the nearest dot they could find and took this picture to show us the most zoomed-out selfie you'll see all week.

And here you were watching Dancing with the Stars.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Diary of Lisa Frank


When I go to Hell, and they ask me why I think I wound up there, if I can remember no other fun I had while winding down that path, I will show them this. And then I shall waltz into my well-deserved Hell condo and rule over the Plains of Fire as a Discordant Lord.

Good times.

Monday, April 22, 2013

On Cat Stevens and the Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio is kind of horrifically depressing. It's like looking at all the best things about rock that have already died, and then tribute pieces to the still-living pieces who are doing their best to discredit their early innovations with weak attempts at reinvention and re-invigoration [read: "relevance"].

That said, it's still by far the coolest, most amazing museum a museum can be without those crazy-realistic animatronic raptor costumes. Truthfully, the only down-sides to the R&R HoF are

1) The coolest exhibits are all dead and you can never rock out with them in person, and

2) It closes at 5:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Seriously, what kind of rock and rollers close shop at 5:30? Answer: the kind old enough to be in the Hall but didn't live hard enough to be dead yet. So the B-squad, I guess. (In their defence, wednesdays the Hall is open until 9, so maybe Wednesday night is concert night.)

Man, I hope this style comes back in fashion soon. I've been failing to rock it for 20 years already.


Now, Cat Stevens was nominated for entry to the Hall of Fame back in 2006. There is some speculation that he may never be inducted in life simply for fear that he might make some religiously-themed comments in his acceptance speech. This is patently ridiculous.

Firstly, let's just get tolerance out of the way. Yes, Islam is a touchy subject, politically, but what kind of rock and rollers should give a fuck? None. Also, they wouldn't care I just said, "fuck." Yes, most probably, "Yusuf Islam" would likely say some political, theological bullshit. So do Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes. We just don't want to hear them say anything they believe in, we just want to hear them do their jobs entertaining us. Big whoop.

No, the more important thing here is that Cat Stevens should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Yusuf Islam hasn't had a relevant album, single, or compilation in his entire career. Yusuf Islam has no business being the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Now, I understand that's like saying Prince is a separate artist from "The Artist Formally Known As Prince," except Stevens wasn't a dispute over contract negotiations. Cat converted religion, changed his name again (he was originally Steven Demetre Georgiou and in fact now goes under the stage name "Ysuf" sans-surname), and for a time wrote only music glorifying the prophet Mohammad and making Islam relevant and accessible to young people.

Functionally, Cat Stevens and Yusuf Islam are completely different musical artists with separate careers in wildly different decades.

Honor Cat Stevens with a lifetime achievement award, or a Medal of Honor for services rendered.

Then give Yusuf a big pat on the back for trying so hard.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Spectacular Failure






I just tore my pant leg on a chair. On a padded chair.

Do you know why we invented chairs? To prevent us from being stung or cut or dirtied by sitting on the ground. What the hell, chair? I'm good to you. I don't get far and sit on you, I brush crumbs off you before and after I sit down, i even saved your sweet looking red relative from the dumpster when my old neighbor moved in and decided to cast it out upon the dumpster. What have I ever done to you to warrant this type of behavior?

You got a debt, now, chair. You got a debt and you're gonna fill it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Power Girl Regains Her Boob Window

This is actually a rather tasteful and less cartoony cover for PG.


I learned today that DC Comics superheroine and exploited feminine icon in perpetuity Power Girl has this week donned her old costume, complete with a ovular cutout where typically a super's insignia would go. (This happens to showcase her ample cleavage.) I didn't even know she had a new costume. Apparently, it wasn't very long in the running. Best guess, it was from the last "New 52" update after the Flashpoint continuity reset about a year ago.

Anyway, it's back now, and that got me thinking:

Did Power Girl have her "can't take you seriously as a crime fighter" F-cups prior to gaining her powers? Of is that just a side-effect of her, er, endowment?

Actually, yes. It turns out I was confusing Carrol Danvers, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel–a former government agent/spy turned hero after being artificially givern the powers of existing hero Captain Marvel–with Karren Starr/Kara Zor-el, who in main continuity is not the age-accelerated clone of Supergirl as in the animated series like I thought, but rather the actual, older Supergirl from Earth-2, what was explained to be the world of all the "Golden Age" comics.

So yeah, she had super Kryptonian boobs all along. And Ms. Marvel's rack isn't enormous, so there goes my whole comedic tear-down of yet another reason DC comics craps all over its female characters (and creators, and fans, historically).

Friday, April 19, 2013

John McClane Where Are You?





The news today sounds like the plot of the next Die Hard movie.

Actually, it sounds like the last Die Hard movie. I imagine this is what it was like to watch the chaos run through the news cycle while Bruce Willis was off being awesome somewhere else.

Car chases with explosions, Little brother making it out of a shootout and miraculously avoiding the police? The kin even looks a bit like Justin Long.

My bet is Older Bro got in over his head trying to stop some Chechnyan terrorists and now Bruce is trying to get the little kid out alive as a witness.

Yippee ki yay, folks.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Horrifying Discovery

At work yesterday I saw on the floor by the entrance what I thought was a black doo-rag. Thinking it something someone might come back for, yet possibly was endowed with gross head sweat, I picked it up by as little of my finger tips as possible and went to place them in the Lost and Found. I recoiled in horror, dropped them to the ground, and probably shrieked a little less than a manly bellow. Immediately I sanitized my fingers, and the rest of my hand to the rist.

They were underpants.


Dirty underpants.

Dirty, feminine, underpants. Inside-out, upside-down, probably size-M basic black women's panties, casually laid out on the floor. And I accidentally touched them.

The most vile part of this experience is the realization that this only points to something even more disgusting happening elsewhere yesterday, very likely right in my store. Best Case Scenario: some teenagers thought it would be funny to leave one of their sisters' dirty drawers in the entranceway to a public location and then laugh about how "punk" they were. That's Best Case.

Worst case?

Something tawdry happened in my very store, possibly in the bathroom, more likely in the corner of reference and computer books next to the kids' department, away from prying eyes. Just a quick finger or two, something to rev the engine without blowing the gasket, so to speak. Something that necessitated the removal of said undergarments and their wadding up into the corner of a pocket, not so well constructed as to hold its contents all the way out of the store.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it was pretty hot for them, but I'm in no mood to have to get a herpes test any time soon, and I would appreciate it if anyone and everyone could refrain from boning royally in the confines of my place of business.

I don't think James Deen has starred in a Sexy Bookstore porno yet, but if not, any day now.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On Sewing

After sitting in a chair sewing for hours on end, it occurs to me that being a needle and piercing fetishist must make it incredibly difficult to darn one's socks.





Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Only Thing I Will Ever Say About What Happened In Boston

I will be brief. Opinions abound, and I am loath to the kind of "Our prayers are with you!" Facebook Activism that does no real good.

To anyone who wants to help: Take a day off from work if at all possible and drive up to Boston to volunteer somewhere. Anywhere. Help. If you can't do that, please consider donating even $5 to Red Cross or another local charity. (I'm not a fan of Salvation Army's anti-gay policies, but I really don't think they're asking about victim/first responder preferences when offering crisis counseling and free food. Help them out.)

To Bostonians: I assure you, New Yorkers will continue to hate you and the Red Sox with a burning fervor, but you are our annoying little brother. You are ours to mess with and no one else's. While I don't like it as a response, be assured we are going to help crack some skulls over this.

Monday, April 15, 2013

On Justin Bieber and Fruit Loops

One day, Canada is going to look back on history and apologize for Justin Bieber.
Just like they did with Bryan Adams.






Fruit Loops taste uncomfortably similar to crunchy cardboard that has been shellacked with citric acid and painted with melted sugar, and though I know this, I could still very happily eat an entire box. Whoever first thought of making tiny, edible Play-Doh donuts was a mad, mad genius.


 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

On Fitness

If you need to get pumped for the gym, I suggest putting on an UnderArmor shirt.

Personally, I feel like a superhero but look like a less perjurious version of Lance Armstrong, which, incidentally, is just the right impetus to be healthier but less of a pompous douche.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Amazing Spider-Man | Is Peter Parker Autistic?



Though it's not exactly timely, a though occurred to me in the car yesterday that finally put the latest installment in Sony's Spider-Man franchise, starring Andrew Garfield.

I had read that Andrew closely modeled his posture and behavior on actual arachnids, to give Peter Parker a more alien, more alien vibe. He achieves this with great affect. Post-mutation, Peter Parker is a strange, cocky little fellow who moves like something a little more or a little less than human.

Before that bite, however, Peter is sort of … well, spectrum-y1.

Peter is emotionally closed off at school, very reactive, not all that talkative, despite for all purposes appearing geek-chique handsome, sporting stylish hoodies and military jackets, and possessing cool interests: skateboarding, photography with a $3,000 camera. It is out of his character to stand up for a bullied little person, or to speak up in class. He is dumbfounded at being engaged by a pretty girl. (Granted, it's a skinnier-than-usual, blonde version of Emma Stone, dressed like a naughty schoolgirl, but still.) The point is Peter Parker seems to be someone with abandonment issues who doesn't understand how other people work outside his close-knit family unit. He has no trouble lying to his aunt or placating authority figures, but he will do his own thing quietly and resent dealing with the "normal" outgoing jock-types, who also appear to be enormous, dickish bullies

No, this isn't much more atypical than your average high school loner, but it's a new spin on Peter Parker. Traditionally, Peter has been the Nerd, the skinny boy who was transformed overnight into a disproportionately strong, super-sensing super-man. He was a nerd, a geek, a loser. He had few friends, sure, but predominantly he was a boy-genius with little aptitude for girls, sports, or alpha-male behavior. He was the first 40 minutes of Revenge of the Nerds.

So why not play the same? I mean, yes, you're trying to reboot a franchise that only finished a few years previous, but is it a necessary change? The two easiest ways to bork up a reboot is to follow the source material too closely or not closely enough. Peter has always been a nerd. Tobey McGuire nailed that. Why change canon law?

Because nerds rule your computer right now, and your computer rules your life. The audience knows that. Half the audience of a Spider-Man movie is that nerd. However it has nothing to do with alienating your target demographic:

The only way for Peter Parker to be a social outcast in a world full of increasingly common nerdiness is to make him more socially stunted, and that means withdrawn to the point of emotional underdevelopment.

Gwen Stacy is a genius in her own right. She is strong-willed and empowered. Flash Thompson may be an alpha-douche, but he damn-well knows how to sext a girl, browse Facebook, and follow Dita von Tease via Twitter. All Peter's classmates, and probably a few faculty members are all over the Internet and integrated with their PCs. That interest in science that made Peter an outcast for much of the character's history is just part-and-parcel for the average teen now.

The only way to alienate Peter from his peers is to remove him from the social networks. He can't understand them. He can mirror them, utilize them, but he can't be allowed to understand the intricacies by which they function. He can school Flash on the basketball courts, but he has to be punished for it the way Flash never could be. Peter has to be physically incapable of joining up with the status quo of high school culture.

Peter has to be a little spectrum-y to be who he always has been but no longer can be.



1 We used to say "Aspergers-y, but now we have to use "Autism Spectrum Disorder-y" THANK YOU VERY MUCH DSM-V.
2 Actually, one bully. Flash Thompson. This school has about 6 people with speaking rolls.
3 I promise you he's really a nice guy once he realizes in college he was a douche, especially after joining the military and losing both his legs overseas.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On Recommended Serving Sizes

I've joked for years that a Real Serving Size is the recommended serving size multiplied by 1.5. Two cookies you say? You will not be satisfied by less than three. Eight ounces of soda? There's a reason they switched to twelve ounce bottles. It's not even a joke anymore, really. I've retired it. It is now simply a fact of existence.

Yet I still seem to hold to the percent daily values on my foodstuffs. Calcium still has a recommended dosage, even if a fat American wouldn't be sated by the paltry sum of matter bequeathing it. It was even in attempt to follow these guidelines that I discovered the reason my nutritional intake a few years back wasn't helping my attempt to build muscle: I was getting close to 100% of most vitamins and 200% of my protein, but only consuming 1700 calories on average; I was literally too full of food mass to fit in more for the calories. I had to add back sugars and fats.

Though I try now to maintain a balanced if not numerically happy diet. Moderation and mild indulgence. That sort of thing. So I'll allow myself, to dabble in experiments. I haven't touched that 327% sodium "Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowl" since college, but I'll try an organic energy shot I find in Mrs. Green's.





Yummy looking. Actually, it tastes like weak, strained cough syrup. Utterly horrifying. I think perhaps wheat grass juice constitutes a major portion of the product. But at least it's full of vitamins!



If you don't feel like click-to-enlarge-ing, that is 15 calories and 4g of sugar for 333% your Vitamin C, 300% your D (I already had 250% for my day per doctor's orders), 75% Niacin, 100% B6 and Folate, 13% Zinc, 143% Selenium (pretty sure this is what killed the aliens in Evolution with David Duchovny), and 100% Chromium.

Oh, yeah, and 33,333% B12.

Yes. Recount. Five threes in that one. Comma isn't in the wrong place. One giant B12 shot right to your gut. So fine, it tastes atrocious. At least it's healthy and gives you energy, right?

As expected, nope. Not at all. Nada. Zilch. No hyperactivity, no even moderate activity. Just normal activity at best. So EBoost organic energy drink: complete failure. But at least I shouldn't worry about whether I got enough nutrients while getting over my cold.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

First World Problems


A couple weeks ago, after seeing this image, I came into work with a soar throat from yelling myself horse alone in my room, working on my Macho Man Randy Savage voice.

All things being considered, I am happy if this is one of my most immediately troubling problems.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On Elected Officials


So Kenya just elected a new president who has the word 'Kenya' right in his name.

I propose we in the rest of the world follow suite:

  • The next American president shall be "Ugly Betty" actress America Ferrera, a woman, and Latina.
  • The UK will elect as Prime Minister Welsh footballer Mike England.
  • Even though he is not a citizen, NFL player Willie Germany will lead Deutchland in its economic expansion, because "Willie Germany."
This was UN meatings can get rid of those little flags or name plates, and the whole thing will be a whole lot more like Hetalia. The real trick is going to be finding somebody named "Tobego" to co-rule with Trinidad Jame$.



Monday, April 8, 2013

On Ferocity, Tenacity, Zealocity


I love animals. The cute ones are fun to hold, and, typically, the ugly ones tend to taste amazing.

However silent auctions are for people who think yelling never solved anything.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sick Day Lazies

Seasonal Change means everybody I know gets sick.

And that means while you all have a flu or a bug or a death coma, I've gotten my 72 hour head cold.

Thus, I have had quite a bit of time today to finish a book, start the most recent season of Doctor Who, and write out a new shopping list. I even managed to straighten the house a bit, eat fairly well, and place an order for a shipment of specialty mustard. Basically, 80% of what I'd have done on my regular day ff anyway.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch another few episodes of the Doctor until it's time to try to churn out another half-assed post before joining the rest of you coma patients for the night.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How to Tell If Yours Is Not the One True Religion

• No one ever photographs you silhouetted against a backdrop of streaming, radiant light.
  • You actually get to see the zombie apocalypse, but your neighbor disappeared in a blinding flash of light.
  • The last time you skipped church, booming, ominous choruses of trumpets didn't signal your soul's eternal damnation.
  • Your religion encourages you to murder anyone for any reason.
  • You are required to convert others just to be considered a good person.
  • The first time you made love, the crucifix nailed to your wall fell down and hit you on the head.
  • You have to pull into a gas station because your car lit up a "check soul" light.
  • You had gay sex outside the missionary position while using birth control with an atheist member of another skin tone after getting drunk on stolen sacramental wine on the Sabbath, and baby Jesus still didn't cry.
  •  You are Tom Cruise.

Friday, April 5, 2013

On Phonetitcs


I cme across this insert for what I'm gathering is a DK children's educational product, however, I came across it upside-down, as pictured above. Phonetically, my brain attempted to read the letters as "dick." You know, like "PETA" or "FUBAR," not "Dee-Kay."

So "I'm a dick girl."

Yeah, I bet you are, sweetie. Wait a minute. No. No. You're like nine. That is not cool, DK. Only Disney can market to children sexually. I mean, maybe, one day, by like middle school, high school at the latest, sure, you're going to be a dick girl then. One step-daddy is all it takes. But "fun, hip, sophisticated and confident"? no, I don't think so. Everything but sophisticated, maybe. I've never known a high school whore to be described as sophisticated. This isn't Pretty Woman. You're not Julia Roberts–who I may also say, I dislike strongly as well–you do not get to be classy and a fabulous slut.

And come on, don't mistake a familiarity with dick for confidence. Underneath every teenage trollop is a little girl terrifically afraid of not being accepted or loved. And underneath her is an STI.

That's "Ess-Tee-Eye," not "sty." Although I'm sure she's an emotional mess, too.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Requirements For My Perfect Girlfriend | An Exercise of Choice in Begging


• Owns her own leather jacket

• Has had and likes cats

• Dislikes small dogs

• Shorter than me & weighs less

• Knows how to smile for photos but does not pose the same way ever time

• Does not wear large hoop earrings

• Eats meat, loves bacon

• Is not allergic to basic food components or most berries/fruit

• Has a preference either way in Star Wars v. Star Trek that does not involve Chris Pine

• Keeps her finger nails short

• Prefers that we keep separate bookshelves

• Her favorite author is dead—possibly by suicide—and is either a woman, a Russian, or a raunchy Englishman. She hates Jane Austen.

• Believes gay marriage is none of her goddam business and refuses to discuss it with company, but still votes for expanding civil rights

• Will actually smell/taste/watch and then laugh when I hand her a mysterious substance/expired milk/weird Internet porn

• Has a thin upper lip but round bottom (lip)

• Does not smoke

• Thinks babies are weird, possibly gross.



Image originally from Jeph Jacques

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Breaking Up is Hard to Do




Planet Fitness has possibly the best business model possible:

Every month they host Free Bagel Day and Free Pizza Day.

No one ever uses that gym membership to begin with, but now they're going to come in just to gorge themselves on carbs. Way to keep your fat, lazy customers from canceling their memberships.

My buddy just told me the SUNY Plattsburgh gym will actually mail you a letter if you haven't showed for a few weeks.

"Hey, buddy. We've missed you. Where you been, lately? You sure you want to keep that membership? Hmm?

You write a letter back, " Hey, sorry, I know, I've just been working a lot lately, and I'm running to class every day-"

"DON'T GIVE ME YOUR SHIT! I know you've been seeing another gym! I bet she's got a Pilates class, doesn't she? How many treadmills does your whore like??"

Which of course leads to the inevitable "Dear Jim/Gym Letter."

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Bit Literal

We told him to "man the fort."

I told him I expected a real fort when I got back.

(That sign reads "No Girls.")

He not only made a fort, he made it man-only.

Well done, Boz.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Eastover!

Or Passeaster, as with which your preference may lie.

Last evening my family celebrated both, as the lapsed Jews gathered with the lapsed gentiles and the never-were, and faked a quick seder under my direction to tell the story of passover and then eat a meal before digressing into drunken therapy complaining about how awful the people we didn't invite are and always have been.

This is that story:

"Okay, so Moses is a Jew, but he's adopted by the queen. He's basically the pharaoh's little brother. Until one day God's like, "You're Jewish," and he's like, "Damn." So he goes out and sees what it's like to be Jewish, except he's still rich and powerful and not a slave. So God says, "No, you gotta free them now," which he's cool about, figuring his brother will be down ince their dad was about to do that anyway. But it turns out since Moses left to learn about being Jewish his brother became kind of a dick and didn't free the slaves at his dad's death like he was supposed to. It's a free laboring class. Come on.

"So Moses is all "Dude," and his brother is like, "Yeah, I know," but God 'turns his heart' so he'll refuse to let the Jewish slaves go, so effectively nothing from this point out is really his fault and God's a huge dick.

"So Moses performs some miracles, which also happen to be horrible, horrible plagues upon the Egyptian people for something their king did because he was being Jedi Mind Tricked.

"Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader.
"Your sad devotion to this contemporary religion hasn't given you
clairvoyance enough to- wait, yeah, actually no. Go ahead."


"First Moses made his staff into a cobra, which killed and ate the cobra-staff of an Egyptian magician, just to prove out God was stronger than his god. The the real plagues started: the Nile turned to blood, frogs rained from the sky–which is pretty cool, actually–lice, "wild beasts"–so, like Egyptian antelope or whatever were running through the streets, so that was cool–pestilence–which destroyed the entirety of the nation's crops and food stores–boils on the face and all over, giants, painful hail hitting people in their heads, locusts–eating what little of the crops remained–darkness just blotting out the sky–which should have been the end of it, but the Lord still kept Pharaoh from letting the Jews go–and finally the killing of all first-born Egyptian children, essentially committing genocide against an entire people for the fun of it.

"Dude, I am way too high for this right now."
"Shut up, Ezakiah! My mom'll totally hear you!"


"Finally, God let Pharaoh let the Jews go, but they had to get out quickly, so they baked their bread before it had risen, so it was all chewy and gross–basically a Cliff Bar. Then for some reason Pharaoh changed his mind again and some generals chased after them, but the Jews walked through the Red Sea in that really cool animated scene that's all anyone remembers from Disney's The Prince of Egypt. Then all the Egyptians chasing them died, and the Jews wandered in circles for 40 years until Moses died to punish him for breaking some tablets when we got bored and started worshiping a golden cow statue while waiting for God to finish dictating some laws.

"And somewhere in there, God also "passed judgement" on the Egyptian gods, apparently, so they were real but pussies."


Luckily, I'll be spending all day today working, despite it being Sunday and Easter, so I won't have to deal with the Jews telling me I'm a bad Jew (Passover is officially over), or the Christians telling m I'm going to hell (they're all fighting with their own families over plastic eggs).

But God willing we'll all meet again in Exodus II: The Search For More Money.