Tuesday, August 28, 2007

For Those Who Already Rock

As you may know, I recently found myself watching Scott Baio's existential crisis (in which he wonders why screwing Playboy Bunnies is no longer enough, or something) as played out on "Scott Baio is 45 and Single." It's something like watching a car accident occur--you don't want to see what's going to happen, and yet you can't look away. I was once a big, big fan of "Happy Days" (I named my guinea pig "The Fonz") so that might explain my interest in Scott Baio, but the sad truth is, I never really counted myself among Poison's fan base.

Which may be why "Rock of Love" didn't immediately catch my eye. This VH1 show poignantly depicts Poison lead singer Bret Michaels' search for love, via reality television. I was prepared for an emotional roller coaster, of course, but little did I know how high some of the highs would be. During the episode I viewed, Bret's soul mates-in-training were taken to a moto-cross track where they competed for his love. But only after a short motivational speech, which Bret opened with "As you know, I love to rock..." It was a spectacular opening.

From now on, I'm going to try and open all of my important sentences that way.

"As you know, I love to rock, so could you please give me a $10 and two $5's for this $20?"

"As you know, I love to rock, and that's why I'm proposing that we completely overhaul our website navigation..."

"As you know, I love to rock, which means that this Christmas I will be purchasing George Foreman grills for all of my friends and family members."

You get the idea. Try it. It's fun!

Note-Astute readers may have spotted Bret Michaels' Bret Michaels t-shirt in the picture above. Trippy. It's almost like taking a picture of yourself taking a picture of yourself in the mirror. Or ingesting psychedelic mushrooms.

Monday, August 27, 2007

It's So Good That I'm Not Having Kids

Because if one of them turned out this stupid, I would have to eat it:

In case you can't be bothered to watch, the question put to Miss Teen South Carolina Lauren Caitlin Upton was about why one-fifth of Americans can't find the U.S. on a world map. Miss Upton replies:

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and uh, I believe that our, ah, education like such as in South Africa, and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., or should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for our children."

Perhaps the most surprising thing for me was to find out that it's "The Iraq" whereas I'd always just been calling it "Iraq."

I'm not sure whether this video is an indictment of beauty pageants in general, Miss Teen USA specifically (obviously just begging for it), or the South Carolina School System (boasting the country's lowest SAT scores just a few short years ago.) Whichever it is, I'm pretty sure I lost a few IQ points watching it.

P.S. She came in third, so that should tell you how heavily the interview portion is weighted in the overall competition.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cuddle Parties

I don't get out much. This is basically an incontrovertible fact. I don't socialize very often. I don't like meeting new people. Mostly because they annoy me. To be fair, I'm also something of a homebody. Malls freak me out. I like to go straight home after work, with as few stops as possible along the way. I rarely enjoy hanging out at other peoples' houses. I don't like using public bathrooms. I'm not a hermit in the technical sense of the word, I don't think, but fairly close. I like to do things, but, you know, mundane kinds of things. A drink and a movie is about as thrilling as it gets (and come to think of it, it's been a long time since I even indulged in that thrilling an activity.)
So, you can imagine my absolute, sheer, and unadulterated horror, as I watched an episode of "Scott Baio is 45 and Single"--I'm a latecomer, I know--during which his life coach suggested he attend, and I can barely even type this...a CUDDLE PARTY. (Time-out while I vomit a little in my mouth.) The cuddleparty.com website describes a "boundary-appropriate workshop and social event for exploring touch and affection." Shudder. People wear pajamas (which always just makes me feel sick, or old) and lay around spooning with each other, holding hands, etc., in a "non-sexual" atmosphere. As if that's any consolation.
One of the FAQs on the website addresses what happens when you accidentally get wood. Well, maybe not you. Or me. But somebody, and that's more than enough information for me. "At a Cuddle Party, erections become Mother Nature's way of giving us the thumbs-up sign," according to the website. Which goes on to explain that it's A-OK, as long as nobody's dry-humping. Good lord. I have not the words. Scott Baio looked reasonably scared. Which made me like him a little bit better, to be honest.
If this is what happens in the outside world, then I'm just glad I don't leave the house very often.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

God I Hate Those Freaking Cicadas

Those among us who have never gotten up close up and personal with a cicada should be grateful. Many may be familiar with these creatures in passing--they're the ones that hatch in giant broods, so vast that in the worst throes of their uprising, it apparently sounds like driving over miles of Doritos, as the piles of carcasses are crushed under tire. Normally, the very thought of this would disturb me.

While I have what can safely be described as at least a moderate bug phobia, I'm also loathe to kill basically any living creature, which makes removing insects from my home a complicated and tiresome process. But when I think specifically about cicadas being offed, by the hundreds, all I can do is smile. For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to hear a cicada do its thing, you can't really imagine what it's like. Varying tempo, slightly different pitch insect for insect, but all generally sharing a style similar to, say, rhythmic weed-whacking, at volumes which can only be described as absolutely ridiculous, particularly given that this din is being generated by something an inch and a half long. Additionally, it is utterly and completely incessant.

I'll grant you that I may tune into certain noises more easily than others, but this sound is astonishing, distracting, and yes, I'm sorry to say, maddening. I've gone out on my back deck and yelled at the trees, shaking my fist, hoping to scare them off, or scare them silent. Nothing. I've lobbed the broken-off ends of corn that I happened to be shucking when the noise became too much for me to bear. And yet it continues. The other day I thought about the BB gun in our garage, considering whether I could become enough of a marksman, quickly enough, to put a dent in the population of cicadas, at least as they relate to my own backyard. After all, it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that I might get good enough to hit one of these:

It's about the size of my goddamned thumb. More like hitting the broad side of a barn, than a mosquito or some other normally proportioned insect.

Oh the Humanity!

Every day reading the news gets a little sadder. Today I read that 33 people have died from the heatwave in the southern region of the United States. Temperatures have topped out at over 100 degrees, day after day.

And all this poor guy has to drink is a big steaming jug of urine:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Good Night, Sweet Prince (of Darkness)

What sad news for humanity this morning, to learn that Karl Rove will be leaving the Bush administration at the end of August. Too soon, my friend, too soon. Not forced out, we're assured. Most likely, Satan just got lonely and called him back home.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

No, It Doesn't Have Any Cabbage In It

Last night at Target, the kid at the check-out rang up my tofu, looked at it and said "Do you like tofu?" I said yes. (It seemed self-evident, but at least he was more pleasant than the girl last week, who must have had a seriously bad experience because she spoke as if she was ringing up vomit, while assuring me she meant "no offense." None taken.) Then he said "Does it have cabbage in it or something?" Hee hee.
Nope, no cabbage I said. Soy. It's soy beans. Which seemed to provide no further clarification for him.

Friday, August 10, 2007

One Man's Trash...

Some of the things I have seen on the side of, or in, the road during my commute from Route 234, to Route 66, to Route 7100, to the Dulles Toll Road:

1. A Cookbook
2. Toothbrush
3. Several bags of mulch
4. Absurd amounts of garbage (There is no way to accurately convey the sheer volume of said garbage, but as for constitution, think primarily fast food and beer bottles.)
5. Shoes-Sneaker(s), Workboot(s), Sandal
6. Mattress
7. Wingback chair
8. Wooden Pallets

9. Ottoman (not an actual mate to the wingback but it would have made a nice set)
10. Sombrero


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Land ho! Set the jib, full speed ahead!

When I was in, let's say, sixth grade, these were the shoes in which to see and be seen:

I'm not sure why. Vermont, as many of you may know, is a landlocked state. And while Lake Champlain is the largest mountain lake, and the sixth largest fresh water lake in the U.S., it's a good three hour drive from where I grew up on the southern end of the state.

Which brings me back to the question: why, oh why, were boat shoes so popular? I had a pair, maybe two. Everyone else had them, so it stood to reason that my miserable existence might be improved by the acquisition of yet another thing the popular (read: rich) kids had. I also lusted for a pair of Tretorn sneakers until my beloved grandma finally acquiesced and bought them for me. I can actually recite a long list of things that I lusted after with nearly overwhelming desperation when I was a kid. Esprit sweatshirts, Reebok hightops, jelly bracelets...there was a time when I would have gladly sold my entire family into white slavery for another Swatch. Sadly, it never occurred to me that my outlook and station in life were not improved significantly or permanently once I'd acquired these items.

But I digress. Happily, most of these trends, along with off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, neon spandex, legwarmers, fingerless lace gloves, shoulder pads, and acid wash, eventually died a well-deserved death. Less happily, some have since made a comeback (Legwarmers, for example, really should have stayed dead.)

It wasn't until I moved to Virginia, however, that I discovered boat shoes worming their way back into the zeitgeist. I first observed them on a member of my brother's biking team, and chalked it up to the misguided taste of one individual. After all, we're talking about men who shave their legs and circulate in public wearing lycra. But, the more I've expressed my disdain for this footwear, the more I come to understand that boat shoes have, in fact, made a comeback in some circles. One of our interns informs me that they are actually one of three sanctioned footgear choices for students at Virginia Tech. Since the bike team member, and another (girl, God help me) who I subsequently observed wearing them, are Virginia Tech students and alumni, I can only pray that this trend will stay in Blacksburg, where I don't have to see it. Or on boats. If you own a boat, of any kind, other than a raft or a canoe, you are excused from my judgment.

In summary, boat shoes yes:

Boat shoes no:

The rest of humanity.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fake Plastic Trees

God--It's like Vermont can't not win at everything it tries. First the Simpson's premiere, and now Vermont, and my own home county, will be representing with this year's national Christmas tree. And while I can attest personally to the fact that Vermont boasts some of the nation's loveliest trees (okay, I haven't seen them all, but a fair sampling, anyway) it has occurred to me since hearing the news that I'm not sure Shrub and his Stepford wife should be allowed to enjoy this great tree. Shouldn't the Bushes have to select their stoopid tree from a stoopid red state? (Full of crappy, small-minded, ignorant trees, you can just bet.) Or maybe they can have Roberto or Condoleeza trudge on down to Wal-Mart and get one of those fake plastic/aluminum jobs. Or (and this is my favorite) perhaps they can figure out how to dislodge the giant tree that's been stuck up Dick Cheney's ass for decades.
As the bumpersticker goes, we didn't vote for him. When the democrats take over, they can choose an authentic Vermont specimen for the national Christmas tree, if they've earned it.