Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Top Ten Tuesdays: How Are We Showing Our Holiday Spirit?

10) Decking the Halls and anyone else who stands between us and the checkout line.

9) Fashioning noose out of garland.

8) Exchanging gift of democracy for Old Navy Kevlar Vests.

7) Running over mother’s Manheim Steamroller CDs with a steamroller.

6) Giving political opponents this year’s hottest radioactive isotopes.

5) Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas while playing Dark Side of the Moon.

4) Finishing Ph.D. dissertation, Bows of Folly: The Struggle for Economic and Social Equality Among Reindeer and Elves at Santa’s Workshop.

3) Regifting the Taliban.

2) Going on Maury to determine if virgin girlfriend is pregnant with the Son of God or the son of Jesus, the pool boy.

1) Asking Santa for new White House clue phone.

Five things about me you may not already know

The Lovely Becky tagged me with this meme last week, but I was too busy playing Guitar Hero with one of my brothers to put up a post. I wish I was kidding.

1) I have a catalog of death fears, a list of gruesome demises that I worry about more than sane people should. Number one is being sucked out into space. While admittedly unlikely to happen, the dream sequence in Apollo 13 where Tom Hanks is blown out of the hatch helped vault this one to the top spot. Plane crashes are #2, being eaten by something #3 (climbing after seeing a shark in the wild a couple years ago), burning to death #4, and drowning rounds out the top 5. There are many others—that thing that happens to William Wallace at the end of Braveheart is definitely in the top 10. In fact, here are probably the only ways of dying that don’t freak me out:
  • Freezing to death
  • Suffocating in a bank vault (this is from an old Batman and Robin episode)
  • Being shot (unpleasant and painful, but for some reason doesn’t scare me)
  • Suffering a heart attack while having sex with Selma Hayek and/or Scarlett Johansson
  • Being taken into heaven Elijah-style (even less likely than being sucked into space, especially with my Catholic list of priors [such as thinking about having a heart attack during a Hayek/Johansson sandwich])

2) In my 36 years, I have lived in 22 different residences in 9 states. I went to 7 schools between grades 1-12, and two colleges to boot (three if you count grad school). Until I moved to Iowa in 2001, I had never gone more than four years without moving over state lines. Much of this was because my dad was in the navy, but my itinerant ways continued long after I became an adult.

3) When I met TLB at the tender age of 17, we immediately disliked each other. This may seem unbelievable considering TLB’s assertion in her post that we never fight (which is true).

The dislike revolved around my petulant status of having just moved to Illinois. I spent my first three years of high school in San Diego, a place I really fell in love with. My father then got transferred right before my senior year to Great Lakes Naval Base, in the Chicago suburbs. I was not happy about leaving my friends and spending my last year of high school at a new school and trading the sunny skies of So Cal for the frozen tundra of Chicagoland.

A contributing factor was that, like a boy raised by wolves who incorrectly thinks he is a wolf, I thought I was a Californian. Not formally, but in all my manners. I had a serious “dudespeak” problem that took me years to shake. This led me to conclude, quite incorrectly, that I was too cool for Illinois.

At the time I met TLB, I was dating her best friend, L—. I agreed to give TLB a lift, and after introductions, we made small talk, including her asking where I was from. I replied that I had moved from California. This led to me griping about where I currently lived, and how much better San Diego was than Chicago. TLB began to take issue with me and commented that while California may be great, it wasn’t any better than Chicago.

We went back and forth until she asked, “Are you from California?”

Uh-oh. I couldn’t lie because L— knew the answer. “No.”

“Well where are you from?”

Pause. “Indiana.”

“Indiana?!” A sarcastic laugh that I would later grow to love ripped through my ego like a hollow-point bullet. “The whole state closes at nine o’clock!”

Who does she think she is? I asked in sulky silence. But two months later I was no longer seeing L— and going out with the woman who knocked my cocky, poseur ass down a peg. (That's a story for another day.)

4) I published a book of graduation speeches that I co-edited with a friend of mine. It was a series of commencement addresses by celebrities. During the process of putting this together, I

a) got screwed over by Oprah’s people, who all but assured me they were going to grant permission to use a speech from her and then gave me a lame denial at the 11th hour

b) had Oprah’s people threaten to sue because they thought we were going to use said speech without permission (we did not)

c) was told by the first contributor I talked to, columnist Russell Baker, that the concept was “an abominable idea”

d) convinced John Grisham (or, more specifically, John Grisham’s people) to reverse his initial denial ruling and be in the book

The other odd thing is earlier this year, long after the book was out of print, a Japanese publisher contacted us out of the blue to reprint it. It was like Spinal Tap finding out “Sex Farm” was on the Japanese charts. It should be out there next year.

5) I have no way of knowing for sure because there is no world championship for it like there is for air guitar, but I may be the world’s best air drummer. Not only can I reproduce nearly every Rush percussion bit with cyberdork precision, I also do a bit called “The Midwestern Drum Solo," where I mimic through motion and sound of a typical classic rock drum solo. I sit in a chair and do a sort of Keith-Moon-meets-Bobby-McFerrin drum solo, making sounds for all the drum parts as I flail at the air. I run the whole gamut: double-bass thumping, excessive cymbal hitting, slowing down, speeding up, and so on.

I first got the idea from the late, competent Chuck Panozzo, the drummer for Styx. He did a really, really terrible drum solo in the middle of the Caught in the Act Live concert video. Watching this with TLB and our friend Cynthia, I started imitating his performance. Cynthia liked it so much that she requested repeat performances at parties for some of our other friends.

Flash forward about 10 years. TLB and I are at Cynthia's wedding, and Cynthia requests the Midwestern Drum Solo to be performed, in front of guests with a microphone. I was rusty and hadn't done the bit in years. I was actually nervous, because I wasn't sure it would be funny to anyone outside of the handful of folks who had seen it before. But I sat down, hit my air toms, worked the high-hat, and ended (naturally) with the banging of a gong behind me.

I got some laughs, and as everyone who knows me already knows, I'll do almost anything for a laugh.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Top Ten Tuesdays: Why Is She Leaving Us?

Special extra alimony edition!

12) Heard our rap album.

11) Watched our reality show.

10) Found our IM log.

9) Gave her the thing that burns in addition to the thing that itches.

8) Showed her how we would kill her, if we were a killer.

7) Refused to take Viagra.

6) Took too much Viagra.

5) Couldn’t tell with all the screaming about how could we with her sister.

4) Tried to stuff her in a marriage sack.

3) Let it slip to the media that she really isn't legally blonde.

2) Lost her in a card game with James Caan.

1) Discovered our explicit love letters to Ringo.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Study: PlayStation 3 Highly Likely to Prolong Virginity

LOS ANGELES - As thousands of men camped outside of retailers in order to obtain the Sony PlayStation 3, the newest video game console from the electronics giant, scientists have concluded that the machine will likely maintain the virginity status of these men.

“The Sony PlayStation 3 sports a 3.3 gigahertz Cell processor capable of running millions of complex equations at once,” said Dr. I. M. Mario of the Center for Arousal and Neuron Technology (CANT). “Yet it is unable to compute the phone number of a girl who might be interested.”

The system also delivers true high-definition video, producing lifelike pictures in a stunning 1080p resolution. “However,” Dr. Mario noted, “it offers no resolution to being home alone on Saturday at 3 a.m. playing video games, and in fact contributes greatly to that outcome.”

Dr. Mario and his colleagues have released a study documenting the effects of the machine on relationships and sexuality, Long-Term Effects of Interactive Gaming on Coital Probabilities.

Officials at Sony dismissed the study and said that the machine could actually promote relationship skills. Noting how the cutting-edge technology of the PlayStation 3 will blur the line between fantasy and reality, Sony Director of Media Relations Angela Grips said, “When you rescue that princess and interact with her, she's going to seem very real. You’re going to feel like you know her.”

“That’s precisely the problem,” said Dr. Mario. “Sony proclaims a new era of interactivity, but when these men are with real women, they don’t know how to interact. They think they're going to conquer their virginity by pressing nipple, nipple, buttock, nipple, up, down, up, down, clitoris.”

A quick survey of the Anaheim Best Buy—where dozens of men between the ages of 18 and 32 camped out in tents and sleeping bags—revealed that none of them were currently in any kind of committed relationship. All of them readily admitted to not being virgins, but not one could describe with accuracy the tactile sensation of a woman’s breast or the emotional release of two human bodies joined as one.

“[Sexual intercourse] feels kind of like that time I beat all the songs on Guitar Hero on expert,” said Myron Blauser.

His friend and line companion, Kenneth G., who did not wish to give his last name, immediately refuted Mr. Blauser’s claim. “Don’t listen to this nerdlinger, he’s never gotten out of the batter’s box with a girl.”

“You said ‘box,’” snorted Mr. Blauser.

When asked if she would be willing to talk to the men in line, Ms. Grips laughed, then asked, “Are you serious?” She then mentioned she could not talk to the customers in line because she had plans with her boyfriend, who is not interested in purchasing a PlayStation 3.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Top Ten Tuesdays: How Are We Showing Our Bipartisan Spirit?

10) Allowing Democrats to take full responsibility for Iraq from now on.

9) Accepting that global warming is occurring but voting to not give a crap.

8) Promising not to filibuster any Supreme Court nominees for two whole years.

7) Offering to roll back tax cuts on George Soros.

6) Agreeing to put Rummy on the wagon.

5) Mandating that all pages and interns must be totally unattractive prudes.

4) Suggesting that illegal campaign contributions be shared equally with both parties.

3) Voting to keep abortion legal for all registered Democrats.

2) Promoting condom distribution in schools as long as the wrappers have abstinence prayers printed on them.

1) Tugging together on Bush’s shoulders until he can see daylight.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Buy Bushwood?

Regardless of the final Senate outcome, I see last night's drubbing as a mandate that most Americans are tired of being ruled by people like this:

"I sent those boys to the chair. I didn't want to do it, but I felt I owed it to them."

When The Lovely Becky and I went to vote last night, there was a strong whiff of pig smell in the air (one of the downsides of living in hog country). It seemed pretty appropriate for election night.

I was so against voting Republican that I wrote myself in against the Republican county auditor, who was running unopposed. TLB and our friend MSF, who was voting at the same time, said they were sorry I hadn't announced my candidacy because they would have voted for me. Maybe I should have campaigned harder. Although with my sordid past, I wouldn't be in office long.

Congratulations to the Democrats. Please don't screw this opportunity up the way the GOP (literally) did.

And congrats to everyone who voted, regardless of how you voted. People are dying around the world just so they can one day feel apathetic about democracy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Top Ten Tuesdays: What Propositions Are We Voting For?

Prop. 69: Requires mandatory oral sex within marriage (aka Dan Savage’s Law).

Prop. THX-1138: Prohibits George Lucas from ever getting behind a camera again.

Prop. 2112: Authorizes an international force to deliver an extreme makeover on Geddy Lee.

Prop. 8675309: Prohibits overuse of one-hit-wonder ring tones, punishable by decapitation with a Now That’s What I Call Music! disc.

Prop. WD-40: Requires husband or butch partner to get off lazy good for nothin’ ass and fix that door with squeaky goddamned hinge.

Prop 21-JS: Authorizes Johnny Depp to go undercover and teach our kids some very special lessons.

Prop. 666: Outlaws any attempts to bring Satan back to the material plane and thus trigger the end of the world.

Prop. 777: Outlaws any attempts to bring Stryper back to the musical plane and thus trigger the end of rock.

Prop. .08: Allocates tax dollars for the development of talking Trans Ams so they can drive us back from the bar and order us some White Castles on the way home.

Prop. 24: Requires all U.S. national security crises to be solved in one day.

Prop. 2006: Changes current voting laws so that P. Diddy dies if you vote!*

*Who needs more reason than that? Get out there and get yer fingers purple!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Prominent Evangelical Minister Resigns Over Allegations of Satanism

Pastor begs congregation for forgiveness, damnation

COLORADO SPRINGS - A leading evangelical minister has resigned today over allegations that he is a covert agent of the devil.

Reverend Y. Goodman Brown headed the New Original First Church of Christ, a sprawling megachurch with a congregation of more than 25,000 worshipers. Charming, charismatic, and possessing a keen talent for speaking in tongues, Brown took over the church after the previous pastor, Arnold Friend, died in a mysterious impaling accident. Now, after confirming allegations that he serves the Lord of Darkness, he has left his position in disgrace.

At first, Reverend Brown appeared like many other evangelical pastors. He led marches against abortion clinics, crusaded against gay marriage, and especially preached against the evils of Satan. “You do not, under no circumstances, want to stand in a pentagram chanting the name of Beelzebub three times,” Brown once warned. “That especially goes for you young people during sleepovers. Even though you will probably see something really cool, don’t do it.”

Brown also gave “fire and brimstone” sermons that had a visceral, first-hand feeling reminiscent of Dante. “You will be whipped, stung, devoured, regurgitated, whipped again, audited by the IRS, and then devoured once more,” Brown warned, his eyes burning with passion and, some now say, excitement.

Clues began to surface that, privately, Brown was not who he said he was. Church member and gun store owner Fred Lyons recalled Reverend Brown inviting several other members over to his house to use a Ouija board.

“He wanted to demonstrate how evil it was and how it could be used to transfer demons into unwitting human vessels,” Lyons said. “But the really odd thing was his dog, a little yapping Chihuahua he called ‘Lucifer.’ The reverend explained it was a joke, but I swear that dog was a yapping, ankle-biting hound of hell.”

Another member, Linda Fargas, the daughter of a preacher, said she found a number of questionable rock and roll CDs in Brown’s car. “He gave me a ride home once, and I noticed he had Black Sabbath’s We Sold Our Souls to Rock and Roll in the CD player. I used to listen to that all the time as a teenager, so I know what's on that record.” When asked about the curious collection, Reverend Brown told her, “You have to know evil to fight evil.”

Fargas’ son, Jeffrey, made another musical connection with Reverend Brown. Sneaking out of his home to see Slayer, a metal act known for its occult and Satantic imagery, Jeffrey Fargas literally bumped into Reverend Brown in the mosh pit. “He looked surprised to see me, but then said he was trying to save these wayward souls. He asked if I wanted to help him with his work at next week’s Slipknot show.”

When Ms. Fargas caught Jeffrey sneaking back into the house, he confessed what happened. Ms. Fargas then suspected her pastor was under the unwitting influence of Satan. Thinking she would be saving him, she instead found out he was a willing accomplice.

Recording the next week’s sermon, Ms. Fargas played the tape backward. She was astonished at what possessed her speakers. “I heard, ‘You are our Lord, Satan,’ and ‘I’m hotter than the ninth circle for you, Satan,’” Ms. Fargas said. “I thought I was maybe imagining it, but the last message said, ‘You’re not dreaming, I really love Satan, and soon you will too, muhahahaha.’”

Ms. Fargas took the tapes to others the New Original First Church of Jesus Christ board, which confronted Reverend Brown. Reverend Brown said that it was mere coincidence and denied being a Satanist. The board accepted his denial. However, Ms. Fargas covertly taped this meeting, and playing the tape backward revealed another message. “I can't believe they're buying it,” the backward message said, “I'll have these gullible souls delivered to Satan in no time. Muhahahaha!”

Confronted again, Reverend Brown confessed. “You got me,” said Brown, meekly adding, “Hail Satan?” None of the others joined him.

It was a bittersweet moment for the reverend. “Even though I infiltrated this church with the express purpose of turning the congregation toward evil, I grew to like them,” Brown said. “The bake sales, the picnics, the targeting of abortion doctors...we had some glorious times.” Wiping away a tear, he barely finished his next sentence. “I can thing of no finer group I would have liked to have tortured for all eternity.”

Many in the congregation were shocked and shaken. “I can’t believe it,” said Melissa Van Camp, mother of thirteen. “Just the other day, on a particularly humid day, I said, ‘It’s hotter than blazes, Reverend.’ And he said, ‘No, blazes is more of a dry heat.’ I thought he was just joking.”

James Killmeister, a member of the Church board who also services lethal injection equipment, said, “Satan takes many forms. I just didn’t think he’d take the form of the best pastor we ever had. When he damned things, he really damned them...it’s a shame to lose that.”

At least one member of the church looked on the bright side. “It could have been worse,” said Conrad Baines, going through his third divorce, “He could have been gay.”