Time Passes

In order to increase my Personal Excitement Level, I hereby declare next week to be Vegas week.

Monday: Food
Tuesday: Gambling
Wednesday: Ambiance
Thursday: Lapdances

Planned schedule subject to change. Because it’s my damn blog.

**

I planned to write about poker this week, but then College Humor beat me to it.

**

This is another of those spacer posts. Just bear with me. It’s a cleansing process.

**

I can’t talk about football yet. Brian Urlacher got hurt in the first ten minutes of training camp. Thanks, God.

**

There’s a mess of new blogs in that black bar on the right. Go read those.

**

I think I would call this process “Rinsing out the inside of my head”, except I wouldn’t want to give you such a mental image.

**

Selected Items From My Grocery List This Weekend:

Coffee
Jowl bacon
Key lime juice
Salad dressing (Italian)
Dishwashing soap
Shrimp
Canned tuna
Macademias
Aioli
Skirt steak
Mattress pad
Dry cleaning

**

Now, that’s rock bottom.

The Summer Of Buying Pants

As Operation Eighty Pounds slogs on, I am discovering that weight loss has a much more profound effect on wardrobe than I realized. (My previous experience with weight loss being limited to taking off a winter coat, I suppose I should be surprised.) Collared shirts gap hugely in the neck region. An untucked aloha shirt billows like a spinnaker. Boxer-briefs become plain boxers, with attendant wedging issues and security flaws.

All tiresome, especially for someone who views spending on clothes as a waste of perfectly good gambling money. But underpants come in packages, collars can be left unbuttoned, and excess aloha shirt can be roped into place with a sturdy belt. Plus, those can all be worn, albeit with varying degrees of comedy and comfort, until Final Size has been attained.

Unlike pants.

From a body-morphology perspective, nothing you have ever gone through in life, including growing boobs or subsequent reaction to viewing them (depending on your gender), rivals the shock and awe that shakes your life upon dropping five pants sizes in six months. The closet massacre is astounding — all the more so for a guy who generally bought pants only when the holes in the previous pair became too big/unsightly/unlawful to ignore, and for whom Occasions Demanding Dress Pants have nearly been outnumbered over the past four years by Occasions Demanding Rented Pants.

The fallout from this trouicide breaks down along the lines of traditional myth: The Tragic Awakening, The Quest, and The Epiphany. (Collectively, “The Pants Trilogy”.) Let me explain.

**

At some point after embarking on an intensive course of butt reduction, you will have an Occasion spring upon you. I don’t mean it’ll be a surprise, necessarily, as you may have known about it for months, or even years. The surprise comes when, as you do before every birthday/wedding/interview/lapdance/wake, you go to the closet to retrieve your Good Pants. (If you don’t understand the reason Good Pants warrant a proper noun, I can’t explain. Either you feels me, or you doesn’t.) You don clean socks, clean shorts, and a clean-looking dress shirt. You put on your faithful Good Pants, and they drop like Jerry Springer’s Q rating. Brief confusion follows: Did I not fasten them? Did I even pull them up? Will this one day be identified as the first sign of my Alzheimer’s?

You retrieve the pants from the floor, hoisting and fastening them with more care than you have since your Good Pants were your Big-Boy Pants. Primary Button? Check. Auxiliary Interior Button? Check. Zipper in upright and locked position? Check. Good Pants release in five…

four…

three…

two…

one…

There is a khaki puddle around your feet.

There is perhaps three-tenths of a second of weight-loss pride.

Then it dawns:

  • You have forty minutes to purchase and deploy a replacement pair of properly-fitting Good Pants.
  • You will have to spend your own money on these pants.
  • If you continue to succeed with your weight loss, you’ll have to go through this afuckingain.
  • Your momentary triumph sours and is ripped from you. You are now, for the duration of your diet, a jaded, bitter biped.

    **

    Eventually, this happens to all your pants. More than once, if you’re really cooking. (Or not really cooking. Hahaha.) This results in two separate components of major pain:

    Having to pay money to buy pants to replace pants that have not yet run their full course.

    -and-

    Having to shop for pants more in five months than you have in five years.

    I am the last guy on Earth to extend things beyond a reasonable product life via the well-known It’s Still Good incantation, but Christ, I’ve — what’s the opposite of “outgrown”? — sunk below the minimum size on jeans that weren’t even showing signs of wear. The pocket cotton was still stiff! “The Guys” were invisible — not yet even denim-fluttering shadows. Jeans were not meant to be bought this often. It feels sinful — all these new pants are a tremendous waste of resources! (Specific resource in question: Money. More specifically: Mine.)

    New dress pants, new jeans, new shorts. I must have spent $50 on pants this year. FIFTY DOLLARS! ON FUCKING PANTS! I worry that I’ll wind up in a shopaholics clinic, forcibly committed, because I keep insisting that I “need” these new pants, and no one will believe my wild tales of tuna salad. If I spend another $50 by New Year’s, and it’s all on pants, I’ll commit myself. I promise you. My word of honor. I swear on my Good Pants.

    **

    American Indians used to fast, smoke, eat peyote, meditate, lie in the sun, and do a bunch of other crazy mystic shit in order to trigger a vision or revelation. They had it tough. Not like us. All we have to do is shop for pants long enough. (And fast, I guess.)

    The revelation: Reports are not exaggerated: America is a far, far fatter place than it was ten years ago. Here’s how I know:

    Ten years ago, during my final growth spurt, I would shop for pants with a 42 waist, and there wasn’t a goddamn thing anywhere but at one Big & Tall shop in Villa Park the name of which I can never remember, a charming quirk for which I am made regular sport of by a girl of my close acquaintance. No shorts in my size at Wal-Mart. No jeans in my size at Venture. Nothing for the third quadrant at any major chain. Fuck off, pudgy. We don’t serve your kind.

    Now that I’m in a more traditional size range, I still can’t get fuckin’ pants. Is there a 38? No. 36? No. 34-relaxed? No. But oh, the racks and racks of fatwear! The swimsuits come in Shamu! The sweats are sleeping bags sewn together! Need dress Pants for the Kool-Aid pitcher? Oh yeah! Jeans in 42? Those are filed under “Petite”! The only thing missing are muumuus.

    Summation:

    1994: I have to drive thirty miles to buy grey drawstring sweatpants in any size larger than Greg Maddux.

    2004: Wal-Mart stocks a full line of trousers for the discerning man. That discerning man is known to his friends as “Haystack”.

    **

    Generally, at the end of a trilogy, there is some kind of resolution and closure. I don’t have that yet — and suddenly, right this very second as I type, I suspect that the Pants Trilogy is incomplete. There is more work to be done, here, but I believe I am truly on to something. Dare I dream of a Nobel Prize?

    This Is What Happened

    Every day I learn a little bit more about technology. This week I learned that the thing that means I get way less junkmail than I used to also likes to eat notices from Web.com reminding me to renew my domain name. It was a useful lesson, plus, it made Monday and Tuesday unusually exciting.

    For the real nuts-and-bolts computer geeks among you — normal people can skip this paragraph — here’s how I fixed it: I booted up my system, then logged in, opened my browser, went to Web.com, and paid someone who’s not an idiot $26 to turn it back on. I hope that wasn’t too technical.

    Lingering question, geeks: Does this mean that all the people gracious enough to subscribe to this site with some piece of collating software aren’t going to be here anymore, because they got that “Site No Longer Exists” message?

    **

    The long dry spell is nearing an end! I saw the first NFL promo of the year! (So I got a little farklempt. Don’t make fun.) Training camp opens next week, which means that the high season of sports wagering is nigh upon us. I’m looking forward to a good season. I think I can help the team. I’m ready to get 110%. I’m going to take the points to the next level. I’m just hoping no one gets hurt.

    **

    Chris sent me this. It’s as great as work-safe downloadable video can get.

    **

    The following is a motivational tactic to make me write more often, and one so effective it might even work on Rob and Beav, who seem to have retired.

    Next Week: Poker, Vegas, How Life Is Different And Better During The NFL Season, and the Pants-Buying Trilogy.

    Oops.

    Been an eventful few days. Explanation forthcoming.

    In the meantime, see my latest crush (proof love doesn’t have to share politics), and enjoy this fine joke:

    Schrödinger and Heisenberg are riding together in a car, and Heisenberg says, “I think you just ran over a cat.”

    Schrödinger says, “Is it dead?”

    And Heisenberg replies, “I can’t be certain.”

    Expressing Myself

    Whole Foods is painfully underrated as a source of entertainment. Specifically, the complaint resolution board at Whole Foods.

    The board functions thusly: You step up to the lectern and detail your complaint on a sort of elongated Post-It, submit said kvetch, and wait patiently for your gripe to be pasted on the bulletin board over the lectern with a personal response from an actual Whole Foods employee appended to it. This is clearly something a consultant told them would build ROI Goodwill or a create a higher Customer Satisfaction Quotient or some other consultant bullshit that means “people will keep shopping at your store”.

    What it does, though, is provide some of the most rivetingly bizarre reading it has ever been my good fortune to come upon. The things that are important to people will never, ever cease to astound me. (Of course, I have no idea what I’d write on one of these cards. “Charlene at the bakery counter disappointed me the other day by going one button higher than she usually does. Please address this concern ASAP.” “Stock whiskey.”)

    A few samplings from the Hall Of Fame, recreated as best I can:

  • “Why don’t you have organic pomegranates?” (Dated February)
    Employee Response: You cannot obtain organic pomegranates in February at a reasonable price.

  • “What happened to the Vita-Fruit vegan cookies that were sweetened only with white grape juice? My children are only fed according to the latest fad — I NEED these cookies!”
    Employee Response: We are awaiting a new shipment of these cookies.

  • “WHY DON’T YOU STOCK ORGANIC TAMPONS!?!?!?!?”
    Employee Response: We do. They’re in Aisle Five.

  • “I can’t believe your store sells Lavender Farms bath oils. You insensitive motherfuckers. They test on animals!!!!!”
    Employee Response: No, they don’t. See me at the service desk and I’ll give you some literature.

  • “We have always enjoyed your Pina Colada Spirulina Smoothies, but since you discontinued them, we will never shop at this store again.”
    Employee response: We never discontinued this product. We love them too.

    Why I Don’t Work At Whole Foods:

    Employee Response #1: Because it’s February. You cannot have your fruit and eat it too. Moron.
    Employee Response #2: Those cookies are horrendous. They taste like cocktail napkins. Your children should be taken away by the state.
    Employee Response #3: (Thrown away as presumed crank letter)
    Employee Response #4: Does it occur to you, ever, to do your homework before you get all worked up? They don’t test on animals. You think we didn’t think to ask about that? By the way, punk, we sell LF products because the profit margin per ounce is higher than it is on China White. They could test it on Irish orphans and we’d put it at eye level in Aisle Five. It’s just a happy coincidence that you’re an idiot.
    Employee Response #5: I know you paused your stomping huff to write this note, which was kind, but you and I both know it’s bullshit. You’ll slink back in here about ten days and resume daily shopping. When you do, know that I’m laughing at you, your self-righteous little boycott, and your sucking up algae like a plecostomus.

    **

    Sometimes, the most obvious things elude a person. As the final bit of a birthday present I bestowed last month, I went, Monday night, to see Madonna at the United Center. Now, I am as fond of Madonna and her music as the next guy — more so, in the case of the stuff from “Dick Tracy” — but there was a bonus side to this show I hadn’t anticipated:

    Madonna concerts are an Eye Candy Smorgasbord. OF-AGE eye candy, no less! The great majority of the audience was women between about 25 and 40, dressed to kill — low-rise jeans, MOTHER/F*UCKER t-shirts, astounding cleavage, slit skirts, tied tops. The whole show, I’m popping like a poultry thermometer.

    Madonna rules.

    **

    The reason I have been posting-lax can be found here. Work-safe. (In terms of tits, not productivity.)

  • Poetry

    Between the Year Of A Thousand Weddings, a couple of noteworthy Happy Hours, and barbecue season, this has been in my head a lot lately:

    Well,
    Like I explained to y’all before,
    I ain’t no drinkin’ man.
    I tried it once,
    and it got me highly irregular,
    and I swore I’d never do it again.

    But

    I promised my brother-in-law that I’d go up and watch his still
    while he went into town to vote.

    It was up there on the mountain where the map said it would be.
    Friends let me tell you one thing though:
    It wadn’t no ordinary still.
    It stood up that mountainside like,
    like a huge golden opal!

    God’s yeller moon was a’ shinin’ on the cool clear evenin’,
    God’s little lanterns just a’ twinklin’ on and off in the heavens
    and, like I explained to you once before, I ain’t no drinkin’ man,

    But

    temptation got the best of me, and I took a slash…
    (whew!… woah…)

    That yellar whiskey runnin’ down my throat like
    honeydew vinewater,
    and I took another slash.

    Took another and another and another,
    an’ ‘fore you knew it I’d downed one whole jug o’ that shit and commenced to get hot flashes.

    Goosepimples was runnin’ up and down my body!
    And a feelin’ came over me like somethin’ I’d never experienced before.
    It’s like, like I was in love.
    In love for the first time.
    With anything that moved…
    animate, in-animate it didn’t matter.
    It’s like there’s a great neon sign flashin’ on and off in my brain sayin,
    “Jimmy Buffett,
    there’ a great day a comin’…”
    ‘Cause I was drunk!

    Now I wadn’t no knee-crawlin’, slip-slidin’, commode-huggin’ drunk.
    No.
    I was God’s Own Drunk and a fearless man.

    And that’s
    when I first
    saw
    the bear.

    He was a Kodiak lookin’ fella ’bout 19 feet tall.
    He rambled up over the hill…
    …’spectin’ me to do one of two things: flip or fly. I didn’t do either one. It hung him up.

    He starts sniffin’ ’round my body tryin’ to smell fear,
    but he ain’t gonna smell no fear,
    ’cause I’m God’s Own Drunk and a fearless man. It hung him up.

    He looked me right in my eyes and
    my eyes was a lot redder than his was.
    It hung him up.

    So I approached him and I said, “Mr. Bear!
    I love every hair on your twenty-seven-acre body.
    I know you got a lotta friends over there on the other side of the hill.
    There’s ole’ Rare Bear, Tall Bear, Freddy Bear, Kelly Bair, Relly Bear, Smelly the Bear, Smokey the Bear, Pokey the Bear…
    I want you to go back over there tonight and tell ’em
    I’m feelin’ right!
    You tell ’em I love each and every one of ’em like a brother and a sister…
    But,
    if they give me any trouble tonight…
    I’m gonna run every
    God
    Damn
    one of ’em
    off the hill!”

    He took two steps backwards and didn’t know what to think.

    Neither did I.

    But

    Being charitable and cautious,
    well hell,
    I approached him again.
    I said, “Mr. Bear,
    you know in the eyes of the Lord, we’re both beasts
    when it comes right down to it.
    So I want you to be my buddy.
    ‘Buddy Bear.’ ”

    So I took ole’ Buddy Bear by his island-sized paw,
    and I led him over to the still.
    Now he’s a’ sniffin’ around that thing ’cause he’s smellin’ somethin’ good.
    I gave him one of them jugs of honeydew vinewater, he downed it upright.
    Looked like a big damn bear in the circus sippin’ sasparilly in the moonlight.
    I gave him another and another and another and ‘fore I knew it,
    he’d downed eight of ’em and commenced to doin’ the Bear Dance!
    Two sniffs, a snort, a fly, a turn and a grunt and it was so simple like the jitterbug it plumb evaded me.

    We worked ourselves into a tumultuous uproar!
    Now I’s awful tired,
    went over to the hillside,
    laid down,
    went to sleep,
    slept for four hours,
    and dreamt me some tremulous dreams.

    And when I woke up, Oh,
    there was God’s yeller moon a’ shinin’ on the clear cool evenin’.
    And God’s little lanterns just a’ twinklin’ on and off in the heavens,
    And my buddy the bear was a’ missin’…

    You want to know somethin’ else friends and neighbors?
    So
    was
    that
    still.

    “God’s Own Drunk”
    Written by Lord Richard Buckley
    Performed by Jimmy Buffett

    Got It Bad

    NEW YORK — If Debra Lafave is convicted of sexual misconduct and lewd exhibition, the middle school teacher will be part of a frightening trend: A report to Congress Wednesday found that one in every 10 school-age kids endures sexual misconduct by a teacher or other school employee. Lafave is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student at least five times at her home, at school and in the back of her SUV.


    My First Day Of School
    Homework Essay
    Mrs. Lafave
    Period 3

    Yesterday was the first day of school after summer vacation. When I got to school yesterday, I thought “Wow”. It was very different. I was a little bit nervous, and I had some trouble finding the rooms, because I did not know what my teachers were going to look like this year. I was late because of that, and a teacher screamed at me. I was upset by that, because I looked like a big fool. I got mad as heck, but I feel better now.

    Then she told me I had to stay after and to come see her when everybody else got to leave. I don’t think I missed very much education being a few minutes late, but I guess my classes (and homework – ugh!) might be different than it used to be.

    I think most of the teachers missed us all summer. It takes a little bit to get used to lessons again. I remembered my supplies, though. I brought my pencil! But I didn’t have any notepaper. Oops!!! My friend Eddie had to give me something to write on.

    Also, I think the clocks are slow this year.

    The end.

    Put Your Pride On The Shelf

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (news – web sites) donned a hard hat and tucked a hammer in his belt Friday, performing a version of the Village People’s hit “YMCA” at the conclusion of Asia’s largest security meeting. Tradition dictates that the meeting wrap up with a night of song and dance, provided by the diplomats themselves.

    I can’t decide which of the following scenarios is more likely, nor can I choose which’d be the one I hope happened:

    INT. State Dept. Midnight.

    Minion #1: Once we finish this scheduling, everybody can go home. *swigs from unmarked bottle, passes* Next item: Which undersecretary has to go jerk off on stage to amuse a bunch of Asian businessmen?

    Minion #2: *declines bottle distatefully and passes it on* It says here that whoever goes has to do a little karaoke. It’s not ‘jerking off’. It’s establishing a rapport.

    Minion #1: Fine. Karaoke. Who’s going?

    Minion #3: *swigs long* Dudes. What’s the Boss doing that weekend?

    *Minion #1 giggles, Minion #2 looks aghast*

    Minion #1: Oh yes. Oh yes. *crosses , gets folder, flips* Oh yeah! He’s free. Some no-raise-giving cheap bastard is gonna be doing some SINGIN’! *toasts other Minions*

    Minion #2: No. We’re not sending General Powell to make a fool of himself. We’re not. One of the Undersecretaries can go. How about…

    Minion #3: If you don’t shut up, I’ll put you in for transfer to the substation in Minsk.

    OR

    INT. White House Situation Room

    Bush: What’s next on the agenda?

    Cheney: The ASEAN Regional Forum. Says here they need somebody who can sing and dance.

    *slowly , every head in the room turns*

    Powell: What? Oh, HELL no. Do we have to go through this again? Look, crackers, despite what you might have heard….