Are You Like Me?

Welcome to America’s Third-Fastest Growing Quiz Sensation, ‘How Would You React?’!

Here’s our first situation:

It’s nineteen degrees, grey, and windy at 7:15am on a Saturday morning. You have not yet had coffee, having planned a Caribou stop. Your car, which you should be using right at that very moment to take the girl who spent the night with you to a career-critical function, will not start. Further examination reveals an inexplicably dead battery. A jumpstart vehicle is summoned. The girl glares at you and says things like “It’s only an $92 cab ride away.” Hooking the jump vehicle up to the frozen block of Toyota does nothing for the starter, but provides just enough juice to the battery to power the piercing alarm siren. It is revealed to you that the alarm-clicker is broken. This is the same alarm-clicker that you were assured had been fixed months ago by the dealership. The alarm-clicker is presently roughly as useful for turning off the screaming siren as would be, say, a Wendy’s junior bacon cheeseburger. The girl is glaring at you as though this is your fault. The jump vehicle’s driver is helpfully reminding you that getting mad won’t help. The car still won’t start. If you could beam the girl to her career-critical function on the spot, she would still be late. The siren enters minute seven of unabated wailing.

How Would You React?

Would you:

a) Write up a general note of apology to the neighborhood and post it on streetlights?

b) Go back inside and pretend you don’t know what’s happening?

c) Call triple-A and burst into tears?

d) Investigate the layout under the hood for a bit, identify the bullhorn-shaped speaker producing the siren noise, seize it with your bare and freezing hands, rip the howling thing from the bolts affixing it to the engine block, sever the wires feeding it, and throw it thirty yards into street?

Weekday Afternoons At 120pm

I have been asked, in reference to an item in the previous post, exactly what “The Pat & Ron Show” is. Pat & Ron are Pat Hughes and Ron Santo, the broadcast duo you hear talking on the radio during Cub games. The ‘Pat & Ron Show’ is a term created by some production genius at WGN that perfectly captures what it is about the Cub broadcasts that I find so appealing:

The Pat & Ron Show is at its absolute peak of quality when it becomes apparent that the hosts have gotten so into their tangental discussion that they are, at best, only peripherally aware that 1) there is a baseball game going on and 2) that they are supposed to be describing it.

A sample segment of the Pat & Ron Show tends to sound like this…and, to give you the full flavor, I am setting the “Exaggerate For Comedic Effect” option to “No”:

(Instrumental of Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Volcano’ fades as Pat speaks)

Pat: We’re back on WGN radio, here at Wrigley Field, on a beautiful afternoon in Chicago. Hawkins on the mound to start the top of the ninth.

Ron: Looks like LaTroy has a new haircut.

Pat: It sure does, Ronnie. Handsome job, too. Strike one to the hitter. Wonder who his barber is?

Ron: We had a guy in the clubhouse who did them, back when I was playing. You’d go back and get a trim between innings.

Pat: A good haircut can make you feel strike two ten years younger.

Ron: Oh, man, that’s the truth. I had a haircut a couple of weeks ago that still makes me feel good today. My grandson went with me. He got a gumball from that machine.

Pat: Your barber has a gumball machine?

Ron: Oh, yeah. One of the old fashioned kind with the round top.

Pat: Struck him out. I haven’t seen a real old-fashioned penny gumball machine in years, Ronnie.

Ron: They’re not a penny anymore. The one at the barber is a quarter. You believe that? A quarter!

Pat: Twenty-five cents for a gumball?

(crack of the bat, crowd noise increases 50%)

Ron: It’s a big gumball. I remember when twenty-five cents would’ve kept me in gum for a month.

Pat: Patterson makes the catch. Two gone. Twenty-five cents used to get you a lot more. I remember buying two candy bars with a quarter!

Ron: Oh, I think you could get more than that, but haven’t eaten much candy the last few years, y’know.

(both chuckle)

Pat: No you haven’t, Ronnie, and it’s saved you a lot of money.

Ron: I wonder how much I’ve saved on candy in my life….

Pat: Enough to keep you in haircuts for a long time!

(both chuckle)

Ron: I wonder what LaTroy paid for his haircut.

Pat: Speaking of LaTroy, the count is two-and-two.

Ron: If he had it done in the clubhouse like I used to, it wouldn’t have cost him anything!

Pat: Now I wonder if they still do clubhouse haircuts grounder to Ramirez, the throw to Lee and that’s the game. We’ll have to ask them during the postgame show, coming up next, on the Cubs radio network!

Ain’t No Cure

(Upon further review, it appears that I am unintentionally expanding on an idea of j.ko’s from earlier this week. Credit where credit is due: Your depression inspired my own, J.)

***

Pat Cassidy told me that it’s supposed to snow tonight or tomorrow.

Were I Popeye, that would’ve been my Music Point, my “all I can stands, ’cause I can’t stands no more” point, the point where I’d bust with the spinach and set the situation right. The end of the Last Winter is turning out to be the longest one ever. Jesus. Enough gray. Enough cold. Enough dark. Enough cabin fever. Goddammit. I’m cold and crabby and frustrated, and all I can do it bitch and daydream:

I want a real cheeseburger, and chips, and brownies, and lemon cake, and roasted corn.

I want to see the sun when indoors and know that I will feel the sun when outdoors.

I want to be able to walk to the Jewel without dressing like I’m going by dogsled.

I want to sit with the barbecue pit for the six hours ribs take to do them right.

I want a pina colada that doesn’t make me feel like I’m trying to fool myself.

I want to wear aloha shirts without people saying “Wishful thinking?”

I want to eat cold dinners and not feel like it’s because I quit trying.

I want to smell woodsmoke and think ‘cooking’, not ‘fireplace’.

I want to not wear shoes when I don’t have to wear shoes.

I want to wear flip-flops when I do have to wear shoes.

I want to wear sunglasses and shorts at the same time.

I want to clear the water on the third at Ramada.

I want to hit a bucket at Bushwood after dinner.

I want to look out my window and see green.

I want the background music of baseball.

I want to put plants out on the balcony.

I want to put me out on the balcony.

I want to hear the Pat & Ron Show.

I want it to be light out until nine.

I want steak that isn’t pan-fried.

I want girls with tan lines.

I want to ride my bike.

I want untreated fruit.

I want to go outside.

Buying Time

I have a Solomonic solution to the Terri Schiavo circus. I demand that everyone who thinks they’re smart enough to have an opinion on the situation stronger than “Damn shame, but what’re you gonna do?” be drowned in beetles.

***

Apart from delivered pizza and orgasms, one of the very nicest things about being a grownup is being able to walk into New Balance and say “I need a pair of M1122MCs, size 12-D. No, I don’t need to try them on.”

***

There is a new writing effort in the pipe. “Goofus & Gallant”, about whom I had not thought in maybe twenty years, were mentioned on Arrested Development last night, and an idea popped into my head more or less fully-formed. I have contacted Brainwrap Comics, as I think we may at last have found a project too bulletproof for us to fuck up.

Moving On Up

The last four days haven’t been all shirking and side pots. Dave, who will never speak to me again after this week, encouraged me to upgrade to a new version of WordPress. I consented to this, figuring that it only took me four days to be happy, graphic-wise, with the incarnation you see here, so it’d be much easier this time.

I’m figuring it out, slowly, and with a lot of incomprehensible “help” from Dave. Our IM-exchanges tended to go like this:

Me: I made all the consonants disappear. But they’re still there if you highlight everything. I broke something, didn’t I?

Dave: You probably devisified the text-display function in the XPT code.

Me: (slowly) Perhaps I did. What would I do to fix whatever that is?

Dave:Here’s a link to a dictionary of helpful terms: (Link to website written in a disused dialect of Martian but sprinkled with just enough recognizable words to make it frustrating.)

Me: (depressed) Thanks.

(long pause)

Me: Okay, I understand what I must have done, but where in the fifty-two pages of code might I have done it?

(long silence)

Me: Okay, I did something that fixed it. I don’t know what though. I was trying to put a flashing chick graphic on the footer, and made the thing read ” h2:on php.get !pizza! h2:off ; “, and the text reappeared.

Dave: No, that won’t work.

Me: It looks like it does.

Dave: It shouldn’t.

Me: But now there’s no cans on my footer. I broke something, didn’t I?

I’m like a monkey with a bag of lettered blocks, here: I have learned that if I orient the shapes on the sides of the blocks in a certain order, I will receive a jellybean, but there is deep frustration ahead for the lab tech who concludes from this that I have grasped the concept of ‘alphabetical order’.

Anyhow, check the new-look site out, and let me know what you think.

In-Cube Sabbatical

We are experiencing blog-attention difficulties. Please stand by.

Is there *anything* better, work-wise, than having everyone in a back office clustered around a TV, and having the Big Boss walk in, look around sternly, and say, “What the fuck happened to Alabama?” I love the Tournament.

(Though not as much as my father, who, every year, — I am not making this up — drives to another state and checks himself into an undisclosed hotel so he can watch the first two rounds undisturbed. Enjoy yourself in Wisconsin, Pop.)

Light Heavyweight Comedy

I’m not much for reality TV, but I do enjoy some of the sports-related stuff, and I’ve been watching “The Ultimate Fighter” of late, and there was an exchange on a recent show that was one of the finest bits of comedy dialogue I’ve heard in recent memory. (Don’t roll your eyes. There is a payoff to this story for the non-sports fan.)

Background: Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) is a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight league. MMA leagues are filling the hole left by the corrupt-beyond-repair sport of heavyweight boxing. It would not be entirely inaccurate to describe UFC as, literally, “professional wrestling”.

Fights are held in the Octagon, an eight-sided cage. The cage is plastic-coated aluminum, and is there to protect the fighters from the crowd and from rolling out of the ring and falling. Fighters work three-to-five five minute rounds, and decisions go to the judges if there’s neither a knockout nor a submission. (More UFC rules and history.)

The sport is surprisingly entrancing, in much the same way boxing is. No matter how much you want to be detached, you can’t help it. It sucks you in on a visceral level. I don’t remember what sportwriter it was that said that all sports, on some level, want to be boxing, but it is so. Pure competition. Clear winners. Great stuff. That said, it takes a special mindset to do this.

Which brings me back to comedy.

“The Ultimate Fighter” is a Survivor/Real World-type show wherein ten aspiring fighters are housed together in Vegas, train together, and fight in what is basically an open tournament wherein the last man standing gets a contract with the UFC. A couple of episodes back, there was a lot of drama and excitement surrounding a major dispute between a couple of fighters in the house — yes, there was beer — culminating in some things getting spectacularly broken in the house, including a window, which led to a fighter named Josh needing some stitches. The president of UFC, Dana White, and the coaches of the two teams, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell, exceptional active fighters both, got together to discuss what to do about the incident, and produced this wonderful moment:

White: I think we need to make an example, and put a stop to this kind of thing immdiately.

Couture: I agree. We can’t have them fighting in the house. Somebody could get hurt badly. They need to know that that kind of thing isn’t acceptable. First thing we do is put a total ban on alcohol in the house.

White: We’ll see to that. Meanwhile, what do we do with Josh? Do we take the step of removing him from the competition?

Liddell: I think we have a talk with him, and make sure his head’s right, and then we forgive and forget. He wasn’t the only one involved in this, and he doesn’t deserve to take all the heat.

Couture: I don’t know about that. We might have to drop him. He’s a nice kid, and a talented fighter, but he worries me. He’s got some issues.

Liddell: We’re professional cagefighters. We’ve all ‘got some issues’.

For The Cycle

I’m hitting the Bloglaw Compliance trifecta today — link, quiz, lyrics. I am Mr. Efficient.

**

Cocktail Doll is 90% work-safe and utterly absorbing. (The permanent linked writings in the upper-left table, not necessarily the blog.)

Blessedly, I did not recognize myself.

**

The Dante’s Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Level Score
Purgatory (Repenting Believers) Very Low
Level 1 – Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers) Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful) Extreme
Level 3 (Gluttonous) Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious) High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy) High
Level 6 – The City of Dis (Heretics) High
Level 7 (Violent) High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers) Very High
Level 9 – Cocytus (Treacherous) Very High

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

**

When the telephone woke me this morning, ‘I’m sorry’ was the first thing I said
From that point it get’s a bit fuzzy, thinking with half a head
Putting the pieces together, it’s shocking to flash on the past
‘Cause when you are known as a rascal, you can bet you showed off your ass

I was so damn bad last night, I’ll be good for the rest of my life
Now I’m telling you and this is the truth
I have finally seen the light
From now on I’m going to act right, I was so bad last night

The harder I try to remember, the quicker my brain starts to hurt
It really is funny, unwadding the money, that’s been stuffed in my pants and shirt
But tryin’ to make sense of phone numbers, scribbled on the backs of old cards
I guess we ought to be thankful, nobody knows who we are

I was so damn bad last night, I’ll be good for the rest of my life
Now I’m telling you and this is the truth
I have finally seen the light
From now on I’m going to act right, I was so damn bad last night

I never intended to do it, I dropped in for a drink or two
But all of the chicks were so foxy, I wanted to marry a few
The place was more crowded than usual, and everyone there was my friend
Franny and Snake and Bunky and Jake, and somehow the night never ends

I was so damn bad last night, I’ll be good for the rest of my life
Now I’m telling you and this is the truth
I have finally seen the light
From now on I’m going to act right, I was so damn bad last night

-Jerry Jeff Walker