Friday, October 29, 2004

Most people effortlessly leave all-consuming celebrity crushes behind them some time in high school, if not earlier. The masochistic fun of papering one's walls with images of one's object of devotion begins to cool, and one finds it increasingly unreasonable to invest a total stranger with heroic traits and hottest-in-history status. I am no stranger to arrested development, however, and as such I retain this tendency. Not the wall-papering, but the self-immolating devotion. The crushes come and go, and most embarrass me terribly once they've burned themselves out. I've got a real honey of a hangup right now, have for a year or so, on the dimpled dreamboat the Red Sox have in center field.

The nature of these fixations is such that one doesn't necessarily notice their intensity until it's pointed out to one, just as a fish does not notice it's swimming in water. Why would it, when the water is all it knows? So the fact I had long since crossed into personality-disorder terrain wasn't entirely clear until I attempted to have a conversation, with my significant other of four years, about which style of communist painting would better suit Mr. Damon in portrait form. I want to commission a painting of him Commie-style, with all that stylized glory and glow. But, I mused aloud, expecting a carefully considered reply, do I want it in the Soviet style, with those bold lines and modernist minimalism, or do I want the more rosy-toned Chinese variety, with a cluster of pudgy beaming babies gathered at his feet? This was a conversation I attempted to have.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

People rarely take my radical-feminist rantings - and they are many - less seriously than when I rail at rapid-blinking length against Miss Piggy and the many sexist beliefs her insidious porcine existence serves to reinforce. What my giggling naysayers fail to realize is that . . . aw, hell with it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

That Asian languages, for whatever reason/s, yield the richest and most rewarding translation errors is fairly well-known at this point. Much of the discussion of this fact is faintly to overtly racist, which is unfortunate. Unfortunate in general and for this post specifically, since it is to consist of the very best menu entries from the very finest translation-challenged Chinese menu I have in my small collection thereof. (None of these are made-up or altered in any way from how they appear on the menu.)

Pawn in Maggie Sauce
Fish Ball & Fish Balls [name of a single dish]
Fuk Kin Fried Rice
Corn Rock Pig Feet
Antrophy in Rice Stick
Fuzzy Spaush Vermicelli
Lettuce and Soul

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The range of human facial expressions is impressive, but there are certain gaps in the repertoire. One such void: how do I arrange my features in such a way as to say "Young Sikh man, I am not staring at you because you are wearing a turban and/or I believe you are Arab and/or that you are worthy of suspicion, but because you are a fox"?

Friday, October 22, 2004

I refuse all related conversation with anyone who denies that Radiohead is the greatest rock and roll band to emerge to date*, yet they haven't brought only sunshine into the world. It's unfair to blame a band for the inferior imitators they inspire, but I do regret that, thanks to them, many bands whose members are ardent Radiohead fans have guitar players who no longer play "guitar" so much as they play "guitar-shaped thing that's alternately a mournful whale and the bleeping, pinging instrument panel of a 1950s sci-fi B-movie's rocket ship".

*which isn't to say that they're my personal favorite (though they're top-4) or the band to whom I listen most often, only that they're the most dazzling, the most overtalented etc.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I will limit my comments on Game 7 of the ALCS to this: of all the many things for which God should bless the Red Sox*, for me the top choice was their refreshingly old-fashioned locker room celebration. Once a predictable explosion of hyperbutch bonhomie amd vividly homoerotic champagne dousing, such celebrations in the last few years become depressingly wholesome. Basketball players began this process of decline, which is ironic given that the NBA unquestionably has a much higher S.O.B. count than other major sports. Yet S.O.B.s or not, they're the ones that started bringing their children into the fray after significant victories. Their children! Must everything be so toothless and tapioca? Must we poor sports fans be flogged with that sort of faux-humble faux-good-guy theater even at the moments of highest drama? I don't want to see your toddlers astride your shoulders, athletes, I want to see you soaked with booze, hollering yourself voiceless, unabashedly smacking the asses of other half-dressed men. I want to see the cartoonish masculinity of pro sports at its full peacock apex. Thank you, BoSox, for grasping this.

*among the others is the fact that all of their white players look improbably like stoner part-time junior college students

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What gives with our idiomatic use of "weasel"? How did an animal so indisputably adorable come to represent sneakiness and disrepute? It seems quite random to me, except that almost any random choice of an animal name would be more apt. Can't you hear the one on the right plaintively asking "What did we ever do to you people except bound around adorably and exhibit, quite ironically, tremendous bravery all the time?"

This raises the question, of course, of what we should replace "weasel" with when we'd like to refer to someone shady and unscrupulous. While a staunch fan of living dinosaurs, I nominate the Komodo dragon. As enormous as they are, why do they rely on their necrotizing saliva to kill their prey? Just going ahead and killing the old-fashioned ripping-to-shreds way is evidently too taxing for these shiftless behemoths, who instead bite their suppers once, then rest in the shade while their toxic spittle slowly kills. That is some weasely shit.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Injury/slapstick mishap tally for the season's first day of heavy rain: 4

(2 inadvertent harpoonings of passerby with my umbrella; 1 instance of screechingly spinning my truck's tires on the wet backtop 3 feet from a manned police cruiser; 1 executive vice president doused holy water-style with rain from my hair as I shook it off.)

Friday, October 15, 2004

I realize it's cozy-quilt quaint when kiddies frolic autumnally in piles of raked leaves, but such piles aren't really composed of quite as much leaf as people think. Take a look sometime. A substantial portion of the total mass of such a pile is spider. Take a look sometime, then join me in never imagining it before bed.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

There is, of course, a very broad range of opinions about the commercial iconization of Che Guevara. Does he belong on not just thousands of $30 college-town t-shirts, but on thong underwear, as he can now be seen? Was Madonna within her rights to so explicitly invoke him on the cover of this album?

Most speculation on the subject involves politics. But why? Let's throw that whole stinking fishkettle right out. Let's focus on the iconic image itself, stripped of ideology. First of all: the image is a stylized depiction of an actual photo. In the original photo, the viewer can see that Mr. Guevara is wearing an outfit I can only describe as "Commie from Space". Very slick. Why on earth would this sartorial panache be removed in the mass produced, stylized image? Wouldn't Che's devotees want potential new recruits to see Che's sci-fi pinko getup?

Secondly, and much more importantly: there is little serious debate about the fact that Mr. Guevara, whatever one thinks of his politics, was a stone fox. Yet the only image we see of him on a daily basis completely obscures this fact! Why is it just that same damn frowny, heavy-browed visage, when it could have been something far more crowd-pleasing like puppy-lovin' Che? Cigar bar Che? Introspective matinee idol Che? I'm just saying.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I've just finished Bernard Malamud's "The Assistant". I gather it's a 20th century classic. May I make a suggestion to publishers of future editions of that novel? Let's throw editorial restraint to the wind just once and add a subtitle. Let's make it "The Assistant: Justification of a Rape". Too strident? We could do, perhaps, "The Assistant: She Was Going to Fuck Him At Some Point, Wasn't She?".

Whoever scribbled "Never read this" on the frontispiece of the used copy I bought should really take to writing his or her warnings on the front cover from now on. He or she could have performed a valuable community service had "Never read this" appeared more prominently.

But to whoever wrote (I'm serious) "LONG LIVE ROCK" on page 1: don't you change a thing.

Monday, October 11, 2004

I don't think I've ever seen a sight quite so poignant as my (sadistically slow-to-fade) flip-flop tan. I've been struggling with my post-vacation grief for 2 weeks now, and of all the frequent pang-triggers (tree ferns, papaya, coconut shrimp etc.) it sets the bar. No mood is buoyant enough not be be sunk by changing my shoes and seeing that goddamn flip-flop tan. I do not wish to hear its nostalgic tale of winking geckos, eyelet-lace waterfalls and extortion prices happily paid. I want it to goddamn fade.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The endlessly useful "sic" needs a sibling. We - maybe just "I" - need something akin to "sic" to indicate that the writer knows something most readers do not and that despite possible appearances an error has not been made. Example:

Lefty's dimwit cat was sitting on the chaise longue [insert new "sic" variety here] again and left kibbly crumbs all over it.

'Cause it's not chaise lounge, of course, but in such cases, when one does the good and right and proper and decent thing, most readers will incorrectly believe an error has been made. And for God's sake these things keep people like me up at night. The appearance of a usage slip is far more intolerable than accusations of pedantry or outright jackasshood can ever be. So what shall we use, then, bores like us? At the moment I have no potential solutions better than:

And you know that all of his naysayers are just champing [sic all y'all] at the bit to debate him face to face.

(I'm working on a pronunciation that, when slurred, sounds faintly like Latin.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

As world leaders cordially congratulate Indonesia's new president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, some commentators and onlookers privately mourn the loss of the incumbent president he defeated. A Berkeley, CA woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, comments "Mr. Yudhoyono's credentials look good or whatever, and I like that he goes by 'SBY', because it reminds me of TCBY, but seriously, talking about geopolitics will never be the same now that we can no longer say 'President Megawati'." The woman appeared to color with anger. "Her surname was f*cking Megawati: you don't oust that kind of name!"

Monday, October 04, 2004

I am walking down my street toward the entrance to my apartment. Approaching me is a slight girl of around 17 years old, being yanked around trippingly by the ginger-coated pit bull she's got on a leash. The pit is beaming beatifically like only pits can, her delight in people and walking and sniffing and all else except probably cats visible from 30 yards away. She's got a great demeanor, that's obvious, but she's terribly trained. Her owner has no control of her pulling, and the pair are lurching wildly.

As they approach me, I grin at the grinning pup, but step away from her as she lunges toward me to say hello, since my clothing is light-colored and dry-clean only. The dog's owner, who had been smiling at me, suddenly shifts to a sneer and spits "She's friendly" with no small dose of contempt. See, the girleen thought I was afraid of her dog, due to the breed in question. So what mordant, caustic reply did I give her? With which exact words did I humble her, discredit her surpremely faulty assumption, and impugn her dog-training skills all at once?

I got no words out at all. So aggrieved was I that my mouth worked silently, my brow furrowed into inch-deep chasm but without an accompanying vocalization. Nothing. She continued down the block and continued being brutally whiplashed about by her dog, and I returned home, defeated and misjudged.