Sunday, August 31, 2008

I love the media’s new euphemism for Dumb:

“Not college educated,” as in, the Hillary supporters who may blow over to the Republican ticket now that they’ve got a woman on it. It’s its own phrase, like “mouth-dragging knuckle-breathers,” although admittedly, I just made that phrase up by accident.

In the end, I suppose it only irritates me because I too am not college educated, but I am not strictly speaking stooped, either.

If they mean “dumb,” just say it. Don’t insult a whole silent underclass who were too stoned to get their shit together for college, but are smart enough now not to vote for the same assholes who’ve been fucking up our country for the last umpteen years.

Say it! People who vote against their own best interests aren’t “not college educated,” they’re stupid. Say it!!

Found political comedy

You know what would be funny?

If the 24-hour news nets ended up running split-screen coverage of the Repub convention this week, with live footage of New Orleans being wiped out again running right next to the speeches and the glad-handing in Minneapolis. If a picture is worth a thousand words, these two images running side-by-side would say more than all the carefully-crafted speeches sure to be puked forth from the Republican podium put together.

Purely from a politics-as-bloodsport perspective, that would be hilarious.*

And is the first night of the GOP convention really on Monday, Labor Day? That in itself is hysterically ironic. The party of no-minimum-wage-hike, tax-cuts-for-the-rich launching its extravaganza on the one day a year set aside to honor the Sally Sobstories and Joe Lunchbuckets their policies condemn to a less-than-living-wage existence. The real irony is that the rubes won’t even see the irony.

Hold all my calls and bring on the hilarity!

* I think it’s okay to express skepticism about people who moved back to NOLA after it was wiped out last time – you build your beautiful beachfront city below sea-level and you keep being surprised when it gets drowned out during hurricane season? What the hell are you thinking about??

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hillary and the GOP VP

Expanded from an email this morning to The Last Boy Scout:

I think McCain’s VP pick (Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, above) was a misstep. Hillary’s hordes are not so pissed at Obama that they’re gonna vote GOP to put a woman in the #2 slot who disagrees with them on all the female-specific hot-button issues. Does anyone really think Hillary’s cranky post-menopausal fan base are so desperate to have a woman — any woman — in Blair House they’ll willingly throw away their daughters’ and granddaughters’ reproductive rights?

This was a Hail Mary Pass, and I don’t think it’s gonna be well-received (look, Fang just made a sports metaphor!). The base will love it and McCain does still need help with the base, but I doubt her selection will draw any disaffected liberals or left-leaning independents to the GOP’s alleged big tent.

McCain did, however, manage to snitch Obama’s news cycle away from him, but that, as they used to say on HBO's late, lamented “The Wire,” is just The Game.

Addendum 9/10/08: Let me just say that when I get one wrong, I get it really, really wrong. Mea culpa.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A quick note to disgruntled Hillary voters:

For God's sake, get over yourselves.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Had a pretty good parenting day today

It started out early. I was explaining to the boy what the “AC/DC” on his t-shirt meant; fret-shredding, ass-shaking, head-banging riff-rocking of the first order. I put on a CD, “Back in Black,” and after the tolling of (Hell’s) bells he turns and looks at me like I’m an idiot. He points to the TV and says, “TV.”

Happy to comply, I run out into the garage and grab my copy of “Family Jewels,” AC/DC’s comprehensive video collection, and swap the CD out for a DVD. Cut to a few minutes later: I walk into the living room and find the boy doing pelvic thrusts into the couch in time to “You Shook Me All Night Long” while drinking apple juice from a sippy cup. The Missus admitted it was a funny scene, but was probably less delighted about it than I was.

(We threw on Cash’s “100 Highways” after, kind of like a spiritual palette cleanser – we had to return the balance to our universe, and musically, Johnny Cash is our north star.)

Later that morning, one of the boy’s fellow day-carees was having a birthday party in the park. The Missus had a get-together in one of the big, self-important cities down the road to attend, so I solo-parented the boy to the party. The Missus tasked me with an additional assignment – I was to make one new friend of my own at this thing, preferably among the daddies. As a rule, I don’t do “social,” but I’d walk the line through a ring of fire for my boy – forcing someone to be my friend would be no problem.

Except that our town is located on the surface of the sun, and the cluster of picnic tables that contained the birthday-partying elements were in a wide-open clearing, surrounded by a semi-circle of shaded grass where the adults gathered.

Now, the boy can be social when he wants to, too, but like me is not a natural on the meet-n-greet circuit. He really has to be feeling it because he won’t even bother to fake it.

He was not feeling it today:

My finger got a workout, as did my newly-arthritic shoulder. About an hour in he turned to me and said, “Want to go home.” But we did no such thing. We stuck it out till after lunch and cake were served (the assignment I had given myself); moreover, I found a fellow dad, my age, also parent of a single child (everyone else we know is BY GOD having two kids, but me and my new friend agreed that were too old to go through that first year again if we could help it). He’s on his first pair of eyeglasses, I’m on my second. We both did local community theater before our respective kids came along and made continuing to do so impossible. I even coerced him into taking my business card and extracted one of his from him, then made his wife take a picture of us as evidence for The Missus as if we were old friends (inset).

Finally, full of hamburger and cupcakes and with my new friend’s image committed to my puny 3.something-megapixel camera, I collected the boy where he was wilting in the sun and got us the hell out of Dodge. The boy was asleep by the time his head hit the pillow when we got home.

Not me, though. I work weekends, and had a newspaper to produce. Got that out of the way and even managed to squeeze in an episode of the third season of “Homicide” before going in to wake up my son. Three hours is plenty long enough for a nap, especially if I want him to get any sleep after the sun goes down.

Prior to going out to water the back yard with Obi (a household ritual), the boy pointed to a photo of Woody on the mantel and said, “I miss Woody.” I got down on one knee and collected him in my arms, and assured him, “I miss Woody too.” We went over and took the photo down and he pointed to it. “I miss Woody” he repeated. “Yes,” I said, “He was a very good dog. I miss him, too.” I’m glad he still remembers him. I hope he always does because Woody really was a very, very good dog.

Before things could get too maudlin we put the photo back and I convinced the boy it was okay to go out into the grass of the back yard without his shoes on. He’s cautious, he is. Had a great time watering the plants, then watching the boy water the dog. The dog is a fuck-up, but he does play real nice with the boy and doesn’t mind getting wet one bit.

Made the boy an indefensible dinner of animal crackers, popcorn, an ice cream cone (just the cone, no ice cream) and milk, lots of milk, then raced him into the bath to wash off all that awful sun-block I had been forced to slather on him for the party on the surface of the sun earlier in the day. We were actually in the bathroom when The Missus got home and Obi took a non-friendly bite out of one of her friends – I was grateful not to be any part of that, except that if I had been, I would have made sure Obi had been in his muzzle before meeting new people. Woulda, coulda, shoulda…

After that her friends vamoosed pretty quick-like, and she cut the boy up a melon extravaganza, which he eschewed in favor of eating sun-block. After snatching away the sun block there was a period of disgruntled tumult accompanied by much piteous wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the day ended on a happy note with The Missus putting him to bed without the usual hour-and-a-half of him putting her through her paces. “He’s never gone down that easy for me at night before, not since we got him his new bed.” I shrugged knowingly, as if I had some secret mojo I was not letting her in on.

In the end, it was a great day. Made a new friend from whom I shall probably never hear again (the best kind!), forced both my son and myself past our boundaries to try to pass for social creatures, ate somebody else’s food for lunch and made sure no harm came to the boy on my watch. Best of all, I escaped all direct responsibility for Obi’s latest anti-social activity, in addition to laying down some (admittedly draconian) new Obi-related protocols where guests were concerned.

I’d do it all again tomorrow if I had the strength to and didn’t have to work for a living.

Note to (future) male Olympians:

This sort of thing just isn’t sexy when you do it. Going forward, when celebrating a close win in the public eye, please try to limit your shows of fraternal enthusiasm to the occasional pat on the ass.

Thank you
The Management
Fang’s Forum

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Dream Ticket...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Obi’s latest victim

The Missus’ favorite expensive pair of slacks. He’s in the dog house big-time.

Fang vs Photography

Saw a friends’ band’s 10-year reunion show last night in Southern California, (even Commie-Girl was there!). I used to shoot them for real, back in the day. But this time all I could muster, tech-wise, was a frankly pretty crappy 3.5 megapixel point-and-click that is held together by black duct tape. If you really want to get the job done, spring for the black duct tape. Just fyi.

Anyhow, I also forgot to bring my glasses, so I couldn’t really tell what was in the viewfinder unless I held the camera at arm’s-length at which point the club lighting made it impossible for me to make out images in the viewfinder at arm’s length.

Consequently, I got a few great shots (which I am, of course, too modest to post here) a lot of really bad, out-of-focus ones, and a few bad ones that shine, like the ones below.

I’m not sure if this round goes to Fang, or photography.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I still miss Woody

It’s been almost 3 months now and I still lose it from time to time. Usually after dropping the boy off at daycare and coming home to an empty house (plus Obi), the missing of him just overtakes me. It’s hard to get my day rolling when my heart feels like lead and my limbs like wet noodles. In his old age, Woody had become the perfect companion. Still not touchy-feely, but empathetic and there when I needed him.

Obi, on the other hand, is a puppy. I had no idea how young he was when I first laid eyes on him a month or so ago. To say he is a handful is an understatement. A few minutes ago I saw something red out of the corner of my eye; my arm was bleeding from some bite Obi had inflicted during an earlier meet-n-greet. For him, a chomp is as good as a kiss. It pisses me off and is dangerous to The Missus. To his credit, he doesn’t use his mouth on The Boy – some of that probably is the result of The Boy being so assertive with him from the beginning – but I also think in his pack mentality, Obi understands that if he hurts the pack leader’s youngling, he’s toast.

But everything else is on the table, even stuff that is on the table, or the counter. He almost brought The Missus to tears the other day when he dug up the only viable pepper from her back yard garden. He tore the wing off the mask of Captain America (inset), a Captain America that cannot be replaced, even on the ebay or amazon. We looked for half an hour, and as close as we came was someone else lamenting that he couldn’t find one anywhere. Yesterday, Obi ate a stack of magnetic business cards that were sitting on the dining room table.

Consequently, he spends most of his time masked or in the dog house (literally). And just when it seems like he’s getting it together, he’ll have a day like last Sunday where he tried to eat the neighbor’s dog, snarled at the neighbor, chewed up something irreplaceable (I don’t even remember what) and peed on the front room carpet.

Anyhow, it’s been almost 3 months now, and even if Obi was the best-behaved dog on earth, I think I’d still come home and miss Woody. I’d just have someone to commiserate with instead of someone to play Warden to.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Olympics in China:

Bad idea, or worst idea ever? It’s only the morning after the opening ceremonies (which Dumbleyou attended because he “didn’t want to offend the Chinese people,” as if it’s the Chinese people and not the government who hold all our fucking debt) and already a crazed dissident has killed two people then leapt to his death.

Who thought giving the international spotlight and the credibility that comes with it to a repressive, totalitarian regime like China was a good goddamned idea? They don’t even have a world-class Constitution to use as toilet paper the way the Bush administration has for almost 8 years now. Are they still Communists, or do they just treat their citizens like they’re living in a Russian gulag circa 1955? I don’t know. I didn’t need to know all the ins & outs to think it was a shitty idea to hold the Olympics there.

And sweet Jesus on a Segway, have you seen their pollution? Beijing makes L.A. on a bad smog day look like Xanadu at sunrise.

But getting back to their horrific civil rights record, and why they should never have been given hosting privileges... look, I get the argument that by giving them the games, you force them to play ball in a civilized way on the international stage. But this is fucking Red China. They don’t play ball. They crack the whip. They’ve walled-off undesirable parts of the city adjacent to the Olympic compound – poverty problem solved, excellent work comrade; it’s Miller Time.

They also have an official one-child policy in the country. How many landfills in rural areas, where pre-natal gender identification isn’t available, do you suppose are filled with the newborn corpses of unwanted baby daughters? And for Bush and all his fellow anti-abortion warriors, what fate do you think befalls the wrong-sexed children-to-be of the more well-heeled Chinese? That giant sucking sound you hear isn’t American jobs going south to Mexico.

And even with all that repression, all the brutality and threats of same against potential provocateurs, day one isn’t over yet and already the first terrorist attack has occurred. Lives, including an American, have been lost. And the perpetrator? Leaped to his death. He knew what was good for him.

And if we did too, we’d have fought the Beijing selection with every weapon at our disposal, up to and including a boycott. All the gold medals in the world aren’t worth the cost of legitimizing one of the planet’s last surviving super-powered, industrialized totalitarian regimes. All the gold medals in the world aren’t worth the loss of a single life, American or otherwise, and brothers and sisters, those games are on, too.

But then I guess the danger of our debt being called in superseded all other considerations for the crafty fiscally-conservative humanitarians at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Oh John Edwards…

…did you have to? This kind of thing is exactly why God gave us free internet porn (Penisbrainus 13:21). There’s no reason to involve anyone else and destroy your reputation as a boy scout, which by the way, in your case was your whole dog and pony show...

Bad, bad, bad!

(Somewhere, Hillary Clinton is gnashing her teeth that she didn’t come in second place to this guy instead of Obama.)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Crumbling Ruin

A mere shadow of the bastard I once was, that’s me.

I think I mentioned the arthritis yesterday. Shoulder’s been bothering me for months, so I finally had it X-Rayed this week. In addition to the arthritis, they also found an old, formerly undiagnosed, untreated fractured collarbone. I figure this either happened during a sledding incident 10 years ago that banged the shit out of my ribs, or sometime during my decades of nightly black-outs. I expect somebody out there has a hilarious anecdote about some drunken shenanigans that I don’t remember that resulted in the unhappy, delayed diagnosis I received this week.

This explains the excruciating agony I’ve experienced lately when I made the mistake of rolling over in bed onto my left side. Explains a lot of things, really. I need to get this taken care of in order to be a proper father to The Boy. I don’t want to be the kind of delicate, pussy Old Man who can’t rough-house with his kid. Steps must be taken!

So the same-day doc I went in and got the X-Ray permission from called to ‘break’ the news to me, but I insisted on scheduling the follow-up visit with our regular family sawbones, who I wrote to immediately who hasn’t gotten back to me yet. In retrospect, knowing our family doctor only comes to the office 12 days a month, I shoulda jumped at the first opportunity to take the next step, but I am a sucker for brand loyalty. Anyhow, we’re still within the 24-hour period that the online thingee I wrote to her at promised me she’d reply in. If you’re reading this, Dr. Sawbones, I sure would like to hear from you.

I’m also in psychological disrepair brought about by a new weekly newspaper I took over production duties on 4 weeks ago. By this time, I expected we’d have worked out the kinks and would be a smooth-running engine of news dissemination, when in fact, each week has created more redundant work and unnecessary stress than the week before. Production day is Wednesday, and each week Weds. has lasted later into the night than the week before, and the process has broken down worse than the preceding week. My Wednesday diet has lately consisted solely of stomach acid and klonopin. Plus I took the job at a really cheap rate, figuring by a month in we’d be that smooth-running machine I mentioned above; instead, I’ve got the stress-level of Osama bin Laden’s body-double and am drawing about the hourly salary of an assistant manager at McDonalds.

Have I mentioned it’s been a shitty summer? “Dark Knight” is the perfect snapshot in amber of this summer. Bleak, depressing, discouraging and almost too painful to bear.

On the other hand, this new shoulder diagnosis adds a welcome physical element to the misery I’ve been in for months. This, maybe, something can be done about. If Dr. Sawbones ever gets back to me, I’m gonna tell her to take as drastic a measure as my insurance will allow me. I actually feel better already, having something solid to hang my unhappiness on. Physical maladies can be pushed back against; psych melt-downs are just pathetic and open-ended.

And as far as the new paper goes, I’m having a pow-wow with the boss tomorrow. Either things get more organized, and quick, or I’m giving my two weeks notice. I really like this boss and our working relationship has been ultra-cool up till now, but things are going to change on this new publication, and fast, or I am no shit outta there. The money was nice and we’ll miss it, but money has never been my bottom line.

So finally, after months on end of sad shit I had no power to affect, change or undo, suddenly I’ve got two major issues that I’m actually empowered to resolve. I’m almost beginning to feel like my old self again.

Emphasis on “old.”

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I have arthritis!

I’m wicked old and broken-down. It would be sad if it were anybody else.