Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Acknowledgement Of Chops and Snuff

Oh, mercy.

Sometimes in the search for something big and meaningful and filled with rich delicious goodness the answer can stare you in the face like the last piece of apple pie.

Am I hungry?

No, but I am longing. I need to pin down my voice. You know, this stuff that I'm blabbering on about every day. There are days I feel like a bulldozer hammering through the world, and other days I'm a cantankerous ol' coot. When you write, you should settle on one of those guys in the mirror. If you aren't sure where you stand with your beliefs you can sound ridiculous. And not the good kind of ridiculous. Sarah Palin ridiculous.

And there she was. Like a poster child for all that I wanted to say about this world. It smacked me in the face. And when I pinned it down, the connections came pouring like champagne in a hip hop video; like rain on Alanis Morrisette's wedding day.

I have no interest in getting too political, but culturally, I have a lot to say. In fact, too much. It began with a Newsweek article by Fareed Zakaria. (He shows up on the Daily Show and Real Time occasionally. He's the guy we seem to look toward when we need the Middle East explained to us. Sharp, smart, knowledgeable.) The article boldly states the obvious. This woman is not fit to hold the job for which she is applying. It is almost offensive that this person is even on this stage to begin with.

Something about the way Zakaria made his case made an audible click in my head. After I checked my headphones to see if it was an electrical problem, I realized I had an idea.

Hey! Not Everyone Can Do Everything!

The ex-cokehead, business failure, mental midget who has run the show for the last eight years drove the country into the ground. He wasn't qualified! People elected him for his familiarity. Its been discussed 1,000 time. He was the beer buddy president. Easy! I got it. And this sexy librarian can't do it either. But wait, there's more. What wasn't being said?

The voice I was looking for was camouflaged by derogatory terms like "elitist". (Like my superhero) There are people in this world willing to acknowledge that quality exists. Some things are good, some things not so good, and some things should have never left Anchorage.

This is exactly the same way I feel about music and film and the stage and public discourse and just major responsibility in general. Christ, they have this in every facet on American life. You can't just walk in and demand to be a heart surgeon. Or a judge. Or a CEO. Or the featherweight champion of the world. Or Jeopardy champion.

There are certain doors in this world that are not open to you. Why? Not because of your sex or your race or where you born. Some things are closed because you don't have the chops. You're not up to snuff. You are not good enough!

I believe this like some people believe in the invisible guy upstairs. I have wanted to write since I was 16. I want desperately to good enough to earn the respect from readers and my peers. I want to be funny and entertaining. Most of the time, I don't hit my target. I have killed so many of these little essays because they just couldn't fly on their own. They were half ideas or lazy little popcorn duds scattered on the kitchen floor. They sit in a file waiting for their second chance at life. I just don't think they're up to snuff. That's why I try to dissuade people from referring to this as a blog site. I don't want to just belch out the events of my day to make me feel self-important. I want to have something to offer. I want to be good first. Good!

This natural attraction to quality infects my likes and dislikes and why I am such a grump with movies and music after I passed 25 or so. I don't care about crap. I don't want to waste one minute of my life with crap. Wrestling is crap. I don't watch it. Not even for the kitschy aspect of it; like the aristocracy watching he rabble fall over each other for a fallen sixpence from the confines of the mezzanine. I see life as a ticking clock and my brain is wired to reject things that waste my time. Nope!

(Of course, this does not explain my lifelong battle with TV addiction. I'm working on it!)

I love actors and I love acting. I love a fun movie and a clever movie and an unexpected movie. If it's been done before it didn't do its job. Sorry. Same goes with music. Surprise me. Impress me. Too many fans out there who love everything. Well, not everyone has the talent or the ability to spin a lack of talent into something interesting.

And that is where we are. I've always wondered why I never liked the "everyone in the pool" mentality. I like accessibility, but as a fan I have a more difficult time finding the gems now.

But forget all that pop culture junk for the moment. If you can.

The core issue is also the silver bullet of modern-day America: Qualifications and quality. There are a few Americanisms that I firmly believe. I'll list two. The only true crime is to be poor, and no one should infer limits to the American Dream. The former is a topic for another day but the latter is my current pancake batter. You aren't supposed to tell Americans there are things they can't accomplish, no matter how hard they work and have faith in themselves.

Well here I go.

There are plenty of limits and you know what they are. We all have them. You missed your chance, you don't try, and your commitment isn't really there. Or maybe you tried and failed. Accept it. I have to every day. It sucks but it is genuine. Not that self delusion is anything new to our society. But delusion is a painkiller. Self doubt is real. It hurts more.

It's time for a little realism; since the legacy of Reagan/Bush has left us in a piss pot and we have to start from scratch again. Let's start with a little honesty about ourselves and each other.

Palin is barely qualified to be a weather girl. I can't be governor. Jessica Alba can't hack Shakespeare and the Idol contestants aren't really artists or musicians. It's okay. Breathe in, breathe out. We'll get through this.

But I have my voice now. It's what I was looking for. Now, if I can just pretend I know how to write for a little bit longer…

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dad Stuff - Lesson #42 – " 5 Things I've Never Done With My Kids"

This could have been an exhaustive list of all things I avoided and neglected to do with my kids for their own good. That stuff tends to get a bit preachy, and I have no interest in that. I'd rather make fun of people.

I never forced them to listen to inferior music. For the life of me, I cannot understand the allure of "Kids Bop" and similar musical collections. What could be more irritating than children singing whitewashed lyrics of Beyonce and Green Day? Surely parents aren't buying this musical trainwreck for their own enjoyment. I'd rather be stuck in It's A Small World for eternity.

If you want your kids to listen to pop music, let them have the real thing! I sung my kids Beatles songs when they were babies. They had no nursery rhymes per se, but they did learn old school rhymes from hanging out with me in the car. Isn't the point of having the music on to enjoy to have a little fun and connect with the parents while they are little?

I never took them out until they were four years old. Okay, they left the house. It's not like they were locked in a dungeon or a monkey cage. We went to the park, we went to grandma's and family functions. But I never once dragged a baby carrier and a diaper bag to a movie theater, a restaurant, a sporting event or any other place where the piercing eyes of judgmental childless people or grumpy old farts could bitch and whine if my child made some noise. I didn't want to be that guy, so I didn't take them. I also avoiding shush-ing my way through their beginning years. I waited until my son was about four until we went to our first movie. No fuss, no freakouts. Just three potty breaks and he fell asleep on my lap thirty minutes before the movie ended.

I never got down on their level, rubbed their heads and called them "slugger". This may be a valid move to communicate with a child who has issues. I never needed it and I found it condescending. I mean, I am the father, right? I'm supposed to be strong and the big bear in the cave and all that crap. The one thing I have going for me before they grow up and find out I'm a big phony nerd who doesn't know anything about fixing the roof and the septic tank is that I am tall. I am tall and my voice is lower than theirs and I tell them what to do. No way I'm giving that up when they're five.

I avoided saying "I don't know". My kids want to know stuff. They ask me questions about everything everyday. Sometimes I think they are just testing me, as if I could lose my position, but usually they aren't afraid to ask. That is the key to having a good kid that could become a wise adult. Your child should not but shot down every time he needs to know who FDR was or what Vietnam was all about. Maybe you know, maybe you don't. When they ask, get off your ass and help them find out. That is an incredibly underrated gift. Plus, once they learn how to use a reference book or a computer and motivate themselves to find the answers, they'll leave you the hell alone.

I never let the world revolve around them. Perhaps this would be my most controversial statement, if I cared about controversy. I don't have monuments to my child's minor achievements stacked high in every room of the house. I didn't take a picture of them every eight minutes from birth to 14. We don't throw a party every time they get an "A". I don't have four jobs so they can go to a private academy, or make an attempt to be a professional ballet dancer. It sounds callus, but that's how we rolled. In return, we have appreciative, unspoiled, intelligent children with straight A's. And those kids have parents who love them, have their own lives, hopes and dreams that don't hang on the success of their children.

We also don't believe in bumper stickers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Stone To Throw At My Cynicism – "Coming In From The Cold"

I remember this:

A seven hour stretch at the beach sometime in the early eighties. My brother and I hopping up and down in the salty green waves; the current dragging us north toward St Augustine, inch by inch. We would body-surf; which is what poor people do when they can't afford surfboards or boogie boards. You timed the wave just right, as it began to suck the water from underneath you and you leapt forward and hopefully the foam would take you to shore. If we weren't floating in the Atlantic, we were digging holes in the sand with a rusty camping shovel.

Between cheese sandwiches and generic sodas we filled up the day while passing Camaros bled Journey, Bob Seger and, occasionally, the dulcet tones of Billy Idol. We never had an ounce of sunscreen. Not once. We never had an umbrella or shade. We burned every week. Our meshy bathing trunks were filled with gritty sand and our lips cracked from salt water. My brother and I would stick to the vinyl seats in the old station wagon and we would pass out from exposure. Once we got home we took cold showers, scraped all the sand out of places it should not be and laid on a clean sheet to cool off. We never cooled off. Not on beach day. Our skin actually radiated heat so we could never get comfortable.

Why is this worth mentioning?

You will never be able to prove to me that cooling off is a better experience than to warm up. It’s a damned scientific fact of comfort and gooshiness. I don't give a damn if it the Bahamas and you are fanned by two supermodels with an endless supply of daiquiris and mango sorbet. I can top that experience with a scenario in a mountain lodge or ski resort. (I'll still need the supermodels for the scenario.)

Of course, I have never had that experience. Hell, I would have written about it already.

But I had a white Christmas last year. For real. And it's almost as rare in the Northwest as it is in Florida. Wet Christmas is more apropos.

The snow came down on Christmas morning and it stayed long enough for the kids to run outside with their gloves, scrape up a pile of grass, dirt and snow and chuck it into the street. I lit a fire, although we didn't need it. I had to. It is holiday law. You can avoid the warm and fuzzies all you want but in this culture that event is tough to beat. I've never hit 21 at a blackjack table with a tall blonde on my arm but I had snow on Christmas.

And it was cold. Nice and cold. Maybe that is why the beach and the heat don't do it for me. I like the cold AND the remedy for it. The chill is in your chest. You feel a tingling in your rib cage. It almost tickles. The cold air carries rare odors, like tree sap and fallen leaves and smoke from distant fires. Taking a dog for a walk or just a trip to the store seems more pleasant and somehow necessary. I love the amplified sounds of a chilly wind. Jesus, I even love the need for a warm cap. Don't forget women in sweaters and knit caps with rosy cheeks and all that. It’s the only time I get compliments from the women in my life. I can actually look decent in a comfy jacket. How can you not love it?

Coming in from the cold to a warm home is like nothing else in life. Shutting the door behind and as it lets one more burst of chill into the room. The obligatory "brrr" as you strip off a layer of clothing; the cap, the jacket, the boots if necessary. You know what comes next. Coffee or hot tea or slippers or a blanket. Snuggling with a loved one or a pet or a huge pillow.

Wow. I am a simple creature.

I end this with a quote from Travels With Charley, by John Steinbeck. I loved it so much I have a copy of it hanging in my house. For those Americans who can't fathom why everyone doesn't want to move to Southern California or Florida for the postcard weather, this might help explain things:

"I’ve lived in good climate and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate. In Cuernavaca, Mexico, where I once lived, and where the climate is near as to perfect as is conceivable, I have found that when people leave there they go to Alaska. I’d like to see how long an Aroostook County man can stand Florida But I do wonder if a down-Easter, sitting on a nylon-and-aluminum chair out on a changelessly green lawn slapping mosquitoes in the evening of a Florida October—I do wonder if the stab of memory doesn’t strike him high in the stomach just below the ribs where it hurts. And in the humid ever-summer I dare his picturing mind not to go back to the shout of color, to the clean rasp of frosty air, to the smell of pine wood burning and the caressing warmth of kitchens. For how can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?"

(Note to self: In the future, try not to include quotes from masters of American literature in your postings. They make your original work look like doggie links.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Rough Draft For A Truthful Resume


OBJECTIVES: To make tons more money than I make right now. This is not a difficult goal to achieve. Also, I'd like something where I could just write about everything all day in my underwear listening to Beck albums in the background. Since becoming a father, I've never slept past 8 am. I want to focus on that area, too.

SKILLS: None. Well, no practical skills that employers care about. I can be funny and I'm quick with a response; albeit sarcastic and counterproductive. I make homemade pizza. I am quite good with trivia and I'm a great speller. I do, however, have some type of Adult ADD that keeps me from paying close attention to pertinent facts and I'd rather screw around than manipulate my bosses and peers to get ahead. I am likable, but it's never gotten me a raise. I am a self-starter. I start a little later than most and I start for the parking lot the millisecond I clock out.

ATTRIBUTES: Punctual, clean, respectful and unflinchingly direct. I can ascertain one person's b.s. and accurately interpret that into another person's sugar-coated corporate speak. I dress professionally but I hate ties, leather shoes and buttoned sleeves. I have a BA in History which is of no use to anyone; however the byproduct was scads of writing. I like coffee. I need a lot of pee breaks.

WORK HISTORY: I have mastered the art of internet keyword selection, sort of, and I have sent five thousand emails. I cleaned puke, swept popcorn, sorted videotapes and alphabetized CD's. I spent three years reviewing files for an insurance company and the only thing I took from the job was a tattered, dog-eared piece of notebook paper with the funniest claimant names. (Robert Boob, you are the winner, sir.)

I taught school and I was complimented by my peers. However, the job itself was the saddest experience I've ever had, and even sadder, the most money I've ever made.

I scooped dog poop.

I was once also fired in the first four hours of a photo developing job. Broke the machine.

RECOMMENDATIONS: No one ever remembers me after I quit. I usually make friends with other short-timers and they move on to do other things. If you ever track down one of my bosses…well, I'd be more than a little surprised.

WHAT I BRING TO YOUR ORGANIZATION: Disdain. But seriously, the truth is I don't follow directions well because my ego will not allow me to swallow unfettered crap without comment. I'm pleasant, I am usually in good spirits but I make it known when the process isn't working, the employees are not fit, or the company is clearly run by dumbasses. I am 36, I know who I am and I make horrible first impressions.

What I really feel like doing right now is heading over to the reception area with the four other schlubs that are gunning for this job and console the ones who didn't get it and rag on the guy who did. I swear to all that is holy that is all I ever want to do with my time.

Which explains my pay history.

WHERE DO I SEE MYSELF IN FIVE YEARS: Let's say this, if I am indeed working for this company to which I am applying five years from now, I will consider my entire professional life a dismal failure. Exactly the same way I felt five years ago. But I'd still like to get paid.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Response To that Dude In The Breakroom Who Called Me a Chump For Being Married"

This is, of course, from the larger work: Things I Wanted To Get Off My Chest At A Particular Moment But Refrained Due To Fear Of Loss Of Limb Or Job.

Hey man,

You must be the strongest man I've ever met. What intestinal fortitude you must possess; you are an emotional Hoover Dam, with the power to control anything and everything the world can push against you all on your own.

I must have been more mistaken than I have ever been. I merely assumed, from your distended belly, scraggly sideburns and stained shirt that you were the typical computer guy. I thought you were one of those IT homeboys that ate FunYuns and Twizzlers and Tater Tots chased down with Full Throttle, Red Bull and Strawberry YooHoo. I made an ass of myself to assume you were the typical RPG-playing techno snob who places the accumulation of pointless trinkets and trivia over the unavoidable allure of human touch.

It was your knowledge of Frodo and Gimlee that threw me.

Sorry. I am truly sorry. You must be independently wealthy or at least make twice what I make in a job that's pretty much the same crap that I do all day. See, having a second income from a spouse is sort of sweet. I could have plunked down my first and last month's rent on an apartment like yours under that bridge downtown, but we thought it would be better to throw it away on a house. Sure, we can't "pick up and leave town anytime" we want to like you said you could. That is true. The freedom has limits with children and property and all that stuff. But, I should point out, if you could pick up and move to New York or Paris anytime, why the hell were you talking to me with Cheetos crumbs on your fingers?

Apologies again for questioning your mortal rigidity. I was wrong to assume since you are 100 pounds past morbidly obese and your odor conjured up a strange mix of questionable body and the scent of soiled laundry that you were lonely. I know you have you loyal circle of friends. Most of them are strictly internet friends, true. Some of them are only pretending to be twenty-something males, true. But they are still your family and they don't "tie you down" like my dumb kids and my stupid wife.

I misjudged you. For me, having people to come home to that don't require a secure internet connection has unmatched appeal. My kids cost a ton of money, just like you said. As corny and hokey as genuine devotion can sound, those little guys can only give me a type of love you could never comprehend; even from the depths of one of those fantastically written sci-fi novels you tote around. Yes, curling up with a loved one on a cold night is basically the same as unwinding alone in a room with a paperback about cyber-wenches with eight arms and four tits.

I have to say, I envy that strength. If I had to spend Christmas locked in my bedroom staring at my monitors, one with the latest online gaming experience and the other with Asian porn, I figured you would probably pick up one of those Lord of the Rings replica swords, grasp the handle firmly with those two porky meat clubs you call hands and plunge it into your chest, just through that T-shirt with the HTML code you find hilarious because no one gets it but you.

All I have is my family and our friends with families. We laugh and play and eat and drink like a bunch of breeding idiots. We're nowhere near as evolved and free. It's just awful.

So I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I'm sure you can handle it. You'll brush it right off. You're made of stone.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Why Jon Stewart Is Better Than The State Of Nevada"

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has helped me survive the last four years of insanity and stupidity. I know some of you out here are like me. Maybe you don't have a close-knit core of people to complain to, or maybe your mouth is dry and your throat is hoarse from bitching about the thousands of decisions and failures of the Bush administration. Jon has been there for all of us. Plus, he's just damn funny. There are few places left for smart comedy and we all know it. It's not welcome in a lot of corners of America anymore.

They call it liberal and left. But I know what it actually is. It's Correct. It is Awake. It is that spirit of the country that always hums underneath the tones of overt patriotism and the worship of myths and intangibles. It is smart-ass and sharp. It is my home and where I feel the most welcome.

Then, you have the blistering hellhole that is Nevada.

I drove my family through that bleached desert expecting the vistas of the America southwest to somewhat resemble the Road Runner cartoons. I was as far from Road Runner as Charlie Sheen is from being funny. It is certainly a desert; I don't want to misrepresent the area by comparing to a dump or a landfill. (Although the state has oodles of them around.)

No, what I saw on the way to Las Vegas was an absence of life. It was death. The mountains were gray and the land was crackly and dry like your lips in December. I immediately compared it Florida, where we driving from. Of course I'm no fan of the Sunshine State, but there is some green-ness there. Plants, grass, trees and bushes. Nevada was nil. Tiny scrub brush was all I could see aside from dirt and sand. No cool cacti either.

I have to lotion my hands just thinking about it.

Jon Stewart even gives equal time to the guys he lampoons. Both sides of the aisle and from states of both colors get to come on the show. I usually avoid the interviews, to be honest. I'm in it for the first two segments where the show really shines. In his heart, Stewart is a comedian and his job is to present America with things that are funny and the things that are so bad and so wrong and so unfair that all we can do to process them is to laugh at them. It is therapeutic. And with such gutless comedy (and art, for that matter) these days, I am always confident Jon Stewart will deliver the bad news with a teaspoon of sugar and a punch to the groin.

Speaking of punches to the groin, I've been to Vegas.

Again, with a fist full of cash and a few grown-up friends, I could have had fun. But that's not the point. Everyone knows Las Vegas is a wild place for adult fun. However, there is a push over the last decade to make this town kid-friendly and a family destination. Look, nice try, Vegas. I'm from Orlando and I've seen this work pretty well for them. You shouldn't even bother. There's more skin on the billboards than mouse ears in the entire Magic Kingdom.

You can't walk two steps out of your hotel without blinding lights, hundreds of creepy drunks and some greasy guy handing you hooker flyers. Every third sign is an ad for strippers or sex for a fee. Yeah, all kids would pass over a chance to ride Space Mountain for the chance to hang out next to Cinnamon with Hepatitis C.

And, I'm sorry Vegas, but the poker floor is the single most depressing place I've ever been aside from a funeral home. Retirees and tragically obese tourists slumped over machines. Squatters, barely mobile at blackjack tables, wait for some elusive spark of fun to remind them that they are still alive. Pensions and social security checks just float down a dusty, shitty river to billionaire casino owners.

Plus, there are hookers all over. "Hey kids! This one doesn't have fake nails!"

I can watch Jon Stewart whenever I need a boost and I feel that I'm isolated from others who can see clearly. Vegas is fun for some, but I have to keep my kids away.

Nevada could meet me halfway and plaster 100 million solar panels across the state and power the Pacific Coast. There's nothing to see anyway, and you'd be doing us a huge favor. That would show you're cool.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

News Whine, Part Two - "Why I'm Not Up For Debate"

I am trying very hard not to "blog" on this blog site but I have to give a little background info before I can get going. And you aren't the boss of me, so stick it.

I was raised in a giant can of black olives and shaving cream with my brother Matthew who was born with an elephant's trunk where his left nipple should have been. My father was the late George Carlin. He taught me everything I knew about expressing my thoughts, remembering to bake it in a delicious fruit pie and bake at 450 degrees for one hour. And swearing. He taught me lots of swear words.

When he was on the road, I'd have a few guys keep me company so I wouldn't get lonely. Eddie Murphy was there at the beginning, but he grew tired of being funny when I was around 15. There was Sam Kinison who screamed, and Bill Hicks who loved conspiracy theories. I learned about Pryor and I watched David Letterman at 12:30 am, hardly realizing there were naked girls on Cinemax at the same time.

The point is, I worshipped comedians and how they thought. I delivered my thoughts the same way I do now; for your entertainment. I have to do it. If not, there is only frustration, tears and…choose an unhealthy addiction. My opinions are wholly mine but my intent is not to prove my point. Usually, I want to make other people comfortable or just laugh. When I am getting serious about something, I feel as if my oxygen supply is slowly turning off. I need to desperately take a breath and lighten the hell up or my head will burst like that blackhead the morning of school picture day.

Its not that I don't care. I care too stupidly much about everything. I'm just not wired to take on Stephen Douglas in Illinois. (Look it up, for Chrissakes.)

The great ones: Pryor, Carlin and later, Chris Rock brought messages to their audiences. They made connections and they were there to express something. But if you weren't laughing at them, they failed. Sure, most comedians are only there to make you laugh and I agree that should be at the top of their priorities. (Especially for what they charge for a ticket.) But the really good ones were making a connection to you via fart jokes. They give you some of their humanity. Also, you could remember some of the lines and tell the guys down in the lunch room the next day and they'd find you hilarious. Its brutal, sad and painful presence was the real reason you remember the show.

This is also why Jerry Seinfeld kinda sucks.

Debating is such a heavy game played by too many amateurs. Most Americans haven't the perspective or breadth of experience or knowledge to know what the hell they're talking about when it comes to major issues. It's impossible. These aren't opinions, this is debate. A hundred years ago, only the sharpest and strongest of us even attempted. The average person knew they couldn't swing with the big boys in the Major Leagues of public discourse. They said their peace and that was it. They had the sense and dignity and respect for the Big Ideas to muddle it with limited knowledge of the facts. It was logical and fair.

Today, debate is bickering and whining. I won’t join in. Nah. Not good enough.

It took me years to figure this one out. I lingered under the delusion I just didn't believe in my ideas enough to have at it with someone who didn't agree. I was wrong. I just don't care that much. I'd rather goof off and get them to tinkle just a little from laughing.

And so on.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Marvction Comics Presents An Origin Story: "The Elitist"

Born Archie Darwin somewhere in downtown Chicago in the mid-seventies, the man who would come to be known as The Elitist did not begin his life heroically.

While just an anonymous boy in fourth grade, young Arch was mercilessly picked on by a small group of classmates. They dragged their knuckles and furrowed their brows at Arch's comments about the validity of technological savvy in an expanding marketplace an that state lotteries were for suckers. They grunted and jumped him just after lunch. After extracting his briefs from his ass and digging his backpack out of the dumpster behind the school, Arch knew his future lie somewhere else.

He would lie in bed and stare at the ceiling every night. He thought about the teachers who hated his slacker attitude even though he earned A's throughout high school. He wondered why he couldn't make the football team (in an attempt to impress a blonde cheerleader). Arch had great speed but he fell out of favor with the assistant coaches when he corrected their grammar, re-drew their plays to make them effective and pointed out that the school mascot's costume looked more like a Short-Toed Eagle than a Bald Eagle.

After receiving his diplomas in Psychology and English, he finished his Master's Degree in Finance to look attractive to potential employers. He had several college girlfriends who made bids for his time, but Arch was always focused on his work or…something else. It was the elusive question in his life. Then, after the 2000 presidential election, he had an epiphany.

The once mild-mannered, east-coast educated, 156 IQ-ed, liberal, pro-choice, anti-gun Archie Darwin would adapt an alter-ego: The Elitist!

His first mission came straight from the newspaper. A high school in Lexington, Kentucky was going to ban classic literature in the library and force their teachers to teach creationism as fact. Arch knew he had only one choice: To act!

The morning after the school enforced its rule; the principal's staff came to work the next morning to find a spray-painted hallway that read: READ A BOOK, IDIOTS.

Archie wasn't much for action. It's not an Elitist's forte.

But soon he learned that he instead needed to take on the villains directly. He needed to strike at the enforcers of small mindedness, who manipulated traditions and ideals to gain influence and power. Those were the true criminals. He had to take on the ultimate conservative syndicate: Red Force!

Uncle Clem, the mastermind of Red Force, who guards the secret compound somewhere in the hills of Wyoming. Or Mississippi. (Not sure, it's secret!)

Brazen Man, the brawn behind the crew. He is willing to say and do anything to accomplish is goal; no matter how embarrassing, untrue, outdated, petty, unfounded, ridiculous, homophobic, racist, retarded and dumb.

Shirley Cupcakes, the den mother/vixen of red Force. With her plastic smile, porcelain skin and sensible footwear, she is the temptress that seduces with the scent of chocolate chip cookies and mini-van interiors.

The Duke, the man of action and The Elitist's fiercest foe. Mentally unstable and suffering from delusion, the Duke dresses in the garb of John Wayne and like the former star, has no real hero credits other than pretending to be a soldier an a cowboy. But he sticks to his guns! (Seriously, he had them sewn to his hips. Very painful.)

And of course,

Johnny Reb Six-Pack Shotgun Jesus Freak McXenophobe. Well, take a guess.

The Elitist battles these scourges of the human intellect every night, in the small towns where real Americans live, and even in the big cities where most of them live.

Catch the action, today!

(Does anybody know how to draw?)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

News Whine, Part One - "Man Watches Newscast And Summarily Leaves Room In Disgust"

Headlines from a major website that features news stories on the top of the page, then as you cascade down; entertainment, sports, and who the hell knows what. These are actual links that were mixed in with election coverage, hurricanes, the Olympics and the Georgia/Russia skirmish.

Disabled turtle rides custom skateboard to romance

Trying the new buzz snacks

Cat survives 70-mile trip under owner's truck

Cow faces off with bear

Vincent Price's cooking tips

(The man has been dead for fifteen years.)

Rogue monkey runs amok in Tokyo subway | Video

(Jesus, you BETTER have the video.)

I'm getting pooped on a little these days. My interest in news programming has reached an all-time low and I seem to be attracting attention as a Pollyanna or at least a guy with his fingers shoved in his ears sitting in a cave under Tierra Del Fuego.

In fact, I am just on a very strict media diet. It is strict in the way that it is very limited, I can't overindulge and I take any and all doses with a bowl of All-Bran. What is on twenty-four hours a day, every single day, is not news. It is discussion. I like discussion, but I get bored quickly when I discover than none of the participants have any true stake in the outcome. The talking heads on cable news are in it for face time. They really could not care less about the issues that mean the most to us, including the election.

So I don't watch at all. But I am informed. I'll give you the difference. News is: Barack Obama spoke in Ohio today on the campaign trail. Done. That's it. I'm informed. If I want to hear what he said, I can find out. That event is the news. Dissecting the tone, the colloquialisms, the verbiage, the tie he wore, his stance, his gait, his delivery, who was there, how many, their reactions, how many times they applauded, the weather, the last minute changes, his wife's presence, what the speech will mean to the old, the young, men and women, Latinos and farmers, independents, libertarians nurses, teachers, the NAACP, Star Trek impersonators, the feeble, the discombobulated, Donald Trump's wig craftsman, my Aunt Sal, your Uncle Delbert, hunky firemen and the International Belt Buckle Collectors Society…not really important.

So I abstain. Sue me.

Here's another reason: Journalism is dead. It's more rotting and decomposed than Elizabethan sonnets and 8-tracks. When I read my news online, I have to weed out the important information and article titles from the sea of inane garbage they use to get us to see more advertising. It's basically a very sophisticated Penny Saver. I know there are more serious sites out there then the mainstream fluff, but why?

Oh, I know why. And you do to. There's really not enough news everyday for them to fill up a paper or a website . Well, technically there is, but they would have to go out into the world and investigate the events that transpire and then report what they'd seen. What's that called? Oh, yeah. Journalism.

Cogito ergo doleo.