Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Breaking News: Beggars Can Now Be Choosers

Consider the actually-happened, real-life scenes that follow:
  • Outside of McDonalds on a sunny afternoon: A panhandler waggles his cup o' change at passersby. A woman stops, apologizes that she has no change, but offers a bag of nuts. The panhandler dismisses the candy bar with a wave of his hand. "I don't want that shit. I want a Big Mac! Gimme some money so I can get a Big Mac and a Coke."
  • The Object is coming home with some Astor Mediterranean takeout, and per usual, it is more than he can actually eat in one sitting. A panhandler asks for money. The Object offers the panhandler some of his food. "Whatchoo got?" asks the panhandler. "Hummus," replies the Object. The panhandler asks, "What's that?" The Object responds, "Chickpeas and garlic with some pitas. It's one of my favorites." The panhandler wrinkles his nose and responds, "Oh. No. I don't want that. I was hoping for some fried chicken."
  • A man who's seen better days stops me and recites a detailed sob story involving great-aunts and uncles. The point of the story is that he hasn't eaten in ages and he's literally starving. I offer him my for-emergencies-only granola bar that I keep in my purse for when I get cranky at work. It's a Nature Valley one, the kind that is all crunchy and has not one, but TWO granola bars. But lo, the panhandler pushes it away, saying "That's pussy food."
I've heard several of these anecdotes, and the general consensus is that they seem to be happening more frequently. Is this how it works now? You get to choose what you beg for? And insult the person offering it when you don't get your way? Because I was under the impression things worked differently.

I'd guess I'd be more insulted if I weren't so stoked that I still got the smug satisfaction of trying to help a fellow man without having to fork over my granola bar.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Touchée, Pussycat

The weekend before last, one of my closest friends, Ani, made a rare visit to DC. Her last visit predated the Object's and my decision to live in sin, and as she toured the apartment, she benignly asked the Object how he was adjusting to living with a cat.

"I guess it's ok," the Object responded. "I don't love the crapsand [cat litter], and he whines like a little bitch, and he's gotten really fat, but at least it's a temporary situation. I mean, he's pretty old, right?"

A very long pause ensued as Ani, a lifelong cat owner, and I exchanged a sidelong glance. She broke the silence, asking "How long do you think cats live?"

The Object tossed a breezy, "what, seven... eight years?" We paused again, then Ani turned to me. "How old is Schmoopums McKitty?"

"He turns six this summer," I responded.

The good thing about having close friends is that it doesn't require a lot of verbal communication to formulate and execute an emergency plan very quickly. She caught my eye and nodded subtly. As I got the tequila off the shelf, she turned back to the Object, looked at him squarely, breaking the news like a band-aid ripping off an infected wound. "Dude. Cats usually live well into their teens, and it's certainly not unheard of for them to live into their 20's."

The Object's carefree expression faltered. "You're talking about cat years, right?"

I handed him a shot of tequila to absorb the news. "People years."

The Object whimpered, "twenty... years... crapsand?"

It was a rough conversation, one I hadn't realized needed to happen, but I'm glad it did. After a few shots of hard liquor and a few rounds of Guitar Hero, the Object was right as rain. And yet, because the universe likes to keep things on an even keel, this is the sort of thing that has a nasty way of coming back to haunt you later. In this instance, it took less than 24 hours.

The next day, as the Object and I walked Ani to her bus stop, she casually asked what I was doing the following weekend. "Ugh," I responded. "I have to go to this riDICulous horse race." The Object spent four years of his life in a fraternity at UVA. Although he hides it well in most company, he can't deny his roots. So each year, the brothers get together to relive the puke, the booze, and the stench emanating from the bowels of the pits of hell (the basement of their frat house) during the last weekend of April for Foxfield, a horse race whose motto is "last one to see a horse wins." The boys start worrying about what pastels they will incorporate into outfits months in advance, then spend the day summarily ruining them. It's the one day of the year they can act like Compleat Donkeys while the women around them, placated by the idea that there will be horsies, don their pinkest and greenest frocks in green, drink Boone's Farm blue-flavored, alcoholic-like drink product and try not to wince when the King of the Donkeys waxes poetic and at great length about his onanistic habits.

It's worth mentioning that the last weekend in April is a priori the weekend before my birthday.

I explained all of this to Ani, who also attended my tiny, private, liberal arts college, where the motto is "you haven't heard of us, but you wouldn't have gotten in anyways" and where the fraternities were forced out of their housing to make room for "theme" houses filled with cooperative groups who used Castille soap on both their dishes and hair.

Thinking about Foxfield eft me with a double huzz. "I can't wait until the year when my birthday isn't going to be tainted by this whole business," I sniped at the Object. "When do you think you're going to outgrow it?"

He raised an eyebrow as a very familiar awkward pause stopped the conversation. Once again, it was Ani who broke the silence, proclaiming with no small amount of glee, "Hey, this is just like your version of crapsand!"

In the end, I supposed it does pretty much even out - both circumstances bring equal amounts of puke, foul odors, and naughty behavior to the relationship - the one is just spread throughout the year while the other is concentrated into one weekend. It's a compromise, and both of us try to alleviate the stress on the other as much as possible. I schill out hundreds of dollars each year in synthetic hormones designed to get the cat to shut the hell up. The Object, who's no dummy, bought me Feist tickets for the evening after the race. But this whole compromise thing is kind of like asking which you'd rather have - menstrual cramps and hormones for two days a month over the span of forty years, or one sharp, ball-busting kick in the nads. That's the beauty of a healthy relationship - you get both.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Everyone Could Use Some Good Advice

Did anyone else catch this Dear Abby exchange? I think I might know who wrote it.

Dear Abby,

I am a 60-year-old woman who is married to a man who acts like he hates me. In public, he pretends he loves me and talks about how wonderful I am, but in private, he shakes his finger in my face and he constantly tells me how ugly I am without make-up. I've tried everything, including a face-lift, cheek implants, botox treatments, and a chin tuck. I even went on a diet and lost 20 pounds.

He left his job a few years ago after having an affair with a woman in his office. He hasn't even looked for another job; he's just been "volunteering." We haven't slept together since I confronted him about the affair. He denied it, of course, but everybody knew it. It was humiliating. I believe he is still messing around.

While we both want to sell this house, we argue constantly about when to put it on the market. The house we want will be available in a few months. My husband wants to put our house on the market now. I think we should wait a while. He has already started collecting boxes and packing up his stuff. Do you think he is planning to leave me?

Worried in NY

Dear Worried in NY:

I doubt it. He wants to move back into the White House as much as you do.

Tip o' the Goo to IE!

Friday, April 18, 2008

He Chose... Poorly.

I've been asked to pontificate about the Pope.

I currently have some fairly sniffy feelings towards the Pope. Not just for tying up traffic of late, but also for his crackerjack deadly sins for the new millennium. First of all, I don't appreciate sins that can't be summed up with one word and remembered mnemonically through the cast of Gilligan's Island. As for the actual sins themselves, more sniffage. Pah-shaw. Here's the list:

(1) Genetic modification;
(2) Human experimentations;
(3) Polluting the environment;
(4) Social injustice;
(5) Causing poverty;
(6) Financial gluttony; and
(7) Taking drugs

I can tell you, having seen firsthand his motorcade of towncars and massive SUVs rolling around DC with a ba-zillion cops, that the Pope doesn't seem all that worried about his carbon footprint. OK, what's really bothering me is that they used boring motorcades instead of the Popemobile, thus denying me the opportunity to drop the word Popemobile into everyday conversation. I love that word. Still, I don't think the Popemobile runs on biodiesel.

Popemobile Popemobile Popemobile.

And it's bad enough that he focused on drug abuse instead of child abuse1 but "financial gluttony?" This is The Vatican we're talking about. Huge stockpiles of gold? Walls lined with priceless art? Centuries of crusades for land? It's their job to accumulate vast amounts of wealth, and I don't see them selling those Picassos for the poor peoples.

Before you make some comment about historical and cultural endowment blahdy-blah, let me remind you that the Pope's Prada shoes probably cost more than a month of my salary, and that I could probably only afford his outfit if I worked for a year straight and spent money on nothing but that one outfit. And I'm rich by global standards. Mother Theresa did ok without Dolce & Gabbana, but I suppose she was just a woman, so her work for the Lord isn't as quite as special as the boys. Still, didn't Jesus just throw on a burlap sack and some birkenstocks and call it an outfit? I don't remember the part in the Bible where He needed handmade Italian leather moccasins before curing the lepers, but who knows, maybe that's the trick to walking on water? Sigh, with Charlton Heston dead, I suppose we'll never know.

Oh, and what if, one day, this Pope is called upon to find the Holy Grail? Greedy McSinnerchasuble would TOTALLY pick the gold chalice, and then the Catholic Church would be screwed.

Even more disgraceful than the Pope is our charming president, who, after the Pope delivered an address at the White House on Wednesday, expressed his gratitude to the pontiff, "Thank you, Your Holiness. Awesome speech." To which I'm sure the Pope responded, "Dude, my pleasure. Jesus is totally righteous.2"

Benny the XVI and I might be able to find some common ground on soccer. I'm sure he's a big fan- I understand he was quite a supporter of Bundesliga in his native Germany. I imagine that now that he lives in the Vatican, he supports their team3. I could probably get behind the Vatican team- I hear they're great on crosses4.

1. If a 25-minute PR move counted as dealing with child abuse,
Law and Order: SVU would be a much different show.
2. Get it?
3. Owning a soccer team would seem to be another indicator one may have accumulated excess wealth. And depending on the circumstances, also causing social injustice.
4. Get it?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Girls Gone Orderly in Single-File Lines

Large packs of uninhibited females terrify me. I get really nervous whenever I see commercials for those Girls Gone Wild videos. My guy friends tell me the appeal of the videos is that the girls are going to take their clothes off and make out with each other. In my almost 28 years of experience being a female, that rarely, if ever, happens. It's more likely that such a large group of untamed and boozy women will erupt in a fiery explosion of hormones, elbow you in the ribs, make subtly disparaging comments about your body, yank your hair, cut in front of you in the drink line, stop talking to you for no apparently good reason, and then go spread some vicious rumors in an attempt to destroy your life/career/relationship etc.

A intricate pastiche of hormones, societal pressure, and instinct make women a complete enigma, especially to ourselves. I was rudely confronted with the feminine mystique last night at "Girls Night Out," an event wherein I plunked down ten bucks for the privilege of shopping. The shindig was held at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall, which made me feel twinge of national pride - our foremothers fought bravely for my right to overpriced jewelry, shoddy clothes made by children in Cambodia, and fruity cocktails.

Some observations:
  • Women are suckers. Having a "beer pairing" does not make Miller Lite any classier or taste any better.
  • Chocolate holds a mysterious power over women. I forgot my ID. A very scary lady bouncer grabbed me by the wrist and started to yell at me, and furiously beckoned one of the People With Clipboards, which is never a good thing. For a minute, I panicked that I was going spend the evening pilloried in front of the sugary booze stand, but Mr. Clipboard freed me from the clutches of the bouncer and whisked me inside to the right check-in line, kindly assuring me there was no problem. I was still a little edgy about the whole thing and about to bail, but then Mr. Clipboard reappeared with a server bearing chocolates on a silver tray. I'm no chocoholic, but me and my wallet were certainly less apprehensive after that.
  • Fashion isn't necessarily stylish. I had a lot of trouble telling which garments were the next big thing and which garments were the retirement home thing.
  • Women either need to deal with the fact that booze tastes like booze or else forego drinking. No matter how you dress them up or what semi-fancy booze brand you tie them to - Bacardi, Finlandia, etc.- wine coolers are essentially fermented Kool-Aid; the sugar high that accompanies the shitfacedness makes women very sloppy drunks; and most of all, I resent having to deal with a sugar crash and a hangover.
  • Women are pushy. I have bruises today from the jostling and only narrowly avoided imprisonment in a pup tent, forced to try on Judy Jetson's clothing.
  • Women are competitive to a fault. I bought a purse. I need a purse like a need a hole in the head, and I already have seven of those. So why did I buy a purse? Partly because it's cute. But mostly because I didn't want anyone else to get it, least of all the girl in my party who acts like Cher from Clueless.
  • Women are insecure about their bodies. No matter what Dove tries to sell you, it's very difficult to appreciate your looks in today's world - and if you do, other women will resent you for it. Of course, the irony is that on the whole, women are much better looking than men.
  • Project Runway is an illusion that leads to disillusion. Emmett McCarthy from Season Two was there, and he was um, not terribly charismatic. Most people didn't even recognize him. I did. He would like you to know that he is a bigger bitch in life than he is on tv. I would like you to know that his clothes are dowdier in real life than on tv. In all fairness, he is much better looking in real life than on tv.
  • Shopping is truly the tie that binds women. I went with three friends who range in personality from grown-up Daria to Cher (the one from Clueless) I'd expected to see a lot of white twenty-somethings there, but women of all ages, every color, creed, race, and background were there. I'm pretty sure I even saw some Amish women roll up in a horse-drawn carriage.
  • Estrogen smells oddly like Lean Cuisine. Go figure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lifes Little Mysteries, Part Three: Bush Stimulation

Here's a small, so to speak, mystery: I thought the check government is sending me in May is for the good of the economy, but this picture would seem to suggest otherwise.

Ummmmmm, just what, precisely, does George Bush want me to stimulate?
My subconscious hasn't felt this violated since the time I bought the VHS of The Little Mermaid in 4th grade.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lifes Little Mysteries, Part Two: The Crotch Rocket Mafia

Today's mystery concerns the transportation sector. There are any number of transit mysteries: Why is it that no matter what time the number 42 bus picks me up in the morning, I still manage to walk in my office door three minutes late? Why are Jetta drivers the Douchebags of the Road? Did the guys who started Frontier, SkyBus, and the other nascent airlines forced to declare bankruptcy in the past few weeks really think starting a new U.S. airline was a moment of entrepreneurial brilliance, or was it a practical joke that just went too far?

Of course, the greatest transit mystery is that it's 20-aught-eight and no one has figured out the whole teleportation thing. Faced with three hours of driving on I-95 on a Saturday afternoon, nothing sounds more appealing that snapping my fingers and being home. Teleportation is long, long overdue: it's convenient, efficient, sustainable for Mother Earth, and most importantly, it's safe, since it will save us from the Crotch Rocket Mafia.

Last summer, I wrote about one of the most terrifying experiences in my life, namely, being surrounded by a band of lawless crotch rocketeers on I-95. I'd thought it was an isolated incident, but it's happened to me three times in the past month. Perched on ridiculous little Japanese motorbikes and clad in day-glo (p)leather, these gangs of nihilist assholes weave through packed lanes of cars and bully drivers, alternating between 30 and 100 mph just to mess with people's minds. It's not just the reckless, self-absorbed driving of the pricey sportscar/Jetta ilk; the Crotch Rocket Mafia is deliberately trying to intimidate everyone on the road. One of their favorite party tricks is to surround a car and force them to take an exit. I shudder to think what happens to the hapless driver once they're forced off the interstate; kidnapping and human obstacle courses come readily to mind.

I have so many questions about the Crotch Rocket Mafia. How come I never see one of them pulled over? What are the accident and arrest rates for those kinds of bikes? Is this unique to one stretch of I-95, or does this happen in other parts of the country? What would be a good google search to find out more about this specific kind of motorcycle gang? Where do they come from? And most importantly, why?

Motorcycles are ridiculously dangerous vehicles, especially since most drivers have no idea to look for them or how to deal with them, upping the potential for disaster. They're also some grade-A, bona fide F-U-N. I understand the temptation to gun a motorcycle for all it's worth. But do these particular motorbike meatheads realize the full extent to which they're jeopardizing their lives - much more so than other motorcyclists? Sure, there's the whole business about causing life-threatening accidents and killing themselves and innocent people, but they're also making themselves a nifty little target, giving weary travelers a vehicle, so to speak, for their frustration.

Between the semis speeding through the left lanes, exhausted vacationers who think of lane lines as merely a suggestion (not to mention that in many areas, the last batch of lane lines has barely been scraped off, giving the illusion of two sets of lines for one lane), the deplorable condition of the road (not in Delaware, though, see what paying tolls gets ya?), and the lack of any viable motoring alternative, driving on I-95 is a thankless experience. There are a lot of drivers out there whose road rage builds with each trip down that highway; it won't be long until someone decides to strike back, and those little sport bikes are the perfect target.

The Object harbors a fantasy of jerking the car a few inches and clipping them when they barge into his lane, just to gleefully watch the whole lot topple over like dominoes. I wouldn't want to die for such a stupid reason, or worse- sit through the ensuing traffic jam, but I wouldn't mind hearing about it on the news. Teleportation seems a much more obvious answer. If getting home in the time it takes to taze someone delights me, then it downright thrills me that teleportation would deprive the Crotch Rocket Mafia their little toys. In the meantime, plunking down $80 bucks for a hassle-free trip on the train doesn't seem like an unreasonable stopgap alternative.

Nor does retrofitting the car with lasers.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lifes Little Mysteries, Part One: Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down; Just Don't Buckle Me

I haven't written much lately, have I? I suppose I've been too busy contemplating little mysteries, which I'd like to share with you in a multi-part series of undetermined length, possibly one. Or six. Probably not four, though.

In part one, let us examine the Trench Coat Belt Mystery:

Who came up with the custom of tying a trench coat belt buckle instead of using the damn buckle, and are we still supposed to follow this stupid convention despite the fact that no one makes the belt long enough to tie a decent-looking knot?

In 9th grade, my friend Renee broke up with her first boyfriend. As is generally the case with 9th grade love, it was a bitter parting with hard feelings on both sides, and in the aftermath, Renee would pass me notes in English class, waxing poetic on all the ways that Tom (or possibly his name was Larry?) was a special brand of idiot, the likes of which not yet witnessed by god-fearing humans (this was back before the word douchebag was invented). One particular note excoriated his lack of style, "I mean, he wears a trench coat, but he buckles the buckle instead of tying a knot. What kind of ignoramus doesn't know that you're supposed to tie a knot?" I didn't, but this was back in the days before I could admit that I didn't know something, so I responded, "Seriously. You're so much better without such a capital L loser." My dad, who actually did know everything, confirmed the belt-tying convention, "In Europe, no one would take me seriously as a businessman if I buckled the belt. " There's a chance I'm remembering his answer a little more gravely than he actually said it, but he was adamant that the belt be tied, never buckled.

Since then, I've been somewhat loathe to buy a trench coat because of this belt buckle business. But I needed a light coat to wear to work, since my ninja kitty track jacket with star-shaped that I pretend can shoot lasers that I point at people and say "PEW PEW PEW!" doesn't quite project an air of professional competency. Or sanity. And having recently found a trench coat far too cute to pass up, the ugly dilemma faces me every time I button up. The coat looks much better with the buckle tied, and the belt is really just too short. But what if I see Renee (it's been 12 years, but hey, you never know) and she thinks I'm an ignoramus and doesn't want to be my friend anymore?! Or worse yet, what if random passersby on the street judge me before I can judge them?!?! Or what if my dad rises from the dead and disowns me and then eats my brains?
Can the undead even disown people? I mean, we already went through his will and everything, so there's nothing left not to prevent me from getting, right? I suppose that's another mystery for another day. Back to the belt buckles, sorry to slow you down.

It's a pickle, no?

So who came up with this convention? My internet search yields little info, although I did find a cool article about why we call button-up sweater cardigans, cut-in sleeves raglan, et cetera and whatnot. The people I see on the streets of DC are split about 70/30, the majority of them tying their too-short belts in ridiculous knots so that the ends poke out in all kinds of awkward ways - but that's not counting the crazy homeless people wearing trench coats, who seem to put the belt to good use to tie more shit onto their carts, something I hadn't even considered. It seems that the other parts of the coat were also functional at one point - soldiers in the trenches during WWI found the flap at the collar would provide rainproof when the coat was buttoned up all the way, and the epaulets would carry ammunition.

I suppose that my coat, with its lining patterned with pink tulips and preciously pleated skirt, isn't really going to get me mistaken for a soldier in the trenches or even a gun-toting, disgruntled teenager-cum-mass murderer. And while my angst isn't enough to make me want to massacre a gym full of students, it's enough that I probably won't take the coat with me when doing business in Europe. But I really hope Europeans take laser-shooting, star-shaped elbow patches more seriously than buckled belt buckles.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I Wish I Had Indian MTV

Friday, April 04, 2008

Human Salvation Lies in the Hands of the Creatively Maladjusted

Let him rest in peace, but moreover, let his legacy be peace amongst the rest of us.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Z Day Is A-comin'

I'm turning 28 in 28 days, which obviously means that if I can manage to get through today without getting some crazy zombie virus, by the time my birthday rolls around, Cillian Murphy will make out with me. This is the way the world works, n'est pas?

Every year around this time, I am filled with awe and wonder that time keeps passing and I keep getting older, but I never actually feel older on my birthday. It never ceases to amaze me that as each year passes, I get one year older. I just got used to being 27; where the hell did 28 come from? What's next, 29?

While I feel like the actual passage of time doesn't relate to my age, it's the little moments here and there that mark my age and the relative feeling of youth. Last night, I saw a commercial for some concert celebrating the 25 years of George Michaels' career.

25 years.

That means I was about two when he started performing, and I was about ten when people stopped caring about him, and about 18 when people started talking about him again in hushed tones. Now he's trying to get baby boomers suckers (heh, no pun intended) to shell out a thousand bucks to watch him toddle around onstage. For some reason, my disdain for this concert instilled me with a youthful vigor.

Then this morning's Post carried a story on the front page about Keith Richards. I didn't bother reading the text, but judging by the accompanying photos, the story reports Keef's tragic battle after having been been stricken with the zombie virus but somehow bravely manages to keep on kicking. It made me happy for two reasons: again, seeing the decrepitude of a washed-out musician made me feel like I haven't even come close to hitting the prime of my life. And also, if Keef has the zombie virus, that's one less person I have to compete with to make out with Cillian Murphy. And oh, how I want his sex.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'm Not Even Sure It's Wednesday

Oh hello there.

You might remember me; I'm The Goo, sometimes I'm the Rock Ninja, and when I'm feeling particularly full of panache, I've even been known as the Rawk Ninja.

I used to write this blog.

That's before I got taken down in the prime of my March with pneumonia. I'm finally starting to feel better, albeit I still went to bed last night at 8 p.m. and still woke up late at 8:15 this morning. Some stuff has happened in the last few weeks, although none of it is true, since evidently, March decided to finish up while I was sick, and now it's April.

I really did see a dead body, though!

I am not a huge fan of April Fool's Day, having suffered pretty mercilessly at the hands of my five older brothers. I also did not like emerging from my pneu-coon and only to have no idea what is real and what is fake. Evidently, Al Gore has not decided to run as an independent with Michael Bloomberg as his veep as Grist reported. My explosive exclamation of a very, very naughty word at my office was probably somewhat unnecessary. Sadly enough, the BBC has not found flying penguins that will be arriving on your doorstep shortly, nor has a loof lirpa escaped from the National Zoo and munched its way through Cleveland Park. I fell for each of these. I hate this stupid, stupid day.

Interestingly enough, there's a fair amount of news, including the launch of gmail,that people think is a hoax because of the date it's reported. There've actually been some sad instances in which people died, like the unfortunately-monikered April Fool's Tsunami of 1946.

But some of that's kinda sad, so I'll leave you on a happy note - the 100 greatest April Fool's Jokes. My favorite:
San Serriffe image In 1977 the British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement devoted to San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi-colon-shaped islands. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian's phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer's terminology. The success of this hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that gripped the British tabloids in subsequent decades.