The Emperor’s New Clothes

I use the news app on my phone pretty frequently.  I’m aware this isn’t the best way to gather my information, passively.  Having keywords filtered through a surely limited selection of sources mostly dominated by those with the highest revenue generating content appealing to their key demographics, but, there’s no need to be a complete dick all the time so I browse a few big topics that way.  Satiates my desire for information I didn’t acquire through the old senses.  Because of the nature of business that comes even with the business of spreading information, I do have to scroll through quite a few articles about things I have no interest in but also typically am frustrated is covered as often or at all in major news sources.

I am of course talking about penises.  Or a penis, namely Donald Trump’s questionable member.  Not questionable because someone is really asking the question, but because it had become a subject of conversation on televised debates which are typically used to help people determine a candidate’s qualifications to be a presidential candidate.  This has sat in my head for weeks.  References to his hand size come up occasionally as jokes on late night shows, which The Donald assured us were fine and so was his package.  Besides the level of desire I had for any information regarding Mr. Trump and his hanging appendage being somewhere between accidentally sitting on a cactus and having a raging case of herpes manifest inside my dickhole, I found relief in the knowledge that this is no longer going to be an issue.

trump sad

We are at the tail end of a generation that can run for president and not have pictures of themselves basking in the full HD glory of poor lighting and even more poor decision making skills.  This is going to be a good thing though.  Even if someone disregards the inherent value of being able to give a good pull or flick of the bean (depending on genital possession) to the leader of the free world (cause who doesn’t get a little blood flow in the loins when checking out FDR in that classy chair, right?), there’s possibly an even greater value to be gained from all of the forgotten darkened bedroom selfies: there will no longer be a need to hear ridiculous claims that evidence can’t be presented to defend.  I won’t have to be assured that something is tremendous or wonderful without being able to have Google throw me a bone (see what I did there?).

In regards to governance, the flow of information is incredibly important.  Transparency in governing the United States was a important concept to the founding fathers with influential members of that group like Thomas Jefferson saying (in regards to finance): “We might hope to see the finances of the union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them.”  These thoughts did not extend just to the cold numbers that represent the movement of wealth and resources but also to the character of the leaders opening and closing the valves on the pipeline these fiscal waters flow through.  You want to know who has their finger on the button.  Probably why John Adams wrote, “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right … to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the character and conduct of their rulers.”

If there’s anything we will have in the future, it’s access to what kind of character our rulers have.  The full character.  In all of it’s wrinkled, liver-spotted glory.  It’ll probably even come with a publicly shared tax return.  More importantly, it’ll take the guesswork out of politics and we can choose based on what’s most important: genetically imparted traits that cannot be changed and aren’t affected by things like education, empathy, or understanding.  ‘Murica.

trump hair

MTSA: Movie Theater Security Administration

The last time I took the daughter to a movie I forgot to stop at the local dollar-or-less store and buy candy to smuggle inside the pockets of my maybe a little too heavy for the weather hoodie.  This resulted in a payoff to the vendor of overpriced popped corn and liquid buttery sludge that left my wallet lighter than air. As long as I can remember, the prices for concessions at the theater have always been outrageous and it was accepted as the way theaters could make an actual profit because the fees associated with that blockbuster that brought in the customers left only a small percentage of the money made from ticket sales for the theater.  While I have my doubts about that, I wonder why there isn’t more security at the theater checking for food.

POPCORN-POLL-QUESTION-IMAGE

The last time I rode inside a tin can with wings I thought I could sneak through security with an unopened bottle of water in my backpack.  Didn’t work.  The unopened bottle of water got me taken to a separate screening area where every part of my backpack was emptied, searched, and swabbed to ensure it wasn’t coated in some sort of questionable substance.  Seemed to be a bit overkill, but on the plane I had an epiphany.  After I paid for an undersized bag of Chex Mix and a drink I was overcome with the astounding depth of this money making machine.  Airlines, like movie theaters, charge too much for tickets and then charge for bags as well with claims of how profit has to be made but most of the money goes to things like fuel and such…but now the food.  An elaborate security system that makes sure you can’t avoid the prices on their food.  You’re trapped in a box and can’t fulfill basic needs of your body (food and water) without their help – and oh you’re gonna pay for that.  It was genius!!  More and more security as a way to psychologically squeeze your pockets.  Take off your shoes – nope, no food in there.  Belt?  Not made of candy.  Pat down, no pocket canteen, you’re free to board the plane.  This clearly has to be the purpose of these stringent checks, stopping people from packing lunch, because it’s track record on stopping terrorists is so spotless and all, not to mention their 5% success rate at stopping weapons and bombs from being passed through when the Department of Homeland Security decided to conduct a test last year.

LA Mayor Villaraigosa Uses Airport Scanner At LAX
(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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Movie theater employees know you’re sneaking in food.  Even though it supposedly hurts their profit to not sell concessions, they turn a blind eye.  I’m sure it stands to reason there’s probably enough people that have a moral quandary  in regards to playing Han Solo with candy into a private business that can sell you food you don’t want at prices you can’t afford, but think of the increase in profits if you stopped it altogether.  Pat downs and security terminals with shoeless people shuffled from entrance to food service counter.  More jobs, more profit…it may not stop terrorism but it does protect capitalism.

 

Death and Texting

As I’ve gotten older, my reliance on text for communication has increased exponentially.  If not in person, I almost never use my voice for communication.  Sometimes the mere act of listening to someone feels inefficient.  Listen, older people talk slowly.  You can have enough context clues to know what’s about to be said, or maybe it’s just the 400th time you’ve heard that story about Aunt Millie losing her teeth that time she blew Uncle Milt on the haunted hayride (which is what we call any hayride now, RIP Uncle Milt – also, that is a killer story).  Sometimes listening to an older person talk slowly you feel as if they’re staving off death by not getting to the punctuation mark.  There’s Death, standing over Grandpa Joe, scythe glistening in the soft amber hues of the incandescent bulb (old people are slow to change even if it means saving pennies on the electric bill and helping the planet), his hooded cape like midnight on a moonless night flows in a wind that wasn’t present before his arrival.  The mere presence of this unearthly entity seems to suck the oxygen out of the room.  Grandpa Joe, sickly and pale, lies motionless with a look of sorrow on his face a mere shell of the man that once wrestled a pheromone-crazed donkey outside of an entertainment venue to impress a beautiful fluffer that assisted with the show.  Death’s dark visage appears to gaze directly through Grandpa Joe as a raspy, but somehow soothing voice calls to Joe for any last words.  And somehow this is the time Joe wants to be a gambler, “I….would….just…..like….to…..” And he dies.   Death ain’t got time for that shit and neither do I.  So I prefer text.

grim-3744-5616-wallpaper
image from

http://wallpaperus.org/grim-reaper-3744×5616-wallpaper-2269394/

In all seriousness, I text so often with other people that primarily text that we’ve learned to accent all of our communication with symbols to represent missing body language cues or inflection of vocal patterns.  Basically “lol” after everything we say, joke or not, to let the recipient know that we are completely incapable of a statement that doesn’t make us sound like the village idiot.
“Going to work lol”
“just left the gym lol”
“Just butt-banged your mom lol”
etc. etc.
Ok ok, the first two were exaggerations, but the point is the same.  It’s like watching Jimmy Fallon on his early SNL episodes, laughter after every joke told to tell the other person it’s a joke (Note: Jimmy Fallon IS funny – don’t misunderstand).  Really takes the mental aspect out joke telling.  I’m going to consider a career as a stand-up comic where I don’t tell jokes, I just stand up in front of people and laugh until they laugh along.

My grandpa is my older equivalent.  He actually lol’s after things he pronounces verbally.  Yes, he actually laughs after almost every statement even when it’s not a joke.  “Weather has been nice lately” *laughs* “That’s a bright red truck” *laughs* “I went to work today” *laughs* (to be fair, we all usually laugh a little when he says that, my grandpa is a barber and when business is slow you can find him napping in his barber chair – you know, working).

Maybe this new generation isn’t so different after all.  Just a bunch of chuckleheads wandering around laughing at themselves like the little boy that discovers his dingle and can’t keep his hands off of it not matter how hard he beats it, I mean you beat him. (I realize I could have deleted that, it was a joke, dammit.)  Just new incarnations of the same thing.  Life goes on, lol.

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Image from the movie, “Watchmen” (2009)

Ramble ramble, sleep deprivation makes it hard to form these thoughts together in coherent strings.  The whole time I was attempting to transcribe this nonsense all I could think was “in my stupor this morning, did I put on deodorant?”  (Yes, yes I did).

A Busy Bee…Something Something

It stands to be said again, it’s amazing how time flies.  Never enough hours in the day.  Somehow I still manage to not work in the things that I want to do.  Wah wah.  I was just having a conversation with my grandpa who was commenting on the new job I’m starting tomorrow – unloading trucks on the midnight shift – and how hard it would be.  Actually what he said was “I hope they work the hell out of you,”  but point is the same.  I laughed.  “You do realize I go to a special place where I pay people money, money that I earned at another job that required physical labor, to go into a big room and pick up and put down heavy, cumbersome objects, right?  For recreation.”  Maybe conspiracy theorists should look into the sudden boom of fitness trends and their widespread appeal.  Convincing the work horses and mules to stay strong, preparing their backs to shoulder the burden of the death of the middle class resulting in their labor camp style existence while the rich stare down at them from their plush high rise condominiums.

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image from http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

Hell, that whole scenario could potentially be hastened by the election of the Queen Loompa.  Donald Trump looks like the distended underbelly of the hairy mammal that lays the eggs the Oompa Loompas hatch from.  Clearly the hair is the actual animal and the reason he comes across as insane is because we’re hearing the rumblings of a pregnant gut and drawing our own meanings the same way people that play records from The Carpenters backwards claim to hear Satan commanding them to make lots of sandwiches but never eat them, instead giving them to Mama Cass.

“Wherever You May Go” or whatever it is called, by The Calling is going to get a rewrite.
How much wood
coulda woodchuck
chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood…

I’m going to be rich.

 

I’ll Have the Wrap with a Side of Salmonella

I am obsessed with street vendors.   Seemingly the ultimate expression of commercial freedom.  Setup shop right there on the street, every passerby a potential customer because they can browse your wares just by walking to their destination.  For food this is a no-lose situation, right?  Hard to pass up food you can see and, more importantly, smell.  I eat from a street cart at least once a week.  Asian, Greek, American – type of food does not matter.

food cart
image from http://blogs.reed.edu/reedreslife/2013/06/07/portland-on-a-budget-food-carts/

Richmond (where I currently live) has a growing number of homeless citizens asking for money on street corners.  Sadly standing around with cardboard signs, wrapped in far too many layers of clothing for the current weather (though I imagine leaving something lying around is a good way to lose it).  Usually in return for your donation you can get a blessing, a handshake, or at least a thank you which seems fair for the dollar or less that’s typically ending up in their paper cup.  This exchange doesn’t seem to be of enough value to most though.  People are hard pressed to give someone else their hard-earned currency for a mere handshake or blessing.  All I get is well wishes and appreciation for the share of water, food, alcohol, whatever that I contributed to acquiring?  Fuuuuuuuck you, no deal.  Maybe if the homeless were performing they could generate more income.  I pay every month to seemingly unlimited supply of entertainment that I can stream to my senses at a moments notice, but what if I could just access that entertainment at the intersection of two major roadways?  That’s surely worth a dollar.  Even if someone is awful at singing or dancing, the trainwreck is still worth the spectator’s fee.  I can see it now, cardboard boxes cut and stood up for puppet shows which I would guess were mostly sock puppet shows, soap boxes make their big return as impromptu stages for monologues and readings of Shakespeare by olive field jacket wearing bearded veterans of wars they are too young to have participated in.  A massive cultural revolution spurred by the forgotten masses left to starve and freeze, unwelcome in the capitalist society that says pull yourself up by your bootstraps or learn to make soup from them.

homeless_1_485x240
image from https://www.emaze.com/@AIWOORCO/Homeless-Character-Traits

But with this growing homeless-to-entertainer fast track industry, it’s only natural to require more street sustenance.  Is being a street vendor that much different from being homeless?   Somewhere there’s a gypsy camp of food carts and trucks circled around a campfire; clotheslines strung between vehicles hanging the grease stained t-shirts that were recently washed in the nearby creek.  Every morning they shut down the camp leaving only the traces of their mobile lifestyle – loose napkins, plastic silverware, and miles of plastic wrap floating in the breeze.

gypsy camp
image from http://www.ramblingtart.com/2013/07/09/wandering-through-a-medieval-gypsy-camp/

Out to the corners where shop is setup.  Money generated purchases more food to be heated and kept in containers to be handed out to hungry pedestrians by hands with no sinks to be washed in, screens to keep out bugs, or ways to ensure that foods maintain safe temperatures.  Basically, every person willing to exchange their same income for this food are willing to eat the same way a homeless person would – from slightly less than healthy places regardless of what it is as long as it fuels the rat race running.

Every time I eat a box of mystery meat on a bed of plain white rice I think about how few steps it would take to be right alongside my scruffy faced fellow human with a scrap piece of box instead of a nametag, making my money singing and dancing or simply begging for enough to get me back onto that street surviving another day.  We eat the same and breathe the same, but I don’t need his dance or song, soliloquy or prose.  I appreciate his struggle, no pride – just survival.  Thanks for the handshake, brother, hope this helps.

Sylvester and Tweety

Listening to someone talk about the nature of their cats and their unchangeable desire to hunt and kill it occurred to me how incredibly cruel we must seem to animals in a house with multiple types of pets.

I’ve lived in a home shared with (at one point) 2 turtles, several goldfish, 2 cats, 3 dogs, a ferret, and another human being.  So many natural enemies in one home, I mean the two humans alone were dangerous enough to each other (one did eventually kill the other, but very slowly through financial and emotional draining – a sort of fiscal vampire). Surprisingly the animals all managed to get along and not kill each other (except the turtles and goldfish but the goldfish were only there to be eaten by the turtles).  The cats would sometimes fight each other or the dogs, dogs with each other or the cats, but never more than growling and swatting. And like a parent, I’d bark at the kids and order was restored.  Like they were actually human kids.  But they weren’t, they were monsters.

At this point I lived about two blocks from a  7-11 where I regularly walked to grab a soda or snack before work, especially if the weather was nice.  I put the dogs in the backyard which was surrounded by a chain-link fence, shut the latch, said hello to the men that had shown up to do some work on the side of the house (it was a rental, this was pretty common), and hit the road to go to 7-11. When I got back, things seemed normal, dogs waiting at the gate for me, guys working, so I started up the stairs back to my half of the duplex.
“Hey! These your dogs?”
“Uh…yeah.”
“They just killed my mom’s fuckin’ cat!”
“What are you talking about? They’re in my yard.  I see no cat, good sir.” (I speak like I work at Medieval Times in my memory)
“They killed my mom’s fuckin’ cat and you’re gonna come down here and apologize to her.”  I could smell the cholesterol dripping off his breath as he started walking closer.  It may have been seeping out from the sweaty pits he left exposed from underneath his hairy ape-like arms hanging out of his sleeveless denim vest.  Yes, that’s the kind of neighborhood I lived in.
“I must bid the well, good sir, as I must now journey to my place of labour.” (Even spelled it with the ‘u’, classy).
“Do you know who I am, boy?!”
Silence.
This continued for another minute or two until I walked into my house with him still outside.  He eventually drove away or he had an invisible truck because when I changed and came out to go to work he was gone.

As I sauntered down the stairs, most likely imagining exactly how I was going to spend the next eight hours at work avoiding doing any actual work, the guys working on the house called out to me.
“Hey man, forgot to tell you earlier, when you were gone to the store the dogs got out and when they came back they were each holding the end of this cat and pulling at it.  We took it from ’em and threw it under the porch.”
This is one of those moments where a new piece of information suddenly gets inserted into a puzzle in your mind and stops you in your tracks making you reevaluate your previous notions.  Or, more simply, you realize you were an asshole (I did go and apologize).

These dogs were still dogs. Not children. Monsters. Killers.  Beasts.  I loved them the same but their understanding of the world was never going to be human.  Their respect of the other animals in that house, specifically the cats, was based on how they viewed the house in dog terms.  Sure, this means they probably thought of our cats as just other dogs in the pack, part of the house, but what if they didn’t?  Every time I scolded them for nipping at Herman, that fat, fluffy bastard, I was just a bigger dog protecting my food.  Stay the hell away from that cat, he’s mine and I’ll eat him when I’m ready, you little shit. For years, I was growing my food.  Dogs have no sense of time.  When you go to work and leave a dog at home it thinks you’ve been gone for an eternity.  Dogs don’t know how to ration food.  And there I was, keeping a piece of food alive that they couldn’t eat and just letting it wander around and drive them crazy with its fat, tasty body just laying in the sun staying warm all day.  Then I’d come home and pour some sawdust and meat juice pressed into pellet balls into a bowl for them out of the crinkly bag that alerted them to “food products” while I toyed with my food that even seemed to have a name.  For years.  What a dick.  Why did these animals listen to me?

It has to be worse in a house with cats and birds or cats and fish.  There’s Tweety, just hanging out in the cage, singing his lonely little heart out day after day.  Oh, what life must be like when you have skies to roam in, trees to perch in, nests to make.  Day in, day out, the time passes so regularly.  Some days seem shorter, the blanket seems to drop onto the cage a little earlier, some a little later.  One day, sweet Lord, freedom will come.
Sylvester watches, drooling feverishly as the lonely song sends a tingling sensation starting in the ears and moving into his soul.  Beautiful song to begin a dinner.  As Sylvester creeps slyly around the wall the way a shadow moves and stretches with the changing of the daylight, ever closer to his prey, in comes the sadistic old woman with her stick that fans out at the end which she uses as discipline for the mistake of attempting to eat the meal she has suspended in the cage.  Since a mere kitten this routine has repeated daily, punished for hunger and then held and cuddled.  The mind games.  I’m pretty positive that would almost count as psychological abuse.

tweetysandwich44p4

And then we NEVER eat them!  When one of these animals watches the other die then we just bury it in the ground or flush it down the toilet we must seem insane.  Perfectly good rotting meat and there we are just tossing it into a hole for no one to enjoy.  Wow, jerks.  It has to be a lot like it feels if you moved from a place where you watched people starve to death and you catch your first glimpse of The Food Network.  Or you see a trashcan outside of any restaurant in America.  You know, it’s gotta be appetizing…I mean appalling…appalling.  Yeah…that’s it.

I’m so hungry.

Trash Mouth

Sometimes I take for granted how much we accept certain things as part of society without ever really thinking about them.  Even things as simple as the way we say hello are practiced traditions…but never mind those kinds of boring things, we’re talking sex type stuff here. I met a woman tonight that through the course of conversation revealed that she doesn’t believe in sharing food.  This, of course, is not really unusual.  Lots of people don’t share food and for a variety of reasons.  I don’t typically share off of my own plate, not because of any phobia or anything of that nature, it’s just that I put the food on my plate that I want to eat and I have every intention of doing just that (dammit, I’m hungry). This woman didn’t believe in sharing food because she didn’t want anyone else’s saliva in her mouth.  That too shouldn’t ring any bells on its own, but it quickly ran the natural course that it must: “I don’t kiss no one, that shit is nasty.”

This was not a teenager.  This was a fully grown, adult sized person that had managed to live a full life, have a child, etc. but did not believe in kissing because they did not want to share saliva or germs with someone even if they loved that person…but she would blow a dude for fun.  WHAAAAaaaaaat?!  Mouth – nasty; sweaty dick and balls – awesome.  I know what you’re thinking: why question this logic?  This sounds like a career oriented professional that knows which end the money comes out of and what kind of person would I be to sway a person from their chosen endeavors?  A shitty one, that’s what kind.  But my mind couldn’t let this go for two reasons.  The first reason is the simple one; who doesn’t kiss?  I’ve known some people that were never really into full-on dog loose in the litter box style making out, but they still kissed their spouse or children, I’ve never seen anyone turn it down on principle but still choose to take a mouth full trouser snake in underwear sauce.  But then I really pondered it for a bit.  The human mouth contains anywhere from 500-1000 different types of bacteria.  Many diseases are saliva borne (mono, strep, herpes, etc.).  Maybe it wasn’t so unusual.  I mean, let’s consider our mouths are a constant high traffic area both inhaling and exhaling the air and every chemical floating around, as well as being the grinder portion of our human “food to shit” processing system.  This gives way to all kinds of new gross things that could be lurking behind every tooth, waiting to jump out and make its way on that pulsing pink muscle attached to our lower mandible into our mouths and infect us with its bacterial or viral neutron bomb of doom.  And in that same thought process, our genitals are fairly sheltered from the outside world.  The majority of their exposure to the elements outside of our body is being housed in some protective cotton, only subject to the occasional sulfur wind that’s been known to blow from the south and some ocean spray from beneath the surface.   Maybe it is cleaner after all.

Staggering.  The thought kind of spun me for a minute – until I realized that’s ridiculous cause most of our food is at some level just as gross.  Besides, I’ve seen people do far more disgusting things than kiss.  But the second reason I couldn’t let it go was that I couldn’t stop imagining trying to replace this kiss with some other sort of act that follows this kind of thinking.  Imagine a blowjob in place of every kiss.  Goodbye blowjobs?  Awesome.  Might be awkward to say “hello” in places like Italy. Goodnight blowjobs.  I think this paragraph has taken me longer to type than any I’ve ever attempted – that’s how long I played this scenario out in my mind.

It’s pretty amazing to me that we do just accept kissing with our filthy mouths as acceptable, but just consider the alternative.  Floppy dong sweat in your mouth just to tell someone you care. For the love of God, people, just no.  Kiss.