I'm feeling all self righteous tonight because I did my taxes a whole month before they are even due. Combined with the fact that I spent the weekend reorganizing several bookcases, cupboards, pantries, dressers and closets, end result is that I'm quite pleased with myself right now. (Note that I started to write this back in March, hence the reference to tax season.)
Feeling slightly superior to others is nothing new for me, however undeserved it may be. This all reminds me of the time I decided my young cousins needed to hear a few Old Testament Bible stories and that I was just the boy to take care of it for them.
My parents weren't big on church or religion, although they did require that all their children undergo the standard amount of indoctrination. The trouble for me is that by the time I was old enough for Sunday school we were living next door to the pastor of a fairly fundamentalist-style Lutheran church, and so in order not to be all snobbish or anything, it was his church we ended up attending.
My parents didn't attend Sunday school with me so they had no idea that I was not receiving the usual lessons and sermons on the spiritual benefits of tuna-noodle hot dish and church basement suppers. Instead, I was spending my early Sunday mornings learning all about the various behaviors that would get you sent to Hell ---with the occasional lesson on fearing black people thrown in for good measure. It was all just delightful.
I was quite impressed with all the fantastical Bible stories our teacher told us - all the more so because, according to everyone around me, it all "really happened!" God appeared to Moses as a burning bush and then parted the Red Sea so they could cross it! God told Noah to build an Ark and then had him bring two of every animal aboard! A snake told Eve to eat that damn apple which was the start of all our problems!
At one point I received a plastic "Noah's Ark" set with the Ark, two of a bunch of your standard animals, and a plastic figurine of Noah. It was with this Ark that I attempted to indoctrinate my cousins.
One Sunday they were over at our house for dinner, so I brought them up to my room, set up the Ark set and then told them the story of how God appeared to Noah, told him to build a huge boat, made him gather up all these animals and then flooded the whole Earth, killing everyone but Noah, his family and the animals.
The best part is that after every fantastical moment of the story I would stop and say "Ok, now you believe it, right?" They would nod their heads and I would move on. I had to stop and spot check this because I knew that if they did NOT believe the story, they would burn in hell and then I would have no one to play with in Heaven.
I look back on this story today and laugh now. But when I take a step back and look at this stuff in the big picture, I find it remarkable how fucked up it is.
It's really a good thing I'm not a violent person because if I were, the amount of anger I am feeling right now could rear its ugly head and cause me to bitch slap a few Mormons.
I really shouldn't be surprised. It was only a matter of time before the leaders of this tax-exempt institution would launch their attack on gays and lesbians for daring to pretend they could ever achieve equal rights in California by ****gasp**** getting married!
I guess any work the Mormons might be involved in to feed the hungry or help the poor must be put aside until the sodomites are stopped in their tracks! Church leaders are telling their fold to donate "time and means" to ensure that gays and lesbians remain second class citizens in California.
We recently traveled to Bangladesh to sit down for another pretend-interview with blogger legend Lulu.
CP: So Lulu, how are you enjoying your fabulous ex-pat life?
Lulu: Why don't you read my blog and find out for yourself?
CP: Touchy touchy! But FYI, I do check in with you practically every day, not only because you are entertaining and are doing interesting things with your life, but also because I never know when the next monsoon or whatever other natural disaster is about to hit.
Lulu: I'm very impressed. But do you think my blog is going to inform you that I've been swept out into the Indian Ocean?
CP: Good point. But anyway, my Gentle Readers can click over to your blog if they want to read about Bangladesh. Today we're going to talk about more of our personal history.
Lulu: Imagine that. Well it's not like I have a choice anyway since you're the only one writing this.
CP: Once again, you are correct. In fact, why stop at pretending to interact with bloggers? Maybe I'll get a fake boyfriend I can pretend to have sex with while I'm at it. Or a fake job.
Lulu: You already have one of those.
CP: Very funny.
Lulu: So can we get to the story here? My driver's waiting. And why is it only me you do these fake interviews with? You label these posts "Pretend Interviews with Bloggers," not "Pretend Interviews with Lulu."
CP: Well, forgive me for making you the center of attention. Not much of a princess, are we?
Lulu: On second thought, carry on CP!
CP: Thank you. So I thought it would be fun if we relived the night you came out to my parents' house in that annoying Chicago suburb when we had dinner that time.
Lulu: Oh yes, that was a great night. What came first, the pot or the champagne?
CP: Who knows. Probably the pot, or else we wouldn't have gotten so involved trying to decipher the graphical instructions on the champagne bottle.
Lulu: You mean the picture of the guy pointing the cork side of the bottle right at his face, with the word NO printed in bold letters?
CP: That's the one! And don't forget the other picture of the lady with the bottle pointed AWAY from her, with the word YES.
Lulu: That was quite fun. We both kept grabbing the bottle to point and unpoint it while saying "NO, YES, NO YES...."
CP: See what I mean about the pot?
Lulu: Yes and no. I mean, I had to have been high to sit and do something that stupid for an extended period. You on the other hand....
CP: That's quite enough Lu.
Lulu: And when you went to look for the pot you started in on this stupid voice where you were pretending to be a suburban housewife looking for her drugs. You kept saying "Honey, where did you put the pot paraphernalia? The kids will be home soon. Honey?"
CP: I know, I'm really funny sometimes.
Lulu: Hilarious. Can I go now?
CP: Well wait a second. Isn't that also the night you first met my dad?
Lulu: Oh yes it was. He and your mom came home from a party and your dad decided I needed to hear some dirty joke involving a camel and a French tickler. Your mom was screaming and would not let him finish the story.
CP: Did you want to know how it ended?
Lulu: Um, no thanks.
CP: Well thanks again for pretending to answer our questions here at CPW, Lu. See you in July!
Although the 3jesus97 lady and I have become friends, she still alarms me on occasion. The other day we were talking about some of the trials and tribulations we face on the job along with our worries about the economy. "Be sure and vote for Obama," I told her. "He has the best chance to help us out of this mess."
"Oh, I haven't decided who I'm voting for yet," she replied. "I'll consider Obama but I would never have considered Hillary."
"You don't like her?" I asked.
"Well, no, but it's not really that. I just don't ever want a woman as President."
"Excuse me?" I was flabbergasted that she would say this.
"You heard me, Tom. I don't EVER want a woman in the White House. Women are crazy! We need a man running the country."
Now remember that Sandra is from Oklahoma, but still. She's a successful Strategic Sales Executive, like me, and on top of that she is a single mom. She is a woman and she seems to be doing just fine. I reminded her of this.
"Oh believe me, I know I'm going against my own gender, but I'm a woman and I know women. And we're all crazy. Women are too vindictive. They hold grudges. That will not work in situations involving international diplomacy. Men can stab each other in the back all right, but they'll still go out hunting and drinking together afterward and it will all be just fine. A woman would NEVER go out and socialize with people she hates."
All I could think was that Sandra's mother must have been some bitch.
I think Sandra is sick in the head and I told her as much. She agrees, but still.
I can't believe I have not told this story yet because it is a classic.
We moved to a new town at Christmastime the year that I was in kindergarten, so I had to change schools. I had walked to and from my first school, but my new school was farther away so I was going to have to take the bus.
The school bus! I was VERY excited. I could hardly talk about anything else for several weeks. My whole family talked about it too, and I distinctly remember my dad describing how I was supposed to stand there and wait for the bus to slow down. He made these big hand gestures above his head to describe the alternate flashing red lights that would go off when the driver opened the door, which would be my signal to board the bus. (Apparently he thought the door opening up would not be a sufficiently clear signal for me.)
In any event, I felt well prepared and walked confidently down the street to the bus stop with my mom on the first day of school in January. I got very excited when the big yellow bus approached and did the whole alternate-flashing-light thing my dad had talked about. When the door opened I stepped on, sat down in one of the seats and waved to my mom out the window.
"I'll see you when you get home!" she called out as she waved back.
I was finally a big boy, and more than slightly pleased with myself.
Riding the bus was fun, and I enjoyed looking at all the houses and other things out the window during the 15 minute ride to school. But as we reached the grounds of the school and the bus pulled into the parking lot, I came to a startling realization: I had NO idea what to do now that we had arrived. I had received hour upon hour of instruction on how to wait for, board and ride the bus, but no one bothered to tell me what was supposed to happen when I actually arrived at school.
I suppose my parents figured the school would take it from there and guide me along. And they probably would have been right, if they had been putting me on the bus on the first day of school in September when all the kids were new. But they seemed to have forgotten that I was going to be alone in a crowd of kids who all knew what they were doing. They neglected to acknowledge to themselves or to me that I alone would be the clueless one, a phenomenon which would unfortunately repeat itself many times throughout the course of my life.
Although I was borderline retarded, I was no dummy and knew enough to draw upon whatever resources that might be readily available. And at that moment the other available resources happened to be the other kids on the bus.
Not being particularly astute verbally, I didn't even consider asking someone what the fuck I was supposed to do next. Instead, I decided it would be easiest to choose one kid to observe and follow along with whatever he did. I chose a kid not unlike myself: taller, thin and with short brown hair. Seemed like a good enough plan.
My new friend (who didn't know he was my friend) stepped down off the bus and I followed closely behind. He walked slowly across the playground, past small groups of kids who were playing and/or talking before school. He didn't stop to talk to anyone but simply meandered, making large circles around a jungle gym, swing set and other playground equipment. I shadowed him carefully, not wanting to miss my cue.
Eventually my friend approached the door of the school building and went inside, and I followed about five paces behind. He walked slowly down a hallway lined with blue lockers but which was otherwise empty. About halfway down the hall he stopped and turned to face one the of the lockers. I did the same.
My friend leaned forward, resting his forehead on one of the lockers --- and began to cry. Not loud sobbing, but a kind of wide-open mouth silent crying with a long string of drool descending down from his lower lip. I didn't cry, but I did remain standing with my head against the locker, wondering what this morning ritual was all about.
I didn't know it at that exact moment, but the kid I had chosen to follow was the only other new kid, who apparently had a very different way of coping with an unfamiliar situation. I still thought my method was superior, although it had backfired in this particular instance.
A teacher eventually came and rescued us, delivering us to our respective classrooms. I'm not sure if my parents ever received a call from the principal's office or child protective services to inquire what the hell they thought they were doing, just sending me off with no guidance or instruction like that. But they should have.
Of course my mom denies the entire story to this day, which is fine. I'm sure that you, my Gentle Readers can discern the truth.
Around what year did kids start using the word like as an all purpose filler and modifier? These things tend to be very generational, although like seems to span quite a few of them. I was struck by this one day when I was conversing with two sixty-something Norwegians who have been living here since the 1960s - they both say it all the time which is normally unusual for people their age.
Personally I like like and still use it all the time, even though I know it's improper and a bad habit. Like is like crack to me. It delivers certain connotations that are not easy to express or would otherwise seem awkward when delivered verbally, especially for the young or mildly retarded like me.
As an example, when I was a kid I usually lived in places that were about 99% white. The most common minority you would run across would be the occasional Asian kid in school.
Back in the early 70s no one said "Asian." Maybe sometimes people would say "Oriental" to describe a person, which we know today is incorrect; but the usual way to refer to an Asian kid in school (if you didn't know him or her) was simply to say "I don't know, he's like Chinese or something."
Like Chinese or something. See how easily that flows? Now if someone had corrected us and said "you will refer to this child as the Asian kid" I'm sure we would have listened. But no one took the time.
Like is also a convenient mechanism for describing a person's attitude or demeanor. Instead of saying "mother appeared to be in a bad mood and may possibly have been intoxicated" you can just say "she was like screaming at Dad and getting cigarette ash marks all over the wall."
Like often takes the additional modifier just when used in such situations. "I went to my boss's office to hand in my expense reports and he was just like 'these are over a month late. I can't approve these.' I told him I'd been busy with the Viacom deal and he was just like 'get the fuck out of my office.'"
Isn't that much more descriptive than saying "My boss was upset that my expense reports were over a month late. When I tried to explain that I had been preoccupied with the Viacom deal he indicated it was not a convenient time to talk"?
At some point about ten years ago the Generation Y kids starting replacing like with all. It took me a while to catch on to what was happening, and caused more than few confusing moments for me.
I had struck up a friendship with a receptionist named Tina in my office in L.A. and we started hanging out a lot. She was a bit of a wild child, and very pretty, therefore making her great to bring to gay bars with me because she would attract a lot of guys. The first time we went to Rage for happy hour we walked in and this guy immediately turned to her and said "wait boys, hold on, let her pass, let her through. This girl is REAL!" Then he and his friends started buying her drinks while ignoring me like the plague. It was great.
One time I pulled into a gas station so that she could run in to buy cigarettes. When she came back to the car she said "the guy behind the counter totally hit on me. He asked for my phone number."
"Oh," I said. "Was he cute? What did he look like?'
"I don't know," she replied. "He was all Persian or something."
He was all Persian or something. It sounded like he had a disease or a physical deformity. She could have said "he was all pock marked or something" and it would have had the same effect.
"You don't like Middle Eastern men?"
"No, I didn't say that. He was actually kind of cute. I gave him my number."
"Then why did you say 'he was all Persian or something?' It sounded like you were grossed out by it."
"No, he just had dark skin and dark hair, like he's from Iran or someplace like that."
Then I figured it out. What she really meant to say was "He was like Persian or something." That would have made total sense to me. All was the new like.
Ah, to get old.
I really should have been a linguistics major. Because this shit fascinates me. Too bad it was not offered at the college I attended.
These are Dale's ninja things. They used to be his avatar. Who came up with the word "avatar" anyway? It's pretty stupid.
Today we continue down CP's blog roll, which consists of more than 40 blogs although we are still referring to this feature as "The CP Top 40."
Passion of the Dale I'm really glad Dale ended up top 'o the list today because he was one of the few who didn't complain when he moved down the blog roll when we went alphabetical. I offered to change his blog name to just "Dale" to give him a higher position but he declined my request. May have been a trademark issue but I suspect it was more his sense that living on my blog roll holds no prestige at all and was therefore not worth the trouble complaining about. Nevertheless, I'm certain almost everyone who reads this blog also reads POTD, so there isn't much I can tell you that you don't already know. He's hilarious, although every now and again he gets all serious which upsets me a fair amount. Check him out if you haven't already, but don't harass him please. Or if you do, don't tell him I sent you.
The Pop Eye I kind of resent giving Beckeye an extra link since she's too damn popular already, and I'm the type who resents his friends' successes. Just kidding, I want my friends to be successful as long as they share. Beckeye is one of the few bloggers in my circle who has a consistent theme and doesn't just spout verbal diarrhea like the rest of us. She writes about Pop Culture (The Pop Eye, get it?) And she's pretty damn funny while doing it. In fact the few times I missed American Idol this year I just clicked over to her to see what was what. And her recaps were pretty reliable, save for the bizarre fascination with Michael Johns.
Princess Mombi'sFriendatorium Princess Mombi has a cute blog where, among other things, she waxes nostalgic about New Kids on the Block. She was also featured on Rachael Ray's show when they did a spot about her high school reunion. I realized I'm a heck of a lot older than her, too. But I like how she links to me as part of her "Merry Misfits" category. Touche!
Prone to Whimsy A fine writer, Flannery discusses general subjects in such a way that keeps me clicking back often. She and her husband (see below) will soon be hosting BlogOhio Jamboree, so you should check her out and visit them if you are nearby. As with Dale, just don't tell them I sent you if you plan to behave poorly. Flan and I will also soon be meeting live and in person in NYC! So she'll be one more blogger who can tell you what a bore I am in person. (post script: Blog Ohio Jamboree has already happened; I wrote this post before the date.)
Rants Raves Life and Anything Else That Comes Not to be confused with an 18th century street urchin, the Artful Dodger of this blog is a newcomer to the CPW family of stalkees. He just got married so there is quite a lot of pre-wedding anxiety blogging. He has a serious issue with putting cheese on hamburgers which makes me wonder if we could ever really be friends.
Social Zymurgy: The Culture of Beer Thanks to Doc teaching me the word "zymurgy" I was able to finish a Friday Times crossword puzzle, which is quite an accomplishment. Doc is married to Flannery and is quite the fine storyteller - click on over if you haven't already. Occasionally he and Flannery work out their marital issues on their respective blogs, such as a recent point-counterpoint on the relative badness of five movies he's made her watch over the years. Might I note that neither one of them mentioned that Caligula is basically a porno? Money shots and everything. Unless those are illegal in Ohio or something.
Some Guy's Blog Another blogger I've met in the flesh, Some Guy (aka Chris) provides biting political commentary and toilet humor almost once a day, or possibly about as often as the average human experiences a bowel movement. (Just hypothesizing here.) Chris is a real life friend of blogger legend Grant Miller, but has developed a more than loyal following of his own. I like him too for many reasons, especially for his willingness to help me torment the Mormons.
I, Splotchy Splotchy is a noted blogger of diverse interests, interests so diverse that it takes several blogs just to address them all. Let it be noted that I did participate in his popular adopt an actor project and posted about my adoption. I had problems getting her to stay on my sidebar which is why poor Kim Walker is hidden in my archives. I only have so much patience for screwing around with computer settings before I give up and start drinking heavily. I think my problem had something to do with her photo being too big. If anyone can assist, please get in touch in the comments or on email.
A Sunny Thought Kim's blog is a fun mixture of musings about her everyday life and other things. If you have a cold hard mind, check her out to help yourself warm your thoughts.
Tanya Espanya Yet another blogger who knows I really exist in the flesh. Tanya is funny, and simply crushes our greater blogger circle with her unwavering love. She inhabits a particular place of honor at CPW, being one of the few bloggers who has actually met Mama Gin. Tanya Espanya is also good for a nice family drama every now and again, just to keep us sufficiently entertained.
Tune in soon for the conclusion (for now) of CP's Top 40!
I am Coaster Punchman and you have just entered my world. I rule it with an iron fist, so if you're looking for First Amendment protection, you will not find it here. I have a now deceased crazy Chinese mother-in-law, and sometimes I wear Crocs around the house. I don't like flip-flops or Mormons. I'm also a cyberstalker by trade -- so I could look up all sorts of random shit about you if I wanted, but I probably won't because I'm pretty lazy.