Dienstag, 22. Dezember 2009

Why Does Everyone Hate Christmas?

I know, I know, I know. It's the forced jollyness. And it's the sick consumerism, the overwhelming loneliness of people who are far from their families, the ever present, maddening whine of Christmas tunes played over crappy speakers, it's the props in the windows and the fake snow. It's the glitter. It's the tacky electronic Rudolphs, and tripping over the stupid extension cords that dangle out the backsides of said Rudolphs. It's the crazies of all stripes who crawl out of their hovels every year, like so many disgruntled little elves, muttering about the alleged War on Christmas, or rioting about nativity scenes at the local shopping center, or yelping about how Santa was invented by Coca-Cola (which, by the way, totally not true.) So-I know, I know, I know.

But you know what? I fucking love Christmas. And not just because Jesus was born, although that's a big deal at our house. But it isn't just that. I LOVE that at Christmas, if at no other time, you see all your relatives and play stupid board games. I love that otherwise perfectly respectable people walk around with Santa-shaped brooches, and reindeer horns, and ugly sweaters that have glitter and lights and fuzzy red bobbles.

I love that all of a sudden, red and green look GREAT together, and even better with a string of lights! And maybe some tinsel! And definitely some pine cones! Ooh and also gold stars! OH and what about little paper angels? Yes! Yes! Yes! Here in Austria, I love that for a whole month everyone you see gives you homemade cookies and chocolate filled with tongue-curlingly sweet liqueur. I love that everyone is pretty much drunk for the whole of December, sipping steaming mulled wine and frighteningly strong punch while they stand in the snow.

In the United States, the pleasures are more absurd. People decorate, inside and out (and my family's home is no different). You should see the suburbs. It seems like, once a year, some kind of merry Christmas Godzilla has a little too much christmas cheer and then vomits across the whole neighborhood.

Up come string lights, snowmen and four foot candy canes. Cheerzilla stops, says "Ungh," and takes a wobbly step toward the North Pole...only to wheel around and puke again: plastic reindeer! Shiny red sleds! Cornhusk wise men! Hand-painted nutcrackers! Shivering, Merryzilla wipes the last few sleigh bells and gilded pine cones from his trembling lips, swears "never again" and crawls home to put a cool washcloth on his forehead and wait for next December.

It's awesome and I love it. Even if Coke DID invent Santa Claus (which they didn't, you stupid motherfuckers. Go get a job. So that you have money. To buy things. Like candy canes. Then your kids will love you. You ASSHOLE. Merry Christmas.)

Sonntag, 13. Dezember 2009

No Carrot Left Behind. Yeah, I Went There.

Someone better come over and give me a hug, because I just cleaned out the fridge and it was effing terrifying. As usual, I've now promised myself that from now the refrigerator will always be spotless, because now that it's clean I can pretend I'm the type of person who has a clean fridge.

Yeah. From now on, I'm going to throw away leftover coconut curry before it is disguised by a half inch layer of green spores. I'm going to dispose of half-empty containers before the sour cream has separated into its component parts that host apparently competing strains of life. I pledge that no colony of fungus will again be allowed to grow so lushly that it overspills its foil-covered plate. I promise that I will not permit alleged unperishables such as olives to be opened and then sit unused in their glass jars for so long that they half-dissolve in the darkening brine. I swear that never again, no not on my watch, shall any carrot -- not one carrot -- ever again be left in such a state of sorry neglect.

This is all a load of crap, of course. My careful policies are ruined by gross mismanagement and a lack of political will at a community level. In two months, when the guilt and the stench become unbearable and its time to boil the fridge again, I can be sure that I will find at least one carrot that was left behind.

But no matter far I backslide, I'm still never buying anchovies again, because wow.

Montag, 30. November 2009

Stupidity is Circular, Like Time and Circles

At the phone store...

ME: "I need a phone charger please. For that phone."
[I point at a display case.]
HE: "Ah. Let me see... No, we don't carry a charger for that phone."
ME: "But I bought the phone in this shop."
HE: "Yes. It's a very good phone."
ME: "I see."
HE: "You like it?"
ME: "I can't turn it on. I need a charger. Mine broke."
HE: "But the charger is unusual. It has a micro USB port."
[I listen politely.]
HE: "We don't have the charger, but we have this MLine universal travel charger, and one of the attachments will fit in your phone. You can use this."

[I am grumpy.]
ME: "Yeah, but that charger doesn't work. I bought it before, and it fell apart. Plus it's expensive, and I don't need 16 extra attachments for phones I don't have."
HE: "Oh." [A beat.] "Well, I'll need the original receipt if you want to replace it."
ME: "Thanks. I don't have the receipt. I don't want to replace it. I just need a new charger."
HE: "Well...we have this MLine universal travel charger."
ME: "Which doesn't work."
HE: "It does work. Just not very well."
[He looks sad. I contemplate filching his stupid name badge and poking both of us with it until this conversation goes away.]
HE: "*Sigh*. Their products really aren't very good."

ME: "Sorry, what?" [I pretend to be listening through an ear horn. Like a jackass.]
HE: "What do you want me to say?"
ME: "Uh, if their products suck, then why do you keep buying them?"
HE: "They might have the charger you need at Niedermeyer."
ME: "That's miles away. Why don't you sell it here, where I bought the fucking phone? Don't you think that would make sense?"
HE: "We have this MLine universal travel charger."
ME: "Right. Thanks. This is stupid."

Several hours later, at Niedermeyer

ME: "Hi! I need a phone charger."
GUY: "What kind?"
ME: "Um."
[This is where karma comes round and kicks my butt. Uh oh.]
ME: "Uh. For a Nokia. A flat, black Nokia."
GUY: "Really."
ME: "Er. It takes a mini USB."
[She said, confidently.]
GUY: "Sure! Right over here."
"No, wait, that doesn't look right."
GUY: "But you said mini USB.
ME: "Yeah..."
GUY: "Where's your phone? Let's try it out."

ME: "I don't have my phone with me."
GUY: "Oh. I see. That makes sense."
[I wonder if he wants to poke me with his badge until this conversation goes away.]
ME: "Well, the other guy said mini USB. Or tiny USB. Or something. A teensy-weensy USB."
[She said. Confidently.]
GUY: "Do you mean a micro USB?"
ME: "Tiny USB."
GUY: "It's smaller, and flatter."
ME: "Oo, maybe. Can I see that?"
GUY: "Sure!" [We walk to a rack. He hands me another charger.]
ME: "This doesn't look right."
GUY: "Listen. There are mini USBs and micro USBS. And nothing else."
ME: "Yeah, but they both look funny."
GUY: "Do they."
[Yeah. They kinda do.]
ME: "Sorry."
[At this point, I'm pretty much prepared to inconvenience everyone and their mom to get a phone charger.]
ME: "Can you look it up online?"
[He blinks slowly. He's calling me names in his head, I can tell.]
"SURE. Which phone did you say you have?"
[His voice has a certain sour edge.]
ME: "It's flat. And black. Oh and it starts with a six. Six...five... something?"
GUY: "I will fucking shank you." (p.s. he never said that.)
[Five minutes later, after scrolling through pictures of Nokia cell phones on Google.]
GUY: "Got it. Your phone takes a micro USB."
ME: "Right. Which one is that again?"
GUY: "The one you're holding."
ME: "But this one looks funny. And it's from MLine."
ME: "Oh. Do you have one that isn't from MLine?"
GUY: "NO."
[Gosh, why is he so touchy?]
ME: "Oh. Okay. I guess I'll have this, then."

P.S. The charger from MLine works great. Way to go, MLine. But don't think I'm going to forget the travesty of your stupid universal travel charger. I mean, really.

Freitag, 27. November 2009

Help, the Internet Is Slurping Up My Soul

The Internet is kind of like those machines for making slurpees that you see in drug stores. You know, those clear plastic boxes with the rotating cylinder that keep the slush frozen but not solid. The web is an ever-revolving slurry of brightly colored garbage that is kind of satisfying, but mostly it rots your guts and costs four dollars and gives you brain freeze if you get greedy. Flavored nonsense goes in, frozen nonsense comes out.

Not here, of course.

I was pleading with my coworker. "Help me. Tell me a word. Any word. Or a phrase. To write about," I begged, because apparently I have no mind of my own. (And I love her.) "Okay! Any word? And you have to write about it?" she asks.

I sense she has some devilish suggestion in mind. Like thermodynamics or penis or Robert Pattison. Except I wasn't thinking of thermodynamics or Robert Pattison at the time. "You can't use cock," I tell her, smugly. She arches an eyebrow, which she's really good at. "Or and. Or the," I hasten to add. "Those totally don't count." She just stares at me. "Idiot," she says.

And then she says, "Oh I know, let's ask mystery google."If you don't know, and I didn't, http://www.mysterygoogle.com/ is a site that looks just like Google, but the schtick is that once you type in your query and hit enter, the site cunningly gives you the search results for the last thing that was searched. Hilarity presumably ensues forthwith.

So Peaches and I typed in some crap or another, and this is what we got (I blacked out the number):

...Yeah, exactly. Ahaha.

Nonetheless, in the interest of journalistic seriousness, I accepted the mission. Plus, Peaches made me. I got on skype and texted: "Hi! I'm gay! Well, not really, but google told me to tell you, so that's what I'm doing, you infant. If you get this, tell me. I'd be totally excited." And I gave my email address.

Strangely, that was ages ago and I still haven't gotten anything back. What the hell? You go out of your way to accomplish a Mystery Google mission, and no one even cares enough to send you an amusing ending to your story. Typical.

To be fair, maybe the person that put this mission online added his best friend's phone number, because that's like, totally hilarious. Or his worst enemy's phone number, or his stepmom's phone number. Because actually, oh shit, its probably some kid. If his mom got it (am I wrong to assume the writer is a pimply adolescent boy?), I hope she put two and two together and yelled at him, which he totally deserves, since he didn't bother to send me a thank you note after I went to the trouble of doing his stupid mission. On the other hand, when she asked about it he probably did the right thing and blamed it on someone he hates.

Although actually, it was probably his best friend, who totally has a crush on his bb's MILF. Because the perp is probably in, like, the eighth grade. Where the sprout of sexuality has not yet seen the sun but it's germinating like a wild beast anyway, cheerily exploding tendril after tendril into wrong, dark places, and you end up doing bizarre things like thinking it would be totally hysterical if your friend's hot mom got a text from someone who's (*snort*) gay! Haha. Little perv. Yeah. That totally explains why I haven't got any email. Um. Because I sound like a freak who's sending sick texts to some zitty adolescent.

the kid really did send his own phone number, and is just too lazy to write an email. Or he's pissed that I called him an "infant," although really, only a total infant would be pissed about that.

Or, come to think of it, maybe the mission came from some pathetic loser in her mid-twenties who hopes that soliciting such a text on Mystery Google is so tragically lame that it's awesome again, and will make for a sort of meta-cool story and she'll write about it and it'll be totally fabulous and everyone will be like, ooh, you're so meta-cool. Stupid bitch.

Mittwoch, 18. November 2009

It's Amazing I'm Not Dead Yet

I fidget.

I can't sit still for two minutes unless I'm drunk or terribly ill. And even then I twitch my feet under the blankets and look around every five seconds like a driver checking his mirrors.

I'm a klutz, with all the natural grace of a newborn rhino. I can't pass a sobriety test sober. True story? I'm such a spazz that a highschool teacher once sent me to the nurse to have my inner ears tested. Like, to see if my problem was actually medical, like it could be explained or even treated. To be fair, she did the right thing. People in class were talking about me. That's because, a week before, on a class trip to Venice, I had accidentally rolled backwards off a bed. I was sitting when I fell. The next morning, I had done a sort of tumble into traffic while walking down a wet stone sidewalk. And the day after that, I tripped flamboyantly over a chain barrier in the middle of a cathedral and landed, loudly, on the floor. (In my defense, I was gaping at the ceiling and turning around slowly in circles. Anyone would have fallen over.) On the last day, the whole class went and took pictures on the Rialto Bridge, only I wasn't allowed to sit on the ledge. Fact.

Still, my walk home today was something special.

It was already dark out and I was rushing home with great purpose, barreling across Stephansplatz and thinking about nothing and narrowly missing strangers' shoulders. Then I tripped.

"Gaargh!". It was right by the side of the church, where the Fiaker line up their horses and carriages. You see, I have these boots with floppy straps that had come undone, and somehow my right foot had gotten stuck on a loop of leather on my left foot and I basically heaved myself onto my face, except at the very last moment I threw both my feet forward and sort of caught myself in this awkward two-footed stomp. I landed with a yelp and somehow managed to spook one of the horses, this little piebald mare, who totally freaked me out 'cos she freaking whinnied at me and reared a little, and she was wearing a harness and everything, so then that all clattered together, and then the second horse neighed and started hopping up and down. The driver just looked at me and shook his head.

But not for long because the horses had started to skitter into traffic and then cars were honking and people were staring. I laughed and tried to do this casual, falling-on-your-face-and-causing-a-traffic-jam-with-horses-is-totally-the-new-cleavage walk but that was pretty much an epic fail because about four seconds later one of my purse straps got caught on this fire hydrant and I did one of those things where your feet walk off without you (I hate those) and had to go back and untangle my bits.

Oh, and then I nearly got hit by a tram because my hat is too big and when it slips down I can´t see or hear properly and I sort of stepped off onto the tracks and the tram driver dinged at me and stared. Dude, even his walrus mustache was judging me.

Long story short? My accessories are totally trying to kill me.

Dienstag, 10. November 2009


Lately I've been all worried and troubled and shit which has put a real damper on my ability to think. My coworker and I decided our inner lives were dying. I would have writer's block, but I'm pretty sure you have to actually be a writer for that. I just have block.

So last night, while I was lying in bed, I was praying that some kind of inspiration would strike me and, even better, that the heavens would send me some kind of sign that everything is going to be okay. Some kind of green sprout in my soul, or fairy lights.

I was hoping for something to write about. Or at least freaking think about.

And then, a miracle happened.

This morning I rolled out of bed and plodded into the bathroom. Warily, I looked up into the toothpaste flecked mirror and what did I see?

There, pasted into my eyebrow, was an enormous green booger.

That's right. A squishy ball of snot. It might have been mine, it might have been Dan's... The mechanics of its fated arrival two inches above my eye hardly bear thinking about. Especially if it's not even mine. Although I guess it sort of belongs to me now.

The point is, it was serendipity.

Because now, I've posted something. And I know there will always be something to post. Hallelujah.

Freitag, 30. Oktober 2009

Lets just sit around and sob about beauty together.

Ode on Melancholy
by John Keats

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty - Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Samstag, 17. Oktober 2009

When did summer get so damn short?

I haven't written anything in, like, two weeks which just goes to show how much discipline I have. I was out of town for work but mostly just kind of lost in space, too.

Does that ever happen to you? It just turned cold and windy here, and dark too, and I think some of that fog seeps into everyone, and then you get the vapors. That's what they used to call depression -- having the vapors. I think it rings more true than "depression," although it must mean something that both those words have something to do with bad weather.

According to the Free Dictionary, the archaic meaning of "vapors" is "something insubstantial, worthless, or fleeting," or "a fantastic or foolish idea" --and I think that that's fucking beautiful and exactly how I feel about summer when it's disappearing. The whole rush of sap to the leaves and the whole glutting your sorrow on the "rainbow of the salt sand-wave" thing feels like it had just started again, and now its over. It's especially noticeable in this town, where as soon as its October everyone stops grinning and slows way down and hunches into themselves and lets their summer dreaming evaporate.

The other day I was leaving work and as I crossed onto the central square next to the cathedral there were these two mimes standing on wine crates up ahead. A tiny man and a tiny woman. It was a faded out day, gray and pale. He was dressed as a silver sailor and she was a silver 19th century whore, and they had painted their hair and hats and faces silver too. And facing them, there were these two old Tibetan monks in wheelchairs, their golden robes fluttering at the edges in the wind. The monks sat slumped in their silver framed chairs, smiling beatifically into the middle distance just past mimes' faces. I made sure I left before anyone moved.

I was in Lebanon last week. I'd never been.

From above, the city of Beirut looks like a hot stone bowl that has melted into the sea on one side. The traffic is chaos, and fast. The honking comes in triplets on the small streets, one car after another, and on the highways it's constant. Not rude, but a matter of courtesy: I am coming quickly from behind, and we all just want to get where we're going, so make way.

At one point I was in a taxi, tearing down a one lane curved canyon road, no barriers, going 130 km per hour. We flew past a speed limit sign that read 30. I looked at the cab driver with a raised eyebrow and he actually took his hands off the wheel to shrug -- that crazy motherfucker -- and tell me that in Lebanon, the street signs and the painted lanes are "just a picture."

He told me I could never drive in Lebanon, because I would die. "If you follow the rules -- blink left, turn, blink right, turn, slow down for red lights, pass on the right [sic] then you will be die in five minutes. No shit," he said. "I am only safe if I am the fastest."

Now we were on the main road that runs from the northern suburbs into the city, weaving like a missile between old Mercedes and naked-looking old minivans, racing fast BMWs and at one point, briefly, a bright yellow Ferrari. Marwan rarely took his hand off the horn.

"You are still late?" he asked, as we came level with the sea. "What is the time?" He pointed across the bay. "Voom! I drive this way." He swerved hard towards the water, into the lane on our right, and then jerked the wheel back. Hahaha! A chorus of honks erupted all around. Hahaha.

But I wasn't afraid and I hoped we wouldn't get there soon.

Anyway, so this year I've decided to fuck assuming the winter position and growing slowly slow and sad and instead I'm just going to stay happy for ever and ever until I blow up in a supernova of joy next spring. Which pretty much makes me an A1 goober, but one the other hand, you're a total asshole for pointing that out.

P.S. The picture of the balloon man is from here.
P.P.S. The Go Speed picture is from here, although not originally, I don't think.

Freitag, 9. Oktober 2009

Oh. No. He. Didn't.

So today, United States President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Um. I want this blog to be more sort of pygmy raccoons with irritable bowel syndrome and less sort of my useless political ravings, so I won't go on about this, but frankly I haven't noticed any Guantanamo-shutting or Kyoto signing or Afghanistan-resolving going on that would warrant such recognition.

Oh but wait. The press release says he won because he gave the world "hope for a better future," and for striving for nuclear disarmament. Ohhh. I see. I don't think sitting politicians should be able to get the Nobel Peace Prize anyway. That's like giving The New York Times a Most Indie New Blog Award or something.

Anyway, I voted for Obama and was pretty fucking excited about it, and compared to the last guy, Obama isn't so much a breath of fresh air as a mighty wind. Oh oops, that came out wrong. Now it sounds like I don't totally love him.

To prove my affection, I have posted pics of these quality paintings you see here by some painter named Dan Lacey that came from this website. Dan Lacey has a blog here. Dan must be kind of awesome, unless he isn't employing enough layers of meta-irony, in which case I don't really understand these paintings any more. Actually, I don't really understand them anyway.

Mittwoch, 7. Oktober 2009


Oh sweet my Lord why was I not informed. The artist's name is Randall Munroe and he was a NASA scientist, although when I first went through the cartoons I thought it was some geeky bespectacled blond girl in a flannel shirts, doodling in her notebook in class and dreaming about kissing her org chem lab partner and maybe playing drunk Trivial Pursuit with him on the living room floor.

Guess not.

So, anyway, the website is here, and he's selling all manner branded nonsense in the store shop, so obviously everyone and their piano tuner has heard of him. I'm always the last to know.

UPDATE: Not a single fucking person understands this cartoon or thinks it is funny. But everyone has been very nice and tried very hard and asked for an explanation. So thanks, my three friends.

I'll just go stab myself in the ear with a spork until I'm dead.

platitudes are pointless. so fucking sue me.

Ask the hard questions.

Face your fears.

James Thurber, who drew these cartoons (and a bunch of others for the New Yorker and other publications and who also wrote), apparently once said:

All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.

Which would be great, but it doesn't really cover the days where you feel more like you want to scrape out the inside of your head with an egg spoon and burn the contents before anything or anyone else gets infected. You have those days?

Montag, 5. Oktober 2009

Rats, Otters, and Double Rats

A lot of interesting things happened in the news this week, which I would summarize and link to, but I'm pretty tired so actually I'd rather slow fuck a dalmatian. There is this, though:

It turns out over the last couple of years, crops in Bangladesh have been systematically ravaged by a plague of ravenous rodents, forcing some families to smoke and eat the rats. As a result, the authorities are offering an annual prize of a color TV to whomever catches the most rats and produces their severed tails as evidence. Which is AWESOME.

This week, Bangladesh has crowned a new champion rat catcher. According to the BBC, a certain Mr. Mokhairul Islam was awarded a brand new color television in Dakar, Bangladesh this week as a reward for reportedly killing some 83,450 rats. Which is just a Holy Mackerel number of dead rats, I think.

(When I read the headline I did think of the Pied Piper, but actually it doesn't seem like the rat catcher did any piping, nor did he steal any village children. Although someone else did, apparently.)

I was pretty stoked about the story. But then, as per fucking usual, my illusions were dashed on the rocks like a baby otter that got confused after its mommy was eaten by an enormous white shark.

"Mr Islam - a wealthy farmer who owns about 300 acres of land and six poultry farms near the capital - said it was a great honour to receive the award."

This isn't the hardworking serf I imagined, attacking and killing 83,450 rats one after the other on a personal mission to pull his family out of the shit. No! This guy didn't lay away hardening rat tails in terracotta pots by his door-hole, painstakingly amassing a vast wealth of them, dreaming of the color television. And the glory, of course. If he had, it would have been pretty inspiring. Kind of like in The Pursuit of Happiness, with all the hard work and determination, but without any of the ridiculously good fortune.

No, the king of rats is not one of the deserving needy. This rat catcher is basically some wealthy chicken mogul who probably forced all of his minions to go out and catch vermin for him, probably as some kind of fanciful team-building exercise, and you know they can't say no because they're not allowed to unionize, and then at the end this asshole gets a color TV.

Which he probably doesn't even appreciate because, and I quote, he owns "about 300 acres of land and six poultry farms near the capital." I know one guy with one poultry farm, and he has at least three color TVs. His are flat, too. So while six might not seem like the hugest number of poultry farms out there, it's kind of a big deal.

And then I became even more skeptical (crushed, disillusioned) of this Mr. Islam and his alleged successes. Mr. Islam says that he and his team killed some 83,450 rats; however, a local official even went ahead and TOLD the BBC that "We couldn't count all the tails because of the stench."

Also worth noting is that our friend Mokhairul says that all the tail-gathering was done in February, but "other reports" say it took him eight months. Excuse me. That's a big difference. I don't know how resilient severed rat tails are where YOU live, but in my experience six months more or less would make a pretty huge difference to how rotten the things are.

Do Mr. Islam and his team (of SLAVES) expect us to believe that they harvested some 85,000 tails, which are made out of dead rat, in February and then they just held on to them for the next seven months? I don't even know why the person who wrote this (there's no byline) didn't just spell it out and write, "so the obvious revelation here is that Mr. Islam is a dishonest, lying cheat and someone should immediately go count the alleged tails or at least check whether some are actually dirty string." Oh please, Mokhairul and team. Enough already.

Anyway, even if that hideous lie about getting the tails in February WAS true, Mokhairul, you shouldn't get the prize. Because you just bought yourself a team to go kill rats FOR you. In fact, if you didn't kill at least 10,000 of those rats with your own hoe, or I say you should give the prize back.

Oh, and one more thing. I was googling for different stories on this rat killer king and I saw that the Dallas Morning News had posted the AP article on their website. Which made me pretty suspicious. The BBC is allowed to print dreck like this because they also print all the real news, all the time. But a summary search of Dallas Morning News website for "Bangladesh" shows that, since this summer, they've run an additional ONE story on Bangladesh, which doesn't even count because it was about how the tropical storm caused floods in India...and Bangladesh.

The Dallas Morning News carried the rat tail story, but has never covered the destruction that the rat infestation was wreaking on farms across the country.

Shame on you, Dallas Morning News. I know that you, like most newspapers, are in a falling sales/falling advertising downward spiral of doom that has forced you to make brutal cuts at the expense of common sense, knowledge, and our children's children, but STILL. More baby otters beaten into pulp by the driving waves.

P.S. The picture of the otter is from here. The picture of the rat is from here.

Montag, 28. September 2009

This was actually part of the previous post. I suck at this.

If CNN was the way I want it to be, the announcer would have flat hair and crooked glasses and look like Beth Ditto and the news would go like this:

"Good evening ladies and gentleman. Today in Crapistan a lot of people were protesting fraudulent elections, so their government called them terrorists, because right now we're all totally waging war on terrorism, and locked them up, and then right in front of everyone Crapistan stole a glance at the U.S. and muttered out of the corner of its mouth, "This is how this works, right?", and the U.S. tried not make eye contact, which Crapistan, not unreasonably, took for a yes, and then Crapistan security forces proceeded to pull out the protesters' toenails one by one, which hurt more than anything that you or I can possibly imagine and probably bled a lot. Which frankly, Crapistan, really fucking sucks, you bullies.

"But then, instead of saying something helpful, like "Free Money for Bleeding Crapistani Protesters," the European Union and the United States government waited until some famous activists got on TV and were like, "Honestly? I dare you guys to be bigger hypocrites." This precipitated a totally fucking novel move by the leaders of the free world, who announced this afternoon that democracy is a pillar of democracy, which is a nice sentiment but too bad we already fucking KNEW that democracy is a pillar of democracy, you stupid shits.

"Also this afternoon, the right-wing spindoctors held a press conference pointing out what an asshole socialist our president is, and how incompatible his values are with theirs and how there can be no compromising on this right and wrong stuff. Although, just a couple of years ago the same politicians thought Hussein had totally cooperated with the 9/11 terrorists (Yes I'm STILL talking about this. Fuck you.), and so by extension, even though Republicans are apparently made of sugar and spice and Democrats are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails, which are totally incompatible, they should still be able to work together. And I don't even know what the implications of this analogy are, but let me just say that if you go splitting the world into bad and good you're basically going to end up with the half the world hating you and the other half pretending to like you, which, DUH, we totally just did last century.

"Also, maybe we should all just shut up and simmer down for a hot minute because studies show that all the hating is not going to bring back the polar caps OR the aborted babies.

"On the other hand, really the whole distracted, sound byte presentation of misinformation is my own damn fault because I love being invited to lunch so much and I love it when politicians call me, because frankly politicians are the best-dressed people I know, so no way am I ever going to do what I would do if we were honest, which is call bullshit on basically everyone. Including myself and the rest of the media. But frankly? My attention span is even shorter than yours. We're all just working here.

"Thank you for your kind attention to the news. You may now return to our life-renewing programming. Up next, the remarkable fable of Silky Clam and Thundernuts the Sea Cucumber, which features a lot of real life lessons. Good night."

In the long run, maybe that isn't preferable to the real eight o'clock news at all. I would watch, though.

P.S. If you click on the picture then when it opens in another tab it twinkles. I would make it twinkle here, but I have no idea how to do that.

Thundernuts the Sea Cucumber

The same number of people who watch that show will read this blog, which is fair enough because just look at the size of this entry

Today was a long freaking day. At the end of it, on the tram home, I sat behind a woman who looked like an adorable button but who probably has tuberculosis because she was hacking and wheezing the whole way. It is arguably possible that she just has a cold, but I think at the very least it was swine flu, because this is the type of thing that happens to big-eyed old ladies with crinkly smiley faces just when you least suspect it. When the old lady coughed, the lacy thing that held her bun up vibrated, and she hunched her little button shoulders over and made tiny button fists with her hands.

I was fairly sad that she had consumption and I hoped that she had a husband and a daughter or a son to take care of her, but then I figured that probably her husband was already dead and her stupid ungrateful kids never write unless they're mailing her brochures for retirement homes that look like Santa's workshop in the pictures but where really they beat old people and make them thread tiny needles all day long in a poorly-lit room. I might be confusing retirement homes with sweatshops. Either way the old lady is pretty much screwed, because she has the wasting disease. (I'm not going to lie, I just looked that up. Did you know that tuberculosis is also called the King's Evil? Fact.)

So anyway, after my incredibly exhausting day of being a normal professional grown up, all I wanted to do once I got home was sit down and chill out. So I threw my keys and my bag on the couch, and kissed Daniel hello, and then I fell to my knees and slowly keeled over, and then my body melted into a thin soup and I seeped into the cracks in the parquet. That's what it felt like I should do. Actually, Daniel handed me a glass of wine and I curled up next to him to watch TV. Even though going to the gym and working on my novel (I don't have a novel) would have been more righteous, I was digging the wine and the couch. And the TV.

Only, you know what was on TV? C.S.I. . If you've never seen C.S.I., even by accident, then either you have a really fancy cable package or you actually spend your evenings stretching and reciting poetry. Since no one will ever read this, it's probably important for me to explain that C.S.I stands for crime scene investigation (I'm pretty sure), which is a terrible title, but then they just turned it into a snazzy acronym, which adds some zip but is confusing, because it could stand for just about anything. Crackheads snore ickily. Anyway, I shit you not, this episode was about some guy who hung himself at a ritzy rehab clinic with a rope that some depressed brat had knit together out of dental floss because she was raped and on heroin and was planning to hang herself. Also, in the end it turned out someone else killed the guy because he was beautiful but gay, and the killer just set it up to look like a dental floss suicide. No, seriously.

Then on another channel was a detective show that is about people who are raped and then murdered under extra fucked up circumstances, because normal murder is so yesterday. So then Dan and I skipped to a kids' channel which had some show about how to make super fun rabbit faces out of cream cheese toast and raisins. Then we found some movie that was just starting.

Which turned out to be about a group of Russian prostitutes that thought they were selling out to become strippers in a foreign land, only it turned out that actually their pimp stole their passports and then sold the women to a bunch of fat, ugly old men. It's on right now. It's twenty minutes in and I just watched a scene where one of the girls has to pee but now she's locked in a room, so she's banging on the door screaming, and then her new fat ugly owner opens the door and says, "You pee, then we have sex?" and she screams "Sex no!" and there are tears running down her face, and then he screams: "NO SEX, NO BATHROOM!" and slams the door in her face and locks it, and she sobs and sobs and, finally, pees in her pants.

I don't want to harp on this, but for real. What is wrong with television? I don't actually want to tell you what I do for work in case one day an actual living person reads this, but basically I get to hear about fairly depressing things all day long that make you want to save the world with an enormous silvery-white sword of awesome righteousness, and kill all the bad guys, but you can't because we don't live in that world. Instead we live in the movie where mostly the bad guys win most of the time, and all of the people that are totally cheering for the good guys have to savor a couple of rare victories that are sweet but relatively short-lived, like a tic tac.

Given all of the perfectly fucked up shit that goes down worldwide on an hourly basis, you'd think that most people, like me, would want to go home and watch well-crafted dramas about unicorns and dinosaurs and ancient Amazonian tribes that probably even still exist somewhere. TV could be so fabulous. Entertainment would consist of hour after hour of cute furry animals engaged in witty conversation. Sometimes, when that's too much, there would be a channel where you could watch a koala bear suck on a cheerio until it turns to mush. Thrillers would be whimsical beetle adventures. (I just realized that this is basically what children's tv is like, only clearly is really isn't most of the time, because the only children's show I found was about making a frightening bunny face out of cream cheese and raisins and celery, which probably tastes like cream cheese with raisins and celery. Gross.)

Anyway, in my happy universe, shows wouldn't skim their feel-good factor off of my hopelessly middle class superiority complex which is based solely on the fact that I don't know anyone as fucked up as the guy who was murdered in a fake dental floss suicide.

But obviously, no one else wants to watch Mongolian tea rituals and pygmy shadow puppet dramas about horned lizards. Which, to conclude, is what all the wine is about.

P.S. This blatantly cribbed photo comes from this site