Friday, December 28, 2001
IT SHOULD BE A CRIME
"During a week that saw most of its competition airing reruns, CBS picked up its seventh ratings victory in a row, helped in large measure by a new episode of CSI on Thursday night - which topped the Nielsen list..." [Studio Briefing, 12/28/01]
You know that American culture has reached an all-time low point when CSI, a show with all the raw drama and edginess of Matlock, is topping the ratings list. Please, I invite you to take a gander at CSI sometime soon. It's not just bad, it's cringe-inducing. Watching that self-serious doughboy lead emote makes my hands sweat.
STUPID BLOG TRICKS
How come your site is so fun while my blog just SUCKS???
Seriously, my blog is turning into a dull and lifeless one-person rant. I THOUGHT I could write, but I guess I'm not trying. How do you do it? Do you have a method of what to write about and how you approach it to make it so interesting? I have a feeling I'm just writing off the top of my head which, in retrospect, is boring and why I abandon most diaries at this stage.
I know I need to try harder and write like it's an assignment and not like I'm picking up the phone to annoy my best friend... but do you have any other advice? Direction? I need a blog mentor...
Your Blog Apprentice
I can, like, totally understand why you'd want to know how I make magic happen here at tinylittlepenis.com! Lucky for you, I have lots of helpful tricks and tips!
Helpful Hints For A Much More Fascinating Blog
1. Whenever I don't have a single original thought in my head, I like to publish letters from readers. But if you don't get any letters because you don't have any readers, no worries! Just make up a letter that asks the kind of question that you want to answer. Now, granted, real letters are very strangely worded and therefore difficult to fake. But you'd be surprised at how much authenticity you can muster just by adding a few extra exclamation points and some semi-coherent personal tales. Like, for example...
I am so glad you finally published again, because it was either check out the rabbit blog or watch CSI (Hey, have you seen that fucking show?!! Can you believe that self-serious doughboy playing the lead?!! Where'd they find that guy?!!).
What do you think of that stupid fucking show?
(Please note the use of at least one cliche phrase ["What's up with that?" "What's the world coming to?" "It was like something off of Jerry Springer!"] which significantly adds to the overall realism of the letter.)
2. Think of something you've said recently - something that strikes you as incredibly hilarious in retrospect. If you think it's funny, so will everyone else. They love that shit. The feeling of the moment, the context - those aren't important. All that matters are those specific, incredibly witty words.
Something Incredibly Hilarious That I Said Recently
sam: A wedding in North Carolina in July? Isn't it gonna be a little hot?
rabbit: Oh my god, it's gonna be ass-fuckingly hot.
See how funny?
3. Another great way to get really good content for your blog is to repeat intensely funny jokes you made recently while riding home from dinner in the car with your family. Sure, they didn't laugh at the time, but that's because the people in your family don't like you that much - unlike your adoring, mesmerized readers.
An Incredibly Funny Joke I Made Upon Spotting a Sign That Said "I-40 Waterfowl Impoundment Area"
rabbit: Another duck prison! Isn't anyone teaching our ducks right from wrong anymore?
4. Finally, when you do start getting reader mail, be sure to publish every single letter you get, no matter how stupid - especially when someone blows smoke up your ass! It will make other people who read your blog think that you're really important and special and adored by the masses, when in fact, you're a creepy loser typing freakish little notes to yourself at midnight for no reason other than you have no life and no job and no one loves you, not even a little, aside from your mom who has serious reservations and you haven't even told her about your tiny little penis url yet.
Remember, cricket - real wisdom comes not from reading or quiet meditation, but from publishing your most mundane thoughts for untold numbers of incredibly bored, desperate strangers! (The silently suffering majority, I like to call them!)
I'M MELTING! I'M MELTING!
I was going to read your blog earlier, but me and my family went out to dinner instead (Have you been to The Melting Pot before?!! Oh my god, it is seriously the cheesiest place I think I have ever been to in my life - no pun intended!!!)
Hating The Melting Pot,
Oh my god! I totally went to The Melting Pot tonight! What a coincidence!
It's supposed to be "a fondue restaurant", but a large section of the menu is dedicated to "Special Polynesian Drinks". Polynesian restaurant, or French restaurant? Make up your goddamn minds already! I think the correct heading to that section is "Big Ass Fruity Drinks That Will Fuck You Up Real Good".
The whole place is sort of an exercise is goony decadence, down to the rambling monologue the pimply teen waiter delivers upon seating you. It goes something like this: "Have you ever been to The Melting Pot? No? Not for a while anyway? OK, well, let me EXPLAIN how it works. First, we're gonna bring out some pots, and we're gonna melt a whole shitload of cheese in the pots, and we're gonna bring you all kinds of shit to dip in the cheese. After that, you're gonna get a salad drenched in cheese and walnuts and oily raspberry jam dressing, just to ease your guilt a little. Then we're gonna bring you a wide range of low-grade meats, like shrimp, chicken, and unfresh salmon, and some particularly tough cuts of beef, all of which you're meant to cook in these vats of boiling water, because we all know how tasty boiled rump roast is, especially when you've got a wide assortment of bottled condiments to dip that withered gray meat into. By the time you're feeling really ill, we're gonna coax you into getting a big pot of low-grade chocolate flavored with some wretched liquor so you can drench chunks of stale yellow cake and brownie bits into that boozy sweet hell. Plus, we're gonna poke our pimply heads around your table ten to fifteen times an hour, bellowing things like, 'How are we doing over here? Are we slowing down yet?' so that, by the time both you and the check are incredibly bloated, you should be experiencing a wave of self-loathing so severe you're gonna need at least two Big Ass Fruity Drinks That Will Fuck You Up Real Good just to keep from sticking your head into that vat of boiling water."
The problem with this kind of attentive pep is that my family reacts by looking at each other and smiling little Mona Lisa smiles, but no one speaks to the waiter. Occasionally one of us will step up to the plate and say something like, "No, no more peach margaritas for us tonight, thank you. Yes, we're filling right up, we're nearly stuffed, yes indeed. No, you can leave that. No, leave that. We're still working on that. Leave it." At which point the waiter barks, "Oh! Still working? Still working on that? OK, well! Take your time! Just let me know when you're ready to see the desert menu!" As if WE don't feel like enough of a hog already.
These waiters use too many words. Good service does not mean "use more words". I swear half the night was spent listening to this unsavory human speak ("This is the spicy cocktail sauce, it's great with the shrimp, but I just want to warn you, it's got a heapload of horseradish in it, so don't say that I didn't warn you, ok?!! Ha ha ha!! And this last one is the hickory barbecue sauce, and it's good on pretty much EVERYTHING!")
Nothing quite like some boiled salmon dipped in barbecue sauce, huh, Bonnie?
Hating The Melting Pot,
Saturday, December 22, 2001
THE GOOD FUCK CLUB
Just met my sister's future in-laws, who are visiting from Denver, CO. They're not annoying at all, which sort of goes against some basic law of nature. She's getting married in July, to a really great young man who's a mere 26 years old. Watching them interact with the lighthearted fondness of preteens makes me wish that I, too, had a suggestible young thing in my withered clutches. Yes, give me a malleable young boy, weak of will yet strong of abs, and let me bend him to fit my idiosyncratic, sometimes psychotic needs. Show me a boy at the age of 27 and I'll show you a pandering, fawning man with an excellent physique and no mind of his own. Yet, does any human wish to be ruled with an iron hand? Will he be resentful? More importantly, will I care, as long as he folds my clothes nicely and cooks my eggs like I like 'em?
I'm younger than my sister, so I could probably snag a wee little footservant without too much trouble. I might even be able to find one who earns a living wage and strongly believes that a fine writer like me should never, ever be forced to get a cashier job at the Winn Dixie. However, my sister does look like she's about 16 - Jeff says that when he met her, he thought she was in high school. Ha ha ha. Ha.
It's tough to be the beastly, rapidly aging younger sister of a child bride. Maybe I should lash out in violent anger, like in one of those really morbid Chinese movies about repression and arranged marriages and invading Japanese and dope addiction, with names like "To Live" (see also: "To Die - Gruesomely - In A Hospital Run By Ill-informed Communist Teenagers Posing As Doctors") or "The Last Miserable Emperor" or "The Scent of Fried Green Papayas"...
Sample Snippet of Script
child bride: Do you smell that delicious green papaya frying, shriveled one? That means that in just seven moons, I shall be married!
sister: Keep the smug chatter to yourself, smitten monkey. It makes my arthritis act up.
child bride: Do not worry, oh withered sister! We'll find a suitable match for you! Why, they say there lives a half-blind hunchback at the edge of the village...
sister: Silence! No more dates with hunchbacks!
child bride: But the last one enjoyed your company, and thought you ever so polite! He keeps raving about how you gave him water!
sister: Enough with this drivel! It makes my ankles swell!
child bride: But... but if only you could be half as happy as I am, my honorable, desiccated sister!
sister: That's it! I can't stand it any longer! (Pulls massive sword from sheath.)
child bride: No! You have too much to live for! Breakfast buffets, liver spots! Think of the years you have left to make whimsical arts and crafts from styrofoam balls and felt!
sister: I'm not killing myself, I'm killing you, young buttercup! And I'm cashing in your deposit at the Gourmet Wedding Farm and using it to finance my life of idle midnight blogging!
child bride: No, wretched old one! No!
(ENTER scary, heartless Japanese troops, looking for ancient Ming vases to smash and zoo animals to murder pointlessly...)
japanese soldier: Tekka maki! Sashimi hitachi mitsubishi! Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!
Friday, December 21, 2001
COUCH OF THE YEAR
Why do I confuse couch and coach? Maybe I see therapy (couch) as just another sport (coach) - good for idle amusement, but little else. And expensive! This explains a lot.
Onward, to much more pressing news: I have a splinter in my finger from ripping thorny weeds out of my mother's yard without the appropriate industrial-strength gloves. My mom tried to remove it with a burnt needle, old-fashioned-torture style, and now I have a large hole in my finger with splinter remnants firmly embedded inside. This makes it difficult to type. But, as my mom said after I refused to endure further torturings, "Well, I guess now it'll either come to the surface, or, it'll fester."
You could say that about a lot of things, come to think of it: Repressed traumas, bad relationships, drug problems, inappropriate fixations, thought disorders, bad relationships, bad relationships, tick heads.
Let's go back to the couch. When my sister and I were little, we used our couch as a balance beam. Soon, we improvised elaborate routines, a sport which came to be known as "Couchabatics". Requiring a delicate blend of balance, coordination, interpretation, and ingenuity, Couchabatics was a challenging endeavor indeed. Choreography was strained at first, but eventually we generated some solid, reliable moves and overdramatic gestures that we'd incorporate into every routine. And when we were stumped for new material, we could always turn to our copy of "A Very Young Gymnast".
Recognizing that, without competition, our sport was utterly pointless, we started scoring each other's routine's on a scale of 1-10. We were thinking inside the elementary school box - art was all well and good, but really important stuff had a numerical value.
Unlike the "Great Balls of Fire" and grandiose Russian piano flourishes more common to international gymnastic competitions, Couchabatics routines were uniformly accompanied by the timeless hits of ABBA. This was true both because we had every ABBA album and few others, and because ABBA songs had the appropriate mix of literal nail-on-the-head lyrics, melodramatic themes, and overblown, epic-sounding flourishes. The most popular Couchabatics choices were"The Winner Takes It All"and "Knowing Me, Knowing You." Once we tried to perform to "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, but it really didn't have the same appeal, plus, singing along with your performance piece meant mandatory point deductions. Eventually, the judges were permitted to choose the athlete's song for her, a practice which led to an endless stream of appeals regarding the "totally gay" and therefore less than inspiring nature of each assigned song, but which cut back on the number of times we had to hear "The Winner Takes It All."
To prevent the usual "Me Against You" conundrum common among sibling sports (particularly those deemed stupid by male siblings) my sister and I suckered the girl across the street into becoming a Couchabat. Fortunately, she was not very good. In fact, each time we saw her flailing, bent arms and wobbly steps to "Andante, Andante", we'd recognize that we were graced with supernatural couchabatic skill. We would smile encouragingly, while silently rededicating ourselves to our sport. And then we'd score her a sympathetic "6.5" (when she really deserved a 3 or a 4, tops).
Wednesday, December 19, 2001
AN EEE-VIL VETERINARIAN?
I'm in Durham, NC now, hanging out with my mom and her evil dog, Chloe. Recognizing that many dog lovers out there will doubt that the words "evil" could accurately describe a sweet little doggie, let me outline some of Chloe's pathological behaviors:
She greets you with enthusiasm for 1 minute. After that, she won't let you touch her. Your job henceforth is to entertain, amuse, feed, and otherwise service her. When you fail to do so, she barks at you. Her bark is very high and piercing. You can yell at her to stop, but you're only hurting yourself. She has no concern over whether or not she's a bad doggie. She doesn't give a crap what you think of her. But you'd better fucking do what she wants, or you'll pay.
She brings you her rope. If you don't try to take it from her immediately, she drops it and barks at you. You try to take it and she lunges at it. Getting it from her requires pulling the rope with dog attached off the floor and tickling her ears until she drops it. You throw the rope. She brings it back. If you don't throw it immediately, she barks at you. You pick it up, she lunges for it, etc.
You leave the room. She grabs something out of your bag - some eyedrops, a contact case, whatever is small or smells strange. She runs away with it, wagging her tail. You say, "No!" and threaten to wallop her. She finds this very exciting. The only way to get it back is to yell "treats" and sometimes she'll come running, drop the thing long enough to shove something in her mouth, at which point you must make a break for the stolen item.
You have to push the chairs under the table or she'll jump up and forage as she pleases. It's sort of like living with a very large, very evil squirrel.
Once my mom left a chocolate mousse cake on the dining room table and forgot to tuck all the chairs in. Minutes later, my mom says, "OH MY GOD. You're not going to believe this." and walks into into the kitchen with Chloe, who has a full slice of chocolate mousse cake shoved down her mouth, and is swallowing frantically, even as she's being carried into the room, to make sure she gets as much chocolate down her gullet as possible.
Into her kennel she goes. She barks loudly, and scratches at the door. We put the kennel upstairs. She continues barking. Sadly, the chocolate does not kill her.
People with dogs will say, "How did she let that happen?" Skirting the obvious baseline dysfunctional requirements of cohabitating with an oversized evil squirrel, and all of the depressing implications therein, it must be understood: Chloe is not your average dog.
First of all, she's a Jack Russell. From week 1, Jack Russells have to be dominated to the point of sadism, lest they get the impression, for even a second, that they're not little maggots created to do your bidding. An old friend with a Jack Russell told me early on: "Don't let her sleep in bed with you! Turn her onto her back three or four times a day and growl at her throat! Intimidation, that's the key!" But Chloe was already 1 year old, and very, very bad.
Secondly, all of our other dogs were very, very good dogs. They were mild mannered and mellow and loving. They enjoyed nights by the fire, and long walks on the beach. In contrast, Chloe likes chasing shit, fucking shit up, and just generally bothering everyone within a fifty foot radius. She's a narcissist, and a sociopath. If our last dog, Madge, were a celebrity, she would be Paul Newman - lovable, quiet, dignified. Chloe is Dennis Rodman - happiest when she's getting negative attention for doing something totally stupid and annoying.
Once my mother figured out that Chloe wasn't just going through a stage, she tried to lay down the law. They went to puppy school for a full year. Chloe spent a lot of time in her kennel. My mom said that, finally, she was tired of hating Chloe and Chloe hating her, so she gave in.
Imagine, if you will, PJ Carlissimo, trying to couch Dennis Rodman. The relationship would surely end in bloodshed. The closest Rodman came to being couched effectively was by pleasant, passive voodoo man Phil Jackson.
I, too, have tried to whip the dog into shape. She behaved worse than usual, and hated me, and I was pissed off for a full week. This year, I ignore her when she's bad, and praise her constantly. She's been much less evil than usual, and I'm much less agitated.
Part of growing up is learning to accept that which you cannot change.
Chloe is the boss of my mom.
My mom is the boss of me.
Chloe is, therefore, the boss of me.
My mom isn't even bossy, but as long as I work within this paradigm, things seem to go much more smoothly. I don't tell anyone how to drive, I don't criticize certain people's style decisions, I don't roll my eyes and comment on the inherent pathology of rewarding a dog for its bad behavior, for tolerating a dog that's intolerable. And above all, I don't point out that the whole sick codependent setup is perhaps some twisted offshoot of an inherently dysfunctional approach to relationships - control or be controlled.
Instead, I be controlled.
It's really much more relaxing, working within the system, however inherently dysfunctional that system might be. I'm feeling very relaxed. I think this means I've just recently stopped being an emotional adolescent. Either that or I've lost my free will.
Either way, it's fine. I needed a new boss.
100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE IN VAN NUYS
Sandra Tsing Loh's book, A Year In Van Nuys, is really hilarious, especially to a fellow female writer who lives in LA and is chafed by foolish crap like Hollywood dipshits and eye bags. Realizing that this demographic may not describe most of you, and recognizing that one or two men I know find Tsing Loh "annoying" (which I don't fucking understand and tends to make me dislike them) (even more) (usually they're the condescending "I hate humor about women's lives" losers that are so unaware of the fact that we're all soaking in men's humor 24-7) (after a lifetime of nutsack jokes you'd think we'd've earned one or two cracks about PMS and wrinkles, you self-centered cocksuckers) I cannot whole-heartedly recommend the book (to jackasses who don't know any better).
Lately I'm intent on waking my inner judgmental jerk and letting her roam, unfettered, through the land, casting her malevolent glare over all that peeves. I've decided I'm trying to be too nice, and I'll be much nicer, in a more natural way, if I just allow myself the freedom to be a little more mean.
Reading this book by Tsing Loh has given me a little jolt of inspiration to be meaner. (I'm sure that was her intention in writing it.) This is why I'm drawn to fiction, though: I'd like to be much, much meaner, via some deeply disturbed character who's sort of just a little bit like me but who I can pretend is someone else entirely. Someone far less attractive and charming, of course, to throw everyone off track.
I've only heard Tsing Loh on the radio once, about a month after my first NPR thing. Still, it was upsetting, because she was so funny and smooth, and I felt like a nervous 2nd grader in a school play by comparison. But you know, that's why people like Sandra Tsing Loh and PJ Harvey and Bjork and Merce Cunningham and David Foster Wallace exist: to make the rest of us recognize that we'll never do anything of worth without being completely honest and backing that honesty up with total dedication and belief. They've all got the courage of their conviction. No indecision, second-guessing, and wishy washy wimpitude! Courageous revelation! And if some second-guessing is there, then it's IN THERE! ART! Art art art! It's pretentious, it's obnoxious, it's unselfconscious, it's unlikable and untrendy and unpretty and uncool and cheesy and awful and revealing and humbling and horrifying and shaming, and if it's not, it's not art!
Arf! Arf arf!
That's what I like about blogs. The constant debasement of self-revelation helps to chip away at the layers of self-consciousness that threaten to squelch my potential.
Also, it's fun.
Friday, December 14, 2001
KIBOS AND BITS
Today is Friday, a good day to thank Kibo Yamashita for keeping the rabbit knee-deep in doughnuts. Kibo likes jelly doughnuts. I prefer Bavarian Creme, because I'm very pretentious.
Anyway, thanks a lot Kibo. You're an honorable man, and I love your funny name.
LEADING BRAND MAGGETTE
When I have maggette for dinner, I like the leading brand, don't you?
The Clippers are looking great this year, thanks to some prominent former Duke players who jumped ship early. More power to them. I don't understand the people who lecture these players about getting a college degree. Fuck college degrees. That is, fuck college degrees when you can play basketball for a living. Fuck college degrees if you have a fabulous career or plenty of good ideas or lots of big things to do otherwise.
But if you're an uninspired young person who thinks it might be better to go right out and get some crappy job instead of drinking too much and chattering aimlessly for four years while receiving an easy societal stamp of approval, well, that's just foolish. College may seem hopelessly inane and mainstream, but the truth is, it's fun. Especially for lackluster, horny, creepily soulless 18-year-old humans like the one I used to be.
Yeah, now I'm sooo shiny and soulful. Please.
Um. Why did Winona Ryder allegedly steal crap from that store? Is her life so incredibly boring that she's allegedly, supposedly compelled to rip off expensive clothing? Her lawyer says it'll all be cleared up soon, no problem, just a big misunderstanding. Reportedly she was allegedly supposedly sort of cutting price tags off $5 worth of clothes with a pair of shears, and this is a misunderstanding? As in, she feels so misunderstood that only a felonious act can make her feel better?
Why do I sound like talk radio today? Is my allegedly educated brain misfiring again?
I should leave poor Winona alone. As if I would know what to do with my life if I couldn't eat lots of unsightly doughnuts and post to this stupid blog all the damn time. I have a lot of nerve. What do I know? I live a pressure-free existence...thanks in no small part to the powers of my imagination.
Thursday, December 13, 2001
SPLENDOR IN THE CRASS
I liked the NPR piece. It's very true that pears are not the fruit of living-on-the-fringe writers. At a party, I once had pears soaked in vodka, but it only made them seem more weak. Instead of going home, shooting a spoonful of smack, and churning out what it means really to rage against the crass cultural void that's stuffed like a some kind of, oh, I dunno, Nazi death gag (oh, so angsty and trite!) down my throat each day, I came home and did the dishes.
And another night of booze-soaked genius slipped away. Or some such thing.
I guess it is kind of sad when the biggest literary drama going is Franzen V. Oprah. Maybe she'll meet him on the south side of Chicago some day and gut him with the business end of a Miller bottle. Now THAT would be literary.
A guy can hope, can't he?!
Anyhow, I liked your stuff on Suck, and the blog is fun.
Have a nice day.
Kirk from Hollywood
Kirk Douglas! Wow! Pears in vodka, huh? Was that at the Spartacus cast party?
I can't believe YOU have trouble raging against the crass cultural void! Didn't the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts distinguish you with its award for contributions to U.S. cultural life? Why, you've been filling the cultural void, wouldn't you say?
You're so humble. And it's amazing that you have time to read my blog, what with 82 films, nine plays, six books, endless hours of charity work...
Anyway. Um. Thanks for stopping by.
Oh, uh... Do you know anyone at William Morris?
Wednesday, December 12, 2001
PERSONALITY DISORDER OF THE WEEK
It's that time again! Time to wonder if you're insane, or if you just happen to have a hell of a lot in common with those who are.
Remember, it's not the classification that counts. What counts is your total inability to thrive in today's world. So don't feel bad if you're one or two criteria short of diagnosable mental illness. As long as your behavior severely inconveniences you and those around you, it's safe to call you crazy. Hell, everybody else is doing it!
This week's disorder should really appeal to the overachievers in the group. Keep striving, and maybe someday you, too, will have...
Borderline Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
(1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
(2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
(3) identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self
(4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
(5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
(6) affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
(7) chronic feelings of emptiness
(8) inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
(9) transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
There was a time when I thought this one was well within my grasp. Oh, to relive the halcyon days of my borderline youth once more! I especially miss Chronic Feeling of Emptiness (i.e., the munchies).
It's interesting to reread this one while considering that Martha Stewart successfully sued someone who stated (erroneously) that she was "borderline". (Remember, kids, just call them "crazy" - it's far less litigable.)
If Martha Stewart Were Borderline (Which She Isn't)
Martha Stewart is not borderline, mind you, but if she were, maybe some of these diagnostic criteria would be adjusted ever so slightly...
(1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by making aromatic sachets, shopping for Art Deco ceramic planters, or "summerizing"
(4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, digging up the begonia bulbs, sewing hot pink gingham lampshades, shelling fava beans)
(5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats of cultivating rhubarb on other people's property
(6) chronic feelings of emptiness, particularly in between holidays and tedious garden projects
(9) transient, stress-related dust, clutter, and bad taste ideation
Tuesday, December 11, 2001
The good people at NPR never asked me to add growling cicadas to my pieces, nor was Barbara Kingsolver cited. Those details are what you might call "imaginary", also known as "pointless riffing." The truth is, the NPR people have encouraged me to avoid a "neutered" tone on more than one occasion. In fact, a few weeks ago I was encouraged to swear if I felt so moved (I've been swearing every few seconds since). Also, I assumed the holiday-related piece was running later in the week - I never thought they weren't going to run it (it's supposed to air Monday). I used the delaying of my commentary to joke that the whole NPR thing was my little delusion, fostered by a Mr. Microphone and some cooking sherry. Similarly, the gripe about "sex, death, and transformation" was off-the-cuff and unrelated to my piece not running.
I'm afraid my vague rambling has already spawned a little wave of backlash amongst those poised and ready to take up arms for my benefit. Your rage is misguided in this case. However, I will keep in mind that I have a vicious army at my disposal the second I'm wronged and somebody's kneecaps need busting. Ken, I know you just felt like griping about those filthy liberals on public radio - glad I could provide a timely lede.
Incidentally, I hate the word "lede". Also: "graf". These are words that journalists banty about, used to describe, as far as I can tell, a LEAD paraGRAPH or some other paraGRAPH in a piece. As in "The lede is nice, but by the third graf things start to slow down." Why the misspellings? Why, damn you, why? Can someone flesh out this pretentious nonsense for me, so I can sit on my ass and whine instead?
(See, my loyal thugs know that I'm not really looking for information - I'm actually signaling them to bash in the kneecaps of every journalist in sight.)
THE WRITER'S LIFE
OK, I'm on All Things Considered today instead, talking about how the writer's image is deteriorating. Sounds fascinating, doesn't it? I'm beginning to bore myself with these newsflashes about my radio appearances, especially when I think of all of the damage I'm doing just by allowing my whiny voice to be broadcast nationwide. I picture a nation, wincing. I'd like to teach the world to wince, in perfect harmony. Let's have a moment of wincing in honor of rabbit, shall we?
I think I should probably find a suitable Personality Disorder to fit this issue.
TALL THINGS CONSIDERED
OK, it was all just an elaborate ploy, designed to make me seem industrious and special. But I was on the radio, talking about the holidays... It's just that the broadcast range was a little limited. The show only ran in LA. Well, only in certain parts of LA. Like my livingroom. OK, the truth is, I got drunk on cooking sherry, pulled out my Mr. Microphone, and started screaming about how Christmas sucks. It was really raw. You had to be there.
Yeah, so it wasn't easily digested by the weak white stomachs over at NPR, so what?! Sure, the producers called me and said, "This is great, but we've got a demographic to cater to, here. Where are the growling cicadas? This ain't gonna play to the liberal boomer divorcees without some growling cicadas. Plus, we need more smells, and something meditative, suggesting transformation.Think Barbara Kingsolver. Maybe we can change the first line here. Let's start with 'The cicadas were growling as I searched for stray bits of pot in the shag carpet, sending me into a meditative trance, the smell of stale beer and dog hair rising through the air like an ancient Indian spirit, escaping the narrow confines of this sad little world. Still, I kept thinking, Christmas sucks so bad...'"
And then the cronies at This American Life, with their urges to get "quirkier" and "weirder" but "more sigh-inducing": "Clever is all well and good. But if we can't get a nation of self-conscious hipsters to FEEL something, then what good are we? We might as well be writing for TV - which any of us could easily do at any time, mind you, and it might be nice to consume conspicuously, it might be nice not to drive a 20-year-old Volvo with serious electrical problems, if only for a week or two, it might be nice to get a real haircut once in a while, but look, this is radio! We're keepin' it real, here. So pump in some more sentimental crap and it's a go..."
So, the piece never aired - except here, in my house. And I didn't tape it. But I could recreate it, easily. Raw art like that lives in me, like termites live in wood. Because I'm an artist, dig? I live and breathe art. Art is my life. I am art. Forget artsy. Art! ART art art! Art art art art art! ART.
Monday, December 10, 2001
SMALL THINGS CONSIDERED
Well, that thing didn't air at 4:20 pm - I don't know when it's on.
Instead, here's a review of something by Saul Bellow "involving sex, death, and transformation." What doesn't involve sex, death, and transformation?
Words are pretty cheap these days. You hear the same dumb phrases over and over. People are considered writers whether they craft original prose or just string together the same tired words you hear on commercials for Ragu spaghetti sauce.
Naturally, I'm part of the problem.
DEAR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
I'll be on All Things Considered today, talking about a very serious health threat known as Premature Holiday Burnout. It should be on at 4:20 in most places on the East coast, 3:20 on the West coast. Local times can be found here (should be on about 20 minutes into the show). Or, you can listen online instead - but not until tomorrow. Email me if you want me to add you to my pesky NPR list, which will notify you of radio broadcasts as soon as I know about them (which is usually an hour or so before they air).
Personally, I plan to get through the holidays by alternately working on my mom's yard and making and eating cookies. I've found that by combining strenuous yard work with a steady intake of sugar, I manage to stay in good spirits. This keeps me from yelling a lot and drop-kicking my mom's evil Jack Russell Terrier, Chloe.
But if yard work and sugar don't work for you, you might consider reading "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen, which will remind you that some families are actually far more dysfunctional than your own.
Sunday, December 09, 2001
JUST THE TWO OF US
I'm sick of this blogging shit. I don't want to read the drivel of all your fans and how you respond to them. I want sharp, pithy, witty banter between you and me. Possibly in the form of a weekly comic strip.
So the '90s are over. so fucking what? It's still the 21st century and if you were such a boon to my life before, you have to be worth the effort again.
Have you ever read perceptions? That's more like it. Not as good as you were before, but good because he doesn't spend all his time responding to a bunch of whining hanger-on-wannabes.
I want more about what your vulva puppet would scream around the house and way less about what all the other readers think. Screw them.
I want you to sharpen that laser beam of mean-nasty-witty-fun and blow me away with it. Do it now, for heaven's sake.
Gosh, I was wondering why I felt so empty inside. I knew something was missing from my life - I was missing that sharp, pithy, witty banter between you and me.
I aim to please, CJ. My primary purpose is to be a boon to your life. I want to prove to you that I'm worth the effort - the effort being, I guess, the energy it takes for you to move your pudgy mitt over to the mouse and click a few times.
Let's forget what those silly "other readers" think. Your whining is the only whining my ear will be attuned to from now on, I promise.
I'm going to blow you away with my sharpened laser beam!
But in the meantime, let's answer another lengthy letter from a hanger-on-wannabe, shall we?
I am in need of your hare-ish wisdom.
Ms. Objective and I worked together this summer. For two straight weeks, there was pleasant conversation, damn good coffee (the Croats say if you make good coffee you can get married), and excellent sex. For some amount of time, we thought we might be living in the same place, and imagined a world in which we spent more time together. I am 24, she is 20.
Everything goes all fast-forward-like, and she ended up transferring to a college she was certain she hadn't gotten into, I end up living across the country in another location working a full time job I didn't think I would get. It felt like in July, we would be saying our good-byes to a pleasant summer fling.
Except, of course, that three times through August and September I have occasion to be back in our mutual hometown, and we spend more pleasant time together. In October she ends up in my new location for reasons unrelated to me, where we spend some more time together, and soon we are talking on the telephone with some frequency.
Oh wait, Ms. Objective has another boy in her life, Mr. No-eye-contact, someone in the wings who re-emerges. He lives in the same town that I live in now, is semi-employed and probably not plotting out his next move. She says "He said he'd come to see me but can't get his act together. I'm thinking about coming to see him, but he shares a tight studio apartment and his roommate is a Muslim and doesn't want women spending the night." I'm not sure where this comes from, but I say "maybe you could stay with me" Knowing, probably, that she's becoming disenchanted with his boyish antics.
She is here, spends the better part of a day with him, and plops into my home for the night. Examining the sofa-bed which is not to her liking, she says "Maybe we can sleep in your [queen-sized] bed together," which we do, except she won't so much as let me hold her hand. We spend the better part of a day together, and she spends a fair amount of time complaining that she's less attracted to Mr. No-eye-contact's antics than she was when she was in high school. She does end runs around any reference to what's gone down between she and I.
Ms. Objective is ambitious and motivated, and tends to avoid melodrama. She has told me that I shouldn't like her, that she's not good enough for me. Twice, she has cried when we've parted. There was a candid moment when she declared "I need to be a confused college student for the moment. I guess I'm not ready for the perfect person for me yet." That was in October before we started talking a few times a week.
The question is: what will I do wrong next?
Wish I Were Making This Up
You shouldn't like her. She's not good enough for you.
What You'll Do Wrong Next
1. You'll continue bolstering her self-esteem with your slavering attentions so she can go back to Mr. Flinchy armed with proclamations like "You have no idea how many guys would totally kill to be with me."
2. You'll continue providing a warm, asexual shoulder for her to cry on.
3. You'll beg her to sleep with you, only to be rebuffed.
4. You'll beat off angrily to that Rolling Stone with Britney Spears on the cover.
5. You'll call her one day, in need of some support, and she'll be so busy washing her hair for a date with someone else she's not good enough for, she won't have time to speak with the likes of you.
6. You'll cut off all contact with Ms. Objective but will continue to chase after women who aren't interested because you think their indifference suggests that they're high quality enough to recognize what a buffoon you really are.
7.> You'll buy a car that doesn't get good gas mileage.
8. You'll overcook the spaghetti.
9. You won't stretch enough before you work out.
10. Your bag won't fit in any of the overhead compartments.
11. You'll spend too much on your wedding.
12. You'll panic and sell a stock that will later go on to make many wiser people very wealthy.
13. You won't live in the moment nearly enough.
14. You'll alienate your children with your dogmatic monologues.
15. You'll wish you had traveled more.
16. You'll assume those chest pains are just heartburn.
Friday, December 07, 2001
Wondering what to give that special woman in your life for Christmas? Wonder no more. For just $300, you can buy your lady a silk and velvet Vulva Puppet.
At first glance, they look like the real thing, don't they? Or can't you remember?
If I had one of those, I would run around the house making it shout things like, "GOOD, BUT SOFTER! HARDER! HARDER! NO NO! WHAT YOU WERE DOING BEFORE! BEFORE! NO! SOFTER! MUCH SOFTER!"
And just think, if you bought a whole bunch of 'em, you could reenact "The Walrus and The Carpenter" from Alice in Wonderland.
"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
Thursday, December 06, 2001
Just a little something I'd like you to pass on the Got Much Back, if you have the time and inclination:
Girls with big asses are like gold.
Grabbing that ass never gets old.
Hard assed girls might be good in fight,
Or maybe they can run all night.
But for sheer aesthetic pleasure,
I need an ass beyond measure.
You can tell its poetry because it rhymes.
Rockin' in the Stockin':
Thanks a lot for writing. I'm glad I can always count on you to bring the level of discourse up a notch or two around here. That Bard education of yours is really going to good use.
Your letter does make me regret not mentioning earlier that fat-bottomed girls, they make the rockin' world go round.
Or was that "fat-bottomed squirrels"?
Wednesday, December 05, 2001
Your bit on discussing personality disorders reminds me of a game some of my coworkers and I played a few years ago. I brought in a copy of DSM-III and one of us would open to a random page and had to act out the symptoms for the others to guess the disorder. The game didn't last too long because we couldn't ever guess the correct disorder. Combination of lousy acting ability, multiple disorders with similar symptoms, and really supposed to be working and not screwing around.
Really supposed to be working and not screwing around seems to take the fun out of lots of stuff, huh? Then again, would you sit around acting out personality disorders if you ~weren't~ at work?
I would. What an excellent game. There's got to be some way to combine it with Risk, though. Maybe each ethnic group (i.e. player) that sets out to conquer the world could be assigned some sort of mood disorder or personality disorder at the start, and then they'd be required to behave, throughout the game, in accordance with that disorder.
For example, let's say that you've got the green guys, you've set up your troops in Australia, and you've been assigned "Paranoid Personality Disorder"...
Player 1: I'm done. It's your turn to go.
Player 2: What? What do you mean "go"?
Player 1: I mean, you're next!
Player 2: Oh, like you're coming after ME next? Thanks a lot!
Player 1: No, just - go! Roll!
Player 2: Roll? As in "Let's roll"? Don't come after me, buddy! I'll blow your ass back to Kamchatka!
On second thought, that's how it sounds when I play Risk even without the mental illness theme. Come to think of it, there's a theme of mental illness running through everything I do!
But there's another bonus of the Mental Illness Risk: If you use the first version of DSM-III (I have DSM-IV, a more recent version), you could also solve the problem of who gets stuck with the girly pink game pieces - in DSM-III, homosexuality was listed as a sexual disorder.
Har har har. People who are different from me are CRAZY!
Conversation I Didn't Overhear at Starbucks
Kid: Look, Ma! There's a special "Schizoid" version of Cranium!
Mom: That's nice, dear. Now get back in your cage.
Tuesday, December 04, 2001
Personality Disorder of the Week
Today is Tuesday, you know what that means! We're gonna have a special guest! Folks, please welcome... Narcissistic Personality Disorder!
[Applause, Squeals of Joy, "You Go Girl"s, Appreciative Smiles]
This feature may not last very long, considering there are only a handful of personality disorders, many of them eerily similar to each other (We're all crazy in the same way? That would make a good "Outer Limits"). But it's not a big problem, we'll just move on to Mood Disorder of the Week. When it comes to mental health problems, a veritable cornucopia awaits us! The world is just so...full of beauty! Sometimes I feel like my heart will burst!
And other times I'm preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special high-status people (or institutions)
(4) requires excessive admiration
(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
[APA's Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV-TR 2000]
Anything I say about this one will just be redundant. I will take issue with the idea that narcissists feel they should only interact with high-status people or institutions (like the Betty Ford Clinic?). I've never been too excited about high-status people myself, mostly because they get haircuts more frequently than I do and somehow manage to brush the lint of their clothing. Which makes me look bad.
Also, I prefer not to fraternize with people who are deceptively humble, yet have good, stable jobs, raise mentally stable children (reportedly), and have secret advanced degrees in things like Literature or Neurobiology. Do you hear me Nick, you aw-shucksing motherfucker you?
I also dislike it when the town drunk secretly writes and publishes novels. Get back to puking all over people's shoes like you're supposed to, you ingrate.
French people also make me look bad with their zany outfits, their worldliness, and their easy manner during professional gatherings, the kind that make my hair get staticky.
No, I've always preferred low-status people or institutions. Like Carl, and the local Y.
I may lack empathy, relative to your average oversensitive bear, but I most definitely do not take advantage of people, so much so that I am unnecessarily paranoid about befriending or rubbing elbows (shoulders? kneecaps?) with people I don't like that much, for fear that I might be tempted to ask them to put me in touch with someone I might enjoy a lot more than them. This makes a Hollywood career well-nigh impossible.
And maybe I have a sense of entitlement, but what if I am actually entitled to a great deal? How might a mental health professional measure, objectively, just how entitled I might be? I mean, Jesus would most definitely be diagnosed as a delusional narcissistic with borderline traits or some such equivalent. They'd institutionalize him and heavily medicate him immediately, and he'd still be turning over tables in the cafeteria.
Look, I'm special, awright? You're just jealous!
Monday, December 03, 2001Words or Phrases I Vow Not To Use In This Blog Henceforth
1. "Nah, I'm just kidding."
I was sorting through old files in an attempt to organize and back up ten years of writing, and I came across some writing from my first year out of school, which was miserable. I was working as an assistant for a really awful executive person at a bank, and I would often eat lunch and write alone at my desk. One day I overheard him dictating to his secretary, formulating some kind of a letter about his ex-wife. One line from the letter:
"It's interesting that many of her former friends now hate her guts."
That was my first glimpse at the fact that some adults don't actually evolve or mature, but instead become more and more child-like.
This man did nothing for himself - didn't park his own car, didn't wash a thing or pick up his dry cleaning, didn't dial his own phone - and seemed to really be suffering as a result. He would just bust into the office, red in the face, and start barking orders at everyone within earshot. He was like some coddled kid, bored out of his mind, begging for someone to spank him.
At the time, I wrote:
"I love it. Rich man's therapy: executive secretary dictation."
Q: Poor man's therapy?
Saturday, December 01, 2001SATURDAY EVENING POST
What kind of a loser posts on a Saturday evening? Only someone completely lacking pride and dignity would shamelessly post on a Saturday night, when other healthy, well-fed, youngish people are out driving their shiny cars to banter wittily and consume fruity alcoholic drinks in houses of ill repute. Or, as Drew and Kevin on The Amazing Race would put it, "houses of ill refute."
And what sort of sad little refrigerator monkey would include a reference to The Amazing Race in their Saturday evening post?
Clearly you haven't seen this show (produced by Jerry Bruckheimer!) and therefore don't know of its untold charms. The two guys in question, in particular, have been a joy to watch, so much so that there seem to be long, drawn out segments featuring these guys, where next to nothing happens, beyond their idle chatter. Whenever a segment like this comes up, you know one of the two of them is about to say something ridiculous.
Examples of Things Said by Drew and Kevin on The Amazing Race
Boarding a glider piloted by an old guy in oversized glasses: "OK, Uncle Junior, let's do this!"
Getting into a kayak in Thailand: "Get your fat ass in the boat, you fat fuck!"
While riding in a sidecar through China: "Ow. Whoa. I think my left testicle is now rolling around the streets of Beijing."
Unfortunately, the two were eliminated last week. But given the inefficiency of their movements throughout the world, it's clear enough that serious behind-the-scenes finagling was required to keep them in the race thus far.
Let's review some quick and efficient ways to rid ourselves of the twin curses of pride and dignity, shall we?
Seven Easy Ways to Rid Oneself of Cumbersome Pride & Accursed Dignity, Real Quick-Like!
1. Post to your blog during prime evening hours on a Friday or Saturday, despite the fact that you are neither house-bound nor crippled nor aging nor oldish nor unsightly nor agoraphobic nor stinky (most of the time) nor a stutterer nor suffering from chronic halitosis nor completely broke (not quite yet) nor depressed (not at the moment) nor arguing tearily with your boyfriend (thereby eliminating all plans for the evening) nor tired nor drunk nor sick nor world weary nor otherwise incapacitated.
2. Mention in aforementioned post that you watch a certain reality show that's not even considered one of the reality shows to watch (if there could be such a thing) and that, adding insult to injury, you can recall, verbatim, specific quotes from said show.
3. Make and eat tacos on a regular basis. Begin a tradition of making and eating tacos on a certain night. Begin referring to this night as "Taco Night" in mixed company.
4. Pad around the house in white athletic socks while daydreaming about taking hard drugs and/or sleeping with Luke Wilson.
5. Observe peaceful dustbunny settlements located nearby. Imagine visiting towns of dustbunnies, making friends with dustbunny mayor. Imagine becoming celebrated member of dustbunny elite.
6. Note, shamefully, that padding about in athletic socks often results in serious reduction in local dustbunny populations.
We've covered the fact that pride and dignity are highly overrated at best, foolish burdens of Western culture meant to keep white man from becoming uncivilized and happy like savage who gets greasy deer on face and doesn't wipe it off for weeks (Runs With Deer On Face, I think was that guy's name...), yet actually keep us chained to pointless, idiotic, time-consuming tasks like ironing and douching and shaving and plugging in Plug-In Room Deodorizers, activities which are meant to distract us from the fact that we don't currently own the means of production, are cogs in the wheel of globalization, are alienated from our worth as humans, unable to live in the moment, etc., and chances are, the way things are going right now, we always will be: distracted yet dignified, disempowered yet prideful, purposeless yet lured into some ritualized, pompous sense of ourselves as reasonably important people as defined by our ability to keep our bathrooms scentless and our lawns watered with some regularity - right?
Me, horrible me!
Hot snausage and me me!