Jul 22, 2014
Have you seen the savior fare, up and down Dzerzhinsky Square
On that famous thoroughfare, with their missiles in the air
Fur hats and acting brutal, white men with lots of ruble
Spending every cent, for their Communist foment
If you’re weak and you don’t know what help to seek
Why don’t you go where the fascist sits,
Putin on the Ritz.
Different types who wear a greatcoat, pants with stripes
And armored coat, perfect fits,
Putin on the Ritz.
Dressed up like a Marxist paratrooper
Trying hard to look like Igor Cooper (super duper)
Come let’s mix where Communists walk with sticks
Or Kalashnikovs in their mitts
Putin on the Ritz
Wields his power like a royal daughter
While he rides a bear across the water (to a slaughter)
You’ll declare it’s simply topping to be there
And see them mapping smart-bomb hits
Putin on the Ritz!
Jul 17, 2014
I know you have many good points — sun, sand, surf, weather — and they are why I want to move into your warm embrace. I know you also have a dark side; we all do, really, and I promise I won’t hold it against you if you exhibit the occasional hurricane. I won’t even mind if alligators come gallumphing through my front yard or poisonous snakes wrap themselves around me once in a while.
It beats the 7-month-long winter we have here in Pennsylvania, and total lack of sun, sand, surf, etc.
But without seeming to be unappreciative, I have come up with a short list of things I would like to see you institute before I move there. I’m not quite sure exactly when I’m going to be moving — hopefully within the next year or so — but I think that a year is enough time to get everything in place. Please feel free to contact me, dear Florida, if you need any help in understanding or executing any of these items.
Here we go …
Legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana — I’ve been dry for several years now and I miss my old friend. Besides, what better way to spend my twilight years than to be surrounded by the aforementioned sun, sand, etc. while I am fully and truly baked? NOTE: This is a deal-breaker, sweetie. Don’t think I haven’t been checking out Colorado on Craigslist … when it comes down to the wire, I’ll take weed over waves any day. I can always sprinkle kitty litter around the bathtub and install a sunlamp.
Bike lanes and bus routes — I’m not sure that I want to drive again, so I’m planning on either biking or bussing my way around town. I note from countless close inspections of Google Maps that many of the towns I’m considering have bike lanes, which is good, but your bus service is a little more spotty. Try to up your game on public transit, okay? P.S.: Monorails would be awesome.
Language — Look, I know you’re one of the leading hosts of immigrants, both legal and illegal, in the United States — what are you, #2 or #3 in the country? Regardless, let’s not get too crazy, okay? I mean like, to the point where everything is in an alien language. If I go to the library I won’t be happy if I find one little shelf labeled “English Language Books” while the rest of the shelves contain only Spanish language ones. Or if every single store’s name begins with “La” or “El”. And don’t think I’m a racist — I’m an American. There’s a small but important distinction there …
Old Retired People — I am also aware that you have a rep as being the Graveyard of the U.S. — that people flock to you when they realize they can no longer run faster than Father Time. I appreciate that you’ve set yourself up to serve these folks, but let’s not go overboard, okay? I don’t want to be waiting half an hour for some rickety former Snow Belter to pick up their dish of stewed prunes from the counter while I’m jonesing on a Cuban sandwich, all right? How about we mark out an area somewhere — maybe near Lakeland, or somewhere down near the Everglades? — where all the old people have to go. As an addendum to that thought — I’ll let you know when I finally choose a place to move, and you can pass a law that only fit young ladies under 25 years old are allowed to wear bathing suits — I don’t want to spend my Golden Years gazing at waves of cellulite and varicose veins.
Weird / Yucky / Deadly Sea Life — Look, it’s okay when Jacques Cousteau used to be around, fondling manta rays and eating jellyfish and stuff, but the shine is off by now, you dig? I’d like to go snorkeling once in a while and I don’t particularly enjoy having those weird-ass critters swimming up out of nowhere and biting / stinging / eating my ass whole. Get your poo-poo together — figure out some way to catch them and put them in aquariums, throw a bunch of birth-control pills in the water, hell, pay citizen boaters to toss quarter sticks of dynamite over the side as they go fishing. I want to be able to enjoy my swim without having to constantly be looking over my shoulder.
Close Down Northern Immigration — there are WAY too many Northerners fleeing the colder climes and filling up your beautiful shores. As soon as I move there I would like to see a moratorium on Snow Bunnies re-establishing themselves there.
Thank you, dear Florida. I hope to see you soon.
Jun 24, 2014
It is perhaps an axiom that oft times our actions can be misconstrued as being something totally different than what they are. The man who picks up the lost wallet usually does so in plain sight of the victim, who is at that very moment telling the policeman what his wallet looks like and where he lost it. The friendly peck on the cheek from a good-looking long-time acquaintance always occurs just when your spouse comes walking around the corner. Of course, it’s always at church or an important business meeting that you discover your impish 5-year-old has chosen that day to surreptitiously place a Chiquita banana sticker on your hindquarters.
I have to admit that I have, not without some small sense of pride, continued this ancient tradition just this very morning. I have the somewhat odd habit of sleeping not in a bed but in a recliner, one of those wondrous inventions that hold you, tilt you, rock and recline you, heat you and seat you and now even feature mini-refrigerators and audio/visual control stations. Unfortunately I don’t own one of those – the one I have is an oldie, a sort of bland non-color material liberally clawed by the cat of the house, the kind of chair in the kind of condition that even the Salvation Army would turn their noses up at, squeaky and rickety and dirty and abused, but comfortable. The hole in the front of the seat cushion is starting to enlarge to the point where the yellowed foam inside is making its break for freedom, yet still I wouldn’t trade-in this battered old veteran for a dozen new models.
It has soul.
… and it’s super bad …
Another of my odd habits is that as a self-employed writer I tend to keep strange hours. I have no wife or children in the house, just a room-mate who believes in my literary quest and had offered me inexpensive lodgings when I most needed them (starving-artist syndrome). As a result I often do not “hit the sheets” until 3 or 4 in the morning, and coupled with my polyphasic sleeping habits (developed many years ago in college) I am what is usually known as a “napper” — I sleep for an hour or an hour and a half, 3 times a day, and find that this provides me with enough energy to do what I need – and want – to do.
Unfortunately I am also getting older – I turned 56 a few months ago – and although I spent over 40 years practicing and teaching martial arts and consequently was in pretty good physical shape, I have allowed myself to fall into the disgrace of unfitness these last 10 years or so since my retirement from the martial world. I won’t say that I’m on the same level as your typical Walmart shopper or Chinese buffet attendee, but let’s face it – I’m not the man I used to be. No longer can I perform those jump-spinning roundhouse kicks to my opponents heads – now I just turn my lawyers loose on anyone foolish enough to challenge me and use big-sounding words to defeat little-minded opponents.
So perhaps it was not entirely unthinkable, given my sleep habits, self-imposed work schedule and poor dietary habits (hint: pizza and coffee are two of my main food groups) that one day I would get a Charley horse.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s MedlinePlus Encyclopedia, a Charley horse -
… is the common name for a muscle spasm. Muscle spasms can occur in any muscle in the body, but often happen in the leg. When a muscle is in spasm, it contracts without your control and does not relax.
They go on to inform me that the cause of a Charley horse may be over-exertion (that’s not me), dehydration (hey, I take in 5 pots of coffee every day) or the lack of certain vitamins such as calcium or potassium.
MedlinePlus then gives me some fascinating news, of which I would never have been aware had they not told me -
When a muscle goes into spasm it feels very tight. It is sometimes described as a knot. The pain can be severe.
Yes – VERY severe, as I found out this morning.
I had finished up an article for a client at around 2am and made myself a little snack consisting of a banana (note – source of potassium!), a few nuts and my final mug of light and sweet coffee for the day. I collapsed into the recliner and kicked back to the “TV viewing” position – only a slight recline angle and with the feet elevated. I started watching one of my favorite oldies on the oldies network, The Honeymooners, and my final memory of consciousness was chuckling at Ralph and Norton’s antics before I fell off into my short-sleep mode.
Now after an hour and a half my internal alarm clock usually goes DING and I awake refreshed and ready for another 7-hour stint at the keyboard, but this time something went wrong. This time I was catapulted into wakefulness by not one but TWO Charley horses, one in each calf. To call this pain “severe” is like calling the Titanic disaster “a little boating mishap” — this level of pain is usually reserved for masochists and volunteers for political rallies. It felt as if Hulk Hogan had grabbed my left calf, Arnold Schwarzenegger my right and then both proceeded to squeeze for all they were worth.
A moan, long and low yet quite spirited, escaped my lips — “Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh”. At the same time I rocked forward slightly in the recliner, which gave off its usual “SQUEEEEEEEK”. The pain in my legs lessened by just a little and I fell back into the chair. That’s when the next wave of pain invaded my lower legs.
Once again — “Oooooooooooohhhhhhhhh” … “SQUEEEEEEEEK” …
And again a third time … “Oooooooooohhhhhhh” … “SQUEEEEEEEEK” …
By this time I couldn’t even get out of the recliner, the pain was so bad. Arnold and The Hulkster were having a grand old time wringing out what remained of my gastrocnemius and soleus muscle groups. It was then that I noticed that Tigger and Snagglepuss, the resident Pekingese and long-hair/short-hair mix cat, were sitting quietly together watching me, fascinated by either my movements or, more likely, my sounds. Normally they respond only to the sound of a working can opener or of food being poured into a dish, so I can only imagine that somehow my preternatural moans closely imitated Kitty Chow being dumped into a small ceramic bowl.
Arnold and The Hulkster not to scale
Tigger and Snaggs watched me for several more Oooohhhh-Squeeeek cycles before boredom overtook them both and they began chasing each other. Unfortunately they chose as their play area the space directly BENEATH the recliner’s footrest, so even if I HAD been able to get my feet down on the ground the movement would have been thwarted by several pounds of combined canine and feline bodies.
“AAAHHHHH!” I managed to utter in my frustration at this newest turn of events. Thus began the mantra of the morning -
“Ooooooohhhhh” … “SQUEEEEEEEK” … “AAAHHHHH” … “SQUEEEEEEK” … “Oooooohhhhh” …
Talkin’ ’bout my generation …
That’s when my roommate’s head poked around the corner slowly and carefully, afraid to see what, once seen, could not be unseen. The look of relief on her face was priceless, but was then rapidly replaced by puzzlement. The critters meanwhile ran under her legs for shelter from the moaning madman.
At the same time I heard our upstairs neighbor, a 40-ish maintenance man, actually giggle and then walk rapidly away from a spot directly overhead.
After what seemed an eternity but was in actuality perhaps only three minutes after I first woke up I was finally able to stand up and begin lurching stiff-legged around the house like Frankenstein’s monster, still giving off guttural moans and the occasional “AHhhhh!” when a mini-seizure would strike once again in my lower extremities. After several more minutes of thump-moan-thump-moan and the rapid devouring of 3 bananas and a gallon of Orange Crush drink the pain disappeared, leaving my legs feeling like I had just finished a 30-mile forced march with a full pack on my back.
Remember back at the beginning of this article, when I mentioned how the most innocent of actions can be misconstrued?
I went to the store this morning to pick up my daily rations of milk and bread, and as I approached the glass entry doors I saw my upstairs neighbors laughing with the female clerk (our next-door neighbor), both suddenly stopping their laughter and finding things to be busy with when I walked through the door, still not being entirely able to wipe the smirks from their faces.
I paid for my supplies and left, and as I began walking up the sidewalk I heard behind me “Oooooohhhhh … SQUEEEEEK …. AAAHHHhhhhhh”, followed by an eruption of laughter. I would swear that several stray dogs grinned at me before I got back home. Little old ladies coming out of church spit at me.
Sometimes life just isn’t fair, and things aren’t what they seem.
Jun 20, 2014
From a Facebook posting …
Jun 9, 2014
Where would we be without Etsy? In addition to supplying our habits for lavish interior design objects and wearable art, they are the sole dealers in the highly-rated and virtually unavailable Metrosexual Breast Holsters.
Lovingly hand-crafted in Dusseldorf, Germany and retailing for a mere $165.99, the Metrosexual Breast Holsters are made of the finest leatherette, ensuring that you cannot be held responsible for the senseless slaughter of any living animal.
Now when faced with a self-defense situation calling for some heavy guns, you can proudly say “Now you’re gonna’ get a look at my OTHER .44’s!”
Gerhardt, our model here, has only just begun breast augmentation surgery so he might not be showing the full usefulness of this wondrous creation. Know that even with the largest of man-boobs the Metrosexual Breast Holsters can pack ‘em away neatly and discretely. Flopping hither and yon? Not with THESE holsters!
In addition to its velour-lined breast holding chambers the Metrosexual Breast Holster also has outside zippered pockets for your manly supplies — cell phone, pocket change, breast pumps, etc.
Machine-washable in cold water (line dry) and, as mentioned in the Etsy ad, “Man is free to move and the times stuffed his pockets are on the way over.”
Hurry and grab a pair for your pair!
Jun 1, 2014
The term “pet parents” has really taken off over the past few months. I’ve seen it appearing in more and more places, but one of the biggest abusers of this term is the pet food company known as Blue Buffalo. Their sappy commercials consistently refer to “pet parents” and “he’s our biggest boy”, the latter stated by Mom as her biological son in the background looks down sadly.
So what started all this? I mean, you really are NOT their parent — you do realize that, don’t you? Did you ever stop to consider that if you’re claiming to be your doggy’s mommy, that makes you a bitch? Okay, so if you have a cat that makes you a queen — understandable, I suppose.
Most of the people using the “pet parent” title for themselves are childless, or their own biological children have flown the coop. I saw one comment on a discussion board, in answer to someone stating that a pet owner is not a pet parent — the responder stated that they also have an adopted human child — does that make them any less that child’s parent?
It’s wonderful that people care so well for their pets and think so highly of them that they will spend an estimated $60 billion this year on food, toys, housing, clothing, medical care and adoption / purchasing fees. That amount of money would buy a lot of human babies.
Oh, what — that’s a terrible thing to say? Not any more so than calling yourself a parent to a four-legged furkid. Yep, that’s one of the many ways these pet parents refer to their “kids” — “fur kids” or, as I’ve often seen it spelled, “furkids”. All one small, compact, happy word. But to me it implies that your child has hypertrichosis.
… and this is Gracie, our third furkid …
Think it over: if you refer to yourself as your pet’s parent then you are claiming that you either bought or adopted your child, since I doubt you are biologically capable of giving birth to them. If you adopted them, how do you know that they weren’t torn away from their mother at too early an age, or were part of some puppy mill that made “The Jungle” look like Club Med?
Or, if you purchased them, isn’t that the equivalent of buying your child on the subway?
It would be all too easy to tell these people to get a life, but I’m fascinated by the psychology of the whole phenomena. On the surface it appears to be a cutesy-wutesy fantasy — “Oh, yes, come to Mommy, sweetheart!” or “Mommy is SO proud of you for taking a dump in the yard!”. Those are the kinds of expressions you would normally expect to find being applied to human children (well, the yard thing not so much, but there ARE some weird parents out there).
It’s enough that we even talk to animals — no, strike that. It’s enough that we even talk to animals AND we expect them to answer in any but an instinctive way. In my work as a martial arts instructor I am constantly encouraging my students to return to such an instinctual level, to better respond in a self-defense situation. Basically what that involves is shedding our social conditioning and returning to our animal roots, where we respond directly AND WITHOUT THOUGHT to a certain set of stimuli.
And that is how our animals — not our furkids, but our animals — respond to us. Instinctively. You call friends and family and take numerous snapshots when your cat rubs against your leg, as if that is proof that he/she loves you.
No. All they’re doing is leaving their scent, their marker, on you. Basically they’re putting a “SOLD” sign on your leg.
What about when Fido gets so excited to see you that he starts humping your leg? A genuine display of affection, or a horny critter doing what comes naturally? My roommate’s Pekingese, with the charming name of Tigger, humps legs, pillows, the cat, the remote control, 2x4’s, whatever is available — is he THAT full of love or is he just trying to rip off a quickie?
“Doin’ what comes naturally …”
Starting back around 2009–2010 was a strange trend eventually known and categorized as “dognoir” and “catnoir” — novels that highlighted the physical and spiritual bonds between people and their furry children. I sit alone at night, wondering whether the opening of such novels go:
It was a dark and stormy night, and I was all alone in my palatial doghouse …
Jingles felt the feeling coming on again. It had been two moons since his last amorous adventure and he was hot to trot …
Supporters of the pet parent movement (cult?) point out that their hairy little charges are intelligent. I’m sorry, but running at high speed into walls, eating your own vomit and doing the dirty with a rubber squeaky toy does not exactly qualify as “intelligent” in my book.
“They’re loving — they give love unabashedly” is another phrase I often hear. Again, is it REALLY love or just a temporary convenience? When Sylvester curls up in your lap is it a sign of life-long affection, or simply Syl’s way of staying warm when you’re too cheap to turn up the thermostat? Or what about when Rex barks at scary strangers — he’s protecting you, right?
Unfortunately I’ve known many dogs that will bark if the sun rises or the wind blows, so let’s leave that one out, shall we?
- Do your furry progeny break your heart while they’re still alive? No.
- Do they stay out late and come home at 3AM singing dirty ditties and wearing a pair of panties on their head? No.
- Do they call you when they’ve just arrived at their new college dorm? No.
Hopefully we still treat our biological children better than our adopted/purchased/stolen animal friends. I know from first-hand experience that my sons did NOT respond well to being placed in crates, forced to eat table scraps or wearing shock collars.
The take-away here is that animals are wonderful companions. They are playful, curious and serve as touchstones when we are feeling blue. But they are NOT our children, and claiming that they are is an insult to biological parents the world over.
May 22, 2014
The world of online dating is a gigantic beast of an industry offering companionship, romance and yes, even love, to the lonely-hearted denizens of the ‘Net. In fact, it is precisely because it is such a large industry that, much like Apple and Google, it has managed to spin off a score of satellite industries and niche markets.
One such niche is the online dating advice market. It would be hard to find any website devoted to the 18–30-year-old demographic that doesn’t mention in at least one article or forum posting some good old-fashioned advice for online dating. They cover how to take your profile picture, what you should and should not put into your profile and advertisement, how to make sure the person you choose isn’t Doctor Lecter in disguise – in short, they give the ultimate how-to on finding and snaring that one-in-a-million guy or gal.
But then they just stop. No more advice. Just when you need it the most, too.
You see, when you finally make the big jump from an online relationship to a real-world one, you’re stuck with several problems: does your new friend match up to their online profiling? Are you hooking up with a latent stalker? Do they giggle and drool whenever you say the word “conjugate”?
And one more major problem – where should you NOT go for a first date.
Oh, sure, there are plenty of articles you can Google on “where to go for your first date”, but not a single one that offers advice on locations to avoid. My aim in writing this article is to outline 10 of those very places and thus fill the void.
Note that with only one exception, these 10 no-fly zones are all legal businesses frequented by law-abiding individuals on a daily basis. They aren’t on this list merely because of their inherently evil nature; rather, they are here because of the anesthetizing effects they can have on a new relationship.
For example …
A church, of any denomination, is a very bad idea for a first date for several reasons.
First, if you take your date there during services you’re faced with pew-fulls of people, all potential witnesses for any nookie you may be planning. Two is company, but 400 is a Mass.
Then come the guilt trips. Even if you are a raging atheist you’re going to develop pangs of guilt when you’re whispering sweet nothings in your date’s ear while being watched by a 20-foot tall statue of whatever saint or holy figure is preeminent in that church. Such statues, usually made from cold, hard marble, always seem to be like those trick 3-D paintings – wherever you move their eyes seem to follow you.
Another problem is that you’ll probably have to cough up a few bucks for the collection plate, which, if you’re going for a freebie night out, is going to cramp your style.
So it’s best to avoid churches during their services, but what if you plan your date for a time when the church is empty? Many churches actually lock their doors between services nowadays in order to foil the crack heads coming in and stealing whatever isn’t bolted down. How would you feel if you had spent days convincing your on-line love that St. Albert-In-The-Field would be the ideal location for your first tryst, only to find the doors securely chained upon your arrival?
Even if you manage to find an open, empty church, you can be sure that just when you’re starting to fire on all eight cylinders with your date is the moment when the cute little 90-year-old cleaning lady will pop up in front of you and begin a discussion of what homemade cleaner is best for oak.
So, churches are pretty much off the list.
Don’t laugh – a morgue offers many of the most sought-after attributes of a wonderful first-date location: secluded, quiet, elegant and thermostatically-controlled. But unless you have truly found your soul-mate you’ll probably rue the day you came up with the idea.
The reason a morgue isn’t an ideal first destination for your budding relationship isn’t the obvious one – it isn’t because it’s a big room filled with dead people. That’s incidental. No, the real reason you don’t want to be there with your honey is because of the ill-timed interruptions that seem always to happen just when you’re getting into the swing of things.
Consider this scenario: you’ve got your hunky partner up on the septically-clean autopsy table, the cold, gleaming stainless steel turning you on. You’ve just begun to unbutton his Calvin Klein shirt when a noisy bunch of attendants burst through the swinging doors arguing amongst themselves over whether Drawer #3 weighs more than Drawer #6. They screech to a halt when they see the two of you doing your best imitation of the zombie tango, stare open-mouthed at you for what seems like hours, then finally back out of the room and take to their heels to see who can be the first one to call the cops.
No, I’m afraid that the morgue is definitely off the list, no matter HOW much fun it could be.
Used Car Lot
A used-car lot might seem to be the ideal first-date place for several reasons: all those festive, fluttering banners, the tall inflatable guy doing his dance in the front, all that shiny metal and glass – it’s like a Caribbean vacation!
But there are hidden drawbacks to this idyllic spot, the most annoying of which is that if you are discovered lurking on the lot during your date you will most probably be subjected to a lengthy sales pitch by a guy wearing a cheap toupee. The best thing to do in that case is to feign interest in one of his more luxurious rides, take it out for a test drive with your date and at least salvage a bit of dignity in the process.
New car showrooms, by the way, won’t even be mentioned here as they are too gruesome to even think about.
XXX Adult Shop
Those of a more liberal – or liberated – mind-set might consider an adult book shop as an interesting choice for a first date. Though certainly not for everyone, these establishments might offer a few benefits such as an environment devoid of talking, the thrill of avoiding direct eye-contact and the ability to watch movies for the price of just a few quarters.
There are often racks full of toys that you and your date can inspect, reading material that can lead to speculation and entertainment and the joy of striking up conversations with like-minded strangers, but beware the pitfalls: do not accept any offers to attend a “party” as these usually turn out to be, if not totally false, at least greatly depressing. Do not attempt to “make-out” with your date in the movie booths or the merchandise aisles, as this will result in your immediate ejection from the premises.
And do not attempt to bring in a picnic basket – from previous experience I can tell you that this practice is strongly frowned upon.
Wal-Mart offers many things for many people – food, clothing, auto parts, toys – but that offering comes at a price, a price that you and your date might not want to pay.
First are the crowds – if you are in the right (wrong) area the store will be jam-packed with overweight, yoga-pants-wearing locals who will crush you with their flappy arms if you get between them and their bargains. There is nothing like seeing your date disappear in a fold of flesh to totally ruin your day.
Also to be considered is the security. You know that if you attempt to shoplift a 72” LCD television by cramming it down your pants you’ll do just fine, but if you try to steal a quick peck on your date’s cheek the Wally Police will come down on you like a ton of frozen chicken wings and will broadcast your perversity on the six-o’clock news.
And, the greeters are just creepy.
Having been a security person (“bouncer”) in several strip clubs over the years I can attest to the fact that many couples use these establishments for their dates. It does, however, take a certain level of liberal leaning to truly enjoy such a venue, and the possible bad side-effects can be many.
Consider – you might be enjoying the up-close charms of a pulchritudinous dancer while your stick-thin date sits and fumes, finally dumping her margarita in your already-occupied lap and storming off through the front door. Even worse – that same dancer and your date might hit it off, leaving you to cry in your warm beer.
The volume of the music in strip clubs is high enough to cause concussions in a rhino, so don’t think you’ll be able to communicate with your date at anything other than a primitive hand-signal level.
The drinks are overpriced unless you get there at happy hour, in which case they are overly diluted. Some clubs still water down their booze in the original bottles, just to save a few bucks.
We won’t even mention the VIP rooms …
Home Improvement Center
Your stereotypical “man’s man” loves nothing more than to browse the aisles of the local home improvement center for hours on end. He can spend an hour just comparing thread sizes of lag bolts, and Buddha help you if he manages to slip into the power tool section.
Abandon hope, all ye who enter there.
Now if you’re a woman who enjoys these sorts of things as well then have at it, but from my experience I’ve found that less than 0.01% of the female gender qualify for this category. Most of you will harrumph and pace the floor while your date is fondling the newest Makita. Not a good first date.
On the plus side you might be able to convince lover boy to pick up a few washers for your leaky sink while you’re there.
Are there even any libraries left in the world?
In my youth I would spend hours among the stacks, discovering new worlds with every volume I pulled down from the shelves. It could be snowing or raining outside, but there in the warmth and safety of the library I was floating in my own little special cocoon.
That may seem to be a call to arms to use your local library as a first-date destination, but think carefully before you do. First you’ll have to deal with the head librarian, who is ALWAYS a 90-year-old lady who loves cats but hates the world. The minute you try to caress the spine and open the cover of your date the librarian will be there to shriek her indignation and eject you into the cold, cruel world.
There’s also that library smell – that musty, dusty aroma that only true bibliophiles can appreciate. Your date is probably not one of them.
Finally, the word “overdue”, although a common term in the library world, is a terrifying one in the realm of dating.
Admittedly, most of us would never consider holding our first date in a place where people will sell their children for their next hit, even if we never plan to have children ourselves.
But for some, the allure of a crack house as a dating location is quite powerful. The entry fee is non-existent, it’s fairly quiet and there’s always a spot on the floor you and your date can occupy – no reservations or waiting for tables here.
You and your date, if you do choose to visit your friendly local den of inequity, will be able to take fantastic journeys – although separately. That you might not return, because of some silly little poisonous additive, is just that little bit of danger so essential to first-date success. Brush up on your self-defense skills as well, as you can never tell when you’ll be the target of a mugging.
One of the television networks is coming out with a new series, Night Shift, wherein the lives of nurses and doctors working the graveyard shift at a hospital are profiled, with much emphasis on their love lives. This might encourage you to think that a hospital, especially a hospital emergency room, is a romantic spot for your first date.
I don’t think so.
Unlike the television portrayals, most real-world emergency rooms are dull. You might find yourselves sitting next to a gunshot victim for several hours as they wait for the next available doctor. The nurse at the admissions desk will keep pestering you to fill out forms and list your next of kin. The occasional scream or moan will only serve to interrupt your getting to know your date.
There’s also the small fact that the smell of emergency rooms is an instant turn-off. A combination of anesthetics, cleaning supplies, fear and intimidation, the smell will affect you and your date in the same way that a veterinarian’s office instills fear in your dog and cat. You’ll know that no good will come from being there.
So there you have it – ten places you should probably avoid on a first date. For most of you, it would be far better to choose a more conventional venue – a restaurant, movie theater or even bowling alley.
But for the more warped among my regular readers, this list may have served not so much as a warning as an inspiration. If so, send me an email and let me know how it went – I always enjoy a good first-date story.
You can also find this article at Devtome.com
Apr 6, 2014
A dear friend of mine recently referred me to a Lifehack article entitled 13 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough, and thought that I might shed some of my abundant Taoist wisdom upon the article. Here are my thoughts …
1. What Is, Is
This may have worked for Buddha — after all, he was a prince who walked away from a cushy life. Anyone THAT deluded is bound to come up with this kind of wisdom. “What Is, Is”?!? C’mon, Bhodi — you can do better than that!
“It is your resistance to ‘what is’ that causes your suffering” … no, it is OTHER PEOPLE that cause my suffering. Correlation does not equal causation. If Man had never fought against the way things are, we would not have rocket-ships, cell phones or AstroGlide.
To the two pieces of advice offered in the article -
(1) either accept it and let go of the negativity, or (2) make yourself miserable by obsessing over it.
- I would add a third -
(3) eliminate the cause of your suffering.
This may entail moving to a new country, dropping that annoying English 101 class or snuffing your neighbor’s constantly-barking Schnauzer (or, in extremis, your neighbor).
2. It’s Only A Problem If You Think It’s A Problem
The article states:
If you think something is a problem, then your thoughts and emotions will be negative. But if you think it’s something you can learn from, then suddenly, it’s not a problem anymore.
My thoughts and emotions are not necessarily negative when faced with a problem. In fact, problems bring out the better part of me — determination, logic, analysis, deduction and action. A problem shakes me out of my boring everyday life, rips me away from my ennui and forces me to scramble, to think, to live. Why would I react negatively to that?
It’s only a problem if I try to run away from it.
3. If You Want Things To Change, You Need To Start With Changing Yourself
We like to think that changing our circumstances will change us. But we have it backwards—we need to change ourselves first before our circumstances will change.
Totally wrong. Well, almost totally.
I grant that in a few scenarios the problem lies not in our stars but in ourselves. But in the majority of cases we can change ourselves merely by changing our environment. Tell me that your life — yourself — would not change if you were to be somehow whisked away to a beautiful tropical island, wherein you were given a 40-room mansion to live in and a staff of 20 to cater to your every whim, along with a few billion dollars to spend any way you wanted.
Yeah, I thought so.
4. There Is No Such Thing As Failure — Only Leaning Opportunities
This sounds a lot like the new standards of teaching in our public schools — little Johnny doesn’t fail, he merely requires individualized attention (at the State’s cost) and dumbed-down tests in order to bring everyone else down to his level. It doesn’t matter if his father abandoned the family, his mother is a crack-whore and he “acts out” in class by setting his teacher on fire — Johnny isn’t responsible for any of that, the poor boy! We have to make him feel good about himself — that will change him from being a failure to being a winner!
The only thing it will do is empower him to act-out in REAL life by shooting up a mall-full of people. Hey, it’s society’s fault, not his — he needs therapeutic counseling!
He’s NOT a failure — he’s only experiencing a learning opportunity!
The article goes on to quote Thomas Edison:
I did not fail at inventing the light-bulb, I just first found 99 ways that it didn’t work.
Yeah … well-said, considering that Edison was a thief who bullied his employees and stole patents from other inventors, then claimed them as his own inventions. Edison’s “learning opportunity”?
“Hey, this inventing shit is hard work — I think I’ll just steal someone else’s ideas”.
5. If You Don’t Get Something You Want, It Means Something Better Is Coming
Oh, I really love this one!
Usually, when you look back at your life, you will be able to see why it was actually a good thing that something didn’t work out.
No, that’s called “hindsight”, and hindsight is always 20/20 vision. With rose-tinted glasses.
So giving up my $2,000/mn loft in Greenwich Village was a GOOD thing, because in a few years the rent went up to $7,000/mn, right?
Wrong! I could have sub-let and made $5,000 every month for doing nothing.
It’s good that I didn’t keep going out with that hot Greek/Italian chick whose father was a doctor and whose water-front Hampton’s house I would have inherited had we stayed together, because it was infinitely better dumpster-diving with the psychotic twins from the Lower East Side, right?
Have faith that everything works out for the best? Not hardly. MY faith requires proof, and there have been scant amounts of that in my life.
6. Appreciate The Present Moment
This is starting to sound like a Hallmark Special Presentation …
“Always something precious about the present moment”, huh?
What about that moment that old lady went through the red light and bent the door of my British sports-car over my legs, then that precious little fire started under the dash? Or that wondrous time when I was stabbed in my leg by a desperate junkie? Oh, yeah, that was simply precious!
C’mon, guys — let’s face reality a little bit, shall we? Not EVERY moment is worth celebrating. Some things, some events in our lives, we can do without. And I’m sorry to contradict Trace Adkins, but I really don’t miss getting German measles when I was six.
7. Let Go Of Desire
I wasn’t even aware I was holding her …
8. Understand And Be Grateful For Your Fears
More advice from Dr. Lecter.
Overcoming fears just takes practice. Fear is really just an illusion. It’s optional.
Okay. So I should submerge myself in a bathtub full of tarantulas, because somehow that’s going to connect me with the Universal Consciousness? I should be grateful for being in that tub, too?!?
I think these little homilies are being presented by a sadistic evil genius intent on seeing me humiliate and terrify myself.
WHY the hell would I expose myself to things that terrify me? I spend a LOT of time avoiding litter boxes and people with eyes that look in two different directions — why would I knowingly choose to hang around either one? Out of some sense of karmic learning?
Get a life.
9. Allow Yourself To Experience Joy
I’m getting a bit confused here — first you tell me to let go of Desire, and now you tell me to experience Joy?
What, are you getting kickbacks or something? Desire was MUCH more interesting — Joy is just a meth-head with delusions of grandeur.
I’ll tell you, man … you pimps …
10. Don’t Compare Yourself To Other People
* rolling on floor laughing *
All of our formative years are spent teaching us that we are in competition with others. We are tested and graded in school, we are in competition for dating the captain of the cheerleaders, our stress levels overflow when we try to get into the college of our choice, we become lost in the sea of applicants for that job opening …
Life — at least, the socially-instilled concept of it — is one big Saturday Night Wrestling Event, and we’re usually the ones on the receiving end of the metal folding chair.
They say to compare yourself to those who have it worse than you — way to aim high, guys! You’ll be sure to give it your best effort when you look at a legless homeless man and say to yourself “At least I’m not HIM!”.
And you are probably way better looking than most people.
Uh-huh. My name is Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht … just keep repeating that, Bubbie, and someday you might actually believe it.
11. You Are Not A Victim
No one “does” something to you. You are the creator of your own experience.
So when I get hit over the head with a baseball bat while walking through the wrong part of town, I can tell the paramedics and the cops it was “Nobody” that did it to me?
Even better -
Abandon your victim mentality and become victorious.
That’s the equivalent of saying “Give up your crack habit and become the Pope”. It’s a pretty damned long way from taking responsibility for your actions, and becoming “victorious”, whatever THAT means.
New Age drivel, the lot of it.
12. Things Can — And Do — Change
When we are stuck in a bad situation, we think that there is no way out. We think nothing will ever change. But guess what? It will!
They forgot to add, “Not necessarily for the better”. You might just go from the pan into the fire — that’s change, right? And the odds of that happening are just about 50/50, at least according to statisticians.
According to people who have actually lived life and not just browsed through “Joel Olsteen’s Greatest Quotes”, the odds are more like 10:1.
But you do need to take some sort of action for things to change. It won’t magically happen all on its own.
This flies directly in the face of my Taoist philosophical beliefs. You do NOT need to take any action — just sit back and watch the change happen. Who are we, and how are we so important, that the Universe is waiting with bated breath for our actions? We are nothing, we are less than nothing, in the Grand Scheme of Things — what makes us think change depends upon us?
13. Anything Is Possible
Okay — let me see you put a Cadillac up your nose. Convince Sofia Vergara to become my love-slave. Have the Publisher’s Clearing House van pull up outside my door with that $7,000-a-week-for-life prize.
Anything is possible, yes — in the realm of flying unicorns that shit Skittles, perhaps.
Miracles happen everyday? That brings to mind a quote from Arthur C. Clarke — “Any sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. Just because you cannot rationally explain something does not make it a miracle.
I understand that this article was probably written to serve as an inspirational piece, an optimistic guide to life and living. Unfortunately (for them) optimism has never been my strong point. I see life through my senses, not through some idea of Cosmic Righteousness and Fair Play.
I left THAT kind of thinking behind in my sandbox.
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