Sunday, December 27, 2009

Stuff Road

as our world continues to homogenize, more and more i find myself traveling down a "Stuff Road". i'm sure your community has one or three of these. they are roads that have all that usual stuff: a target, a walmart, a couple of chilises, a t(fucking)gi fridays, an olive garden, a noodles and co, max & ermas, a starbucks every forty-or-so feet (now complete with drive thru for maximum consumer laziness), crate and barrel, old navy, barnes and noble, the gap and its absurd little offshoots like baby gap, and on and on and on.

my point is, they all have the same shit. you're hardpressed to find a "one-off" mom and pop shop on Stuff Road. every stuff road looks the same. the buildings are all designed the same; designed by architech John Stuff, i presume. the parking lots are the same, the sidewalks are the same. the lack of trees is always the same. Stuff Road has a sorry lack of nature -- everything is pavement and brick.

Stuff Roads make me uneasy. where i live, they are starting to take over areas normally reserved for forest preserves and expansive fields. this is not even to mention the ticky-tack condos and mcmansions that are going up one street off Stuff Road in order to provide the necessary consumers to buy all that Stuff.

i know it's not easy to resist the allure, but if you can, skip Stuff Road. find the authentic part of town and shop there.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

health insurance reform, my ass

this whole health insurance debate really wore me out. i suspect it wore out a lot of folks. while most of us were the hare, sprinting toward the finish line of actual healthcare reform, the insurance lobby was the turtle, a gazillionaire turtle.

the turtle snickered and laughed as we sped by and got excited about our early lead. he knew he had enough cash, coke, prostitutes, and congressional closet skeletons lined up to defeat any real healthcare reform. and he was right.

at the end of the day, the american public is stuck holding their dicks, yet again. maybe we'll get real healthcare reform passed 50 years from now when we have this opportunity again.

why am i bringing this up now? well i was reading about the death of folk musician vic chestnutt. it's unfortunate; he was pretty awesome. something jumped out of the associated press story. read this:

However, Chesnutt had recently struggled with a lawsuit filed by a Georgia hospital after he racked up surgery bills totaling some $70,000, the Athens newspaper reported. He said he couldn't afford more than hospitalization insurance and couldn't keep up with the payments.

The problems baffled his Canadian bandmates, Chesnutt said.

"There's nowhere else in the world that I'd be facing the situation I'm in right now. They cannot understand what kind of society would inflict that on their population," he said. "It's terrifying."

i know most people don't know who vic chestnutt is, or give a shit that he was unhappy with the healthcare system in america. but he was right. the man was confined to a wheelchair for twenty-five years, and surgery left him a felon. that's the system we have. and somehow, with democratic control of both houses and the executive branch, we're not fixing it.

thanks, lieberman. i imagine your insurance lobby buddies paid well for your vote. in case you forgot what you said in 2006, here's a reminder:

Friday, December 25, 2009

be sure to give this year, after the ridiculous adornments are paid off

as promised yesterday, in the spirit of giving this holiday season, i wanted to share something about my parents' hoity toity suburban catholic church. thank god (pun intended), i only have to suffer this place once every few years when i get dragged there on xmas. there are many things to hate about this particular church, but the most agonizing is the cross.

hanging over the altar is this enormous glass monstrosity of a cross with jesus literally bursting forth from inside it. i wish i could find a picture of it online, but the web would not bear it forth. either way, it's huge, and it's a complete abomination. and, i swear, it casts this totally creepy devil shadow on the wall. i'm not making this up.

so the thing that pisses me off so much about all this is that the church has the gall to preach about the importance of giving and charity toward those less fortunate. well, guess what the going price is on glass, devil-shadow-casting crucifixes these days? apparently it's two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

ya know, it's fine if you want a cross that costs more money than the gross national product of some poor countries, but don't have the balls to tell me to take care of the poor. how many hot meals can you buy with $250k?

so, surburban church with scary cross worth $250k: please put that fucking thing on ebay; in the meantime i'll get a couple of two-by-fours from home depot, nail them together, and then we can talk about helping those less fortunate.

can't buy me decent poetry

the other day i was channel surfing when i stumbled across the classic 80s movie, can't buy me love, starring patrick dempsey and some blond girl who we never heard from again.

now understand, i love this movie. who doesn't, right? farbeit from me to make fun of such a classic, on the whole. however, i do wish to take umbrage with one small, specific element of said movie.

about halfway through, the popular blond cheerleader girl decides to share a deep secret with "fake" boyfriend, ronald (dempsey). turns out, she fancies herself a poet, yet hasn't told anyone. she shows ronnie some poetry while he washes her car and displays his awkwardly concave chest (if you've seen the movie, you know what i mean). look! i kinda sorta found a picture of that scene!

my issue lies with the poetry that the cheerleader girl shares. ronald reads an excerpt and pretends to be all impressed with it. it goes:

someday my wish is for him
to hold me in his arms...
in a sea of deep blue
together at last
together as two

okay, i don't claim to be a scholar of poetry. in fact, i suck at understanding it almost as much as i suck at writing it. but that doesn't mean i don't know shitty poetry when i hear it. and this, my friends, is some shitty-ass poetry.

right off the bat: "someday my wish is for him". isn't that a split modifier or something? bad grammar, right? continuing: "together in a sea of blue". cliche city. finally: "together as two". isn't the whole idea to join together as one? i've never heard of wedding vows where the couple joins together as two. what's more, the poem seems to lack all sense of sense of meter, to boot.

now, i realize this is just a bad 80s movie, and i shouldn't expect too much from the poetry therein. that said, for a film that probably cost tens of millions of dollars to make, is it too much to ask the producers to throw a benjamin or two to some starving freelance poet for four lines of decent verse? it didn't have to be good poetry, but it didn't have to completely suck either. and trust me, those freelance poets - they need the work. one would have probably done it for a few stale rolls from the craft service table.

as i said earlier, i love this crappily entertaining 80s flick. it's hard to flip past when it's on. so in order to clean the palette of whiny complaints, i leave you with a video of the beloved "african anteater ritual". enjoy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

christmas eve the christian way

it's x-mas eve and the wife, xtine, and i are getting dragged to church for the first and last time this calendar year. beside the fact that its easier to suffer through an hour of christian lecturing, guilt, and hypocrisy than it is to suffer through 48 hours of passive aggressive comments from my mom, my niece is performing in some choir or something. so i'll play nice and go to support her.

i was informed this morning that we need to arrive at church over an hour early to get seats. a fucking hour? come on. when i asked my parents, who actually don't mind going early to take pictures and such, would mind saving two seats for xtine and i, they told me, "oh no, you can't save seats at this church. people get really mad about it. even if you tell them the seats are saved, they push your coats out of the way and take the seats anyway."

wonderful. nothing like spreading the christian spirit this holiday season by whispering through clenched teeth that "you can't save fucking seats in this church." merry christmas to you too, asshole.

there's more to share about my parent's church. but i'll save that for tomorrow, the holiest of holy days.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

i am smartass! hear me ... make inane, petty comments and observations

as if the world needs another smartass.

well, considering that ashton kucher beat cnn to 1 million twitter followers, more people tuned in to the kardashian wedding special than mad men's season three finale, and fox news is the place where most americans see fit to get their "news", another smartass couldn't hurt.