It's nice to be recognized for your talents and creativity, even if it's belated.

I've been named teacher of the year!

Ha, no. But something even better happened! The ClaremontIGrammarians have been acknowledged. And we didn't even do anything this year!

Some people have been asking what happened to the Grammarians. Unfortunately, we did not participate in Claremont's annual Independence Day parade this year. Only one Grammarian still lives in town and most of our members were traveling for the holiday, so it didn't come together. The event was so epic last year and the year before and even the year before that that I didn't want to half-ass it and tarnish our good name.

Ah, but who am I kidding? We don't really have a good name. Not only do the parade officials dislike us, but we unintentionally created a distasteful scene when our sign with a period joke became water-damaged and caused a bloody mess.

Of course, causing a stir is our main motivation for parading. Well, that and spreading the virtues of grammar, obviously.

So though I actively regret not punctuating the parade this year, it brings me some comfort to know we haven't been forgotten. Grammarian Terri found that a So-Cal reporter gave us a shout out. In his post, he references some of the odd things he saw in the parade, then concludes with a reference to our group: "But where were the ClaremontIGrammarians, who rode in the last few parades in a panel truck decorated with placards like "I Before E" and "Don't Use Contractions"?"

I had to google what a panel truck is; I must note that we have never ridden in a panel truck. Sorry for being a stickler, but I am a Grammarian, after all. But that's beside the point anyway! Apparently, we've sufficiently made our (punctuation) mark. We're still being discussed even when we don't show up.

That knowledge is more gratifying than a hand-job. We'd always end the evening imagining that we were the group strange enough to have people talking - out of confusion, amusement, or contempt - even after they returned home.

On that note, I'd like to think the Grammarians aren't dead. Maybe we'll just change our name: [insert town name] Grammarians. Maybe we'll stick with the ClaremontIGrammarians to make us seem even more pretentious when we visit other towns. Whatever the approach is, I feel inspired, and believe we still have a lot of grammar and hilarity to spread at some point in the future. If anyone knows of any local parades, regardless of the holiday or cause, let us know!


A Night at the Symphony

Andrew invited me to the symphony, and being the cultured guy that I am, I couldn't decline. While I tend to like classical music when I hear it, I don't generally take the time to listen to it. I like singing along to songs, and classical music is largely lyric-less; it's not classical composers' faults that they wrote music before singing was invented.

Off we went to the Hollywood Bowl, wine bottles in hand. The LA Philharmonic performed Mahler's Fifth. Truthfully, I don't know Mahler from Mozart, but he sounds like a composer I can trust. (I have my eye on you, Tchaikovsky.) I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to follow the Fifth seeing as I hadn't heard Mahler's first four symphonies, but that didn't prove to be a problem.

Andrew actually conducted extensive research (by which I mean Wikipedia) on Mahler, who is one of his favorite composers, before the show. He found out that Mahler hemorrhaged and nearly died before writing his Fifth. At the same time, he was also falling for his soon-to-be-wife Alma. Since these were his inspirations for the music, I tried to listen for love and hemorrhaging during the symphony; I think I heard it, but it might have just been the french horn.

Andrew also learned that Alma was a hussy who had an affair with Mahler's architect, Gropius. Never trust your wife with a man named Gropius. Then Mahler died because of heartsickness (or perhaps hemorrhaging or the plague or whatever), and Alma married Gropius and they lived together in the house that he was building for Mahler. How I would like to hear the symphony inspired by all of that drama! I'm thinking fewer chimes, more tubas.

Although Allison had not researched Mahler, she did bring the puns. Not just quick puns, but long drawn out stories that somehow resulted in a punch line sounding like Mahler. (Think "Maul her" or "Mallard.") Also, each story inexplicably referenced the recession. Some of them were so painful, I'd rather have been hemorrhaging, frankly. Since she doesn't know when to leave bad enough alone, she sent me another one today:
Just the other day I read about this super successful business analyst known for saving struggling small businesses. This little mom and pop restaurant was having a hard time due to the recession, so they decided to enlist his services. Unfortunately the two parties had very different visions for the restaurant. The couple wanted to keep their food simple, sticking to the same small but delicious menu they'd had for years. The analyst kept trying to convince them to diversify their menu, offering a variety of foods similar to that found in the food court at the mall. Things really got heated one afternoon after the restaurant owners and analyst had the same fight not once, not twice, not even three or four times. The working relationship ended as the analyst walked out the door shouting, “You need to be more like a mall! Maller! For the FIFTH time MAHLER!”

At least my groans fell in harmony with the instruments.

I liked Mahler's music and am interested in hearing more of his work. That said, the best performance of the night was the twit behind me who butchered the National Anthem at the start of the night. If you are the only person in earshot who is singing, you should have a decent voice or, failing that, know the words. Then she had the nerve to blame her mistakes on the fact that she was following the conductor on the large screen and that there must be a tape delay. It was definitely the conductor that fooled her into singing "And the rockets' red glare" three different times. Right.

As a break from Mahler, a pair of xylophonists took center stage and started playing some song (I forget the exact title) in "A minor." They played for about a minute before announcing they were "just kidding" and would be playing something else instead. The crowd laughed because of course they wouldn't really play that joke of a song. It sounded fine to me. I guess I'm just the rube sitting in the nosebleed section who doesn't get the classical music humor. Maybe if they cracked wise about a "tromboner," I'd have gotten it.

I was all about the conductor. He just flailed about wildly the whole time. I think he was on meth. Surely, conductors are largely ornamental. There is no way the musicians can interpret those bizarre arm movements; I noticed the cellist trying to steal third base.

During the last movement, Andrew sneezed, and basically ruined the entire performance for everyone. I wouldn't have accepted his invitation if I had known he would just be such a rude dick. Mahler deserved better than that, Andrew.

All right, folks, keep it classy.


Well, I'm Convinced

Anna, while putting the finishing touches on her painting: "I'm going to call it either 'Closure' or 'Fuck you.'"



Playing Family Feud

Laura: Name a word that starts with the letter Z.
Alison: Uhhhhhh... zebra!
Laura: Number one answer.
Alison: Whew, I was going to say xylophone, but then I realized not many people would say that.


A Riddle

Anyone have a better guess - real, inappropriate, or otherwise?

UPDATE: (highlight below with your mouse for the answer - but don't do it until you've made your own guess!)
As commenter "Gay LDS Actor" guessed and Shanna subsequently confirmed, the answer is a coffin.

I still like roofies better.  And by that I mean I like slipping roofies and date raping, obvs.  
Don't hate, I'm JKing like Rowling.   


The Power Agents Are Spreading God's Word

A couple of months ago, a friend gave me a CD that this person knew I would love:

This friend was absolutely right.

How my friend obtained this CD is a hilarious story in its own right, but in order to keep people out of trouble, I either have to keep my friend anonymous or the kids' anonymous, and frankly, the Power Agents are better to share.

Power Agents is a singing duo comprised of two pre-teen sisters named Triniti and Destini. They love God so much, they were moved to write eleven of their own songs and record a CD.

Is it good? No. Is it bad? Not completely, anyway. The girls are ridiculous. If you're not a Jesus-freak, you'll probably snicker at the lyrics. And like any songs featuring children's voices, it gets annoying quickly. Still, I find the Power Agents's music useful: I pop it in my car CD player from time to time to get a rise out of my passengers, and it never fails to get a laugh. Plus, I have to admire the girl's mastery of the supplemental spoken word portions of songs. You can hear them do this throughout the, uh, hit "Talk 2 U Lord":

"So Destini, what do you want to tell God?"
"I want to tell him that I love him and I thank him. What do you want to tell him, Triniti?"
"I want to tell him that I adore him and I worship him because he's so cool."

It sounds like just a natural conversation between two sisters, not forced at all.

As a point of comparison, I find their music reminscent of another sister duo: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. In her younger years, my sister owned audio cassette tapes recorded by the twins. M.K.&A.O. certainly couldn't sing, but it wasn't about that... I'm not sure what it was about, actually, but it wasn't the singing.

I should be too embarrassed to admit this, but I haven't heard the song "Brother for Sale" in more than a decade, yet I still seem to know most of the words.

Back to Triniti & Destini. All joking aside, the first track on their album, "Power (Acts 1:8)," is insanely catchy. I'd dare say I even legitimately like it. When I've played it for friends, they, sometimes reluctantly, have the same opinion. Watch the girls perform lip-synch the song at some event:

Hear that dance beat? Shake what God gave you!

If you'd like to buy the Power Agents's CD, check out their website. Also, if you order in bulk, in multiples of 100 (your 300 closest friends would love this music!) then you get free shipping. Recognize a deal when you see one, folks.

My favorite part of their website is this testimonial from one of the girls:
HOW I KNOW THAT GOD IS REAL - By Destini - I know God is real. He gives me the music and the words to the songs I write, (Live A Life Of Love, Tell the Truth & Power). He just puts them in my head. I also know God is real and I know it is GOD who has kept me safe. When I was 3 years old, I was jumping on a trampoline in my uncle’s back yard and I thought I saw another trampoline. So I jumped on it, but it was a thin cover over his Jacuzzi. I sank 3 times then God taught me how to swim and how to get out of there alive. One time I was trying to turn off a night light with wet hands and I got shocked really bad all the lights in the house went off. I could have died but GOD saved me. I love the Lord & I Love to praise Him & thank Him for keeping me safe.

Mark my words, that girl will not live to see 16. And that's a shame, because these gals are a team. What would Milli be without Vanilli? I guess we'll just have to enjoy the semi-cute, semi-frightening music while it lasts. Hear more of their tunes for free at Power Agents's myspace page.


Health Insurance Reform

Obama held a press conference on his new health care proposals today. I watched it because I have a vested interest and I think Obama is a good president - even if he wasn't born in the United States.

You don't think about how important health care is until you don't have it. When I left my job, I had no idea I wouldn't be able to find insurance again. I came from a financially-secure family, so it was never a concern for me.

My problem is that I have a wonky jaw. I pursued it while on insurance, only to be told a few months later that there was really nothing that could be done about it, so they simply wished me luck with my broken life. When I tried to reapply for insurance, every company was like, "Um, you're damaged goods, piss off." It didn't matter that I was told I couldn't be treated for my problem, I was still at risk. Insurance is for people who don't get sick or injured. Insurance is for profit.

Case in point, I know of someone who also couldn't obtain health insurance after switching jobs because he got prescription ointment for jock itch. It probably only cost about $20, but he chose to use his health insurance to pay for that for him, so no company was going to risk covering someone who had the nerve to file a claim from time to time. They labeled jock itch a "pre-existing condition."

As for me, I can't even throw enough money at a company to be willing to cover me. Right now I am on catastrophic coverage, which means if I am lucky enough to get brain cancer, I'll be covered after I pay a $5,000 deductible. Heaven forbid anything minor occur, because then I'm shit-out-of-luck.

As I see it, anyone who is opposed to health care reform is either too rich, healthy, or plain lucky to know why the current system sucks so much. We can't guarantee "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" if we allow people to ail and die.

I don't have the solution, and I'm not even yet sure that Obama has the perfect solution, but it's several steps in the right direction. We can reform it more from there. But to leave people without any options in case of an emergency, that's reprehensible.

And if you have a problem with adding more competition to the market so that maybe companies will feel pressured not to simply drop someone for daring to ask for a fraction of the money they've put in over the years, then I hate you. I hate you so much that I hope you get polio and try to go to a doctor, only to find out they won't help you because, in some loophole, they say they don't cover outdated diseases, and you just suffer and go into debt thereafter.

And shhhhh. Don't tell the conservatives this, but how great will it be to have health insurance again? I'll probably have some MRIs just for fun! And I can finally get implants. Their tax dollars will pay for my breast enhancements. I'll get 'em so big they give me chronic back problems, but who cares, I won't be paying for that either! Maybe I'll even qualify for medical marijuana. Who am I kidding? Of course I'll qualify for medical marijuana. Obama will smoke me out himself.



Vandalism on the bathroom walls is commonplace at dive bars, but vandalism on the legally-mandated signs is more amusing. See if you can spot why this one made me laugh:

No persons under 21 inches allowed?  Way to be sizeist, dive bar.  Little people need booze, too.   


Penguin Relations

When this blog began, I was fascinated by gay penguins. Prior to reading an article on homosexual birds, it never occurred to me that animals could be gay. It makes sense, of course, but it's nothing I ever learned about at the zoo or in biology class. Still, it's noteworthy as it seems to validate homosexuality as natural.

This past week, the media covered the story of Harry and Pepper, famous gay penguins that ended their six year relationship when Harry left to be with the newly-widowed neighbor penguin, Linda. It's kind of sad, I guess, but not any more sad than how humans are using the incident to push their personal agendas. Here's a piece from the article I linked:
With Pepper rejoining the ranks of the single, Christian website OneNewsNow.com took the split as a sign that "nature prefers heterosexual relationships."

Others were more sympathetic to the bereft Pepper.

John, writing on "The Frigging Loon" blog, said he was "heartbroken" about the split and that he hopes Pepper "finds another male penguin that is ten times hotter than Harry!"

While those two, um, "experts" have strong feelings, my strongest feeling was a sense of déjà vu. Was this story really new? Hadn't I read the same thing a while back?

I did some research. As it turns out, back in 2005, a month after I learned about gay penguins, however, one of the other most high profile gay penguin pairs, Silo and Roy, broke up. I didn't write on the matter then, because I don't think it's my place to comment on birds' sex lives. Not to mention, I don't really understand how their sex lives work; I can't say I've ever mated with something with such indiscernible genitals that it would require a blood test to pinpoint its precise gender. Nevertheless, what I did notice from reading this old article was that before that hussy Scrappy entered the picture, Silo and Roy had dated for six years.

Six years? Both gay penguin couples dated for precisely six years before breaking up? You know what this means: "gay" is a six year fad. You can all feel better knowing that the next time you feel a touch of homosexuality coming on, you can just remain in the closet for six years until you've recovered.

Thanks for the life lesson, nature.


Heavens to Betsy!

While reading a somewhat shocking newspaper article, I said to myself, "Heavens to Betsy!"

Immediately, I cracked up. "Heavens to Betsy!"? I'm not sure where in my brain that antiquated expression has been hiding, but it's fairly amusing that it finally decided to surface. Though I'm familiar with "Heavens to Betsy," I don't think I've heard it used in years. In fact, I had to turn to the internet to confirm that I had even used it properly. From my research, I learned that it is used to indicate surprise in a curse-free manner, an old-fashioned "Oh golly!" What I couldn't ascertain, however, was where the exclamation came from. While "Heavens to Betsy" seems like it would have a great story behind its origin, language experts who have attempted to trace its conception have failed to find anything conclusive.

Thereafter, I went about my day, but couldn't stop telling myself, "Heavens to Betsy!" in various funny voices. I made myself laugh each time. Wanting to spread the joy and hear this absurd saying on a more regular basis, I requested that many people I know use the term in conversation. At least ten people took my challenge and spread the word. Heavens to Betsy, that's a lot of people.

Here are a few suggestions of ways you might say "Heavens to Betsy":
Heavens to Betsy, gas prices are high!
Heavens to Betsy, Michael Jackson died!
Heavens to Betsy, Jennifer Aniston was dumped again!
Heavens to Betsy, my old math teacher is on Wheel of Fortune!
Heavens to Betsy, there's a dead baby in this dumpster!

Incorporate this exclamation back into your vernacular, too, please.


Sexually Charged Literature

I first met "Victoria" when our mutual friends went to a hookah bar. I heard someone else refer to her as something other than Victoria, so I asked for her to clarify her name. "Oh, you can call me whatever you want, really," she said.

"Dirty whore?" I joked.

Whoops, that suggestion wasn't appreciated. Not a good way to acquaint myself. Victoria seemed cool, and she actually is, as I would ultimately find out, but it was way too soon for me to be able to make an unfunny quip to a near-stranger - or ever, really. I now regret it not only on principle, but because it made her uncomfortable. Fortunately, I did not make her as uncomfortable as her parents would about six months later.

At Parents' Weekend at my college, families are invited to stay through Monday so that they may attend classes with the college students and see precisely what they were paying so much money for. My parents didn't come this particular year, which was fine since they attended the year before and it was strange enough. They were on their best behavior, actually, but my sociology professor was less than stellar. He spent the entire hour sharing personal anecdotes tangentially related to the reading, meaning he delivered nothing of significant educational value. To make light of the situation, I showed my parents my "notes," which consisted of the names of the professor's childhood friends and former roommates, no-names in the world of academia, and they laughed.

At least this year's crop of parents was attending a better class. Granted, my literature professor was kooky, but he knew his stuff and facilitated some interesting discussions. The parents were encouraged to jump right in; I couldn't help but notice that feeling unashamed to comment on literature one has never read seems to be a hereditary trait.

I was in this class with Dirty Whore Victoria, who had brought her parents. Victoria's parents spoke a few times throughout class, mostly in order to hear themselves speak, I reckon. They were the type that got a kick out of feeling twenty-years-old again by spending their afternoon sounding intellectual and discussing fictional relationships and sex.

The text we discussed that day was D.H. Lawrence's "The Horse Dealer's Daughter," a short story with two protagonists who are put into a romantic situation. As it turns out, they both realize separately that they are not in love, but do not discuss these thoughts; feeling trapped by their circumstances, they agree to marry anyway. It is a tragic "love" story, leaving the reader feeling pretty depressed and just as hopeless as the characters. I thought the despair was palpable, but a couple students had some differing opinions. No opinions were as radically different as Victoria's parents, however. Toward the end of class, Victoria's mom admitted she was trying to catch up with the reading on the spot, but said she had a vastly different take on the end of the story.

Respectfully, the professor invited Victoria's mom to present her case. Victoria's mother felt that the main characters are genuinely in love, and the tension we sense is not contempt, but raw sexual energy. Intrigued, the professor asked Victoria's mother to elaborate and give some lines to support her position. She responded by reading a few lines, but the professor wasn't satisfied. "But what's sexual about that?" he asked. "Show me it's sexual."

This prompted Victoria's mom to try to read the dialogue in a sexy manner. It was awkward. In my opinion, the words aren't remotely "hot," but she kept trying anyway. Sensing her struggling, her husband finally attempted to assist her by simultaneously reading it sexually. While her parents made about 50 students and their families grow increasingly uncomfortable, Victoria put her head on her desk in embarrassment.

When another student interjected by reading one of the lines back at them sadly to show the despair rather than sexual tension, the parents took it as a cue to read the dialogue stronger and with even more passion. Victoria continued to avoid eye contact with everyone. Finally, the professor looked at his clock, still five minutes short of the class' scheduled end, and declared, "Well, I guess that's all we have time for, see you next Monday."

I think we all felt a little icky walking out of class that day.


"I Had Sex and Now Dad Is Dead. And He Had a Horrible Death Because I Had Incredible Sex."

I didn't think the dog eating a heart right before a heart transplant story line on One Tree Hill could be topped, but while flipping through through cable channels, I've stumbled upon a show that takes ridiculousness to a whole new level.

I wasn't even aware that a show called The Secret Life of the American Teenager existed until a couple of weeks ago, but now I'm really tempted to watch the whole series. It airs on ABC Family, so even when the show tackles a risque issue, it is followed by a heavy-handed moralistic message. Apparently, in the first season, a character had sex, so to reinforce the idea that people shouldn't have sex, she got pregnant. Fair enough, at least pregnancy is a potential consequence of sex. Evidently, however, that message wasn't strong enough - teenagers are still having sex, after all - so the show decided to up the ante. What if they had another character have sex... but this time, it would kill her father?!

In short, there's this girl who wants to have sex, but her dad tells her no. Then he leaves to fly away on a business trip and the girl disobeys. While she has sex, her dad's plane crashes and he dies. The girl then makes the only logical conclusion:

I love that not only does the girl accept the blame, but she also unnecessarily mentions how great the sex was twice to her mom.

But have they really made sure that kids get the message that having sex will kill their parents, yet? What if they toted out the character with Down's Syndrome to tug at the heart strings and reiterate the point? From what I can tell, despite his intellectual disability, this character, the slutty killer's brother, is generally the voice of wisdom on the show. It's one of those "clever" plot twists where the character you might assume would be the dumb one is actually the only one with any sense. Accordingly, he sensibly knows who killed his dad:

So anyway, three cheers for The Secret Life of the American Teenager and its inappropriate way of handling the issue of teen sex. I still fear the writers' message might be too subtle; next time a character has sex, I think terrorists should bomb the high school.

Extra: While searching for the above clips, I also came across this montage showing how the dad's funeral is thee social event of the year. It's fairly amusing, but more importantly, it's hosted by Topanga (yes, that Topanga!)

So that last girl had a baby and now can't do fun things like go to funerals. Shouldn't have had sex, you whore!


Don't Hate the Cyclists

My awesome new roommate, Dan, invited me to go on an art gallery bike ride this past weekend. It seemed like a great opportunity to get to know the area, see some cool art, and get some exercise. I wasn't sure how I'd do, considering I can't remember the last time (if ever) I rode fifteen miles, but Dan assured me that since it's a large pack, we move fairly slowly and make frequent stops, in addition to having riders of various skill levels. Indeed, the cyclists were a diverse crew in age, race, gender, and sexuality. Some had fancy, professional bikes, while others had bikes that looked like they were just salvaged from a dumpster.

The night reminded me of my days at Pitzer since it combined two scenes popular at college: a large biking community and art show hopping in the pursuit of culture and booze. Unlike the questionable student art at Pitzer, however, these galleries were phenomenal. One had functional furniture made out of recycled materials like buttons, bottle tabs, jigsaw puzzle pieces, and Scrabble boards. Another had pinball art, including an installation of a dozen classic pinball machines that you could play for free. A third gallery had paintings that I laughed out loud at, historical pieces

Along the way, we ate dinner and drank for free, which is a plus. At one point, I hadn't finished my hotdog as the group took off, so I rode uphill for a couple miles with one hand cradling my hotdog. I made that pretty difficult on myself. At the next gallery, I was taken in by the installation piece made to look like a hair salon. Only after a few minutes did I realize I was in a space that doubled as a gallery and salon, so the reason that it looked like so much like an authentic salon was because it really was one. Whoops! At least I wasn't the only one to go up close to the chairs and study the products as if they were exhilarating pieces of art. Maybe this just goes to show that art is partially bogus, but I enjoyed it anyway.

The downside of the night was that many motorists hate cyclists. There is no "share the road" mentality. Drivers honked, heckled, and intimidated. I understand that its' a mild inconvenience for cars to have to slow down and cautiously pass (if they even do that - the most annoyed seem to be the people who zoom by even closer and faster than appropriate as if to say "fuck you" if they aren't already doing so verbally), but to be that irate over people who are engaging in a healthy, environmentally-friendly activity is unwarranted. Your minds are as polluted as our air, assholes.

Before going on the trip, my roommate told me that there is always someone who drinks too much, falls, and eats pavement. That part didn't make me nervous, but the cars did, in spite of my lights and helmet. At one stoplight, the cars had stopped longer than necessary to let all of the bikes pass by. One car finally got impatient, however, and move forward to go through the herd, just as I was going by while making a wide left turn. The car's sudden movement terrified me and I tried to swerve and stop simultaneously, which resulted in me going down hard. I was scraped up and embarrassed, mostly because in a sea of 100 cyclists, I was the only one who had fallen all night. Fortunately, at that stage we were super close to my house, so I just pulled off early and tended to my wounds and bike.

I wish I had finished the ride, but I'm excited to play again, hopefully with a bit more balance and a bit less nerves, next month. If it still happens, apparently the same weekend, a cyclist was shot in the same area during a group ride. Why such animosity for the cyclists?


Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Have you met Sailor Jerry? He is like Captain Morgan, but less elitist and pretentious. He is the common man who doesn't need a fancy title to do a good job. He is an adequate bottle of rum.

A while back, I placed Sailor Jerry in a high cabinet since he only comes out for special occasions anyway. Such a night finally arrived, so I climbed on the counter and placed the bottle atop the refrigerator. Soon after, I encouraged Stacy to get some ice from the freezer; when she opened the door, it caused Sailor Jerry to fall off the edge and shatter on the ground into a sticky, glass-shardy mess.

Stacy's feet were soaked, but Sailor Jerry suffered a worse fate.

Sailor Jerry is dead in the water.
Sailor Jerry is lost at sea.
Sailor Jerry went down with his ship.
Sailor Jerry was forced to walk the plank.
Sailor Jerry went to a watery grave.
Sailor Jerry is sleeping with the fishes.
Sailor Jerry met a fate worse than scurvy.

Poor Sailor Jerry. We mopped the deck to clear his remains. It's not your fault, Jerry, it's mine. Though you came across as common and mediocre, you were still too classy for me. I'm not responsible enough to purchase alcohol in glass bottles; plastic bottles from here on out.


Foaming at the Mouth?

The funniest thing I saw at the zoo was not an odd-looking animal, but this sign:
Foaming at the Mouth?
You may see the male camel foaming at the mouth, with his tongue hanging out, and gurgling. Don't worry, this is normal. It just means that he is eager to mate with the female. And actually, it isn't his tongue hanging out, it's a special sac from the top of his mouth. It may not look appealing to you, but it looks great to a female camel.

I can only imagine how often the zoo staff must have heard from visitors that the camel looked like it had rabies that it finally put up a sign that acknowledges the camel is just plain horny. Don't worry, camel, we've all been there. Who hasn't gotten horny and had their special sac slip out while their mouth is foaming? Female camels know attractive when they see it.


The Lapdog

While I went through security at an airport in Vermont, the attractive lady behind me had nothing but a kennel with a cute yippy dog named Foxey. I tried to figure out what her deal was since she had some sort of temporary permit rather than a boarding pass. Where was she taking this dog?

She took a seat near me in the terminal, took Foxey out, and cooed to it in French. The plane that goes back and forth between NYC landed and I read a book while waiting for the passengers to get off so that I could subsequently board. A couple that I could tell was from Long Island before it came up in conversation deplaned and immediately became the center of attention as the woman shrilly screamed with excitement to see her new doggy.

Evidently, the couple had flown from New York just to pick up the puppy. The man was mostly silent, likely a learned condition from not being able to get a word in edgewise. The woman was awful in every way; I've never actually seen The Real Housewives of New York, but I'm pretty sure she'd fit in with that crew from my understanding of the show. "Lynette" as we'll call her, fake air kissed the dog's caretaker and screamed shrilly about how excited she was to get a new puppy. She took the dog into her arms, held it awkwardly by its butt so that it had no head support, causing Foxey to struggle to free itself from the unsafe, uncomfortable grip. At the first sign of struggle, Lynette commanded, "Take it!", dropping it in her husband's arms.

Lynette thanked the other woman, an employee for the breeder who had come to Vermont from Canada to transfer the puppy for making the trip. Lynette promised to be the best Mommy ever to the dog, rambling about some expensive dog supply store in the city, and claims to have bought "everything possible" from this shop, most notably a deluxe bed, large enough for a human adult. "It's so comfortable, I wish I could sleep in it. And I stay in only nice hotels, you know? It's that comfortable. Plus, I got her silk pajamas."

The breeder politely laughed about it sounds like the dog will be spoiled. "Isn't it great?!" Lynette responded. "I've bought things I don't even think a dog needs!"

Having delivered the dog, the breeder tried to excuse herself on numerous occasions, but Lynette kept saying, "Just a few more questions." Some questions were reasonable, inquiries about feeding and vets, but others were just ways of bragging. "Will she like it if I take it to a place to get doggy massages?" "I've been researching companies that make nice clothing for dogs, can you recommend any good ones?"

At some point, Lynette mentioned that she hated the name Foxey and was going to rename the puppy Maggie. "Maggie? That's the name of my boss' dog," the breeder said. "Oh, I know!" said Lynette. "That's the dog I had my heart set on. I saw a picture on the internet and I knew I wanted it, told him I'd pay anything. He said no because it was the family pet so he couldn't sell it, even when I kept increasing the offer. Finally, we negotiated that I would get one from the same litter. I'm naming it Maggie so I can just pretend it's the same one that I fell in love with."

Before she left, the breeder took the deposit of eight hundred dollars. I never heard how much the dog was in full, but if the deposit is $800, it must be pricey. They handed her the deposit, a bag with the money in cash. Although the breeder declined each time, Lynette told her it would be fine if she wanted to take it out and count it there in the terminal; I suspect she just wanted another way of flaunting her wealth.

Just as I thought I would finally get to leave the couple behind, they stood up with the dog and lined up to get back on the same plane. They had their lapdog and were ready to bring it back to NYC to its new posh lifestyle. In line, they told strangers how they had paid $750 for last minute plane tickets just to come get the dog. As luck would have it, my assigned seat put me in the row in front of this couple so I had to hear this horrid lady chat about the dog. The family across the aisle took an interest in the dog, which just encouraged Lynette further.

"I never thought I'd own a dog, they just seem so dirty. But a lot of rich people are doing it these days, you know, with the cute little ones. I love this breed because they're so rare. Years ago, only royalty owned these dogs because they're special. The dogs themselves were bred selectively, so it's like they have their own little royal bloodline!" I snickered. Some call that incest.

“Another reason I love this dog is because she’ll be bilingual. Since she was born, the breeder has just spoke French to her, so soon she’ll know two languages. I think knowing two languages is so important these days. Especially something nice like French. My daughter insisted on taking Spanish in high school, I didn’t understand that.” Maybe she could use the Spanish to speak to the help? Obviously, French is so must more practical to know in America than Spanish. And don’t get me started on the idea of a bilingual dog.

The other family was only able to reveal a few facts about themselves: the father owned a few restaurants in Quebec and they were all going on a vacation to NYC. Lynette wanted to recommend some restaurants for them to eat at. The father reminded her that he owns restaurants so he’s familiar with the scene, but Lynette would have none of it. She was so confident about her knowledge of New York City that she actually insisted that he “get out a pen! get out a pen!” until he obliged and did as he was told.

She spoke of one restaurant in particular. "But it has a strict dress code. We just went in for lunch this time and I was wearing jeans. These weren't just jeans, though, these were designer jeans and they weren't going to let me in. I started yelling that I spent a couple thousand dollars on these jeans and that I looked good in these jeans until they let us sit down. I think I might be the only person to have ever worn jeans in that restaurant!”

The flight couldn’t have landed sooner. I can’t recall encountering a phonier person in my life, someone so consumed with wealth and appearance. The dog might be living the most luxurious life a dog ever has, but I don’t think I envy it one bit.


Bev Has Been on My Crotch

I haven't been to the lesbian karaoke bar in quite some time, and our favorite dyke, Bev, has been texting me a couple times a week asking me to come back. It's been a weird transition from making fun of an enjoyably nutty old woman behind her back to becoming, more or less, legitimate friends with her. One night a few months ago she sat next to me and said, "I was thinking about you this week, and I realized I didn't know much about you." From there, we swapped life stories and suddenly I found it odd to intentionally call someone so nice by the wrong name just for kicks. Not that I've stopped calling her "Bev" yet, some jokes will just always be funny, but I do feel a bit bad.

Bev is hilarious when she texts me because she's at least 60 and still uses teenage text shorthand that even I'm not hip enough to know and I have to sit and decipher a confusing series of letters and numbers. I also have to read something about my friend Lindsay, the cute young thing with whom Bev is hopelessly in love. No matter what the rest of the message, so always throw in a reference to how attractive or talented Lindsay is and how much she misses her. I want to respond, "I see what you're using me for... love you, too, Bev." I mean, I know she likes me, I'm just not enough of a hot young vagina for her, I guess.

So since she's always on my case, I thought I should go out this week to pay her a visit and make an old lady happy. I hoped to carpool with some friends, so I sent a text to a few people, including Alissa, to see if they wanted to join me. I was at Margarita Mondays, so I wasn't completely paying attention, and managed to click on "Alyssa" instead of "Alissa" in my contact list, meaning the wrong Alyssa got the following message:

"Bev has been on my crotch so i think I'll take a trip to the dyke bar weds. Wanna hitch a ride?"

Alyssa, I should mention, is my former colleague, a middle-aged teacher with three kids. Soon after, Alyssa responded with, "Who is this?"

Only then did I recognize my mistake. Funniest Margarita Monday texting mistake since MM 2nite? Fortunately, given Alyssa's response, it seems that either she doesn't have my phone number saved anymore or didn't seem to believe that I would say that. Either way, I decided the best move was to ignore it. I had been meaning to say hello to Alyssa again recently since we were friends and it has been more than a year since we've been in touch, but now I think I'll stay silent for at least another year to give her a chance to forget my number again.


As Seen on the Internet

As dedicated as I am to this blog, sometimes I submit content to other websites.

In March, I was a runner-up in Overheard in New York's headline contest.  What an awful pun!  But I did get linked by one of the web's most popular blogs, so it works for me. 

Last month, my submission to The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks was posted.

There is a restaurant/rest stop called the Mad Greek midway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, a fact you would never forget since billboards advertising The Mad Greek practically line the route between these two cities.  I finally decided to give the place a try and was pleased to discover this sign posted.  I could give the quotation marks around "GODS" a pass if the author's perspective is that the gods didn't really exist, but I don't know how to justify the "YOU" part.  Talk about serving up an existential crisis!

Yesterday, I snapped another photo:

Good luck buying a flag there! I'll let y'all know if it is accepted down the road.

The last link I'll provide dates all the way back to 2002 when the fine staff of my idol, David Letterman, selected my entry as a winner for a top ten contest. I never watched Star Wars so I fell back on referring to the actual blockbuster at the time, Spiderman. I submitted a few different quotes that week, and I recall believing that the one picked was the worst of the lot, but whatever, I won an official t-shirt which I wore with pride for years to come.

New content tomorrow, I promise!


Coach Craig

When I worked as a teacher, I had a number of colleagues who were in the profession not to teach, but to coach. Most of them were ex-jocks who never grew out of the mentality that high school sports is the only thing in life that matters. By being a teacher, they had first dibs at leading the after school sports teams, and it also helped pay the bills considering that coaching wages are nominal at best.

I knew the type firsthand, since I had one of those teachers in high school, Coach Craig. No bones about it, Coach Craig was a football coach first and Health teacher second. More accurately, he was a coffee drinker second, a newspaper reader third, and maybe a Health teacher fourth, but that is being generous. Nothing else mattered since he had the prestige of leading the football team. Even with an impressive 2-10 record, the football team, as is the case at most schools, received all of the attention, including my own mandatory attendance as a member of the marching band. Never mind that we actually had good teams that won state championships – most of those were girls’ teams. Title nine can force schools to give them teams, but they can’t force them to give them fans!

Man, was Coach Craig a crappy teacher. When he was not using class time to convince us of his team’s importance or giving us surprise “study halls” so that he could sit at his desk and devise new plays, he was phoning in his lessons. His lesson on eating disorders consisted of showing us pictures of anorexic girls on the internet, some of which were semi-nude, and declaring that most of them weren’t attractive “except for a couple.” To “teach” us about sex and drugs, he showed us the NBC miniseries The ’60s in its entirety; our permission slip was to just promise not to tell our parents or the principal.

Coach Craig was also the only person I’ve ever known in my life to ask for work to be “quantity not quality.” It was apparent that he did not actually read our written assignments, a theory I put to the test with my five-page final paper on sleep deprivation. In this paper, I quoted and credited Dr. Seuss as my source, using nonsensical rhyming lines from the good doctor’s Sleep Book. Additionally, rather than writing a whole essay that would never be read, I simply cut and paste the first paragraph I had written as many times as it took to fill six pages; I went for six pages rather than five because I was striving for quantity over quality, apparently. When I received the paper back, I had only been docked five points because I failed to use a color printer, which supposedly would have made my essay look more professional.

For whatever reason, Coach Craig kept his job, even after he hit a student. The school helped cover up the scandal, which only resulted in additional scandal, all in the name of doing what exactly? Protecting the worst teacher and coach ever? The high school administration sure took a page out of Coach Craig’s unsuccessful playbook on that one. Coach Craig had tenure, so he probably would have had to kill a kid before losing his job. Forget that he taught us nothing of substance , he had already completed many years of teaching and would get to ride it out until retirement. Quantity over quality, after all.