23 February 2009

alligators and chickens

i've been blogging on sheets of paper shoved in pockets rather than online. the comments i get are few but interesting. i will begin unloading my pockets today--starting with the least interesting scrap of paper.

another strange combination of tv shows has changed my world view. we've been watching leave it to beaver season one. on the third episode beaver buys an alligator though the mail. he is disappointed it is so small. i am shocked into remembering my own childhood when such things were possible. a kid could buy an alligator or baby chicks from ads in the back of a comic book. every dime store had packets of "mexican jumping beans" at the counter (poor little grubs stuck in nuts). living things were toys. such cruelty is hard to imagine in today's world.

then we watched a documentary on the secret life of chickens. no high-waisted pants like on leave it to beaver, but interesting nonetheless. one part of the show focused on egg laying factories. six or seven chickens stuck in each pen, unable to move their wings, pecking at food and laying eggs until they die. i'm pretty sure such facilities weren't around in the 1950s. such cruelty would be hard to imagine in yesterday's world.

16 February 2009

the machines are calling

despite putting my name on every do-not-call list over and over again and despite being one of the least pleasant people to call, i continue to get sales calls. i get fewer and fewer human callers; perhaps they put me on thier list because of my various routines.

sometimes i ask a lot of questions, like: do i know you? i'm sorry if i've forgotten. could you tell me how i know you again? are you related to george?

sometimes i just yell "jerry?" over and over.

sometimes i pretend not to understand what they are talking about. why would i give money to the heart disease fund? i'm against heart disease.

sometimes i ask for something they don't have. that insurance plan doesn't sound appealing, but i could use some bread. i'll give you five bucks if you would bring some over.

and on and on (and of course there is the crazy swearing tirade).

but now it's a machine. over and over for several months i get the same call: "This is your last opportunity to lower the interest rates on your credit card. . ." I have hung up. I have dialed one to refuse the offer. Twice I have dialed two to speak to a representative (to get their name and number so I can report them). Both times I get put on hold for twenty minutes before the machine hangs up on me. What can it be? If they are selling something, what could they be selling by not saying who they are or what they offer, and have no one to talk to? I suspect terrorists. Please let me know if you have any information so I can forward to homeland security.

12 February 2009

uglycousin 6 now online

i interrupt my normal blogging to announce the coming of uglycousin 6: the lost ugly issue. we usually feature great poems and stories that have been previously rejected by other publications. in this issue we decided that reading submissions was hard. it would be easier just to put up some of our own stuff. so this issue is uglyangie's "kisses from the trash," and seven short shorts of mine. read, enjoy, get ugly.

i will resume blogging as soon as you visit uglycousin. if interested, read the submission guidelines for the next issue. we will fade into the background once again.

11 February 2009

little dreams, big dreams

i find that in my real life i'm satisfied with little dreams. i'm not too ambitious in the standard sense of the word. my bucket list: finish organizing the basement. my dream body (meaning one i would like to have): jim belushi. i've got enough to eat, i've got enough house, i don't mind my job, i've got plenty to read, i get to go to the minow a couple times a week, and i am satisfied in my personal and family relationships. i don't even have any issues from childhood to deal with. i hope my cat is able to lose weight, but that's the closest to a real concern i have.

my life is like a willa cather novel, i think (and not just in the way that they often go off in strange directions for a while or the way in which they often include czech characters). if you catalogue the horrible events and tragedies that occur in one of her novels, it looks like the saddest books ever. after reading one, though, there is a sort of peaceful, happy aftertaste.

in nighttime dreams, though, i like big adventure. if i say i dream of being a movie star, i mean at night. i was reading a dream sort of comic in Daniel Clowe's Caricature last night, and i think we dream in the same world--cool discoveries, giant buildings growing out of nowhere, familiar people in unfamiliar places. when i sleep i am highly ambitious. i like to leave town and seek new adventures. during the day, i'm satisfied by vacumming and yelling at the cat until uglywife comes home.

09 February 2009

medieval job market

we've been watching an old pbs series about medieval times. some of the jobs seem pretty cool. since the job market isn't all that great in dowagiac, michigan, i'm thinking of moving to medieval times and changing careers.

peasant: bad title, not a bad job. sure, there's the toil, but the taxes are lower than here. you only have to work a couple months for the landowner, rather than nearly four months for the government.

doctor: they get to experiment on people, which is always fun. apparently, being wholistic healers, they evaluate the humors (which i have done before), and then look at the person's urine. the only downside to the job is that part of the urine inspection is a taste test. "hmmm, your urine seems to be sweet. we will have to let some blood."

monk: i like the clothes. most of them got hookers, too. i'm afraid i couldn't learn the sign language, though. it seemed very elaborate.

philosopher: best job ever. it is perfect for the dabbler like me. sure, there's the contemplation, but there is also cool chemical experiements, and the ability to give unsolicited advice to kings.

knights and outlaws and minstrals have too high a liklihood of getting killed. the clothes are too flashy for me as well. so i'm going to scan the medieval classifieds for philosopher openings. it may finally be my time to move.

08 February 2009

save money with scott and oprah

once again, while scanning through channels, i hit upon oprah giving money saving tips to rich people. it was the end of the segment, and oprah said something like "our experts were able to save this family more than 2000 dollars a month." most people i know are unable to find 2000 dollars a month.

oprah acts astonished as her experts uncover great money saving secrets like "bring your own lunch to work," "get a cheaper phone plan," and "do some of your own yard work rather than spend hundreds a month on your lawn crew." people i know make decisions about their "lawn crew" like who's turn is it to mow? or can i get another year out of this old mower?

a word of advice to those that can afford such things: stop listening to oprah. spend like crazy. your laziness and excesses are what we need to stimulate the economy.

a few money saving tips for the rest of us:

1) to save money on shoes, simply "try on" a pair at wal mart and continue to test drive them for a couple months. when you leave your old ones behind, it isn't really stealing. it's trade. wal mart is doing fine.

2) to save on groceries, become a popular dinner guest. visit people at meal times. turn down the first request to stay by saying "no, i don't want to impose"; then stay out of politeness. bonus points for bringing home leftovers.

3) to save on gasoline, coast as much as possible. on flat, well-paved, surfaces, shut off the car, pretend it won't start, and push it for a block or two. sometimes others will pitch in.

4) to save on home heating, turn your thermostat all the way down. get a refrigerator box from an appliance store, and remove enough insulation from the attic to cover the box. you will find that sitting inside of the box inside your home will be very comfortable all winter long.

next time, how to tan with generic cheetos and how to drain neighbors' hummingbird feeders to make a refreshing summertime drink.

05 February 2009

teeth whitening

readers of my sad little comic, sat, know that i had a horrible experience with hair dye while trying to make myself younger looking for vacation last summer. in a 24 hour period i had my head scorched, feared losing my hair, and looked at various points like ronald mcdonald and sharon osborne.

now it is teeth whitening. we tried strips last month. getting the strips out of the wrapper proved to be too difficult to me. when i got them out and tried to stick them to my teeth, i succeeded about 30 percent of the time. i believe i whitened my tongue and nose much more than my teeth.

yesterday i was at the dollar store and saw boxes of tooth whitening for only seven bucks. no sticky strips and only five minutes for results. i bought two boxes. uglywife and i sat in bed trying to find the right combination of light and magnifying lenses to read the instructions.

step one: mix up some noxious pre-rinse (which we did in shot glasses), swish and rinse. not too bad. i hardly vomited at all. i did gag once, though, which made uglywife spit half of hers on my arm.

step two: put an even bead of the white stuff on each side of the little mouth piece, stick it in the mouth, bite down, and hold for at least five minutes. we did it. what followed could pry secrets out of enemy spies. apparently we put too much stuff on the mouth piece. big globs of it swam around my tongue and threatened to cut off my air supply. (i swallowed it, by the way, which the box says is not a good thing.)

the taste was overwhelming. imagine a chemical that could clean barnacles from ships. between gagging and laughing and crying, it was amazing that we managed to last the entire five minutes. every natural reflex had to be subdued to accomplish the task.

i'm not sure how it will do as a tooth whitener, but it would be an excellent diet plan. there is no way to put anything in your mouth for at least eight hours after a whitening. maybe some things aren't meant to be bought generic. i'm so cheap, though, i will continue the torture until the giant bottles are gone, or until it buries me. my corpse will be brilliantly white, but i'll be too toxic to put in the ground.

03 February 2009

boring bob's back

we ran into boring bob down at the minnow last week. we hadn't seen him in some time--forever, as the kids say. his real name is bob. i give him the name "boring bob" to disguise his identity. and because he's boring. in fact, we learned he had grown even more boring. but i guess you can't expect an oak tree to grow less oaky.

he was at the minnow to meet with fellow classmates from 1989 to plan their upcoming reunion. when his classmates arrived they proved the theory that all smart and good looking people have fled the midwest.

bob went up and hugged a women whose fat hung from her like sacks of tears. the reunion will be a sad affair. i hope it will be at the minnow so i can watch.

at any rate, i saw bob, i yelled "bob," as i used to do. he lunkered over, head down a little, glasses foggy from the temperature change. i asked how he was doing. "fine." i said i hadn't seen him in a while. "well, cheaper to drink at home. the economy, you know." i asked him if he was still working. "yea, same job, doing pretty well." i guess his economic worries were adopted to fit in.

i have no idea what, if anything, he said next. in years past his boring behavior was amusing. now his mannerisms and soft eeyore voice triggered self-hypnosis. i was transported to a different place and time.

i have attempted many times to clear my mind in meditation and found that i lack the discipline and focus. all i needed to do was invite bob to talk to me and my mind would be filled with blissful nothingness. god bless boring bob, the boring bodhisattva.

02 February 2009

monday's unsolicited advice

to commercial makers in general: stop the violence.

to pepsi in particular: stop the nonsensical "historical" connections.

first things first. i like violence, profanity, and pornography as much as the next person. i also know that american humor has a violent streak (and have even studied it to the point of humorlessness). that being said, such things in my advertisements don't appeal to me. a little self-deprecation, a clever double entendre, or a little sex appeal are fine. going over the edge to explicitness in any catagoy doesn't seem right. i noticed a lot of guns and car chases and punches in the commercials this year, and i didn't like it. at least nothing was as bad as last year's offering from the american heart association, in which people dressed as things bad for the heart grabbed an old man, took him in an alley, and beat the crap out of him. not nice to beat the elderly.

and now, pepsi. i have been dedicated to pepsi products for my entire adult and near adult life. i buy pepsi for the same reason that anyone buys a particular brand of something that tastes pretty much like the other brands: tradition. i'm a michigan fan and i drink pepsi. god bless bob seger, eucher, and peach schnopps. i don't pretend to be a thinking man.

so what did they do to lose my business? in one of their less than memorable commercials, they were pairing images from 30 or 40 years ago with images from today. i guess the message was: america can't come up with anything original and neither can we. the only images that i remember are those that angered me. on the left of the screen was john belushi. on the right was jack black. please. i shouldn't have to explain why this comparison is odious. i want to like jack black, but haven't been able to very often. belushi was funnier, smellier, more original, crazier, made better movies, and could consume a hell of a lot more drugs than black.

though belushi said, "no coke. pepsi," i now say neither. i put my vote in for "whatever is on sale."