Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hook, Line, and Chorus

      You listen to music.  I listen to music.  But I will admit that I don't always listen to it as deeply as some people, but I still listen to it.  There are many songs on my many playlists that I have come to love because of their lyrics, or maybe because of the way the music wraps around everything, or whatever.  But it's rare that I fall for the big hook, the sell-out for mega-cash money sort of songs that everyone seems to go for.  This is illustrated well by the Nickelback phenomenon.  Sue Too is super excited to go to see Nickelback in March, and that's fine.  I am glad she's excited.  And I will admit that a long time ago, when they first came out with their first album, I saw Nickelback open for Everclear.  Wonderful.  But I wouldn't be caught dead at one of their concerts now.  Because I am on to them and their music just doesn't do it for me anymore.  I don't fall for their tricks because I rarely fall for the big hook that leaves everyone screaming.  But lately, the last few days, I am not so sure anymore.  I've been falling for songs like a summer camper falling for the teenager who is in charge of the girls' cabin.
     Oh my it's true, and it's a little maddening.  One by one by one they have come down the line and just swept me in and eaten me up.  I go through these intense periods when I cannot stop listening to a certain song, album, whatever.  It's an addiction and it makes me sick with myself.  The sad thing is that I have no shame.  I tell everyone about my little tawdry affairs, and sometimes I blast the news not so much from the mountain but certainly from the speakers of my car.  And I will name names.  I am more than happy to kiss and tell.
      It began I think, with Jimmy Eat World.  Their album Chase This Light is pretty much in permanent heavy rotation in my car's CD player, which sadly is just about the only place I still listen to CD's.  But something like three-quarters of the songs on that album have me hook, line, and chorus.  You know exactly what I am talking about.  Even to this day, over a year since I first laid down $15 or whatever for me I still get excited when I see that lime green disc lying about or moving towards my Pioneer.  I can sing along to just about every song word for word, pause for pause, but I probably couldn't sing it to you right now.  That's the mark of a good album.  Because it's Italicnot like I sat down with the CD cover and made a concerted effort to learn all the words.  It just sort of happened.  So it's not something I can just recall, it's just a part of me that each song stirs.  Now that's cool.
     I have had a long affair with JEW and it still continues today.  But recently I also started seeing Carolina Liar on the side.  They came out with an album called Coming to Terms that I have been coming to terms with for a few months now.  It actually began as a love/hate relationship, in that I mean I loved some of the songs and hated some of the others.  But then a funny thing began to happen.  The more that disc spun in my CD player the more I came to tolerate and even respect the songs I had used to hate.  It's amazing what happens when you give something a chance, isn't it?  It's like when your best friend starts dating this guy that you hate.  All your other friends hate him too.  But eventually you have to give him a chance for the sake of your friendship and so you do, and the more he's around and the more you hang out with him the more you come to like him.  You might not be best friends - you might not call him up to hang out just on your own - but you forge this working relationship and begrudging respect for one another.  And so it goes with me an Carolina Liar.  I don't do a whole lot of fast forwarding anymore, I just take the "crappy" songs for what they are and move on.  On to the songs that I just can't get enough of.  That is until Cath comes along...
     I have never been the biggest fan of Death Cab for Cutie.  I mean, one will find "Soul Meets Body" on my iTunes but that's about the maximum extent of it.  But when I first heard "Cath..." I was in love.  Desperately in love.  There was not a minute of the day when that tune wasn't on my mind or in my speakers.  Just mentioning the name right now causes it to start in my mind.  And now I've started it on my iTunes so I can listen to it while I type out my thoughts about it.  How crazy is that?  But I love it.  I love what the singer is saying, I love the way he is saying it, and I love the melodies that accompany him.  It's just an all around amazing package that leaves me singing in the shower, which is an impressive feat for a basically emo song.  I had a deep, all consuming passion for Cath and everything to do with her.  Until Keane came along that is.
     The band Keane released Perfect Symmetry, their third major label album in the United States, and I asked for it for Christmas.  That's how it all began.  Me being me, it sat unopened on a table until last week, when it was opened and I decided I would make an effort to hear it through.  From the moment the first major chord stomped down upon me with both feet I was hooked like a hapless perch on a tip-up during ice fishing season.  You want to talk about a big musical hook having the desired effect, well this is it.  From the moment that first big sweeping chord dropped on me from the sky I was transported through a musical dream ride of crazy combinations of instruments and totally fresh and addictive melodies.  Oh my, it's bad.  I've got it bad for Perfect Symmetry.  I am so far beyond head over heels it's not even close to funny.  I just cannot get enough.  I will give you one guess as to what played after "Cath..." was done.  Yeah, that's right. 
     So the moral of the whole long story is that I've been falling for some big hooks coming from unsuspected lines.  I don't know why.  Maybe I am just in the mood for a good tune.  Maybe the music people are making is getting better.  I don't really know.  And I don't really care.  See, it doesn't matter to the fish why they are hooked on the line.  Once they are being lugged around by the mouth or gills it's a whole different ball game.  They don't remember or particularly care about the delicious night crawler that first lured them in, they just care that they are hooked and are dealing with how to get unhooked.  And so it is with me.  Although I am not quite ready to be unhooked.  As soon as we are done here I think I am going to go ahead and put all the stuff I just talked about into one mega-blowout playlist.  Then, tomorrow, the authorities and emergency responders and nice men in white jackets will have to pick me up and take me away.  And I will be happy as a clam.  That's what happens when you are caught by the music; hook, line, and chorus.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tweet

     The other morning, Tuesday morning to be precise, I rolled out of bed in the Worldwide Headquarters and was engaging in my usual morning ritual of hating life and frantically searching for my pants. It was during a lull in this exciting adventure that I heard a little squeak coming in from the hall. It sounded exactly like the sound a basketball player's shoes make on the hardwood basketball court when they make a cut. Now, the hallway outside the Worldwide Headquarters is not a basketball court. It's not even wood. It's tile that's older than me and my mom combined, which is fine. But I have heard the right combination of shoes and tile make that sound, so I just assumed that it was someone going off to work or school. Perhaps a small child. But that sound usually only comes when someone is booking it up the stairs into their apartment. And no one is coming home at 7 am unless it's me on the weekend coming home from the hotel. But I still chalked it up to some kid running around. Until I heard it again.
     And then again. And again. At regular, widely spaced intervals. That's when I figured out what it was. It was a smoke detector. You know how your smoke detector beeps slowly when it has a dying battery until it annoys you into changing it? Well that's what this one was doing. So I did my civic and lazy duty and called the landlord from work. Or at least I called his business, because that's the only number I have for him. But the nice lady who answered the phone told me that the landlord was not available. Neither was his wife. They were both out of town for like a week, which meant that I guess it was on me.
     So I went out into the hallway and deciphered that it was the smoke detector on the second floor landing that was the problem. So I disconnected the battery and went on my way. But when I came home I could still hear the beeping. So I replaced the battery in the second floor smoke detector and pulled the one on the third floor, outside my apartment. I figured that since the apartment next door was vacant, I was the only one hearing that detector and thus the only one with a problem. Also, I didn't know it was there for a day and a half. So I pulled that battery and nothing. I pulled all the batteries on all the smoke detectors in the stairway. I pulled the batteries from the smoke detectors in my apartment, even though I knew it wasn't them. And still that little "tweet." That's when I figured it out.
     The offending smoke detector is in the empty apartment next door. Yeah. The one that no one has a key to except the landlord who is God-knows-where for God-knows-how-long. Yeah. Only in my life. So I have been making a valiant attempt to live with it. And it's not working. I am going a little nutso. Actually, I am going a lot nutso. Sue Too hit the proverbial nail on the head when she said it was torture. That's exactly what it is. So I have been weighing my options. I could go stay in a freezing cabin with no heat, electricity, running water, or TV. That would be better. I suppose I could just wear headphones at all times. I just thought of that one and I like it. My favorite option is to kick the door open Chuck Norris-style and just pull the battery. After I poke around a little bit of course. But I am pretty sure I'd be in some deep shit for doing that, and that's the last thing I need with the way things have been going lately. Knowing the state of my crappy apartment, I am thinking that my best bet is going to be to try and crack in through a window or something. Maybe use the credit card trick on the front door. Because this has to stop. And I know the battery is going to outlast my psyche. And so it is. It's down to my becoming a criminal or becoming a mental patient. I know, most of you are going to say that I am much closer to becoming the later, but let's be honest, I am about one freak out away from being both. So it's on. So the detector can be off. Because I can't kick the door in. And I don't look good in headphones.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Neighbors' Grass

     The grass is always greener on the other side.  I speaks a lot for what we've learned as a society that I have never hear or uttered that time-worn expression in a non-sarcastic manner.  I've never been clinging to a life raft in the South Atlantic and seen a piece of flotsam bobbing by on the current and thought to myself "I wonder if I would have a better chance of floating to safety on that thing.  I mean, it looks pretty rickety and is barely afloat, but you know the saying: 'The grass is always greener on the other side.'"  Then, ten minutes later I am going my best imitation of Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic and slipping beneath the waves.  Whenever I say it I am always sitting at my desk talking about how that girl over in that other department traded in her super nice, successful boyfriend just because he smokes and hooked up with that transient who floats through town once every three months and who never has a job but his parents bought him a SWEET Jeep that he doesn't deserve just because he looks cool and now we all know she's going to be miserable and worse off.  Inevitably, someone says "Whatever" and I go "Yeah, the grass is always greener..."  I don't even finish it.  That's how deeply and sarcastically it's ingrained into out collective psyche.  So we know, right?  We understand all about it, don't you think?  Yet still...
     Yet still we spend the bulk of out lives either sleeping or chasing after the things we don't have and can't possibly need.  What surrounds us, what we call our own is never good enough, and it's like a race to get to where we are not.  Now, because I am so fantastic, I will give you an example.  Let's take a look at age.  Well, not age so much as a concept relating to age that there really isn't a good word for yet.  For instance, when you are young, like in your teen years, you spend all your time trying to be older.  You steal you brother's car even though you are not old enough to drive.  You sneak into movies rated "R."  You get in way over your head doing something because you want nothing more than to be older than you are right now.  Well here's the deal, sister.  Appreciate the youth that you have, because by the time you are my age or older, like in your forties, you do nothing but try to recapture your youth.  Hello!?  you play softball and climb around on the roof, you buy a fast car and act like you're all cool.  You spend your forties trying to do all the stuff that you didn't have time to do when you were in your teens because you were too busy acting like you were in your twenties.  But the grass is always greener...
     It happens with the little kiddos, too.  I am at the point in my life where the people that surround me are starting to have kids.  And once those kids get to a certain age, like two or so, they decide that naps no longer are part of their agenda.  And that's bullshit.  Because I am not that old, and you know what?  I would kill the right person if it would get me a nap.  I would steal a car, drive it around town, bouncing off other cars, the take it to the abandoned quarry and light it on fire to collect the insurance money for the owner if it meant I could just lie down for like two hours in the afternoon.  Yet somewhere out there David Nathaniel is marching his kids Trail of Tears-style (sometimes literally its a trail of tears) up the stairs to bed.  If they only knew.  But they see the grown-ups are awake all day and being awake is WAY more fun than being asleep in their book and so the battle begins.  And here I am chugging coffee at 2:30 pm because if you fall asleep in a desk chair bad things happen.  But the kids don't know.  The grass is always greener...right kids?
     And so it is.  We always aspire to something other than our own reality.  Young men with full heads of hair are shaving them bald while balding men are paying to have the hair from their thighs planted on their scalps like so many stalks of wheat.  We can never like what we have, but somewhere, someplace, at some time, some person is wanting exactly what we have today.  The Worldwide Headquarters is in a centrally located building within walking distance of work, the grocery store, and the movie theatre.  Yet I have been surfing local realty company websites despite the fact that I am too broke to even think about maybe thinking about buying a house someday.  And somewhere there is a person who is really sick of mowing the lawn and isn't so keen on having to drive everywhere for everything.  The grass is always greener...
     Now I know what you are thinking.  I can hear you whispering it to your friends.  And I admit it.  Sometimes the grass IS greener on the other side.  Sometimes it's literal.  Back at the old Worldwide Headquarters the neighbors always watered their lawn.  The landlord did not.  So the grass was literally greener on the other side.  But they paid dearly when the water utility came calling ever month.  So while what he has and she does may seem so much better, there is always some sort of trade off, some sort of hidden cost.  And so it goes, with everything in life.  The grass is always greener...
     The worst part, the WORST part, is that you usually can't see the other side.  One has to jump the fence on nothing but faith alone.  That's where the sarcasm comes in.  Because often it's pretty good where you happen to be sitting.  The grass around your feet is lush and green in it's own right.  Maybe not fairway-at-Augusta green but green enough.  It takes a great amount of consideration, and a considerable leap of faith to jump the fence into the unknown on the neighbors grass.  Often it's green and lush and verdant.  And often it's a desolate wasteland of brown sticks and tennis balls that have been run over by the lawn mower.  But you never know, and that's the adventure.  It's one thing to make the switch when things are going okay for the wrong reason.  Don't jump the fence away from your green grass just because a dead leaf fell down from above.  But don't stay around until it's all brown.  Knowing when is not so much the trick, but the art.  Because usually there is nothing wrong with your own yard.  You just have to know when conditions are right to go play on the neighbors' grass.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Very Hairy Situation

     For those of you who don't know, I am employed in an office full of women. Dr. J and I are the only Y chromosomes to be found. Now, normally this doesn't bother me whatsoever. In fact I enjoy it most of the time. There is a lot to be said for like ten people watching out for your well-being and keeping you honest. So it's great. Most of the time. But this morning I finally ran into one of the few disadvantages to being surrounded by a compliment of lovely ladies. And that's the hair factor.
     Two nights ago, Sue Too went out and got her hair done, which is fine. It looks nice, everything ship shape, so on and so forth. But that seemingly insignificant event led to such an explosion of hair-related converstation yesterday, I didn't even know what to do. Dr. J was away at his office hours in another building, and I was left to weather the storm all by my lonesome. And that's what it was like. A hurricane. One normal eveny, getting your hair done, or say a thunderstorm over the eastern Atlantic, met with the right kinds of conditions and blew up into something huge and threatening to my well being.
     And I like hair. When I see a girl that's the first thing I notice. I know, that's not normal. I know that I am strange in that regard and I am sure that someday down the road I will have to spend many thousands of dollars lying on a couch talking about it with a professional, but that's just how I am. I am not a fan of short hair on women, I am sorry. So I tend to be a little more sensitive to changes in hairstyles in women because that's always one of the parts I am checking out. I am not like the typical guy who is just hoping to notice there has been a change so he doesn't get yelled at. I am actually sort of actively interested in girls hair. You can stop laughing now. But still, considering all that, the intense, multi-faceted hairgasm that went on in my office yesterday made my brain leak out of my ear. I can't even imagine what it would have been like for a normal guy. The only way I was able to survive it intact was to stare at my computer screen like I was getting ready to say "Mirror, mirror, on the wall..." to it and begin asking questions. And my computer wasn't even on. My body did the equivalent of bears hibernating in the winter. It shut down all of my sensory functions except the very lowest level of hearing I had until the danger had passed by. That's how it protected my brain from leaking out of my ear. All I could hear was a far-away and echo-y sort of din until the malestrom died down. Then I reanimated like I was freaking Walt Disney in the year 2100 or something.
     But I did survive, and I am no worse for the wear. The Ladies got to discuss their hair-related agenda, I got what was essentially another ten minutes worth of sleep, albeit with my eyes open, and Sue Too got a new, tried-and-true hairstyle. And it's all fine. It comes with the territory. And I can't really complain because for every time The Ladies have had to hear my say to Dr. J "Huh huh, you just said 'balls!'" I can listen to them discuss someone's hair, or discuss menopause, or discuss whatever they want to. The way I figure it everything basically comes out a wash in the end. But this was such an unexpected and frantic hair-related buzzing that it just sort of took me by surprise. I guess that I had better not get the mowhawk like I had planned, Shit would go crazy then.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras

     Finally. A holiday that I can really sink my teeth into. A holiday that I can really get behind. A holiday that I should get off for, because it's a hoilday that celebrates me. It's Mardi Gras.
     For those of you who aren't aware of the history and the meanings behind Mardi Gras, let me explain it to you. It's a Catholic holiday that is deeply tied in with the ideas of Easter and Lent. Here's the deal: the forty days before Easter are the Lenten holiday in the Catholic religion. The first day of lent is Ash Wednesday, the day that everyone who is Catholic walks around with little ash smudges on their forehead. Fine. But the thing about Lent is that it's a time for personal restriction. You can't eat meat on Fridays, you are supposed to give up something important to you, etc. So Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday, was developed as a way to go nuts before the season of fasting. That's right, it's the bachelor party of the religious comminuty.
     Mardi Gras, however, has become so much more. It's definitely the dark horse of amazing holidays. Everyone goes on about Spring Break all the time. Spring Break this, and Daytona Beach that, and South Padre Island, blah blah blah. No! Listen. New Orleans or Mobile or Biloxi at Mardi Gras, that's where it's at. It's like a celebration of public drunkeness and debauchery. Food is dirt cheap. Booze is dirt cheap. Guys, girl will flash you for chains of 25¢ plastic beads. Are you kidding me? Are you seriously messing with my head? I don't know how this isn't a national holiday. I do not understand why ANYONE, ANYWHERE is at work today. George W. Bush loved to party back in his day; he had eight years to get this done, I don't know why he didn't make it into a permanent national holiday. I am so excited that the last line wasn't even close to a complete sentence.
     The thing I love about Mardi Gras is the extravagance. It's a day to blow the wad, party like you're Prince in the 80s and it's 1999, and generally be bad as hell before you have to be pious and you don't have to apologize for it. You don't have to feel guilty about it. It's rude, it's crude, it's inappropriate but it feels oh so good. And it's not ashamed of itself one little bit. It's fantastic. And the best part is that even if you do not choose to celebrate the Lenten holiday, if you don't choose to fast and whatnot and just live the forty days before Easter like you live the other 325 days in the year, you can still celebrate Mardi Gras like it's going out of style. It's open and available to everyone and anyone who wants to celebrate.
     So let's give some love to Mardi Gras. I know I am. Let's all take sick time or a personal day (well, probably two because there is no way anyone is going to be in any shape to go to work on Wednesday unless your job is as a mattress tester or maybe a sleep study patient) and let it all hang out for Mardi Gras. Boys, the friendly New Orleans tourism people will be handing our handfulls of beads at the airport as soon as you step out of the baggage claim. Use them wisely. Boys, get drunk, puke all over Burbon Street, then climb a lightpost and fall off and get a concussion. And don't be ashamed about it. Girls, swill Michelob Lights and show your tatas to anyone willing to chuck some beads at you, and don't be ashamed about it. Let's all go out and act like we are Roman aristocrats. Let's all go out and act like we are in a Girls Gone Wild video. Let's twist and contort the old standby saying: Nothing in moderation, everything in excess. That's the spirit of Mardi Gras. Let's live it up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Name Your Emo Band's First Album

I found this post on our 2008 Chevrolet Presents the First Annual Big Dave and Company Blog of the Year Award Brought to You by Mountain Dew winner's blog, Fake Interviews with Real Celebrities. She stole this game from her friend, but it's immensely entertaining so I am bringing it to you. Use the instructions she provides to create your Emo band's first album. It's addictive.

FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Here's mine:

Presenting, the frist release from the band Andreas Arestidou, "From Adam to Atom!"


I can hear the crowd gonig wild right now. Enjoy!

Taxing My Patience

     I don't know if you know this, Company, but if you watch the right TV channels or you listen to the right radio stations at the right time you will end up hearing tons and tons of commercials for law and accounting firms that offer to settle your massive tax debt with the IRS for what I can only assume is a substantial fee.  The one that I see the most is Roni Lynn Deutsch, who must be making a pile because with each year that passes she actually manages to look more healthy, fit, and tan.  I assume that this is because she is taking longer and more luxurious vacations in more exotic places each year.  But I could be wrong.  In her credit she at least gets a new commercial every time tax season rolls around, so I don't have to watch the same lame one that I had to watch last year.  Anyway, every commercial is pretty much the same thing: Oh my, we had gigantic drowning tax debt that was ruining our lives, and whatever company settled our debt for pennies on the dollar.  We owed $640,000 and we ended up paying only $20,000.  I have so many problems with this that it makes me want to start shaking until I fall over.
     I think that the bulk of my problems have to do with just how one goes about accumulating that kind of debt with the IRS.  I mean, I haven't been around this world all that long, and I am certainly no accountant.  I mean, the one year I did my own taxes I ended up owing to the state and that's NEVER happened before.  But anyway, despite all that, I have been a working member of society for many years now and taxes always seemed pretty simple to me.  You make money, you give some of it to the government so they can, you know build roads and buy uniforms for national park rangers and whatnot.  If you have a mortgage payment of a business expense you can write it off and get less taxes.  Seems pretty simple to me.  It seems like a pretty direct relationship to me: you tell them about yourself, they tell you how much to pay, and then you pay that much.
     Is any of this registering with you, Company?  I mean, here's the deal:  You have to make a concerted effort to rack up a quarter of a million dollars in IRS tax debt.  And you have to have scratch to do it.  Because you can't pay more in taxes than you gain.  So if you owe ten, twenty, even fifty thousand dollars to the IRS and you need to call Roni Lynn Deutsch that means that over a course of time you've gained at least that much in money or property.  And if you making that kind of income I would hope that you have an accountant or a lawyer working for you or that you are a competent person when it comes to money.  So to me that says that you were probably doing what you were doing on purpose.  In which case I am stunned that the IRS would let you off with a slap on the wrist.  Because, for all the shit he pulled, the only thing they ever got Al Capone for was tax evasion.  So they should get you, too.  Maybe old Al should have called Roni.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Spy With My Little Eye...Atlantis

     So, apparently Google Earth has been finding things.  Did you hear about this, Company?  I just found out about this today.  I had always been a little jaded into thinking that just about everything that isn't covered with something has been found.  See, back in the days of yore some Portuguese guys floated around on some boats, and the English went tromping around hither and yon finding all the stuff there was to find on land.  You know, "Dr. Livingston, I presume" and all that jazz.  But I always knew in the back of my mind that those guys didn't find everything there was to find.  I sort of figured that once the Army had NASA throw all those spy and weather and GPS satellites up into orbit they found the rest of the stuff.  I mean, those things have camera on them.  But I guess not.  Apparently it took the good people at Google to find out where the rest of the world happens to be.  I don't know if they combined their search engine skills to a big set of photographs or what, but Google Earth, or at least some dateless 39-year-old divorcee in Cleveland goofing around with it on a Saturday night, was able to discover a bunch of stuff.  Let's take a look at what they discovered was out there.
     Apparently Google Earth discovered a pristine forest in Mozambique that is home to a previously undiscovered species of animal.  At first glance that sounds mildly impressive, but I don't believe the hype.  First of all, I would seriously doubt that no one knew the forest was there.  I am sure there were some people living around the edges who knew that it was there.  Like, if you walked up to their little farm hut and asked them what was on the other side of the field they would tell you it was a forest.  Now, just because they didn't go in there, or just because they didn't know how extensive the forest was doesn't mean they didn't know about it.  I might not be able to see through my neighbors privacy fence, and I might not go tromping around back there, but I certainly know that there is still shit back there.  I don't need Google Earth to inform me that the yard is back there.  Thank you, I was able to figure that out myself.  I am sure that the government of Mozambique knew that there was a bunch of forest up there within its borders.  They just maybe didn't know that it hadn't been touched.  As for the new species, that's cool, but it is also not as big of a deal as everyone seems to think it is.  Just about everywhere in the tropics where there is some forest or a swamp there is some sort of insect or small rodent that we haven't had a chance to swat at or cook up yet.  White guys from Ivy League schools tromping around the Amazon find that kind of stuff all the time.  And usually there is a National Geographic Channel camera floating around when they do it.
     Google Earth has apparently "discovered" an ancient Roman villa.  Okay, this is a crock.  Because we have VERY good records about what went on during Roman times.  In fact, we still use a lot of their infrastructure - roads, sewers, buildings, canals, etc. - today.  So how is this a discovery?  Would someone please tell me that?  It's a villa.  It's not a forest that has been there since time immortal.  Some rich guy shelled out some coins to build a place out of town to have crazy orgies.  Bottom line.  I would highly doubt that this Roman villa was a naturally occurring feature.  Some guy in sandals and a toga whipped a bunch of slaves until they stacked a bunch of blocks on top of each other in a particular order and slapped on a roof.  That's all there is to it.  It's not that we didn't know about it, we just forgot about it.  And those are totally different things.  I didn't discover an original Nintendo in my attic, I just forgot that I had stuck my broken one up there.  You can't discover things that were constructed by humans because that means someone had to have been there before you.  End of story.  Can you imagine the back taxes on that place though?   Wow.
     Well now, apparently some people had decided that Google Earth was able to find the biggest, fattest, most sought-after prize of them all: Atlantis.  Yeah, the fabled utopia that supposedly sank into the sea billions of days ago and now everyone is looking for.  I do not understand this, and I'll tell you why.  First of all, why are we looking for this?  It sank, it's not really of any use to us anymore.  "But Big Dave, there was a bunch of wealth and treasure that went down with it." Great, wonderful, fantastic.  Why cares?  Hundreds of thousands of ships have sank with all sorts of valuable things on board and we aren't trolling around looking for them, are we?  No.  But Atlantis is different.  The Russians were looking for it off Cornwall not too long ago.  Another group says it's "obviously" near Gibraltar.  Well then why are the Russians looking up by England?  It's because no one knows even remotely where it is.  All we know is that it's somewhere outside of the Mediterranean Sea.  Well that leaves a lot of ocean.  A lot of ocean that is criss-crossed by shipping lanes, telegraph cables, and all covered by satellites.  Oh, and in the eastern Atlantic, where most people seem to think it is, is VERY HEAVILY patrolled by submarines from all sorts of different nations.  So many that a British sub and a French sub managed to run into each other in early February.  So why is it that Google Earth would have been the one to find Atlantis?
     In the end what Google decided that people were seeing when they thought they were seeing Atlantis was a pattern produced by the regular SONAR searched used to measure the ocean floor.  I believe this.  Because SONAR can be a tricky devise, and when you add to it the fact that they are trying to work with it in water, which skews everything is ways that we don't fully understand, I can believe that it makes a visible signature pattern that we don't intend it to.  Plus, here's the deal people: if someone looking at Google Earth discovers something on the ocean floor, that means that a lot of other people dropped the ball on figuring out what was down there.  You mean to tell me the SONAR operators, or the computer scientists and graphic artists who developed those images into what you see on Google Earth didn't recognize the remains of a great civilization on the floor of the ocean?  Do you mean to tell me that some archaeologists, geologists, and oceanographers didn't get a crack at these images first?  Do you see what I mean?  I feel like I am taking crazy pills here, Company.  Because much like my checkbook ledger or my algebra homework from high school, none of this adds up.  Not even close.  There is no way that Jimmy Numbnuts in Pueblo finds Atlantis when generations of scientists couldn't.  Jacques Cousteau couldn't even find it, and he spent all of his time floating and swimming around.  So I agree with you on this one, Google.  The stuff that people are seeing is not Atlantis.  But I don't agree that you are finding stuff we never knew about before.  A forest? A villa?  No way, you just reminded us that they are there.  If you want to really impress me, make yourself useful and find me an island.  Now THAT would be cool.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Good Monkeys Gone Bad

     So, the other day we were talking around the office about this chimpanzee thing. You know, out in Connecticut, because the rich NYC socialites aren't messed up enough, a woman who was unfortunate enough to lose both her daughter AND her husband had a relationship with her pet chimpanzee named Travis that was "closer than of some married couples" and that this chimp went bat-shit crazy and attacked the hell out of the owners friend. I was taking this at pretty much face value until everyone at the office stared freaking out about how the chimp and the lady were, you know, going to the Humpolympics together, and even making movies, and that the chimp attacked the friend as part of a jealous lovers spat. But that's not the worst part. The worst part was the first thing that popped into my mind when I hear all this. I though: Where the hell is PETA in all this?
     I hate PETA, mostly because they are STUPID and have never ever made a bit of difference ever in the history of anything. Running around throwing red paint on peoples fur coats doesn't solve anything except to piss everyone off and make them hate you. It's actually counter-productive if you think about it, because now you've got one mink that has died in vain, and now another one is going to get skinned because, oh wait, the people have obviously got some scratch and they are just going to go out and replace the fur coat with ANOTHER fur coat. The only good thing that PETA has ever done is send its hot young activists out into the community. Because, I for one, like seeing naked twenty-something girls and most of the girls I know like seeing young, attractive, naked twenty-something boys. So way to go on that one PETA. But I really think that PETA dropped the ball on this one and I am going to tell you why.
     Now, I can hear you getting all confused by this, Company. Your brain is spinning like an out of control car driven on an icy road by a Southerner who is not used to not having traction. Note to silly Southerner: the four-wheel drive on your truck isn't going to help you much when you stomp on the braked on that icy road, buddy. Just a hint. So anyway, I know that you are thinking that PETA should be all happy about this business. Lady treats an animal the same way she would treat a person. Good health care, sleeps in the bed, fakes like it is reading the newspaper at the breakfast table while it eats its poached eggs, orange juice, and toast with strawberry jam. Sounds pretty good. But here's the deal. PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They are not People for the Human Treatment of Animals. And there is nothing ethical about the way that she treated the chimp. NOTHING.
     Oh yeah. I said it. First of all, what this lady did to the chimp is basically mental abuse. Yeah, she wasn't physically harming the thing, but she sure as hell was fucking with its head. Because a chimp has the internal programming for one thing: to be a chimp. Bananas, dancing with toothbrushes, flinging poo. There it is. But it also comes with all the software up in the chimp's brain for like, you know, keeping tabs on its mate and it territory, and fighting off invaders, and literally going ape-shit on the beings that are threatening it. Are you beginning to see the problem here? This lady has been impressing human feelings and emotions and social norms onto this chimpanzee, eventually, no matter how much schooling she gave the thing, it was going to snap back into chimpanzee mode. When it couldn't figure anything out, when it got all confused and conflicted about the different signals coming from its brain, which was bound to happen, it was going to happen, there was no way to stop it from happening, it was going to occur, this poor chimpanzee was going to follow it's instinct. Because the part of ones brain that screams "INSTINCT, INSTINCT, INSTINCT!" is always doing to be more persuasive and persistent than the part that shouts "LEARNING, LEARNING, LEARNING!" The learning part is kind of like your new friends when you move off to college. You are around them more, you see them every day, you are going to do what they do and they are going to have more influence on you and control your actions and reactions on a daily basis. The instinct part is like your family once you go away to college. Sure, your friends at school might influence you more now that they are around you, but the basis of the whole thing is how you were raised, where you came from, the ideas and concepts that were pressed into you during your formative years. Sure, your friends might win out time and time again, let's go get hammered, why don't you get a tattoo of Tweety Bird on your ass cheek, it's fine to sleep with a different person every night for a week. But when you end up holding a Molotov cocktail, standing outside the rival sororities house with all of them chanting "Burn, burn, burn!" nine out of ten times you mother's voice going "This is not right, you are going to get in so much trouble for this business." is going to win out. And so it went with the chimpanzee. When he saw the blonde haired lady sitting in her car waving around a stuffed animal and interfering with what he had going on with his owner and he had no idea what was going on the mother chimp voice calling out from his DNA screamed "KILL, KILL KILL! BITE, ATTACK!" And so it went. And now he's a criminal. And you are going to tell me that is not mental torture? You are going to tell me that's ethical treatment? NO way, PETA, I'm not buying.
     You know what else is not ethical? If you wanted to treat the chimpanzee ethically he would have had his own legal representation in this whole deal. Oh yeah. Since Connecticut isn't a community property state Travis, had he not gone ballistic and started attacking people, could have been left with nothing in the event of a tragic death of his owner or perhaps a particularly ugly breakup. Maybe he started a new relationship with an overly friendly volunteer at the veterinary clinic. Perhaps she fell for a stronger and harrier baboon with a redder ass. Who knows? But without proper legal representation Travis could have been left with nothing. Not even his playtoys or favorite set of super adorable suspender pants. You know, the kind like Stewie wears on Family Guy. He could have lost his most prized possession, his beanie. And what happens to all his stuff now? The police were forced to shoot Travis to make him stop attacking the lady. Who is going to mandate that there is an investigation into this horrible incident? He has no legal representation to settle his affairs. Funny the once he isn't so cute and wonderful now he's just treated like any common pet. Where is the ethics in that? Why isn't PETA hiring a defense attorney here? Why aren't they making more of a stink about this? Shouldn't they be throwing paint on this lady? Someone help me out here.
     You know what else? If this lady was making videos with the chimp, that some have claimed, then it's unethical that the chimp isn't getting any of the proceeds. Seriously. He's providing the motion and the muscle in this whole thing. All she's doing is providing is the capital to buy the camera and hire the crew. Oh, and doing half of the dirty work. The point is that this chimp is being taken advantage of for perverted means and receiving no compensation for any of it. ANY OF IT! So where is PETA protecting his rights? Why aren't they up in arms about this? No way is it ethical. He's got to be making a certain percentage for every video sold and he's got to have an agent and a lawyer and he has to have some to help him sign his "X" on the dotted line. That's the only way this works for me. If you are going to make him do human things then you have to afford him human rights. Sorry. Just because he's having an awful lot of fun in front of a camera doesn't mean that he shouldn't have a trust fund somewhere for some proceeds to flow into. If PETA wants to live up to their name then they should have had a representative, preferably a naked one, in a bankers office signing papers and opening a checking account. Bottom line. Sorry PETA. Seeing as how you did not make sure Travis was getting his fair cut you have failed miserably in your mission. You can paint the hell out of all the fur coats in the world and it's will not recoup the financial losses that this chimpanzee has incurred. He might was well have invested all his bananas with Bernie Madoff. That's how he got screwed here. Oh, and the other way too be we're not talking about that. If you didn't help him control his potential income then you were not making sure he was treated ethically. That all there is to it.
In the end of this sad tale, nobody won. PETA failed. The one lady got attacked. The other lady lost the love of her life. The chimpanzee is dead and has no estate to leave to anyone. And Dr. J didn't even get to see the videos. So what this ultimately tells us is that if you are going to have a pet you have to treat it like a pet. And if you are PETA you have to make sure that they treat it like a pet. Basically lady, this is what you have to do: Spank your monkey.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Something To Be Happy About: Bright, Sunny, Cold Days

The entire editorial staff amazingly picked up the same book from the same friendly local library used book sale; a book entitled 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. Since during these trying times Big Dave and Company likes to think of itself as a glimmering beacon of hope, laughter, and good feelings, as part of our February Special Feature we are going to bring you something out of this book to be happy about. And then, after the Special Promotion is over you can find something new to be happy about every day in the top-right corner. Amazing!


Bright, Sunny, Cold Days

We've already talked about the power of the sun here, people. It's amazing. Never mind that it makes our planet habitable, never mind that it provides your body with tons of completely free Vitamin D, never mind that it makes plants grown and whatnot, it also has an extremely powerful and all-encompassing effect on the human psyche. That's why there are so many precautions taken for the people who live and work at the poles, where the sun can disappear for months at a time. That is why we get the winter blahs. It is all because of the sun. Heck, the sun is even the generator behind rainbows.
But it's so much more than that. Think about a frigid day outside in the great white north, the air is just a little bit thinner than normal, the snow on the ground makes that crunching noise when you walk on it. It makes a squeaking noise if you walk on it right. You are in your comfortable living room, lying on the couch and you can see all the little bits of dust dancing in the sunbeam. That's the life right there, I tell ya. Notice how that never makes one think about how dirty the house is, or the fact that you are breathing all of those dust particles in and it is most definitely NOT oxygen. It just has this serene, comforting effect that can only be found on a cold winter's day. It doesn't work like that in the summer because on a day when the sun is coming in through the window you are probably sweating your ass off and it's not comfortable at all. There is something vastly different between being toasty warm and being broasted alive by the sun.
See? Powerful. It's been worshiped by hundreds of cultures, all that jazz. It's a powerful thing. And except when it makes you sweat or get terrible sunburn it generally makes one happy. And combined with extreme cold and tons of snow reflecting back up into the atmosphere it's almost magical. It can draw people out of the house, bring lovers out to stroll in the parks, and most of all? Most importantly? It brings hope. Old ladies will come out of their hoses to go shopping because it means that spring is almost here. It's magic. Just to hear the phrase. Looking out the window, it seems the clouds are clearing. Let the magic begin.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Something To Be Happy About: Lines From Favorite Movies or Poems

The entire editorial staff amazingly picked up copies of the same book from the same friendly local library used book sale; a book entitled 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. Since during these trying times Big Dave and Company likes to think of itself as a glimmering beacon of hope, laughter, and good feeling, as part of our February Special Feature we are going to bring you something out of this book to be happy about. And then, after the Special Promotion is over you can find something to be happy about in the top right corner. Wonderful!


Lines From Favorite Movies or Poems

If this doesn't make you happy then you have problems and you should get yourself checked. Because even if your favorite line comes from "The Raven" it is your favorite and it should still bring you some sort of joy. Okay, even if not joy then satisfaction.

When I was one-and-twenty,
I heard a wise man say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas,
But not your heart away."

How can that no uplift you even at least just a little bit? It is positively lyrical, and it it filled with wonderful connotations: hope and advice and love and wonder. Regardless of how the rest of the poem goes, it is still uplifting in this very moment, no? One of my favorite poems is one that is meant to be uplifting, and has its heart in sort of the right place, but it incredibly, shockingly, blatantly racist. It's called "The White Man's Burden" and it was written by Rudyard Kipling, yes THAT Rudyard Kipling of The Jungle Book and Mowgli and Baloo and all that jazz. He wrote it for America actually, as wise words from the British Empire to America about how to look towards the people in its new found colonies. It says that America should take it upon itself to lift up, enlighten, and improve the lives of those whose lands it is colonizing. Heady and intensely interesting stuff, but enough about history. The bottom line is that it's horribly racist and condescending, but I like it nonetheless. The skill and talent behind the prose cannot be denied. It flows like a river of nacho cheese over truck stop tortilla chips. I bet no one has ever compared Kipling to that before.
The part of this whole thing to be happy about that I like the best, however, is the movie lines. OH MY GOD. I don't know that I could survive on a daily basis without a bevy of movie lines. My buddy G-Funk is the most amazing when it comes to this. Tommy Boy. Line for line we could do it. Tommy Tutone? He was always a whiz with lines from Super Troopers. Dr. J will do Office Space. Terrible movies that endear us because they flow so easily and so well off our tongues. Ask Adrianne about "Got my Cheese Whiz, boy?" It's true. Everyone loves movies. As Dane Cook relates, "no one ever says 'fuck movies.'" And it is true. Even if you don't go out to watch a ton of movies like myself, just about everyone who has seen one appreciates a good flick. "Franky my dear, I don't give a damn." Great line. Classic. "I'll be back." Now he's the Governor of California but no one knows Arnold Schwarzenegger for anything but Terminator. And if you say Kindergarten Cop I will throw a book at that face, although that movie did spawn one of my favorite Arnold lines: "It's not a tumor." Say it in your mind with the Arnold voice and it will be like thirty-six times funnier. So I guess Kindergarten Cop is okay. But if you say Twins I will be forced to light you on fire. And so it works. Just say your favorite line from your favorite movie and all will be well. The book strikes again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something to be Happy About: Early American Rockers

The entire editorial staff amazingly picked up the copies of the same book from the same friendly local library used book sale; a book entitled 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. Since during these trying times, Big Dave and Company likes to think of itself as a beacon of hope, laughter, and good feeling, as part of our February Special Feature we are going to bring you something out of this book to be happy about. And then, after the special promotion is done you can find something to be happy about in the top right corner. Fantastic!

Early American Rockers

Having read the short biography of the author of the book, I can assure you that I know exactly what she means by "Early American Rockers." But that doesn't mean anything. Because this book is not being read only by her. Or the people in her antiques club. The people are going to be twelve-year olds and r-tards like me and my buddy Friend Steven. Except that I don't think he'd ever read this book. The bottom line is that when she says "Early American rocker" she means a rocking chair, basically like the kind that Betsy Roth sat in while she was in negotiations with George Washington about the little flag that he wanted made. But when I think "Early American rocker" I think about Benjamin Franklin backstage at a, I don't know, minstrel show or whatever the hell they listened to back then with a serving wench on each arm, smoking a bud and getting ready to go meet Patrick Henry down at the ale house. I also think of Brett Michaels, because he is a rocker and I just think "early American" when I think about that. Maybe it's because he's deeply weathered but he's still always covered with about 16 coats of paint, sort of like an old Vermont barn. And that's about as Norman Rockwell early American as one can get.
And so it goes, Company. Early American rockers are wooden, skeleton rocking chairs with little cushions that have ties that go around the spindles and keep it in place. And the hurt when you accidentally rock them down on your foot. And your Grandma has one, and so does mine, and so does your best friend Stephanie's. And that's odd because these are the most uncomfortable chairs in the history of man, unless of course you were sitting on a one-legged chair with no seat. That might be a little more uncomfortable. Maybe too one of those chairs that David Nathaniel always makes when we are at the beach out of a big stump he chainsaws the hell out of and leaves a back on. They are amazing if he gets the angle right, but if he doesn't I might as well have the Brett Michaels chair.
So enjoy your early American rocker, Company. For the rest of the day, if shit has got you down, just say "early American rocker" and it all will be better. I promise. And look for another wonderful idea tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Switch to DTV

Well, it's here kids. The biggest day in the history of history is upon us as, as usual, nobody has their shit together. What I am talking about is a vast and sweeping government mandated change in the single most important area of life that we have in this country. I am talking, of course, about our televisions. The plastic box of wires and tubes that allows us to watch beautiful people act in ways that would make them outcasts in regular society. It also allows us to expand our horizons, keep track of what is happening globally, and learn new and exciting things about areas as diverse as Antarctic deep sea ecosystems and how shovels are made. But we are too busy placing bets about who is going to get kicked off of Survivor or who is going to be the next to give an STD to Brett Michaels or watching Japanese tourists get electroshocked for giving a wrong answer on a game show to do any of that stuff.
But it's not going to matter. In case you haven't heard, and unless you live under a rock of maybe have glaucoma and can't read the scrolls at the top or bottom of your TV screen, the nation soon is going to cease to broadcast in the old, reliable, perfectly fine analog signal and commence broadcasting in a scary, unnecessary, expensive new digital signal. What does this mean to you? Well, to the typical American, absolutely nothing. Most of us are hooked up to a cable system or a gaudy satellite dish so we won't have to worry. But for Aunt Esther and that weird guy Rick who lives in the one-room apartment above your dentist's office, it means that they won't be able to pick up TV stations with their regular old rabbit ears anymore. They would have to get what is called a digital converter box for their Curtis Mathis. And that's fine. But what we have done is make what should really be a relatively simple thing into the most complicated thing in the history of man.
First of all, let's be honest. This is a blatant and sickening example of how the government is in bed with the electronics and television industries. And they aren't even being discreet about this. I know, I am getting political and whining and making broad assumptions based on nothing but heresay and conjecture. And that's true. The government may very well not be in league with the good people at Sony, Panasonic, Comcast, Dish Network, etc. But it does look awfully bad. The government suddenly decides that they want control of an antiquated technology that they haven't cared about at all for the last seventy years? And this decision causes tens of millions of Americans to go out and buy converter boxes at $40 per pop, or new TVs with digital tuners, or to hook up to cable or satellite systems. Gee, strange how that works, isn't it? You know, if the mayor of your town suddenly let a contract out to his best friend's construction company to reconstruct a road that really didn't need it, they lynch mob would still be chasing him out of town. Yet this digital conversion is still on. I think.
I don't know for sure because no one in the government or the industry seems to be able to agree on when this is supposed to happen. First of all, years ago Congress, that is the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives for all you out there who don't remember your civics lessons, decided that this was going to go down today. And since that time, especially for the last six months or so, commercials and advertisements and whatnot have hammered the date and the specifics into our minds. So we all knew this was coming. Remember that for later. Anyway, while the good members of Congress were kind enough to mandate us a date, they apparently broke for lunch and neglected to give us a time. And so it fell to the stations themselves. In just the area where I live, they are performing this switch on Feb 16 at 11:55 pm, Feb 17 at noon, Feb 17 at 6 am, and all sorts of times. And the crazy part is that they don't have to anymore. Wait, what?
Remember how we were talking just a minute ago about how we have had literally YEARS to get ready for this thing? Well, apparently some people just woke up and realized this was going down. Because converter boxes are pretty much impossible to find as they fly off the shelves. Apparently the problem is so bad that Congress has now pushed the deadline for the switch back to June 12th. How nice of them. Unfortunately they have forgotten to tell everyone. Because here is the deal: this is expensive for the TV stations to do. They have to pay money for new equipment and engineer things differently. And since most of them are ready for the switch today, and don't want to spend the money to put their analog equipment back online, most of the TV stations around the country are doing the switch now anyway. Follow? So you are still screwed if you aren't ready.
Wow. This is all very confusing. And all I want to do is watch Dick Van Dyke after The Price is Right is over. I don't think that's so much to ask. Well, you'd better get your shit straight or you will have nothing but static and maybe a Mexican TV station you can pull in if you live down by the border. Because the US is jumping onto the digital age. And of course we are doing it in an area where it doesn't need to be done. Genius! So get ready and learn about your new digital box. Oh, and if you've already made the switch, after today you are going to have to rescan all your business again. So look forward to that. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Day

     Well, it's President's Day, Company.  Unless of course you are a teacher or a student, in which case it's Teacher Inservice Day.  Also, if you are a salesman of any sort then it is the President's Day Salestravaganza.  Because that seems to be all that President's Day has become these days anyway.  But in reality, it's a day that we have chosen to celebrate the forty-four great men who we have chosen to lead us through the forest into the great sunny meadow that is, I don't know, something good.  But anyway, the day we chose was one that roughly split the birthdays of our two greatest Presidents: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  A surveyor and a lawyer.  Fantastic.  But what about all the other guys who were President?    Why did we not sit down and plot the birthdays of all the men who have been President and then pick the day was the mean?  Wouldn't that be more appropriate and fair?  I think so.  If I was John Tyler I would be pissed.
     First of all he was John Tyler, Jr, thank you very much. And second of all he was the Tenth President of The United States of America.  Grand title, isn't it?  And he was notable because he was the first President to become so through succession.  Which means that no one really wanted him to be President.  He was the "Tyler, Too" part of the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too."  That was the campaign slogan of William Henry Harrison, who unfortunately was unable to dress himself and got sick with pneumonia at his own inauguration because he wasn't wearing a coat.  And so we have John Tyler as the Tenth President.  His birthday is on March 30.  No one seems to care about that.
     What about Woodrow Wilson?  First of all, his name was Thomas Woodrow Wilson, thank you very much.  He was a pretty well-known and famous President, wasn't he?  Fourteen Points, League of Nations, all that jazz.  No?  He was pretty famous.  He was the Twenty-Eighth President of the United Stated of America, and even grander-sounding title than John Tyler had.  And Wilson was re-elected for a second term.  He is also famous for steering the USA into World War I like Billy Joel driving a car into a mansion in the Hamptons.  But he also steered us though and out of the war, much like Nicholas Cage steering Eleanor through the streets of Los Angeles in Gone in 60 Seconds.  But despite all this complicated steering that he did, and a dynamite soundtrack, no one cares that his birthday is December 28.  That's one day after mine and the same day as Sue Too's.
     Jimmy Carter was the Thirty-Ninth President of the United States of America.  First of all, his name was James Earl Carter, Jr, thank you very much.  And he was a peanut farmer.  He was the only peanut farmer ever elected President of The United States.  I didn't have to look that up.  That is just one of those facts that one just knows.  Jimmy Carter, unfortunately for him, is only famous for two good things, and one of those happened after he was done being President.  And he is famous for about 637 bad things.  My favorite of the bad things is that he had an infamous run-in with a rabbit, much like I have problems with deer.  Peanuts and rabbits do not a good image make.  But it's alright.  His birthday is October 1.  So why are we celebrating in February?
     I want to talk about Grover Cleveland now.  First of all, his name was Stephen Grover Cleveland, thank you very much.  I love Grover Cleveland because he was President not once, but TWICE.  And it wasn't like he was re-elected after his first turn.  Oh no.  He sat out a term when that bastard Benjamin Harrison stole the Presidency in 1888, even though Grover won the popular vote.  So he's sort of like an Al Gore but he actually got to be President somewhere along the way and never won a Nobel Prize.  So suck it, Al.  I am just kidding.  But Grover is just great all around a the Twenty-Second AND Twenty-Fourth Presidents of The United States of America.  That's all you need to say.  His birthday is March 17, and you have to count that twice because he was President TWO SEPARATE TIMES.  So I did the mathematical calculations, and by that I mean I searched the web for someone else who had, and the results are shocking.  Here is what I found out.
     There were four Presidents who were born in February, which is all well and good.  But the month with the most Presidential birthdays is October.  The month with the second most is November.  July and August are also above average.  So this mean that the average date has to be sometime in the late summer or the fall.  Definitely not February.  So what's with that?  Why February.  You can't fight math, history.  If that makes sense.  In any event President's Day should be sometime in September but since it's here today Happy President's Day everyone!  Even you, John Tyler, Jr. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dress Shoes and Glare Ice

Have you ever watched cartoons? I am sure you have. You know how a character always slips on some ice or a banana peel or something and all you would see would be the characters head with blurs for arms and legs as they flailed around. It always cracks up the little kiddos, and it always cracks up those of us adults who have the mental faculties of the little kiddos. Well, unlike most cartoons it turns out that this is a relatively accurate depiction of what happens in the real world. A banana peel doesn't work terribly well despite what Loony Toons or the makers of MarioKart want you to believe, but I have found through terrible, personal experience, that a combination of dress shoes and glare ice works great as a means to recreate the cartoon slip and fall and the very real world break your face open.
Dress shoes are the first integral part of this literal recipe for disaster. One of my favorite television personalities, Alton Brown, would take the time to explain the science of this in detail, how the rubber affects the traction and whatnot. But I am just going to stop at saying that dress shoes are not made for walking on ice. Simple as that. Men's dress shoes are flat with no grips whatsoever, and women's dress shoes usually involve some sort of high heel. These are made for making women look super hot and for making loud, sharp noises while they walk down marble hallways like they are on Law & Order or something. Again, not made for traction. Because if you are trying to get traction from a one square centimeter flat column pressing down on glare ice it's not going to work very well. Although if one wanted to create a women's fashion boot they could make a stiletto heel with a spike on the end and it would work pretty well. But we will save that for another day.
The second part of this equation that causes it to work so well is the glare ice. Lots of slippery surfaces would work well, like floor wax or maybe just some water, but there is something unbelievably special and unique and so much slipperier about glare ice. This is how you make the right kind of glare ice: let it snow for like three months. Don't plow. Let the cars drive over it day after day after day after day. Then come by and try to plow but just scrape it off into a super smooth mixture of ice and snow. Then let it melt for two days and re-freeze. And you have the perfect ice for re-arranging my face and landing me in the friendly local emergency room.
So anyway, if you put these two ingredients together you get the perfect mixture for making me, or anyone, do that super-sweet cartoon flailing fall. And it's something that I recreate every day on my to and fro. It must be an amazing spectacle. If you were driving by or perhaps watching from the living room of one of the houses I pass, or maybe sitting in the waiting room at the DMV staring out the window while drool drips down from the corner of your mouth and you wait for them to call the number on the little ticket that you have dropped down behind your chair, then you would watch a wonderful spectacle. Me, strolling along in my shiny shoes, ready to kick ass and take names. The glare ice, lying menacingly on the sidewalk, street, grocery isle, wherever I happen to be walking. And then it happens. I remove my eyes from the ground for one tenth of one-one-hundredth of a second and I become a whirling blur of arms and legs and color and clothing. If I am lucky, which I am often not, or if I am good, which I always am, I can catch myself and continue on my way, super cool and acting like nothing happened. I did this one time in college, when I slipped walking down a notorious hill on campus, hit my knees, slid about ten feet, made a motion with my arms like a baseball umpire signalling someone safe at home plate, and said "Heeeeyyyy" like I was the Fonz. It was probably the coolest moment in my life. And that's what it is like. I catch myself and move on. Except when I don't. Then I fall. I get wet. I get mad. I break my face, my coccyx, my radius AND my ulna, and I probably also sprain my ACL, MCL, and all the other CL's that I have. That's what happens. And that's just on the way to work. You should see what it's like when I am on my way home from the grocery store with a bunch of bags of food. It's magical and disastrous all wrapped into one. Kind of like anytime that Willard Scott is on TV. So here is the deal: I need some snow to fall from the sky or some sun to dry up all the ice and water. Or I need to stop wearing dress shoes. One of the two. But I look good in dress shoes and I like the sound they make when I walk in the hallway. So I guess nature is just going to have to get with the program, no?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

     So it's Valentine's Day, kiddos.  A day that really exists to celebrate St. Valentine, who was an ACTUAL REAL saint back in the day, or so I would assume.  Oh, and it was a day that the mob in Chicago chose to kill a bunch of one another.  That was a bold statement.  Maybe it was the many millions of bullets from a Tommy Gun ripping through the hearts of the gangsters that inspired the folks at Hallmark to create a fake holiday in order to sell cards and chocolates.  Or maybe Hallmark gets the short end of the stick.  Maybe it was the heart shaped box industry that put this deal together.  I don't know.  But either way it's a holiday that is all about money.  The people in the love industry for certain.  But let's not pin all the blame on the sappy saps at Russel Stover with their devilish chocolates.  There is just as big a thriving counter culture when it comes to Valentine's Day that sprang up solely to feed of the broken hearts and minds of all those jaded by the game of love, which really isn't a game at all.  And these folks are not to the point where they just don't want to hear about it, they are to the point where they are paying me $5 per hour to stand in The Worldwide Headquarters and fling water balloons filled with shaving cream out the windows at happy couples emerging from their romantic Valentine's Day movies (hey, you've got to make money when you can, these snazzy graphics and witty comments don't just generate themselves for free).
     And so it goes.  I believe the thing that I like the least about Valentine's Day is that, in the end, it is a day dedicated to love that makes everyone unhappy in the end.  See, here's the deal: the people who do not have a significant other don't like it.  We have already covered that.  Guys hate it because it is a pressure packed holiday in which you have to pony up with exactly the right thing to impress your lady friend, and it's more of a hassle.  Plus, it puts most of us into an area that we are deeply uncomfortable.  Trust us.  For the ladies, it's often a day of disappointment when the boys forget or do something lame or worse, do something embarrassing.  See, Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate the haves having that very clearly leaves out the have nots.  It's not a pretty picture.  There is nothing like having something wonderful that you don't have being rubbed in your face.  Have ever noticed that there is no National Celebration of Money Day?  That's because we would just find it wrong to celebrate having money in the face of the millions who do not.  So then why do we find it so okay to celebrate having romance in the face of the millions who do not?  It's can't be Hallmarks fault, because National Celebration of Money Day cards would sell just fine.  
     In the end, with Valentine's Day, like everything else, take it in moderation.  For those of you who have reason to celebrate, please do so in an appropriate manner.  No one wants to see you humping like dogs on the village green.  Be discreet, maybe go out and have dinner or whatnot but don't rub it in anyone's face.  You don't have to carry the six foot high stuffed teddy bear your husband got you all around town strapped into the passenger seat of your convertible.  And those of you with no reason to celebrate, let's tone down the bitterness, please?  Let the lovers be in love.  I know a day like Valentine's Day doesn't inspire much hope, but please do not begrudge.  Because there is a time and place for everyone.  And there is a bright light on the horizon.  You know how cheap those heart-shaped boxed of chocolate are going to be next week?  And who doesn't deserve to give themselves a Pot of Gold?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Friday the 13th

      Well, Company, it's Friday the Thirteenth and we all know what that means. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees have been hanging out together, talking and trading tips, training together in the basement of an abandoned factory in St. Louis, and someone else who us just as crazy like Jigsaw is going to call them up to see what they are up to and they will all realize that it's Friday the 13th. So then they are going to roll out across the countryside and kill the shit out of scantily clad co-eds until daybreak. Great.
But we've all been here before, haven't we? We all know that nothing is going to happen. Nothing beyond the usualy Friday stuff anyway. You will go to work, unless it's your day off in which case you will lie around your house in your underoos eating Edy's Grand Ice Cream and watching The Price is Right. Maybe you go to school if you are a young-un. But I can tell you what you won't be doing. You most definitely will not be getting hacked to pieces by a chainsaw operated by a mask-weilding freak of nature. Bottom line.
      This is why I don't worry about Friday the 13th. Not at all. First of all because I am not a scantily clad co-ed. No knife-wielding maniac is going to come after the tubby bachelor sitting on his couch watching Good Eats, Second, there are a couple of things that I always hear. One is a chainsaw. Another is someone breaking into my apartment. So, based on the fact that I am pretty good about responding to those two things, I think I am going to be alright when it comes to Friday the 13th. Now, I hear you naysayers out there going "But what if you are out walking down the street, maybe strolling in the park and they are waiting for you and they jump out from the doorway of a business or they will come running across the grass and you aren't going to be able to hear their footsteps and WHAM-O! Sliced in half by a Husqvarna." Well, I am going to tell you that if you are so scared about Friday the 13th then maybe, just maybe, you should stay home tonight. Don't go hang out in the park after dark. Don't go to the movies. It's pretty simple. Agoraphobia is the fear of leaving the house. It's what the guy in Ocean's Twelve had. Be an agoraphobic for one night. Honestly. It won't kill you to read a book once in your life.
     So settle down a little bit, okay? Friday the 13th was just a date in a movie. Okay, that's a lie. For years, like way since before you were born, Friday was considered an unlucky day and the number thirteen was believed to be an unlucky number. Fine. But eight is considered by many to be lucky, and some cultures find Thursdays to be lucky, but on one is getting all riled up when Thursday the 8th comes around, right? Because nobody has ever come out with a movie about Thursday the 8th. It's freaking ridiculous. Let's wise up and settle down folks. Nothing is going to happen unless you or someone else goes out and makes it happen. And the easiest way to allow that to happen is to believe in all the hype. Now, if it's a full moon too we are screwed.

Lincoln's Birthday

     Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conveived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
     Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
     But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate - we cannot consecrate - we cannot hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note not long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

     That's pretty heady stuff. But let's honor the man who wrote thos inspiring and time-honored words at the dedication ceremony of a war cemetary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Happy Birthday Persident Lincoln.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chester and the Fuzz

     For those of you who have regularly read Big Dave and Company and are particularly perceptive, you might have noticed that I never say where I live.  I do this as sort of a safety feature for everyone involved.  I know that many of you know me personally, but this blog is open to be read by anyone in the world who cares to, and I try to make it so it's difficult to trace the people to the place.  I don't want some whacko showing up on my doorstep, or on anyone's doorstep for that matter.  But I am seriously thinking about calling out my current hometown because last night, as I made my way throughout the community, something happened that was so shocking and strange and wrong to me that it broke the camel's back.  It is the latest in a line of things that have happened to me around this one-horse town that has made me think that this place is fucking with me.  It was so shocking that I put aside the very nice post about the rigors of winter (you can read that tomorrow) to tell you about it through the literary device known as the obscenity-laced tirade.  So sit down kiddos, Uncle Dave has a story to tell you.    The United States Surgeon General recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.  In an effort to abide by this recommendation, and because I've got some weddings this summer that I have to look smoking hot for, and since I don't live on Morningwood Estate with my own physical gymnasium, lap pool, health fitness staff, and moving sidewalks, I was out taking a mildly athletic walk around town.  I had on all the accouterments, sweatshirt, sweatpants, hat (because it was cold), sneakers, and headphones.  First of all, The Fuzz was on me from the moment I walked out of my apartment, following me not-so-covertly from block to block, like I wasn't going to notice.  I don't know if they thought that I was going to deal drugs to the no one else on the streets at that time, or if they thought I was going to slash my own tires like someone did to me the other week, or if they suspected me of walking drunk.  But whatever. That didn't bother me a whole lot because many of the cops in this town are assholes and there is nothing else for them to do.  This guy was no exception.  I has just ditched him and was minding my business and winding my way between the giant puddles and super slippery ice patches, when I came around a bend and realized that I wasn't on the street I wanted to be on.  So I turned around and headed back to the last cross street so I could make my way to the next block.  I was about three houses back down the street when I met Chester the Child Molester.
     Chester the Child Molester is a stupid, arrogant, limp-dicked piece of shit.  He rolled up to me in his cream-colored 1984 Buick Riviera and stops in the middle of the street.  He rolls down his window and looks at me.  Now, I have been in this situation many times before.  Usually this type of behavior (behaviour if you are in the United Kingdom, South Africa, or Australia) signals someone looking for directions.  And since I was in a neighborhood with a somewhat strange street pattern that is hemmed in by a river and is only a couple of blocks from the downtown Central Business District, I was totally expecting "Do you know where _______ is?" to come out of Chester's mouth.  But that's not what came out at all.  What he said totally shocked me.  It shocked me enough that I didn't get all riled up about it until like 47 seconds after it was over.  He said "I want to know why you are walking down this street."
     Now granted, it was night, but it wasn't late.  It was about 8:20 pm local time.  And granted, I had just turned around rather abruptly in the middle of a block and was walking very slowly.  But I was on the wrong street and it was very icy.  But still?  Fuck that.  Take that question, and shove it up your stupid, incontinent ass Chester.  Who the fuck do you think you are to be asking me that question?  Huh?  Would you be willing to tell me that?  Why should I answer that question?  The worst part was that I was so shocked, so thrown, that I actually answered him.  It was like when you are trying to get answers from someone so you ask a lot of rapid-fire questions so they get into a pattern of just answering and then you throw in the one they don't want to answer and they just do it.  They aren't prepared and neither was I.  I stammered "Because I wanted to be on the next street over."  What I should have said was "I don't think that is any of your business." and continued on.  What I wanted to say was "Why don't you suck my right nut and fondle the left one while you do it, dick breath."  I mean, what's with that?  Who has the temerity to ask that kind of question in TINY TOWN at an appropriate time of the night?  I was actually surprised that he had the time to ask.  He was probably late to get home and put more gel into his hair, shine up the patent leather bomber jacket that he was wearing that made me think of that Jimmy Buffet song that talks about the "two-tone Ricky Ricardo jacket and an autographed picture of Andy Devine" so he could cruise to the bar and drink away the fact that his wife left him because she caught him in his office with a ten-year old boy who was conveniently wearing no pants and that he will never, EVER see a vagina again unless he goes to the strip club and meets a very, VERY desperate exotic dancer who is willing to marry him and then take him for everything he has left in the common law divorce.  With kind of busy agenda, I don't know where Chester found the time to question me about my motives.  But he did.
     You know what else is terrible?  Of course not.  Well, I will tell you.  The fucker didn't even live in that neighborhood.  I walked on and he drove on, then TURNED AROUND and drove right back past me, as I stared him down, and drove off towards downtown. So basically, he just pulled the same cracker jack maneuver that I had made that he apparently took exception with. After that I wandered around downtown getting more and more angry and wishing that he would drive back past so I could have words with him.  What I should have done was walked back to where he turned around because I probably would have found a naked, 23-year old Filipino sodomy victim staggering down the middle of the street.  Listen Chester, here's the deal.  I don't take the time to stop and inquire about why you are running around my neighborhood raping goats, you shouldn't be bothering me about why I am trying to drop a few pounds.  END OF FUCKING STORY ASSHOLE.
     The more I think about this strange, strange incident, the thing that I think disturbs me the most is the strange things that have been happening to me since I moved The Worldwide Headquarters.  I grew up in suburbia.  I have spent time in shitty neighborhoods on large American cities.  I have lived in a small city with a college and all the associated college shenanegans.  But I have never had the amount of truly strange and offensive things that I have had happen to me since I have been living here.  It's so odd.  I don't get it.  And I genuinely like living here but it's starting to wear on me.  Let's take a look at the greatest hits.  Since I have been here I have had, in order, my bike stolen, my car run into (although that was minor and the people were very apologetic and nice about it, so I guess we really shouldn't count that), fly infestation, falling down stairs, getting my tires slashed, having a drunk guy with a head wound want to cuddle with me, The Fuzz following me around town AND Chester getting all up in my business.  In six months.  IN SIX MONTHS.  So I did what any rational person trained in the sciences would do.  I called Mikealicious.  He's from here, so I thought he would know why this town is out to get me.  Unfortunately, he did not.  First off, he was gracious enough to apologize on behalf of his town.  Apology accepted but totally unnecessary.  Because I know it was nobody he knows that has been fucking with me.  His friends wouldn't do that shit.  And he didn't know about any sort of organized plan against me.  I checked the minutes of all the city commissions going back to before I moved here and none of the minutes mention a plan about fucking with my life.  So I am not sure what is going on.  I am, however, quite sure about how things are going to go from now on on my end.
     I am tired of this shit, and I am not going to take it anymore.  I am smart enough to know that when you move to a small town where everyone knows one another, you don't come in and make a big splash.  You come in, keep your head down, and do your thing until you are accepted.  You most definitely do not come in rocking the boat with both guns blazing.  But I am sick of it.  So from now on, unless you have a badge in your pocket or on your shirt, I am not going to let you fuck with me.  If you are bothering me or getting on my nerves I am going to let you have it.  I don't care if I am rude, I don't care if I am inappropriate.  I am fighting back.  I am definitely not going to let this town or its residents fuck with me anymore.  Hear that Chester?  You are on my shit list, right next to Dustin, and if you ever have the balls to even fucking look at me again you are going to get a face full of pissed off fat guy.  Hear that?  It won't be pretty.  And if you give me lip you will be eating your meals from a straw for the next three weeks.  I wish I had gotten your license plate because I would have reported you for harassing me for no reason.  But rest assured I know what your car looks like and I will be on the lookout for you, because I am pissed off.  I should just go up the the middle school at the end of the day, I bet you are there, popping Viagra because your tiny cock doesn't work anymore and trying to lure a seventh grader into your creepy car with candy and Saved By the Bell references.  Fucking useless asshole piece of white trash shit.  Go sit on a bike that's missing its seat. Or just go fuck yourself.