Friday, October 2, 2015

Even a baby understands the Second Amendment!

Jimi's guitar sounds like Lee Greenwood after getting kicked in the balls.

When developing a list of the most inefficient ways to kill someone (something that’s bound to happen while driving college kids around allnight), subjecting someone to random shark attacks on the beach or infants rank pretty high. I’m not talking about bashing someone to death with a baby (in no time in history have marauding hoards swooped in with bundles of joy) but just the little fuckers themselves, all big-eyed and adorable.

Breeding pestilence wherever they go, toddlers also cause home accidents at an alarming rate, what with people tripping over them when they could have been falling to their deaths attempting a selfie on the steps of the Taj Mahal. I have a theory babies cause old people to wander out in traffic by whispering suggestions in a frequency perceptible only to aged ears.

A crib is not for keeping them safe but is the little prison they’re sent to for plying with a lighter while hitting you with a blast of hair spray.

Put a gun in their hands (because handing a toddler a loaded weapon is always a fun way to pep up a family gathering) and our little angels of death are more lethal than terrorists. Unfortunately, banning infants is not the best strategy for the survival of our species.

Although terrorist must be pretty bummed at being bested by American babies (“USA! USA!”), they’re probably ecstatic knowing how awesome Americans are at killing each other. As President Obama pointed out in yesterday’s address on the UCCS mass killing, the number of Americans killed by guns this year towers over how many have been killed by terrorists.

Not even war can match the sheer American-killing power of gun ownership. As Nicholas Kristof wrote about in August, since 1968 more Americans have been killed by guns than in all the country’s wars. That includes the Civil War, the one in which Americans killing Americans was pretty much the point of the whole war thing. So, terrorists can feel a little better about themselves knowing that even war can’t compete with our propensity for shooting fellow citizens.

Basically, all terrorists have to do is wait until enough of us have been killed by American guns and then saunter in to show us how to really ban Planned Parenthood.

Hang tight, terrorists. Even with people like the Oregon shooter not exactly making the point for Second Amendment fetishists that, “Isn’t it great that we can have as many of whatever kinds of guns we want?” it’s just another existential moment in this country, one in a very long line, wherein “These crazy gun laws leads to appalling numbers of deaths,” soon becomes, “These crazy gun laws leads to the conclusion that there aren’t enough guns in America.” Trust me, it happens every time.

In the meantime, terrorists, you might want to switch tactics and advocate arming more babies.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Loving 21 Pilots makes me a whore

Yes, I'm a whore and this song is infectious. So, don't sleep with anyone until you get it cleared up.

On those morning when I drive the girls to school, we usually listen to the local indie station (KWSS stream) for the Rockin’ Royale, playing a little game wherein listeners vote for songs that the station might put into rotation. Not that they have a rotation per se, other than anything that might be spinning when I tune in – Tito Puente, 80s New Wave, Rockabilly, I even heard Aerosmith, one night – none of which has ever made me punch a button and say, “Oh, that’s total shit!”

When it’s time for Rockin’ Royale, I’m usually jockeying lanes from the HOV to the exit. No small task, the number of moronic maneuvers I encounter usually determines how I’m going to feel about the first song. If it seriously rocks, it usually gets my vote. If it sounds like Tove Lo, I’ll give the next song a chance. Even if that song sucks much less, I’ll still go for the notorious reset (enough reset votes and neither song repeats the next day), saving my thumbs up for no less than tear the shit up.

Too cool for school, EC sits in back, always (as if she’s one of my Uber passengers), “I wasn’t listening,” she’ll usually mumble or, if she’s feeling social, “I dunno, they both were lame,” then sulk because I pulled her from her vacation in EC Land. Frank, my gender-fluid younger daughter (she wants to go by a make’s name), always rides shotgun and casts a vote. Once she’s decided, I tell the phone to call the station, see if we called it when Rockin’ Royale returns in the morning. If we get on the air, we get to hear a few seconds of what everyone else is hearing due to the delay that protects listeners from foul mouths and feral minds.

Beef Vegan, the MC of the TMI morning show and joined by a bunch of random people joining him in the booth, takes the calls and gabs it up with the voters. When we get to talk to him, we’re known as “Hipster Dad and Hipster Daughter” (I haven’t asked Frank how she feels about that, since becoming a she-male… um, probably not that). Sometimes it’s her on the air, confident, laconic, not there to chit chat with Beef but to place the votes, the clipped diction of Tumblr. Frank doesn’t so much laugh as LOL a lot.

Fair enough. I WTF quite a bit.

Yesterday, I seriously thought Frank had been bitten by a spider. There was an eruption of shrieking, screaming and crying, someone jumping around and bumping into furniture. By the time I stumbled to the scene, Frank was on EC’s bed, showing off her phone. Apparently Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy had tweeted her. Frank’s world had suddenly become complete, free Cheez-Its and Dr. Pepper for life.

Frank is at that age where she needs to develop an almost obsessive attachment to something that annoys me. The thing is, that thing is mostly inoffensive, I don’t hate FOB (“Uma Thurman” was actually kind of clever and catchy). In fact, I’ve been to no less than two FOB shows this year and at no time did it feel like people were holding me down and jamming screwdrivers into my ears. With that aside, she hasn’t asked for any weird pets or started a meth lab in her closet.

Frank will have to step up this rebellion thing if she intends to drive me crazy.

In the meantime, one thing we all agree on (except LoML, whose taste in music is not to be trusted) is that we all like 21 Pilots. Both EC and Frank will pull up the 21 Pilots folder when I’m not in charge. And when I pick up the pod to find that folder playing, I’m inclined to keep the jams going (as the kids say).

I thought raising teenage girls was supposed to be harder than this. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Another effin effed-up post

This bit is NOT by George Carlin and the Internet doesn't know who the fuck it is.

A friend asked me why this new version of my blog has shown me with a muted potty mouth, noting that my much-reduced frequency (and frequent permutations) of the word “fuck” had led to an improved vocabulary. No, I demurred, it was due to “Improve Your Word Power” in the Reader’s Digest that I was suddenly able to pull fancy words out of my ass. That, and, “Internet Solutions” as my provider likes to say (the provider who won’t provide me with “the quick number” to tech support so I don’t have to punch through their bullshit reset process).

Besides, my grandchildren might stumble across this site one day, from a stilted building on Sea Earth. If they do read this, they’re probably saying. “Get a load of this fucking guy!”

Aside from probably finding this all very quaint (what with their gill implants, prosthetic flippers and neural Internet connections) - hell, even I think blogging has become a niche interest in the virtual universe – I doubt they’ll be phased by grandpa dropping the F-bomb, the little fuckers. In fact, I wonder if “fuck” will have much of an impact by the time they read this. If it won’t be so surprising when our POTUS tells the American people, “This is fucked up,” when South American cartels hike the price on their spicy Soylent Green. Our language evolves: it seems that “fuck” has none of the shock value it held when I was growing up and its ubiquity in current everyday conversation, movies, television (cable only, still) and everywhere else has pretty much burnished the pointy bits off the word.  

Still, for the last couple of years I tried to make my site as boring as possible, showing snoopy prospective employers that I could be relied upon to be safe, sane and not post anything for months at a time. Something no one would read and not anything I was interested in making time for. After a recruiter told me that she had been to my site, I blanched, concerned that there was nothing there to see other than a thin portfolio and my cursory comments on stuff that I linked. My initial saucer-eyed boast of, “Hey, I’ve got a web site!” became more of an, “uh, yeah…” as it occurred to me that my domain pointed to something completely void of personality, fun or worthwhile content.

I never said "fuck" in a single post, I kept my language wholesome and bland. My site was the "Her?" of blogs.

That’s not me. If an HR rep stumbles across this site (and I have no doubts that it will happen again), I encourage them to read these words, hopefully laugh, and get a sense of who I am. The employer who can appreciate that, this, what I do, that company is out there.

This, then, is for them:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Driving people to the Moon

If you don't play this video while you're reading, there won't be another Super Blood Moon for 18 years.

Here I went on about the Super Blood Moon (which sounds like a Chinese appetizer), pounded keys until my fingers were splintered with plastic over the matter, searched high and low for videos to share and data to spew, and I didn’t even get to see the big show. No pics from me, my friends.

Instead, I was Uber driving and heavy Lyfting, chatting it up with riders, for once earning some serious scratch. Of course the Super Blood Moon (herein known as Liz) came up during the early hours of Saturday evening and I got to impress people with my knowledge of perigee… and puns.

A nice couple, on their way to a restaurant in a tony section of Scottsdale, knew Liz (the teacher of the two had assigned students to either photograph or draw Liz) but were confused about the mechanics. “Dreams” by the Allman Brothers had just begun when they got in and was still playing when the topic turned from the obligatory “How’s your night?” to Liz.

“You’re rocking out tonight,” said the passenger who was not a teacher.

“I picked some music for Liz,” I lied, the song actually being on a mix I’d made for LomL.

“Yes, Liz!” the teacher responded enthusiastically, apparently glad they’d been picked up by a driver who was informed about things instead of some meathead who squelches all conversation by saying, “Do you mind? I’m trying to get drunk up here.” In the meantime, talk floated between the front and the back as the three of us shared what we knew about Liz and how she behaved in her house in the sky.

“It looks much bigger near the horizon,” the teacher continued, sounding a little disappointed, as if her students would soon be sending letters to NASA complaining that the Moon wasn’t scary enough.

“That’s the Moon illusion,” I told them. “It appears larger in relation to the landscape, things we see and know that are relatively close. It’s a trick our mind plays on us. It has nothing to do with Liz’s size, that’s because the Moon is at its perigee.”

The teacher added her own Moon lore, adding in orbital shape and the fact that Liz wouldn’t return for another 18 years.

The Allman brothers finished just as we were done Moon talking, and I skipped my pod past The Cars to Ween.

Unable to determine a pin, Google navigation misplaced us a block from where they needed to be, so we took a slow drive down cobblestone streets to the correct location. I’ve learned to trust Google Map navigator about as well as Carly Fiorina’s story about her record at HP.

After dropping my Liz devotees, I got pinged by Lyft several times, riders 18-20 minutes away from where I was in north Scottsdale. Uber was surging 1.7x in my vicinity and Lyft wanted to send me to Tempe for inevitable cancellations (Lyft users are notoriously flaky) and much less money. Lyft was desperate to get drivers near ASU – exactly where I didn’t want to be (short rides, heavy traffic, whiny Sun Devils fans) – and was not ashamed to insult my intelligence in order to pump up their brand.

I turned off both driver apps, found a parking lot and rolled a cigarette, playing Ween again, blasting it while I smoked. My only regret in refusing the Lyft riders was that I couldn’t share the song with them.