Friday, September 30, 2005

Proposal: An Alternative

America: Your current flirtation/attraction rules suck! The following is an alternative to said rules, please take a gander. If you are as frustrated as I have been in the past, and these make sense to you, feel free to pass it on. Maybe, just maybe, a change can brought about.

These apply to both men and women, and, in terms of behavior, both sides of any relationship would need to adhere to. These are ideals, based on what I noticed and remembered from being in Puerto Rico, and don't take into consideration any crazies, creepoids or douschebags (male and female) that are always out there.

1) Everybody flirts. Openly and copiously. Not only does it make life pleasant, but it also de-emphasizes those random moments of platonic flirting that people tend to get caught up on these days.

1a) When you flirt, expect the return flirt. TW had a tendency to start big with me, and then back down when the flirt came back her way, as in "oh shit, he's taking me seriously." No, it's just a return flirt.

2) Expression of interest or attraction does not mean "let's get married." It seems people get rather worried about others getting too attached early in the process. There's nothing wrong with dating, hanging out, or having someone find you attractive.

The other night, PK and I were talking, and at different points in the night, we'd talk about someone she'd just met, and her fear that they might be into her. Usually, these guys would be married or involved. Her response: "Oh, good, I was worried about that."

What would be bad about having him be interested?

"He just isn't my type, and I don't want to go through all of that. I hate hurting people."

All he said was hello, why worry about that?

"Women spend the majority of their time not wanting to flirt with guys, so that they don't get ideas, so that we don't have to turn them down."

Are you serious?


So, you spend the majority of your time freaking out about the majority of the population you're not into, instead of trying to just...not think about it?

"We manage."

Why not just flirt?

"Have you ever been date-raped?"

2a) When you get a "no," it has no reflection on you or the quality of your being. Move on, there are always other friends to play with.

3) Fucking around? >le thumbs!< Just be careful, and when ya wanna settle down, don't be surprised if the fuckables don't wanna go there with you.

4) Take care of yourself, in all the various meanings that can have. Also, be mindful of others.

5) Take chances, you really never know when something might work out a hell of a lot better than what you'd expect. This goes for both those you are taking a risk on, and those who're taking a risk on you.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


[As seen on Eastlake, in front of the Xtian gym, between Mercer and Republican]

"God is love."

"Die yuppy scum!"

"I am not god."


Monday, September 26, 2005

CYA, fellas, CYA

[TBO's note: The following is based on recent articles describing what Republican congress would like to do in order to follow through on W's promise to send aid to Katrina's refugees. Click on the subject line above, for an article detailing the proposed cuts.]

(Place: Big DC, Room 1003)

BigBoy1: We've offered the survivors an incredible amount of money, but since we've cut taxes from the one source we could've been tapping all this time, there's no way we could actually follow through on this promise.

BigBoy2: Oh, fuck, we gotta follow through, otherwise, we'll look like the charlatans we are!

BigBoy3: Look, we've been wanting to cut funding for some of these programs that soak up some of the monies we need to keep the war program going, why don't we do that in the name of rebuilding the Gulf Coast. That way, we look good, and we can kill these other items at the same time!

BigBoy2: Capital Idea, BigBoy3!

BigBoy1: Indeed! But which programs do you intend to cut, ol' chum? How much are we talking about?

BigBoy3: Well, hmm...Let me think...How about we cut $225 billion from Medicaid, and an extra $200 billion from Medicare?

BigBoy2: Ooh, that's a hefty cut!

BigBoy1: Yes, but where will the people who depend on those services go?

BigBoy3: Who cares? Let the states figure it out for themselves.

BigBoy2: Sporting! Capital!

BigBoy3: Let's see...Next, $25 billion from the CDC.

BigBoy1: Uh--

BigBoy2: I believe you're on a roll, continue! Continue!

BigBoy3: All right, we could take a little under $7 billion from the school lunches for poor kids program, and another $7.5 from AIDS research...

BigBoy2: It wouldn't be such a problem if those people would stop breeding like flies...

BigBoy1: Well, these cuts sure are...exhilirating...What you need are some bold moves.

BigBoy2: What about the $417 million we're currently spending on the development of minority businesses?

BigBoy3: Good one, but we need something bigger too.

BigBoy2: hmmm...

BigBoy3: I've got it! Let's kill Public Broadcasting, and then the NEA.

BigBoy2: Leave arts subsidies to the Canucks and Limeys...

BigBoy1: [sotto voce] and the rest of the world.

BigBoy2: All right, that's $9.1 billion right there.

BigBoy3: Are we still subsidizing student loans? Cut that shit out!

BigBoy1: [sotto voce] oh jesus.

BigBoy2: Another $8.5 bill, ol' boy!

BigBoy3: And what are we doing funding AmTrak? Who uses that piece of shit anymore? Gone!

BigBoy2: $2.5 bill!

BigBoy3: Alternative fuel?!? ALTERNATIVE FUCKING FUEL?!? Are you kidding me? How did Georgie let that slide for this long? Gone!

BigBoy2: Another $2.5!

BigBoy1: Guys...uh, I need some you guys mind going on without me for a bit?

BigBoy3: Sure, pally, we'll be here.

[door shut]

BigBoy2: Pussy.

*all apologies to DeniM, who really does this sort of thing better than I do.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Knowing Your Enemy

Throughout the 2004 lead-up to the presidential election, the liberals knew that we were correct: we knew Kerry was the man, we knew the war was idiotic, we knew there were large holes in their logic and could point them out with ease.

JJ, one of the regs here, came up with a theory that makes sense: What liberals have lost, and the conservatives gained, is an ability to create a story for people to digest and stick to it.

It's not enough for us to bring up the facts and assume that they will be damning enough. Since Watergate, conservatives have been working away at ways to evade the truth. With the election and re-election of W, they have perfected it.

Here's a quick outline of how it goes (and for a more comprehensive discussion of it, check out Bruno and the Professor):

Instead of admitting that any potentially damning scenario is fucked up, it is much simpler, and easier to just ignore the point, pretend it doesn't exist, and attack some other whipping post or unrelated item, using misdirection and double-speak to guide the topic away from any weaknesses. They took the lessons of the last 30 years, watched Wag The Dog a couple hundred times, and started applying it to our current culture.

Liberals, on a national scale, can not let this go unchecked.

Liberals must now take the next step: As soon as the spin machine goes into effect, instead of re-iterating the original fact/point/question, we must jump to a likely conclusion and run with that. We have to learn to beat them at their game.

A prime example: Kanye West declaring on NBC that George Bush "does not care about black people." Goddamn if that ain't fiery; goddamn, if that's not a story to stick to.

And the thing is the facts may not support it (W does have a few tokens on his cabinet, after all, simply to deflect this kind of criticism), he actually doesn't care about the lower classes. But the facts are enough to intimate it, especially if you take the right's comments and actions since Katrina hit and use those too.

In other words, if you can't beat them, join them. And can I say just how sad it is that we have let our country's political discourse degenerate to a game of "nuh-uh" "yuh-huh" "you're a liar" "am not." (Though, I was glad to see that no amount of spinning has allowed W to wiggle out of responsibility for the Katrina mess. Funny that Rita may hit Texas, and already a much more efficient evacuation effort can be seen. Hmm. I just don't see it as learning a lesson from the previous hurricane, when you compare NOLA to previous FLA hurricane rescue efforts.)

The conservatives may complain that this approach isn't fair, to which I reply "have a taste of your putrid medicine, bitches."

The majority of our society has gotten to the point where the left cannot take the higher ground on a national scale. Those of us down here, locally fighting the battle against the right's peons, let us use the facts as weapons unrelentingly, chip away at their stubborn refusal to see the world for what it is.

Because when we have the undisputable facts on our side, that's when they shut up.

Besides, what's more satisfying than seeing that moment of stunned recognition/fear on some right-winger's face. (See the first Bush/Kerry debate, aka the real debate, for a main course in stunned goofball-ery.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Generation of Emotionally Stunted Retards

Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Emoticon ;^)

KG, a co-worker in my office came up to me the other day and said that we belonged to the 13th Generation. Not being quite sure what she meant, I asked and she informed me that, traditionally, the 13th Generation is the generation of people who've been neglected, set adrift, and left to fend for themselves...

I've been thinking about this ever since...

And at this point, before I get to the navel gazing, I'll admit that a huge part of me wants to repudiate this, because the "problems" facing our generation are as old as the hills. (I can imagine those of the older set wanting to reach through their monitors to throttle me and exhort "why do you morons think that it's all about you?")

I just think that what we call our problems are just part of the course of human life, and that, as we get closer to our 40s, 50s and beyond (with hope), our ability to deal with these things increases. Call me an optimist.

Having said that...The number of people in my age range and younger that I see struggling from one day to the next is pretty...overwhelming? Astounding? Let's just say that it's noticeable.

What happened to us? Back in the 90s, we were all "Hey, fucko! We rule, and our shit don't stink, bitch!"

Then, we got older, and our ironic veneer no longer worked in our favor. Here we are, all of a sudden. We may have a direction in life, or not; we may have a spouse, or not; we may be materially wealthy, or not.

What we all seem to have in common, however, is a dread for dealing with the day to day life stuff. As Mamet once said about life, it's that "if it isn't one thing, then it is most decidedly another...*"

Let me be clear, I'm not talking about the mundane stuff, the "I need toilet paper, what am I eating, where is my cat" stuff (though for a lot of friends, this can also be a major stressor). I'm talking about feelings, I'm talking about emotions, I'm talking about that twinge of anxiety you feel when someone says or does something confrontational.

I'm not saying that everyone has these problems, I realize I'm casting a wide net regarding our generation. I know plenty of people who don't have any of these problems, who don't think twice before taking action when faced with a challenging situation.

However, these numbers are seemingly dwarfed by those who freeze.
I recently joined an online community, and in the course of participating, I ended up getting involved in some heavy political discussions, especially during the recent Katrina SNAFU.

During this past weekend, I was at a gathering of members and we talked about how people get turned off when they read political threads that start off with a rational, dialectical, point by point presentation of an idea, which would be more than a page long.

They reason that it's too long, and who wants to spend time reading something like that?

I can buy that...Here's what I don't buy: Each person who held this position said that they'd be more willing to talk those issues face to face, preferrably over beer.

This notion is noble, at heart. But not exactly realistic.

We're talking about an online community here, for one thing. It is much easier for our generation to sit behind the distancing safety of semi-anonymity and one's monitor, and trade meaningless barbs back and forth. Much better than actually having an exchange of ideas.

And it's not like any of us are likely to strike up a similar conversation with a random stranger.

(At least not in Seattle.)

My friend AK was the first to point out our generation's propensity to deflect or willfully ignore most public displays of emotion, whether artistic, fictionalized or authentic.

AK also said something that I've heard bouncing around a lot over the past few years, that the more we communicate via the internet, the quicker our person to person social interactions unravel.

(I realize the inherent irony of stating this on a blog.)

The argument against this is that people were saying the same thing about TV in the first 20 years since it was introduced. To which I say, let's look at our parents and how disconnected they can be, now look at us. Finally, look at any of the children you may know.

It seems like the shorter the attention span, the higher the need for instant gratification, the shorter the temper and the higher the likelihood for negative social behavior.

Sure, some of this can be corrected with upbringing, but when little Johnny is better able to communicate via Instant Messenger or texting on his cell phone, yet doesn't know how to talk to his teacher, or his elders, or his parents, as is increasingly happening...Well...

Are these two things (emotional coldness and increased online activity) related? Personally, I say yes. And the more I see human behavior becoming increasingly distant, the more convinced I am of it.

Which doesn't mean anything, as I doubt this current trend is going to go anywhere.

*" fucking asshole."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My Life As An Ivar's Clam

[TBO's note: Ivar's is a local (to Seattle) chain of seafood restaurants. Their ads used to feature clams with legs. Like Ronald McDonald, these mascots would go on promotional tours for the restaurants.]

Mid-90s, and I'm in between temp gigs in Seattle (back when you could actually make a living as a temp here)...I'm collecting unemployment, but the money's tight, so I'm looking for some quick and dirty way to make some money.

One day, I get a phone call from my friend Al, about whom I may talk some more about later, 'cause he's one of those guys.

"Hey, buddy, how're you doing?"


"yeah, well, Patrick tells me that you're looking for work? What are you doing Monday?"

Nothing, I--

"Wanna be an Ivar's clam?"

Laughter, but I agree, because it'd be a(n) unique experience.

Plus, it'd be $75 for about three hours of work.

I call the lady in charge of putting promotional events together for Ivar's, and am told that I need to have my own pair of black tights and that I needed to arrive at their warehouse Monday morning at 8a to pick up the clamshell.

The first part's not a problem, as I'm theater folk (only slightly less inbred than carnie folk), but that second part...

"Hey, TBO, what's up?"

yeah, man, do you have a car?

"No, mine's in the shop...Don't you have a car?"

No. And we need to let her know today what's happening.


Eventually, he finds a friend who is willing to loan us a car, as long as we put something like $20 in to fill up the tank (those were the days). We agree to split this.

Monday comes.

We show up, and I shake hands with the woman I spoke to. She has a sheath of paper for me to sign, and a plastic cup. I couldn't believe it. This was a one-day gig.

"It's in case we want to use you again."

Okay...I know I didn't pass it. But she didn't know that yet. Our gig: Ivar's has opened a booth at the Everett Boeing Plant; we are to tour the facilities in the costumes and hang out in the cafeteria for lunch.

Sounds easy enough.

We get there. We have trouble finding the building in the complex, but finally some nice security droogs lead us in the right direction. When we get there, our contact is harried. "You're late by ten minutes! I was told you'd be here ten minutes ago." We explain that we had a hard time finding the building. "Well, the buildings are numbered on the side. I spoke with yadda, you guys need to call her back." Okay...

After the phone call, we're led to a small office. "You can change in here. I have some phone calls I need to make, so I'm sure you won't mind. We'll be leaving here in about 10 minutes."

Any embarrassment I felt about changing in front of this shrew, was quickly overcome by the fact that we both mooned her in the process of putting on our tights.

I'm finally ready to put on the clam. All reports of the thing not being heavy are a bunch of crap. Yeah, it's made of fiberglass, but fiberglass still weighs something. After the grinding in my spine subdues, we're ready to go.

Being inside the clam is a weird experience. You have a large fiberglass encasing that blocks all light. There's a light screening material that allows you to look out, but you can't look in. The thing rests on your shoulders, so duct taped padding is supplied. Finally, you have two handlebars that support the structure, and allows you to keep the damn thing in balance. The whole effect reminded me of playing Battlezone, that old vector graphics tank video game.

And the shrew leads us on the Bataan Death March tour of this office building we're in. Every possible narrow hallway, cramped elevator, busy office and snobbish muckety muck were visited by the two of us. This portion of the day was only supposed to last a half hour. We were doing it for an hour and a half, so there went lunch and a cigarette break. Because as soon as we met the VP of Constrictive Chairs, we were led to the lunch room.

It's funny the effect the clams have on people, especially the locals. Everyone became six years old the moment they saw us, and behaved as such. They'd pull on the mouth to get out attention, or they'd throw garbage in there, as if we were a lifesize replica of Mr. Mouth (goddamn punks). They'd hit the top of the clam to see what it was made of (*crunch* went the spine). Or try to look in to see if we were actually people underneath (duh).

I had my amount of fun, though. Especially when someone would get freaked out by the sight of a ginormous clam with legs in their midst. I'd chase after them, they'd run away....(*crunch crunch crunch* went the spine)

Three hours later, we were done. I was grateful to find that someone had thrown a $20 in there (must've had a struggling actor as a cousin or summat).

We moon the shrew one last time, and we were gone. Each of us with $65 cash in hand, not including tips (I had $85, Al ended up with $115. Our benefactor threw in $50 in his shell). We dump the shells back at the warehouse, and we go drinking at the Triangle Tavern in Pioneer Square.

We started drinking around 6p, and we closed the joint. The tab wasn't pretty.

I got home with $20 for my troubles. Thankfully, the unemployment check arrived the next day.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

More To Come

For right now, here's a little something for your perusal:

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pop Culture Flotsam Answers

Well, damn guys, that was quick! Lyam, I'm not sure what you're saying there, but it sounds vaguely...something, so, sure, thanks!

Tom Hanks and John Candy co-starred in two movies together. Everyone remembers Splash!, name the other one. Extra credit: Name the Tom Hanks/Lori Singer/Jim Belushi vehicle.

Name of the Hanks/Candy movie is Volunteers, where Hanks met Rita Wilson, his wife. Hanks/Singer/Belushi movie is The Man With One Red Shoe.

What was the AfterM*A*S*H equivalent to All In The Family?

Archie Bunker's Place, which took place in a pub bought by Archie. Edith bought it early in the run, Meathead and Gloria left for parts unknows. Archie was thus burdened with the presence of some precocious pre-teen niece to fill out the instigator's role.

Nancy (Facts of Life) McKeon's brother Philip, starred in this sitcom. Extra credit: Name that sitcom's only spin-off.

Philip McKeon starred in Alice, as Alice's son. The spin-off was called Flo's Yellow Rose (aka Flo), which saw Flo "Kiss My Grits" Castleberry running her own bar in Texas, where wacky and colorful characters reside. Example of why it only lasted eight episodes: Bartender - (to a group of German tourists:) Beer? German Tourist - Nein! Bartender - Nine?!? (he shrugs and serves them nine beers. Cue laugh track.)

Continuing in the siblings-in-competing-sitcoms vein, Benson and Growing Pains shared sisters. Name them.

Tracy and Missy Gold. Both names were needed for full credit.

Before Nick Cave's The Proposition, Tom Selleck starred in this Australian cowboy epic.

A:Quigley Down Under.

Cheers spawned a spin-off revolving around waitress Carla's ex-husband, and starring Casey Kasem's wife. Name it.

The Tortellis, which featured writing about as strong as Flo's.

Enough TV. What was the chorus to M's Pop Musik?

I really thought this would be the easiest one to answer...It goes: "New York, London, Paris, Munich/Everybody talk about pop musik"

What's the deal with Kelis' Milk Shake?

It does bring all the boys in the yard, but you have to remember that their life is better than yours, damn right. Kelis could teach you, but she'd have to charge. (I was going for the full thing, but accept the partial answer.)

Beverly Hills Cop was originally pitched as a project for this star. Uber-Extra Credit: Relate how this is reflected in the sequel.

Yes, it was Sylvester Stallone, and yes, the casting of Gitte "Original Flava of Love Finalist" Nielsen (post break up with Stallone) is a reflection of this. But it doesn't stop there. Beverly Hills Cop 2, in many ways, served as a sharp elbow to Sly's ribs, who was starting his hubris-dribbling phase, and who apparently pissed off a number of the original's production team (they've since bridged the chasm). You have the stunt casting of Nielsen, a number of visual cues revolving around Judge Reinhold's character, who went from charmingly goofy, to charmingly goofy gun nut (at one point he is asked if he's going to go all Rambo on people). The plot of BHC2 revolves around a certain Beverly Hills gun club, the look and style of which was modeled on a real BH gun club, partially owned and operated by guess who.

It's amazing to me that while I can't remember exactly what I'm doing this weekend, there's still room for crap like that in my head. Sad, really.