This post would be more relevant if I wrote it thirty years ago rather than now, but the Internet wasn't much of a thing back then and I only just stumbled across Murder on Flight 502 again...
My favorite comedy for much of my childhood and Airplane (1980). The absurdest humor was like nothing like I'd seen before, and it scratched me right where I itched. It was 15 years before I discovered that most of the scenes and characters from the movie (and the other Zucker-Abrahams-related movies) were send ups of specific scenes and characters in other movies (movies like Murder on Flight 502 and Airport, Airport 1975, Airport '77, and Airport '79). Now knowing that there was now so little about the movie which was truly original, aside from turning each element on its head, robbed me of most of my appreciation for and enjoyment of the movie. Part of what impresses me about stories is the author's selection of characters and events, why did they decide to add this character to the story, why did they give him the personality they did, why did they inject him into this particular interaction with another character. So suddenly finding out that most of those decisions were copied from other writers made Airplane seem a lot less impressive a creation. It's still funny, of course, but it feels now funny in a more Mystery Science Theater 3000* sense of just adding jokes on top of something rather than creating an entire world of new, funny material.
* I've always wanted to love Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I've watched dozens of episodes, but I watch them for the B-movies they show and seem to tune out the running commentary, which I don't think has ever produced even a hint of a chuckle. I wish I could laugh at it, I honestly do, but it's just not my sense of humor, I guess.
If you've never heard the Phil Hendrie Show on the radio, you're missing out on one of the greatest works of satiric genius. Phil's show is a talk show like no other, blending crazy guests, insane topics, incensed callers, all to deliver a hilariously thought provoking message. You can tune in every night for free or listen to listen to some classic bits. In a directly similar vein, I found this amazing Phil Hendrie inspired news site allegedly written by guests from his show.
My friend Christina alerted me to the fact that both of us were featured in the infamous reality TV show Bad Girls Club! Check it out yourself in the Hulu player below, for Season 4, Episode 13. I appear at 16:41 or so, just as the bad girls are getting out of a limo in front of the Cow's End cafe. Too funny. I haven't seen this particular season but the season I did see was certainly a very guilty pleasure, and I'm happy to make my little contribution to such an important and worthy show. I guess this is what it's like to be famous.
I decorated my motorcycle's sidecar, helmets, and dogs in a Christmas motif and Francine, Osita, Lupa, and I piled on and went for a ride around Venice today to spread glad tidings on this merry Christmas. We brought along a Christmas sack full of candy canes and handed them to people we met along the way.
Merry Christmas everyone!
I just stumbled across an article on the Daily Mail (in the UK) about The Human Magnet, a mother who allegedly has a power to attract metal and set off nearby car alarms. I thought it must have been an April Fool's Day story, but unless the Brits celebrate that day on the 22nd of August, this is frighteningly intended as serious journalism. The reporter is however only the second stupidest human involved in the story, the doctors and "eletrotherapists" involved are collectively tied for first place, and the human magnet herself comes in third (since her stupidity is at least not professionally endorsed). It beggars belief that all these idiots can entertain this nonsense for even a moment.
Many of the objects which are clinging to her are clearly non-ferrous (no iron)! Aluminum, brass, and other metals which do not contain iron are not attracted by magnets! And while non-ferrous material can certainly be magnetized it requires a monstrously powerful magnet such as is used in an MRI machine to achieve the brief feat of re-orienting the electron spins of every atom in that object! Even if we entertained for a moment that her body was somehow capable of doing such a thing, one could hardly escape noticing rather more dramatic side-effects than she has reported. Car alarms, cash registers, and coins that stay attached to her for 45 minutes while she's dancing would be the least of it.
And of course one can't help but notice that every item which is "magnetically" attached to her in the provided photo is on a slope where friction can act! Objects are on her sloping forehead, not hanging under her chin. Objects are on her sloping bosom, not hanging off her dangling arm. She may be a lady with particularly sticky sweat, akin to an ant's or salamander's ability to climb a wall, but a magnet she ain't! And anyone who is slightly more intelligent than an idiot could take a $0.10 Cracker Jack's compass and 1.5 seconds to rule out magnetism. Of course if you did that I'm sure the explanation would magically shift to some sort of electrostatic attraction or some sort of previously unrecognized nuclear bonding force.
Anyway... Scientific outrage cycle complete. I can enjoy and stomach a lot of fringe science and wild claims, where real phenomena is being observed and we just haven't been able to fully establish the cause. But many a sensible 12 year old has the scientific background to disprove this story in minutes, so why can't these people???
This happened quite a while ago but something recently reminded me of it.
I was set up on a date with a friend of a friend. We'd exchanged a few emails and seemed to enjoy a similar turn of phrase. I picked her up at her place, and the descent into lunacy began.
A few miles down the road we were at a light and this car pulls up next to us, some relatively ordinary car that had clearly been suped (sp?) up because it was louder than hell and the guy kept revving it as though inviting me to a race I would ultimately decline. My date says, "I think fast cars are really sexy." I laughed, thinking she was being facetious. She was not, and she was now angry at me for laughing at her not with her. I tried to apologize and explain my laughter was meant in support of what I thought her position was, but she was not mollified. Oops.
We headed to Quincy Market in Boston, I'd never been. As we approached an older woman approaches selling flowers. I very politely declined. We looked around, and in the course of wandering see several other similarly attired older ladies at some distance selling flowers. We ended up heading a few blocks away to get some dinner. A few minutes into dinner she pauses, looks directly at me indicating she was about to say something significant, and says to me, "I thought you were a jerk for not buying a flower from that woman. Don't you care about old people?" Ouch. I was pretty stunned. I remember some weak attempts to provide sudden proof that I did care about old people, and people in general, and that that incident really didn't seem like a fair way to judge my character. The conversation limped along and eventually the check came. She now announced her brand new philosophy, which I was apparently the first to experience... She said, "I've been treated really badly by guys in the past, so from now on I'm requiring that anyone I date pay for all our dates." Wow. I don't mind paying for others, I'm a bit of a communist when it comes to mealtimes, from each according to his means, to each according to his needs. I'll pay for friends, coworkers, dates, pets, whatever. Different people often offer at different times, and I figure it all evens out in the end (monetarily or karmic-ly). And I would have gladly paid for her portion out of kindness, need, chivalry, simplicity, whatever. I usually make the attempt and if someone stops me (as usually happens) then we figure it out from there. But the notion that I was being required to make up the debt (in cash) created by her previous poor choices in men hardly seemed a fair or inviting situation. I kindly explained that I didn't mind paying tonight, but in general I really couldn't go along with the idea that I who had never wronged her was somehow supposed to compensate for those who had. She took in the argument and seemed to see it had some merit.
At this point I was pretty well tired, it just seemed we were very poorly matched despite some initial clever email banter and mutual admiration of stories we'd each written. We began the 15 minute walk back to the car, and I mentioned a camping trip I was going on. She spent the next 10 minutes telling me far too much information about how she can't go camping because there can be swarms of bugs and the bugs remind her of all these bad LSD trips she's had as well as reminding her of the horrible withdrawal symptoms she's experienced detoxing from heroin. I, who have never done any drugs, let along hard core ones, was really ready for the night to be over. While I am certainly sympathetic to her discomfort with swarms of bugs and all they mean to her, it was just way too soon and too contextless to be sharing that sort of information. (I've dated people who've used drugs, seems like most people have used or tried them, and it's not been a problem, but that's probably because they didn't insist I know so much graphic detail about their experiences, and certainly not on date one.)
The date ended a few minutes later, but not before she explained to me that she was obsessed (literally) with Mel Gibson, that her recovery from the drugs involved watching all of Mel Gibson's movies over and over again and that now she was in a very real way obsessed with him, because he was there for her when no one else was. She said the walls of her room were covered in Mel Gibson posters, she watched at least parts his movies every day, and that if she ever met him she would have sex with him, even if she was already in a relationship, that the other person (I felt implied) would just have to deal with that absolute and unarguable reality.
I dropped her off at her place, we had a little hug (no kiss), and I went on my way with no small amount of relief. I felt quite comfortable that the date was as awful for me as it was for her, since I couldn't relate to and didn't resemble much of what she wanted or liked. Being a nice guy and not fond of ambiguity, I planned to write her the next day and very politely make it clear that I enjoyed her friendship and would be happy to see where that went while acknowledging that dating was really not in our best interests.
Before I had a chance, however, I was shown just how wrong my perception of events had apparently been... she wrote me the next morning to let me know how great a time she had had and how much she looked forward to another date. Ugh.
It took me quite a few hours to come up with just the right way to thank her while politely declining additional dating. She seemed to take it well. We did hang out a couple of times as friends before she found distraction in someone with a far larger engine than mine.
She was actually quite a nice girl, the original connection we had was simply not viable for anything more than friendship, and on that level it worked quite well (however briefly). She was not quite so intense as a friend, seemed less intent on requiring me to be anything other than who I was. Still, doesn't change the fact that it was the worst first date I ever had.
I'm not a big fan of anthropomorphizing pets. Dogs is dogs, they ain't people. Treating a dog like a person is unhealthy for the dog and crazy-making for the human.
That said, a few years ago after I got my dog from the pound I guesstimated a birthday for her, and every year my computer reminds me that it's her birthday. I don't do anything wildly special for her, but it's a nice excuse to remember to do something nice for her, in a life busy or draining enough that sometimes I forget to play with her enough or take her for enough walks. Yesterday I happened to be at a pet store buying her the dog food she'd run out of and right next to the register there was a little doggie cupcake, so I bought one for her. And in the evening we went for a sidecar ride down to her favorite cafe. As we sit there, her watching the people and my writing on my laptop, people come up constantly to pet her. I tried an experiment and told every person who came up that it was her birthday. It was amusing and heartwarming to see their reactions, people were extra nice to her extra excited to see her, and seven people bought her dog treats (they sell them at the cafe). I think that was a new record for her, in terms of people buying treats per hour. Her previous record was 13 people in one evening buying her treats, but that was over about 5 hours (and this time it was in just 2).
Ah, the life of a loved dog... If the Buddhists are right and I'm good enough this go 'round I hope my next reincarnation is as kind to me and as furry.
As part of my year of mischief, perhaps soon to become an age of mischievousness, I've adopted a policy of engaging in quasi-statistical serial murder.
If second hand smoking kills, then the first hand smoker must be the killer. To be fair it'd be more accurate to say the smoker is an attempted murderer. It's entirely possible their smoke has killed someone, but proving it was their particular puff that pushed another specific person into cancer or heart failure would be nigh impossible. One could extend the argument to say that since smokers indulge around more than one person on more than one occasion, and they are aware of the risk they are pushing onto others, smokers qualify as serial killers, albeit again of an attempted variety. A mortality statistician might be able to accurately guesstimate a lifetime average death toll, perhaps it'd be on the order of 0.04 victims per smoker, with any individual smoker perhaps being responsible for no deaths or dozens.
It has widely been suggested that cell phones may be the hidden health crisis looming in the future, the equivalent crisis for the next generation as cigarettes were for the last. The as yet unconfirmed but suspected carcinogenic nature of radio waves we all routinely ignore because the benefits they bring are just too delicious to deny. Smokers believed the doctors and the cigarette companies well through the first half of the last century, perhaps we'll do the same through this one with cell phones.
I don't smoke. But I like to play god with the best of them. I've decided that I will seek to expose others to second hand cell phone radiation, and the murdering that may or may not statistically follow. I won't do so freakishly, needlessly creating signals just to expose people, but if I'm tethering my computer to my cell phone or making a call, maybe I'll choose to be 3 feet away rather than 10 feet away from my potential victims. And come what may, I am apparently free to do it.
Now obviously I'm kidding, mostly, but I think it makes an important point. We all impact each other in potentially grave ways, ways we don't even completely understand. So as horribly odd as it might sound to intentionally gravitate towards others in an effort to expose them to greater levels of arguably statistically significant electromagnetic radiation, and therein attempt their murder, we're all doing the same thing in some form or other. It may be you driving a hybrid car which requires lithium dragged from the earth by inadequately protected miners under the boot of a corrupt government. It may be you tossing out coffee cups that leach chemicals into the Earth that end up in people's drinking water. We're all killing some part of somebody, and collectively it adds up to a grand conspiracy of serial murder. As long as we're doing it, we should at least be honest about it. I am.
I had a real life magic trick happen to me today... It was pretty neat! I'll call it the "Re-Appearing Bose Earbud Trick". It will lose a lot in the retelling... but here goes.
The trick began last night when one of the rubber earbud caps came off my Bose headphones and disappeared. Poof! I knew it was lost in my car or at the motorcycle shop, I realized it was missing the moment I walked into my house last night. I looked everywhere for it this morning but it was clearly totally gone, never to be seen again. This afternoon I went to my desk drawer to fetch a replacement. The headphones ship with 3 pairs of rubber caps, one set for each of small, medium, and large. Since I had been using the large set, I expected to need to replace the missing one with a medium one. But no! The medium ones were there, the small ones were there, and there was one large one there, just like the one I was missing! It was as though the ear bud cap had been removed from me yesterday by magic and secretly snuck into my desk drawer by magic.
I'm still trying to figure out how this trick was done! I think I know, but I don't want to believe such a mundane explanation.
Truly this probably reads like a very boring story, it's too subtle... but I think interpreted by a good writer it could have been a sublime little story.
I started to write a very short list of two or three semi-humorous, semi-curious things I look to avoid in women and it somehow morphed into a longer, stranger list which would surely suggest many a neurosis to a trained psychoanalyst. Ah well... If one such therapist is reading, enjoy, and tell me what I've got and what pill will cure me. Obviously there are no hard and fast rules in love, I'm sure I'd forgive a girl nearly every item on this list if I loved her so and so.
- Pointy "witch" shoes. The ones that were popular a few years ago. Freaks me out. I do not want to date a witch!!! I don't not want to date a woman with voluntarily deformed feet. I don't like sharp angles. I mean, if you are an ice climber and these are for ice climbing, awesome, otherwise, NOOOO!
- Makeup. I never like it, but if you insist on wearing it, please don't use it to look unnatural.
- Red nail polish. I'm not really a fan of nail polish in general, but if you're going to do it, have fun, pick unconventional colors. The classic red is so done... Glow in the dark nail polish is a winner, black is a bit goth but I won't mind, grey might be cool, even orange or blue. No nail art, though!
- No long nails!!! I don't mind if a girl's nails are an 1/4" of an inch or something, the better she can play guitar with, but if your nails are long enough that you can't do some things, or they break, then ick! I have no idea why long nails would be fun or sexy for anyone. It's a whole lot of scratchy, scratchy, pokey, pokey, uselessness.
- High heeled shoes. Not a fan. I like tall women, sure, but I'd rather you just be your real height. We can pause sometimes on stairs and pretend if you want to imagine you are taller. I like Chuck Taylor Converse shoes on my women. Or other funky, fun shoes. I never want to hear a girl say to me, "Oh, I can't walk that far, because my shoes..." We are ambulatory people! Wear shoes you can walk, run, dance, play in! I don't like those odoriferous Petri dishes they call Uggz.
- Beer taste on the lips/breath. Ugh. Wine taste is slightly preferable, but still not my favorite. My favorite? Jolly Ranchers. I wish all women were always sucking on Jolly Ranchers, but from a variety pack, ideally reflecting their mood towards me. When they smelled of watermelon I'd know it was on...
- Lacy underwear or underwear with flowers. What makes that stuff sexy? I have no idea, they turn me off. Grandmothers wear that sort of stuff. Oddly, though, I find fishnet stockings sexy (though I've never encountered any in real life). I hope I'll be surprised with fishnets some day.
- Dainty watches. I hate that women are encouraged to wear tiny, dainty, functionless watches. Poor dears, they deserve the same rights to wear watches with tons of features like the men's. I once had a crush on a girl in a college physics class because she had a watch with a chronograph! A year later I was in a math class with her and I discovered that my crush was all built on a lie! The chronograph dials on the watch were just printed on the watch dial. The story of my life.
- Women who live within the limits of an inherited, "Women should do...". Some people just seem to think the world should be a certain way, and I'm no fan of that. I think the world should be the way you want it, screw society and its expectations; hard to do, but fight the good fight...
- Women who "know" they are very attractive. Nothing is uglier than arrogance. Confidence, being comfortable with yourself, feeling secure, those are grand things. Arrogance is quite another. Too many people on both side of the gender fence get their ego a bit stroked as a youth and spend the rest of their lives making people around them miserable.
- Women who use their feminine wiles to get men to do things for them (pay bills, buy dinners, move furniture, etc.). Using people sucks. You're one step up below an escort, at least escorts can be respected for their relative honesty and straightforwardness in their social exchanges. I haven't run into many of this sort, though. I did make a friend who soon after revealed to me she was sleeping with a guy because he would fill up her gas tank, and she was sleeping with another guy (at the same time) because he would take her grocery shopping, and another who... Oh dear, she was physically a beautiful girl, but not so much inside. Our friendship was short lived.
- Cowboy boots. I'm sure cowboy boots are probably perfectly suited for cowboys. But there is no excuse for any non-cowboys to be wearing them. A woman or man in cowboy boots in a city makes as little sense as them wearing ski boots.
- Smoking. Ugh. You have taken from me every ounce of interest I might have had in you and crushed it like you do your cigarette butts. You smell like an ashtray, you taste like an ashtray, and you reek of addictive behavior. Not for me.
- "Nude" Pantyhose. Ugh. I used to think I hated pantyhose generally, but now I realize it's just the "nude" or sheer kind I dislike, mostly because I don't like something pretending to be skin color, that's just creepy like a snake shedding its skin. And then at the crotch area the stitching on sheer pantyhose is right there, with flaps, and extra material, and I don't know... it's just weirdly complicated and unattractive.
Things I love with women:
- Winter wear! Hats, coats, sweaters, mittens/gloves! How I love layers! Women look pretty in them, and when the time comes for their removal it just makes things so much more fun! And put a woman in the snow, and wow! I like it when pretty white flakes of snow land on their noses. I would have been a very randy Eskimo.
- Women who like driving. There's something sexy about a woman who takes pride in her driving.
- Sweetness, tenderness, vulnerability. 'nough said.
- Multicolored socks/stockings. Japanese girls sometimes rock this look. But I don't know any. And I am a little afraid of the Japanese when it comes to the bedroom and their tentacle porn.
- Dancing. I'm a bit too self conscious to really enjoy dancing myself, but I like women who don't have that shyness and might move me past mine. I was once in a a gas station, in line, waiting to pay with my girlfriend of that time, and she started to dance subtly to whatever was on the radio they were playing. It was a truly beautiful moment; I loved her so very greatly in that instant.
- A yielding sexual aggressiveness. I don't want a woman to be all corpse-y, that's no good. But, neither do I want to be their bitch (nor they mine). I advocate for a position of relative, exchangeable equality, with each person taking that controlling interest at different times, a communism of sex. To each according to their sexual needs of the moment, from each according to their sexual ability of the moment, etc.
- Creativity. One of the most attractive things for me is creativity (however it is expressed, in their art, writing, or just the play of brilliant banter).
- Freethinkingnes-ish. In theory I like women who are freethinkers, but freethinking can also lead to freeacting which might include daily orgies and drug induced stupors and I'm not so keen on those. I'm looking for someone who's probably a bit like me, freethinking in mind, but more conservative (cowardly?) in action.
- Smilers. I love women whose smiles elevate me, and everyone else.