please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Things To Not Do With Your Band Photo (probably part one of a series)

It's been said before, in many places and at many different times, that the best way to show exactly how Ready For This you are is to contract a professional photographer to do a session with you.

Note the beautiful chiaroscuro late-afternoon light on the tree. The slanting carport roof juxtaposed with the more horizontal lines of the backyard fence. The whimsical inclusion of a Slinky.

And above all else, note how the photog in question definitely didn't make your band look like a bunch of idiot high-schoolers who have no idea what they're doing.

Nothing quite says you're ready for the big time like having your Look all planned out and taken care of.

From the right, we have Guy With Phone...Or perhaps Guy With Remote who thinks you're a t.v. and is trying to change you. We have KURT! Or perhaps we have Guy Whose Girlfriend Can't Figure Out How To Get Rid Of Satan Eye on her phone's camera. Guy Who Is Higher Than Jesus Right Now?

And finally on the left: One Would Go Dateless That Night! Also, the only guy with a van in the band.

I try not to make the same exact joke too many times in a row here. For instance: if I felt like it, I could have taken the majority of the photos I found doing a very brief search and just wrote, "Pictured: buncha dudes."

You'd think you specifically had to be a sort of half-ass lookin' dude to be in a band or something. But there's lots of ladies making music these days, and here's five of 'em.

From left: Stare-y, Simper-y, Going To Kill You, Disappointed In You and The Underaged-Looking One.

Well, so me and the rest of the boys just got done with a "gig" see, and we were on our way up the stairs at the Gigglin' Goose when our friend who's a semi-professional photographer stops us and says we should get a band photo done, seeing how we're trying to make it in this industry.

So we're standing there, and just as the flash goes off, AHH! TAMMY! She pops right out of Bob's chest (you can tell he's already dead by that blank stare in his eyes) and starts looking all sassy! She demanded that we hire her to sing lead, and frankly, what the hell could we do at that point?

You Are What You Are, and you will brook no compromise. You have the heart of a warrior, and these are times of war. Where the Blood Sacrifice is Legitimate, and the Eternal Crisis is Forevermore, a small clan of Serious Men shall step forth to provide the battle tunes we all must march by.

You stare meaningfully at us from a white room. With stark light. The solemnity -and again, seriousness of your mission is captured manfully in this image, this...this "photograph," as mortals call them.

What? No, I'm sorry: I just can't stop laughing at your brother's fucking facial hair.

You know, I just don't think you're trying hard enough. The off-brand drum set, the amps with the Dude, Kegger! red Solo cups sitting on top of them, how clearly Your Mom's Basement this is. It's just...I dunno. It doesn't even begin to live up to the promise you have as a band.

And your lead singer. She's gotta go. I know she's a relative of yours, but face facts: she can't fucking sing.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Things To Not Do With Your Profile Picture, Ladies Night II

I felt that we perhaps gave short shrift to the ladies last time, in lieu of endless amounts of fella-ridiculing. What can I say? I'm a fella; I know of what I speak. But getting back to th' babes...

So let's see: this would be one where you think you are being charming, your friends no doubt found this charming, and frankly it probably was charming in the moment. But is that the same thing as what a stranger will probably make of it out of context?

No, I'm kind of thinking that your average stranger will end up looking at this one a bit too long to feel comfortable about it. Crazy face. Forced smile. "Cute" hat and trying to be precious about holding a fucking shell on a beach. It's the kind of thing boring people do when they're trying to be interesting.

Now, this one breaks two immutable laws of First Impressions: one, The Ghost of the Ex. He used to be there, and man whatta buncha pictures he's in! Can't find one of me without him! Crop! Second, and far more importantly, this is a picture of that thing you do that everybody thinks is funny when they know you already. Or they act that way because they're secretly terrified of you.

Again, you get some points for being honest, anyway. It's not your pic from senior prom, you're not substituting a pic of your kitten, you're not looking like you're posing for a Glamour Shots (tm) hazy Vaseline lens photo with the bustier and the satin couch and so on. You're being Real! You're takin' a shit with the door open! You're letting us in on what the reality of the situation! But what is that, if broken down into real terms?

I mean, what is it exactly that you're saying to the stranger here? I ain't so girly! Or, I'm drunk! I can be as unattractive as I want, and still be attractive because that's how attractive I am, got it?

As it happens, she's doing this in all of her shots.

One of two things is happening here: either she thought it would be kinda funny to fuck with people's expectations on this one, and kind of make a meta-joke about profile pictures, or she really honestly thought that this would be a good one, and she is in need of the kind of advice a good friend would have already given her.

Other, more sinister possibilities present themselves: she has demon eyes because she is trying to say I'm a demon. Whatever you do, don't do me. I'm a problem. I'm going to be interrupting this exchange of keys between two willing parties any second now, because I'm Ka-raaazzzyyy!!! Hey guys, how's it goin'? Oh shit, Trisha! Oh yer not giving that tie-wearer your key, are you? Well let me tell you...

Now, I think I know what you were going for here. You were showing off your arty side. You didn't go to Clown College (accredited) for a half year just to spend the rest of your life not entertaining people and bringing a little light into this dismal little world. You like David Bowie in his 'Aladdin Sane' phase as much as the next girl! You're giving someone a mime-job! You're showing how you escaped from That Place they sent you! Er,

You know, on second thought maybe I have absolutely no idea what you were going for here.

I Am A person. First and foremost. I need not distract you with shallow things like how I look.

I know that you are the kind of person who traffics in ideas. That you are the person who wants to spend their time in a mutually gratifying partnership with An Equal. You are a Good Man who cares more about how I think than how I would look, because you can tell absolutely nothing about a person by their expression, their...lowly countenance.

And because you think like me, and because you and I just know better than the rest of those people out there, I know that you will respect me in my decision to choose to forgo a picture of how I look in real life and instead offer a picture of a trite-as-fuck bumper sticker.

Squeezin' Diamonds! Or, Aw c'mon you guyyys! Date Me! Or, I have Passion! I live out in this bamboo grove because it's so PEACEFULLL! I'm trying like hell to remember the name of the band that did "Send Me An Angel!" It's right on the tip of my tongue!

Let's see: most likely it's the Passionate Photo explanation. How do I sum up how Passionate I am about things? My friends -who signed off on this pic, probably, and would have had time to veto it, presumably- said that maybe I should do that thing I do when I'm working hard! Out in the bamboo grove because THAT'S WHERE MY PASSION LIES!

And how else can you say it without words? My one friend said you could do it by looking just like Melissa Etheridge's first album cover:

But I'm not really sure that I'd take Char's advice about issues of The Heart anyway.

But you don't know the heart that beats inside the Breasts of Honest Lady 1991.
She is Just Her, Here With You, well...Let's let her tell it:

I'm very brilliant, clever, nice looking, healthy and fun loving young lady.Above all,some of the character traits that l possess includes;good sense of humor,good and noble manners,very transparent and genuine and the ability to concentrate and to understand-To mention but a few..About who lam,l may say I'm very dependable and trustworthy,living all fears behind myself now and building on strength to compensate
for the weakness...

Is what average sexy gentleman is wanting for, suppose.

This is picture of Honest Lady in Casual. She can just chillax in Recliner as like One of Boys. She has ripped pants fabric! She can tell the jokes dirty! She is willing to go get you A Beer! Well, to let her continue to tell it...

In view of this,I'm friendly and attract others to me,I'm always happy,looking forward to meeting and loving someone who will love me in return,looking forward to a great romance and am preparing for it by being positive.I mean a romance and a true love that will love a lifetime.....

That's an awful lot of periods for someone who didn't mean what they said, don't you think?

Honest Lady with the Fashion Hat! And the Model Pose! When these pictures were first taken five years ago in Herzegovina, she was told that she was going to be Top Model!

Since that time, she has relaxed her expectations and wants to be with You:

I choose to ignore negative messages from the past and will focus on positive hope for the future which includes being ready for a healthy love relationship and I expect and hope to see happiness,security,trust,self commitment,freedom,tolerance,hope, etc at its best as long as sincerity is not left out. We are getting to know each other from now and l can see how thrilled and excited you're behind your PC.Alright,I believe you understand the feelings behind my words.

I think it's interesting that she knows what kind of computer you have, isn't it? It's also interesting that despite her profile turning up on a dating site that serves a Portland, Oregon weekly, her neighborhood is "Youngstown" because she lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Or, wherever it is that Rich American Grooms live.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Further Album Cover-related Madness

Episode six:

Episode seven:

Episode eight:

Episode nine:

Episode ten:

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Many Non Sequiturs Do Not Follow

There is a strange habit, certainly among Americans and maybe all people everywhere, of taking straightforward pieces of information and acting as if they were advice. Case in point: "There's No Free Lunch."
Once upon a time, your average bar would indeed have had free food spread out for you around lunchtime. To not have a free lunch would be an exception. One even may encounter free hors d'ouevres to this day at certain bars, circa happy hour. So if you were not offering any free food to your customers in those days, you'd need a sign to let them know in advance.

The first several hundred times in my life I heard this one, it was usually rendered as; "Like the sign says, 'there's no free lunch'." It was being offered as advice, but acknowledging its source as a commonplace thing that has no idea it's giving you life lessons. In years to come, it lost the modifier and suddenly became one of those faux tough guy things that Americans like to say.

There's a guy I know only by reputation, and as far as I can tell, he's an idiot. All I've got on him are stories from other people and what he posts on Facebook.
One time, in the course of a longer discussion about...Individuality, I suppose, he wrote "I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for something I am not."

Except for a few misspellings and occasional kitteh-isms like 'wold', that's pretty much how it rolled. Now, since I don't know the guy, I just couldn't bring myself to deliver the only comeback, which is: "You're in luck!"
But it reminds me also how often you're likely to hear shit like that from people who don't really mean it -I bet he'd be a freaking wreck if he knew what people really thought of him- and how it (like everything) is a mis-reading of Shakespeare.

Well? How likely are you to hear shit opinions voiced by idiots that do indeed back it up with words from The Bard, because they know that at least Once Upon A Time, that would be enough? So then you get dipshits quoting things like "To thine own self, be true," and "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

For the first line, you must remember that the person who spoke that is a fool. For the second, you must remember that the person who spoke it was joking. The removal of all-important Context makes it possible for your asshole neighbor who spends all his time being disproportionately angry at everything to use these to mean, respectively,
"I'm an asshole. GET OVER IT!" and
Which is to say; a fool, being true to his own nature as usual.

Somehow this always reminds me of the peculiar American habit (again as I say; I've never lived anywhere else) of deciding in advance that anyone who is accused of a crime is therefore guilty of said crime. The more heinous the crime, the more likely this reaction is.
Thing is, I've been on the receiving end of this one just enough times in my life to tell you: just because everybody thinks it, doesn't make it so. I've lived in just enough communities in my time where everybody was just one hundred per cent convinced that I'd done something that I had not done that I do indeed sympathize with people who Stand Accused.

The culprit as always is groupthink. Or what your cracker barrel philosophers will call good ol' horse sense. The easy and the obvious. Homilies and homespun wisdom. Handed-down misinterpretations of things. If it rhymes, it's true. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'. It just makes good sense.

And all of this leads to me, stuck behind a delivery van the other day. The legend on the back read, "Many stops do not follow," to which I had to think, that's true y'know: they don't.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Rules of the Ziggy Circus game

Another day, another great time to switch the punchlines on our nation's two worst comic strips.

Again, all the other people in Ziggy's world (such as they are; they're not so much 'people' as they are walking punchlines) are constantly making references to a Daddy or Mommy who's nowhere to be seen.
And back in Cirque du Famile land, Dolly gets closer and closer to crossing that line that she would do well not to cross.

This one actually doesn't even need much juxtaposition. The upshot of all of it is that Jeffy drinks urine, but I think you knew that already.

I know I'm not the only one who has wondered about Ziggy's sexuality. I mean, does he have any? That would be only the first of many questions. But best of all, wouldn't it be great if he, like so many other amorphous man-blobs I've known in my time, could only get it on in a very very specific way?
Like -say for instance- forcing his partner to form himself into some sort of 'z' shape and call him "Daddy?"
Meanwhile, Billy doesn't make a goddamn lick of sense, is proud of same. He will grow up to be your typical American adult.

Frankly, this one was a problem for me even before I switched the punchlines.
I mean, randomly being asked for your food by a stranger who was walking by your house is odd enough, as is your retarded, melon-headed child clearly wanting to fuck your mouth out of some strange, feral instinct to just put it in the hole, dammit, first thing in the morning.
But when the kid says, "Are you going to eat that pickle?" it takes on even more sinister dimensions. What is the frequency, Kenneth?
And as usual, some hapless stranger has mistaken Ziggy for daddy, which could never happen outside the magical world of the comics.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Interviews, with a Bachelor and a Major

This is more or less just to post these somewhere. They've been flying the flag on Facebook for a while now: but let's bring it on home.

Aaand episode two!


That'll do for now.
Oh, okay...


Monday, January 10, 2011

You and Your "Therefore"

Back in early 2005 when I first started this blog, I went out of my way to engage people who didn't share my political views at all. I figured that everyone needed to keep talking, regardless of how we spoke to each other. I never shied away from calling them bigots, they never tired of reminding me that I was was going to Hell. And that's dialogue: to my mind it's better than silence.
It wasn't always name-calling, either. I went out of my way to let them know I agreed with them on the few occasions we agreed. I tried damn hard to show the places where our interests overlapped. I often spoke of how we had lots more in common that we were being told by the media. They rarely did me any of the same favors in return.

So why'd I stop? Well, aside from getting sick of batting away the same shitty arguments over and over again, I noticed early on that all those people on the Other Side were always damn quick to go to the "We Should Just Kill All Of Them" variety of joke. And it was never long before it went past jokes, and into the real thing.

Naturally, reminding them that they were being kept in a constant state of irrational, barely coherent anger by a well-funded media apparatus that sought to do so entirely for the short-term political gain of one particular political party never came off well. Turns out people hate to hear that sort of thing about themselves.

But in any case, I always went out of my way to remind anyone who would listen that this isn't a sustainable state of affairs. You can't have this many people this angry at each other for this long, and still have a country that works at all. What you have in that case is something more like Rwanda, actually.

After a while, I noticed the random appearance of the word "therefore" in lots of their arguments. Always in some sort of syllogism that didn't exactly work, like -"if (thing that isn't true) is true, then therefore (other thing that isn't true) must also be true." Like watching a class on logical fallacies, like first day in Philosophy 101.
I knew what this was, too. They had been made to feel bad by your science-y types enough times that they just wanted to throw a few "therefores" and "hences" of their own because that's what you get to say when you're right, or at least sound that way. It's a way of speeding past that whole having-to-prove-something part and just go, "I win!"

That's why I'm not terribly surprised that Jared Loughner had that as his favorite method of argument. And why those arguments were all loaded down with not just poor comparisons but things that didn't seem to connect to any thing at all. (Matter o' fact, here's a great interview with the guy's philosophy professor from community college. It's almost funny.) As if he only attended half of the class on logical fallacies, and was now actively trying to prove that bread really is stones.

So lots has been made of how he's basically too crazy to have a coherent political position. That may be, but he himself described what he was going to do as an "assassination." I'm pretty sure that didn't refer to the little girl who died, either.
Lots has also been made about how we musn't interpret this as some sort of failure of Arizona's gun laws. No problem AZ; you didn't fuck up colossally and see to it that crazy there was comfortably armed and actively concealing. Feel better now? Didn't realize you states were so damn sensitive.

I think I should get to have a gun myself. And I think that other people should get to have guns. But I think that even the staunchest gun-rights activist doesn't like crazy, stupid people having guns.
And if all these lone nuts throughout our history were never doing it for politics but simply because they were crazy (or "evil," whatever), then why is it pretty much always a liberal that gets it? Why aren't people shooting the Michele Bachmanns of this world? Why the hell hasn't anyone put three well-placed peach-sized holes in Glenn Beck?

Lots of reasons, I suppose: maybe those same people who want us to all be mad at each other all the time also want us to be scared all the time, and it scares us more when people who at least try to talk about us all being nice to each other end up gettin' got. Maybe it's something I've never even gotten close to considering.
(Also: I kinda forgot about George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. Yeah, they sort of got shot too, I guess...)

This is that thing I keep going on and on about: we have so completely let the stupid take over the argument at this point that we all have to speak their baby talk. It's our fault: wouldn't want to be seen as An Elitist, would you?
Well, as I often said to those nice people who told me I was going to Hell for thinking as I thought: you're the one who claims to speak for God, and you're calling me the elitist?

But there's nothing wrong with telling people who have nothing good to add to shut the fuck up. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise; they're probably doing it for a very bad reason. We pride ourselves on our inclusiveness and rightfully so: but, if stupid there just keeps on barking the same stupid ideas over and over again, it's your duty as a thinking person to tell them to fuck off and be quiet.

So these days if I want to go make fun of stupid people with terrible arguments, I go over to Yahoo! Answers and stalk the "Religion and Spirituality" boards. (Actually, I don't even do that anymore, but my year of experimentation with that lowest level of public debate is going to get a blog of its own, whose inaugural post is here. Yes, I know: because I'm doing such a fantastic job keeping up my other five blogs. )
Pretty much it's all bad arguments, skewing toward the pseudo-scientific, often just childish (because I suspect a lot of the questioners are actually children). It has given me way too many opportunities to begin my reply with, "You and your 'therefore'..."