Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scotch the Cat, “The Exorcist”, and the Island of Misfit Toys

  Okay, what happened was…

  I woke up. That’s all I did.

  I was napping in one of my secret places, behind the purple couch with the too-big pillows that smell like me because, well, I can’t leave stuff alone. I like it back there. You have to squeeze a little bit to get in there, but it’s worth it, because then there’s a place just my size. I can lay there and peek and see stuff, but nobody can see me. My daddies will call one of my names and walk around looking for me but they don’t know where I be and it’s fun.

  They try to tease me, though, my daddies. They go to the Pan Tree and open the door and make one of the Treat Bags make noise. When I was little and more simple, I would hear that noise and run to them very fast, because it meant I would get little bits of something special in my bowl. I like bits of special. But after years of simple I figured out that sometimes the noise was a trick. My daddies were not putting something in my bowl. They wanted to get me.

  I don’t wanna be got. I don’t wanna be anything where I can’t jump down and run somewhere else. My daddies don’t understand that I am very important and I don’t have time for being got. I have things to do. Important stuff I need to do now, not later when they lay down on the big bed with the come-for-tour that I like to scratch and they are not caring if I break stuff or not. Don’t get me! Unless I say.

  Because being got is bad. My daddies are going to do something I don’t want them to do. Sometimes they want to take little round white things and shove them in my place where the food goes. My throwed. I don’t like that. That’s not a treat. Why are they shoving it? I don’t want it. And one of the daddies knows how to squeeze on part of my face where my mouth just falls open, I can’t help it. Then bam, not-treat in my throwed. I will scratch him later for bamming.

  And sometimes they want to stop fleece. I don’t know fleece. My daddies say fleece is bad and they don’t want fleece on me. But what is fleece? They don’t say that part, just stop fleece. So they get me, because I didn’t think right, and I got got. And one daddy holds me and the other daddy puts cold yuck on my back. The part of my back that I can’t lick or scratch, by my head. That’s mean. Daddies are mean about fleece. I can’t get yuck off! Even if I run and hide and be mad.

  But the baddest got thing? The clip hers. I think my daddies love me but then I get got and one of the daddies has the clip hers. And then I don’t know about love. I only know I want to be away from clip hers. One of the daddies makes me be still and the other daddy puts the clip hers on my scratch-toes and he CUTS THEM! My daddies cut me! They cut my toes! It is terrible and bad.

  And I try to stop them. Because I know they might have demons and maybe they don’t understand. I know about demons. Sometimes the daddies leave the Tea Vee on when they go to those places I can’t go and they come back with bags of stuff that I can sniff. And one time the Tea Vee had a long show called “The Ex Or Sips”  about a girl named Lend the Bear who spit up lots of hairballs and killed people who wore black and white clothes and made them fall down stairs and stuff. She was loud and mean but other people in the show said she did it because of demons.

  So my daddies have demons. And that makes them want to cut me. But it’s still just me that has hair balls, so maybe that movie didn’t tell me everything.

  I forgot what I was trying to tell you.

  Oh, the cutting and the clip hers. So when my daddies and the demons try to cut me, I fight. I fight hard, because I don’t like it when big people make me do things I don’t want to do. I squirm and I wiggle and I howl like Lend the Bear, like my daddies are trying to kill me. I don’t know if they are or not but I don’t want to find out. This makes the daddies say strong words and they are not happy, but Scotch is not happy either because they might be killing me. Why do they not understand that I’m not happy?

  I’m sad now. I don’t know if I want to talk anymore. Daddies should not hurt kitties with clip hers. Bad.

  Oh, look. A leaf just fell in the yard. I want to kill it. Or maybe I want to check my bowl to see if there’s something new. Or sleep. I like sleeping.  And stretching after sleeping. Do you like tuna? I like tuna. Bunches. And bugs can be yummy.

   I forgot again why I’m here. Oh yeah. I was talking about the picture that goes with this story. I don’t like that picture. And I think it’s Lie Bell that one of my daddies took it. It makes me look mean and maybe did something bad to my toys that look hurt. They are only a little hurt, not bad hurt. And they only got hurt because they made me mad. Don’t make me mad, don’t get hurt. Gold In rule. But maybe I should tell why I mad and then had to hurt.

  I was behind the purple couch, just laying. I already did all my important morning stuff and checked and sniffed all the things that need checked and sniffed. So it was time for a brake, because I’m in the Kitty Union and we have work-hers rights. So I was braking, and maybe snoozing a little because I’m good at that. And then one of the daddies was done with his get-ready stuff and it was time for him to say bye and drive away in his car to that place he goes to make money.

  I don’t really like this part. Because I was all settled and comfy and didn’t want to do things that make me look cute. But that daddy has to play with me for a little before he drives to the money place. I don’t know why. I know he’s going to come back. And I’m not going anywhere, because they don’t let me go anywhere, because I am End Door Kitty who gets told no-no when I try to run outside and touch grass. (I still try, but always no-no and door slamming.) So daddy was trying to play and I didn’t want to because I was braking. He called my name lots.

  I pretended I didn’t hear him. (Braking!)

  He called more. I was starting to think I didn’t like this daddy. Let me lay and not do anything! Go make the money and bring me back a treat bag. Not hard, just do. He called more. I thought maybe I call my Union Stew Herd and file a grieve ants, but I didn’t know where my sell phone be. (Maybe in big water bowl where daddies sit. The bat room?) I like to throw stuff in big water bowl, so maybe sell phone got throwed. I forget stuff. I’m simple but I’m pretty.

  I finally got tired of daddy calling so I got up and peeked around the purple couch. Daddy saw me and grabbed me and raised me in the air and made baby talk. I don’t like to be in the air. I have told my daddies “No Air!” all the time. One daddy understands, and no air. Other daddy not understand, and air happens. So Air Daddy was doing the air thing and I had to remind him about no air. When he didn’t listen, I squirmed and tried to kill him with my claws.

  He didn’t like that.

  Good. He put me down on my special place. It’s a desk that other daddy got from Pear One. But my daddies don’t do desk stuff with it. They put nice soft floors on the top so I can lay down and watch out the window and wait for leaves to fall so I can think about killing them. And that was okay, because it’s my me-only place and I can think about being the King Kitty of the world. But then Air Daddy found one of my old toys and put it down beside me.

  I don’t like that old toy. I liked it a long time ago when I was little and didn’t know that if I just wait, there will be new toys coming. I played with it a lot when I was stupid, because it was red and it was a crab and I like seafood and it was easy for my claws to grab it and throw it everywhere or maybe put it in one of my water bowls and wait for one of the daddies to find it and make funny faces because I drowned my crab. I like it better when my daddies don’t understand my plans. Because I get more treats that way.

  Anyway, daddy threw yucky crab on my special throne and then kissed me on the head. My head that I had just cleaned with one of my front paws and now it was dirty again. Why do they not understand about clean spots? Don’t touch! It takes a long time to make things clean. So I was in a bad mood and I was glad Air Daddy left for the way-far place because I needed to call my lawyer. And then sleep.

  But I didn’t get to do anything of my important stuff, because other daddy came out of the Off Hiss room and wanted to know what I was doing. Why checking on me when Air Daddy just did? You have sell phones. Text and leave me alone! But I tried to be sweet because maybe treat time, you never know. I just sat there and tried to look hungry.

  But no treat. Other daddy saw ugly crab toy and thought I was playing with it. (I not!) And he thought I needed other toys. (No, please.) And he found the mouse toy and flopped it on my throne. I don’t like the mouse toy, almost more than crab. Mouse toy don’t work right. When you pick up, no sound. When you throw on ground, it make noise. Why that? It should scream when I pick up, not throw down. Stupid bad toy.

  So now I had two not-want things on my throne. Life is very hard. I tried to tell daddy that this was not working for me, that toys should be in trash and treats should be in mouth. But he not listen. He thought I was singing or something and wanted to take a picture. He stupid sometimes. He ran to get cam-raw. I wanted him to fall down and leave me alone until time for attention. I’m busy and popular on Cat Book. Two thousand furrers!

  But he came back. Bad daddy! And he had cam-raw, and shoving it at my face and talking to me pretty but he really didn’t mean it. He just want me to look at cam-raw. I don’t want to look at cam-raw, but only so many places to look, with ugly crab and stupid mouse in my house. So I finally look at daddy and he burn my eyes with cam-raw fire. More reason to call lawyer.

  And then he show me picture. I look all mad, because I BE mad, with not-want toys on my soft royal floor that is MINE. And I get madder because I know this daddy is the one who makes clog posts about me and not talk to my agent before he do. Not right. But I can’t stop it, daddy goes clogging without asking me if okay. My daddies need training, Clog Daddy AND Air Daddy. Please click on Pet-Pal link to donate for my cause to train daddies better. It’s flax deductible! Send lots of money. Money good.


P.S. to Clog Daddy: Why are there dead plants outside my royal window? King Kitties don’t want to see that. More lawyer reasons. I call now.

Friday, August 10, 2012

30 Fun Things To Say To A Complete Stranger On An Elevator

1. Thank you for choosing to fly with us today.

2. You know, it’s proper etiquette that you knock before you just barge in here.

3. What are your thoughts on public nudity?

4. Did you know that serial killers really like to push buttons that light up?

5. I don’t understand why it’s never the right floor when the doors open.

6. Because I’m free. Free as I’ll ever be.

7. Will you be my Facebook friend?

8. I couldn’t help but noticing that both of your shoes are the same color.

9. I sure hope the oxygen masks work this time.

10. If you stop on every floor, you get a candy bar.

11. We go together, like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. We sure do.

12. I would have taken the stairs, but Jesus told me I shouldn’t. Not today.

14. Would you like the rest of my bagel?

15. If the elevator falls, and you jump at just the right time, you won’t get hurt.

16. I don’t understand the difference between rice pudding and tapioca pudding.

17. Did you know that 4 out of 5 dentists recommended my gum?

18. Well, at least the mother ship can’t track me in here.

19. Would you mind if I interviewed you for my website?

20. In certain Asian cultures, it’s traditional to exchange parting gifts.

21. This is the only part of the day when I’m not allowed to drink.

22. I finally found out what a disco stick is. If you pay me five bucks, I’ll tell you.

23. I bet I could lay down on this floor and touch all four walls.

24. You never know where you’re gonna get a rash.

25. I hope they don’t lose my luggage again.

26. Why would anyone be proud of being a walrus?

27. It’s okay if you don’t want to say anything and just stare at the floor. I’ll understand. I’m just as embarrassed about what happened that day at the Piggly Wiggly.

28. Did you notice that there’s not a #13 on this list?

29. I’m so glad we had this time together. Just to have a laugh, or sing a song. Even though you don’t seem to be laughing. Or singing. But still, ear tug.

30. If you concentrate really hard, you can feel the building moving instead of us. They don’t want you to know that part.

31. I’m still trying to figure out where I’m supposed to put my money.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

10 Important Life Lessons That We Learned in the "Dallas" Season Finale

1. Accidentally kill someone that was really on your nerves? Apparently there’s an app for that.

  It seems you can just whip our your smart phone, dial a special number, and within seconds a squadron of men in black outfits will swarm into your house bearing cleaning supplies and body-transport laundry carts. This seems like so much more fun than just ordering pizza or Chinese.

2. Bobby Ewing is obviously immortal.

  We sort of knew this, what with that whole “dream season” back in the day, when Patrick Duffy apparently took a shower for an entire year. (And Victoria Principal took a really long nap, without mussing her hair even once.) Bobby’s super-powers, and his intricate hair, were in full evidence tonight as he fully recovered from an aneurism in about 4 minutes and then went right back to work arranging for the arrest of a sibling.

3. Larry Hagman’s eyebrows could inspire a new horror-movie franchise.

  I thought I would get used to it as the season progressed. I was wrong. You can’t get away from those things. They upstage everyone in every scene where they make an entrance. The camera zooms in for a facial close-up, J.R. starts to talk about something probably important, and all I can focus on is wondering how his forehead isn’t bleeding from the barbed-wire punctures.

4. The new offices of “Ewing Energies” are apparently going to be located in the same exact space as the offices from the original series.

  Yay! How touching! But wait. The view out the window is wrong, the football-field size of the space is wrong, and the lack of a fully-stocked bar is wrong. But the most important wrongness? The lack of the secretaries. I didn’t see Sly and her always-perfect hair arranging something dastardly for J.R., I didn’t see Phyllis and her always-questionable hair arranging something heroic for Bobby, and I didn’t see Kendall and her pointless hair sitting at her pointless little desk in the “pre-lobby” area that never made any sense. It’s okay that they didn’t include Jackie, though. That girl had about 47 different jobs throughout the original series and you never knew where she would pop up.

5. Ann Ewing rocks.

  When Bobby’s wife (Brenda Strong) marched into the office of evil Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi) and did that whole number with the fake torment and the eventual microphone reveal? Perfect scene, perfectly played. (I think I had a small orgasm.) Ann should be shooting to the top of that little “Rise To Power” competition on the TNT website, just sayin. Trivia note: Mitch Pileggi is better known for “X-Files”, but he also was in the original “Dallas” run, for a multi-episode bit, playing a mental patient who gets locked in the basement of a questionable sanitarium alongside J.R. (This was in the later seasons when the writers were so bored out of their minds that they wrote whatever they could to fill up the hour.)

6. Sue Ellen Ewing rocks even harder.

  Let’s face it: Linda Gray is nearly 72 years old. Seventy-two. But you sure as hell wouldn’t know it. Miss Thang has still got it and doesn’t look like she’s giving it up any time soon. (Seriously, look at the promo clips for the new show. They have the poor woman wrapped in what looks like vibrantly-orange Ace bandages, with questionable holes here and there, but she still has more allure and hotness than the youngsters who are playing the new Ewing women.)

  I will say that the first episodes of this season saddened me, when it came to Sue Ellen, because they had her adoring wicked John Ross just like she adored wicked J.R. back in the day, only without the high-velocity drinking, multiple vehicular mishaps, and a tendency to be rude to Miss Ellie, which one should never do if they have any hopes of ascending into Heaven. We like the Sue Ellen that finally put down the cocktails and took up the fight against J.R. But patience proved rewarding as Sue Ellen finally came to her senses in the last few episodes and morphed into Sue Ellen 2.0, thus straightening her crown that had become dangerously off-center.

7. You can get an engagement ring made to look like a glob of oil surrounded by precious stones.

  But why would you do that to someone you supposedly love? Why? And then John Ross twists the knife even more by saying to Elena something like “I thought sunshine reflecting off crude oil was the most beautiful thing ever until I saw you.” Really? You’re going to compare your beloved to a petroleum product? Elena, honey, go to Plan B.

8. Plan B’s can be very erotic.

  So Elena finds out some not-so-good intel about John Ross, then she finds out that Christopher still hearts her a whole bunch, and Christopher’s engagement ring is WAY more pretty and feminine than the not-all-that-bad-but-still-awkward chunk of fossil-fuel jewelry that John Ross proffered. So what’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re planning to have a healthy plot-line in Season 2, you race off to bump naughty bits with Christopher even though she’s technically engaged to someone else and he’s technically married to a woman with more secrets than Mitt Romney.

9. Apparently “the cloud” is something that makes it very hard for bad people to continue being bad.

  See, there was this now-dead character with an alias of Marta Del Sol who, when she wasn’t busy being crazy and obsessed, managed to upload all of her private business to “the cloud”. This cloud then allowed Bobby and Christopher to find interesting information that implicated J.R. and John Ross and Vincente “the guy who used to be on 24” Cano, making things very unpleasant for them. Note to self: Do not upload personal chit-chat to the international transponder. Unless I suspect that I’m about to be killed for being too clingy. Then I’m uploading everything.

10. Cliff Barnes just doesn’t give up.

  You’d think the man would have learned some social skills from the original series, where he managed to basically chase everyone out of his life that cared for him, especially the string of women who magically found him attractive only because the script said they should. But no, he’s still on his vindictive path, scheming and manipulating and ordering Chinese food, whatever it takes to destroy the Ewings. And then we have the huge reveal near the end of the show, with Rebecca Ewing (marriage hanging by a thread) proving that she has some very serious Daddy issues, which sets up an intriguing Cliff-hanger. And that’s classic “Dallas”. We’ll talk again in January…

Sunday, August 5, 2012

10 Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Go Grocery Shopping Without Supervision

1. The parking lot.

  The uncontrolled behavior starts before I even get in the store. I’m one of those who doesn’t like to park anywhere near the entrances to a retail establishment, because some drivers are incredibly stupid and inconsiderate and I don’t want them maneuvering a vehicle into the slot next to mine. (I happen to prefer that my own car not have dings, dents, hanging bumpers, and paint scrapes that were not part of the factory finish.) So I park in Brazil, and then I walk.

  Trouble is, this lengthy hike (I make sure I have plenty of water and a snack or two) means that I now have to walk past all of the people I was trying to avoid. People backing up without looking, idiots trying to turn into a slot while you’re still strolling past it, random children who have been psychologically destroyed by the non-purchase of a toy, and cretins who think belching and grabbing at their junk at the same time is some type of art form.  By the time I actually get to the store door, I’ve got a negative attitude because I’m already tired and our society is clearly doomed.

2. The shopping cart selection.

  Some folks just have an eye for spotting a properly-functioning merchandise conveyance. They waltz up to the shopping-cart petting zoo at the front of the store, not even hesitating as they make their decision, and then manage to choose a cart that will function beautifully for the next two hours, never once making the tiniest squeak or doing that annoying thing where some of the wheels lock up like you just ran over an armadillo and then those wheels don’t roll right ever again.

  Me? I can’t even get the carts to separate. My first choice is always the one that has somehow become welded-for-life to the spooning partner behind it. I can jerk and rip and tear but the carts refuse to stop copulating. The same thing happens with the next several random picks. By the time I finally get one of the carts free, I’m sweating and cussing and slightly foaming at the mouth, causing small children to tug on their mommy’s skirt and promise to be good the rest of their lives if they can just be taken away from this place with the scary man.

  And, naturally, the cart I finally liberate is one that has had a hard life of drug and alcohol abuse. Only one of the four wheels even tries to work, with the other three digging in their heels or stubbornly trying to head in a direction that does not appeal to me in the least. It’s like trying to push a Buick across the bottom of the ocean. And the noise all of this makes? First-responders often show up and hand out evacuation guidelines.

3. I can’t get from Point A to Point B and then calmly find a check-out station.

  Nope. I end up running all wild-eyed from one end of the store to the other 400 times. To be fair, I always have the best intentions of following a plan (non-perishables first, refrigerated next, frozen after that, and alcohol as a reward at the end), but I rarely stick to it. I just somehow lose my focus and my sense of logic, and I often have to make repeat trips to the exact same part of the same aisle. (Because grabbing both peas AND corn during the same pass makes entirely too much sense, right?)

4. The cheese section.

  This is one of those spots where I completely lose my mind. I’m not even supposed to be eating this stuff, cholesterol issues and all, but before I even realize what I’m doing I have all manner of shredded, sliced, cubed, bricked and processed cheese piled into my cart. I always get too much. We won’t even be able to eat half of it before it expires, and cheese doesn’t expire for a really long time. It’s not like some of the other emotionally-weak dairy products that can expire before you pull into your driveway. (On the flip side of the dairy-longevity spectrum, although I don’t think it’s really dairy, is that odd soy milk stuff. We drink it and all, I actually like the taste, but have you ever taken a gander at the expiration dates? I have mortgages that will be paid off before a half-gallon of that mess will actually turn. What’s going on there?)

5. I am the one that irritates you in the frozen food section.

  Full confession: I hold the doors open too long until everything fogs up and you can’t see anything inside the units, which makes people frustrated and bitter and not apt to speak kindly of you. I can’t help it. See, I eat a lot of those low-fat, low-cal diet things. (More of that high-cholesterol issue, and my weight issue, and the general issue of not wanting to go into cardiac arrest as I reach for another triple burger with a side of lard fries at a drive-thru mega-chain.) I realize the healthiest thing is to simply prepare my own meals using fresh and organic produce, exercise daily, practice yoga, avoid additives and donate to the World Wildlife Federation, but let’s get real. Who has time for that?

  So I eat frozen things that have been sucked dry of all possible fat and any possible chance of being celebrated for the exquisiteness of the cuisine. But since I have to make the best of it, I try to pick out entrees with the most promise for actual flavor. Which means I stand there with the door open, pondering, inadvertently creating the ghostly, irritating frost layer that drives other people crazy as I try to decide between the Garlic Chicken Surprise and the Fiesta Fish Frenzy. Mea culpa.

6. The chip aisle.

  I love potato chips. Worship them. But they don’t love me. I can just glance at a bag and I gain two inches around my waist as punishment for the glancing. So again, I try to be good by forcing myself to select something that has been “baked” instead of “fried”. (Translation: “tastes like cardboard” instead of “holy cow, I just had a salt-laced orgasm”.)

  But it appears that the “baked chip” people are very busy, always coming up with new flavors that sound very promising. So I buy everything that comes along, desperate and hoping. But it rarely works out, and after I try one chip the bag is shoved into the back of the pantry for all eternity. Just the other day I found a parcel of “Uncle Granny’s Zesty Sea-Salt Tidbits of Nothing” in a dark corner of that pantry. It had an expiration date in 1987.

7. The weird aisle that combines cleaning products and scented candles.

  You know, those “air-freshener” candles that are supposed to detoxify your house, eliminate stanky odors, convince you that your home has become magically located in a Tahitian paradise, and possibly increase your libido (based on the often-startling images of scantily-clad women succumbing to self-pleasure in a bathtub whilst accompanied by artfully arranged flower petals).

  These candle-makers are just as busy as the chip people. There are at least three new scents every time you walk down that aisle. So I have to experience each and every one of them. (The fingernail on the index finger of my right hand actually has a callous from all the scratching and sniffing.) So of course I’m always buying more, despite the fact that we already have enough unburned candles in this house to light a medium-sized Catholic church for the next two hundred years.

8. The fancy deli section.

  Why pay less for a pre-packaged container of sandwich meat when you can pay even more for someone to physically slice the same exact meat on one of those blade-twirling machines and then lovingly place it in a special bag for you? Both versions of said meat have been sitting in the stockroom for the same amount of time. But I will happily pay ten bucks for three slices of designer pastrami that have been cut to my exact specifications, even when the rude little 12-year-old managing the hacksaw doesn’t listen to me and screws up the dimensions.

9. The ice cream section.

  I have sinned. And I have sinned repeatedly. My craving for ice cream is why nuns were invented to beat people with rulers. Seriously.

10. My inability to be a patient human being in the check-out lanes.

  You want to cut me off with your cart even though I saw the shorter line at Lane 12 before you did? Don’t think so. You want me to tolerate your screaming child who apparently cannot continue living unless you buy him a candy bar that will sugar-rush him to even greater heights of insubordination? Not gonna happen. You want to argue about getting to use a coupon that is not only expired but has nothing to do with the anything that you are trying to purchase? I will pull out a machete and—

  Oh, who am I kidding. I will just stand there and put up with it all and curse you under my breath. Because if I do something stupid and get my ass arrested due to your misunderstanding of acceptable human behavior, it’s just going to be that much longer before I can get back to my house where I can eat the taboo cheese, not eat the low-fat crap that I don’t want, suck down the ice cream using a shovel, and enjoy the aroma of yet another new candle, this one bearing the enticing name of “Shanghai Breeze and Pastrami on Rye”…

Friday, August 3, 2012

Idiot Fondue: Case Study #39 – The Planting of the Tea Party

Dear Dr. Brian,

  I have an issue that I hope you can help me with. I’ve tried a number of different ways to deal with the problem, including doing Internet research, attending seminars, speaking to a spiritual adviser, and abusing prescription drugs and alcohol. But nothing has helped. Please help me understand. Why are those Tea Party people so amazingly and mind-numbingly stupid? Thank you for your time.

Ayn Rand

Dear Ms. Rand,

  Thank you for contacting me from beyond the grave. This indicates an incredible dedication to sorting out the truth in this matter. Luckily for you, (and me, I suppose, since you still have to pay me even though I don’t have to actually do any research), I recently returned from a seminar in Milan concerning this very topic. I was just discussing the scholastic experience with my office manager Lanae (who didn’t really care one whit about my discoveries, she was just relieved that she didn’t have to answer the office phones for a few minutes) and I happened to still have the brochure discussing the workshops at the seminar right here on my desk when I opened your email.

  Let’s review those workshop topics, shall we? And of course I’ll add some personal commentary, which is a service I always try to provide to my clients.

  “The Tea Bagger and His Tea”

  First of all, it’s home-brewed. You don’t get that steeped in self-absorption unless you don’t get out of the house all that often, nor did your parents. This is a fundamental warning sign when attempting to diagnose the neurosis of a patient. If the subject has never really travelled to other parts of the country, experienced other cultures, or even had a meaningful conversation with someone who isn’t similarly white, supposedly straight, and stupid, there’s not much of an opportunity for personal growth. Or wisdom.

  Secondly, the tea is obviously bitter. Otherwise, why would these people be constantly running around with such a sour expression and a clenched attitude? Maybe if they would wash the pot out every once in a while, and quit buying the same brand of tea every time, they might actually discover some new flavors that they find out are not half bad. Life is a buffet, people. If you head right to the corn fritters every time you aren’t getting the full experience.

  “The Tea Bagger and His Baggage”

  And those bags are some overstuffed, extra-fee-on-airlines kind of bags. A tea bagger is angry with the world because their personal bags are so full. They’re tired of carrying those bags around, so they take out their frustration on people who have managed to free themselves of baggage and live their lives in a manner that makes them happy. The tea bagger doesn’t believe other people should be happy if they themselves can’t be, so they spend their own lives denigrating others. Instead of doing the smart thing, which would be to unpack those damn bags and move on. And maybe read a book or two.

  Speaking of the packing, let’s full-circle it back to the parents of that bitchy, unsatisfied person. You birth-givers helped pack a lot of that bag. Granted, there are rare occasions when you can be the sweetest thing on earth but still manage to shoot something out of your loins that turns into a hate-mongering sociopath, regardless of how much you try to bathe them in love and understanding and warm cookies. But most of the time? You put the ingredients into the cookie that made Junior what he is today. Proper child-rearing is a lifetime commitment. You can’t throw your hands up and quit the first time Junior knocks somebody down on the playground.

  But still, the ultimate responsibility lies with the person carrying the baggage. Many of us have had parents who didn’t win any awards for sainthood, warmth, or semblance of decency, but we still managed to take a deep breath (sometime hundreds of them) and claw our way to a place of relative peace. The avenues of your life are completely chosen by you. If you have unjustified hatred for another human being, that hatred was sowed in your own soul. You’re the farmer. Take care of it. Tend to your own crops. Plant something better.

“The Tea Bagger and His Pot”

  Ah, and here we get to the cornerstone of the teabag-manufacturing industry: The Church. Now,  before I launch along this angle, let me preface my words by saying that not all houses of worship cook their products the same way, and many of them never make anything that boils. In fact, I’m sure the original houses of worship had a much different method of creation compared to the massive production lines that take place today. Back in the day, the teaching ingredients were simple: love thy neighbor, assist those who need help, don’t do things you really shouldn’t do, and make sure you have enough goats  for the impending marriages of female offspring.

  But as time went by, some people began to bicker about having to follow ALL the rules, because bickering and a dislike for doing the right thing is simply part of the nature of some humans, especially folks who may qualify as humans biologically but not necessarily socially or morally. The bickering units splintered off and formed their own churches, where they could worship just the parts of the founding documents that justified the activities they found more interesting and enjoyable to perform. And, of course, because bickering is a constant with the dissatisfied, the splintering became exponential over the centuries. Now we have thousands of denominational flavors, going by increasingly bizarre names because all of the really good URLs have already been taken on the Internet.

  And even within the mainstream denominations, we have a considerable variance in teaching, because once you start allowing folks to selectively interpret what they will, mix in the powerful but often misused “right to free speech”, things begin to fracture all over the place. So you have one person in Denomination A who believes in a complete set of principles, and another person in that same denomination who believes in the abridged, edited, rearranged set of principles that bears little resemblance to what scribers had in mind back when they were fiddling with sea scrolls and sitting on the shore of the Dead Sea, in a nice cafĂ© that had an excellent brunch.

  And the mini-sized packages of religion are most often served up in those colossal mega-churches that cause traffic jams in the surrounding area for the entirety of Sundays. If you want to keep the attention of your fifth set of 20,000 worshippers whilst standing on your rock-star pulpit stage, you can only hit one or two stirring points or you’re going to start losing people to the concession stands. One or two points, that’s it, forget the rest of the things that moral people should mull if they want to be rounded and grounded. And personally, I don’t see how you can see a spiritual path to God if you can’t even see your own pastor except when he’s flashing on the giant video monitors manufactured in a country where you go to jail if speak your own mind.

  The most spiritual people that I have ever met haven’t stepped foot in a physical church in years, or at least only sparingly. They do their research on their own, rather than being directed to certain passages by people with an agenda, and they read everything they can. Unlike the rock-star preachers and right-wing politicians who haven’t even cracked open the flashy Bibles they like to wave about during photo opportunities.

  “Excuse me,” said Lanae, reading my email over my shoulder whilst sucking the jelly from a donut right in my left ear, “may I interject?”

  I leaned back in my chair, partly to ease the tension in my back and partly to get away from the pornographic soundtrack in that left ear. “Certainly.”

  Lanae swallowed. “Okay, you’re getting a bit long-winded here, like Michael Moore when he notices a camera pointing at him. Let’s move on from the rise and fall of Christianity.”

  I was perplexed. “But I’m just trying to present the religious angle. It’s one of the factors that is being warped in the Tea Party and I’m only assisting my client with-“

  Lanae pressed a sticky index finger against my startled lips, something that both unsettled me and made me suddenly crave a fruit-filled scone. “Shush. Another angle with the Tea Party and the Republicans is that they consider women to be secondary, sub-human, and unable to make decisions about their own body. Just like they treat gays and lesbians. And really, anybody that isn’t a white male. The fact that there are women and gays who are Republicans astounds me. But now I’m having a Michael Moore moment. To the point: You’re not even religious yourself, this blog post is starting to run a little long, and people are going to stop reading it and might go to a mega-church out of boredom.”

  She unstuck her finger from my lips. “I’ll be at my desk if you need me. I’m not going to make any more coffee, because you’ve clearly had your share, but I will prep a bottle of merlot and see if we have any of those weird crackers you like with the olive bits in them.” She marched forth, mission-based.

  I sighed. She was right. Next topic.

“The Tea Plant and the Planting”

    You don’t get a new variety of tea without careful cultivating and experimentation. In the case of the Tea Party-flavored tea, the agricultural process is slightly complex, but effective. First you have to find a promising plot that will produce what you desire. The soil must contain plenty of self-created, improperly-based and unreleased anger. The mineral composition should include an inability to take responsibility for one’s own failures and the need to find a scapegoat who had nothing to do with those failures. And you need to leave all the weeds in the field, the weeds of hate, the weeds of misogyny, the weeds of racism and the weeds of absolute and utter gullibility.

  But the big win here is the fertilizer. And there are two kinds. The primary fertilizer is produced by a company known as “News Corporation”, and the particular product is known as “Fox News”. (Interestingly enough, neither of these names has anything to do with what a rational person would consider “news”.) This fertilizer must be spread daily, preferably via a television set that is left on continuously so that the half-truths and outright lies can seep into the soil at a steady rate. The soil must become so dependent on the Fox News drippings, that if the TV is ever turned off, the soil would have no idea what to do with its life or how to think.

  The secondary fertilizer is known as “right-wing talk radio”. This is also something that must be applied every day, non-stop. This fertilizer contains the fundamentalist elements of bogus statistics, distortions of any semblance of actual reality, show hosts that have failed miserably in any endeavors to be of any worth to society, and a constant repetition of the fundamental mantra: “Hate anything and everything that is different from you.” Except for monetary donations to right-wing candidates. You love and worship those. Send some today! Even if you really don’t have any spare cash because the very people you have been farmed to support are actively working to destroy your livelihood and keep you a slave to their cause.

  And that’s the scoop, dearest Ayn Rand, the writer who was briefly celebrated by the Tea Party until they read the uh-oh bits about your atheism and your statement that “embryos have no rights”, then they tried to dump you despite declaring a national holiday in your honor just a few days before. (This is standard practice with the Tea Party. They don’t investigate anything, they jump on the current bandwagon directive from Rupert Murdoch or Karl Rove or somebody invoking Ronald Reagan, even though it’s very clear that Ronald, despite some questionable things he did, would be horribly ashamed of what the Republican Party has become with their tea farms and idiots with a microphone. Then they blindly jump off the abandoned bandwagon and land wherever they are told to land, still clutching their hate.)

  So, my prescription for you? Give up and let go. There is no possible way to have any compassion for what the Tea Party is trying to do to our country. They are not nationalists, they are certainly not patriots, they have no concept of the true intentions of our founding fathers (separation of church and state, it’s all right there if you could actually read and spell), and they clearly have no compassion for you. Click unfriend.

  Enjoy the rest of your day. In an existential way, of course.

Dr. Brian

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Picture Paradox #3: Someone’s In The Kitchen With Dinah

  And here we have  the five remaining contenders in the original Dinah Shore Invitational Golf Extravaganza, which took place way before a musical talk show host took over the proceedings and spruced things up a bit. Back then, the newly-established event was simply known as  “Something To Do on a Saturday Afternoon in 1926 Before the Stock Market Went to Hell and You Had to Get Serious About Life”. Little did anyone know at the time that a festive and orientation-inclusive tradition had just been established in the heat of the lusty California sun.

   As the bevy of beauties awaited their turn at the final hole, wobbling only slightly from the Sloe Gin Fizzes they had been gulping down since first arriving at the course, beverages chastely acquired from a bootlegger with the intriguing name of Hexom Breen, they had a moment to reflect as they waited for some underling to do a bit of crowd-control maintenance, with this person running about and shushing people because you’re supposed to be really quite at golf tournaments until somebody does something extraordinary.

  Since it’s not easy to make the common folk stop talking about themselves as if they had any significance on the planet, the shushing took a bit of time, which allows us, dear future voyeurs, to eavesdrop on those personal reflections. To make things easier, since, if you’re still with our story at this point, you’ve probably sampled a few Sloe Gin Fizzes yourself this evening, or at least got a nice whiff of cooking sherry, we’ll make this simple by going from left to right as we intrude on private thoughts.

  Player #1: “I’m pretending to lean on my golf club in a swanky manner, so that it appears I am trying to psychologically destroy my competitors with my confidence, but the reality is that I sorely need some stability right at the moment. The alcohol we drank at that time was potent enough to give yourself a Brazilian wax, if one chose to have one and the styling choice had actually been invented at the moment when we gathered around this stupid block of ice that the narrator has failed to mention up to this point.

  But more importantly, because there’s always something more important about me, as I obviously have the most progressive hairstyle for miles around, I really enjoy flying. You can tell this by the bold graphic on my combination bathing suit and hip-enhancing nightie. (A girl has to be prepared for all social occasions.) I love wings! Although, if I had known at the time that wings would eventually become a catchphrase associated with feminine hygiene products in a later decade, I probably wouldn’t have loved them as much. But I still have the best hair.”

  Player #2: “I don’t have a golf club. Everyone else has one, but not me. I don’t even understand what I’m doing or how I got here. When I woke up this morning, I thought everything would be fine if I just hand-stitched some embroidery on the shoulders of my outfit. But then something went wrong with my flatiron and now I have too much presence on the right side of my head. And then that man with the fizzes showed up. I knew I shouldn’t have accepted any liquids from him, but he looked just like F. Scott Fitzgerald, and that made me kind of horny, even though I really think Zelda is dreamier.

  Wait. What did I just say? Zelda? I don’t want Zelda. Do I? This sun is really hot out here. When can we go home? Do I want Zelda? Does this make me Lebanese? Is that the right word? I’m so confused. Can somebody just find me a stupid golf club?”

  Player #3: “I am SO hungry. I haven’t eaten in days. I can barely stay upright. Why are we standing around whacking at a little ball with sticks? What’s the name of this game? I don’t like it. I don’t like anybody or anything, especially my hair, which apparently fell out of a tree onto my head. I just want somebody to find a cow and kill it and fix me a freakin’ steak.

  Oh. What am I holding in my left hand? Is that a cricket bat? Are we in England? I know we drove really far to get to this dump out in the middle of nowhere, way before the senior citizens showed up and built retirement homes. Or am I holding a bottle of moonshine? Maybe. Those things are everywhere these days. I don’t know. It’s so hot, I can’t even think straight. I’m about to straddle that block of ice and buck until my toes curl.”

  Player #4: “Why do those bitches behind me have to talk so much? I’m trying to concentrate here. Do they not understand how hard it is to hold a club up like this, act like I’m having the best time of my life, smile for the photographer who doesn’t want to be here and hates us, and suck in my gut, all at the same time? If I hear one more word from the Snatch Sisters about being uncomfortable, when all they have to do is stand there while I hold a pose that no other woman will hold until women are allowed to play baseball during World War II, I’m going to whack the hell out of every one of them.

  And my feet are completely frozen, standing on this asinine block of ice for hours, just another item in my pain parade. Who thought this was a good idea, doing something pointless just to get attention and win a competition? I’m guessing it was a Republican who came up with this stunt. Idiots.”

  Player #5: “I’m not wearing a bra and I’m the coolest person for miles around. That’s all you really need to know about me. Unless you have money. I could use some cash. That last gig I had sucked, with people getting shot and coppers running all over the place. Didn’t even get to finish painting my nails before I had to run for Jesus. This here is a piece of cake. I can stand here all day, beats having to use fake names and wash up after very customer.

  Hold the horses. Who’s that guy over there on the far left? He’s walking like he’s got something lodged, so he’s probably got some bucks. Bet I can show him how this flapper flaps. I just gotta wait for Annie Leibovitz over there to wrap this shoot up.”