Monday, March 30, 2009

The leporine Pinocchio

The story of the Velveteen Rabbit: do you know it? Without looking it up, here is my 20 year old recollection.

Some rich Victorian boy has a bunch of fancy toys but the one he loves most is his boring, old, stuffed velveteen rabbit. But then he gets sick with the scarlet fever and all his toys are taken away because of germs. When he gets better and wants his pouncey rabbit back the doctor says no because the only way not to get the fever again is by burning all your old stuff. However, before the toy can go into the fire pit, somehow magic makes it come alive. It runs off into the woods and marries Hobbes in an arboreal, make-believe civil union. The boy still loves the rabbit but his parents won’t let him see it because of its lifestyle choice. As the boy grows up, he gradually forgets about the rabbit until one day he’s walking in the woods with his son and the Giving Tree falls on them both and kills them. Teh end.

The above may be several childhood stories running together. None the less, it’s like our house this weekend. Except replace rabbit with every toy, replace fire pit with washing maching/bleach and replace scarlet fever with 30 fluid gallons of eye and nose mucus.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did I mention I rowed in high school and we discussed this exact scenario at great length?

While it makes great TV, the assassination that seems to be taking place in the Potomac explosion video seems unnecessarily complicated. First of all, those shells only weight about 55 pounds and there are few places to hide explosives. Possibly under the seat’s slide but it’d still be noticeable when the rower lifted the shell over his head or into the water. Some sculls have small ports in the bow and stern but unless the charge was incredibly light one could tell that the boat was off-balance fairly quickly.

Secondly, the security at the Potomac Boat Club is pretty good. The one street entrance has a combination locked door and the windows have metal grates. There are always people hanging around during the day and some no-goodnik messing with someone else’s boat would raise alarms. Rowers are a naturally suspicious people, the result of being mocked by football players in high school. There are a few public boats at the PBC you could booby trap without drawing notice but there is no guarantee you target would take them out on the water.

It makes more sense for a sniper to take the rower out from the shore. There is plenty of cover on both the DC and Virginia banks and there are lots of ways in and out. The assassin could even wait for one of the planes on approach to Reagan if they wanted to hide the rifle’s report. But if they wanted to keep the killing dramatic, it would be more effective to row by in another boat and throw a stick dynamite than to hide a bomb in the boat. I assume that’s what the female rower is doing in the video. Also, underwater mines would work too.

Or, since most rowers are also urban bike riders and this is happening in Washington, an assassin could just run the target over with a car. I don’t think that’s illegal in DC.

Which reminds me – you know how the taxi’s in DC say Washington Cab Ass’n or something like that on the door? Wouldn’t it be awesome if Ass’n stood for assassins and not association? That would make some great television watching. Not some crappy boat blowing up some stuck up rowing nerd from Georgetown working at a K Street law firm for jerks.

Update: per Tom's suggestion...

Torpedoes were considered. However, that stretch of the river would extraordinarily difficult to navigate by submarine. When the city built river walls decades ago, it greatly disrupted the natural depositing on sand and silt along the banks and during times of little rainfall, you can see how shallow the river is on the Virginia side. Additionally, while the Three Sisters formation is the most obvious rock hazard, the District side is dotted with large, underwater stones.

An air delivered torpedo would also be difficult to pull off. Even if the pilot was able to avoid detection due to the FAA’s Prohibited Area no-fly-zone around the Potomac, they’d have to thread the needle under Key Bridge to deliver the torpedo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


things that I am cranky about today:

- salad bars. I want to like them but hey guess what, they are gross. I just had to walk out of a potential lunch place after some ladydemon with shirley jones hair ravaged her lungspew all over the green peppers I was about to consider consuming. Also gross is the concept of a "sneezeguard," because it doesn't work and someone has to clean that too. This complaint comes to you from someone who regularly finds herself wrist-up in another human being's feces, so take me seriously.

- i can't decide if i dislike st patricks day more, or the people who walk around saying "MAN I HATE ST PATRICKS DAY." I have decided I am so neutral on this hotbed issue I might as well bore myself to sleep right here at my desk.

- people who never use capitalization. just kidding.

- it took me til noon to realize i was dressed like someone's portly 65 year old mother.

Monday, March 16, 2009


The N: …all the way to the end zone for a touchdown.
The G: How long did it take for the ambulance to get there?
N: For what?
G: The guy’s ankles. You said he got his ankles broke.
G: Was he okay?
N: It’s a figure of speech. It means he got juked.
G: Oh. Because you seemed pretty cavalier about a guy breaking his ankles.

It seems half of this nation’s population has never heard of this. Ladies, it means he got faked out so bad that his ankles couldn’t handle the sudden change of direction.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

She got spirit. Yes she do.

Spirit Week in high school makes sense. Over five days, a loathing for those punks at Blank High School and their non-popped collars is officially cultivated by the teachers and administration and nerds on the student government. Dude, we’re going to pwn those nameless jerks on the football field on Friday. They’re going to pay for being exactly like us except not living in our district. And if that doesn’t work, the parade float we unveil at halftime will certainly take them down a peg. Then we’re going to drink peppermint Schnapps out of travel size Scope bottle and dry hump our girlfriends after the homecoming dance. The rug burns will be our red, bumpy badges of hatred. That’s how we do it at Our High School!!! RRRAAAHH! HEAD BUTT!!!

But Spirit Week in middle school makes no sense. The kids at the rival school are people we already know from elementary school and will see again in high school. And soccer is the closest thing you’ll get to a homecoming game and it’s at 3 in the afternoon. The guys’ team probably stinks anyway and the players in the county are a little intimidating because they already have wispy mustaches and are Hispanic.

Or so it was at my middle school. To compensate for our pathetic sports teams the school planned a week’s worth spirit-lifting activities. They were generally things that would get you in trouble during the rest of the year but harmless enough to not allow distraction. For example –


Monday - Thousand Island (Caribbean/Hawaiian)
Tuesday- Ranch (Cowboy)
Wednesday - Blue Cheese (Blue)
Thursday - French (Berets and/or fashionable clothes)
Friday - House Dressing (School Colors which included blue again)

Ha! Salad dressing. So fun and creamy!

This wasn’t actually what my middle school did, but I can’t recall all of them. The only day I can remember was Opposite Day. And I remember Opposite Day because Opposite Day became a MAJOR INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT.

The design was simple - boys dress up like girls and girls like boys. Get it? The opposite of how we would normally dress. Genius. Class starts, girls roll up wearing football jerseys and baseball caps. Boys come in pink shirts and head bands. We had so much spirit.

But someone had an uptight parent. And that parent employed their God-given American right to ruin it for everyone by calling a local radio show and declare that their child’s school was encouraging cross-dressing. It quickly got absurd with a bullet. By the end of the show, our fair academy was a den of perverts and transsexuals. News crews and reporters showed up during recess to get pictures of the 7th Grade Degenerates.*

Teachers suddenly ushered us inside. All gender-specific clothing had to be removed even if that meant sitting in our stinking gym uniforms for the rest of our classes. At the end of the day, parents hustled kids to their cars, with their jackets pulled over their heads like a common jailhouse perp-walk. It was a disaster. The rest of Spirit Week was canceled. I’m unsure if they ever hosted it again.

But that was at my middle school. It seems Spirit Week is still alive in well at some schools.

At least I hope so. It’d be a shame if she dresses like this every day. Or awesome.

*I bet you think that I’m going to say that this is a good band name. Wrong. It’s a crappy band name. I left an asterisk because a few years later, the Post ran article about kids at my old middle school were exchanging favors for blowjobs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bah to the bah

Tommy’s a bit off base here. Had he joined his friends at the theater, he would have know that the 3 Doors Down “Citizen Soldier” pre-trailer commercial has been abandoned by the National Guard. I imagine that a few months into the campaign some polling determined it to be ineffective and the whole thing was jettisoned.

Their findings…
  1. The word “soldier” does not portray a strong enough image
  2. 3 Doors Down is too alternative.
  3. Where the fuck is NASCAR?
It was back the drawing board. So if Tom had made the trip to the multiplex to see Zack Snyder direct the exact same sex scene from 300 except it takes place in a flying owl skull he’d get a completely different National Guard pitch. “Soldier” has been replaced with more aggressive “Warrior.” 3 Doors Down and their complicated metaphors have been canned for the decidedly straightforward trashcan simplicity of Kid Rock. And since the NG is already paying to put their logo on Dale Jr’s car they might as well throw some CGI NASCAR in there too. Who cares if it has nothing to do with whatever story they’re trying to tell. It’s NASCAR, hon.

But I don’t want to sound critical of the new promotion. America needed a new promotion. The old one was so incredibly flawed that any self-respected theatre owner should have refused to play it. It attempted to link today’s National Guard with some of our military’s more successful and non-controversial campaigns. Hey high school kids? You know that kick-ass scene at the beginning Saving Private Ryan you watched on TNT this weekend? Dudes were all National Guard. And remember when a ragtag group of Americans beat the Confederate Red Coats during Revolutionary War in the mountains of California by running through the woods dodging mines and exploding cannon fire? Yeah baby, all National Guard.

Creative licenses are taken with 90% of the posts on this blog. But it’s always irked me that these stupid commercials show Revolutionary War soldiers dodging exploding cannonballs. Cannonballs don’t explode when they hit the ground. In fact, cannonballs don’t explode when they hit anything. They are solid metal balls. Shells, on the other hand, are hollow metal casing filled with an explosive powder that detonate when their fuses expire. But they weren’t used against the US until the War of 1812 and the still don’t explode on impact. And they weren’t fired form cannons.

So as convoluted as the new National Guard commercial is, at least it no longer contains wild historical inaccuracies. And this will no doubt be the only time the American education system will benefit from more Kid Rock.

Monday, March 09, 2009

who watches the watchmen? if it's a 3:00 matinee, the answer is: these guys

behind us in the theatre:

"you know who writes autobiographies? total douchebags, that's who. they're all like 'oooooh, we're sooooo interesting. our lives are sooooo awesome we're not even gonna wait for anyone to ask us about them, we're just gonna tell you whether you want to hear it or not!"

summary: first ten minutes/opening credits best part of the entire film, rorschach amazing, nite owl dan pretty good, silk spectre lame, adrian veidt pencil necked and annoying beyond belief. was that a lisp?????????????

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Alcohol tolerance: 10

In response.

By the mid-80’s, the Marvel Universe was awash in mysticism. Below are a few of the more infamous examples...

1. A group of nine heroes and NPR Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan become trapped in a Dallas high-rise trying to prevent the Native American spiritual embodiment of mischief from destroying reality. The demon’s magical activities cause dinosaurs, cavemen, and a regiment of Vietnam-era soldiers to become displaced in time and many escaped into the city. After a prolonged battle, the heroes force the spirit into a collapsible extra-dimensional gateway by sacrificing their own lives but are magically resurrected moments later in Australia by Merlin’s immortal daughter. Conan survives and broadcasts the act of selflessness to the world.

2. When a mugger dons a magical amulet he is possessed by an ancient sorcerer who uses his powers to transform New York City into a medieval dystopia. Most of the city’s residents are unable to remember their former lives and those with super-powers are hunted and killed. A group of deformed outcasts emerge from underground tunnels and terrorize the population until their former leader and an African woman who controls the weather join forces with a 1000-year-old vampire to steal the amulet. A different sorcerer and a teenage Russian magically create a rift in time that allows an android from the future to kill the mugger and prevent the transformation from ever happening.

3. After a cosmic entity possesses a powerful telepath, her clone is distorted into a magical Goblin Queen who leads a demonic invasion of Manhattan. Many of the city’s heroes are tainted by evil spirits and, except for the few made of organic metal which is a naturally resistant to magic, do little to stop the assault. The tide is turned only after the same teenage Russian opens a portal into a parallel universe and casts the horde out of the city. As a consequence, she de-ages into a seven-year-old. The residents of New York awake from the onslaught and the ones who have not been devoured by demons assume they have experienced a mass hallucination.

4. In a moment of frustration, a crippled surgeon cracks his walking stick onto a boulder and is surprised to find himself transformed into the Norse God of Thunder. His adopted brother becomes jealous of his abilities and uses the enchantment afforded to him by his Ice Giant father to turn the surgeon into a giant, hammer-wielding frog.

Like much of the criticism directed at Dr. Strange, readers became dissatisfied with this Deus Ex Machina aspect of Marvel’s storytelling. By the early 90’s, most of the most of the villains employed magic where quietly cast aside in favor of those whose powers were based on some sort of scientific explanation, no matter how absurd. It’s why Dr. Doom, who often relied of mysticism, fell out favor after being the Marvel Universe’s primary antagonist for most of the 70’s. Conversely, characters like Venom, who powers originate via alien biology, or Apocalypse, who can mentally manipulate his body’s own atomic structure and preaches survival of the fittest, gained in popularity.

Of course there are several classic plotlines from the mid-80s, but most readers still roll their eyes or groan when these mystically based story arcs are referenced. Similarly, time will show that the charade of Iron Man’s exponentially growing powers should be treated the same way.

Marvel’s biggest mistake in this embarrassment was allowing the readers to submit a parallel ranking next to their own. During the short run of the trading cards, each character’s statistics would have been collected by the company’s expert unit of scholars and historians. While small variations in some categories could be expected as the technology in Iron Man’s suit improved or the story line evolved, any dramatic outliers in the accepted levels of his powers would be smoothed out in the evaluation process.

The voting public, on the other hand, are morons. The last ten years has seen Iron Man became central to the Marvel Universe and this prominence has evidently led to the swelling of abilities. He was appointed the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., played a major role in the Civil War, indirectly caused the death of Captain America and was accused of cowardice at best and treason at worst during the Skrull Invasion. And then there was the movie. The resulting attention meant Marvel was obligated to reconcile the wildly inflated scores submitted by the public with the system they had maintained for several decades. In other words, they were forced to round up.

So where does that leave us today? Iron Man is now as smart as Reed Richards, as strong as the Hulk, as fast as the Silver Surfer and can project energy as well as Galactus. He’s also more durable the physical manifestation of Death itself and will never lose in combat since only the universe itself has better fighting skills. Welcome to Marvel Comic’s steroids era.

And what happens in 20 years? The Civil War will be a classic story, the Skrull Invasion will be forgotten and this near-invincible Iron Man will be considered as laughable as a Thunder Frog.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Here lies Walter Fielding. He bought a house, and it killed him.

more house renovations to commence shortly. be prepared to hate this blog (again), if you don't already. given our track record in uh... life... this will be a stunning success if the bathtub doesn't come crashing through second floor all the way to the basement. I don't know what the odds on this are, but I'm headed to Vegas in a month (again) and seriously if there isn't some sort of betting system set up on "Pyggie Catastrophes" in that city by now, there should be. Remind me to look into this.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The obesity epidemic claims another victim

A few weeks ago, I got tricked into attending a bachelor party for a peripheral friend. None of the planners were feeling particularly creative, so we spent some of the night slumming it at the ESPN Zone. Yes, I know, the same ESPN Zone where the premier source of entertainment for 30-year-olds involves throwing under inflated footballs through plywood cutout and eventually each other’s groins.

The Zone also features a seizure inducing amount of other sports video games. But unlike the penny arcades I used go to, the machines don’t accept legal US tender. Here, you're required to purchase a flimsy plastic card filled with invisible game credits that quickly slip away into the shame-filled night.

I still have the card with a few credits left on it. And since today is a snow day and this thing is taking up room in my wallet, I thought I’d burn through the last of the credits by shooting beams of light with a tiny plastic shotgun at digital antelope. It makes me feel like a big man.

Or that was the plan.

Until I ran into this guy…

Apparently the Nationals have redesigned Screech. And, um, we need to talk about what’s clearly going on here.
  1. Jacked and toned torso
  2. Ill-proportionatd/scrawny legs
  3. New, aggressive looking beak
  4. Giant head
  5. The rumors he spent the off-season in the DR with A-Rod’s cousin

OK. I’m not the type of guy who makes wild accusations. I mean, I was a college athlete. The pressure to legally or illegally push your body a little further than what can be naturally achieved in the weight room is promoted everywhere. And we are in a new area of baseball.

It’s only March 2nd but none of the news coming out of Nationals spring training is positive. Is it really the right time to cast off Screech’s Babe Ruth image in favor of one that’s a little more Miguel Tejada? Hell, that could be Nook Logan under all the fur. He’s got to get back to the big leagues somehow.

On the plus side, though, the new Screech isn't completely filthy.