Email Excerpts–A Joke

I’ve saved a lot of email over the years–sort of an electrical pack rat, I guess (put on your Philip Dick and think on that for a nano). I’ll be cleaning up and sharing the best of it with you. I made this as a draft six years ago. No idea why I didn’t click “publish” before today.

On 6/13/2005 11:32 AM, (redacted) wrote:

I was depressed last night so I called Lifeline.
Got a call center in Pakistan.
I told them I was suicidal.
They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Ouch.

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Knock On My Door, Will You?

giphysnowhag

A True Story. Mostly.
A knock on the door last week, too damned early in the morning…an older middle-aged woman with pamphlets and a bible in a floral dress and sensible shoes bearing close resemblance to Mrs. C, my tenth-grade typing teacher.
“Hello, I’m spreading the good word about a 3-day conference in–”
“Is this a god thing?” That momentum needed to be checked.
“Why yes, it is a 3-day conference in–”
“We’ve already got a grail!” Dodge. Parry. Non sequitur!
“What? I’d like to invite you to a three–”
“Not interested. Do you have encyclopedias?”
“But…huh?”
“Vacuum cleaners? Brushes? Steak?”
(Confused) “Ummm?”
“Can you get students to paint my house real cheap?”
“I don’t think you understand.”
(Leaning into her space a little bit.) “Are you saying I’m stupid? I think I do pretty well with what I’ve been given. You don’t need to be mean about it.”
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to–”
“Maybe you should just try the neighbors; they’re real zealots. I hear they drowned a witch, last place they lived.” I lower my voice and whisper, conspiratorially, “It’s Texas. That’s where they’re from, and they definitely burn books–religiously, you might say.”
“What?”
“Did you see what I did there?
It’s a pun. They religiously burn books. Get it? I told you I was smart. Not that I’m an angel myself. I’ve done awful things. I’ve danced a bunch, and listened to Led Zeppelin records backwards, and between you and me, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of owls.”
“Owls?”
“Yup. Lots of them. The small ones, particularly.”
“Owls?”
“They’re fuzzy and sweet. A lot like peaches, really. They’re great on waffles, with some cinnamon and maple syrup.”
She looks over her shoulder at the street–no backup there–and turns back to me, squints a little, then opts to scurry away, looking worriedly over her shoulder, and skitters up the street, ignoring my “Have a nice day!”
Knock on my door, will you?

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Christmas Dinner–A Timeless Tale of The Season

Seemed like a good time to recycle this little Christmas bauble….

Old Road Apples

This internet classic isn’t for children, the overly sensitive, or those lacking a fundamental sense of humor.  I’ve seen it around in various forms–no idea who the original author might be, or if the “Louisville Sentinel” aspect of the story is true.

Christmas Dinner With Louise…

This is an article submitted to a 1999 Louisville Sentinel contest to find   out who had the wildest Christmas dinners.  It won first prize.

As a joke, my brother Jay used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas.  He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them.

What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay’s kids’ stockings overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.

One year I decided to make his dream come true.  I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. …

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Rudolph’s North Pole: Bastion of Oppression?

I keep threatening to come back here on a regular basis, and I don’t, but every once in a great while I’m reminded how the world suffers from my waning vigilance and gross inattention, and I’m ashamed to realize how bad things have gotten. And I’m not talking just about President Orangutrump and his bilious lackeys. Most of this I can swallow. I take a pill that helps. (No, not Xanax). But sometimes, things get too far and I need to step in.

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I found this little gem on Facebook this morning. You can read it on your own time, but the gist is that Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer has “triggered” a whole bunch of melodramatically over-sensitive little flowers and the only solution to their vexing, simmering itch is to light up Twitter with indignation–to delightfully entertaining ends.

First off, this isn’t new. Who above the age of seven has watched this heart-warming holiday tradition without chuckling over what a complete asshole Santa, Coach and Rudolph’s Dad are at the beginning of the movie. But come on, they’re no different than everyone else’s republican dad ever, their love submerged beneath a suffocating preoccupation with social status, a concern about what might be whispered behind their backs at church, or how the guys “down at the club” are going to give them a razzing, even if only to use pseudo-dominant behavior as a means to distract from their own senses of unfulfilled dreams and inadequacy. I mean: come on. Why is the patriarchy such a bunch of jerks? Because they’re miserable, and deep down they know it–perhaps not consciously, but certainly at a deeper, cellular level–with absolute certainty, just as they know they’ll never fill that dark, beckoning void in their souls. Has no one ever read Updike? Not that I’d encourage anyone to do such a thing.

The Tweet-storm at #RudolphTheRednosedReindeer has been impressive; much of it, fortunately, tongue in cheek. But there is not shortage of self-defined social reformers eager to protect us from the Scourge of Bitter Santa–just as they leapt to shout “date rape,” however belatedly, over that steamy holiday icon, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” That essay, and its dirty-minded revisionism, will find it’s way around the interwebs any day now, as it does each year. But that’s another story. Or is it?

The theme here is outrage junkies leaping to (often self-aggrandizing) accusations or offense or inappropriateness without regard for context. The question is: why do we have to be so candy-assed about our grievances, regardless of substance? I poke at the leftists because they’re “my people” despite how little they want to do with me, but it’s the same on the conservative side of things, where knickers are forever twisted by all matters associated with veterans, guns, flags, and–worst of all–the Dixie Chicks. Thanks, Obama.

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Oh, no.

Maybe…just maybe…this show is about ignorance ceding to understanding and acceptance? But that doesn’t fit with the undercurrent of vindictiveness inherent in revisionist post-modernist extremism. The agitated and aggrieved (i.e. “triggered”) aren’t looking for tolerance and a better world so much as they’re salivating for revenge. They don’t want to propagate understanding and unity–they want things to burn, presumably because they were unhappy in high school. Some people get it:

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To me, and any rational, functional human, Rudolph is nothing less than a tale of the triumph of those who live outside orthodoxy, and to those who strive to shatter the concept of “normal” without name-calling and retaliatory reverse discrimination. But if we’re going to play these games, consider cool Cornelius; what’s he but an earth-raping prospector eager to strip mine the north the moment he finds a lick of treasure. Or the sweet little gay elf whose toxic self-loathing leads him to cripple the noble wild Bumble Beast by yanking out all his teeth and dooming the once proud king of the north to a lifetime of servitude in chains? Metaphor for conservative environmental policy? Cautionary tale on the tenuous nature of freedom and democracy 120 years after the supposed end of slavery? I think so. And what about these bigots branding Cornelius as a hipster? Because he’s got a beard and earmuffs and liked corn meal? Well, I can’t be the only bearded misanthrope out there who puts down his johnny cake to wave a hearty “fuck you” at those appearance-based presumptions.

I find the whole lot of you problematic.

 

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You Made This.

How does this happen? 14 Months Ago White Supremacists Marched Through Charlottesville, Virginia chanting “Jews will not replace us” and President of The United States Donald Trump chastised those who called the vile bastards out, saying “THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES,” encouraging and validating far right extremists of every ilk. Today, in the wake of yet another tragic instance of hate and violence, he reads words of shock and indignation from a teleprompter and wonders how this could happen. This is Trump’s America, and if you support him, his race-baiting dog whistles, and his brand of vitriolic hate-mongering, THIS IS YOUR AMERICA. You made this.

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Officer Involved Shooting – 1210 S. Lamar

So if I walk into a stranger’s apartment and shoot him dead, I get handcuffed and perp-walked in front of cameras, my name disseminated to the media and all the details of my life excavated while I sit in a holding cell. An off-duty police officer gets a shroud of secrecy and “administrative duty?” Is it any wonder why people are scared and distrustful of police. The double standard must be apparent. The difference in protocols, selective enforcement of relevant laws, undermines all efforts to bridge the ever-widening gap between authority figures and civilians.

DPD Beat

On September 6, 2018 at about 9:59 p.m., an off duty Dallas Police officer called police dispatch and said she was involved in a shooting at the apartments located at 1210 S. Lamar.

Preliminary information suggests that the officer arrived home in full uniform after working a full shift. The officer reported to the responding officers that she entered the victim’s apartment believing that it was her own. At some point, the officer fired her weapon striking the victim. Responding officers administered aid to the victim, a 26-year-old male, at the scene. The victim was then transported to the hospital and pronounced deceased. Next of kin notification has not been made at this time.

The officer was not injured and will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Dallas Police Department is conducting a joint investigation with the District Attorney’s Office. This investigation is ongoing…

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Am I The Only Person Who Reads My “Spam” Comments and Believes Them?

I looked at my filtered comments today, just to make sure I wasn’t missing any interactions–unlikely since I’ve been occupied elsewhere of late, and the Old Road Apples have turned spoiled and squishy. I did not expect to find a wonderfully supportive and sustaining environment in and amongst the Spam, and I recommend that all of your when you’re feeling worried and down, forget going downtown or crossing a bridge over troubled water. Read your spam!  Here is a just a selection from the first few….

1. “Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is simply nice and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.” This and the others below are all in reference to a post called “Bonus Picture: Bikini Ski Girl”

2. “This post could not be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this.” In reference to a post called “Organic Roadkill.”

3. “I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already”

4. “Whoa this blog is magnificent i really like studying your posts. Keep up the good work!”

etc.

When I was a a kid my mom told me I was handsome quite a bit, and I never doubted that. When girls I liked didn’t like me, I thought: I don’t get it, I’m so handsome. When they were mean, I thought: I can can learn to be cooler, at least I’m so damned handsome. You can see where this was going–until one day, I was about 15, and I’m staring in the mirror, and it hits me. “Mom!” I shouted. “What the fucking fuck?” Turns out I’m not the leading man, I’m the overweight partner in the Sears Roebuck sportcoat, due to retire in a week who gets gunned down in the first act. But those spammers, they think I’m goddamn F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love spammers.

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Porch Missionary

A knock on the door last week, too damned early in the morning…a woman with pamphlets, a forced smile, and a bible.
“Hello, I’m spreading the good word about a 3-day conference in–”
“Is this a god thing?”
“Why yes, it’s a 3-day conference in–”
“We’ve already got a grail!”
“What?”
“Never mind. You have encyclopedias?”
“But…what? It’s a 3-day…”
“Vacuum cleaners? Brushes? I could use a good brush! Steaks?”
(Confused) “Ummm?”
“You don’t have any of those?”
She shook her head.

“Can you get students to paint my house real cheap?”
“I don’t think you understand.”
(Leaning into her space a little bit.) “Are you implying I’m stupid? That I can’t possibly understand? That’s hurtful, from where I’m standing. I think I do pretty well with what I’ve been given: the best that I can. You don’t need to be mean about it.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to–”
“Maybe you should just try the neighbors; they’re real zealots. I hear they drowned a witch, last place they lived. They definitely burn books–religiously, you might say–and other things. ”
A wink.
“What?”
“It’s a pun. I told you I was smart. Not that I’m an angel myself. I’ve danced a bunch and, between you and me, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of owls.”
“Owls?”
“Yup. Owls” A nod. “That just between you and me, mind.”
A step back, almost certainly subconsciously. She looks over her shoulder at the street–no backup there–and no witnesses–and turns back to me, squints a little, then backs to the edge of the porch stairs before spinning towards the street. A hand on the railing, and she’s gone. Down the rickety stairs, scurrying away, glancing worriedly over her shoulder, she skitters up the street.
I wave heartily, call after her, “Good luck! Have a blessed day!”

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Every Day Is MemeDay: Rescue Child

I’ve saved so many memes in a file on my hard drives and finally wondered: what am I saving these for? My retirement? A rainy day? Maybe that–but isn’t it raining right now? Of course it is. My mom had a leash for me. Of course she did.

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DAHOF: South Dakota Rep. Michael Clark

Not every selection for the Dumb Ass Hall Of Fame is an idiot, dotard, or buffoon. Some, like this week’s honoree, are just brain-numbed by hate and ignorance.

America In Decline, From Facebook.

Bigoted SD Rep. Michael Clark doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near the tribute to these great leaders.

The morality of the nation crumbles around us, hurtling toward a precipice of as-yet-unimaginable depth, spurred by the pubescent leadership of our President, the jibbering sycophants who surround him, and the spineless cowards of the Senate and Congress, most of whom are more than intelligent enough to see what this man is, but refuse to act for reasons both partisan and personal. I awake each morning, take my pills, and empty my bladder beneath a cloud of dread: what terrible things have transpired since the day before. What has the skulking boy king said, what has he done or, most often, what excremental feats of churlish impertinence have the lunks and sneering bounders emboldened by his example been up to?

Another cop killing an unarmed black man? Running him down with a patrol car? Shooting him seven or eight times in the back? Gunning him down for closing a door–a fragile blue ego more important than a warrant and the Fourth Amendment? Or maybe another ally insulted? Another adversary provoked? Another treaty broken? Another bold faced lie maintained in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Another denial of that lie, despite video?

Given all of this and so much more, I am barely surprised to hear that South Dakota stateScreenshot(1) Representative Michael Clark tried to press the argument, that businesses should be allowed to turn down people based on the color of their skin. As my dad used to say, “I shit you not.”

In a heady stupor of exclusionist victory dancing following the Supreme Court ruling in favor of a homophobic Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs, Clark boasted on Facebook that the decision was a “win for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” Other FB users called him on his gleeful embrace of bigotry, and the intrepid lawmaker doubled down.

“It is his business,” Clark wrote in a comment. “He should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants. If he wants to turn away people of color, then [that’s] his choice.”

We’ve seen this mindset before. On buses in Tennessee. In schools in Arkansas. At lunch civil-rightscounters in Alabama.

It is modestly affirming that a furor quickly built, on Facebook and among the general public and first regional, then national news organizations began covering the incident. At first he tried to frame his bigotry as standard anti-government rhetoric, asserting that  business owners only need serve certain segments of society and that the market would ultimately determine if the business succeeded or failed. The negative comments and press coverage built up, as some of reminded this attorney and elected lawmaker of a not-so-irrelevant document called The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Predictably, the heat was too much for tough cowboy Clark, who ultimately deleted the post on Tuesday. He said he had “jumped in on it a little bit too fast,” the Argus-Leader reported.

ScreenshotNot long  after, he apologized via email to a reporter for the Leader, followed by a glib, insincere retraction on Facebook. “I am apologizing for some of my Facebook comments. “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race.”

But in an interview with the Argus-Leader, Clark said he believed that business owners should be able to turn away certain customers if they would otherwise violate their religious beliefs. “If it’s truly his strongly based belief, he should be able to turn them away,” Clark told the Leader. “People shouldn’t be able to use their minority status to bully a business. The vote of the dollar is very strong,” he said.

I’m still parsing which is more disgusting, the unapologetic awfulness of the President and his Trumpkins, or these slimy, cynical clones who imitate his success playing to the lowest common denominators, shouting whatever vile and hateful bile they happen to indexbe regurgitating at any particular moment? It is a tough contest indeed. Trump is culpable for setting the tone, but they’re all playing the same game: vomit out sinful rhetoric to the bleating masses and keep pressing–then either deny it completely and blame the press for making it up, or mutter a dishonest, heartless apology rife with crocodile tears and move on. “I didn’t say that. But if you have tape that shows I did, then I certainly didn’t mean it.”

Well,  Mr. Clark, we’re not buying what you’re selling. You don’t get to worm and squirm out of it with a cynical “I’m sorry,” so take ownership for the man you’ve become. Burn a cross, beat a gay man–be your honest self. Your soul is already exposed before your neighbors, your friends, and especially your God.

It is easy to say, “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their 1963-derechos-civilescolor or race” but the simple fact is that yes, you would, because yes, you did. It’s not like we haven’t seen your kind before.

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