Funny and/or Strange

Spammers Misfire + Junk Mail Dating Advice

During my recent period of distraction, the official Junk Chuck email inbox ballooned to  3700 messages, and that is not counting the lonely Russian women, offers of lasik surgery 8f43d8876170cec2eb1907c4045c676cand penis enhancement messages (Coincidence? I don’t think so–clearly Olga and Svetlana have some unreasonable expectations from an old, married man–but I’m not sure how the lasik fits in). The Russian Sweetheart to the left is, I am told, wildly eager for me to come to Russia and marry her.  My wife says, “we could use another wife, someone to run the vacuum and do the dishes.”

I’ve also been getting a lot of junk mail with question marks in the addresses and subject lines, like this…

� View � Photos Of CHRlSTlAN SlNGLES In � Your Area

Because, um, that tricks me into thinking it’s a legitimate message that deserves rescue from the email graveyard.  I mean, “christian singles?” Take my advice–I’ve never strayed, but if I was going to start I sure as hell (that’s irony I intentionally put there, please smirk just a little) wouldn’t be jamming on Christian Singles.  Not even HOT CHRISTIAN SINGLES.  For good, indiscriminate sex, you ought to be looking for someone who’s damn sure we only get one trip around before the grand leap into the great void, and Succubus_(folklore)wants to squeeze every bit of lemonaide from the lemons, so to speak, and not a person fixated on eternal bliss and yada yada salvation and whose secret fantasy is verbal flogging at the hand of Cotton Mather.  You’ll be much happier arranging for a clandestine hookup with MODERATELY ATTRACTIVE ATHEIST SUCCUBUS CERTAIN THERE’S NOTHING MORE THAN THIS!  Of course, those Apocalypse Is Nigh, doom-obsessed, Kirsten-800x1066frothing-mouthed Armageddon Princesses or Princes might be ripe for a last grasp at original sin, but I’d be careful.  The cult thing is a big turn-off.  You’d probably be more happy with a garden variety Nihilist who’s looking–though not too hard–for nothing more than a temporary distraction from the paralyzing emptiness of it all.

Just remember, if she arrives at your place with a rodent on a chain and demands to know where the money is, just get the hell out there.  Kinky stuff is not about to happen, and she may try to pee on the rug.




Malaysia Jet Downed, Invasion of Gaza…


I spent much of the day outdoors yesterday.  The weather was glorious, as it as been for the past several days: puffy white popcorn clouds on a field of brilliant blue.  Temperature around 78F, low humidity.  I did not hear about the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine until late last night–too late to process the tragedy, too late to comment.

I’m rested now, and I’m not going to sweeten my recriminations with “ifs” and words like “suspected” and “alleged.”  What happened seemed pretty clear–Russian separatists in the Ukraine, who have been fighting to secede, led by Russian nationals and armed with the most up to date Russian weapons, gleefully announced yesterday that they had used their missiles to shoot down yet another Ukrainian C-130 military cargo plane.  When reports began to circulate about the downing of a commercial jetliner, those rebels quickly backed down from their story–What? Us? Oh, no–we were just joking.  We didn’t shoot any planes down.  We were just kidding!  Ha Ha.  So sorry, but you know how we are, always trying to sound like we’re badasses; but really, we’re not.  We’re gentle. Like kittens.

These jackasses shot down the wrong plane.  Not that they should have been able to shoot down ANY plane.  I mean: really.  This whole Ukraine thing is like the USA decided to grab part of Ontario by dropping a bunch of weapons and military advisors into the hands of some whacked out Northern Michigan militiamen and giving them a shove towards Sault St. Marie.  And about as transparent.  Russian soldiers and Russian tanks have been running around the war zone, identifying numbers and insignia removed from equipment and uniforms, supporting these so-called rebels–who are nothing more than the descendents of cold war emigres. Their big issue?  “We identify more with Russia so we want to be part of Russia.”

The Kremlin, and Tsar Vladimir Putin, quickly released their own, ludicrous ass-cover: there was a plane shot down, but the Ukrainian forces shot it down because they thought it was Putin’s plane.  Yes, they’re actually claiming this was a horrible end to a nefarious, botched assassination attempt.  Imagine that: Putin thinks it’s all about him.

Except that it is.  The Ukrainian conflict has always been nothing more than a bold, blatant land grab under the illusion of a civil war, conducted on the same terms–and with the same subtlety–as a backyard birthday party magician.  The guy with the wand says there’s nothing up his sleeve, so we don’t look at the bulge in his jacket where he’s clearly hiding something.  We just nod and smile.

Which is what the other major nations of the world have been doing: nodded and smiling, wagging our fingers a little for the press, but otherwise: nothing.  Why? Because Europe needs Russian oil, and Russian trade.  This guy Putin makes George Bush and his “weapons of mass destruction” excuse for invading Iraq look like a diplomatic genius and his masterstroke.

The thing is: this was inevitable.  Look around the world: in Syria, and all over the Middle East. How about the situation in Israel?  Palestinians armed with the equivalent of pea-shooters have grown so desperate, and so self-deluded, that they hurl their tiny missiles at Fortress Israel, and Israel obliges by grinding them into dust.  The Israel situation is a whole lot more complex on the surface–two nations, two religions, two peoples, and one piece of land–both want the other gone, and neither have anywhere else to go. What is the same is that Israel couldn’t press it’s campaign to drive the Palestinians into the sea, if it wasn’t armed to the teeth by western donor nations, particularly the USA.  At the same time, Hamas and it’s sympathizers could not indulge its collective death wish by continually provoking Palestine’s oppressor without it’s own benefactors.  It’s easy to condemn either side, depending upon what day it is, but if we stopped giving them weapons and money to buy more weapons, the shooting would stop quickly enough.

That won’t happen, of course. Governments find it too easy to promote their agendas by dropping guns in the hands of regional ne’er-do-wells and bullies, and the profits to be gained by the oft-mentioned military industrial complexes and their host economies as well as the political war chests (via lobbyists corporate campaign contributions) of decision makers are too great to resist.

This is what proxy warfare gets us: the deaths of innocents. I’d love to think that this might make the leaders of powerful nations (like mine) to think twice before showering regional despots, thuggish, penny-ante militiamen and self-styled revolutionaries and using them like pawns for their own political ends.This one should end up firmly in Putin’s lap, but he’s not the only one guilty. The US, UK, China, France, etc have all done it. My thoughts are with the bereaved, and with Malaysia, but this is a tragedy for all of us and a reminder of just how far from civilized we really are.

*I’ll be adding source links later today….


Olympics Volume 2–Meryl Takes Down Downton

It was Sunday night, the sofa was soft, the down comforter warm, and the sun was shining on Downton Abbey–it’s always shining on the glacially slow BBC soap opera, you might have noticed, despite what I’ve heard about England, yet it was brighter still inside the ice arena in Sochi, Russia where the world’s finest ice dancers were doing their thing in the short program–see how I’m talking in cool skater jargon?–and lighting things up.  We tuned out of England and headed for the East.

I don’t know what the hell I’m looking at, of course–I know basketball and football (American Football, the best kind 😉 )–but all I know about skating is that skaters have to fit “swizzles” into their programs.  Otherwise, I’m judging what looks good, what looks fluid and graceful and, well, (sorry, gentlemen) what looks pretty.  Last night, they all looked pretty, and it doesn’t help that I’m a guy who, despite feminist leanings, can’t help noticing how beautiful some of these women are–muscles, smiles, short skirts–it’s better than art on a wall.  I’m generally too beguiled by the beauty and the unfamiliar sport to be any kind of judge, unless one of them teeters visibly or falls down.

moir, virtueThe top couples last night all stayed upright.  We caught Canadians Scott Moir and  Tessa Virtue early on and decided they were unbeatable, even if the young lady didn’t have the most perfect figure skater name ever.  Tessa Virtue.  A name like that doesn’t even need a publicist–at least not in theory.

Elena Ilinykh, Nikita KatsalapovA short while later, we enjoyed watching a young Russian pair, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, and you know what? Yep, they looked unbeatable, though I thought–or, more appropriately, felt something that made me wonder if the Canadians were not just a little bit better.  At it turned out, it was close, but I was right.

Fabian Bourzat Nathalie PechalatThe next skaters were noticed were a French pair, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, who I think I liked best of all, up to that point, and guess what: I thought they looked unbeatable. It doesn’t hurt that Ms. Pechalat wore the most beautiful, most exuberant smile on her already beautiful face throughout their program–I wanted them to do well on spirit alone, and they did, landing briefly in third place behind Ilinykh/Katsalapov and Virtue/Moir.

Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew PojeThey had to know it would be short-lived.  Even though another young Canadian pair–Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje--came out and gave a great showing–not quite unbeatable, but fluid and spirited, and Ms. Weaver’s brilliant blue dress was the hands-down scene stealer of the evening, the night belonged to the last couple to skate.

It seemed like NBC packed an especically dense set of commercials into the space before Meryl Davis and Charlie White took the ice, and why shouldn’t they?  This all-American couple of student-athletes has been anointed as the face of the American Olympic team this year, and for all intents and purposes they were a very good choice: smart, upbeat, and wholesome–some of my favorite images of this Olympics have been of White and Davis off the ice, cheering for their team-mates and consoling them when things haven’t turned for the best.  You have to like that.

c55885bce17cdc211e64e00fb26901b6dc406cd5Of course, they’re also the best skaters in the world right now, and while I can’t quantify why, it was clear the moment they hit the ice–even to a neophyte like myself.  I could not see, so much as I felt the difference–the skill and the surety of their performance, the confidence in every movement.  It is their moment, they knew it, and their world record finish pretty much cemented the fact–while simultaneously burying all but the most emphatic–and nationalistic–rumors of score fixing that had been swirling around. Meanwhile, back and Downton Abbey, absolutely nothing had happened.

More Olympics:


Totally Digging Figure Skating–Well, I’ll Be Damned

Some things–like the bus that runs you down–you never see coming.  When I was a kid, my mom used to torture me by taking me to the Ice Capades every year, year after year–until I was, I think, 13 and convinced her to let me bring my friend Kazoo.  Instead of me sitting there sulky and miserable, I had a co-conspirator to cackle and sneer and chortle and guffaw.  I remember they had some guy in a bumblebee outfit–a former Japanese Olympian, if memory serves–doing a routine, probably just to humiliate him, as if Nagasaki wasn’t enough.

We howled, “bzzz, bzzz, bzzz!” and garnered endless angry stares and silent rebukes from The Greatest Generation, all gathered so sternly about us.  So ended an era, she must have thought. For me, it was like Moses parted the Red Sea.  I was free.

baiul93I can’t say I’ve been indifferent to the sport ever since.  The infamous Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing couldn’t be ignored, especially when my job at the time allowed me to briefly (like, 90 seconds) meet Kerrigan, who was actually really nice, and Oksana Baiul, who was not nice, drank like a sailor on leave, and chain-smoked Marlboro Lights–in fairness all qualities I happened to admire, at the time; she seemed to weigh about 73 pounds, tops, though, but had a really cool white fur coat.  White fox?  Ermine?  As usual, I digress.

Sochi Olympics Figure SkatingI ate a bowl of spaghetti in front of the TV last night, since the kids were out and my wife was 10 pages from the end of a book, and got hooked on the free skate portion of the couples figure skating, and I’m man enough to admit it.  Specifically, a pair of Russians called Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov blazed through a perfect routine–or what looked like a perfect routine to this old redneck–and just totally, completely, indubitably rocked it. When they finished, 2014-02-12T183332Z_520057297_LR2EA2C1FJLA8_RTRMADP_3_OLYMPICS-FIGURESKATINGgrim determination melted into exuberance, and the absolute cutest fist pump I’ve seen in ages.  Yep, I was hooked.  The unbridled enthusiasm charmed me utterly, especially in a sport in which the competitors are often firmly taciturn.  A few minutes of 934-1q5utA.AuSt.55.jpegcommercials later, another Russian pair–favorites Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar–hit the ice.  I’d seen them tearing things up in the shorter routine (oh, the horror–what have I become?) the night before, and expected them to have that same sort of grim professionalism, but this time–with the pride of their nation seemingly in the balance–they couldn’t keep their emotion and energy contained.

They didn’t look as technically, icily perfect as the night before.  Indeed, Maxim Trankovthey seemed possessed by some otherworldly force. I was certain that there was no way they could fall, nor stumble, nor fail.  It had been ordained by a great power (God?  Putin?).  These folks owned the ice–or at least leased it, long-term, from Mad Vlad, and would not be denied.  I must admit I was a bit jealous that I wasn’t Russian–if that makes sense at all.  It would really have been something to cheer for these four athletes with the passion and conviction of nation with me.