Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Is it possible people make writing errors so that certain things will stick in our minds? Today I read that a certain species of carp "can weigh up to ten pounds and is three feet long." You see the problem there. The fish's weight is variable but, if one interprets the passage precisely, the length is not, so this carp is three feet long whether it weighs one or ten pounds. That's hardly likely, so it must be a careless phrasing oversight on the part of the author. Or is it? Guess which factoid I remembered? It wasn't about the rock bass or the blue gill. I doubt this error was deliberate, but the fact remains that clumsy writing sometimes leaves a deeper impression than smooth, effortless prose.

What on Earth are they saying during the interlude of "Der Kommissar"? I refer to the version by After the Fire, not Falco's original rendition, which, sadly, is not as good as ATF's cover. Could it be "chuck"? "Chop"? Some German word? Listen to it some time. Right after the second chorus, the vocalist hisses insinuatingly, "Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?" (German for "all clear, Mr. Kommissar", but it is not, repeat not, all clear) and then an acoustic guitar kicks in and the band shouts something on every drumbeat. It sounds like a word starting with "ch", but who can tell?

Perhaps it is unfair to generalize the situation quite so starkly, but it almost appears that many Democrats are saying "no tax breaks for anybody unless the wealthy get their tax rates restored to earlier levels" and that a number of Republicans are saying "no tax breaks for anybody unless the wealthy keep theirs." Does that sound like sensible governance? For my money--and only a little of it is my money--the argument for retaining tax cuts for earners of more than $250,000 is more or less the same for letting them expire: in terms of revenue generation/deficit reduction, it isn't really all that much money.

So why does the battle seem so fierce? You know how it goes once the lines get drawn. Although some economists present the reasonable point that nobody's taxes should increase during difficult times, the exceptionally wealthy and their allies seem to have personalized the issue, claiming that, in fact, they aren't really so rich after all. That's news to the rest of us. It doesn't behoove the rich much to become whiners but it doesn't benefit the rest of us much to relentlessly castigate the rich. But which begets which? (Accidental, though not good, poetry)

For a long time, I didn't really know what the Tea Party wanted or stood for. To an even greater degree than most political groups, they seemed to offer a mish-mash of varying interests and objectives without many central ideas to unify and clarify their intentions. So you know what I figured? Maybe, I thought, they should produce a document or paper or manifesto in order to present their beliefs more clearly. Then I read the Pledge to America.

Now I think, never mind, Tea Party. Just forget it. I realize that, to some degree, Tea Party ideology, whatever that amounts to, has been integrated into the Pledge. The GOP needs at least some people from the GTP (Granulated Tea Party) to make itself viable. But basically, the Pledge was developed by Republicans intended to appeal, at least in part, to the GTP, not a GTP credo per se. Take a tip from that tripe, GTP, and forget it! You, too, Democrats. Do NOT give us anymore platitudes and grandiose statements! By the way, I could have made the "G" stand for a lot of things, but settled on "granulated". I have no good reason, just like the way it sounds.

I'm probably not the first nor will I be the last to foresee this, but it has to be written:

"Vote Rahm Emanual for Chicago Mayor"
RE: I'm Rahm Emanual and I approve this f#$%ing message.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Adult Education

Attention grown-ups (if you exist):

If it's not too much to ask, could you spell simple words correctly? U R driving me nutz with dis! It's not cute. It's not funny. And it's not that much of a timesaver.

Would you please watch sports--especially football--and have fun, but take winning or losing like an adult? I stopped caring what teams other people rooted for in high school. Your team won. Great, good for you. Your team lost. That's too bad, but the sun will still rise tomorrow morning. Don't care how drunk you got; don't care if you cried; don't care if fans of the other team upset you. Watch the game and go to bed. Idiot.

How about you stop dressing like you're cycling across a continent when you're just on your way to Walgreen's? Lose the tight black shorts and the shirt with all the stupid numbers. You don't even need the helmet that protects your head about as well as a marshmallow stuck in your hair.

May I suggest you stop pretending that certain horrible things that happen today didn't happen when you were a kid? They did happen. You name it, it happened. Child molestation, terrorism, rape, and murder are not new phenomena. It wasn't better in the old days. Trade AIDS for polio, trade identity theft for segregation, trade unemployment for... well, unemployment. You like the old days better now because you remember being young and unaware of a lot of things you are aware of these days. You can't even give people what they want without them carping.

New Parent: I just hope my kids don't have to work as hard as I did.

Seasoned Parent: Kids today don't have a good work ethic.

Isn't it time to retire the word "new" in the following context? Forty is the new thirty. Pink is the new black. The next person who uses this lingo in my presence is going to get socked right in the face, whereupon I will say, "Violence is the new peace."

Why are people pretending that "sexting" is any worse than playing doctor? You show me yours and I'll show you mine. Over the phone! So it's safer. Granted, there's also the risk of permanence since there might be photographic evidence. All the same, how can it be child pornography if it's the children who are distributing it? It's only child pornography when it's viewed by adults, who are such a rare breed that maybe the entire concept of child pornography needs to be rethought. Maybe all pornography is child pornography. You think teenagers didn't play sex games before there were cell phones? There's that denial again. If your teenager is "sexting" and you don't like it, take the brat's phone away! Will that solve the problem? Well, I don't know, it's your kid!

Is it possible to fling all of the following words or phrases onto the verbal scrapheap? "Moving on", "Closure", "Bromance", "Rocket Science", "At the end of the day", "Just Saying", "Going Forward" and all Snoop Dog vocabulary modifications that end in "izzle".

If you take care of all these things by the end of the year, I promise the economy will turn around!

Monday, September 06, 2010


Dear Mr. West,

Listen, KDub. Do you mind if I call you KDub? How about KWest? Never mind. The point is, I forgive you. There was never really much to forgive. All you did was behave foolishly in public, though not for the first time.

But it's over. You did indeed act like a "32 year old child", to quote your very own Tweet, and like a "jackass", to quote President Obama. But so what? In the general scheme of things, it hardly matters.

You still seem to be a bit of a martyr. Your apology to Taylor Swift came across as very sincere and genuine, but it was surrounded by a swamp of self-pity. For your own sake, I recommend you get yourself out of that quagmire.

But through all of it, you have a point. The reaction to celebrity misbehavior and/or controversy is almost always disproportionate. On one hand, members of the public declare "who cares what celebrities think?" and on the other they ask their co-workers "did you hear what the Dixie Chicks said about President Bush?" So what if the Dixie Chicks criticized ex-Prez GDub (not to be confused with you, KDub); those who disagree with what they say can refuse to attend their concerts or purchase their products. But the seething rage, the death threats, the umbrage? What's the point?

So Kanye West rushed the stage at an awards show and criticized a decision. Not the smartest thing to do, but life goes on. You also have a point about the "angry black man". This is one stereotype that just needs to plummet down a well and die. It's not that there aren't some people who qualify as "angry black men" or, should I say, disproportionately angry black men, but "angry black man" is too often used to dismiss anyone who says things people don't want to hear. Instead of examining what a person says and determining if his claims are valid, the knee-jerk reaction is to call someone "angry" or "bitter" or "militant" and that's the end of the discussion.

It is too bad that your rather minor errors have produced very vicious reactions by some people. However, one thing you have to bear in mind is that some of your worst moments have occurred in front of television cameras. You are a public figure. It isn't fair, I know, but I'm afraid all of us must confront inequities at one time or another, some more than others.

I think you are a sincere and earnest person. I think you are well-intentioned but often self-serving. I think you feel sorry for yourself a little too much. I think your ego ranges from inflated to flat and you find it difficult to keep balanced. On this last point, join the club because I'm right there with you. A lot of us are. Basically, you're just about like the rest of us except you're rich and famous and we're not. All I can suggest is, carry the burden of fame and fortune as best you can and make the most of the benefits.

Oh, and stop buying so much stupid nonsense, like fur pillows that are apparently hard to sleep on ( This isn't because such purchases make you a bad person. It's just that if you want to be perceived as a genuinely kindhearted man of depth and complexity, and if you want sympathy and understanding from the general public, hollow and overpriced toys are not the way to go.

You've got talent. You've got brains. The road to Hell could be paved with your good intentions--and it almost has been--so take your own advice and grow up. It probably won't be easy. There will be fits and starts, same as with the rest of us. But you can do it because you want to do it.

By the way, you almost made me care about Twitter. Almost.