Month: July 2008

When your submarine is only carrying half a crew…

First off, I’ll give credit where credit is due. Because I’m a lazy ass, I sometimes will steal interesting news items that friends have highlighted and riff on those items myself.

In this case, this comes from high school friend Lisa.

This got me to thinking (give him room, folks). Consider the words “organic” and “orgasmic.” If the ‘N’ is omitted from the word “organic,” then all that is needed to make the words match is a little s&m.

But wait. There’s more.

Consider the letters that the two words don’t have in common.


Would anyone like to buy a vowel?

Yes. It’s true. If I’d been a student in the 1960s, the Russians surely would have beaten us to the moon.

* Bonus points for anyone who understands the toilet humor behind the headline.

This is a dramatization

As some of you know, I’ve been on stay-cation for about two weeks, and in my copious free time I’ve been watching some television. Mostly it’s back and forth between CNN and Comedy Central. On occasion I watch the local stations to catch the local news.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Lexington area personal injury law menu, there’s a guy out there who bills himself as “The Heavy Hitter.” If you watch his commercials, you’ll know why. They guy doesn’t miss too many meals. But it isn’t his girth that I’m going to take to task here. It’s the complete idiocy of his latest commercial.

It opens with him approaching a jail cell. Behind bars are George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Benjamin Franklin. They all have this green cast to them; green like, say, money. For those of you playing at home, Washington, Grant, and Franklin are the faces on the one, fifty, and hundred dollar bills, respectively. The whole point of the ad is to say that the nasty insurance company is locking up YOUR money. I’m not disputing that insurance companies are nasty, so let’s move on.

So we’ve got Green Washington, Green Grant, and Green Franklin behind bars in some television jail cell. And while we are treated to this site, the following offensive word appears at the bottom of the television screen.


Let me say that again.


Are you #$%@% kidding me?! Really? Because for a moment I thought that The Heavy Hitter™ (he gets a quarter every time someone says that) had somehow used his demonic powers (that he got in one of several deals with Satan, along with a passing grade on the bar exam…it’s a bundle plan) to not only bring the dead back to life, but to also turn them green. I’d love to have been in the advertising board room when that decision was made. I had thought about writing a fake script as to how that conversation went, but my mind can’t wrap itself around the fact that it happened at all.

Plus, I’m just lazy today. But I think we can all agree that if you watch that commercial with the aim of calling this guy for legal help, and you need the visual cue to tell you that the three dead statesmen with the greenish hue are just pretend, then you’d probably be doing yourself a favor if you went outside and beat yourself in the head with a sledgehammer a few times.

And if you die, just get him to bring you back to life. Minus the greenish hue would be preferable.

Remembering Kita

While much of the blogosphere will no doubt be reflecting on the death of former White House press secretary Tony Snow, I’m a bit more concerned about a certain feline that Mr. Snow might see walking around the afterlife, wondering where her owners have gone.

Kita, our 21-year-old brown tabby cat, died very early on Saturday morning. My wife, Julia, and I were with her in her last moments. At 21 it can be easily argued that she lived a full life, and she did. Julia rescued her 18 years ago. Kita was the first cat she ever rescued. I’ve only known Kita as long as I’ve been with Julia—about six years—and she never acted like the oldest cat of the bunch. When Julia and I met, she had four cats: Kita, Gaby, Topper, and Zephyr. We had to have Topper euthanized in 2006 because of his failing mental health. He was 14. Zephyr is that age now, and still the mascot of the house. Gaby is about 16 or 17, longhaired, beautiful, and somewhat of a bitch. But in her case, good looks really do a lot to take the edge off her attitude.

In recent years, we’ve added a few youngsters to the bunch, Lulubelle, Evie, Cubby Bear, and Jersey, but to me Kita will always be the Grande Dame of the pride.

She was graceful and cool, and had a beautiful face; almost Egyptian. It befitted the nickname Julia had for her, “Princess Kita.” When Kita spoke, she did not do so with an obnoxious meow, but rather a tiny coo. Sometimes, in that coo, you could almost hear the words, “We are not amused.”

She patiently suffered through the dozens of foster cats that have been in and out of our house the past three years, and did not launch into a tirade whenever one of them made the mistake of getting too close to royalty.

At the core of her, Kita was a gentle and fair creature. It really is true that the cat picks the owner, and I still remember the night right in bed when Kita crawled onto my stomach and chest and started kneading her paws into me. It was as though she was stamping me with her seal of approval. Then she started purring and her ears got warm, a sure sign of a happy cat.

We may never know another like her, but Julia and I are blessed for having known her at all.

News that doesn’t really suck

Like press secretary-turned presidential chief of staff C.J. Cregg on my favorite political drama “The West Wing,” I am the wrong Democrat to talk to about affirmative action.

I have come to the conclusion in recent years that I am too Caucasian and too male to write for my beloved hometown newspaper, the Lexington Herald-Leader. From the time I graduated up to now, I’ve applied there about six times. Three times they were kind enough to send me a rejection letter. The other three, they didn’t even bother with that. Waste of paper, I suppose.

So I’ve quit applying to the Herald-Leader, even if I see a job opening that I like, that I’m just perfectly suited to. For that matter, I avoid any media companies who make grandiose pronouncements in their employment ads about how important diversity is in their workplace. The louder they are about it, the smaller my chances are at even getting in the door.

Of course, I could just be bad journalist.

But the headline of this piece is “News that doesn’t really suck,” so I suppose I should dismount the soapbox and cut to the chase.

Today a colleague of mine—one of our contributing editors here at Thoroughbred Times—asked me if I was interested in contributing to a magazine she’s doing some work for. Turns out they need to pad their quota of male contributors. Can ya beat that?

I certainly hope my masculine editorial presence helps fill the void.

I won’t say what this publication’s per word scale is; just that it’s more than my own personal freelance rate. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 15 cents a word for written pieces, $20 an hour for editing. Thank you; drive through.

Nothing is solid yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Flippin’ sweet.

My apologies

In the hoopla associated with being at work yesterday, I was remiss in my duties as a blogger, in recognizing the passing of former United States Senator Jesse Helms.

It’s a bit disconcerting, though, to find out that a majority of Americans actually spent yesterday celebrating freedom, justice, and brotherhood.

I can’t imagine Senator Helms would approve of that sort of subversive behavior.

Some changes, some additions

As you can see, I have transmogrified “Screaming at the Top of My Brain” into “Cranial Effluence” as the theme for this blog. Not only is it tighter, but, upon reflection, I must admit that as soon as I typed those words in the inaugural entry, I knew that’s what I should have named the blog. It’s certainly more of an indicator as to what the reader can expect to find here in my little corner of the universe.

That’s not to say that you’ll experience a decline in the excellent service that you’ve come to expect here. Nay, nay! I’ve forgone having the letterhead and business cards reprinted, and passed the savings on to you. Aren’t you lucky?!

And just in time for our grand reopening, I’ve added a few friends to the Olde Blogge Roll (just look to the right….there ya go). Walk In Brain is penned by college buddy Wes, a fiery liberal spirit, Indiana’s Favorite Son (in Bizzarro Universe anyway) and the newest assistant professor of music theory at Clayton State University in Georgia.

And in this corner, from Lexington, Kentucky, by way of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, multimedia guru, cyclist extraordinaire, all around good guy and co-worker, and the newest bionic man Greg. He offers his nuggets of wisdom at his blog, PuttPuttSpeedway. If you like cycling, you’ll find it a good read.


Suck it, George

I thought long and hard about writing something meaningful, serious, and introspective about the meaning of Independence Day, but I’m sick to death of feeling as though I’m mourning my “American-ness” rather than celebrating it. And I’m tired of the notion that if I don’t walk around with a dour expression on my face, fearing for my own life, the terrorists somehow win.

So, I’ll simply say that today we celebrate a group of folks who, more than 230 years ago, crafted a document that basically said, “Suck it, George.” And what’s more, they signed their names to it. Long story short, their bravery all those years ago allows me to write, “Suck it, George” in an open forum such as this without fear of reprisal from my government.

I realize there’s a certain irony to using the phrase “Suck it, George”©, and that using it nowadays might indicate some ill will toward the present administration. But rest assured I would never take such advantage of my freedom of speech by writing “Suck it, George”® so indiscriminately. After all, a phrase like “Suck it George”, while edgy, does not do much to raise the level of debate in this country. “Suck it, George”™ is argumentative without being substantive. And I would never force this administration to kneel stoop to such levels.

They know how I feel about them. As to how they feel about me…

I think they know what they can do with that.

P.S. Tonight’s feature will be “1776” starring William “KITT” Daniels, James “I was the Governor on ‘Benson'” Noble, and Howard da Silva. Funny story…da Silva was blacklisted for more than a decade, the result of being “named” during a HUAC committee hearing. He went on to play Benjamin Franklin in the stage and film versions of 1776. That’s gotta be the epitome of the American Dream!

Career counseling, or “That is why you fail”

I’ve recently come to a rather grave conclusion about myself.

I’d be a horrible Jedi.

The power of the Force would be a waste on me. Blessed with the ability to command an invisible energy field to bend to my will, I’d most likely use it to summon the television remote control or open a can of beer (not a bottle, of course, because being a Jedi is all about sacrifice).

The lure of the Sith would be too much to resist. I’d turn to the dark side in a second. Of course, even then I’d be as horrible a Sith lord as I would a Jedi. Oh, sure. I’d engage in Sith hijniks: convincing store clerks that they still owed me five bucks in change, using my telekinesis to cause spontaneous wardrobe malfunctions, choking my enemies with nothing but a gesture of my black-gloved hand.

Which has gotten me thinking about the balance sheet between the Jedi and the Sith. What do you really get for your “membership” in the Order of the Jedi? A life of servitude, poverty, and (dare I say it) chastity. As for upward mobility, forget it. It’s about as hard to move up in the Jedi Order as it is to get to graduate from the folding card table to the solid oak table at Thanksgiving.

And when you do, then what? Yoda’s been a master for 800 years or so. Did he ever get a vacation? Is he racking up funds in his 401(k)? Is there even a retirement plan?

Apparently not. We never did see the retirement wing of the Jedi Temple. They probably take your lightsaber away from you and give you a job putting books away in the library.

Now, the Sith on the other hand…

They keep the overhead down by recruiting candidates that are already trained….by the competition no less. Upward mobility is simple: if you want a promotion, you have to kill your boss. Compensation is pretty much whatever you want to take. Let’s face it, a guy who can conjure lightning from his fingers is probably not going to have to wait for a table, much less pay the bill, at Ruth’s Chris. Retirement? You keep your eye on some poor schmuck at the Jedi Temple who seems to be spending a lot of time in the waiting room outside the Council Chambers with the other misfits. Put the balance sheet in front of him and make him an offer he can’t refuse.

Of course, there’s that unavoidable bit about what to do when he gets overly ambitious, but you’re a Sith Lord. You’ll figure something out.

“What’s that humming noise? Ouch! Hey! Why are my arms on the floor?”